Tag Archives: Christmas

The Gift

George Bailey is a man who is dissatisfied with his life and contemplates suicide by jumping off a bridge on Christmas Eve in 1943. If you ever seen “It’s A Wonderful Life”, starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, you know the story line of this Christmas classic. George encounters a guardian angel, Clarence, who grants George’s wish that he had never been born. George returns to Bedford Falls where no one recognizes him. After seeing how different his home town would be without George’s influence, he returns to the bridge where Clearance explains to George that he wanted more when he had already been given the greatest gift of all: the gift of life.

Christmas is that magical time of the year filled with colorful lights, last-minute shopping, fantastic food and fun family gatherings. Routine work comes to a grinding halt for many. Children are excited that Santa Claus will visit their homes on Christmas eve and leave gifts for them. Adults also gather with their family and friends to exchange gifts.

In my previous blog, The Visitor, I explained how God gave us His Son, Jesus, as a demonstration of His love for mankind. The Bible is clear on why Jesus came.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). And Jesus came to give believers an abundant life. (John 10:10).

Lost and Found

Early in our RVing travels, Carol and I were returning from Jacksonville, North Carolina to our RV in Maysville, a short trip of less than 16 miles. We were in an unfamiliar part of Jacksonville so I trusted our GPS to lead us to “Home”. After driving for about 20 miles, I came to the town of Richlands, NC and realized that I was lost. I reprogrammed the GPS for our correct ‘Home’ address. We drove about 50 miles instead of the normal 16 miles.

So what happened? I placed my trust and faith in a device that led us astray. This is exactly what happened to me in my early life before I met Jesus in 1972. As a young adult, I had placed my trust and faith in the world and was led astray. I knew of Jesus, but I did not know Him personally.

I consider myself a ‘good person’… won’t that be enough?

  • Romans 3:23 NIV  – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
  • Romans 3:10 NIV  – As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not one;
  • Romans 5:12 NIV  – Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—

Is sin really THAT big of a deal? If it is… what HOPE is there?

  • Romans 6:23 NIV  – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

After what I’ve done to grieve God… HOW could He willingly die in my place?

  • Romans 5:8 NIV  – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

HOW can I be saved?

  • Romans 10:9-10 NIV  – If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Did God HEAR me? Did He accept me?

  • Romans 10:13 NIV  – For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

What do I do now?

  • Romans 10:17 NIV  – Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Do you know Jesus personally, as a real person? Or do you know of Him? You might wonder how it is possible to know Jesus personally if He is not physically next to you where you can reach out and touch Him. I wondered that as well. Once I accepted Jesus after confessing my sinful life, He delivered a gift to me that is still the most cherished gift I could have ever received. Jesus gave me the gift of the Holy Spirit to reside with me and in me.

“If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth [or Holy Spirit]. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
John 14:15-17, NIV

Are you ready to meet Jesus? Follow the instructions of Romans 10:9-10:

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

To know Jesus is to know God. The Bible is filled with  promises for all believers in Christ. Here are just a few of my favorites.

  1. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Phil 4:19, NIV
  2. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Cor 12:9, NIV
  3. No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Cor 10:13, NIV
  4. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor 15:57, NIV
  5. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Rom 8:28, NIV
  6. Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Act 2:38, NIV
  7. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:27-28, NIV

And if that is not enough, Jesus calls us His friend:

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:13-15, NIV

It is my hope and prayer that you know Jesus. Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back now.

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Christmas Fluff

Today, we have a guest post. Justin is a friend of mine from way back – almost 20 years. Facebook is what keeps us connected today. I trust you find his message as appropriate for the season as I did.


“Set aside all the “fluff” on Christmas, get to real thing”
Justin Holloway

For the past several years I have not enjoyed holidays much. Last year, even putting up a tree and decorations was only in my hopes of “feeling” some type of Christmas spirit within me. I could give you a list of all the reasons I have felt this way for so very long, but I have come to the conclusion it is because of the simple word “expectations”. I could easily add the phrase “current circumstances”.

And, this day as I pen these words, the same feelings resonate within me. Last year and the year prior, I told myself “Next year will be better; just you wait and see!” NOPE. This year “circumstantially” has by far been worse. And, my expectations have been reduced to “zero”.

It begs the question I must ask myself – “What is the real purpose for celebrating Christmas?”

Is it the time spent with family aiming to replicate a Norman Rockwell painting version of yesteryear? Is it the expectant spirit of hoping to celebrate days gone by with an even bigger boom than ever before? Is it the hope of celebrating the blessings of the year that have far exceeded any other?

