The Christmas Story

“That’s What Christmas Is All About, Charlie Brown”

 

A Charlie Brown Christmas

I was born in 1968.

Of course, I don’t really have any recollection of that decade. My memories come alive for me in the 70′s.

My childhood.

Last night I watched, A Charlie Brown Christmas, with my husband and kids. The cartoon first aired in 1965 on CBS. It has been watched during theChristmas season every year since that time. I remember watching it as a child, back before cable TV, back when one had to check out the TV guide to make sure no shows were missed. The Christmas shows were special back then…before VCR‘s and DVD players. Tivo wasn’t around yet, and most people only received the three main channels on their sets.

I’ll admit that I bought all the Peanuts cartoons on DVD….because I wanted them….for nostalgia’s sake.

As I watched the cartoon last night I was once again struck by the fact that Linus quotes the Christmas story from the book of Luke. I dare say that any modern day Christmas shows/movies would face litigation if they quoted the Biblical story of Christmas.  Don’t you find it interesting though, that this particular cartoon has been around for 46 years and is still very much loved?

Sigh.

I sat on the couch, at 43 years old, and watched a beloved show that took me straight back to 1975. I was seven years old all over again. As I munched on some freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, I listened as Linus set his friends straight on what Christmas really means…and it made me happy all over again.

“‘8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.’”  (Luke, chapter 2)

“…And that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.” —Linus

Thank you, Linus. The words you quoted

 never grow old…even if you have been around since 1965.

Broken

English: Final baked loaf

The Gypsy Mama

1. Write for 5 minutes flat on the prompt: “Broken” with no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.

OK, are you ready? Please give me your best five minutes on:::

Broken…

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The world’s definition of broken–beat down, ruined, unusable.

God’s definition of broken–love poured out.

The woman, broken. A sinner. She broke the jar and poured out the perfume on the Jesus.

36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. Luke 7 NIV

Jesus broke the bread with His disciples. A breaking. A thanksgiving.

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Matthew 26:26 NIV

That same Jesus, body broken. He poured out His blood for us.

There has never been a greater love.

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open.  Matthew 27 NIV

Real Treasure

Sacred Heart Church of Gibraltar

This week at A Holy Experience: The Practice of Radical.  What does it mean to live IN Jesus, WITH Christ in the center of our lives?

This prompt for today actually reminds me of something I’ve been thinking about for awhile.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Matthew 6:19-21 NIV

We all realize, even if we don’t like to spend time thinking about it, that we are going to die. It is inevitable. We came into this world with nothing and we will leave that same way. With nothing. There is a reason that people call death the “great equalizer”.

With this in mind, what did Jesus mean when He talked about treasures? How can we store up treasures in Heaven if we can’t take anything with us when we go? I think I know what the treasures are.

Jesus loves people, with a love that is beyond anything we’ve ever known or experienced.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 NIV

The treasures are other people. We can’t take things with us, but we can take people. Relationships are what make us rich. The most important relationship that one can ever have, is relationship with Christ.  The things that we do for Christ, are never wasted. He never forgets. He sees it all.
“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also…” A heart for people.

Jesus has always had a heart for people. Why else would He leave the splendor of Heaven to take on the body of man, in a sin cursed and broken world? Because His heart was for people.

To the woman caught in adultery, condemned to death for her actions…Jesus stood between her and her accusers–  At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”“No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” John 8:9-11 NLT

Even in her guilt and sin, He saw a treasure.

The people wanted for Jesus to bless their children, the disciples were not so sure, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14 NIV

Even in the youngest of children, Jesus saw treasures.

Zacchaeus was the IRS guy of his time, hated by the people because he was a crook. Jesus saw through that and, When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.  All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” This meeting with Jesus changed Zacchaeus, it changed his life forever.  Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”  Luke 19 NIV

Even in the face of a tax collector, Jesus saw a second chance. A treasure.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. Luke 23:34 NIV

Lost and far from God, Jesus loved us. Sinners. Unrepentant. Unworthy. He died in our place, took the punishment that should have been ours, and later rose again, conquering death. The nail spikes did not hold Him on that cross, we did. He died in our place because of His great love….for us, His treasured, and beloved.

We as Christ followers, are called to live for Jesus. We need to have Him in the center of our daily lives….not just at Christmas or Easter. Since He loved others so much, should we not also?

Everyone we look at should be considered a treasure, someone we want to take with us to Heaven one day.






Jesus In The Gospels

I often wonder what it would have been like to know Jesus while He was here…in this place. Walking this earth. Living among us. I think that once I knew that Jesus was, who He claimed to be…God….that I would have bombarded Him with questions. (Jesus is patient, right?)

Passion of Christ at Ginosa (TA) (Italy)

What is heaven like? What did it feel like to be at creation? Please explain The Trinity. How many stars are there? What were you thinking when you made the platypus? How did you make such beautiful colors in a sunset? Physics, and biology, and gifting people with words and colors……and Jesus…..um…….what I really want to ask……what I really want to know……Why do you love me so? Why are you willing to die for me?

Honestly, I’m glad I live in this current period of time but, it would have been wonderful to see Jesus face to face. I know that some day I will. I will stand before Him, and all my questions will have answers. It will all make sense. I, right now, can only see a dim image but, one day I will “get it”.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. I Corinthians 13:12 NIV

I’ve had people ask me, “How can I know Jesus?”  I point them to the gospel books. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These are the written accounts of Jesus’ life on this earth. His words, His actions…that tell the story. Listen to what He says.

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Luke 2:49  NIV (Jesus at age 12,  in the temple, when his parents were looking for Him.)

