Category Archives: Christmas

I Just Don’t Give a Care!

Photo from a Foxnews.com story

Believe it or not, the drama has already returned. 

Starbucks didn’t put “Christmas” on their coffee cups.

Folks, I’m going to make this short and sweet (even though I like my coffee tall and black), I couldn’t care less what Starbucks does with their coffee cups.

There are a ton of other coffee shops (I went to 14 in Charleston, remember), and most of those had NOTHING on their cups. If anything, their cups were either ceramic or paper with their own logo on the side.

Heck, I’d rather go to McDonald’s for coffee! Their coffee is better than Starbucks’, and I can get 2 cups for the price of one! And McDonald’s cups keep coffee warmer longer, too.

Look, Starbucks is not a Christian company. It’s not even a Christian-friendly company. If anything, it’s blatantly liberal and apologetically so. Why would anyone expect them to promote Christmas?

This is one hill I don’t want to die on.

For that matter, you can have that hill; I’m going to the double arches. 

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Filed under Christianity, Christmas, Food

Memories from My Sister’s Visit (2018)

Some of you may know I have a sister, but other of you may not. Her name is Rebecca Lee Gomes, and she lives in Germany (married to a German, Carlos).

Two months ago she came to visit after being gone from the States for 7 years. Fortunately in one way, unfortunately in others, while she was here, my mother suffered a severely broken leg. That limited what we were able to do because a couple of weeks were spent in hospitals.

Also, while Becky was here, one of our aunts passed away.

Nevertheless, we did get to see some things and do some things, including visit the Ark Encounter, the Creation Museum, the Air Force Museum, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (because we used to have a band, you know), all while taking my wife and our mom to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

Just after Becky left I pulled together some photos and video made while she was here and created a little video on iMovie. Then I posted the video on YouTube for here to have it.

You may not get all the hidden humor, and you may not know all the faces, but you can watch the video, too, and get a little glimpse into our lives.

I’m gonna miss her.

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Filed under America, Christmas, Family, places, Relationships and Family, Thanksgiving

Wise Men Give After-Christmas Gifts

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” – Matthew 2:11

Late-Comers

Part of the Christmas story can be found in the book of Matthew, the first book in the New Testament. There, in chapter two, we read of several wise men, Magi, who followed the star till it rested over the place where the young Jesus was living.

But what most people fail to notice is that only the shepherds came to visit Jesus while he was still a baby in a manger. The Magi came later, once they were living “in the house” and Jesus was a “young child.” And, based on Herod’s decree that all male children 2 years old and younger should be killed (Matt. 2:16), Jesus could have been a toddler up and walking.

Simply put, generally every manger scene protested against by atheists is not a faithful representation of the Christmas story. How ironic is that? But I digress…

The Gifts

When the Magi came to Bethlehem in search of “he that is born King of the Jews” (Matt. 2:2), they brought with them three very rare and valuable gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They were not random gifts, but ones with specific political, spiritual, and practical importance; they were meant to recognize a literal, earthly, but also heavenly King.

gold frankincense and myrrhGold was a universally recognized precious metal, symbolic of all wealth. Frankincense was a substance primarily used as incense, but also mixed with other substances to create the holy anointing oil placed on high priests and kings. Myrrh was a substance used for things ranging all the way from cosmetics and antiseptics, to perfuming the living and embalming the dead.

According to Matthew 2:11, the Magi fell down before Jesus, which would have been an appropriate response when in the presence of royalty (and these men knew the difference). But the wise men did more than fall prostrate before royalty, they “worshiped him.”  This young king was more than just “King of the Jews,” but the long-promised Messiah, and they offered their gift to the Son of God.

Are You Wise?

As long as I can remember there have been sermons preached during and before Christmas entitled, “Wise Men Still Seek Him.” The sermons focus primarily on the seeking leading up to Christmas, but rarely, if ever, on the gifts given after the celebration is over. But today is different.

Today, I am going to ask you to consider three gifts we should give, now that the birthday celebration is over.

  • Gold. Gold represented wealth. In your worship of the King, will you give Him your wealth? In reality, God owns everything, including everything He loans unto you. But with your heart, are you willing to lay everything that is most valuable to you at His feet?
  • Frankincense. Frankincense represented worship. Would you be willing to fall down before Jesus, or do you hold back some of your Frankincense in reserve? Are there idols in your life – people or things – for which you reserve a little of that anointing oil, making those things lords of your life? Would you be willing to make Jesus Lord of all? Will you worship him without reservation?
  • Myrrh. Myrrh was symbolic of the beauty of life, from beginning to end. Would you give to Jesus everything that makes you happy? Everything that brings you hope? Everything that is sweet-smelling? Everything that hides your faults and failures, disguising your true self? Would you give Jesus your life? He can do more with it than you can do on your own.

Returns

For several days after Christmas people will stand in line to return and/or exchange unwanted gifts. Many will trade what others gave them for something they want more. Others will just ask for a refund or in-store credit.

