Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Yeah for Christmas, and breaks from school, and sleeping in, and good food, and whatever. yeah, basically this is like another round of Thanksgiving for me. The only downside is that I miss all my friends. Why couldn't y'all come to Canada for Christmas? We had a White Christmas.  . . Just sayin.
Anyway, I must say that my favourite part of Christmas is probably the music. I am a music freak--gotta  admit. There is something different about listening to a congergation sing Angels From the Realms of Glory. There is something special about the singing that takes place in December as opposed to the other 11 months of the year. I can't put my finger on it exactly. But praising God takes on a whole new meaning when you consider all He did this month. Seriously. Think about it. When you consider all that God did, knowing what was going to happen, it will blow your mind. God and Jesus both--in this month (or whenever it actually happened, probably not December) gave up incredible things for us.
God gave up His only Son. He knew that His Son would be rejected on earth, and would eventually die. He also knew that His only Son, whom He loved more than anything else, would carry the sin of the world. God the Father would have to turn His back on God the Son. He would have to reject Him.  
God the Son knew that by coming to earth, He was coming to die. He didnt' have the assurance that everything was going to be ok--in fact, He knew it was going to be just the opposite. He was leaving a wonderful home in Heaven where He had angels bowing to His every command, worshipping Him, and serving Him. He had no physical limitations. No humanity. Never being tired and hungry. He was surrounded by perfection. He gave that all up to live in a sin-cursed earth. He gave up the angels to live in a family that was anything but. He traded streets of Gold for streets of sand. Kind of a rotten trade. But He knew that He had to so we could have a relationship with Him.
I think that is why singing at Christmas time is so special. We are praising the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We are remembering His birth. 
Remember, the greatest gift of all wasn't put under a tree, but nailed to a tree. Remember that the whole Christmas story--the Babe in the manger--is only the beginning. It isn't a separate event. That cute little baby on the Christmas card is the same person on the cross.
Check out this link--it is humorous, but makes a good point.
just, dont' forget.
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The person not mentioned in the Christmas Story

So I was in Sunday School this past Sunday (Obviously Sunday, not another day, since it was Sunday school.) OK, so forgive me--my brain is fried because I've been studying for exams for like ever. Anyway, we were doing Christmas jeopardy, and one of the questions was: "What did the innkeeper say to Mary and Joseph?"
Answer 1: No room in the inn (Wrong)
Answer 2: What is no room in the inn? (Wrong)
Answer 3: There was no innkeeper.
That is the correct answer. Give her a piece of candy.
Wait! Did I just say that? There wasn't an innkeeper? Well, obviously, there had to be an innkeeper. There was an inn, we know. And it wasn't a free hotel. There had to be someone hanging out there doing the cleaning and taking care of animals and food and money and stuff. But did you realize that he is not ever mentioned in the Bible? There is nothing about his complaining about all the people and how King David would be horrified to see his home town disgraced this way. He doesn't regretfully tell them to leave since he is filled up, then changes his mind, goes running after them, and shows them to a stable, providing clean clothes.
He is not even mentioned.
Luke 2: the classic Christmas story says--
verse 6 & 7--and so it was that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first born son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes. Because there was no room for them in the inn.
Verse 8: and there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields . . .
There are only 5 mentions of an inn in our Bible. Only 2 of them are in the NT (both in Luke), and one of them is this chapter. (The other one is about the good Samaritan).  
So, I totally had this whole post planned out in my mind last night, but between studying for my early childhood ed class and hermeneutics, I completely forgot what I was going to say. So this is being winged, which, when I think about it, is actually how i do a lot of stuff.
The innkeeper. We know he exists. He did play an important part in this story.  Sort of. I mean, he gave Jesus His first bed. In a stable. He gave Jesus the feeding trough. But he was willing to give when no one else would/could.
Think about it. Did he do a good thing? yes! HE let a pregnant mother give birth in his barn.
Did he do what was best? No. Of course, you could argue, he didn't know the King of kings and Lord of lords was going to be born in his barn. No, but he knew a baby was going to be born in his barn. You could also argue that Mary and Joseph were a poor couple--he could tell by looking at them that they wouldn't be able to pay the (probably much higher than normal) rates per night. It would be a money loss for him to turn out another paying guest for this couple that would not be able to pay him much at all.
Before you judge him, how often have you done this? Done something "good" instead of something better? Like the innkeeper--sacrificed having Jesus being born in his Inn and let him be born in his barn. It was good of him to give up the barn, would have been better for him to give up a room.
how often do we do this? Sacrifice best for good. Study some because we know we will pass when we should study a ton to reach the next letter grade. Hang out with a friend and do some spiritual encouraging when we should be hanging out with the God of the universe? Do you know what I mean???
This Christmas, focus on doing what is best instead of settling for what is good. You may not always know exactly what God has in store, but trust Him anyways!