Who cares about the date!?

Was it in February? Did it happen in June, or September? Maybe it happened in December, nobody except those that were there know the exact date and time.

I was born in February and only the Doctor and my mother and father know the exact time and date and yet if my birthday falls on a Wednesday this year and it is inconvenient to have a birthday party during the week, we decide to have it on the Saturday before, what difference does it make? It really doesn’t matter if the party is exactly on the day and time that I was born, now does it?

I’m not sure anyone knows the exact time and date of when Jesus was born and yet we celebrate Christmas on December 25th each year. Does it really matter? There are many who refuse to celebrate Christmas using the excuse, “He wasn’t even born December 25th!”

How sad, to hear such lame excuses for not celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior. How sad that so many miss the entire point of Christ’s birth and what/Who we are celebrating!

Christ, God, came as a baby into humanity to save us from eternal hell, to forgive us our sins, and to guarantee us a place with Him in heaven for all of eternity, and yet, “He wasn’t even born on December 25th.”

Does a date really matter? Does celebrating my birthday on Saturday, rather than Wednesday, really matter? Or are we celebrating the birth of a child, someone who is loved, cherished, and can grow to be a great man or woman of God.

Are we celebrating the birth of the King of kings and the Lord of lords or are we turning away because “He wasn’t even born December 25th?” It makes me wonder what these people are celebrating.

Christmas is about Jesus Christ! Not a Christmas tree, not Jingle Bells, and Santa Clause. It is no more about those things than Easter is about rabbits and eggs!

My prayer is that as we celebrate our Savior’s birth that we do it in humility and honor of our Lord and Savior, and that those who focus on all that is not about Him this Christmas will find the true meaning of this time of celebration.

Without Jesus Christ in the manger there is no such thing as Christmas! It’s just an empty, dirty, and stinky feed troff in a smelly old barn.

Merry Christmas and may Christ bless you even more abundantly with His love, peace, and Joy in 2019.

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I AM – Devotional Style Short Stories – “The Christmas Gift”

 

The Christmas Gift

The doors fly open and the sale is on. Crowds by the hundreds push, shove, and trample others to get to the discounted merchandise. One woman shoves another with a face masked in anger, “That one is mine!” she yells as she shoves another woman to the side.

The police stand outside the doors to try to control the crowd, to no avail. “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” is playing on the intercom and yet no one notices. They’re focused on the goodies that might make a distant relative like them just a little more or for a family member that insisted that item is the only thing they want under the Christmas tree.

A Man stands back from the crowd and watches. Disgust is on His face. He listens to the piped in music and shakes His head in wonder. His thoughts are sad for He is watching the commercialization of His birth; the birth of the Creator of the World who came and died so that these greedy people could fill their baskets with all that will be tossed out within weeks.

A woman stops, she tilts her head slightly to the side as she listens to the song, “Oh Come all Ye Faithful.” She sees the Man standing off to the side and approaches Him. “Hello.” She says sadly.

He looks at her with sad eyes and replies, “Hello.” He nods toward the pushing and shoving people and asks, “Why aren’t you out there with them?”

She looks out over the crowd and then back to Him. “I came for one item because we don’t have much money.” A tear forms in her eyes and escapes. She swipes it away quickly and continues, “I hear the music, the Christmas carols being played, and looking out at these people, I realized I was just like them. I would have fought anyone or anything to get the one gift I came for.”

“But now?” The Man asks interested.

“But now I have learned better. I have four children and watching these people has made me realize this isn’t what I want to teach them. I’m not perfect and I do a lot of things wrong but I want to teach my children that the greatest gift ever given at Christmas was Jesus.”

