Tuesday, December 2, 2008

OH JOY! It's Christmas!

Here it comes with a vengance; Christmas. The media portrays it as something financial along with *predictions* of how well retailers will fair.
Where is Jesus, I ask?
Families will get together, and some just long enough for it to turn nasty. I am kind of stunned at just how dysfunctional some of my own family has become... and always relieved that there are plenty of good-natured normal relatives still alive and well.

I am very blessed to have a handful of people whom I'm related to either by blood or marraige who know Christ, and don't forget WHY we have the holiday in the first place. They help me tolerate the insanity of December, because for me, this month is like a non-stop full moon in the county emergency room. Whatever the most inappropriate thing to do or say seems to take center stage, and it really is all I can do to plod on through the retail madness and family nuttiness that always, always, always accompanies Christmas. I think it's the devils way of raining on our parade and causing division... It's his way of keeping the focus off The Savior. He's just jealous... and looking steal our joy. It is VERY easy to just throw your hands in the air and surrender.
However, the season is not without it's joys. Christmas-time can, and has been filled with love, kindness, and surprises. Sometimes its something simple like hearing from an old friend, or seeing a toddler all dressed in velvet open presents under the tree. A sprig of mistletoe here and there, some holly on the hearth & baking pies and Christmas goodies brings out the best in me, but nothing, and I do mean NOTHING warms my soul like reading the Christmas Story found in Luke 2:

Luke 2
1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Isn't it glorious???
So while I might get a little overwhelmed at my to-do list before all the family (functional and otherwise) descend upon my humble abode for celebration and merriment, I have never forgotten why we are celebrating. That knowledge keeps me centered when it seems the world is spinning off it's axis.
Because of this child, this innocent babe, conceived in a virgin vessel, and left to die alone on a cross years later for our sins...we can rest assured that those who know Him and are dedicated to Him will live on together for eternity. Blessed assurance.
So regardless of how wierd you old Uncle Pete is, or how crazy cousin Nancy may appear, now is the time to open your home, and heart and be the candle on the hill. Try to lay old grudges aside. Give a hug to those least expecting it. Let it all go and let them see Jesus in you. Don't let the devil get a foot-hold just because your siblings are self-centered, never help with Mom and Dad, talk behind your back, and generally do all they can do to rub you the wrong way. Just don't let it happen. Rebuke it, and claim joy, kindness, and a sense of calm in Jesus Name.
Keep claiming it too and watch old red-legs run.
May your Christmas Season be Merry & Bright.
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