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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

blustar1

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

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A Word in the silence

Light in the darkness

One single ember scatters a blaze — millions of sparks,

Each a sun, a planet — glowing into light-years of space.

A Word births galaxies, spins orbits, sets morning stars singing,

Light giving life.

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Somewhere a small blue-green ball sees its first sunrise.

Time as He counts it — all times are now — streams by,

shimmering light and encroaching dark

until

a Star slips to earth,

shines from the misty eyes of a newborn.

Stars spin, galaxies dance,

the Light flashes to the corners of our soul-darkness.

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Eons, moments, till the Light extinguishes the darkness

with a Word cried from a cross,

splits the borders of death with Light

deafens the silence with the Word.

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Planets spiral, stars rise and set,

Light blasts through clinging blue-green shadows

with the voice of the Angel,

the trumpet-Word of God.

Morning rays of a million nebulae flash

A forever-day, never night again.

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The Word made flesh, God from the beginning;

before stars dawned in Orion’s belt,

before the singing of planets,

before any shadow fell,

before we — less than sparks

in the eons-long conflagration of space —

before we saw the Light of His glory,

God, first, last, and forever,

Is.

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For the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.

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Starlight shines, the night is still
Shepherds watching from a hill
I close my eyes to see the night
When love was born

A perfect child gently waits
A mother bends to kiss God’s face
I close my eyes to see the night
When love was born

Angels fill the midnight sky and they sing
Hallelujah, He is Christ, our King

Emmanuel, Prince of peace
Love come down for you and me
Heaven’s gift, the holy spark
To light the way inside our hearts

Bethlehem, through your small door
Came the hope we’ve waited for
The world was changed forevermore
When love was born

I close my eyes to see the night
When love was born

— Mark Schultz

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merry_christmas_everyone

On the eve of Christmas

hatred will vanish

On the eve of Christmas

the earth will flourish

On the eve of Christmas

Love will be born

When we offer a glass of water to a thirsty person

It is Christmas

When we wipe the tears from weeping eyes

It is Christmas

When the spirit of revenge dies in me

It is Christmas

When I am buried in the being of God

It is Christmas

–Sabeel, Liberation Theology Centre

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No matter what holiday you celebrate at this time, or if you celebrate none, take some time to think about what you can do to bring peace to those around you — family, friends, and even strangers.  Reach out and bring joy to others.

And have a very merry Christmas.

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wrap them in peace and shroud them in snow

let pine boughs and windsong whisper of rest

blinding tears freeze on twenty small mounds

so leave them in quiet in a black silent night

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grief is the darkness fallen at Christmas

our season of joy is heartsick and pain

where is the light of Bethlehem’s star?

where is the song of the angels this night?

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wrap Him in cloths and lay Him in hay

angels and shepherds whisper of glory

Light of all heaven to shine in our darkness

death touched the Child on that silent night

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darkness and grief have fallen at Christmas

a Babe took our sorrows and carries our hearts

a cross is the light shining into our darkness

we cling to His peace for our dark, silent night

 

for the children, teachers, and parents of Sandy Hook Elementary

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light cage

 

“lights”

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Photo A Day: Dec. 5

looking up

 

“looking up”

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war on Christmas

The above was posted on Facebook on Friday.  I have to admit, I didn’t read it carefully the first time, and saw “no war on Christians”.  I thought about it more as I went through the day.  When I checked back to reply, I realized it was “no war on Christmas”.  I actually agree with the sentiments there, for the most part.  I don’t actually agree that wishing someone a “merry Christmas” is a bad thing — to me, “happy holidays” is fairly meaningless to the point of being vapid.  Sort of like the phrase “best wishes” — what does that even mean?  But I do realize that many people don’t celebrate Christmas but some other holiday at this time (some do both!), and people may not have the same expectations of the Christmas season that I do, since they aren’t Christian.  I don’t have a problem with that, and if anyone wants to wish me a Happy Hanukkah, fine!  All we’re saying is, “I’m happy right now because it’s a holiday season and I want you to be happy too!”  Everyone can stop having a fit — now!

