Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Tag

Christmas Memories   Leave a comment


Image provided by bethanyfiction.com

Image provided by bethanyfiction.com

Sorry that it has been a while since I posted on here.  With the holiday last week, life became busy and hectic.  I think that I am back in control of everything and will get back to more normal regularity in posting.

This morning I was thinking a lot about the memories which I have from my past Christmas times.  Over the years I have acquired some great memories.  So I thought I would share a list of them with you today.

  • Every year when I was growing up, my sister would purchase an Advent calendar for me which had a piece of chocolate hidden behind each day’s door.  I used to eagerly anticipate that calendar, the chocolate treat each day and the countdown to Christmas.
  • We used to string popcorn and cranberries to use as garland on our real Christmas tree.  I cannot count the number of times that I poked myself with the needle.  Or the number of times that Mom would have to re-thread the string through the needle.
  • We always had a lot of candles throughout the house during the Christmas season.  I would often light the candles, turn on the Christmas lights, and listen to Christmas records.
  • Attending Christmas Eve services and walking out of the church at midnight to find a light snow falling.
  • My Dad’s relatives gathering at our house on Christmas Eve.  One Christmas Eve when I was young the adults had all of us go to my room and stay there.  Soon there was a knock on the front door and when we were allowed to come out of my room we were surprised by Santa standing there.  I still have never figured out who was behind that beard.
  • Waking up on Christmas morning and knowing that I could open anything I found in my stocking but the rest of the presents had to wait until everyone was awake and sitting in the living room.
  • Decorating my college dorm room and having enough lights that we never turned on the overhead light until after Christmas break.
  • Listening to Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas album in my dorm room with friends.

These are just a few special memories that have come to mind this morning.  What memories do you have?

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Who Knew?   Leave a comment


One of my favorite songs this time of year came to my mind today as I was thinking about what to share on Music Friday.  So I hope that you enjoy this!

Posted December 19, 2014 by thoughtfulbeliever in Belief, Christmas, Music, Music Video

Tagged with , , ,

Keep the Nugget   Leave a comment


This time of year it is so very easy to become overwhelmed.  There seems to be so many tasks to get completed.  There is a long list of activities in which to engage.  There are traditions to uphold and a hunger for some new ones.  In all the hustle and bustle of the season, being overwhelmed can lead to a distaste for the season.  Instead of having the joy of the season which we had at childhood, adults can become more eager about the end of the season.

So here is my advice…..  Reclaim the nugget of joy from which the season came into existence.  Christmas was intended to be a time of great celebration.  That celebration, as a result of great joy, was due to the realization that a child had been born many years ago.  This child was no “ordinary” child.  This child was the incarnation of our God.  This child would grow to be a man who reached out to those who had been rejected, who had brought healing to bodies and spirits, who did not only speak about love but demonstrated it in the way he lived.  This man would give the ultimate demonstration of love by willingly dying so that any punishment for sin would be erased from anyone who believed in him.  This man would defeat death through the power of the Spirit and open the opportunity for all people to defeat death.  This is the nugget that must never be lost.

So whenever you are feeling overwhelmed in your preparation for Christmas, reclaim the nugget of joy which began all of this.  Then you will still be busy and have many tasks but the joy will carry you through them.

Reconnecting   Leave a comment


Image provided by jansushibar.com

Image provided by jansushibar.com

One of the great aspects of this time of year is that we are given an opportunity to reconnect with people.  Through Christmas cards and the letters included in them, we are able to share about our lives and hear about the lives of others with whom we may not have regular contact.  It is always a great joy for me to go to the mailbox and see who has sent a card each day.  (By the way, mine is in process this week.)

Yesterday, as I worked on Christmas cards, I was thinking about the importance of reconnecting.  Not only is it important to reconnect with friends and family this time of year, but it is also important for us to take time to reconnect with the cause for celebration this time of year.  In the celebration of the incarnation of Christ, we remember that God truly became one of us.  We remember about Christ’s life and ministry.  Of course we remember the ultimate purpose of his arrival, the providing us a way back to God by the removing of the stain of our sins.  Christ brought the ultimate opportunity of re-connection.

The other significant celebration is the welcoming of a new year.  As a believer, I am reminded that just as the Lord was present in my life over the past year, the Lord will be present in this new year.  I have no idea what the new year will bring but the Lord does.  No matter what each day of the new year holds in store for me, the Lord is right there beside me.  I have this connection with the Lord that will not be severed on the Lord’s part.

So I encourage you to not only celebrate the joy of reconnecting with family and friends this time of year but to also reconnect with the significance of your relationship with the Lord.  Reconnect with the reality of what the Lord has done and is doing for you.

