Blessings float down like soft snowflakes….

Good morning

This is such a special week, my favorite time of year. I love the CHRISTmas season, especially the lights.  Jesus said He was the “Light of the world” and I love the glittering reminders in my home and the yards of others.

As we think about the REAL meaning of this week and what we celebrate, there is much to remember and ponder.

One of my favorite Scriptural passages is:

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:   Who, being in very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;  rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death- even death on a cross!  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11

Many of us have had years that have been difficult, stressful, demanding and for some, even heartbreaking, but we try to keep our focus on the HOPE that lies before us.

I am sharing a few things that I hope bring you some joy and a smile to your face and thoughts to ponder.

Image result for cma christmas

If you haven’t seen this, do take the time to view it. It really is magnificent! Someone who was at the CMA said this received the only standing ovation of the evening!


In Case You Missed It : Christmas is About Jesus, the Birth of the Christ

December 12, 2019

There is a hub, like on a bicycle wheel, that points inward to the focus of what has taken place. Christian Apologetics identifies many of those spokes, pointing to the reality that in the history of the world, one event took place, that supersedes all others. “Christ” comes from the Greek word Christos, meaning “anointed one” or “chosen one.” This is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Mashiach, or “Messiah.”

Luke 2:11-12 NIV  “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

I could name off many of those spokes, present the arguments, persuade with reasoning laced with factual evidence but in my estimation, individually they all fall short and collectively, even though they are mind boggling in themselves, they still fall short of the majesty and wonder of the birth of Jesus and the reality that He is and that we can know Him, today, here, right now.

He is the Messiah, the Christ, the Lord, He is alive and awaits our eyes to see Him and respond to His voice with our hearts.

You will hear of Him in the Christmas carols, you will be reminded of Him in the gifts that are exchanged and the lights that celebrate His birth plus the feast that normally follows, but these are reminders, just like the spokes of a bicycle wheel, they point to Him but they are not Him.

He is the Messiah. He is the Son of God, sent to a world that needs Him far beyond what we can even imagine.

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Commentary: The Powerful Messages of Christmas Carols

December 20, 2019 by Cheri Yecke

This is the time of year when we hear Christmas music on the radio, in the mall, and in school concerts. Unfortunately, attempts to meet the mandates of political correctness have resulted in less air time for traditional selections. “Away in a Manger” and “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” have been replaced by such insipid fare as “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” or festive but somewhat meaningless songs such as “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.” While cultural literacy wanes for some, others know that powerful messages can be found in the old favorites.

At a very basic level, even the most common lyrics can prompt semantic discussions. For example: is it “God rest ye, merry gentlemen” or God rest ye merry, gentlemen?” With a simple move of the comma the former indicates that the gentlemen are happy, while the latter implies that it is the “rest” that is joyful. A more profound discussion can arise from the lyrics in the first verse of Silent Night: “Round yon virgin, mother and child.” By one interpretation these words could refer to two people-“mother and child” – but on a deeper level they can also be seen as a description of Mary and the divine nature of Jesus’ conception: Mary herself was both “mother and child.”

Christmas carols also often contain sentiments that reveal their historical context. For example, O Holy Night was written in 1847 as the abolitionist movement was growing, and in the third verse proclaims: “Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother, and in His name all oppression shall cease.”

Other carols are biographical in nature. Good King Wenceslas is based upon a historical figure that ruled Bohemia in the tenth century and conveys how this virtuous ruler risked a bitter winter storm to rescue an impoverished peasant. The king was accompanied on his mission by a young servant who begins to succumb to the elements: “Sire, the night is darker now/and the wind blows stronger./Fails, my heart, I know not how, I can go no longer.”

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And for some it has been a gut-wrenching, heartbreaking year and the Holidays always seem to make those losses worse.
I love this article and recommend it to anyone who finds themselves in that position or maybe you have a friend who could use this advice:

HOW TO DEAL WITH CHRISTMAS MOURNING

DECEMBER 19, 2019, By Tim Frank, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Carthage

Recently, the staff of one of the local funeral homes in our county hosted their annual “Hope for the Holidays” service and invited me to share a word of hope and practical help to those in attendance who had lost loved ones.

The holidays can be very difficult for an individual or a family as they grieve during this season which is normally filled with festivities and joy.

Here are 10 practical suggestions I share with those who have lost loved ones. May these thoughts be of help and comfort during this Christmas season.

  • The holidays are a time to lean into your grief and find the comfort God brings.  The Bible says in Matthew 5:4: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Grief is the price you pay for loving someone. It is normal to grieve when a loved one has died.  Allow yourself to grieve.
  • Realize and acknowledge that the holidays will never be the same again. Don’t pretend and go through the motions like nothing has happened. In the loss of a loved one, things will never be the same again. There can be healing and a new normal, but without your loved one things will not be the same.
  • Some find that writing down a holiday plan can be helpful. A plan allows you to prioritize and plan the many activities, events and gatherings. This year, you may not be able to do everything. A plan will help sort through what stays and what goes. It may even mean that some new traditions will be established.
  • Be ready for the emotional ambushes that may occur. These outbursts of emotion are often triggered by the sights, smells and settings which remind you of Christmas spent with your loved one.
  • You may want to remember your loved one in a special way during family gatherings. Perhaps you may want to create a memorial spot, such as an area with a lit candle, a poinsettia or a picture. Such a remembrance acknowledges your loved one and gives others “permission” to share the memories they have of the person.
  • Avoid isolating yourself from others during the holidays. It may be tempting to skip Christmas this year and hibernate by yourself until Jan. 1. However, there is comfort and encouragement in being together with those you love. If you go to another person’s home, you may want to drive, just in case you begin to feel overwhelmed and need to leave early.

• Hold your holiday plans loosely and reserve the right to change as needed. In grief, there are no “right” or “wrong” ways of doing Christmas. Every person is unique and your relationship with the deceased person was unique.  The way you experience and express grief will also be unique. Don’t allow others to try to push you into their opinions of what you “ought” to do or feel.

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Image result for christmas blessings May God's blessing float down like snowflakes

I hope and pray that each of you will have a CHRISTmas celebration that will be meaningful, satisfying and inspiring.

Many blessings
Bobbie Patray

 

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