Come and see what God has done. Come and meet our Savior Jesus laying in a manger. God’s love wrapped in cloths laying in a feeding trough for animals showing us God’s ways are not our ways. Jesus left his throne in heaven to be born as a human baby in humble surroundings.
That is what we celebrate at Christmas time the miracle of the virgin birth of Jesus. We celebrate Jesus emptying himself of his glory to become our Savior as Philippians 2 says:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,
There is no Lord or King like Jesus. Jesus left heaven to be born as a human baby to become our Savior. Isaiah 61 shows the purpose of Jesus our King coming to earth. Consider these aspects- proclaim good news to the poor, bind (strengthen) the brokenhearted, freedom for captives. comfort all who mourn.
Jesus is the Lord of Lords. He is Lord of all. He has all power and is intentional about bringing healing to our souls and spirits.
The real meaning of Christmas is Jesus leaving his throne in heaven to become a human baby to become our Savior and bring healing to our lives. He has promised to always be with us. The King has come and he wants to bring healing to our lives if we will receive him.
December is here and bring on winter. I am ready for snow, I want to see what it is like to drive in the snow in my new vehicle that is a SUV. I am ready for snow days off from school, so I can stay home and watch movies.
December is here and goodbye to November. I do not want to go through a month like last month again. I had bronchitis most of the month and then there was that short hospital stay.
December is here and bring on Christmas Break. I am so looking forward to having a few weeks with nothing to do except meet with refugee/immigrant friends and do some writing.
December is here and hopefully it brings opportunities to share Jesus with my refugee/immigrant friends, The best part of Christmas for me is the way it opens opportunities to share Jesus with friends from other cultures who are curious about Christianity.
December is here. Are you ready for winter, Christmas, and a new month?
It feels like I blinked and suddenly it is almost Christmas. After spending most of November having bronchitis, and now feeling healthy, tomorrow will be December 1st- as in twenty four days until Christmas. It is not an issue of shopping or decorating for me.
Shopping for me takes a few minutes on Amazon ordering things to be delivered. I never decorate or have a Christmas tree. So for me it is not about the trappings of the holiday.
What I was not ready for was the focus on celebrating the birth of Jesus. I have never enjoyed the holiday season, but love celebrating the birth of our Savior through writing in my blog, church services, and my prayer time. Inviting my refugee/immigrant friends to Christmas Eve service has always been a highlight for me.
This time of year I seek to be intentional about keeping my focus on celebrating Jesus not the holiday. Focusing on the holiday and its empty promises without focusing on Jesus can lead to depression and other problems. I think of the lyric of the song Have Yourself A Merry Christmas- “next year all of our troubles will be out of sight.” Focusing on the holiday as some magical time of year leads to problems.
Focusing on Jesus and why he was born leads to experiencing God in our lives. Focusing on Jesus is realistic especially when I think of what Jesus said in John 16:33:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Jesus never made empty promises. He was very clear that this life will be problematic. He was also very clear that he will always be with those who believe in him, so we never face life’s problems alone.
So for me when I say it feels like I blinked and its Christmas time, what I am talking about is that after fighting bronchitis for most of November, suddenly it’s time to focus on celebrating the birth of Jesus and all that means.
Are you ready to celebrate the birth of our Savior?
Yesterday after my follow up appointment at the doctor, the logical thing to do was to have a cheeseburger for lunch. At least in my mind it was totally logical. So I went to a place in my city called Honest Abe’s. The location I went to is in a strip mall close to the neighborhood I grew up in here.
After lunch, I noticed something. 100% of the stores that were a part of my childhood and teen years are gone. There is no resemblance to the neighborhood strip mall that I knew. Geiers Bakery is now the burger place. Blevins Pharmacy is now a skin care place, The old grocery store is now a hardware store. I am rarely in that part of the city and only went there because it was the closest burger place to my doctor’s office. Perhaps that is why it grabbed my attention that nothing is left of my childhood and teen days there.
Then the thought hit me that I also bear no resemblance to the person I was as a child or as a teen and not just physically. Gone is the angry teen who only cared about partying. Gone is the child who felt no hope. Gone is the young man who saw no purpose to life.
Jesus has literally transformed me and my life. All of those years ago, I would have never imagined I would have a ministry for refugees and immigrants and be teaching ESL.