Rest assured that when you give your gifts to Jesus, he will not return them, exchange them, or re-gift them next year. But will you, once you realize what you’ve given, want to take something back?

Don’t wait for a New Year’s resolution. Now that Christmas is over, be like the Magi and leave everything at Jesus’ feet, then “depart…another way.”

Once you give Jesus those three gifts, you’ll never be the same.

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Filed under Christian Living, Christmas, God, Love of God, salvation, wisdom, worship

After Christmas Is Proof We Need to Be Redeemed

As I was thinking about some things I wanted to write this morning, a thought popped into my head which was far more profound than my original idea correcting other peoples’ spelling…

The feelings we have after Christmas point to the fact that we have not been fully redeemed. Our bodies are still waiting for that final transformation.

[We] also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. – Romans 8:23b CSB

What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor can corruption inherit incorruption. Listen, I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. For this corruptible body must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body must be clothed with immortality. – 1 Corinthians 15:50-53 CSB

What does this have to do with “after Christmas“?

Celebrating Christmas has completely worn me out. I’m tired of carols, smiles, joy, and jingle bells… even eggnog. I need a break.

So, just imagine how difficult it would be to survive heaven for more than a day or two?

Not only will we need new bodies that never grow old, get weak, and want to go to bed before sundown, but we will need to be set free from all the chains of this mortal flesh – everything that turns an elf into a Grinch around December 26th or 27th.

Our corruptible minds and bodies must be exchanged for that which is incorruptible, else we won’t be able to endure the celebration that is to come.

Without being changed, heaven would be full of worn-out billion-year-olds leaving the dirty dishes for the angels to deal with.

Heaven will be a celebration of the Redeemer by the redeemed. If the corruptible got in, it wouldn’t be long before they felt like hell.

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Filed under Apologetics, Christmas, clothing, salvation, the future, worship

Ready for Christmas?

If it was this easy!

If I have been asked once, I have been asked a thousand times: “Are you ready for Christmas?

Well, if by “ready” you mean “have you purchased gifts for every relative and friend, cleaned your house, wrapped everything in red foil, watered the tree, mailed the cards, etc.,” then NO! I’m definitely not ready!

On the other hand, if you’re asking if I am ready for Christmas to get here, then yes, I am.

Am I the only person in this situation? I would suspect most people probably wish they had at least another month to get everything on their lists done.  On the other hand, I hope that we are always ready to celebrate the birth of Christ, which is, of course, the point of the whole day.

But aside from getting ready for the Christmas celebrations, there are other things for which we should be prepared.

As a matter of fact, below are three things we all should be prepared for, maybe even more so than Christmas.

Be Ready to Preach

Paul said, “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel…” (Romans 1:15).  I should be able to say the same, for, just like the apostle, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…” (1:16). I should, and YOU should be ready to preach/teach/share the gospel at anytime with anyone.

But you may say, “I am not a preacher, though.” Really? Well, the words of Jesus apply to all of us. He said,

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. – Mar 16:15

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. – Mar 16:15 ESV

Even though you may not be a pastor or Sunday School teacher, if you are not ashamed of Jesus, then it is still your responsibility to “proclaim” the message Christmas, the gospel (“good news”) of Jesus coming to save.

Be ready to preach.

Be Ready to Give an Answer

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer [a reasonable defense] to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…” – 1Pe 3:15 NIV

If Jesus is the “reason for the season,” are we able defend the Reason based on reason and evidence, not hollow, empty faith?

There are so many who are quick to attack Christians and the God of Christianity. They claim Christmas is based on a myth no more verifiable than the existence of Santa Claus himself. These same folk who deny Jesus was the Messiah then choose to follow some other pagan god, or no god, and say their “reasons” are more logical.  Really? Where is their evidence?

The Apostle Peter, when he said to “always be ready,” knew that there would be those who would question us and ask, “why do you have so much hope?” There are still plenty of people who are without hope in this world.  They are looking for answers. What they are not looking for is a fairy tale to make them feel good; they are looking for Truth that will make a difference in life, both on this earth and in eternity.

Be ready to give an answer.

Be Ready to Go

I know that Christmas is just around the corner, but who can assure me I’ll be around to see it?  There are no guarantees about tomorrow; one day life on this earth will be over and eternity will begin.  However, for many of us, we believe that Jesus is coming back one day.

Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. – Mat 24:44

I want to be ready for His return.  I want to be ready to go with Him.  Being ready for that day, I believe, is a lot more important than getting everything wrapped just so, or cleaning house. If any “cleaning house” is done, we should always make sure our spiritual “house” is clean and ready.  One day, someday, a trumpet is going to sound…

1 Corinthians 15:51-54  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

Are you ready to go?  If not, then there is good news: You can be!

You may say that you are not good enough.  You may think that you have done too many things to be forgiven.  You may think that if God is real, then there is no getting right with Him, because you’re just too bad.  Well, if you are willing to put your faith in the Christ of Christmas, the good new is that God is also ready…ready to forgive.

For thou, Lord, [art] good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. – Psa 86:5

Get ready for Christmas; but make your heart ready for Christ.  The Jesus born in a manger wants to give new life to you.

