Pt 2: Twelve Days of Christmas

I like small towns; they can be charming, friendly, and quaint.

Living In Small Towns

Living in a small town can be a blessing. At least they have for me. But as a rule, they have little in the way of great importance. Sorry, but getting a single blinking light in the middle of town doesn’t qualify for change of status.

An Exception?

The exception is when someone from a small town becomes famous. Maybe an athlete, a movie star, a rock star, or even President. Then everyone knows the small town because they know the celebrity.

Guess Who Came From A Small Town?

Jesus lived in a small town. When his family came back from Egypt, they returned to Nazareth; Mary and Joseph’s home town. The village was agricultural, had little economic strength, and never exceeded 500 in population. It wasn’t an important town.

In fact, when Nathanael heard that Jesus was from Nazareth he asked, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?”

Humble Beginnings

Think about Jesus and his humble beginnings. Nazareth wasn’t famous. There were no academic institutions, no financial empires, it couldn’t boast of world class research or medical facilities. There wasn’t a respected seminary. It never made the list for the best small towns in Palestine.

Jesus saved the world, but the world knew nothing of Nazareth.

Maybe Jerusalem?

Wouldn’t Jerusalem have been a better choice? It had the temple and the feasts. It was home to the Sanhedrin, the Sadducees, and the Priesthood. It was the city of Prophets and Kings. It makes sense that he would be raised there. But no, our Messiah was a small town boy.

Perhaps he stayed out of the light until he was ready to be the light.

Nazareth? It wasn’t anything special. There wasn’t anything special about my home town either. Christmas isn’t celebrated because Nazareth was special. 

In Closing

On a cold, starlit night, the Son of God was born.

He didn’t even get to be born in his small, unimportant home town.

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Jesus was born for all the people from all the unimportant places. He was born for me. 

Merry Christmas

Cold For The Homeless

My friend asked me to help serve lunch to some homeless people. I served the soup.

I overheard them as they went through the line. They talked about the cold front and the preparations they needed to make. Temperatures would drop into the 40’s, a fairly cold night for Houstonians.

It Made Me Think

I wondered about them, how they would cope, where they would go, what they would do. They have a life no one wants. A life no one envies. 

The Holidays

Maybe it’s the Christmas season. It seems easier to be a bit more compassionate. For them, every day is the same. It’s about surviving.

The holidays can affect us in different ways. Christmas isn’t always happy for everyone. Some will be alone for the first time. Some will celebrate without their kids, or grandkids. Others will be separated by distance, will be in places they wish they didn’t have to be, but duty requires it. God be with them.

The Blues

There is a seasonal depression that affects some of us. We want certain things to be a certain way. But they won’t and the disappointment can be really hard. Some fall into a funk, crawl deep inside ourselves, and just disconnect. Hopefully, we come out of the cave to once more seek the fellowship of family and friends.

Many won’t have a snowy Christmas in a beautiful cabin, with a roaring fire and a freshly cut tree with scores of brightly colored gifts. We won’t be in the company of a large and loving family, with sweet children, and close friends. It won’t be a post card Christmas.

To Close

Whatever else this holiday season may be, I pause to acknowledge that I don’t have to sleep outside tonight. I know where my next meal is coming from and I don’t have to worry about the cold front.

So I’ll leave you with this:

“Good morning Holy Spirit. Thank you for blessing us, thank you for being with us, for being the Father’s gift. We look to you for comfort. And help us to be thankful, no matter the circumstances, for we know we are loved. And we want to glorify you and the Father for sending Jesus to be born. Merry Christmas Father”

Peace

In Full Countdown Mode

Great correlations in human development:

  1. The after meal nap lengthens with increased amounts of gravy.
  2. The dessert debate is leaning from pumpkin to berry pie.
  3. Christmas decorations on Thanksgiving is a growing reality.
  4. The amazing sales of Black Friday are now starting on grey Tuesday.
  5. The more Thanksgiving dinner the louder the grunt when standing up.

