Christmas

Joy

Boy, I struggled with this Advent theme! I feel… I guess I should stop there because I have already started off on the wrong foot. Joy is not a feeling. Joy is supposed to be a constant. Joy is not influenced by situations but rather situations should be influenced by joy with one notable exception. Joy should grow stronger as we recognize that God has a plan no matter what situation we go through. Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve, when it comes to me and joy. Often I allow my feelings to bury my joy, even deplete it. Joy shouldn’t be influenced by situations but if Satan has his way, joy is all but eliminated or at least forgotten/overlooked when life doesn’t go the way we had hoped…

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Love

What does love mean? I am lost in a sea of ideas most of which end up suggesting that I benefit from love. I cannot argue against this idea. Whether I apply a worldly/cultural definition or a biblical one, love always benefits me. That being said, true love in its purest biblical form doesn’t set out to benefit the one who practices it. When one sets out to love like God loves, one must accept that the benefit comes from obedience to the calling of God to love one another. When we love like God does if we expect it to benefit us by making us feel good, we will soon become jaded and withdraw from this practice. Loving like God loves more often than not, hurts…

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Peace

As we continue the Advent series we find ourselves with the same dilemma as we did with Hope. The biblical definition of peace, like hope, does not match the world’s definition. We find in the prophesies of Isaiah a difficult passage about the coming Messiah. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. Isaiah 9:6-7a (NIV). I personally do not doubt that Jesus was the one Isaiah was referring to but I believe that you can put up a good argument that peace was not and still has not been realized through His arrival. As a matter of fact, things actually became less peaceful once He established a following during and after His life on earth. Even Jesus said…

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Hope

This is the season of Advent. Advent means coming or visit and, although not a command or law handed down by God, both Christmas and Advent can and should play an important role in our lives. Any tradition that helps us to focus/refocus on God and His plan has incredible value to the Christ follower and collective of Christ followers. I would never suggest that those who do not celebrate Christmas, Advent, or Lent and Easter, are not Christians but I would contend that they are missing out on an opportunity to force their thought process to focus on why we call ourselves Christians. I know Jesus’ birthday was not on December 25th and that Good Friday may have some timeline issues but I am convinced that God is not concerned about our choice of celebration dates/days but rather pleased that through them He can further His relationship with us.

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