But what I was thinking about as a result of misreading the post is actually a valid point.  Christianity (as a major religion in America) is becoming the minor majority.  Let me explain how Christianity is in danger.   There are a lot of other religions and cultures in the world, and in this country, each with their own customs, standards, expectations, and — yes — holidays.  In this age of global awareness and ethnic diversity, I agree with the idea that we need to be cognizant of, and respectful to, other cultures.  This same respect needs to be extended to Christians.  It is not.

Christianity is in danger when people who usually preach open-mindedness feel free to say and spread mocking things about Christians and their beliefs.  I usually see this as Facebook posts (such as the above), with a comment about how silly, or stupid, or backward, or ________ (fill in the blank) Christians are to be thinking or saying XYZ (usually to do with something political).  If statements in the same vein (mocking Christians’ belief in literal creation rather than the theory of evolution, for a recent example) were made about the Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu religion, there would be an uproar against that person.  See what happened when the Danish cartoonist lampooned Muslims!  If a Christian mocked Muslims for wearing hijab, Hindus for drinking Ganges water, or Buddhists for looking within themselves to gain enlightenment, there might be a few who agreed, but mostly that person would have unleashed a storm upon his head.  But many people, whether they style themselves, pagans, atheists, agnostics, or just plain nothing, feel free to mock, satirize, and ridicule Christian beliefs that may seem just as odd to outsiders as the non-Christian beliefs I listed.  It has become popular to ridicule Christians.  And no one raises a fuss.    That is why many Christians feel their religion is in danger — the ‘minor majority’, if you will.

That isn’t the real reason, however, why I feel Christianity is in danger.  Christianity is in danger right now partly because it is being attacked from within.

  • Christianity is in danger when those who call themselves Christians use their religion as a front for bigotry, hatred, and power playing
  • Christianity is in danger when people use Christian beliefs as a stick to beat others with (who may not believe the same way)
  • Christianity is in danger when people who call themselves Christians (part of that 243,186,000, actually) refuse to adhere to basic principles of integrity, mercy, justice, humility, and service.
  • Christianity is in danger when Christians blindly accept the unbiblical teachings of leaders who counsel them to follow tradition and an easier, more acceptable path, rather than pointing them to truth as clearly stated in the Bible (no matter how personally inconvenient it might be).
  • Christianity is in danger when Christians look for a “feel-good” religion rather than conviction of their sins and their personal, constant need of a Savior.
  • Christianity is in danger when Christians focus on the trappings of food, decorations, rituals, and gifts that surround the holidays (Easter too!) and lose the real point of the holidays we celebrate in memory of the work God can do in our lives.
  • Christianity is in danger when we would rather give money, or even time, to people in need and neglect to tell them about God and His saving grace. “These things you ought to have done, and not left the other undone” (Luke 11:42).
  • Christianity is in danger when we are more worried about offending people by sharing our faith than offending God, who has commanded us to “go into all the world”.  Think about it.  In a world of nearly 7 billion, just over 2 billion (2.18) are Christian.  That’s a drop in the bucket of what God has asked of us!

My Facebook friend is right.  No one is making war on Christmas.  Not overtly.  Our greed does that just fine.  No one is deliberately making war on Christians, not really.  Not in the physical sense.  Not in America.  We are allowing our natural, unsanctified human tendencies to take charge — as if we had no Savior to help us deal with our sinful nature — and showing the world what an un-surrendered heart really looks like. No one is hindering the spread of Christianity.  Not really.  We are allowing our fears of embarrassment and social criticism to dissuade us from sharing what should be an unpopular message to most, if it is truly spread.  Truth is always unpopular, and no more so than truth that requires the person receiving it to change.  And the best example of that is every single Christian (including me!) who has not opened their heart and asked God to sweep it clean and dwell in it.

So as we begin December — let’s begin the Christmas season not with greed, aggression, busy-ness, or desire for control.  Let’s surrender that stubborn self to God.  Ask Him to save Christianity, not from others, but from you.  And start Christmas with a peace treaty — with the Prince of Peace.

https://i2.wp.com/1.bp.blogspot.com/_ZgL6TE5BZfc/RqSJDbq9J5I/AAAAAAAAABQ/QMZ1ldwXHRk/s320/Broken_Heart_by_Tortured_Raven.jpg

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