Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christ- What He means to my Friends

Christ- What He means to my friends. I asked my friends on social media what Christ means to them. I asked for a single word or short sentence to describe Him.

My blog friends and readers around the world, be blessed this Christmas. From my heart and the heart of my friends these following friends and their words are our present to you. May you find Joy and Peace this Christmas.

  • Pam L. Our Saviors Birth                          
  • Sherry M. Eternal Salvation
  • Renate B. Love
  • Lori K. Love
  • Linda R. Savior
  • Beth M. Love
  • Geoffrey Hope & Path to Peace
  • Troy H. Salvation
  • Brandy B. Amazing Grace
  • Veronica M. My Love, My All
  • Ange C. Peace
  • Dee T. Eternal Life
  • Wendy W. Unconditional Love
  • Jessica H. Patience
  • Sharon H. Life changing relationship
  • Ray C. Gives us a chance
  • Jackie G. Unconditional Love and Michael
  • Paul S. Sozo- saves, heals, and delivers
  • Kandi F. Family, Faith, Hope
  • Rachelle N. Forgiveness
  • Larry S. Salvation
  • William N. Salvation
  • Brandy H. Savior, Redeemer, Abba, Love
  • Marlene B. Family
  • Ed H. Savior
  • Sharon E. Eternal Life,Love, Justin, Josh, Myke
  • Randy G. Everything
  • Jan M. Salvation
  • Joann A. Security
  • Doloris P. Love
  • Rita L. Life
  • Joann D. Prince of Peace
  • Loretta B. Hope
  • Jackie S. Savior
  • Georgette B. Hope
  • Wendy K. Unconditional Love
  • Debbie J. Everything, My Sonshine, Warm Breeze, Reason I Smile
  • Susan H. Life Everlasting
  • Joni G. Purposeful Life, Eternity beyond Comprehension
  • Denise L. I have Eternal Life
  • Julia G. Mercy and Grace
  • Dottie B. Love
  • Kathy M. Everlasting Love, Lord, Eternal Life
  • Sherry B. My Go-To Person
  • Linda B. My Everything
  • Karen B. Feeling of True Hope and Faith
  • Kay S. Savior
  • Carol G. Comfort
  • Emily M. Forgiveness, Eternal Salvation
  • Margaret H. My Everything
  • Scot B. Friend and Teacher
  • Marie C. Love and Forgiveness
  • Sue S. Life here and Forever
  • Linda M. His Death-My Sins, Promise of Peace in the Valley
  • Lisa R. My Rock, Savior, Teacher, My Love
  • Patricia W. Salvation
  • Diane J. Fortress of Love
  • Carol M. Love of Mankind, Peace and Joy
  • Debby C. Foundation my life is built upon
  • Alvin C. Reason I believe there is a chance for Peace
A special Thank you to all of my friends who revealed their Christmas Heart

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Dad- The Real Santa Claus

Dad- The Real Santa Claus

I remember the time the real truth about Santa hit me. And, I say, hit me, for a very good reason. It was a childhood revelation with a gigantic impact. Indulge me a moment to explain. A few days before Christmas Santa always showed up at the American Legion in Riverview. Why would Santa come to the legion? I didn't know and as a kid I didn't really care. I was just happy that he came. So, every Christmas the Galloway kids went to the Legion Christmas party. There was an endless supply of soda pop and little bags of chips. We all knew that a big moment was going to come, we just didn't know exactly when.

With a huge belly laugh Ole Saint Nick would announce his arrival. Somehow he appeared, almost out of nowhere. All of us kids would laugh and giggle and scurry around trying to get close. A really big chair was waiting for the jolly gift giver, up near the Christmas tree. With almost continuous belly laughs he would sit down and us kids would scurry into a line. No cuts in line were allowed, nor even thought of, Santa would certainly see such a serious naughty.

One by one all of the waiting kids would get up on Santa's lap and the most serious question in the entire universe would be asked; Have you been good for your mom and dad? I don't know about any of my friends, but I always answered yes. Deep inside I was hoping Santa wasn't God, and knew all of the things I did wrong. Like, tell my brother, Tim, he was going to hell for killing my frog. I did pay for that sin with a well placed bar of soap, coming from my mother. I guess he wasn't God because Christmas morning I was always happy.

Talk about having ants in your pants, waiting in line was as bad a waiting to get the winter dose of Cod Liver Oil, also distributed by my mom. When it was finally my turn I got up on Santa's lap and after a couple of belly laughs he asked the all important question. My rather sheepish yes brought another belly laugh. And then it happened, the revelation of all time. My dad was the Real Santa, I could tell. It wasn't his laugh or anything like that, it was the ring on his finger. I recognized the ring. Wow, what a secret I was now carrying around in my adolescent brain. My dad, the Real Santa. No other kid in the universe could say that. But, for  a while I would have to keep the secret.