Before the Man can reply someone slams into her and growls, “Get out of the way woman!” She is almost knocked off her feet and the Man grabs her arm to steady her and guides her out the door.

~~~~

Luke 2:11 – “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

~~~~

I’m sure many of us have witnessed the crowds during the Christmas season. I have seen a fight break out over a parking space, the pushing and shoving, and angry customers. It seems we are so focused on getting just the right gift for friends, family, or colleagues that we forget what Christmas is about. This story reminds me of the Bible story of two sisters; Mary and Martha. Jesus shows up and one is rushing about in a frantic panic while the other sits at Jesus feet. Aren’t we doing much the same during the Christmas season? We rush, we cook for days, we slave over getting the house clean, and by the time Christmas Day arrives we’re exhausted and can’t enjoy the time with friends or family!  And then there are also those organizations that want to render this holy day as nothing more than just another holiday where people get a day off from work. The merchants begin touting Christmas trees and decorations along with Halloween costumes. And they do it because we, the public, buy their merchandise right along with the Halloween costumes in our shopping carts. But at the same time, there are those of us that sit back, listen to the Christmas carols, and relax!  We don’t stress over what gift to buy, we don’t cook for days on end, and we stay away from the crowds at the Malls. Our simple decorations is a Manger scene and maybe a Christmas tree in the corner. No, we aren’t Mr. Scrooge! Our focus is on the real meaning of Christmas, a child is born, and His name is Jesus, God in the manger. That’s what Christmas is about! He is the greatest gift anyone will ever receive! Are you Mary or Martha? Are you focused on the commercialization of the most holy day or are you sitting at the feet of our Lord and Savor?

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I AM – Devotional Style Short Stories -“The Mistletoe”

The Mistletoe

Christmas decorations line streets and the shops are filled with people.

The morning air is cold as the two women set out for the hour and a half drive on a narrow two-lane country road to visit a relative in the country.

“I think we need to head back, I don’t want to get in work traffic,” the daughter announces and stands to leave the relatives home. Hugs and Merry Christmas is offered and the two women leave.

Driving the same country road the mother is looking out the window at the tops of the trees. “There’s mistletoe in all of these trees!” she exclaims.

“Yes, it’s pretty common down here.”

“I want some of that mistletoe!” the mother exclaims.

“Mom, it’s in the top of the trees.”

“Stop, stop, stop. There’s some that is low down.” The mother shouts.

The daughter jerks the pickup to the side of the road and stops. “Where?” She asks.

“Back up. It’s right back there.”

The daughter backs up and pulls the truck next to a tree her mother is pointing out. On a lower branch a clump of mistletoe hangs enticingly.

With the mother’s excited prompting the daughter tries to climb the tree but can’t. She climbs into the bed of the pickup and tries to reach the mistletoe. Her mother hands her a long stick but it doesn’t reach.

“Grab that limb, you can climb the tree from there!” the mother insists.

“I’m not going to try to climb this tree, Mom!”

A car pulls up behind them and a Man steps out and approaches. “Can I help you ladies?” He asks and smiles at the daughter standing in the back of the pickup swinging a stick at the clump of mistletoe while trying to keep her balance.

“I want that mistletoe!” the mother replies emphatically while pointing to the clump of mistletoe.

“Let me see if I can reach it for you,” the Man says while climbing into the bed of the truck.

He tries and can’t.

“Here, get on my shoulders and you’ll be able to reach it,” the Man tells the daughter.

“Are you crazy!?” the daughter exclaims, but He talks her into it and precariously she balances on His shoulders and grabs the clump of mistletoe.

The mother is shouting and clapping in glee after laughing hysterically at the sight of her grown daughter on the shoulders of a strange Man.

The truck’s interior is filled with laughter as the two women drive home with a large clump of mistletoe safely clasped in the mother’s hands.

“I think God sent that Man.” the mother states eyeing her treasured prize.

~~~~

Phil. 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengths me.”

