Thursday, December 5, 2013
(This is best read in a narratorial tone with a mild British accent).
‘Twere the days before Christmas, when all ’round David’s town
Not an Israelite was smiling, but more likely to frown.
Zechariah laid the incense by the altar with care,
Frightened to see the angel Gabriel there.
For God made a promise to the elderly gent
A Spirit-filled baby will lead many to repent.
He will shout from the wilderness, ‘Prepare ye the way.
‘Be righteous and charitable as we wait for the day.’
He’d be dressed in camel hair, from his head to his foot,
Eating locusts, wild honey and never staying put.
Zechariah’s son’s message would cause the rich strife,
And immerse the lowly and unholy in new life.
For Zechariah’s son, John would be his name,
Would bring God’s righteousness and saving plan to fame.
John’s birth would be one of many miracles to come,
But because Zechariah doubted, he then became mum.
But though Zechariah could not speak of his glee,
his wife Elizabeth praised God for pregnancy.
Though the land was morose under Caesar’s quick sword,
There was then a sense of hope in the Lord.
Then, in Nazareth where hearts are gloom laden
The same angel appeared to a humble young maiden
Her name was Mary; she was celibate and lowly
But she would give birth to One Most Holy.
His name would be Jesus, meaning ‘one who saves’
He would rescue many bound for a perennial grave
For His kingdom’s rule would never be undone
And He would be called God’s very own Son
Mary was frightened and joyful at once
But submitted herself to God at this bunce
With haste, she trekked miles, perhaps more than a dozen
To see Elizabeth, who was also her cousin
When Mary saw Elizabeth, John jumped in her womb
For joy was tangible in that little room
Then Mary composed a psalm of great praise
For His humble servants the Lord would raise
Later John was born, but his name still debated
And the mute Zechariah became quite frustrated
He wrote ‘John’ on a tablet, giving the final word
And his voice then came back, everyone shockingly heard
Zechariah then went from priest to prophet
And spoke of his newborn’s God-given docket
Along with the salvation that God would afford
And everyone in Judea had fear of the Lord
Then back in Nazareth, Mary’s betrothed then heard
From Caesar, that another census was spurred.
So Joseph and Mary, in her maternity gown,
Would trek to Bethlehem, Joseph’s hometown.
The carpenter and his gravid fiancee packed all day,
and hopped on a donkey for a small place to stay.
Their loved ones watched until they trekked out of sight,
Shrugging, “Safe travels and have a good night!”
Though it seemed to many that God’s world had crumbled
He was, in fact, blessing families faithful but humble
Through a miraculous conception and an incarnate birth
This is how God would come save the earth
at 10:35 AM
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
It feels like Thanksgiving is diminishing. More like being crowded out. Most of the pumpkin and straw-man decorations available in department stores are for Halloween, and they’re quickly transferred to the clearance shelves as soon as November 1 arrives to make away for more Christmas merchandise. Wreaths, lights and holly are all set up in the city streets before Thanksgiving can have its day. Now, it seems Thanksgiving is getting the shorter end of the proverbial stick as Black Friday sales can’t wait for midnight on their namesake day to open the store doors anymore. They’re creeping into Thanksgiving Day itself, competing for our business and tempting us with low prices, should we be willing to potentially jettison what some utilize as rare time together as extended family.
Now, I’m not going to argue for traditional Thanksgiving celebration and a boycott of Black Friday. But here’s a few ideas for Black Friday madness:
1. Don’t forget Thanksgiving. It’s an attitude we should strive for year-round, but let’s not ignore the annual reminder. Make time for your family. Don’t use your Black Friday shopping schedule to avoid, for example, a family movie night or the conversation where you need to reconcile with a relative.
2. Check your motives and your aura. It can be seen as seriously seen as hypocritical to celebrate a holiday of thankfulness, only to show passion and aggression in an arena of materialism the next day. Why do you go to Black Friday sales? Are they needed (or wanted) gifts for others? As a shopper, do you have an aura of clamoring desperation or contentment and mild curiosity? Do you really need these products and prices? How much are you getting suckered in by the hype?
3. Be creatively ministerial. Some Christians, for example, rather than shut down their house and boycott trick-or-treating, have found creative ways to utilize the once-a-year opportunity to engage their neighborhood with the light of Christ. We have similar opportunities on Black Friday when we’ll be in long, long lines. Make conversation with people. Maybe even hand out bottled water, food or hot cocoa to the exhausted waiting customers. When you’re inside the store, be a peacemaker among scrambling shoppers. Encourage the overwhelmed and even traumatized store employees. You could also do your Black Friday shopping at ethical businesses and charities.
I’m not wholly against a Christian attending a Black Friday sale, as long as they think of such ideas and consider the true cost. When you miss opportunities to be with your family and several hours of sleep, coming off like an unthankful, selfish and desperately materialistic lemming with frostbitten fingers (from waiting in line for so long), is 50% off really worth it?
at 10:56 AM
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
A blogger I follow posted this. Very wise words.
1. When you have no idea what to say
2. When you're wrongly accused
3. When you're mad
4. When you're confused about life
5. When you wouldn't want someone else to find out you said it
6. When you don't really mean it
7. When you can't stop yearning for the good old days
8. When you have a lot to do and you don't like it
9. When the timing is wrong
10. When you don't have anything to say that gives grace
Click here for the full post and each reason's Scriptural explanation.
at 11:42 AM
Monday, November 25, 2013
Some wise and convicting words from Trevin Wax.
The Apostle Peter’s letter was written to “exiles,” believers facing persecution far greater than any of us Americans have ever seen. These Christians were living under a tyrannical government far worse than any bureaucrat in a D.C. office. Yet Peter instructed believers to live honorably among others (1 Peter 2:11-17). The “others” refer to those who are not “in Christ.”
The word “conduct” appears thirteen times in the Bible, and eight of those times are in Peter’s letters. It’s safe to say, Peter cared about how our conduct was viewed by outsiders.
Now, the fact that Peter says we should live honorably among others means we must indeed be among the lost. Some evangelicals, weary of partisan bickering and political posturing from their Christian friends, are ready to throw up their hands and avoid political engagement altogether. I understand that sentiment, but failing to be present or involved in any meaningful sense in a democratic republic would be to forfeit the stewardship we’ve been given. There is no retreat here.
Let's take it from the apostle Peter. He knows what he's talking about.
at 10:27 AM
Friday, November 22, 2013
But maybe this is a good idea, too. Well-written and clever. It sometimes takes strange and strenuous measures of grace and sacrifice to heal and maintain a family.
at 10:21 AM