 

Christmas Eve and Vacation   Leave a comment


a very merry christmas

a very merry christmas (Photo credit: SaltGeorge)

Today is Christmas Eve.  You can definitely tell that by how quiet things are around town.  Some of the businesses are not even open today so that their employees can have the day for travel or final Christmas shopping.  That cannot be said about the malls and large retailers however.  There is a definite busyness around them as people rush in for last-minute items.  The grocery stores are the same way.

Of course, this is a day that I focus on the reason for all of the celebrations.  Tonight we will have a beautiful worship service to remember that on a night many years ago, a young boy came into this world.  This boy was typical in many ways.  He cried, he slept a lot, and he responded to the touch of his loving mother.  He would grow up to be pretty normal in his activities and how he would spend his time.  However, he was also significantly different.  This child born so many years ago would change the course of human history forever and would change the way humans understood God and one another.  This boy, Jesus, would become a man who would teach with authority and newness.  He would reverse the norms of the have’s and have-nots’.  He would change the focus from condemnation and judgment to forgiveness and grace.  He would place love as the primary focus of what it meant to be God’s children.

The work is definitely not complete.  While the birth of the boy would begin a change, the change has not occurred in all the hearts of humanity.  So each of us continues to allow the Spirit to change our hearts.  Each of us are given the opportunity to share the message of the boy whose birth we celebrate.  Each of us are given the opportunity to live the life that he spoke of and provided by example.

Speaking of work, there will be a break in blog posts as I am going on vacation after today.  I eagerly anticipate the opportunity regenerate and to refocus.  My blog posts will begin again on January 7.

Let me close by wishing all of you a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and the hope for you to have blessed New Year!

 

Transitions   Leave a comment


New Year Sunrise

New Year Sunrise (Photo credit: joka2000(on/off))

It is that time of year that we are preparing to close out one year and move to a new year.  This time of year sees a wide range of transitions which take place in the midst of all the Christmas and New Year‘s celebrations.  I was just reading an article about changes in some laws that will occur when the clock strikes midnight on December 31.  College students are moving from one semester to the next.  Some organizations that I work with are also seeing transitions in leadership as a new year arrives.

In the midst of all these transitions, there is a mixture of emotions and at times a list of questions.  Some situations that change bring about sadness because of the potential loss that may accompany the change.  Some bring about the feeling of relief because what has been a burden or problem is going away.  Some transitions bring fear, or at least concern, due to the uncertainty of what the new will bring.  Since we have no idea what will occur in the new year or what will happen when the transitions occur, we may have a whole list of questions that accompany the unknown.

During times of transition, I am often drawn to some level of evaluation in my life.  I take time to look at what is important in my life and what may no longer be important due to changes.  I sometimes find realignment in my life due to transitions and evaluation.  However, I am grateful for the stable and unwavering aspect of my relationship with my Lord.  That relationship provides the foundation for my life.  Because I have such a solid foundation, I am able adapt and adjust my life in the midst of transitions.  I have full confidence of the ongoing presence of the Lord in my life even as other aspects are changing.

So during this time of transition, whether you may experience significant or small transitions, I encourage each of my readers to do some evaluation and ensure that you have a stable and solid foundation in your life.  Then, greet the transitions of your life with great joy and energized anticipation.

Remembering Why   Leave a comment


Christmas tree of the United States Capitol sh...

Christmas tree of the United States Capitol shortly after lighting ceremony. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I find that as time progresses, it is easy for leaders, members, and organizations to lose track of the “why”.  I was thinking about this during some reflecting time in regards to Christmas.  All of us are pretty harried this time of year racing around and trying to get everything completed in time for December 25.  The list of “to-do’s” just seems to get longer.  I find that this can quickly take the joy out of the season and everyone just says, “I can’t wait for Christmas to be over.”  The problem here is that I believe we lose track of the “why” related to Christmas in the midst of all the “have-to’s.”

Losing track of the “why” is not just in regards to Christmas but as I mentioned in my opening sentence, I believe that organizations and those connected to the organizations can quickly lose track of the “why” over time.  Whenever we lose track of this important component, we can lose energy and the passion which was present at the beginning.  So it is important to regularly call to our memory the “why” in an attempt to regain that energy and passion.

Back to the Christmas discussion — The “why” is a celebration to remember that God chose to be incarnate in Jesus.  God chose to be one of us as humans and not just a spiritual reality.  It is to be a celebration of something that is unique to Christians.  This is one claim that only the Christian faith can make.  That is the “why”!