Well, if the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, the reality for most of is “How is that working for you?” Most likely, it is not.

So I am left to conclude for me, if not all of us, it is time to refocus! And, for me, specifically, to remember Christmas has nothing to do with me or even the ones I love on this planet. It truly is a Holy Day. The time spent with family and friends in harmonious relationships is merely an added bonus. And what about your current circumstances? For most of us there are always reasons for rejoicing and times of trial running concurrently . It is called “living in the real world”.

So, what about Jesus; the Christ child? Well, first I can clearly say the Bible does not command we celebrate the birth of Christ on this given day we call Christmas. Yet, I can also tell you it should be a reason for celebration for all Christians every day of the year. I do like the special emphasis placed on Christmas Day based on its original intent.

Obviously, commercialism and the Old Saint Nick mentality has made this day a dual celebration as secular and Christian beliefs are fused together. Santa Claus is fun and I enjoy gift giving more than anything, especially when my children were young and after the arrival of six perfect grandchildren. I find nothing wrong with this merging of tradition for, symbolically, Christ was the greatest gift we have ever received.

Often times, the expectations, especially for young married couples with children to share this holiday with in laws and outlaws has added to this “repurposing”of what a Christmas holiday should be. There is always the easily offended mother or mother-in-law who wants their kids and grandkids with them for this significant day. The stress added to the holiday is enough to drive anyone crazy. I find it comical that most Dads merely care about the football games and good grub instead.

So, you see, the purpose of holidays, especially Christmas, gets so convoluted. Watered down. Made less than intended.

I would suggest to any and all out there, including myself. “Forget about your circumstances. Forget about your personal heartaches for a moment. Forget about where your married children are spending Christmas and all the reasons you are entitled to have them. Focus on the miracle of the birth of Jesus! Focus on the eternal love of our Heavenly Daddy. “

Thanks be to God for the gift of the Savior who has made a way for each of us to be in right relationship with a Holy, merciful God. Thanks be to God for His sustaining presence through each and every circumstance we face in this life. Exalt our heavenly Father for the expectancy of hope that causes us to walk in peace each moment as we face the trials and suffering of this life. Praise be to God for the joy that is ours in Him alone!

All the rest is “fluff”. Let us join around the Christmas table this year, whether with family or friends, or even if you happen to be alone, and mediate on the beauty of Christmas. Emmanuel; God with us. This, my friends, is THE reason for celebration!

Sacred Lives Foundation is a non-profit organization  founded by Justin after his grandson Brady was born in 2008 at 22 1/2 weeks weighing 18 ounces. They distribute coffee table size books to hospitals and other places where there message of hope and encouragement will help others. Please take a moment to look at their website.


Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back now.

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The Visitor

There is a knock at the door. I wonder who that could be. Perhaps my family is here to visit for a spell. Maybe it is a delivery service bringing that package I ordered. Or perhaps it is a neighbor or a stranger in distress needing my help.  I may peer through the side window to catch a glimpse of this visitor, but until I open the door and greet the visitor, I have no idea why someone is visiting me.

I love the Christmas story that has been told in many households through the year. The story about the birth of Jesus. The children gather around to hear this story. Soon they will be telling the story to their children and grandchildren.

It began with Zechariah receiving a visit from Gabriel (Luke 1:5-22). God was about to change the world in a dramatic way. Zechariah and Elizabeth along with Mary and Joseph would be a part of this transformation.

Then Gabriel visited Mary (Luke 1:26-38) announcing that she would soon receive a special gift from God – a gift that would change the world in a way that no one could imagine.

I am sure the inn keeper was not thrilled to hear a strong knock on his door after he had closed for the evening. Most likely, he also wondered who would be visiting at such a late hour, especially since there was no room at the inn. Visitors from all over have taken all available rooms. When he opened the door, his heart was filled with compassion and told the young couple, they could spend the night out back where the animals slept. And that is where Jesus began His visit. A visit that changed the world indeed.

So why did Jesus visit?

Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). And Jesus came to give believers an abundant life. (John 10:10). The Apostle John provides a simple explanation:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. (John 3:16-21, NIV)

God had been silent for 400 years. I am sure many felt God just gave up on His people and the world. Sin came into the world at the very beginning. The Old Testament is rich in history describing how God moved through out the land working to restore mankind’s the relationship between Him. Nothing worked. It almost seemed as if God failed. No, God did not fail; sin had such deep roots that the people were not willing to receive salvation and restoration from God.

All that changed when Jesus was born on the starry night.  The heavenly angels announced the beginning of a visitation from God Himself (Philippians 2:6-7). Jesus came to deliver freedom to all and to teach the world how to be free from the bondage of sin.

