Stars

How easy it is to go on auto pilot during the Christmas season.

*Decorate tree and house – Check

*Play Christmas CDs – Check

*Sing Christmas carols in church – Check

*Participate or attend Christmas programs – Check

*Plan Christmas festivities – Check

*Attend Christmas parties – Check

*Buy and wrap presents not leaving anyone out – Check

*Try to tame concerns about how much money is being spent – Check

*Attend Christmas Eve Service – Check

*Read Christmas story – Check

*Open presents – Check

*Get together for big meals – Check

*Take everything down and put away – Check

Routine. Habits. Traditions. But is that what this season is about? No.

We participate in all these great things during Christmas, many of which may even be very spiritual, but still often miss the opportunity to truly let the real meaning of this season penetrate our hearts.

We can recite the Christmas story like we retell a grocery shopping happening last week. We know all the words to traditional Christmas carols like we know the national anthem. We know Jesus was born to a virgin like we know an acquaintance that had an unexpected baby.

It too often is just rote.

Our Lord Jesus was rich – the eternal Son of God in heaven!! Yet He set aside His glory and became poor. He accepted the restrictions of a baby and was born as an infant in a filthy stable in the lowliest of circumstances. Why? To identify with us, and to be able to truly represent humanity so He could later take the enormous weight of our multitude of sins upon himself, die a gruesome death and rise again—just so we could spend eternity with Him.

He became poor so we could become eternally rich! What sacrifice! What unfathomable love!!

When you sing Christmas carols or attend a Christmas program this year, ponder the lyrics to the familiar carols and let their meaning penetrate your heart. When you read the Christmas story, meditate on the FULL story – the redeeming grace of God, the perfect and everlasting love of Christ, the sacrifice and substitution of Jesus for our sins, the hope we have because of our rich eternal inheritance forevermore as a result of this one Holy Night.

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Sun-peeking-through-tree

The sun touches my face and the warmth fills my heart. God is near.

A delicate wrestling of branches echo a chorus of movement. The rocking chair sighs a rhythmic tune. Nature speaks.

Golden red hues grace the leaves ushering in a new season. Dry leaves dance across the sidewalk as the wind moves them along. Sounds of change.

A single bird call. Does anyone hear? Yes. They find each other and conversation begins. The call of nature.

Who created the seasons, nature, light … our calling? The One. The Only. God Supreme.

No detail unnoticed. No need overlooked. Sovereign. Matchless. Divine Power.

Stop and listen. Rest in His Holiness. Take in His Splendor. Almighty God is He.

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New Picture (12)

Ever read a book that captured you to the core and caused you to think … truly think? I’m in the middle of reading, Praying for Strangers by River Jordan. This book is one of those books.

In the nonfiction book, this fiction writer shares her resolution journey to pray for a stranger daily. She not only prays for them, but meets them, and listens to their stories. Complete strangers. She tells about how the journey is changing her, perhaps more than those she’s praying for.

I’ve been reading it for a while—largely because it’s so thought provoking. I get through a few short chapters and I sit and ponder. It’s caused me to re-evaluate how I look at others around me as well as my own prayer life. It’s made me look deeper.

I pray for needs I do know, but what about those I don’t. What about the people who are afraid to speak out. How could I impact those I come in contact with every single day if I just took time to pray for strangers?

It’s so easy to get caught up in our routines, life’s demands, and challenges and just focus on what’s before us. Every man for himself. But is that all life is to be about? No.

I have started to look at strangers differently … the man at Walmart who stayed even though it was his lunch hour, just to put the new battery in my car because he had started working with me prior to his lunch time beginning. I prayed for him. The woman at the gym I crossed paths with a few days ago that was so proud of herself that she showed up to work out. I prayed for her.

So many people. So many needs. So many reasons to pray.

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