Sunday, December 19, 2010

Belated Christmas

We will be celebrating Christmas this year with two of our children and two of our grandchildren.


Our REAL Christmas will come in a few weeks when another grandchild arrives. Our son Jordan and his wife Heather have been chosen by a birth mother to be the parents of a little boy who will be born in late January. That's a unique Christmas gift, to say the least, an example of the most selfless kind of love. Christmas will never be the same. Is it any wonder we can't hear or sing lullabies and songs about Joseph this year without floods of tears.

They have named him Samuel, which means 'asked of God.' For more than nine years Jordan and Heather have prayed for a baby. This one is an answer to prayer. A string of happy miracles has brought him to our family. And there will be more miracles in the life of his birth mother as she reaches for new goals in seeking to renew her own life. We will never forget her, and we will always be grateful for her faith and trust.

Because of various scheduling circumstances we had two Thanksgivings this year, and now we are going to have two Christmases. No family could be more blessed!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

How Shall We Celebrate Christmas?

Recently I read an article that suggested there are three ways to keep Christmas –
…at the Santa Claus level, with the decorations, trees, presents and food,
…at the Silent Night level, with the carols, Bible reading to review the story of Christ's birth, and traditions involving the symbols of Christmas,
…at the Adult Christ level with its lasting joy, lasting peace, and lasting hope.

It seems like the first two levels get the most attention, but they don't last and they go away quickly. However, the third level is one that requires spiritual maturity to become like Christ, with his forgiving touch and boundless love.

Here are some thoughts that help me keep my attention focused on the Christ in Christmas:

This Christmas, mend a quarrel, seek out the forgotten friend, dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Try to understand. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak love, and then speak it again. (Howard W. Hunter)

Gifts in God's Name
by Sigrid Undset

When we give each other
Christmas presents in His name,
Let us remember that He has given us
the sun and the moon and the stars,
the earth with its forests and mountains
and oceans –
and all that lives and moves upon them.

He has given us all green things
and everything that blossoms and bears
fruit –
and all that we quarrel about
and all that we have misused –

And to save us from our foolishness,
from our sins,
He came down to earth
and gave us Himself.

(author unknown)
If, as Herod, we fill our lives with things,
and again with things;
if we consider ourselves so unimportant
that we must fill every moment of our lives with action,
when will we have the time
to make the long, slow journey
across the desert as did the Magi?
Or sit and watch the stars as did the shepherds?
Or brood over the coming of the Child as did Mary?
For each one of us, there is a desert to travel,
a star to discover,
and a being within ourselves to bring to life.