On Using Secular Christmas Traditions To Glorify Not Mislead

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“What do you think about the lie of Santa Clause?” asked somebody.
“Sure, I’d be glad to weigh in on the Santa controversy,” I replied . . .

It has been said, ad nauseum, that secular traditions such as Christmas trees, Santa Clause, and even the word “Christmas” should be condemned by Christians because they distract and detract from the true meaning of Christ’s birth.
I disagree.
Those many traditions are so ingrained into society that they cannot be reversed nor abolished. They can, however, be used in a positive manner. I’ve previously discussed how the Christmas tree points to Jesus Christ. It is easy for me to tell, as well, how Santa’s (“Saint Nicholas‘ “) life and existence points, to the life and teachings of Jesus.
I only implore you, dear reader, not to foster the lies about Santa Clause, St. Nicholas, or Father Christmas, but tell the factual truth about those figures. Fact is, they are legends and fantasies based on a good man’s acts, but they must not be passed down as reality. The generous acts are the Christlike reality.
It’s the same for the gift-giving, the lights, and the joyous celebrating. One can ignore any or all of it, or one can use those traditions of secular Christmastime as reminders of Jesus’ birth, life, words and deeds. I strive for that as I constantly try to keep Him at the forefront of the celebration.
I believe that we should not only accept, as a fact of life, the secular traditions; the things that have been distorted and perverted away from the original intent of honoring the Christ-child, but turn them back upon themselves to their true purpose which is to celebrate His birth, to point to Him, to highlight Him, and to glorify Him in the unfettered, hopeful, optimistic, rejoicing manner in which the host of angels announced His arrival to the shepherds, and to us.
Those traditions can be used to help us illuminate Him in a darkened world. I believe this proclaiming is our commission, our duty, and our pleasure, as believers and as beneficiaries of The Father’s miraculously humble, and humbling gift.
The gift of The Savior Child, our Light of the World, is given to every one of us, but that gift must be received and willingly accepted before it can be unwrapped and enjoyed.

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Whatever you do,
Whatever you think,
Seek Him in all things
And have yourself a happy,
Have yourself a joyous,
Have yourself the merriest Christmas!

Above all,
Remember Who is glorious,

Give Him all your glory,
Keep it Christmas-Story-ous!

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Why I Call It “Christbirth”!

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 I’m not thrilled about the word Christmas.
I’m not crazy about the word Easter either.
But I very much love the events those two words represent.

Words are only symbols that we use to convey,
or identify, things, events, or ideas. Often, the words
we devise (or, in this case, that are devised for us) are
less than ideal, or appropriate, or even accurately descriptive
in representing the actual thing being described.

I believe that “Christmas” is such a word.
I’ll leave it to you, dear reader, to delve into the origins,
meanings, and protests concerning the word “Christmas”.
I have been through it, and it’s not pretty.
Some say it’s downright blasphemy, wickedness, and sin to use it.

However,
Nevertheless,
and, Be That As It May,
the event that has come to be known to us as “Christmas”
is the event that shook the earth.
It is the truth of the event that is important,
not necessarily the word we have adopted to describe it.
To my way of thinking, the birth of Jesus was, and is,
the most momentous occurrence in history.
It is to be celebrated – its story told and retold in truth
to the ends of the earth.
So ( Blast semantics!) I do say Merry Christmas,
and I do say Happy Easter, instead of
Happy Resurrection Sunday,
because I know I will be understood by the general public,
and also by Christians, in general.
And by those greetings, I mean
Hallelujah!
Rejoice!
Celebrate enthusiastically!
For, unto us a child is born!
Our Savior lives!
He has come to live with us!
– Or
 He is risen!
Our Savior lives!
And in His glory He will come down again!

So, here’s the thing – here’s my point:
Instead of the term “Christmas”, I prefer the word
“Christbirth”
(which I think I have invented, haha,) 
(but someone may have beaten me to it, I really don’t know)
to represent this wondrous, marvelous event,
but, no matter what word we use in reference,
in Jesus’ birth, the very Word of God came to live among us,
with us, and, in time, in us, so that we,
despite our inclination to sin,
might have the right to be “born” into a new world –
a world of saving grace, faith, hope, and of love,
into God’s presence;
born in a new, a wondrous,
 a marvelous, and a miraculous way,
Just as Jesus was, before us!

Happy Christbirth!
Merry Christmas!
Rejoice!

