Saturday, December 30, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
First Corinthians 13
If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows,
strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen,
baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals and arranging
a beautifully adorned table at mealtime:
I'm just another cook.
If I work at a soup kitchen,
carol in the nursing home,
and give all that I have to charity;
but do not show love to my family,
it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels
and crocheted snowflakes,
attend a myriad of holiday parties
and sing in the choir's cantata
but do not focus on Christ,
I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love does not envy another's home
that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love does not yell at the kids to get out of the way,
but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love does not give only to those who are able
to give in return; but rejoices in giving
to those who cannot.
Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things, and endures all things.
Love never fails.
Video games will break,
pearl necklaces will be lost,
golf clubs will rust,
but giving the gift of love will endure.
It's so important to remember what this time of year is all about...Christ!
When we miss God in all our hustle and bustle, we miss love.
~"God is love."~1 John 4:8.
When we miss love, we miss true serving and giving.
~"Serve one another in love."~Galations 5: 13
~"God loves a cheerful giver"~2 Cor 9:7.
When we miss true giving and serving, we miss so much happiness and blessing.
~"It is more blessed to give than to receive."~Acts 20:35
~"Give and it will be given to you"~Luke 6:38
Lots of people among the Christian world are saying, "Don't miss the true reason for the season -- Jesus' birth." Yes, of course, we should celebrate Jesus' birth, but we should do that at all times of the year not just on December 25 (which according to scholars isn't even close to when His real birthday was). One thing I admire about my church family is that they celebrate all of His life and ministry during all times of the year.
Now, I'm not trying to downplay Christmas at all. I think it's a wonderful time to put extra emphasis on the rememberance of His birth. And there are extra bonuses too: the family together... the joy that's not usually there in some people... everyone wishing you a "Merry Christmas"... the excitement... the chance to practice my cooking skills on food that's on
But with our family there's no presents on Christmas. It's a day for remembering the ultimate gift from God not our gifts. But when New Year's Day comes rolling around there's always a fluster of activity under our tree. It's the "New Giving Day" =)!
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
by Ruyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
And make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!