Thursday, December 26, 2013

Making Happy Memories by Todd Neva

December 25th 2013

Seven centuries before the birth of the Christ, Isaiah, the Prince of Prophets, wrote, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Immanuel, God With Us, was our Lord Jesus Christ, with humanity for thirty-three years, and then gone.

The humanity of Christ, from his lowly birth to the passion of his crucifixion to his departure from Earth, shows the nature and character of our God: a personal God, from whose image we've been created, whom we call Abba Father. Our God relates with us through our humanity, through life and death. Jesus Christ was with his disciples, and on the eve of his crucifixion he told his friends, “You will weep and lament.”

He knew the sorrow of his disciples that would follow his death. He knows your sorrow when you lost your friend, your spouse, your mother, your father, your brother, or your sister...

Christmas is a time when we gather with family. It is a time of joy and celebration. But for many, it is a time of sadness when there is one extra chair at the table.

I am keenly aware that the memories I make now with my family will one day turn into sadness. But the sadness will turn to joy as we meet again in Heaven.

Jesus Christ reassured his distressed disciples, “You have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” (Jn 16:22) Jesus prayed to his Father that he shall send a Comforter that he may abide with us forever. I pray for those whose Christmas is flooded by memories of a lost, loved one that they would know the Christ and be comforted by the One who knows their sorrow.

Read more about Todd and his struggle with ALS by following this link:

Monday, December 23, 2013

R U Ready for Christmas? (Final Part 6)

In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world. - Jesus (John 16:33)

On Christmas day 1863 (during the American Civil War) the famous American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the poem, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day."  The poem tells about the author's sadness upon hearing the church bells ringing on Christmas day.   

The year 1863 had been an especially hard one for Longfellow, for he had suffered two major setbacks in life.  First, his wife Frances had died accidentally in a house fire; and second, his son had joined the Union army against his wishes and had been severely wounded in a battle in Virginia.  

That Christmas day in 1863 found Longfellow in deep despair as he contemplated the meaning of Christmas.  These events inspired him to write this poem:

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,

and wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,

And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,

And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;

"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."

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