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Archive for December 2016

It Didn’t Feel A Lot Like Christmas

This morning I heard the song “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”. Although this Christmas season looked a lot like Christmas, it didn’t feel a lot like Christmas to me. I can’t pinpoint why this is the case. I read an advent devotional and two other books on the meaning of Christmas this holiday season. I told the Biblical account of the Christmas story many times and our small group did a study on the birth of Jesus; yet it still didn’t feel a lot like Christmas to me. Perhaps it’s because of the busyness of life right now. Maybe it’s because the Nebraska weather has been unseasonable warm. Perhaps it has to do with the anxiety and uncertainty of the new year. Or maybe, just maybe, my mind and heart were not focused on the season. Whatever the case, I was just going through the motions this Christmas season. It did not feel a lot like Christmas.

As, I heard the classic Christmas song mentioned above, I was reminded of the joy that surrounds the Christmas season for so many and my mind went to a verse I thought about and quoted to myself many times this Christmas season. “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people” (Luke 2: 10). What good news could you receive right now? Maybe you need good news from a doctor. Perhaps your good news needs to come from your spouse with a commitment of renewal for a broken marriage. Perhaps your good news is receiving a call from a potential employer saying, “We want you as part of our team.” Or you current employer tells you your job is safe. An answered prayer…that’s good news!

You see, we are all in need of good news. The good news that was given to the shepherds so long ago was Jesus – the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, and the Savior – was born. Friends, the good news about Jesus is that He comes to all people. Whoever you are, whatever you do, you can have Jesus in your life. You don’t need extraordinary qualifications; He accepts you as you are. That is really good news that brings great joy to us all.

It is this promise of good news and great joy that I lost this Christmas season, but in this moment what was lost is found. So, on December 31, 2016 it is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

Happy New Year to each of you and as you go into 2017 may you find rest, peace and joy that Jesus is Immanuel (God with us). No matter where you are, no matter your circumstance, God is with you and that, my friends, is really, really good news and a whole lot of great joy.

“Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I will be remembered.” Dr. Seuss

~ Tim Hall
https://twitter.com/1timothy12
(I encourage feedback, questions & comments – email me at 1timothy46@gmail.com)

The Example of Mary

I have a tradition that I do during the Christmas season. I read a book or two or three about Christmas. This year I’m reading an Advent devotional titled God Is In The Manger written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Hidden Christmas by Timothy Keller, and Because of Bethlehem by Max Lucado. All are good reads and very insightful. In addition to reading books about Christmas, I also spend time during the Christmas season reading and reflecting on different Bible passages of the Christmas story.

This past week, I spent time reading the story about Mary (Luke 1:26-38) and was convicted by this passage in a way that I never have been before. I found myself wanting to have the faith of Mary. Here is his teenage girl who says yes to God in the most difficult of circumstances. To give birth to Jesus means she would be seen as the mother of an illegitimate child. The community would think that she either had sex with Joseph prior to being married or that she had an affair. She would have a life of disgrace or perhaps worse. In spite of how she would be viewed in society, Mary said yes.

Mary was troubled and she had doubt, but she still said yes. In fact, the statement she gave was a statement of obedience, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38). I don’t know about you, but when I’m faced with difficult circumstances or a challenging call from God my response to those things is often not one of obedience. In those difficult moments I don’t think I have ever humbled myself to being a servant of God. In fact, I treat Him more like He is my servant in the way I request or demand an easier path. Making God my servant doesn’t work out too well for me. How about you? Have you ever tried to make God your servant? How has that worked out for you?

Mary reminds me and reminds us that the journey of a Christian is surrender to the Lordship of Christ. When we are troubled, discouraged, and full of doubt our mantra must be, “I am the Lord’s servant.” When we face being ridiculed because of our faith in Him and obedience to Him, our response should be, “I am the Lord’s servant.”

So, where in your life do you need to surrender to him and say, “I am the Lord’s servant”?

~ Tim Hall
https://twitter.com/1timothy12
(I encourage feedback, questions & comments – email me at 1timothy46@gmail.com)