~~~~

There’s a saying that if there’s a will, there’s a way. I’m not sure that the scripture used means Jesus will show up and we can stand on His shoulders, but He will give us His strength in doing all things that we are called to do. The story was inspired by a trip my mother and I took and she did insist I climb a tree along side the road to get mistletoe. A fond memory but it also reminds me that no matter what our endeavor Christ is always there to guide and help provided it is within His will and good purposes. Any task we think is impossible is not impossible for our Lord and Savior. Lean on Him, seek Him, and you’ll be surprised when He offers His “shoulders” to stand on.

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The Little Orphan Boy

Picture it. 1937. A skinny little boy with big brown eyes lying on his bed wheezing. His father gently picks him up and rushes him to the hospital. He has pneumonia. In those days the treatment for pneumonia was to remove a rib. Yes, you heard right. The little boy undergoes surgery and is finally going to go home.

When it’s time to be discharged the doctors and nurses are puzzled. Where is the little boys father? No sign of his mother either. No-one has even visited. Having no other choice they call child services and he is placed in a Christian orphanage.

I can’t imagine how he felt. The confusion of why his parents didn’t come to see him or why they didn’t come to take him home. “Where’s my Daddy?” must have haunted his thoughts daily. The fear he must have felt in being in a strange place and only four years old must have been terrifying.

The staff at the orphanage wasn’t even sure of his real name so they gave him a name that was similar to what they thought his name might have been. His dad’s penmanship was greatly lacking. They assigned him a date of birth, too. Little “Claudie” went about trying to adjust. Christmas and birthdays were the hardest. The local community would bring gifts for the children but the gifts were for all the children to share. One boys bike, a red wagon, game boards were for everyone. There were no individual gifts. He never mentioned his birthdays or how they were. I didn’t ask.

One day “Claudie” was asked to follow the lady to her office. There was someone who wanted to see him. Claudie’s heart jumped and almost beat out of his chest.”My Daddy has come to get me,” he excitedly thought. But he hadn’t. It was a couple who had been told they couldn’t have children and wanted to adopt him. A nice couple they seemed to be. Claudie was with them for four years and adjusted well. He felt loved and cared for and finally seemed to settle in.

It was during world war two and times were tough for families. His new mother learned she was pregnant. “We can’t afford two children” his new parents explained and returned him to the orphanage. Hurt, anger, confusion, and feelings of bitterness and being abandoned again caused Claudie many problems. He lashed out in his anger, he fought with other children. He stopped trusting. His heart was broken and no one could fix it.

He remained in the orphanage until he was seventeen and with the staff’s permission he enlisted in the Air Force. It was good for him but I can’t imagine how he felt being stationed in Korea during the Korean War and everyone receiving mail but him. Not one letter. Not one card, not one “We miss you and hope you are safe” did he receive in five years. It would break anyone’s heart. Did he walk away and leave the mail call far enough away that he couldn’t hear the names being called? How hard was it to shove down the hurt as he tried to avoid not hearing his name called? He never said how he handled that. He didn’t like to talk about it.

He didn’t turn to drugs when he was discharged. He didn’t become an alcoholic or anything like that. He did get in an ocassional fight but nothing serious. He soon married a sweet young thing. Big mistake. She had a violent temper and he never knew when she would blow. They were married for five years and she said she was going to visit a relative and disappeared. He never heard from her or ever saw her again. Abandoned again with no idea why.

That didn’t stop Claudie. His favorite saying was, “I’m just a poor orphan boy who came to the big city to seek my fortune.” It wasn’t far from the truth back then. He enrolled in night school and worked his tail off and passed the law exam on the first try. He received his law degree but he didn’t become a lawyer to practice law and make the big bucks. He used it in his law enforcement carrier. He was a Deputy Marshal and worked his way up to second in command.

Twelve years after his wife disappeared he married again and this time he got a winner. Oh, she had her own issues to deal with but they were a perfect match. Like Claudie she had known betrayal. She knew what it was like to not feel loved. She, too had previously had a violent partner. She worshipped the ground Claudie walked on, so to speak. He loved her, too. They traveled, they had fun together, they laughed, loved and seldom argued.

