The 12 Days of Christmas from Dr. Terry Paulson
12 Days and Now Christmas 2011

















The Twelve Days of Christmas





Day Twelve...Christmas Day...December 25, 2011



Terry Paulson, PhD, CSP, CPAE




On the Twelfth Day of Christmas my God gave to me...

His most precious gift, His Son!



As we celebrate our Lord's birth, we think of loved ones present and far away. We think of loved ones who are absent from us but present now with the Lord.

As with past years, each message this year has been archived on my website, and you can also see some past collections of messages by visiting that website at http://www.terrypaulson.com/christmas.shtml


A CHRISTMAS THOUGHT FOR THE DAY... "A Time for Gratitude…"



"Christmas is a time for gratitude. Think about just how blessed you are, and not just for your friends and family and whatever may be under the tree. Think bigger. Think deeper. Think of the Christ child and what he grew up to do. What did he give up for you? What are you willing to give up for others? This is a time for service. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Be a shelter for someone else. Help shoulder a burden and lighten someone’s load. You, me…we all deserve a second chance, and that clean slate comes in the form of God’s redemption. It’s the one gift we can all receive whenever we’re ready to accept it. His redemption is always there for you, and not just on December 25th." --Glenn Beck




I LOVE TO TELL THE STORY... "The Boy in the Seat"



Right before the jetway door closed, I scrambled aboard the plane going from LA to Chicago, lugging my laptop and overstuffed briefcase. It was the first leg of an important business trip a few weeks before Christmas, and I was running late. I had a ton of work to catch up on. Half wishing, half praying I muttered, "Please God, do me a favor; let there be an empty seat next to mine, I don't need any distractions."


I was on the aisle in a two seat row. Across sat a businesswoman with her nose buried in a newspaper. No problem. But in the seat beside mine, next to the window, was a young boy wearing a big red tag around his neck: Minor Traveling Unattended.

The kid sat perfectly still, hands in his lap, eyes straight ahead. He'd probably been told never to talk to strangers. Good, I thought.

Then the flight attendant came by. "Michael, I have to sit down because we're about to take off," she said to the little boy. "This nice man will answer any of your questions, okay?"

Did I have a choice? I offered my hand, and Michael shook it twice, straight up and down.

"Hi, I'm Jerry," I said. "You must be about seven years old."

"I'll bet you don't have any kids," he responded.

"Why do you think that? Sure I do." I took out my wallet to show him pictures.

"Because I'm six."

"I was way off, huh?"

The captains' voice came over the speakers, "Flight attendants, prepare for takeoff."

Michael pulled his seat belt tighter and gripped the armrests as the jet engines roared.

I leaned over, "Right about now, I usually say a prayer. I asked God to keep the plane safe and to send angels to protect us."

"Amen," he said, then added, "but I'm not afraid of dying. I'm not afraid because my mama's already in Heaven."

"I'm sorry." I said.

"Why are you sorry?" he asked, peering out the window as the plane lifted off.

"I'm sorry you don't have your mama here."

My briefcase jostled at my feet, reminding me of all the work I needed to do.

"I don't have a dad," Michael sadly responded.

Only six years old and he didn't have a dad, and his Mom had died, and here he was flying halfway across the country all by himself. The least I could do was make sure he had a good flight. With my foot I pushed my briefcase under my seat. I couldn't stop looking at the crumpled grocery bag on the floor by his seat. He'd told me that everything he owned was in that bag. Poor kid.

While Michael was getting a tour of the cockpit the flight attendant told me his grandmother would pick him up in Chicago. In the seat pocket a large manila envelope held all the paperwork regarding his custody. He came back explaining, "I got wings! I got cards! I got more peanuts. I saw the pilot and he said I could come back anytime!"

For a while he stared at the manila envelope.

"What are you thinking?" I asked Michael.

He didn't answer. He buried his face in his hands and started sobbing.

"What's the matter buddy?" I asked.

All I got were muffled words "I don't know my grandma. Mama didn't want her to come visit and see her sick. What if Grandma doesn't want me? Where will I go?"

"Michael, do you remember the Christmas story? Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus? Remember how they came to Bethlehem just before Jesus was born? It was late and cold, and they didn't have anywhere to stay, no family, no hotels, not even hospitals where babies could be born. Well, God was watching out for them. He found them a place to stay; a stable with animals."

