Dec 12 2010

Advice - Be patient with your (annoying) relatives.

From Matthew West’s book Give This Christmas Away

  

Everybody’s got ‘em.  I’m sure if I asked you, you could quickly rattle off the name of a relative who tends to outstay his or her welcome over the holidays.  The movie Elf nails one of the classic depictions of dysfunctional family visits during the holidays.  The main character, Buddy, was raised as an elf at the North Pole—a six-foot-tall elf dressed in green with bright yellow tights.  He is searching for his real family in New York City, and when he finds them, well, let’s just say that the family isn’t quite as thrilled as he is.  Buddy has nothing but love for his new family, and he means well.  So do your relatives. 

 

Go out of your way to show love to a particular relative whom you have a hard time getting along with.  Chances are, they will respond in a positive way.  And pray for an extra dose of patience when dealing with our family this Christmas.  Just hope they don’t show up at your house in yellow tights.

 

Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.  Ephesians 4:2

 

Dec 10 2010

Give This Christmas Away

Dec 09 2010

The Geese and the Snowstorm

 

 

There was once a man who did not believe in the virgin birth of Christ or the spiritual meaning behind it.  He didn’t understand all the focus on Jesus at Christmas time.  He was even skeptical there was a God who loved him. 

He and his family lived in a farm community. His wife was a devout believer and diligently raised her children in the faith. He sometimes gave her a hard time about her belief and mocked her reverence of Christmas.  "It's all nonsense -- why would God lower himself and become a human like us? It's such a silly story," he said.

One snowy December day, his wife and the children left for church while he stayed home. After they had departed, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening.

Then he heard a loud thump, something hitting against the window... And, still another thump. He looked outside but could not see anything. So he ventured outside for a better view. In the field near his house he saw, of all the strangest things, a flock of geese. They were apparently flying to look for a warmer area down south, but they had been caught in the snowstorm. The storm had become too blinding and violent for the geese to fly or see their way. They were stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter, unable to do more than flutter their wings and fly in aimless circles. He had compassion for them and wanted to help them. He thought to himself, the barn would be a great place for them to stay. It is warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm. So he opened the barn doors for them.

He waited, watching them, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. Nevertheless, they did not notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them. He moved closer toward them to get their attention, but they just moved away from him out of fear.

He went into the house and came back with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread trail to the barn. They still did not catch on.

Starting to get frustrated, he went over and tried to shoo them toward the barn. They panicked and scattered into every direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where there was warmth, safety, and shelter. Feeling totally frustrated, he exclaimed, "Why don't they follow me? Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm? How can I possibly get them into the one place to save them?"

He thought for a moment and realized that they just would not follow a human. He said to himself, "How can I possibly save them? The only way would be for me to become like those geese. If only I could become like one of them. Then I could save them. They would follow me and I would lead them to safety."
 

His words reverberated in his mind.   

If only I could become like one of them, then I could save them.  

Suddenly, everything his wife had lived and said in front of him filled his heart.  Jesus became a man to save mankind. 

 

He fell to his knees in the snow.

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Dec 08 2010

The Legend of the Candy Cane

Many years ago, a candymaker wanted to make a candy at Christmas time that would serve as a witness to his Christian faith. He wanted to incorporate several symbols for the birth, ministry and death of Jesus.

He began with a stick of pure white hard candy; white to symbolize the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature of Jesus; hard to symbolize the solid rock, the foundation of the Church; firmness to represent the promise of God.  

The candymaker made the candy in the form of a "J" to represent the name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. He thought it could also represent the staff of the Good Shepherd, with which he reached down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray.
 
Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candymaker stained it with red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received, by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we could have the promise of eternal life.
 
Unfortunately, the candy became known as a candy cane — a meaningless decoration seen at Christmas time. But the true meaning is still there for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.
 
[Information adapted from material by Retail Confectioners International - reprinted from the Dec/Jan 1997/98 Kettle Talk Newsletter]

 

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