Sunday, December 9, 2018

Sunday's Thought!

"A Charlie Brown Christmas!"
(C) The News and Observer

For some reason, there seems to be something different about this Christmas season. Not sure what it is or why it is or what. Maybe, I am getting old and immune to all the craziness of the commercialized Christmas which seems to be so inundating and overwhelming each year it's ridiculous.

For me, it seems like I’m missing my parents more this year than last. As they say, you don’t really “get over” the loss of a family member, you just adjust and learn to move on. Fortunately for me, memories of my parents bring back a lot of good memories and fun traditions.

This past week, I decided to re-live one of my favorite traditions from childhood with my wife and two furry boys! A “Charlie Brown Christmas” was scheduled to come on TV Thursday evening. The cartoon is one of the few Christmas programs which I will plan to sit and watch it. Every single second of it. Not miss one moment. There is something awesome about this show that has kept my attention for nearly 50 years.

The plan for Thursday evening was to get our favorite snacks ready for us and a few for the boys and sit in front of the TV. This, of course, brought back the memories of snacks and family time years ago. However, instead of popcorn, soda, candy bars, cheese and the like, I had milk and popcorn which was supposed to be healthier than other treats. My wife had treats which were healthy too. And, I never give my boys any treats or food which aren’t good for a dog or cat to have.

We all gathered around the TV, turned out all the lights, turned the volume up on TV and began watching a cartoon from the 1960s! I enjoyed this, it was my family and I was enjoying the start of the Christmas season. For me, it’s not Christmas until I see the show.

After the show was over, I couldn’t help by why I enjoy the show so much. Why is it so special to me to watch it? Why did I remember it was coming on that night after learning it was coming on a week ago. I seem to forget things pretty easily these days so to remember that was unusual.

I think it’s because “A Charlie Brown Christmas” takes me back to a simpler time. When Christmas was a celebration celebrated by everyone with simple decorations and presents and a sacred time of Christ’s Birth. When a gift from family, a co-worker or friends meant something special.

One of my favorite scenes is where Charlie Brown asks, “Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” Linus replies,

Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about! And there were in
the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: 
and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto 
you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day
 in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'" Luke 2:8-14 KJV

A moment often missed in Linus’s telling Charlie Brown about the real meaning of Christmas is very subtly done. Linus drops his blanket and leaves it until he’s finished and returns to stand by Charlie Brown. 

I hadn’t noticed this intentional dropping of the blanket until another a Christian writer shared it on a post last month. Before reading his post, I thought the significance of the moment is to share how our “security” is in Jesus Christ’s Birth and His saving us from our fears. The words “Fear not” mean just that- do not fear.
After Linus says part, the rest of the cast seems to realize there is more to Christmas than the trees, decorations, and gifts. They decorate the tree which Charlie Brown had purchased and shout “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown!”

The Birth of Jesus Christ brought salvation to man. Christ would live a life of ministry in helping others, loving others and sharing how we are to live. He dies for our sins so we can have eternal life in heaven with Him.

If you would like to learn more about Christian life and becoming a Christian, please visit Peace With God.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Wednesday's Words! Encouragement from God's Word

Christmas
(C) Allen Pearson

"She will bear a son,
and you shall call his name
Jesus, for he will save his 
people from their sins."

- Matthew 1:21

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Sunday's Thought!


Christmas
"The Nativity"
Photo by Gareth Harper on Unsplash

Merry Christmas! It seems like I may have already wished you Merry Christmas. I know that's not possible because I rarely start wishing people Merry Christmas until Thanksgiving. The retailers started decorating their stores before the children went back to school and it seems like I've been bombarded with Christmas advertising since almost that far back. And, the Hallmark channel seems to have been counting down their Christmas movie marathon since the last one ended. I'm sure you've heard this before, Christmas has become way too commercialized. Its taken the true meaning of the season away.

Around this time of year, I begin thinking about whether I have bought the gifts I need to buy or do I need to buy someone something? I don't want to forget my wife and there are a few friends I don't want to forget either. Also, I start thinking about what decorations I will use this year and when to put them up. So, I keep the season simple enough to enjoy while making sure not to forget those so very important to me.

Thus, begins another Christmas season. Before long, the night sky will be lit by all the lights and decorations making such a beautiful celebration. Driving through the neighborhood and even some cities are sights to behold.

However, the season is more about the Birth of Jesus, loving your fellow man, sharing gifts with those you love than giving the most expensive gift you can find or decorating to the hilt!

Years ago, I used to get stressed out about the Christmas season because I wasn't comfortable with giving presents to everyone in the office or participating in some of their holiday games or parties. It was because the season is a special time of celebration for me, one I celebrate with family and close friends. Once I came to the realization that Christmas is what it is for me, a celebration of Christ's Birth, I began enjoying it much more.

Unfortunately, Christmas can be a time of loneliness and maybe even despair. Sometimes, people who cannot afford to buy everyone they know or work with a gift, they become depressed or sad because they need the money for something more important like food, living expenses and the like. I know for me, sometimes I feel lonely because my parents are deceased and gone to Heaven.

Christmas is about the Birth of Jesus Christ and celebrating it. We give gifts to those we love because we want to do so. For me, I love receiving a small handmade gift from a friend. I have a small nativity a friend made about 30 years ago. I keep it because it was made from the heart. Though my parents are gone, I may get together with some friends to celebrate. I don't make myself do this, since I'm really more of an introvert, but it's a happy way to celebrate Christ's Birth.

If you are stressing about another Christmas season being here and having to go into debt to buy all those Christmas presents or are feeling really lonely, take the time to meet Jesus during this season. Learning more about Jesus and becoming a Christian isn't the "cure all" for everything that ails you but He will bless you and make your life awesome. A journey of life which words, written or spoken, cannot even be to explain.

It all begins with accepting Christ as your personal Savior. If you would like to learn more about Jesus and the Christian life, please visit Peace With God.