Monday, December 24, 2007


In 1861 an elderly American was filled with sorrow at the tragic death of his wife in a fire. The Civil War broke out that same year, adding to his sorrow. Two years later this man again knew sadness when his own son was seriously wounded as a lieutenant in the Army of the Potomac.

And so it was on Christmas Day in 1863, upon hearing church bells ringing loudly and clearly, that poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, author of Paul Revere's Ride, Song of Hiawatha, and others, wrote the words to this fine Christmas song, a song we don't sing often enough:

I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old familiar carols play, 
And wild and sweet the words repeat Of “Peace on earth, good will to men.”

And in despair I bowed my head; “There is no peace on earth,” I said, 
For hate is strong and mocks the song Of “Peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep.”
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, With “Peace on earth, good will to men.”

At this Christmas time, whether you are in sorrow or in joy, please know that God is not dead, nor is He asleep. He knows your every need and longs to comfort you and be the friend and Savior you need. Seek Him this season, and He will give your life meaning and your heart peace. For His is the real and true peace, the peace that surpasses all human understanding, the peace that comes because you know your sins are forgiven.

A peace-filled Christmas to you all.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Did you make a shopping list this year? Did you include Jesus on it? What do you think Jesus would want for Christmas? What would be on His "shopping list"? Here's a few things I think He might like:

1. Keep His name in Christmas
2. Call it a Christmas tree, no matter who started it or why it came in to being
3. Don't worry about the neighbors; put up His nativity outdoors anyway
4. Send a letter of encouragement to a soldier spending Christmas far from home and pray for His protection
5. Instead of complaining about our government leaders, ask Him to bless them
6. Share His love with someone in a nursing home
7. Tell your children about Him and why He came to be their Savior
8. Forgive somebody who has hurt you this past year
9. Support one of His missionaries with prayers and more
10. Buy a gift for someone He loves who really needs one

It'd be a better world if we gave at least Him some of these, right?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


We Americans live in an age that prides itself in logical explanations for everything. We are a materialistic people and nowhere is this more apparent than in these days that lead up to Christmas. C.S. Lewis once said that our greatest human problem is not that we ask too much out of life but rather that we expect too little. "We are far too easily pleased," said Lewis. How true! How many people, young or old, believe happiness will come if they just get (or give) the correct gift, or attend the right party, or meet the right person.

Advent and Christmas are not about logical explanations or materialism. They are about giving people hope. William Willimon wrote, "Hope tells us that there is more to life than meets the eye. Hope tells us that there is more to the past than history can tell us. There is more going on in the present moment than we know. There is more to our relationships to one another than we are aware." True hope is found in Jesus, Son of God and son of man.

Two days ago gunmen took precious human life, killing people in Colorado churches. They felt their reasons warranted such actions; they apparently had lost all hope in other means. Our sinful world can do that. It can rob us of joy and kill our hope. But Advent can bring us new hope. If we look away from ourselves for just a moment and towards the God who loved the world enough to forgive our sins, then perhaps we can retrieve some of the hope we need for daily life and survival.

Advent and Christmas are paradoxes today. They are grounded in Biblical prophesy and the promises of God, yet seem evident only in the glitz and glitter of Madison Avenue. Advent and Christmas are grounded in a real faith in the one true God, a God loving and generous to sinners. This Advent and Christmas, God once again invites us to take a journey to capture the hope we can never find under the tree or at the party.

This Advent and Christmas God invites us to leave our predictable world of Santa Claus and enter the risky world of trust in His promises. He invites us to hear His servants Isaiah and Mary as they proclaim the mystery of the Word became flesh, the God who became a human being so He could lead His people through a sea of despair and into the Promised Land of grace and mercy. Those who heed His invitation will find joy and peace that surpass all human understanding.

There's no logical explanation of how this will happen, even as there is no logical explanation for the evil that men may do during this time of year. God's love defies logic, for it comes from His nature. The true God, the God who made heaven and earth, is the God who is love wrapped up in the man Jesus Christ.

Thank You, O Lord, for our Savior Jesus,