Many years later I had the opportunity to be the Real Santa. We were living in Niles and my good friend, Larry Clymer, wasn't able to visit the kids like he always did for the Optimist Christmas party. I agreed to attempt to fill the role. The first problem was the outfit. Larry was about 5'8" and I was 6'4". Well with some elf magic the suit fit. the next problem was the Ho, Ho, Ho and the deep belly laugh. I didn't know if I could pull that one off. I practiced the laugh and the all too familiar, Ho Ho.

Just before my entrance to the waiting children I was in the bathroom, one last practice and out the door. As I reached for the door it opened, a very small hand from the other side had given it a tug. Much to my surprise, and I'm sure to his, I was standing in front of the son of the district court judge. Little John was in the first grade. His dark brown eyes seemed to glow as he looked at me. Santa, Santa, are you the real Santa? With a perfect belly laugh and a much practiced Ho, Ho, Ho, I told him I was and in fact that I knew his name and his dad.

The story is true and a short time later little John was killed in a tragic accident. I cherish the memory of being the real Santa for a bright eyed little boy that Christmas. I hope and pray that his dad and family continue to remember his bright smile and awe filled eyes.

What about you? What do people see in you? I'm not talking about the real Santa. I'm talking about the real Jesus Christ. The real Saint Nicholas was always about the real Jesus. That is why he gave and lived, so others would see Christ in him. May our Christmas gift to the world be, Christ alive in us.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Pondering Christmas

Pondering Christmas

Pondering Christmas - According to several dictionaries, pondering, is deliberate contemplation on a specific subject. It is a commitment to open up ones mind and heart in trying to understand the consequences that might come to light. According to Luke's Gospel narrative of the birth of Jesus Christ, Mary ponders the messages to her.

Gabriel appears to Mary and announces to her that she will be with child and the impregnating power and source will be God. She will remain a virgin and still be pregnant and bring forth a child who will be the Son of God. Luke tells us that, "Mary pondered all this in her heart." She must have been a unique and devout young lady. Gabriel called her, "Highly Favored One." How does a very young woman ponder such incredible information?

The second time we find Mary pondering the incarnation is when the shepherds came from the fields and told Mary and Joseph what they witnessed. Now, nine months after Gabriel's first visit Mary is in deep thought about her child. Does Mary have any real understanding of the implications of bringing forth the Christ of God? Would she know of the Old Testament psalm that teaches that her Son is the Creative power that filled the universe?

We will probably never know what filled Mary's heart in that period of time. But, let's try placing our mind and heart in the position of pondering Christmas as if it never took place. I challenge those who read these words to find time in the busy days ahead and "ponder" our world without Christ and Christmas. To do this you will have to set aside time and deliberately and deeply think about the implications of a Christ-less world.

I believe that the implications are dark and frightening. On an educational level our great universities on the east coast would be gone. They began as Christian Colleges and Universities. The Midwest would not have Notre Dame. England would be left without Cambridge and Oxford. The wonders of art and literature would be bereft of such works from DaVinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and on and on.

Medical care would be set back hundreds of years. Many major hospitals would vanish. Death would become commonplace and disease could have indeed leave many parts of Africa, India and Asia devastated. The implications on the social scale are catastrophic.

The implications on a personal basis are dark and frightening. As prevalent as evil and hatred is today, without Christ, barbarism would control and personal freedoms would only come to the powerful. So, this Christmas please, "Ponder Christmas" and what it really means to this world.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Creation is Still

Creation is Still

At the first Advent creation stood still, from the deepest edge of  space, to the tiny blade of grass next to the manger, there was stillness. That stillness was but a sign of the deepest reverence possible. For a moment in time the created world knelt, every element within everything material knew the world was going to change. In a way no man could understand, the created world knew their Creator had taken on human form.

The Bible is pretty clear in stating that even the created world has been cheated and disfigured by the fall of man. The earth was cursed and yielded her fruit only after hard labor. The book of Romans puts forth that the created world groans and waits in expectation, like a birthing mother. When the world is finally set right by the coming Kingdom Of God even creation will enjoy her original glory. I wonder how much more glorious the heavens can become. But they will become even more glorious.

The First Advent has meaning for every person who will have a place in their heart for the Christ child. For those who seek Him will find Him, those who long for Him will find fulfillment. He tells us that He stands at the door and knocks and if we allow Him entrance into our lives He will give us life like never before. His life, at the first advent, is His gift to us.

The Second Advent will have meaning for all of creation, for that is when the kingdom will come and creation enjoy her new glory. The Second Advent is also the time all humanity, followers of Jesus and non-followers, will bend their knees and acknowledgement of the Christ will pour forth from their mouths. Governments will collapse as the kingdom will reign. Kings, presidents and dictators will fall on their knees in recognition of the Supreme King of all time and space.

Today our world is filled with violence. Innocent people die at the desire of evil. In the name of some warped and twisted design of god people are slaughtered. When the Prince of Peace comes every false image, thought, desire, ideology, will be displayed for what it really is; a satanic attempt to steal glory from Jesus Christ.