Are you ready?

Questions about faith in Jesus Christ?

Call 1-800-NEED-HIM

 

 

 

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Filed under Apologetics, Christmas, Culture Wars, Preaching, salvation

When Life Doesn’t Match Up With the Postcard

As I was composing the title for this post, the thought came to mind, “Maybe I should write about that.”

However, this post is not about me; it’s about my Christian sister, The Sister Christian (a.k.a. Karen).

I noticed that Karen didn’t include a button to “reblog” her post, so what I’m doing here is simply sharing a link to her original post. I would encourage you to click it and give it a read.

What I found encouraging – as I’m sure you will, too – is that when life doesn’t seem to match up with the stereotypical example, the kind that drives the commercial aspect of Christmas, getting back to the true meaning of Christmas puts everything in their proper perspective.

So, continue to “like” and “share,” and go tell The Sister Christian I said “hello.”

Blessings!

“This Is What Christmas Is Really About”

This photo is from The Sister Christian’s post.

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Filed under blogging, Christmas

Things NOT to Hang On Your Christmas Tree

The Old Lights

For those of us who were born after the advent (see what I did there?) of electricity, the most dangerous Christmas tree lighting we experienced were the glass light bulbs that tended to heat up too much. Long before there were those tiny cool-to-the-touch diodes, we had colored spot lights that broke into tiny shards of foot-stabbing cheer!

These are actually for sale!

Man, I miss those lights! The best one can do nowadays is find plastic reproductions that look like the old bulbs. However, you could take an extra risk of burning down your house by plugging in some vintage ones you buy online.

When we were told to unplug the lights before going to bed, it wasn’t just the energy we were trying to conserve.

The Older Lights

Source: Huffpost.com

But before there were electric lights of any kind, our forefathers and foremothers evidently had the ability to hang flaming wax sticks on combustible evergreens and not die as a result. Of course, these were the same people who survived lead-painted toys and smoked Marlboro Lights for “better health.”

Yes, believe it or not, people really did put candles on Christmas trees, even up until the 1940’s! And what’s even more shocking to me is that there are actually people who still do! Literally, according to some, candle-lit Christmas trees are on the comeback!

If you don’t believe me, here’s a link you can follow to buy your own Christmas tree-burning ornaments.

By the way, has anyone noticed an uptick in house fires, lately?

The What Not’s

I don’t know about you, but it would seem to me that there are some things one should never place on a Christmas tree; the old incandescent bulbs and even older, match-lit torches are only two of them.

But as family conversation would have it, the subject of Christmas trees came up over lunch the other day. Sitting with my wife and my mother, between sips of eggnog and nibbles of Christmas cookies and sugar plums, we determined what things should NOT be put on a Christmas tree – besides candles.

  • Tinsel. I don’t know why one is not supposed to put tinsel on a Christmas tree, other than because cats love to eat it. But what’s wrong with that? All it does is make their litter more festive, right?
  • Mini Christmas trees. I mean, why? After all, it’s it enough that you have the real thing in your house? Why put little imitations on it? Isn’t that redundant? A little overkill?
  • Old ornaments with your ex’s picture on them. That’s just asking for trouble. Fires are started by people, too, you know.
  • Cheese. Ever heard the story about it being quiet in the house, right before Santa arrives? Remember how not a creature was stirring, “not even a mouse.” Well, put cheese on your tree and all mistletoe could break loose!
  • Mousetraps. Let’s just say your really do want to put cheese on your Christmas tree, you know, to go with the string of popcorn. In an effort to keep the mice from steeling your cheddar-flavored ornaments, you might think it’s a good idea to hand a few well-placed mousetraps. But seriously, what will the children think when dead vermin are found bleeding all over their presents come Christmas morning? Not good.
  • Knives. (I thought of this one) My mother literally asked me after I made the suggestion, “Why would anyone put knives on a Christmas tree?” I answered, “Why would anyone hang a lit candle on a piece of kindling right in the middle of the living room?” “Good point,” she replied. But even though knives are shiny, reflect light, and, depending on the color of the handle, can blend in nicely with the decorations – don’t shake the tree when reaching under it for a present. You might end up needing the ribbon for a tourniquet.
  • White-corded lights on a green tree (or visa versa). This was my wife’s suggestion of what NOT to put on a Christmas tree, but then I reminded her that such a suggestion might get her into trouble. Why? Because what if the boxes in which the wires came were mislabeled? What if the white strand of lights self-identified as a green strand of lights? Who needs a law suit on Christmas Eve? Just wrap them around the tree and let them twinkle.

So, in a chestnut shell, try to avoid anything that might cause bad memories, set your house on fire, harm pets, or offend trans-colored wiring, and your Christmas tree will bring you hours of entertainment and joy – until you have to take it down.

Do you think the real reason there may have been “no room in the inn” was because Joseph mentioned something about putting up a birthday tree?

I hope you laughed. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…” (Proverbs 17:22a). 

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Filed under Christmas, Humor