We're almost there.
We've made our lists, checked them twice.
Put that elf on many a shelf.
And now we're counting down the last few days before
As Christian parents and grandparents, it's not only our duty but also our sheer delight to pour our faith into our children while they are young.
The world will give us some resistance, but in our homes we are kings and queens and we get to choose how we spend our time together.
Here are a few creative ways you can invite Jesus to be the center of attention at your celebration.
1. Read the Christmas Story. Before anyone pulls a bow off of anything read the Christmas story. For fun dress up the children and let them act the story out as you read it from the Bible. Luke 2.
2. Let Santa leave a devotion to do together. If you are okay with the fun of Santa, put him in a place of worship so that your children understand that even Santa knows Christmas is all about Jesus.
Show your children this picture.
I remember being terrified of Santa!
To make matters worse, there was a PINK PIG we "got" (had) to ride before the ritual was complete.
It was downright scary.
And, thus I was baptized into our family's traditions complete with Atlanta's pink Christmas princess.
After I survived Santa trauma I could sit back and relax until the big day. And if you'd really like to know the truth, EVERYTHING about Christmas day was magical.
I could hardly sleep the night before.
All of our family's disagreements, all our arguments, any grievance we had with each other seemed to disappear on this one special, marvelous explosion of gift wrap and ribbon.
It wasn't until way later in my life that Christmas delivered its own kind of pain.
The magic evaporated like the frost on our fence post the year Tom called to tell me that Melissa's baby had died.
He stayed home that year to preach the Christmas Day sermon (because Christmas fell on Sunday). And just after we'd celebrated Santa's faithful...
Questions to consider this Christmas...
Did you know that it was estimated that Americans would spend over 1 trillion dollars at Christmas in 2019?
If Christmas spending this year relates to the decorating that started in mid October, there's no telling how much we're liable to spend this year as we seek to soothe the pain of the pandemic.
All of this explosion of materialism at Christmas warrants a serious consideration of a question that's been raised...
Is your wealth a blessing or a curse?
With the outbreak of rioting this year, we heard voices of the culture shouting to the wealthy.
They seemed to say that if you're white, straight, married, and healthy; and you make a certain amount of money you should be ashamed of yourself, sit down, and be quiet.
The irony of it is that some of the people shouting are the sons and daughters of white, straight, married and healthy people who make a certain amount of money!
(Some of that money most likely helps to pay...
In December 2019, these were the top 5 questions searched on google regarding Christmas...
I guess that if you knew the answer to #2 then you could find the answer to #1, but for #3 it's certainly handy that we have google to ask!
With answers to all our questions literally at our fingertips, our lives have changed radically from what they were before the internet.
I read something interesting in Alisa Childer's Another Gospel?,
"the internet literally changed the world. All of a sudden, loads of information flooded our homes through the little glowing screen known as the personal computer. Skeptical claims and secular theories--which, in generations past, Christians lived entire lifetimes without hearing--were abruptly challenging our comfortable beliefs and confronting our deeply ingrained spiritual, sociological...
Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we completely miss Thanksgiving.
Christmas receives so much more attention. And it’s no wonder where the retailers are concerned. Besides selling us food—Thanksgiving isn’t a big money-making holiday. Christmas focuses on what we don’t have (Santa’s lists) and shopping becomes the way we (in America) do Christmas.
Thanksgiving centers on celebrating what we do have therefore it doesn’t demand quite as much money exchanging hands.
Therefore the gods of the American culture;
greed and envy...
don’t benefit nearly so much from the celebration of Thanksgiving so they try to get it over with quickly.
Their latest tactic is to swallow up the night in “Black Friday.”
Perhaps our pandemic will somewhat stifle the mad rush to the mall to get your panties from Aerie just past midnight!
Not only does the retail world want you to by-pass...
Tom and I went with friends to the Grand Canyon a few weeks ago where I took this picture. When I look at it today, it doesn't seem real.
Truth be told, when I took this picture it didn't seem real either! I was there and I was seeing it, but it was surreal.
f you've ever stood on the south rim of the Grand Canyon and bathed in the view, you know what I'm talking about!
We were meandering along the south rim trail and saw a young woman casually walking toward the edge, she was talking with someone on her cell phone. As she approached her first real good look at the gaping landscape of the Grand Canyon, her eyes filled with tears and I heard her say, "I gotta go...I'll call you back in a bit. This is--this is--" And she just hung up because she didn't have words for what she was seeing.
Have you ever been there?
Perhaps not on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, but where words simply aren't enough to describe what you're experiencing?
A few weeks ago as we hiked in...
Prayer of Confession—The Omnipresent God
Oh Lord, forgive us for forgetting.
Forgive us for allowing the circumstances that surround us to overwhelm Your constant and consistent presence with us.
Forgive us for focusing our emotional energy and attention on the smoke screens the Deceiver puts in our path to keep us from living the truth of Your presence.
Forgive us for behaving as if You are waiting on something from us in order to grace us with your presence.
What can we possibly do that could add to what You have already done?
Forgive us for failing to walk humbly with You when you are walking consistently with us.
Forgive us, LORD for acting as if you’ve left us when You are dwelling in our midst every minute of every day.
Forgive us for crying out so desperately for you when we are already sustained by You.
Forgive us for being so self-absorbed...
The quick answer is NO!
Grab and partner and pray this prayer together.
In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.” (Hebrews 1:10).
Your story has no beginning and no end.
You are the Creator, not the creation, and while everything in the universe is present in one place in time, You are everywhere present (omnipresent) for all time.
Solomon said, “Who is able to build a temple for You, since the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain You?” (2 Chronicles 2:6)
You are not a tree or a rock, but You do sustain “all things by Your powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3),
If You ceased to exist, so would all creation.
We cannot think of You as being in one place or another.
David wrote, “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there....
Sometimes we forget.
We forget that God is high and lifted up.
and over earth.
All powers and authorities are ruled over by Him.
Our lives, our homes, our careers--everything that makes up our world is determined by our Loving Father who sits undeterred on His throne.
For this reason, now is a good time to worship Him through prayer.
Consider praying this prayer today:
The Glory of God
Lord, You are holy, distinct and separate from all other things.
You are exalted over all the nations and you live above and beyond all creation.
The stain of sin and evil that defiled the world never had any effect on You.
You have always been morally perfect and separate (or transcendent) from the rest of Your fallen creation.
None of us has ever fully grasped your glory, however, a few people witnessed a portion of your holiness.
Moses asked to see your glory and You hid him in the cleft of a rock, and...
Father we confess that while You are holy, distinct and separate from all other things, we continue to love the things of this world.
We confess our affection for what the world has to offer us.
We confess our pursuit of happiness when You have called us to a pursuit of holiness.
Forgive us for failing to worship You in spirit and in truth. Our minds are so preoccupied with ourselves that we often attend worship, sing the songs, sit for the sermons then leave unchanged—unmoved—so pre-occupied with the cares of this world that we completely miss the opportunity to come face to face with Your glory.
Those of us who are leaders even dare to lead worship, teach lessons and participate in ministry plans all apart from You.
Forgive us, LORD for bringing the world’s ways to the work You’ve called us to.
Forgive us for depending on our own strength, our own power, our own cleverness and our...