CHRISTmas Time

So, as you all know, Christmas time has caught up with us whether you’re ready or not. Today, being Christmas Eve, has me thinking a lot about Christmas: the origins, certain traditions, the true meaning, the birth of Jesus, etc. As a response, I’ve been doing some reading…
Christmas started out as a pagan celebration, saturnalia, of the pagan god saturn (yes, I recognize that both of these nouns should technically be capitalized; however, I refuse to do so). On December 21st, the first day of winter, the sun is furthest, so they celebrated December 25th as the return of the sun.
So, as Christians, why do we celebrate the “birth” of Jesus on the day that was originally a pagan holiday (I say, “‘birth'”, because the actual date of Jesus’ birth is not specifically stated in the Bible)?
The Roman Catholics, who use to dominate religious beliefs, decided to celebrate Christ’s birth at this time to take away from the pagan holiday and it continued into the Christian faith. My thought: How great it is that we can replace something pagan with the celebration of the life of our savior, Jesus Christ?! That just shows His power and might!
It should be noted that I’m not blind to the fact that not everyone who celebrates Christmas is Christian and that they celebrate the holiday for worldly reasons. I’m saddened to see how people, Christian or not, place so much importance in gift-giving and other traditions. Honestly, I would be completely fine with receiving no presents on Christmas. Some Christians may argue that the reason we exchange gifts is because the Magi brought baby Jesus gifts. However, Jesus is King of Kings, deserving of this and so much more than we can physically give Him. We are humans who deserve nothing but death, yet He gave us the ultimate gift by dying in our place so that we may live. 
So why do we get upset when we don’t receive the gifts we think we deserve? What if in lieu of gifts we sacrificed ourselves for others (modeling ourselves after Christ), offering help to those who need it, our time that we value so much, an ear to listen and not condemn? What if we became less “me” centered and more Christ centered, showing the love and compassion for others that Christ has for us? What a marvelous way to spread Christ’s love not only during Christmas time but also any other regular day! I encourage you, as you enjoy the feasts and treats with the company and family in the warmth of your home that God has been so gracious to bless you with, to keep Christ the center of this special holiday and in every aspect of your life.

Merry Christmas!


God’s Plan

Some things are beyond planning. And life doesn’t always turn out as planned. You don’t plan for a broken heart. You don’t plan for a failed business venture. You don’t plan for an adulterous husband or a wife who wants you out of her life. You don’t plan for an autistic child. You don’t plan for spinsterhood. You don’t plan for a lump in your breast.

You plan to be young forever. You plan to climb the corporate ladder. You plan to be rich and powerful. You plan to be acclaimed and successful. You plan to conquer the universe. You plan to fall in love and be loved forever.

You don’t plan to be sad. You don’t plan to be hurt. You don’t plan to be broke. You don’t plan to be betrayed. You don’t plan to be alone in this world. You plan to be happy. You don’t plan to be shattered.

Sometimes, if you work hard enough, you can get what you want. But MOST times, what you want and what you get are two different things. We, mortals, plan. But so does God in the heavens. Sometimes, it is difficult to understand God’s plans especially when His plans are not in consonance with ours. Often, when God sends us crisis, we turn to Him in anger. True, we cannot choose the cross that God wishes us to carry, but we can carry that cross with courage knowing that God will never abandon us nor send something we cannot cope with.

Sometimes, God breaks our spirit to save our soul. Sometimes, He breaks our heart to make us whole. Sometimes, God allows pain so we can be stronger. Sometimes, God sends us failure so we can be humble. Sometimes, God allows illness so we can take better care of ourselves. Sometimes, God takes everything away from us so we can learn the value of everything He gave us. Make plans, but understand that we live by God’s grace.


Thanksgiving Day

May the spirit of thanksgiving continue with us after today, giving thanks to God always.

“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.”
-Psalm 95:1-6

“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.

Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.

Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name.”
-1 Chronicles 29:11-13

Thanksgiving Week: Day 4

So thankful that God has blessed me with such a loving, supporting family who loves the Lord. We’ve been through so much, and I don’t think we could have made it without each other and, most importantly, without God.

Being raised in a Christian family, I feel like my faith has come easier to me than most– thank you Jesus. My heart and prayers go out to those who do not have such an opportunity. 

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of God dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” -Colossians 3:15-17

Thanksgiving Week: Day 3

So thankful to serve a God who chose me in my imperfection and who never gives up on me. Thank You, Lord, for Your unconditional love.

May we learn to show that same love to those around us.

“O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endures for ever.” -Psalm 107:1 (and many other places in the Bible)

Thanksgiving Week: Day 2

Thank God for your many blessings, but also thank him for your hard ships– knowing that EVERYTHING works out for the good of those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

Thank You, Lord, that I do not have to worry because I know that my life is in safe hands.

“Oh how great is your goodness, which you have laid up for them that fear you; which you have worked for them that trust in you before the sons of men!” -Psalm 31:19

Thanksgiving Week: Day 1

While it’s nice to spend time with our family and loved ones and to celebrate with feasting (which Jesus often did), let’s not forget to give Him thanks. Yes, we should thank Him and praise Him daily. But, on this day particularly, let’s not get too wrapped up in tradition. Remember to praise Him for all that He has done– He paid the ultimate sacrifice. It is my prayer that all (including myself, especially) will ultimately show Him thanks by lying down our lives as complete sacrifices to Him. What better way to show thanks than a lifetime of service?

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” -Psalm 100