When they got married, for his wedding gift she gave him his very own bike with a small license plate with his name on it. Oh, how he loved that bike! “It’s mine? All mine?” He grinned from ear to ear.

Al & his bike

When Christmas came around she’d buy a package of socks and wrap each pair individually so he’d have lots of presents under the Christmas tree. The same with under wear or anything that could be divided up. She made sure there were plenty of gifts with his name on the tag. Claudie loved Christmas and he’d sit ripping open several packages laughing like a young child. She loved watching him and seeing the joy and sparkle in his eyes as he’d grab another gift and rip into it. She did the same for his birthdays, with a cake and candles. It didn’t make up for years past but it filled him with a sense of joy and love like he’d never felt as a child.

Looking her husband square in the eyes while placing his wedding ring back on his finger she would say, “With this ring I thee wed – until death do us part.” She’d quote that every time after a major surgery or some procedure the doctors said he had to remove his ring for. For five years, day in and day out, she cared for him during his debilitating illness. He had taught her what true love is. She wasn’t about to abandon the man God gave her as His special gift and she made darn sure he knew it! She was by Claudie’s side as he entered heavens gates and was greeted by the Savior.

The orphanage got his first name right as it turned out, Claude, but his birthday wasn’t what they told him. For years he had lived life with the wrong name and wrong date of birth. He just figured it was all part of life and moved on. He had stopped trying to find his relatives years before after so much disappointment and hopes dashed but he did finally find his original birth certificate – Claude Albert Cass – my beloved husband of eighteen years.

I hope they celebrate Christmas in heaven.

