Christmas Is a Promise

(First posted December 2013. I wanted to revisit a Christmas post from a few years back that is just as pertinent today.)

At Christmas, it’s easy to get caught up in all the celebration and miss the real meaning. Our lives are so busy and sometimes, when life is rough, it hits hardest at Christmas. Our non-Christian friends will look at us not understanding why we say they should  have hope when their world gets rocked. Sometimes it seems that Christians get a reputation of being people who blindly follow without closely examining their faith.

“Your church is great when everything is going well, but what about in my life? When things get off track? It just won’t fit.”

How do you find God at the children’s cancer ward, the mortuary, Christmas morning after a bitter divorce, or a night at the bar? After calling nine one one, or an ambush in (fill in the city).

Praising God is easy(?) in church on Sunday morning, but does He really exist in our world, now?

To me, in any circumstances, I have to praise Him, proclaim him. I’ve met Him.

I can’t say He doesn’t exist. I’ve met Him.

I can’t say He’s not relevant today. I’ve met Him.

I can’t say He doesn’t care. I’ve met Him.

And He’s given us all a message that he’s here with us, in any situation. Even in a manger. Emmanuel doesn’t just speak about His physical presence, but also His emotional presence. He does care.

That’s what Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “I Heard the Bells” was all about. He was one of America’s most beloved poets, but his life had been rocked the year he wrote this. His wife had died and the Civil War had just broken out.

Where does anyone go to look for hope at a time like that?

In two of the strangest, most illogical places. A manger and a cross.

Jesus is still here with us. Just sometimes it’s hard to see Him through the dust, smoke, and tears.

Click here to hear Bing Crosby’s rendition.

After a year of hate, peace on earth. What a great dream. And a Divine promise.

I’d like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a super New Year. And please leave a comment below.

Attending Church With Joy

My son, Madison, loves going to church on Sundays. He loves to hear the choir. He calls them one hundred. It is the thing that he looks forward the most to attending all week.

Most times, when we are going somewhere, he dawdles, asks us to bring his Teletubbies and often his TV. They just need to be in the car for his comfort, like a child’s teddy bear. He does this even if we are just going to be gone a few minutes, of course he doesn’t understand what a few minutes means. Like some women going to the mall.

Madison going to church with his Teletubbies. Tinky Winky is purple.

But when we pull up at church, there’s no dawdling. No stalling. He gets right out of the car and, after making sure we have Tinky Winky, marches into church. Usually laughing and making us hurry to catch up.

Isn’t that a great picture of someone going into God’s house? Excited to see the Father, not just to check off a social obligation.

When our preacher is giving his, well, His, message. I stand in the lobby so Madison can watch it on the projector and his actions won’t disturb the people around us. Recently, I saw a young lady come into our church dressed in a festive Group of Young People at a Party Sitting on a Couch with Champagnesundress with a gift bag. As if she was going to a party.

Now, that’s the way to go to church. Going with an attitude of excitement and anticipation at what we are about to hear and experience, not with dread. Not guilt.

Hebrew 4:16 says that we can come boldly to the throne of grace. Not because of what we’ve done or the church we attend, but because of who He is.

Although our churches are very different in size, style, age, etc., they are all still His house, and you are going into His presence, or else we shouldn’t bother.

And if we look at church like that, wouldn’t we then look forward to attending. Maybe even with our best friend, like Tinky Winky, under our arms.

When was the last time you or your children were excited about going to church?

What do you look forward to the most about church?

Please leave me a comment. And thanks for reading.