Does Everything Just Go Back In The Box?

(Christmas Insights For Every Day Living)

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How quickly do you put the “Christmas stuff” away? The day after Christmas? New Year’s day?..or the day after? When does the extra stuff on display in your home lose its excitement and luster and just become clutter? When does the tree become a “fire hazard?” When does leaving the outside lights up just become silly? When do you “put everything back in the box?” When do you just “get into the swing of things” again?

Can I make a suggestion this year? Maybe the things that really matter shouldn’t just “go back in the box.” Maybe they were meant to be lived in. Maybe this is what Christmas was really meant to give us; not a flash in the pan that we bask in for a short while but rather a living reality that we can experience every day.

In the next few weeks we will focus on “Christmas Insights for Every Day Living”… for some things were never meant to just “go back in the box.”

We all long for Christmas. We all need Christmas. What if the gifts of Christmas that spring from Jesus, the gifts that really mattered, were meant to be lived in every day?

Sunday, January 10th    Who Am I?    (The Gift of Identity)

There is a great scene in the “Lord of the Rings” second movie, where King Theoden, overcome with the great evil and seemingly overwhelming destructive force that is against him and his people, with all that he thought secure crumbling around him, for a moment loses his perception of who he is –his very identity - and cries out, “Who am I?”…to which a loyal soldier replies, “You are our king, sire.” Do you ever struggle with your identity?...especially when there is great changes and upheavals around you?  Jesus came at Christmas revealing who He was and is and always will be. Today, He would open our eyes to see anew our identity in Him, the Rock who never changes.

Sunday, January 17th    Never Alone?      (The Gift of Presence)

In every text book that talks about care for the sick and hurting, there is always a section that in Christian circles we would call, “the ministry of presence.” In short, the idea is that the greatest thing one can bring is themselves; to be actively “there,” listening and focusing with a caring heart on the one who is sick and hurting. It is a such a powerful gift to give another who is sick and hurting your presence so that they know and feel that they are not alone. As I have shared with countless people who are a little hesitant about visiting someone, this “ministry of presence” is the second greatest gift a Christian can give someone. What is the first? The presence of Jesus. During Christmas, we focused on Jesus as Immanuel, God with us always. Where in your life right now do you need to know and receive His presence brand new? And where is God calling you to the “ministry of presence” as you share His presence?

January 24th   What Am I Doing Here?    (The Gift of Meaning)

“So, what are you going to be when you grow up?” “Where do you want to go to college?” “What do you want to major in?” “What kind of job do you want to get?” These are tough questions!...especially for a 16 year old –or even an 18 year old! Yet, we ask them…often! We try to guide them, at least the thought process. We hire counselors on the High School level to give them direction and help them to think it through. And many of us tell stories about how we struggled with these questions mightily (and still might be!). Why? We all seem to agree that it is important to have a purpose and direction in our life. In fact, we all seem to know intuitively that we were meant to have a purpose and a meaning –a reason for our existence and why we do what we do. Jesus knew what He was about and He knew why. In Him, we can also. This gift too is tied to Christmas.

January 31st     A Little Help, Please?   (The Gift of Power)

In the book of 2 Chronicles, there is a verse where the writer says, “this enemy is too great for us!” And in the book of Psalms there is another verse where the writer says, “our hands hang limp,” again because they are overwhelmed by the power of the enemies which are against them. When is the last time you came up against an enemy that is too great for you? Where is this happening right now? When is the last time your strength failed you?...when you needed “a little help?” What if Christmas was about someone coming who had the power to help, no matter what? What if Christmas was about so empowering you that you also could be one who could help?

February 7th  How Will It All Turn Out? (Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!)

Some would say that we live in a scary time. Terrorism. Lawlessness among nations. Economic chaos and upheaval. Ecological concerns. Does it frighten you?  Do you ever wonder, as many have who have lived before us, how it will all end? Christmas is about God entering our world. He is Immanuel – God with us! But it is also about a plan – God’s plan; “In the fullness of time God sent forth His Son, born of a woman…” Gal. 3.  How will it all end?  And what does it mean for us in our lives right now? This is God’s Christmas gift for us, today!