Yes, we are an elegant and sophisticated people; modern and cosmopolitan. Oh well. Thanksgiving has come and gone. Where does the time go? “Time fly’s,” someone said. Does it? Time isn’t flying so much as it’s marching over me and my greying, thinning hair.

And Now…

We are now in full countdown mode. It’s 27 days to Christmas and the unending stream of parties, dinners, concerts, plays, lights, food, gifts, trees, and house decorations. Yep. 

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I’m A Big Sap

I’m a big sap for Christmas. I love it. Granted, it’s a massive commercialization of a sacred event. But just think, there’ll be hot chocolate by the fire place, homemade fudge, cards in the mail, and brightly wrapped packages under the tree. Not to mention the shimmering beauty of freshly fallen snow. Ah, Christmas in Houston!

I’m hoping to get lots of gifts this year, I love getting lots of gifts. However, I’m boycotting malls, stores, traffic, and all shopping. It’s just not for me. It’s not how I roll.  

The Bigger Thing

I know the real meaning of Christmas. It’s like Garfield said in one of his TV specials, “Ah Christmas, it’s not the getting, it’s not the giving, it’s the loving.” Well said for a cat.

When did the love begin? Was it when the star appeared in the clear night sky over a sleepily little Judean village? Or was it the moment of the virgin birth? Perhaps when the heavenly host proclaimed praises to God for the savior being born?

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An Even Bigger Thing

When you think about it, the love really began before the world was made. I believe we were created from love’s foundations, from the source, the well-spring of divine care.

Regardless of when the love began, it found its greatest fulfillment in Jesus our Messiah. So let me offer to each of you a very Merry Christmas!

I’ll Close With This…

“Good morning Holy Spirit. Today begins of a new week and a new season of celebration. So we begin by saying thank you for the Christ. Thank you for our Savior. And thank you for the love. Amen.”

God be with you!

Shalom

The Holidays: Its Time

Good Morning Holy Spirit. You have made this day and I will rejoice, be glad, and seek your desire for my life. Thank you for bringing us to another holiday season. You bless our lives.

A Holiday Week, Month or Season?

Halloween notwithstanding, this week launches the official holiday lineup. Thanksgiving to New Years have merged into one extended celebratory season.

Thanksgiving has nothing to do with Christmas and Christmas has nothing to do with New Year’s. They aren’t linked together. But each has its own meaning and value.

I don’t mind, I love it.

Don’t Laugh

As odd as it may seem, my family gathered last night to decorate our Christmas tree and our home. We aren’t finished, but we made a good start. The outside lights and decorations will come soon.

Are we fanatics? Possibly. But there are other explanations.

  1. Each year, we host two Christmas parties and a special dinner party, beginning the first week end of December. So the house has to be ready around Thanksgiving.
  1. The decorating is a family event with our son, daughter and son-in-law. We have a favorite meal, then its eggnog, a roaring fire, and Christmas music. (Most years I crank the AC to freezing for the roaring fire) The three men sit and watch the two women do the decorating. Mostly we just keep their glasses full and stay out of the way. 
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Not Our Living Room Or Our Roaring Fire, But Close, Very Close

We’re All So Busy

In October we sit down over dinner, check our calendars, and decide the November day for decorating. A few years ago we were struggling with dueling calendars so my wife had to do everything to get us ready for December’s events. Our daughter nearly disowned us.

We All Have Them

What do we all have? We have our traditions, styles, and special events. No two families are the same. Nor should they be. There will be millions of Christmas trees in homes, apartments, offices, malls, and stores; millions and millions of trees. And no two of them will be the same. Nor should they be.

To Close

This Holiday Season, I pray that Jesus our Messiah will be a blessing to your life. In the acknowledgment of his birth, I hope that each of you, regardless of circumstances, can find meaning and joyfulness in the message of his coming.

Now please excuse me, I’ve been asked to place the angel on the tree.

God Bless You