Merry Christmas

~~~~

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Are we Christians gutless wonders?

I have been reading a book that has stopped me in my tracks as different issues are being brought out. It has practically caused me headaches in that it has made me think so hard about what we as Christians have allowed to take place in our society.

Even though the book is a novel, parts are backed up with scripture, it has touched on areas that cause me to suck in my breath, stop reading, and meditate on. There are some areas that we as Christians have not only allowed to happen but continue to allow and to grow. It makes me think of the years when I was growing up. How it was so much more simple than what we adults face today and what our children face and will face in the future.

As Christians we are supposed to be Christ followers. Not “religious,” not “pew warmers,” not Easter and Christmas Christians. We are to follow the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and we are to pass those teachings on to others. Okay, some do. But on a whole do we speak out and stand up for what is right in the eyes of God? I don’t think so!

Before you start screaming at me think about how it was when you were growing up. Particularly if you’re over 50. With our hand over our heart we stood before the American flag and said the Pledge of Allegiance before school classes began. Now, it’s a legal battle to be able to do that in our schools today. Why? Because we did not stand up to those organizations that declared it was wrong!

Think about prayer. Back then we could pray wherever we wanted, whenever we wanted, and as loud as we wanted, and many times others would join in on our prayers. Laws are being passed by the dozens now that we cannot pray in school, Christian groups are being banned from being a school activity, if a prayer group is organized in a nursing home by the elderly the A.C.L.U. is there threatening lawsuits. A child is not allowed to talk or write about their belief in Jesus Christ and many Christmas programs are being cancelled because of the name of Jesus. The old “church versus state” garbage! Read the constitution! We’re being deceived and we’re keeping quiet about it!

Schools have replaced “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays” on their marquis signs. Instead of “Christmas break” its now called “Winter Break.” Nativity scenes aren’t allowed on various properties and stores have become “politically correct” by refraining from displaying “Merry Christmas” or playing Christmas music through their P.A. systems. They say they, “don’t want to offend anyone.” Well folks, they are offending 86% * of Americans!  Why are they getting away with it? Because we Christians have sat back, shut our mouths, and let them!

Pastors are now being threatened and as a result some are toning back on their sermons. They’re afraid of being sued or the government coming after them. I won’t say they are compromising the truth, they are just scared to tell it all. It’s easier to tell people what they want to hear than rattle their cages with a bit of confrontation about their sins.

What about the news media? We have allowed the radio stations, T.V. stations, and newspapers (what’s left of them) to spout the rhetoric of government bull to change what we always thought was right to what is now absolutely and totally wrong in God’s eyes. Christian programs have been cancelled, sex scenes, dope smoking and same-sex kissing, vulgarity has replaced the wholesome movies we used to be able to view. Why? Because we changed the channel instead of screaming bloody murder. Now we complain that there’s nothing decent on T.V. anymore.

We Christians have sat back and allowed, not only our government, but the media, Hollywood, to tell us, and convince many, that homosexual “marriage” and homosexual behavior is okay. Not only that but we’re called “homophobic” if we disagree! We’re attacked and called  “insensitive”  so we’ve stepped back and allowed what God calls “an abomination” (Lev. 18:22, Lev. 20:13, Duet. 22;5)  “A perversion,” (Ro.1:26-27, Lev. 18:22) and “detestable” (Lev.20:13-16) to become acceptable and legal in several states.

Businesses are being sued because their Christian owners will not forsake their Christian beliefs. They refuse to compromise the Word of God. Good for them! At least some of us has a back bone!

We have allowed 3.3 % *of the American population, the homosexual population, to dictate what is wrong in God’s eyes to what is being pushed as acceptable and “normal” across this land. Yet 86%*of the American population profess to be Christians.  A mere 14% of Americans, non-believers, are dictating what we Christians should be standing up and speaking out and pressing in against! Why aren’t we?

What about abortion? We sat silent when Roe versus Wade was passed into law and now we’re still silent while we sit on our couches and thousands upon thousands of babies are murdered and we continue to groan quietly. One woman started that ball rolling! Think what would have happened if the conglomerate of the church had stood together against it.

We’ve elected a president that advocates those things the Lord our God abhors! Don’t tell me it was all non-believers who voted in this man! Christians lined the polls anxious for “change.” Well we got it brothers and sisters. And its our own fault! Now we’re paying for selective abortions, premeditated murder, whether we want to or not! Now pastors are being sued if they refuse to “marry” a same sex couple or quote scripture about homosexuality.

I could go on for another book-length list of what we Christians have allowed because we have become complacent. We can blame the Democrats. We can blame the Republicans. We can blame the presidents and Congress, Senate, etc. But the blame lays solely and squarely in our own laps!

We have sat back with our holier than thou attitudes and professed to be Christ followers as we moan and groan about what’s happening in our world instead of standing up, shouting to the world that we are not going to follow the dictates of a self-serving, power-hungry government or the likes of those who advocate what is against God’s Word.

God is not happy with His church! How do I know that? REPENT, REPENT, REPENT. That is what Christ has been calling us to do for generations and now so much more than probably ever before.

I am not advocating that all the problems in America are due to complacent Christians but there are many areas that we as the church can stand against and have a huge influence on. 86% of Americans have a voice so we need to stop groaning and trying to be “politically correct,” and stand up for what the Lord’s teachings are.

How can we do that? We can elect officials that are Bible believing people and seek God’s wisdom. We can confront the manager of the store that refuses to display “Merry Christmas” or insists their employees greet with “Happy Holiday.” Mom’s and grandma’s and teacher’s can confront the schools principles or board of education about the constitutional rights of our students. If our rights as a Christian is being denied we have Christian organizations that will help us defend those rights.  And above all, pray, pray, pray.

We are called to be light unto the world and if we sit back and say or do nothing out of fear of reprisal from those who are atheists, “gay rights,” “pro-choice” groups, the movie industry, or biased media we are just as much to blame for the downfall of our country as they are. In fact we are even more to blame because “Greater is He who is in you than He that is in the world.”

~~~~~

“He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that He may judge His people.” Ps. 50:4

*Statistics Portal percentages for 2013

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