Luke, Chapter 2

On this last column for you before Christmas, there are no visions of sugar plums dancing through my head as the classic Night Before Christmas describes, but a lot of possibilities all over the block. Let's go!

First, the Advent season when we celebrate the weeks before Christmas is coming to a close. Advent points to the coming of Jesus to be born, the incarnate Christ, to be born and redeem His people from sin. But there will be a second Advent one day when Christ comes again, which He will. For many of us, we believe it will be soon. Our world continues to be edging toward a brink. There are no prophecies that need fulfilled before His coming in the Rapture. One need only look at our world and see where its heading. There is rampant famine, America is torn by so many issues and a recession and impeachment could be looming. Europe is torn apart and Russia and China are militarizing at rapid rates. Terrorism and the problems with Iran and North Korea continue. And the persecution of Christians is rampant. This week in China, the communist government renewed attacks on Christians; churches, pastors, and parishioners were arrested. Bibles are burned, jail sentences are given. It is rampant. Here in America, our moral decline continues and accelerates.

Jesus is coming again. The key question is whether we will be ready and will be found living for Him. It is why the Christmas Story is so important. Jesus came for one purpose, to save us, to redeem us. Hence, He was destined to one day go to the Cross for us. On this Christmas and as the New Year looms, it is imperative that you don’t just know the story, but know Him.

On another front, as I so often sit with my dad in the Care Center, we share stories, listen to music and talk of the old days. All of us have Christmas memories that touch us so deeply. My dad and I shared stories this week about USO shows that came into being in the early WW2 days and how much these meant to GI's. Wherever there were and are American service men and women, USO gave and give a touch of home. They were and are difference makers. Please pray for our service men and women this Christmas and those who take a bit of home to them.

My dad and I shared, too, the listening of the wonderful Christmas classic, “White Christmas”, written by a young Jewish man from New York City who had been born in Czarist Russia. It was put to paper in 1941 and put in front of Bing Crosby, who made it the perpetual classic when it also appeared in my late wife Diane's and mine, favorite Christmas movie... “Holiday Inn.” That young writer was Irving Berlin. The song captivated everyone but especially service men and women, for it told what so many of them and us yearned for... simple treasures and memories of Christmasses past where treetops glistened and children dreamed of Santa and snowfall gently falling on Christmas Eve. Oh for the simplicity of life again where home, family, faith, and special memories dominated our thoughts and not shopping sprees and holiday parties where celebrating this sacred day becomes an excuse for getting blitzed.

Finally, through a myriad of things are still rolling through my head, I want to say to all of you that though we all have special memories of Christmas, Christmas should be forward looking. It is, I truly believe, a season of miracles, and was, right from the start with Jesus' birth and all that happened with it. The world is full of miracles and hope because of Him who we call Immanuel.

Many of you are in need of a miracle in your life. Remember that Jesus, that little boy born in that stable in Bethlehem, was the same person who healed the sick, the broken hearted, and downtrodden. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He loves you and is faithful always. My prayer for you and yours this Christmas is to spend some time in church, in prayer and alone with Him.

The Wise Men gave Him special gifts. Why don’t you give Him your life and love and devotion. That is what He wants. In return, He will meet your needs and shower you with His love and eternal life. It all began on a silent night, a holy night. Follow His star, follow His leading. If you do, Christmas will burn in your heart always as you know and love Him more each day.

May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope...the spirit of Christmas which is peace,and the heart of Christmas which is love.

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