As a child one of my favorite things to do was run through the rain drops. Catching a stray raindrop or two on my tongue. Back then there seemed to be something refreshing and magical about the rain. I no longer run around in the rain well on purpose. Sometimes I get caught in a rainstorm and have no choice but to get wet. I also know now their is nothing really magical about rain because I know it is a gift from God to help His creation, the plants and man refreshed and hydrated. I hope you enjoy today’s drawing.
Back many,many years ago I first accepted the call of Jesus and asked Him into my heart. Soon after I started attending a church where many people listened to what was at the time labeled Contemporary Christian Music or CCM. One of my favorite artists of the genre was Steve Taylor. His music was to say different than anything I had ever heard before. I look back from many years later and think of one song of his which I really liked entitled, “This Disco Used to be a Cute Cathedral.” The song to me was about the decline in attendance at many churches which seems to be on the rise. Years ago attending your local church was something you did without question. Back then the church in turn to care of the needs of the people.
In our modern society over 80% of Americans claim to be Christians but only 20% attend church. That leaves 60% of the people who claim to be Christians not filling the seats in local churches. This means as Steve Taylor sings many churches empty and being converted to other uses.
This is sad my friends because a church is not just a place where we worship, it is a place called to be in service to God in the local community. So we need to get our you know whats back into the seats to worship but also out of the seats and into the streets in service to serve God by helping those in need.
Did you ever notice that the wrapping paper seems to always run out before the number of presents. I used to think that each year you had to out do the gift buying from the year before. Then I discovered one simple truth…Christmas should not be about how much is under the tree but about who is around the tree. Christmas comes from the heart not from a box or bag. Remember “The gift is to the giver…and comes back most to him (or her).” Walt Whitman
As children Christmas time meant went being on our best behavior because we did not want to be on Santa’s Naughty List. Having your name on the naughty list meant not getting any gifts from Santa. So the closer you got to Christmas the more you wanted to be on your best behavior. The key was however no matter what you ended up being forgiven on Christmas and there was always presents under the tree. Get the parallel. God sent His Son because we were separated from because of our sin. I guess you could say we were on God’s naughty list and there was no way being on our best behavior was going to get us off…well there is one way. If we put our faith and heart in God’s hands and what He did for us we would be able to get the most desirable gift of all…a way into Heaven.
While the current reflection we have of Santa Claus started as a marketing gimmick there actually was a Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus. According to WhyChristmas.Com St. Nicholas, who was a very rich man, “was a Bishop who lived in the fourth century in a place called Myra in Asia Minor (now called Turkey).” He was a kind soul who liked to help the poor and give out secret gifts to those who needed the most help. If you would like to read more about the true Saint Nicholas click here. While God is the true gift giver it is up to us to be like the true Saint Nicholas and give back to others not only this time of year but throughout the whole year.
The one thing I have never had the opportunity to do this time of year is sit by a warm cozy fire on Christmas Eve while somebody reads Twas the Night Before Christmas. I don’t why but the idea appeals to me very much. There is something about having friends around you, the glow of the fire that puts you in the Christmas mood. At this time of year we try to package the joy of the season in boxes with paper and ribbons. Perishable items which may or may not wear out before the end of the year. The enjoyment Christmas is found however in the little details, Those moments in time which create memories which don’t wear out. So one thing to do this year is to slow down and enjoy the season.
Growing up I don’t remember being that much concerned about having a white Christmas. In fact snow on Christmas only meant Santa would have an easier time gliding to a smooth landing. In my adult years snow on Christmas just meant a tougher commute to family and friends during the holidays. Still I hear stirrings of people wishing for snow because they want a white Christmas. Personally I don’t understand the appeal of the white stuff but if you’re a snow buff I hope you get your white Christmas.
Christmas is the time we celebrate what God to us by giving back to others. The problem is that at this time of the year so many non profits are seeking our money and or time that it is hard to pick which ones to give our money. The only advice I can give is to pray and ask God where He wants you to help. The focus on that charity or organization.
One of my favorite things about this time of the year are the decorations both inside and outside. I love a finely decorated tree with lots of multi colored lights. I also love the smell of the tree and the other assorted decoration. On the outside of the house the more lights the better. My wife and I love to drive around and check out the decorated houses in our area. There was even one local house which appeared on a Holiday Light Fight show.
The Bible warns us in a number of places about being careful about being overly concerned about our outer beauty like, 1 Peter 3:3-4, “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” Life is not about trying to impress others but with a quiet spirit seek to minister to others.