Your Gloryteller

 

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Something Happens

Something happens when you begin to follow Jesus in earnest.
I’ve discussed it with a great many people;
people of diverse backgrounds and profiles.
In differing words, and in a variety of ways,
they all agree that 
something happens!

And that something that happens when you say yes to God

is unexpected,
has an aura of mystery,
is somewhat incomprehensible,
is difficult to describe using the limitations of language.
Yet, the essence of our dialog,
the substance of our stories of coming to faith,
the validating assurance of our choice,
has a common theme:
Something great happens!

When we accept Jesus as our Savior,
our almighty God,
our risen Lord,
we universally perceive something important changing “inside” us.
The changes are for our good,
for the better;
for the best.
And we have confidence that they will keep happening

in even greater ways.

When our spirit experiences that first encounter;
makes that crucial connection with our Living God,
something truly, inexplicably, wonderful, happens.
Something beautiful happens!

And it doesn’t just happen.
He causes it to happen!
Out of love!

He opens a door.
He makes a way.
It’s supernaturally personal.
Life walks in.

New life!
Real life!
Joy bursts in.
Grace settles in.
It is difficult to explain,
But do I really have to
when literally billions of people have known that 
something happens?!

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On Using Seemingly Questionable Christmas Traditions For Good

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“What do you think about the lie of Santa Clause?” asked nobody.
“Sure, I’d be glad to weigh in on the Santa controversy,” I replied . . .

It has been said, ad nauseum, that secular traditions such as Christmas trees, Santa Clause, and even the word “Christmas” should be condemned by Christians because they distract and detract from the true meaning of Christ’s birth.
I disagree.
Those many traditions are so ingrained into society that they cannot be reversed nor abolished. They can, however, be used in a positive manner. I’ve previously discussed how the Christmas tree points to Jesus Christ. It is easy for me to tell, as well, how Santa’s (“Saint Nicholas‘ “) life and existence points, to the life and teachings of Jesus.
I only implore you, dear reader, not to foster the lies about Santa Clause, St. Nicholas, or Father Christmas, but tell the factual truth about them. It’s the same for the the gift-giving, the lights, and the joyous celebrating. One can ignore any or all of it, but I believe that we should not only accept, as a fact of life, the secular traditions; the things that have been distorted and perverted away from the original intent of honoring the Christ-child, but turn them back upon themselves to their true purpose which is to celebrate His birth, to point to Him, to highlight Him, and to glorify Him in the unfettered, hopeful, optimistic, rejoicing manner in which the host of angels announced His arrival to the shepherds, and to us.
Those traditions can be used to help us illuminate Him in a darkened world. I believe that is our commission, our duty, and our pleasure, as believers and as beneficiaries of The Father’s miraculously humble, and humbling gift.
The gift of The Savior Child is given to every one of us, but it must be accepted before it can be unwrapped and enjoyed.

*

Whatever you do,
Whatever you think,
Seek Him in all things
And have yourself a happy,
Have yourself a joyous,
Have yourself the merriest Christmas!

Above all,
Remember Who is glorious,

Give Him all your glory,
Keep it Christmas-Story-ous!

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Your Daughter, My Mother

After the church service and worship I am celebrating my mother,
but early this morning I was a little melancholy as you will see:

 

Your Daughter, My Mother

Dear Heavenly “Grand”-Father,
Many years ago; more than twenty-two,
You made Mom a place to live
When she went away
To live with You.

Would You go there today,
Right up to her house,
And give her, for me,
A nice new dress, a flowery skirt,
A pretty blouse?

Would You give her
Nice-looking sandals,
Some beautiful shoes?
Oh Grandpa, today I’m getting the blues . . .

Please tell her I miss her.
We are too far apart.
All the time and the distance,
She’s still in my heart.

Would You put a sparkling
Crown on her head?
Or just hold her hand?
Would You give her, today,
A big Daddy-hug?
The warmest kind as only You can?

And tell her that her prayers for me
Were answered by You,
And are being still,
To this very day.

Tell her I’m finally free.
I’m on Jesus’ path,
I’m following Your Way.
Maybe not all that she hoped and she prayed just yet,
But much closer, Grand-Daddy,
Much closer this day.

Today, she just seems much too far away . . .
So thank her for me.
It’s heavy to bear,
That it’s Mothers Day here and she’s way up there.

But tell her I will soon see her, perhaps!
Until then, maybe give her a dance.
Will you give her a flower?
Lord, give her a laugh?