To be continued…

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A Christmas Carol

The Original Christmas Carol

We are all familiar with A Christmas Carol written by English author Charles Dickens and published in 1843. The story tells of sour and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge’s ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation resulting from supernatural visits from Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

While we enjoy this seasonal classic, let’s take a look at the Original Christmas Carol to see three gift’s God has for us.

Christmas Past

VOIDIn the beginning (Gen 1:1) God created the heaven and the earth. Gen 1:2 says the earth was empty and without life. Over the next 5 days, God gave it life. On the 6th day, God created man.

God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Gen 2:7 NIV)

God breathed His soul into His creation. Thus the earth was full of God’s character. This was Christmas Past.

Christmas Present

the-birth-of-christNow there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
 you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
 and the glory of your people Israel.”
(Luke 2:25-32 NIV)

With the birth of Christ, God gave His Son, Jesus, so that whoever would believe, would have eternal life. When Simeon saw the Christ child and recognized Jesus is a special gift from God, he praised God.

During His three years of public ministry, Jesus showed the world the greatest gift possible; the gift of life. John 10:10. This is Christmas Present.

Christmas Yet To Come

New JerusalemThe Holy Spirit gave the Apostle John a look at Christmas Yet To Come

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
(Revelation 21:1-5 NIV)

A new heaven and a new earth – A New Jerusalem full of God’s character and nature. This is Christmas Yet To Come.


Now you have a choice to make. Some choose to believe while others choose to not believe. Do you believe God did what the Bible said He did?

If so, celebrate Christmas by praising God for His creation, His Son Jesus, and for the New Jerusalem yet to come.

If not, ask God to reveal the mystery of His precious gift to you. All you have to do is receive it.

Merry Christmas to all. Thanks for stopping by. Y’all come back now.

US 2015

Enjoying a picnic lunch on Skyline Drive, Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

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Do You See What I See? #5

The Magi’s Perspective – Matthew 2:1-12

Some time after the birth of Jesus, a group of magi visited the small child and brought gifts worth of a king. Christmas tradition often show three stately figures bearing three gifts. Some consider the visitors to be kings, wise men or astrologers.

wise-menWe do know that they traveled a long distance and used a single star as their navigational aid (Matthew 2:2). We can deduce that they were scholarly astrologers who were so moved by the stellar sighting, that they change their course of study, packed up an entourage and headed west to follow this spectacular and unusual sighting. Their lives were dramatically changed.

When they arrived in Jerusalem, King Herod called for them because he wanted to enlist them to conduct a search and find mission in Bethlehem to locate Jesus (Matthew 2:7-8).

As they departed Jerusalem, the star re-appeared as their navigational aid. They found the Christ Child, presented their gifts, worshiped Him and departed a different way for they were advised to not report back to King Herod (Matthew 2:9-12).

The magi brought special gifts to offer Jesus in worship:

  • Gold – a rich commodity that often signifies divinity. It was used to cover the Ark of the Covenant – God’s presence (Exodus 25:10-17 ). It signifies Jesus’ deity.
  • Frankincense – an incense (Exodus 30;34-36) used to produce a sweet aroma from burnt offerings presented to God in worship. It signifies Jesus’ willingness to give himself up – a lamb given for redemption.
  • Myrrh – a spice used in the embalming process  (John 19:38-40). It signifies the death of Jesus on the cross.

Following the magi’s visit, Mary, Joseph and Jesus traveled to Egypt as instructed by God (Matthew 2:13). Oral tradition implies that these gifts financed the journey.

Key point(s)

  1. Something dramatic happening in the world parallels something dramatic happening in the heavens. (Revelation 12)
  2. When God reveals Himself to you, you cannot remain where you are. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
  3. God supplies all your needs. (Philippians 4:19)

Reflect
This Christmas season, I hope you take time to reflect on the events surrounding the birth of Christ. More importantly, I pray that you use this season to refresh your commitment to Jesus and share the good news of the Gospel message to those around you.

If you do not know Jesus in a personal way, I encourage you to invite Him into your heart. The gift of life from Jesus is yours to have.

  1. Acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross for your sins and was raised from the grave after He defeated death.
    (John 10:10)
  2. Confess your sins to Him. He will forgive you and cleanse you. (1 John 1:9)
  3. Thank God for the new work He will complete in you as you walk in the newness of life. (Philippians 1:6)
  4. Ask God to lead you to a group of Christians who teach the truth from God’s word. (Acts 2:42)

Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back now.

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