Enjoying the Journey

Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Missing Messiah

While preaching recently in the beautiful state of Connecticut I was driven through several old cemeteries. Very old. It was fascinating to see markers going back to the 1600’s!  It may sound strange but I have always enjoyed visiting cemeteries. Reading the epitaphs. Noticing the ages. Imagining the stories. Every memorial is a reminder of a fleeting life and an eternal soul. One afternoon between meetings I took a brief run. As I came upon a cemetery I noticed the star of David prominently placed at the entrance. Walking slowing through the rows of grave markers I was overwhelmed frankly by the hundreds and hundreds of Jewish families that had been laid to rest in that place. Did they ever…

Read More

A Christmas Letter from the Writer of Amazing Grace

You will be tempted not to finish reading this post. Could I ask you now to read to the very end? I have just completed a wonderful biography on the Life of John Newton, originally published by the American Sunday School Union in 1831. The account details how God took a slave trader (who became a slave himself) and transformed him into a beautiful Christian and powerful preacher of the gospel. Newton spoke much about the grace of God in his life. Most notably, he wrote the words we so often sing, Amazing grace – how sweet the sound – That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now am found, Was blind but now I see.…

Read More

Turning a Holiday into a Holy Day

Recently I had the joy of sharing with several young married couples a few thoughts on how to make this holiday a holy day.  The word holiday conjures up a variety of meanings and memories. In Europe, the word is used for the common American term “vacation.”  Here in the U.S. the word is usually connected with family and food! It is interesting that the word holiday actually comes from the root word for holy day. Most holiday celebrations are anything but holy. In fact, the very word holiday has become so secularized that we almost think of it as a non-Christian term. For God’s people every day is a holy day…or at least it should be. Through the centuries certain days…

Read More

Christmas in Heaven?

There is a well-known song that imagines what Christmas must be like in Heaven.  In truth, Heaven is one endless season of joy.  In that beautiful place the wonder of Christmas does not come just once a year.  Years are not counted in that city; it is one endless day – one continuing celebration! At this season I think of my grandparents more than ever.  There was no place quite like Grandma’s house for Christmas.  They are all with the Lord now.  Perhaps it is fitting that we think of Heaven more at this time of the year when home is so very precious. There are many things we do not know for sure about Heaven.  Based on Scripture’s description…

Read More

Dealing with “Down Time”

Down times can often be down times.  Activity, or lack of it, has a great deal of effect on our emotions.  The closing days of a year are a very reflective time for most people.  Holidays mark the end of yet another year.  Life is passing quickly. The danger in all of this, of course, is that it is easy to get our eyes on our circumstances, on ourselves, and off of the Lord.  Remember that it is an all-wise God who designed the seasons, every season with its purpose.  This season is an interval to rest and be renewed for the days ahead. As I grow older I appreciate more the “down times.”  They are necessary before the next…

Read More

Remembering Those Who Cannot Be Home for Christmas

One of the most famous Christmas songs of all time says, “I’ll be home for Christmas if only in my dreams.”  Bing Crosby made it popular but few people today know the background of the song.  The lyrics are written from the perspective of an American soldier stationed overseas during World War II, writing home to his family. Our Christmas tradition is to make the drive into the mountains of West Virginia at this time of year.  As I write this there is a light snow falling.  The house is full of the laughter of children.  (And I am full of mom’s home cooking!)  There is no place like home for Christmas. There are many people who cannot be home…

Read More

The Biggest Birthday Celebration in the World

We are only days away from the biggest birthday celebration in the world!  No birthday on earth has more celebration or more misunderstanding.  A recent Pew survey suggests that half of Americans will not celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday this year.  For more and more people Christmas is becoming a cultural holiday.  “Happy holidays,” they say.  Ironic since the word holiday comes from holy day.  Without the holy there is no true happiness.  The world wants to celebrate His birthday without using His name. There has been a good deal of debate over the actual birth day of the Christ child.  It is interesting to note that Alfred Edersheim, the famous Jewish researcher and author, suggests that December 25…

Read More

Making Christmas Gifts More Meaningful

Shiny packages and suspense are part of the excitement at Christmas.  Fascinating, isn’t it?  We spend weeks buying the gifts (or one crazy day if you are like me) and in about 30 minutes it is all over!  My grandma used to say, “It is just a big build up for a big let down.”  Perhaps a little pessimistic, but very close to the truth. Things change as we get older, but the fun of gift giving (and receiving) continues.  Yesterday we celebrated with our family at home and on Christmas day we will do it all over again at my mom and dad’s house.  Gift exchange has become more like a progressive dinner than an event! To be sure,…

Read More