"Wait, wait," Michael tugged on my sleeve. "I know Jesus. I remember now." Then he closed his eyes, lifted his head and began to sing. His voice rang out with a strength that rocked his tiny frame. "Jeeesus looooves me--thiiiiiis I knowwwwwww. For the Biiiiiible tells meeeeee sooooo....."

Passengers turned or stood up to see the little boy who made the large sound. Michael didn't notice his audience. With his eyes shut tight and voice lifted high, he was in a good place.

"You've got a great voice," I told him when he was done. "I've never heard anyone sing like that."

"Mama said God gave me good pipes just like my grandma's," he said. "My grandma loves to sing, she sings in her church choir."

"Well, I'll bet you can sing there, too. The two of you will be running that choir."

The seat belt sign came on as we approached O'Hare. The flight attendant came by and said we just have a few minutes now, but she told Michael it's important that he put on his seat belt. People started stirring in their seats, like the kids before the final school bell. By the time the seat belt sign went off, passengers were rushing down the aisle. Michael and I stayed seated.

"Are you gonna go with me?" he asked.

"I wouldn't miss it for the world buddy!" I assured him.

Clutching his bag and the manila envelope in one hand, he grabbed my hand with the other. The two of us followed the flight attendant down the jetway. All the noises of the airport seemed to fill the corridor.

Michael stopped, flipping his hand from mine, he dropped to his knees. His mouth quivered. His eyes brimmed with tears.

"What's wrong Michael? I'll carry you if you want."

He opened his mouth and moved his lips, but it was as if his words were stuck in his throat. When I knelt next to him, he grabbed my neck. I felt his warm, wet face as he whispered in my ear, "I want my mama!"

I tried to stand, but Michael squeezed my neck even harder. Then I heard a rattle of footsteps on the corridor's metal floor.

"Is that you, baby?"

I couldn't see the woman behind me, but I heard the warmth in her voice.

"Oh baby," she cried. "Come here. Grandma loves you so much. I need a hug, baby. Let go of that nice man." She knelt beside Michael and me.

Michael's grandma stroked his arm. I smelled a hint of orange blossoms.

"You've got folks waiting for you out there, Michael. Do you know that you've got aunts, and uncles and cousins?"

She patted his skinny shoulders and started humming. Then she lifted her head and sang. I wondered if the flight attendant told her what to sing, or maybe she just knew what was right. Her strong, clear voice filled the passageway, "Jesus loves me -- this I know..."

Michael's gasps quieted. Still holding him, I rose, nodded hello to his grandma and watched her pick up the grocery bag. Right before we got to the doorway to the terminal, Michael loosened his grip around my neck and reached for his grandma.

As soon as she walked across the threshold with him, cheers erupted. From the size of the crowed, I figured family, friends, pastors, elders, deacons, choir members and most of the neighbors had come to meet Michael. A tall man tugged on Michael's ear and pulled off the red sign around his neck. It no longer applied.

As I made my way to the gate for my connecting flight, I barely noticed the weight of my overstuffed briefcase and laptop. I started to wonder who would be in the seat next to mine this time...And I smiled.


By Jerry Seiden, compliments of Linda Berry.


...Like Michael, it is easy to wonder who will take care of us on our journey. But because our Heavenly Father loved us so much, He sent His Son Jesus on that first Christmas so that through faith in Him we might join a cloud of witnesses in a joyous family of God from this day through eternity.... Thanks be to God!


AND NOW YOUR YouTube CHRISTMAS MOMENT...


After a few tears, we end with a little laughter. This vintage home video features an adorable little girl that has her own special way of performing in a choir. Most kids are shy and quiet when on stage, but this little girl belts out the song even though she doesn't quite know the words. It's a classic and hilarious! Enjoy...


SORRY--IT'S TOO LATE TO TAKE YOUR NAME OFF THE LIST---SO JUST HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS. SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!


We no longer prepare for his coming...for He has come! Try sharing the Christmas story today with those you love from the source that matters, the Word of God. Read out loud Luke 2: 1-20 as part of your Christmas celebration.

Remember, You can find the archived messages from this year's series on my website at http://www.terrypaulson.com/christmas.shtml.


For now, let me close with these words from Mother Teresa:


It's Christmas every time you let

God love others through you...

every time you smile at your brother

and offer him your hand.



Signing off for 2011....Your Host for the Journey,


Terry Paulson, PhD









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