Tell her that I can hardly wait.
I’ll see her at the garden gate
When I finally come.
The one on the west,
When I have my rest.

Meantime, Grandpa,
Please give her my best,
’til I come.
Your best too, ’cause we love her.
And just because she’s Your daughter;
Just because she’s my mom!


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Move On, But Remember To Keep Celebrating His Arrival

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A friend of mine posted this observation:
“Christmas is over and it’s time to move on from celebrating the birth of Jesus to following the life of Jesus.”

I get his point.
(I don’t think He intends to minimize Christmas)
For one thing, it is all too easy to become fixated on this one aspect of Jesus’ incarnation,
thus missing the importance of His whole life, and the purpose of His presence here.
I think my friend wants to emphasize the importance of following Him
in trust, and in obedience, above all else.
To do that, it’s crucial that we “move on” and take Him from His manger bed,
(even though there is nothing like having a new baby to hold)
to love Him and watch Him as He learns to talk, and then to walk,
as He grows in wisdom and knowledge,
as He learns to use His hands to build and to heal,
as He becomes an adult who teaches, preaches, and ministers to His people,
as He carries His cross to a culmination of crushing sacrifice,
as He conquers death and is resurrected.
And not only lovingly watch, but lovingly participate in these things with Him
as He enters, invited, into our hearts.
Understanding Him, and following His life and His Word are the priority for a believer.

I must be true to myself, on the other hand,
and say that I disagree that “Christmas is over”.
The seasonal celebration may be over.
The secular holiday may be over,
but my heart’s celebration of my Savior’s birth will never be over.
The upwelling, unrivaled, unquenchable joy that my Lord’s arrival brings will never end.
I will not be moved.
His birth is the culmination of all the pre-Nativity preparation,
planning, decision-making, and
the very character, the nature, and the acts
Of Father God, and of His Son, who is the Word, the Creator, the Sustainer.
Jesus’ birth is the beginning, on earth, of something so miraculous,
so mysterious,
so remarkable,
so astounding,
so important,
so world-changing,
so life-changing,
that I cannot, and I will not be moved from it.
Its implications bring me to worship in a special way.
The story of His birth pulls me into a deeper relationship with Him.
The story of His life brings me to better relationships with people.
The story of His sacrifice on the cross, and His resurrection,
and the gift of His indwelling Holy Spirit
allow me a deepening relationship with our Father God.
It’s my hope, and my desire, to celebrate His birth,
His whole life, everything He was, and is, and will be,
every day.
That’s a tall order, I know, but I have a beginning point that
The Father provided in this one amazing birth;
“the birth that shook the earth” –
“the birth that shaped the earth”-
“the birth that saved the earth”.
Without this one birth – Jesus’ birth – there would be
no controversial Nativity Scenes,
no Santa Clause to argue about,
no Christmas trees,
no carols,
no Christmas parties,
no brightly wrapped gift packages,
no rampant commercialism,
no Christmas vacations,
no decorating,
no pretty lights,
NO LIGHT IN THE WORLD AT ALL,
no Savior,
no hope,
no real love,
no GOD WITH US.
Imagine a world, a life, without the birth of Jesus in it . . .
That would be a nightmare.
That is why I won’t be moved,
nor lightly “move on” from it.
The beginning of His Story is the beginning of so much!
That is why I hold close the holy celebration of Jesus birth.
That is why I celebrate His whole holy life from birth to ascension.
Even what He was before that.
Holy!
Even what He is and will be beyond that!
Glorious!
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Have a
Happy
Joyous
Christbirth
Celebration
All Through
The Year!

Blessings, dear reader,
from me, your gloryteller.

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Rejoice! Rejoice! With All Your Might, Rejoice!


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Rejoice! Rejoice! With All Your Might, Rejoice!

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t think, in some way,
about Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.

Today is no different.
But wait,
it is different, for today is The Church’s official celebration of that
creation-changing,
world-changing,
life-changing Day.

Today, let there be loud singing and joyous dancing.
Let there be massive celebration over all the Earth,  for our Jesus is alive!
Let there be all of that but, most importantly,
let Him be the Lord of your life.

Rejoice, My Soul – All People, Rejoice!

