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Well, Merry Christmas!

I have said those words many times to many different people. Sometimes not even really thinking about what they represent.

Oh, I know that Christmas is all about Jesus and His taking on flesh to be born into this world. It’s not that I forget the concept. But I do overlook just what that means at times.

Advent was certainly a time that people were looking for hope, peace, joy and love. Christmas is certainly a time that we laugh and love and celebrate. We get together with family and friends and enjoy getting and receiving gifts. As I type this now, I still have one young enough to have gone to bed believing that a happy fat man in a red suit will soon bring her gifts. (And he did!) Her anticipation of Christmas is for the the fun and gifts and the time that will be spent with family – hope, peace, joy and love.

And that is good.

But I am struck this year with what was anticipated that first Christmas. It was not gifts or celebration. It was not time with family and friends. And it was not eggnog!

Isaiah 9:2 says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”

The first Christmas was marked by a people that were longing for an escape from the darkness and despair of their condition. They longed for a light to shine in their lives; for hope, peace, joy and love.

And boy, did that light shine!

Jesus was born. The Messiah. The light, not only to Israel, but to all nations. That light broke through the darkness and lit up the landscape so that people could see their way to God.

That, my friends, is Christmas. It is The Light piercing the darkness, making a way for us to a God Who loves us. A God Who loves us so much, that He wrapped Himself in flesh to be with us and to show us His great love by dying for us so the darkness of our sin could be overcome.

I pray you know that love this Christmas!

So, Merry Christmas!


Today is my wife’s birthday… she is 35… again… (not really, but I am NOT going to say how old she is today… but it rhymes with 40!)  She is more beautiful than the day I married her.  She just gets better as the years go by!  I love you Jennifer! Cannot wait to post the same thing when we are 80!

jesus-crossIt is Good Friday, and my thoughts are directed towards my Savior and the suffering He went through during this next 24 hour period nearly 2000 years ago.  As I sit here in my comfortable chair, drinking my coffee and listening to the sounds of a couple of my children as they go about their day, I am overwhelmed.  Overwhelmed by the fact that Jesus did what He did… and that He did it for me.  Overwhelmed that God the Father would allow His Son, His PERFECT Son to bear the pain and suffer as He did. I am overwhelmed that by no merit of my own, the God of heaven showed favor on me by allowing Jesus to become sin for me… actually, it was more then that, He took upon Himself the sin of all humanity, so that we could come to God in a right relationship.

I am also overwhelmed, because even though God did all of this for me, I still sin. I am overwhelmed with the fact that Jesus shed His blood, yet I am still a selfish individual who chooses my way instead of His many times. I am overwhelmed to know that God’s plan is still to use me to love others and help them take their next step towards Him, even when all of my steps are not always in the right direction.  I am overwhelmed knowing, that with all of the good that I think I do, it is still not enough to merit the love that He pours on me every day.

I am overwhelmed…

Do ever get mad at people? DUH! Stupid question isn’t it? We all do. Do you ever just look at people, and see the way that they do something, or hear the things that they say, or witness the way that they act towards other people and think that they are just stupid? A lot of that is plain old personality stuff. My wife and I are guilty at times of asking ourselves if we are the only normal people left on the earth. We usually end up reminding ourselves that someone else thinks that we are weird. Personality differences are what make this world interesting. I am often guilty of treating people how they treat me. Or I treat them according to the value they have to me. I am so glad that God does not think or act like me.

I think as Christ-followers, we tend to get this holier-than-thou attitude that makes us think that no one should sin, and that we are better than other people. But let’s face it, people without Christ are going to act like people without Christ. And that is not a statement of arrogance from a Christ follower, like we are better. It should be a statement that gives us a longing in our heart to reach out and love people so that they can know that God loves them, that God is interested in them, and interested in their lives.

Many Christ-followers have forgotten this truth as they have dealt with people, and consequently, people who are outside of the church have been driven away from Christ and the church. We need to remember one thing:

Everybody you lay your eyes on is somebody for who Christ died.

No matter who it is. You are surrounded by people today of immeasurable value. You interact with people every day and in every area of your life that are of immeasurable worth to God.

There are people outside the walls of your church that have been mistreated and bumped around by the Church. We, as Christians, have gotten into our little Churchianity sub-culture, and have only viewed those that are just like us as being valuable. And that is so not like Jesus. That is so unlike what He did as He walked this earth.

1 John 4: says, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

God says here, “If I can love you, and you know how wicked you are (you know the thoughts you think, you know the things you have done) than certainly, you can love other people as well. You ought to love them because I paid a high price for them!

No matter who it is, everyone you meet is someone for which your heavenly Father sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for. You are surrounded by people today of immeasurable value. You interact with people every day and in every area of your life that are of immeasurable worth to God.

How do you treat someone who has that much worth and value?

You love them, because God has loved us.

What do people around us need? They need to know that they matter to God. How do they learn that? By the way that we love them. Let’s treat people as if they are of incredible value to God. And they are… in fact, they are of so much value that God allowed His Son to die for them. All of them!