On the Tenth Day of Christmas, my true friend gave to me...
Memories to treasure…
A CHRISTMAS THOUGHT FOR THE DAY… "Our House Is Open, Lord, to Thee"
Come in and share our Christmas tree!
We've made each nook and corner bright,
Burnished with yellow candlelight.
But light that never burns away
Is only thine, Lord Jesus, stay;
Shine on us now, our Christmas Cheer--
Fill with Thy flame our whole New Year!
I LOVE TO TELL THE STORY: "God Beyond the Walls”
In January of 2007, The Washington Post videotaped the reactions of commuters at a D.C. Metro subway stop to the music of a violinist. The overwhelming majority of the 1000+ commuters were too busy to stop. A few did, briefly, and some of those threw a couple of bills into the violin case of the street performer. No big deal, just an ordinary day on the Metro. Except it wasn't an ordinary day. The violinist wasn't just another street performer; he was Joshua Bell, one of the world's finest concert violinists, playing his multi-million dollar Stradivarius. Three days earlier he had filled Boston's Symphony Hall with people paying $100/seat to hear him play similar pieces. The question the Post author and many others since have asked is simple: Have we been trained to recognize beauty outside the contexts we expect to encounter beauty? Or, to put it another way, can we recognize great music anywhere outside of a concert hall?
In the same way, can we detect God only when God is surrounded by stained-glass windows and organ music? I'm afraid that we can't. Even more, I'm afraid that we preachers have contributed to this state of affairs. How often, that is, do we point to the everyday lives, occupations, and opportunities of our people as examples of God at work? Or are most of our examples things happening at the church?
David Miller, at the outset of his 2006 book, God at Work, shares an exercise he regularly uses with groups of congregational leaders. "How many of you," he asks, "install Sunday School teachers at the beginning of a new program year." Almost all the hands go up. "And how many call the youth group and their advisors forward for prayers during worship before they leave for a mission trip." Again, most hands are in the air. "And how many," he continues, "early in April have all the Certified Public Accounts stand for prayers during the busiest time of their year." Typically, no hands remain. Miller's point is that through this and a thousand other ways we unintentionally signal that the primary place our people can expect to see God is at church...and often only at church.
David Lose, workingpreacher.org (2010) (Contributed by Pastor Craig Beeker, New Hope Lutheran Church)
YOUR MIRTHFUL MOMENT OF THE DAY... An Answer to Prayer?
“During the holiday season I was determined not to gain weight, so I promised myself I would not visit my favorite bakery-cafe for a whole month. I even altered my drive to work to avoid passing the spot. However, one day there was a traffic jam and I forgot and accidentally drove by the bakery. There in the window I saw the yummy pastries I loved. Since nothing happens by accident, I prayed as I slowed down. ‘Lord, it's up to you, if you want me to have any of those delicious goodies, create a parking place for me directly in front of the bakery.’ And sure enough, on the eighth time around the block, there it was! God is so good!”
YOUR YOUTUBE CHRISTMAS MOMENT
Rated by many as the top Country Christmas Song, you will love hearing Alan Jackson singing "Let It Be Christmas."
You can find the archived messages from this year’s series on my website at http://terrypaulson.com/christmas.shtml/. More tomorrow...as we prepare for His coming!
Your Host for this Year's Journey....