The greatest gift of all………

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.   

The four candles of Advent represent Hope, Joy, Peace, and Love.  This morning the center candle is lit reminding us that Christ came to be the light of the world.  For unto to us a child is born.  Sure we need to give Santa his due but today we celebrate that the waiting is over and Hope is here!  As dark as the world might seem, a light shines beckoning us forward.  Stop for a moment and think of the darkest place you have ever been.  It is so dark there that you can’t even see your hand in front of your face.  Now imagine you have a pin light on your key chain.  No how small that light, it breaks through the pitch black.  No matter how dark, the least glimmer of light diminishes the darkness.  This is what God through His son, Jesus, wants us to know.  

The prophet Isaiah predicting the birth of Jesus.  Matthew shared that the people were living in darkness meaning they had chosen to live in a way outside of God’s intention.  CS Lewis stated it this way in his book Weight of Glory, Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

Maybe a faith journey is something you can’t imagine. It just doesn’t make sense.  Tim Keller writes in Hidden Christmas, “Until you turn the light on in a dark room, you can’t begin to know what is in there.” I pray this Christmas that we would seek God’s Wisdom versus the world’s.  May we all, like the Wise Men, seek to find and bow down before the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. The One who came so that we would know that God loves us.  It is the greatest gift of all and unlike worldly presents, it will never perish.  So, “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth below; for the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and its people will die like gnats. But My salvation will last forever, and My righteousness will never fail” Isaiah 51:6

As the old campfire song promises; It only takes a spark to get a fire going.  “Once you experience it, the light will show you all you were meant to know and provide the wisdom you seek.  Only then will you live the life God desires for you.  
Merry Christmas from all of us.  May this blog help you remember the “Reason for the Season”.  I can be reached by email at [email protected]

Were your Christmas expectations met?

Did you get the present you really wanted? Did people’s faces light up your gift to them? Unfortunately, many times we are disappointed by what we receive or see that what you gave wasn’t what they wanted. I am not sure why but this has been a struggle for me since I was a little boy. I can remember the sadness I felt when the gifts were all unwrapped and I hadn’t gotten what I wanted. Even then, I knew it was selfish and that made me feel worse. It was like my identity or how I was loved was measured in what had been given to me. As a parent, I tried to make sure my kids got exactly what they wanted because I remembered how I felt as a child. It bummed me out when I could see that I had missed the mark with my gift. Again, I realized the unmet expectation feelings that arose were selfish. Yes, I wanted the kids or my wife to be happy but I also wanted to feel the happiness too. Maybe that is why I love Thanksgiving because you don’t have the pressure of presents. ?

As I have journeyed through Advent with you, I wrote what the four candles in the wreath represent. If you are new to my blog, you can scroll back to the previous posts on Hope, Joy, Peace, and Love. Yesterday the tallest candle placed appropriately in the in the middle of the wreath shined brightly. It represents what Christmas is all about. The true present, the Light of the world, yes, Jesus Christ.

I read in a devotion this week that “One must understand the larger storyline of Scripture—Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration to identify this baby in Bethlehem as the Christ child. Jesus is the eternal Son of God who was born, lived, died, and praise God was resurrected so that we might have eternal life. Without Jesus dying on a Cross and coming back to life there would be no reason to celebrate Christmas. And yet………………..

Like me at Christmas, many people in Jesus’ day, were disappointed with the gift God gave them. There expectations were not meant. They thought His description in Isaiah 9:6 (“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” meant something very different.

It is still true today isn’t it? As the song says, “we continue to look for love in all the wrong places” We wallow in the world of “if only” (fill in the blank) If only I had_____, If only I could____, If only this would____,If only this hadn’t____ and therefore our expectations are never met and we continually find ourselves disappointed and discontent. If that is you or someone you know, the greatest Christmas present I can share is that God loves you and through His Son, has made it possible for you to be in a relationship with Him. He created you and therefore knows how your life is meant to be lived. When we live it His way, He promises to dry every tear, care for every sorrow, and meet our every expectation. That is why they say “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you can find your identity in the One who created you and wants us to Remain Thankful in all Things! When we do, like Mercy me sings, We can only imagine!

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