I celebrate this holiest
Of all the days of holiness,
For as the sun appears to rise in the East,
The Son of God did arise
On Easter – Resurrection Day,
The greatest Day the Lord Has Made.
I rejoice and I am exceedingly glad in it,
For my Savior lives!
Oh, Lord, He lives!
Now and forever, He lives!
And because He lives,
So can I!
For my heart, too, was sealed
With hardened stone,
And in that darkened tomb
Dwelt death.
With tender touch He moved
The hardened part away
To let in light and life
So death was put to death.
The Holy Spirit Jesus sent
Was sent to live in me.
As Christ began to breathe again
I felt my spirit leap.
It leapeth still in Heaven’s realm,
So graciously removed from hell
That I can only raise my hands and say,
“Rejoice, all people, rejoice!
Hallelujah, praise God, rejoice!”
For our Savior lives and breathes in us!
He arose!
He conquered bitter death and saved!
He does that still, today!

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With love,
Your Gloryteller

 Resurrection Sunday,  4-5-2015
(re-posted from 3-31-2013)
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On Using Seemingly Questionable Christmas Traditions For Good

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*******
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“What do you think about the lie of Santa Clause?” asked nobody.
“Sure, I’d be glad to weigh in on the Santa controversy,” I replied . . .

It has been said, ad nauseum, that secular traditions such as Christmas trees, Santa Clause, and even the word “Christmas” should be condemned by Christians because they distract and detract from the true meaning of Christ’s birth.
I disagree.
Those many traditions are so ingrained into society that they cannot be reversed nor abolished. They can, however, be used in a positive manner. I’ve previously discussed how the Christmas tree points to Jesus Christ. It is easy for me to tell, as well, how Santa’s (“Saint Nicholas‘ “) life and existence points, to the life and teachings of Jesus.
I only implore you, dear reader, not to foster the lies about Santa Clause, St. Nicholas, or Father Christmas, but tell the factual truth about them. It’s the same for the the gift-giving, the lights, and the joyous celebrating. One can ignore any or all of it, but I believe that we should not only accept, as a fact of life, the secular traditions; the things that have been distorted and perverted away from the original intent of honoring the Christ-child, but turn them back upon themselves to their true purpose which is to celebrate His birth, to point to Him, to highlight Him, and to glorify Him in the unfettered, hopeful, optimistic, rejoicing manner in which the host of angels announced His arrival to the shepherds, and to us.
Those traditions can be used to help us illuminate Him in a darkened world. I believe that is our commission, our duty, and our pleasure, as believers and as beneficiaries of The Father’s miraculously humble, and humbling gift.
The gift of The Savior Child is given to every one of us, but it must be accepted before it can be unwrapped and enjoyed.

*

Whatever you do,
Whatever you think,
Seek Him in all things
And have yourself a happy,
Have yourself a joyous,
Have yourself the merriest Christmas!

Above all,
Remember Who is glorious,

Give Him all your glory,
Keep it Christmas-Story-ous!

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The Psalm That Is Music To My Soul

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Hallelujah!!!
   Have I found my defining verses?
 My life statement?
My heart’s fondest song? 
There are so many to choose from, but I think this one was chosen for me.
May I quote it for you?  
OK, I will.

Psalm 57:7-11  :

“My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.
Awake, my soul !
Awake, harp and lyre !
I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of You among the people.
For great is Your love reaching to the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
Let Your glory be over all the earth.”

Ohhh, 
I pause,
breathless in absolute wonder of it . . .

Do you have a Bible verse, or set of verses that define your life,
or are your heart’s fondest song? 
Please share them with all of us. 
  We will be blessed to hear them!
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Faith Is Poetic

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Two poetic quotations which help clarify the mystery of faith :


“Nothing before, nothing behind;
The steps of faith
Fall on the seeming void, and find
The Rock beneath.”

John Greenleaf Whittier
John Greenleaf Whittier

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AND :

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1

Matthew Henry explains:

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary:

11:1-3 Faith always has been the mark of God’s servants, from the beginning of the world. Where the principle is planted by the regenerating Spirit of God, it will cause the truth to be received, concerning justification by the sufferings and merits of Christ. And the same things that are the object of our hope, are the object of our faith. It is a firm persuasion and expectation, that God will perform all he has promised to us in Christ. This persuasion gives the soul to enjoy those things now; it gives them a subsistence or reality in the soul, by the first-fruits and foretastes of them. Faith proves to the mind, the reality of things that cannot be seen by the bodily eye. It is a full approval of all God has revealed, as holy, just, and good. This view of faith is explained by many examples of persons in former times, who obtained a good report, or an honourable character in the word of God. Faith was the principle of their holy obedience, remarkable services, and patient sufferings.

