December 2013


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 22 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Probably the best part of Advent Season is the Advent–the Coming–of the Christ (the Anointed One).

He is the One whose advent was told about hundreds of years before it happened. Isaiah said, “a virgin shall conceive” and she did!

He is the One whose coming is an advantage for all the world and the basis for the ADVENTure that is the life of Christendom.

He is the One whose appearance on our planet changed calendars, societies and hearts. And this from the very night of His birth–this night. And so I can say, “Merry Christmas” and sing with the whos down in Woodville, “Welcome Christmas, Christmas Day.”

And most of all we can welcome Jesus. Will you join me this Christmas in welcoming Jesus into your heart, your home, your highways and byways and plans?

World peace. The wish of peoplBeFunky_manger-cross_thumb[7].jpge all over the globe. Just listen to the question/answer portion of any beauty contest:

Q: What is your greatest desire?

A: World peace, and . . .

It is an honorable desire. It is also one that has already been achieved. Achieved because of Christmas. It is the Christ of Christmas that brings peace to this world.

The problem with most of our attempts at achieving world peace has to do with our approach. We miss the objective by trying to force it, trying to buy it, trying to bully our way into it. And the design of world peace is missed because we are also mis-defining it. World peace is not what we want it to be. Nor is it what works best for us.

World peace is best defined by the Maker of the world. And He teaches us in His Word that Peace in this world is achieved at a manger. A manger that leads to a cross. That leads to an empty tomb. And peace in our time or any other is found in Christ Jesus. The One that started life on this Earth with  a manger for His cradle, the cradle for our Faith.

When the angel visited shepherds one night long ago in they were going about their regular business—watching over the sheep to protect them and keep them safe from night-time predators. When the sky lit up with the glory of God and the angel appeared, they were scared speechless. But their fright would soon turn to the opposite on the range of the emotional spectrum—Joy.

The angel proclaimed that it was “good tidings of great joy.” We could call it unspeakable joy, a joy that leaves us speechless. And it was not just an isolated joy—just for the shepherd-witnesses that night, but for all the people. And when the angel said all the people, he was talking about all the people. In all the world. For all of time. That is unspeakable joy.

This joy is a joy beyond words and explanation. Joy rings out, not because of the warm, fuzzy feeling that the Christmas Season brings, but because of the Christ who brings the Season. This Advent, let us meditate on the Joy that is the Christ.

This second week of Advent draws our attention to love. Not just any old love, like the love of a special dish of food, the love of a sport, or even the love of family, but the love of God—His love for us, that we cannot begin to understand or reproduce.

In this season of the year, hearts are piqued by the concept of love for love’s sake. Movies and songs of the season capitalize on the concept. We’ve seen and heard the stories about the Christmas Shoes, the Christmas Wish, the Happy Holidays. However, when we consider the underlying force behind Christmas itself, I think a not traditionally Christmas song tells it well:

When hoary time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

(“The Love of God” verse 2, by Frederick M. Lehman, 1917)

Wishes. This time of year people think a lot about wishes. We used to receive the JCPenney Wishbook in the mail and “shop” from page to page for the things we knew we would never get, but would wish for anyway. Our children make out their Christmas Wish List with the understanding that they may get one or two of the lengthy list of wishes.

For some people, hope is akin to wishing. Hope is something that we may or may not receive, but we can still wish for the thing to happen. But this season also teaches us something about hope.

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” It’s a line from an old hymn that speaks volumes to me. As we enter the Advent season this year Hope comes to mind—the Hope that moves beyond the best wishes of the most optimistic person. Because of Christmas, our hope is embodied in the Incarnate God of the Universe.

That means that our Christmas wishes are wrapped up in the Hope of the World.