Lessons from the Manger

It never gets old!  I was listening to a sermon by Andy Stanley and he was talking about the difference Christmas is compared to a child and an adult.  To the children, it never gets here quick enough and Christmas Eve is the longest evening of the year as you wait for the BIG day!  To the adult, there is never enough time.  “How did it get to be here so quickly this year?”  “I was going to be more prepared this year!” Do you remember the anticipation as a child?  The waiting. The counting down of the days. Growing up we had an Advent calendar in which we kept little candy canes.  I remember wanting to cheat and sneak an extra one out at different times, but not for the candy.  But this would not make time go faster.  It is interesting as a child; I had difficulty waiting even though I knew when Christmas was coming.  Compare this with the Biblical characters that were waiting on the Messiah to come, yet they had no idea when it was.  They seemed more patient than I was and still am.  The temptation as adults is to treat Christmas as just another holiday and make do big deal about it.  But those in the Bible who were waiting did make a big deal about it.  So shouldn’t we?  This December we will look at
“Lessons from the Manger.”  We will learn from those of the past.  We will seek to grow in our appreciation of what the Manger means to us still today.  Just because it happened several thousands of years ago, does not mean it has gotten old – It never gets old!

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Another life cut short…

I am reminded of the gift of life. Too many diseases, too many deaths, too many things that pull away from God and HIS desire and design. There is a little girl with Cleveland ties who is fighting her battle for life. The doctors have exhausted their knowledge in what to do. They have sent her home – to die. Only by the power and grace of God does she continue to breathe right now. I hear of too many stories that have that familiar ring to them. While I go to sleep tonight with my family all snug in their beds, I restlessly know that some families are fighting to believe in God because of the situation of a child. If I were God, I would hear their prayers and answer their desires, but that is because as a god I would be nearsighted. While I know the truth of the Holy Scriptures, and at the same time, believe in those same Scriptures for they give me hope, comfort and promise of something more, I struggle with the view from here. If there is a God who IS love, than HIS heart has to break more than mine does as HE sees much more than I! [BTW – there is a God and HIS Name is LOVE.] I believe in this God of love so deeply. I also know deep down in my heart that this little girl will experience something better than life here – period. There is nothing more to say about that- honestly. My problem is I want to spare some of the pain – and I can’t, and God won’t. It is not because HE doesn’t care, but all because HE cares more than you and I could ever know. And since HE is an all-knowing God, HE knows far more than you and me combined (Isaiah 55:8-9). So while you and I are left here to deal with the pain and the promise, may we not cling to here, but long deeply, even more so, for there!