Tag Archives: Holidays

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;

I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.

Hubakkuk 3:17-19 ESV

You will say in that day:"I will give thanks to you, O LORD,
for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
that you might comfort me.

"Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation."

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
And you will say in that day:

"Give thanks to the LORD,
call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples,
proclaim that his name is exalted.

"Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously;
let this be made known in all the earth.
Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel."
Isaiah 12 ESV

That is the question...

There was a real St. Nicholas, so it's not like we're making anything up.  The challenge is to keep the day that we celebrate the birth of Christ - Christ centered.

Which is pretty hard to start with, when the day seems to be surrounding presents (stuff) and presence (people).

I would ask...what does the presence of Santa Clause add to the holiday?

Well...Santa could add the expectation of gifts (for me).  Materialism.

Or he could add the concept of giving without getting.  It is Santa who exists for giving with no expectation of getting gifts in return.

He could also introduce the concept of anonymous giving.   As "santa", we can slip a gift under the "giving tree" or slip a $20 into the Salvation Army bucket.

Giving without "your left hand knowing what your right hand is doing".

There is a different feeling in giving without others knowing.  Giving in secret makes it all about the recipient, without an expectation of a "payoff" (either physical or emotional).

Our church is participating in the "Advent Conspiracy"...No, it's not about Santa, and it's not about being anonymous.  It is about giving to those in need with no expectation of return.

Consider being about "giving with no expectation" this year...

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.

(...)

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

"Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a newcovenantwith the house of Israel and the house of Judah,

In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the newcovenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."

In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

On this Sunday we look forward to Holy Week; the week in which Christ's earthly ministry comes to its peak in His submission to His Father in the role of redemption.

It was Christ, in His submission, who leads us to eternity.

If we look to the Trinity as an example of submission and authority, we see that there is absolute equality, absolute love, absolute "sent-ness", absolute submission, absolute unity in purpose.

Christ's submission to the Father in no way interfered with His submission to authorities, with His submission to the needs of His followers, with His submission to the sheep He came to find.

And yet, Christ is the ultimate leader...Prince of Peace.

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My father-in-law was a hero.  A true hero.

He was a war hero.

I have hanging on my wall a shadowbox with his army induction photo, his bronze star, his purple heart, his D-day medal from the country of France and a medal signifying his belonging to the "big red one".  I have the flag that draped his coffin.
I've read the story about why he was awarded the bronze star and purple heart.  He was a tank commander during WWII.  I don't know why the guy was out of his tank, but one of Dad's men was injured and trapped between the tank/line and a German machine gun nest.

Dad rushed the nest, rescued his man and carried him back to the tank and to safety; he was injured in the process.

But he was a TRUE hero.

I never saw the photo, I didn't even know about the bronze star.  I knew about the purple heart because his injury disabled him later in life.  I knew about the medal from France because there was a controversy.  I knew about the Big Red One because he had dinner with the remainder of his unit at least once a year.  I never knew about the letter until his death.

He wanted it that way because he knew what was important.

He came home from the war, went to work for "Continental Can Company" and worked his way through Moody Bible Institute.  He married my mother-in-law and became a "home missionary", going to schools, going to the poor, going to the "back country" in Tennessee, preaching the Gospel.

That was what was important to him.  All three of his children were born in the mission field of Tennessee.

In the process, he preached on the radio, he ministered in small churches, he worked at a summer camp for poor kids.

After that, he moved to Brookfield, IL, where he pastored the church where most of his family and in-laws belonged.  From there, he moved to Greenville, MI and after that he pastored the church that I grew up in, where I met his son, my husband.

Did things go wrong in his family?  Yes, but his children made their own choices as adults that I'm not sure he had any part in.  I do believe that he did the best he could with what he was given, in the era that he lived in.

Why did he not talk about his war days?

Because he didn't want to take away anything from preaching the Gospel.  His war history was less important to him than his vocation of preaching.

I believe he was a hero of the best kind.