Jesus can do wonderful things with a life given to him. He brings new things to our lives. He changes us and our desires in life. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
I know from where I came and how far Jesus has brought me in life. Every blog post I write, every class I teach, every refugee/immigrant I help, is a testimony to the power of Jesus working in my life over the years.
Whatever situation we find ourselves in, everything is possible with God. As we enter the Christmas season, the birth of Jesus itself speaks of the power of God to make the impossible possible. Mary was a virgin when she conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit. No man was involved.
God is the God of the impossible. In Jesus lives are turned around, breakthroughs happen, people are transformed. When we pray, we are praying to the One who has ALL POWER.
When I was first taken to my hospital room last Sunday, I shared with the nurse it all seemed so sudden and freaky. In an attempt to put me at ease, she pointed to the monitor I was connected to and let me know that they could see what the monitor was showing in their nurses station and also in another location in the hospital where they were monitoring all patients on the floor.
My reaction was two fold. First I wanted to get out of there thinking if it is that bad I don’t want to have it. The second, and saner one, was the it did put me at ease knowing I was being watched over by more than one person.
Psalm 33:18 says:
But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love
God is always watching over us. There is never a moment that we are not in his sight. There is comfort in knowing that God is always watching over his people.
Dear reader, wherever we go, whatever we are doing, whatever difficulty we are facing, God is watching over us. He has us in his hands.
It is a phenomenon that most Americans do not understand. It happens every four years. I have observed it many times over my years of working with refugees and immigrants. What is it? It is the obsession with World Cup Soccer-or as the rest of world calls it- Futbol.
It happened again yesterday. I met my friend Luis from El Salvador for lunch at a Hispanic restaurant. Sure enough the match between Holland and Ecuador was on the TV. During our whole lunch time, Luis was mesmerized by the match on TV. It consumed all of his attention. I am not sure if he will remember any of our conversation.
The only thing that might compare in the USA is college football as it pertains to the team one cheers for. I used to plan my weekends around the games my team played in. But if my team was not playing, my interest was not so strong.
I should mention that El Salvador does not have a team in the World Cup. Nevertheless, Luis was completely enraptured by the match on TV.
It made me wonder what would happen in my life if I was as enthralled by time with Jesus as Luis is with World Cup Soccer. What if I watched and prayed like he watches the soccer matches. What a difference it could make in my life.
I like to joke with soccer fans that soccer is in the bible and then show them Philippians 3:14:
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Press on toward the goal-as in soccer goal. Okay I hear that groan. 🙂
But the principle of having that kind of passion for Jesus is my point. He defeated death for us. He died for all of our sins. His love for us is eternal. God has called us to follow Jesus. There is no greater honor or calling.
Thanksgiving has come and gone already. It feels like it zipped on past me quickly. It was nice to spend time with friends last night sharing friendship and delicious food. But it is over now. The rest of the world will be full speed ahead to Christmas, but I am not ready for it. I do not mean about shopping. That is a five minute thing for me on Amazon.
I wonder how many crazy people will wait outside in the cold to be the first ones in the stores for shopping. How many will be sane and do it all online like me. 🙂
I feel like calling this year My Chronic Christmas as in chronic illness.. I have a follow up appointment with my GP next week to follow up on my recent hospital stay. I have a rheumatology appointment on Dec. 21st and a follow up appointment with the cardiologist on the 23rd. I also have a MRI sometime before the rheumatology appointment.
So that is four medical things before Christmas. UGH.
The one good thing about Christmas, the best thing, is that it is a reminder that Jesus left heaven to be born as a human baby, so he could be Immanuel-God With Us. I am grateful Jesus is with me at medical appointments.
Are you ready for the whole Christmas holiday thing?
It had been several days since I last went to the coffee shop due to having bronchitis. With my lungs clearing up and feeling somewhat recovered from cardioversion this week, it was time to go.
With it being the day before Thanksgiving yesterday, as expected, they were not very busy. But still just getting out and about felt good. The coffee mug was appropriate for the occasion with a picture of a cello etched into it. The sound of coffee brewing is the music of my people. 🙂
So many things to be grateful for this Thanksgiving, my classes that I teach, my students, my Ukrainian friends. my Sunday morning Hispanic friends, a good car, opportunities even in the hospital to share Jesus, and much more. God has been good to me.
I would like to wish my blogging friends a Happy Thanksgiving Day. May it be filled with blessings.