Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wishin' You An Old Fashioned Kinda Christmas!


"..because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David's ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was obviously pregnant by this time. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn." ~Luke 2:4-7, nlt


Today, maybe you're somewhat like me? My beautiful wife, Liney, knows that I love almost all things modern, but not when it comes to Christmas! I get all nostalgic at times so she and I are alike when it comes to Christmas.

We don't want this world's coldblooded winter solstice or moldy-regifted-fruitcake version ..or even Target's blow-up Santa and plastic tinsel version of Christmas! We want the real thang with the old old Story and an unchangeable caring God who was born into a feeding trough version. That's what it's all about!

What do you want and bottom line.. what's the Message of an old fashioned Christmas?

It's this.. the Maker of the universe Who had no beginning came down to us here—Immanuel—so that we can worship, know and serve Him having nothing in the way.

Why? So that He would not only be with us, but live as Lord inside of us ..so that He could save and lead us as we become more like Him.

Don't you want to become a blessing to Him and others?

Perhaps you've lost a loved one and this holiday that used to be so good in the past has become nothing but a pain for you as certain songs and sights tip off old memories.

Maybe you are currently isolated within some impersonal serial hospital, or a cold apartment room, or in a dank smelly ole jail or in some lonely old folk's home where you were stuck and then forgotten. Well you are not forgotten by all! There is a God who is there and is thinking about you now and you don't have to ever live alone! Let Him come in; let Him come closer and bring you comfort this time of year!

Sir, perhaps with this challenging economic situation, you feel pinched and pressured and angry as you think about the gifts that you wish you could buy people. Did you know that Christmas shopping affects men differently? Tests have revealed that the average man's blood pressure shoots way up to the same level as a fighter pilot during combat during this season. Yup, but when the women were tested, there was no change in their blood pressure. But perhaps Christmas ain't even about all the material gifts we can give, but more about the non-material One that we each can receive.

I don't sing the blues at this time of year, but I do want to experience an old fashioned kinda Christmas if I'm allowed to choose. How 'bout you?

Do you like to sip hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick, or maybe have some cranberry juice or a Christmas Latte with love from above? What would it be like without taking time for people?

On Christmas, I wanna pray like I mean it with those who care ..to this Holiday's Jesus and then expect miracles! I always do don't you? I wanna sing some carols enthusiastically ..like I'm good at it.. with ole friends and children and family members and neighbors ..the kind I hardly even know but turn out.. but not for show. O no!

We can keep it simple! Next to a warm cracklin' fireplace all decked with ornaments and pine, we can skip the wine n look at what's fine.. like colored lights and holly wreaths and candy canes or some snow on the window panes! I wanna call together the crew and go to Luke chapter 2. How 'bout you?

Man, you don't have to be old fashioned to want an old fashioned Christmas!

While the masses are out using plastic and hustlin-bustlin-busy.. shopping for widgets and trinkets and gifts to give.. don't cha just want to pause and take the time to pray today?

We got through another year, so why should we turn to another beer and then sneer? 

I wanna light some nice candles like my German friends still do and enjoy eggnog's spice ..while in my PJs and clogs!

We wanna go to church to listen and love, fellowship and glisten from above (I know, sounds corny but you know that glow that I mean) ..all together and see the manger and hopefully a stranger ..and hear the horn getting out of the storm.. along with the drummer boys, violins and bell choirs—of that stuff we'll never tire'!

I wanna see His Light, that's O so bright and get some shots of people huddlin-in tight out of that dark of night ..by the tree ..without a fight.

Nope, can't find any Inn Keeper mentioned in any Gospel account. Can't find those Wisemen from Persia arriving to visit a baby in that feeding trough.. but do see em stopping by a house later on to see a child. So many things to discover along with my Lover!

I wanna look at the old old story and follow it up to where it gets all gory. Wanna see what I haven't yet discovered. Wanna notice all that the Bible doesn't say and does say and then ask new questions ..and give Him all the glory! It's not learnin' for learn's sake.. oh No! It's learnin' for livin's n givin's sake!

In fact this year, you can do more than merely learn or observe an old fashioned Christmas! You can firsthand.. experience CHRISTmas?  

Got some questions for ya...

What are you waiting for? Don't wait any longer to dive in!

Do you know what the three reasons for Christmas are.. according to the angel of the Lord (can't be certain, but I think this was Gabe) in Luke 2 who first announced it?

Give up?

OK, here they are: 1. Joyous celebration! (v. 10), 2. Salvation in the Lord! (v. 11), 3. Horizontal reconciliation ..as a natural outworking of righteousness. Yup, after receiving the free Gift of salvation in Christ, Christmas is about having and expressing good will towards men (v. 14)!

You already know, but now you can experience all this!

Hey there everybody, got any unaddressed bitterness, any jealousy, envy or anger towards anyone? Do you still pray for your president?

Perhaps you've been taken advantage of at home, at work or at church, or been slandered, verbally abused by a loved one or even physically abused ..and now you are estranged and marginalized or shamed.

Maybe like those lowly shepherds out watching their fuzzy animals by night (probably temple sheep to be offered), you're anonymous out there in obscurity? Well Christ wants you to know that you matter to Him! Who did God have that angel visit, puffed up exclusive kings and queens? Nope.

Tis the season to conspire by the fire (not evil stuff) and fervently pray for all kinds of people! We can love those who hate and slander us.. at first on our knees! And the feelings might eventually line up with our prayers but who cares.. what feelings say!

Some of you might need to go to some, or contact one down in his own slum. Tis the season to go share this Jesus with those relatives who are at odds with their Maker, yes, for the purpose of being a sort of saltshaker ..and seeing em reconcile upwards! Sure, God wants to save them and He still uses Christians in this. Ask what He'd have you do or have you say today!

Almighty God became a man by lowly, humble birth;
And Mary treasured in her heart this Gift of boundless worth.
~Sper

Tidings, glad tidings! God is love, to man He sends His salvation!
His Son beloved, His only Son, the work of mercy hath begun. ~ Montgomery

God came to live close with us so that we could live close with Him!

Tis the season to be jolly by golly! Bur for too many Americans it's just another reason to all-out party uber-hardy (..and then hit the roads to drive home).

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