Peace

Wouldn’t you have loved to have been there?  It was a night like any other night.  The monotony continued as you tended your sheep just like all the other nights.  The sheep were doing their thing and you and your fellow shepherds tried to stay awake and vigilant for any dangers.

 

Suddenly the quietness of the night was shattered.  There was a bright light and then you see him.  The angel started to speak of a special baby and that you could find him in a barn using a feed trough as a bed!  Although He was in such humble surroundings, He was King of Kings! As if that wasn’t enough, suddenly the skies are filled with a host of angels praising God. Their cries echoed across the countryside.

 

“”Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace

among those with whom he is pleased!””

Luke 2:14 ESV

 

God had fulfilled His promise in the most unlikely ways.  The Savior had arrived, but not riding in on a war horse as a mighty conqueror. He arrived on the scene as a helpless baby born in a barn. The shepherds rushed to town and found Jesus just as the angels had said.  That encounter left them changed men.

 

Jesus is still in the life changing business.  He gives peace between us and God.  He brings us into His family and gives us the capacity to love as He loved.  He revealed His purpose in Luke as He read from the old testament and declared that very day the crowd was seeing prophesy fulfilled..

 

“”The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”” Luke 4:18-19 ESV

 

As we remember and celebrate the advent of Jesus, let us never forget He still brings peace.

 

Merry Christmas!  May the peace that passes all understanding fill your heart now and everyday.

Sing We Now of Christmas

I love Christmastime!  I love the sights, smells and especially the sounds.  I love Christmas music from the sacred to the sappy.  Yes, I am one of those who barely wait for leaves to start changing colors before I start playing Christmas music.

I used to lead worship and often wondered why we only sing carols at Christmas. In fact, I broke that unspoken rule a few times.   As disciples of Jesus, we should celebrate His birth all year.  The miracle of the incarnation is where it all began.  God took on flesh to seek and save the lost.  He lived to introduce us to the Father and died to reconcile us to Himself.  That is worth remembering and celebrating all year.  One of my carols is O Come Let Us Adore Him.  The chorus says,

 

O come, let us adore Him,

O come, let us adore Him,

O come, let us adore Him,

Christ the Lord.

 

This time of year, we are called to adore Him at every turn.  But let us never forget that He is worthy of our adoration all year!

‘Tis the Most Overbooked Time of the Year.

It’s the most overbooked time of the year!

Thanksgiving, black Friday, cyber Monday, giving Tuesday, parties at work, parties at home, Christmas activities at church, school, etc. Is it any wonder that we are often exhausted this time of year? I’m tired just thinking about it.

We must remember that there is something far more profound to this season. We celebrate Advent as we approach Christmas. During Advent, we remember Jesus taking on flesh in the barn in Bethlehem. We also look forward to His return at the second Advent. Never let that thought slip from your mind.

We are surrounded with decorations and reminders of our Savior during December. Even non-religious stations play Christmas Carols this time year. What a great opportunity we have to proclaim Messiah’s birth! Every day is a good day to witness, but this time of year, people may be more receptive.

As gifts are given, remind them of the best gift of all, Jesus. As songs are sung, remember the angels singing to shepherds outside of Bethlehem.

Merry Christmas!

Today is Christmas!

As we gather with friends and family, my prayer is that you remember the purpose for this celebration. Years ago, I watched a Peanuts special where Charlie Brown kept searching for the meaning of Christmas. Contrary to a recent opinion, the day isn’t about showing love to little trees. Linus gave the true reason for this season and I quote him, as he quoted the Bible,

Linus’ King James version scripture reading from Luke 2: 8-14, read:

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 

That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

Merry Christmas!