“Away with you, Satan!” replied Jesus, “the scripture says, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only you shall serve’.” Matthew 4:10

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” Matthew 5:17-18 NIV

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.  “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1: 14-15 NIV

Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” Mark 1:38 NIV

“But what about you?” he (Jesus) asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”  Mark 8:29 NIV

“Why must you argue like this in your minds? Which do you suppose is easier – to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But to make you realize that the Son of Man has full authority on earth to forgive sins – I tell you,” he said to the man who was paralyzed, “get up, pick up your bed and go home!” Luke 5: 23-24

And He was saying to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” Luke 6:5 NIV

“And what is the point of calling me, ‘Lord, Lord’, without doing what I tell you to do?” Luke 6:46

Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Luke 7:48

But Jesus said, “Somebody touched me, for I felt the power went out from me.” Luke 8:46

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” John 1:35-36 NIV

“Is that your concern, or mine?” replied Jesus. “My time has not come yet.”  John 2:4 (Jesus before performing the miracle at the Cana wedding)

After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days. And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. John 2: 12-16 KJV

Believe me,” returned Jesus, “a man cannot even see the kingdom of God without being born again.” John 3:3

“I am Christ speaking to you now,” said Jesus. John 4:6

I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. John 5:36  NIV

“The work of God for you,” replied Jesus, is to believe in the one whom he has sent to you.” John 6:29

Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.” John 7:28-29  NIV

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 NIV

Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me,  but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.  My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10: 25-30 NIV

“I myself am the resurrection and the life,” Jesus told her. “The man who believes in me will live even though he dies, and anyone who is alive and believes in me will never die at all. Can you believe that?” John 11: 25-26

On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. John 14:20 NIV

JESUS —- Name above all names.

MESSIAH. LORD OF ALL.




His Love Encompasses Them All

English: Lost sheep on farm track.

Today’s jam at Faith Barista is about vulnerable love.

Vulnerable is not one of those words that I really enjoy…or even like very much for that matter.

Some people are really good at “putting themselves out there”, living in the moment and not worrying about it.

I am not one of those people.

To me, being vulnerable means opening myself up to hurt.

To misunderstanding. To possible embarrassment.

Vulnerability is akin to standing on the stage, with the spot light on me…all alone.

No, thank you.

No matter how hard I try to steer clear of it, I find myself in this exact position, on occasion.

I get lost. Sometimes it is difficult to find my way “back home”.

Straining to climb the mountains of life. Slipping. Fearing. Immobilized. Seemingly, all alone.

Scared out of my wits, sometimes by what is real, often times by scenarios I make up in my own mind.

Vulnerable.

Thankfully, on days like that, I am reminded of the parable that Jesus told to the teachers and lawyers of His time.

The story is found in the book of Luke, chapter 15.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

 1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

 3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Jesus as shepherd.

Looking for the lost.

For the scared.

The alone.

The vulnerable.

His love encompasses them all.

 

To Behold The Indescribable

 

Shepherds moving their sheeps, between Khoy an...

Jesus came.

He……came.

The first to hear of his arrival were the shepherds.

The poor. The dirty. The ones who smelled of animals.

And yet, it was, they that were chosen.

Chosen, to behold the indescribable.

They were witness to the One that would change the world.

And change them in the process.

He came… for us too.

Those that live the ordinary lives. The average Joes. The ones that are just putting one foot in front of the other on most days.

The miracle of Christ’s birth is still as real today as it was over two thousand years ago.

Won’t you join me this season in experiencing the same awe that the shepherds had on that night?

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Luke 2:10 NIV

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Thankful on this Monday for….

*cold rain

*seasonal temperatures

*a warm sweatshirt and cozy socks

*my Christmas music on Pandora

*decorating

*hot coffee

*a new pine scented candle

*Christmas season

*Christ’s coming

*Silent Night, Holy Night

***Thank you for your patience over the past several days, while I was busy and not blogging. I enjoyed a day of thanks giving, some crazy shopping, and a great family get together to celebrate a niece’s engagement. All good…and I am thankful.***

Love Is A Sacrifice

As good as heart can wish

Image by harold.lloyd via Flickr

Love is a sacrifice… I wrote this note in my Bible, in the margin of the page,  next to the story of  The Good Samaritan. (Luke 10:25-) A story that Jesus gave as an example of love. A man hurt, beaten and bleeding, on the side of the road. Ignored by some. Cared for by a stranger. The stranger showed compassion and mercy to this man that he did not know.

As I looked to this story, I pondered the words of the Lord. He ends His parable referring to the actions of the good Samaritan, “Go and do likewise.”

Go and do likewise. Jesus’ words echo in my heart.

How many times am I like the priest or the Levite in the story? The first people to encounter the wounded stranger. The priest crossed to the other side of the road, as did the Levite. Was the sight of the man too much? Were they too busy? Did they owe this stranger their time? Could they be bothered with the ache of another?

I’ve known this story since childhood…but, today I looked at it with new eyes.  A story with a lesson. Relevant to today.

“He bandaged his wounds.”

“He took care of him.”

To the inn keeper he said, “Look after him, I will reimburse you.”

This man was not too busy to slow down.  He knelt to help another…with no expectation of reward or reimbursement. We do not know (Jesus never says)  if the hurt man ever thanked the Samaritan that had helped him.

Love calls for sacrifice.

A sacrifice of time. A sacrifice of energy. A sacrifice of what I might want, for the benefit of another. Selfishness can’t survive in the presence of love.

Real love for others, always requires a sacrifice of self.
“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:31

” Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Luke 6:31

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Ephesians 4:2

“We love because he first loved us.”
1 John 4:19