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Friday, November 25, 2005

'tis the season

I'm sipping "winter tea" from my Christmas house teapot. I'm baking banana bread, washing the dishes, doing the laundry, and soon I'll pay the bills. Tomorrow I will compose the Christmas letter, after knocking myself out decorating today. Yes, it's the day after Thanksgiving, and I'm getting geared up for what has become one of the most secularized holidays of the year. Frankly, I can understand why some so-called Christian cults decide not to celebrate these things.

Let me be Scrooge for a moment and remind us all that Christmas (the date) is never mentioned in Scripture. And those who have studied the signs of the times much deeper than I have, have determined that Jesus' birth probably took place in the spring. We have the early Catholic church to thank for lining up our current Christmas celebration with the pagan festival of lights. For good reason, of course. The pagans were not wanting to give up their holidays, so why not just overlay a Christian meaning to them? After all Jesus IS the light of the world.

I'm sad that Thanksgiving gets no more than a shelf space in any store. We go straight from the totally pagan Halloween, to a quickly slipping Christmas -- buried in buying, complete with signs and TV specials touting "the true meaning of Christmas." We have ceased to be a thankful nation. A thankful people. And me -- a thankful person. We want to head from candy to gifts, with little thought to thankfulness in between.

This is an exercise in preaching to myself. I'm every bit as guilty (except for the fact that I have nixed Halloween for several years). It will take concerted effort to not succumb to all the commercialization. I will have to take time out each day to remind myself that Christians celebrate Christmas because of God's gift of grace and mercy bundled up in the baby Jesus.

Christians don't celebrate Muslim holidays. Nor buddhist, nor shinto, etc etc. Why then, have we allowed our Savior to be secularized and his birth overshadowed by elves, trees, blow-up snowmen, and "holiday" greetings? I'd ask the question: couldn't we just keep Him to ourselves? That sounds foolish. We don't keep Jesus to ourselves because we are supposed to share the gospel. How do we do this when everyone around us is celebrating a holiday that has totally lost its significance spiritually?

Okay, maybe some little things:
1-when the well-meaning checkout person says "Happy Holidays" return with "Merry Christmas!"
2-Bake some cookies for your neighbors in the shape of a star, a tree, an angel, a heart, and a bell. Attach the Christmas story in the form of a 3x5 card telling of the significance of each symbol. If you need the story and symbolism, let me know.
3-Reinstate that quaint practice of Christmas carolling around the neighborhood.
4-Also, spend some time thinking about what the world would be like if we had not been given the gift of Jesus. Wow - too mind boggling to even write.

So what will I do today? Yep, I'll get out the tree, because it is a symbol of eternity. And I'll light it, as a symbol of Jesus being the light of the world. And I will have nativities all over the house, because THAT is what Christmas is about.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Nudge, Nudge. Wink, Wink.

My last blog was about not having blogged in a long time, so what do I do for an encore? Britany was kind enough to remind me that I hadn't blogged in a while. And I just got an email from a friend in England yesterday who said she was going to reinstate her blog, so ... I should get rolling off my blog.

I like using the blog as a journal, but then I'm opening myself up to the world, and someone is liable to get hurt! Me? You?

This past weekend, I was allowed to attend -- via the generosity of my employer -- the National Media Prayer Breakfast in Hollywood. It is put on by MasterMedia, a group that seeks to befriend Hollywood in the name of Jesus. It was quite encouraging to actually PRAY at the prayer breakfast!

After the breakfast, Mark and I visited the west coast office of Questar, Inc. and were treated to a lunch near the Warner Brothers Studios. Boy, do I miss California! We've talked about "retiring" there. Two problems with that scenario... we don't plan to retire, and we don't have the money for CA living!!!

So, here I sit at my desk, when my real love is for the family. Wishing I could visit with them more often. Make things and send them. Teach a Bible study. Volunteer at the local crisis pregnancy center. Get creative and be in a talent show. Okay, maybe not. Or even run a business of creative pursuits from home. Almost anything but an 82-mile round trip commute, feeling that I'm not in my element.

However -- and that is a BIG however -- I KNOW for a fact that God opened the door for me to be here. So there must be a ripple that I'm creating by being here, that God will use for His kingdom. Right? In the meantime, I will continue to work, and smile, and be here, and find ways that God might be teaching me and using me.

Prayers appreciated.