On a personal note;
When my faith saw these two “poems”,
it immediately deepened itself.
It’s hard to explain.
It’s miraculous; a wonder,
and the explanation is in the poetry itself.
Have a faith-deepened day!
Gloryteller

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Move On, But Remember To Keep Celebrating His Arrival

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A friend of mine posted this observation:
“Christmas is over and it’s time to move on from celebrating the birth of Jesus to following the life of Jesus.”

I get his point.
(I don’t think He intends to minimize Christmas)
For one thing, it is all too easy to become fixated on this one aspect of Jesus’ incarnation,
thus missing the importance of His whole life, and the purpose of His presence here.
I think my friend wants to emphasize the importance of following Him
in trust, and in obedience, above all else.
To do that, it’s crucial that we “move on” and take Him from His manger bed,
(even though there is nothing like having a new baby to hold)
to love Him and watch Him as He learns to talk, and then to walk,
as He grows in wisdom and knowledge,
as He learns to use His hands to build and to heal,
as He becomes an adult who teaches, preaches, and ministers to His people,
as He carries His cross to a culmination of crushing sacrifice,
as He conquers death and is resurrected.
And not only lovingly watch, but lovingly participate in these things with Him
as He enters, invited, into our hearts.
Understanding Him, and following His life and His Word are the priority for a believer.

I must be true to myself, on the other hand,
and say that I disagree that “Christmas is over”.
The seasonal celebration may be over.
The secular holiday may be over,
but my heart’s celebration of my Savior’s birth will never be over.
The upwelling, unrivaled, unquenchable joy that my Lord’s arrival brings will never end.
I will not be moved.
His birth is the culmination of all the pre-Nativity preparation,
planning, decision-making, and
the very character, the nature, and the acts
Of Father God, and of His Son, who is the Word, the Creator, the Sustainer.
Jesus’ birth is the beginning, on earth, of something so miraculous,
so mysterious,
so remarkable,
so astounding,
so important,
so world-changing,
so life-changing,
that I cannot, and I will not be moved from it.
Its implications bring me to worship in a special way.
The story of His birth pulls me into a deeper relationship with Him.
The story of His life brings me to better relationships with people.
The story of His sacrifice on the cross, and His resurrection,
and the gift of His indwelling Holy Spirit
allow me a deepening relationship with our Father God.
It’s my hope, and my desire, to celebrate His birth,
His whole life, everything He was, and is, and will be,
every day.
That’s a tall order, I know, but I have a beginning point that
The Father provided in this one amazing birth;
“the birth that shook the earth” –
“the birth that shaped the earth”-
“the birth that saved the earth”.
Without this one birth – Jesus’ birth – there would be
no controversial Nativity Scenes,
no Santa Clause to argue about,
no Christmas trees,
no carols,
no Christmas parties,
no brightly wrapped gift packages,
no rampant commercialism,
no Christmas vacations,
no decorating,
no pretty lights,
NO LIGHT IN THE WORLD AT ALL,
no Savior,
no hope,
no real love,
no GOD WITH US.
Imagine a world, a life, without the birth of Jesus in it . . .
That would be a nightmare.
That is why I won’t be moved,
nor lightly “move on” from it.
The beginning of His Story is the beginning of so much!
That is why I hold close the holy celebration of Jesus birth.
That is why I celebrate His whole holy life from birth to ascension.
Even what He was before that.
Holy!
Even what He is and will be beyond that!
Glorious!
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Have a
Happy
Joyous
Christbirth
Celebration
All Through
The Year!

Blessings, dear reader,
from me, your gloryteller.

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On Using Seemingly Questionable Christmas Traditions For Good

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“What do you think about the lie of Santa Clause?” asked nobody.
“Sure, I’d be glad to weigh in on the Santa controversy,” I replied . . .

It has been said, ad nauseum, that secular traditions such as Christmas trees, Santa Clause, and even the word “Christmas” should be condemned by Christians because they distract and detract from the true meaning of Christ’s birth.
I disagree.
Those many traditions are so ingrained into society that they cannot be reversed nor abolished. They can, however, be used in a positive manner. I’ve previously discussed how the Christmas tree points to Jesus Christ. It is easy for me to tell, as well, how Santa’s (“Saint Nicholas‘ “) life and existence points, to the life and teachings of Jesus.
I only implore you, dear reader, not to foster the lies about Santa Clause, St. Nicholas, or Father Christmas, but tell the factual truth about them. It’s the same for the the gift-giving, the lights, and the joyous celebrating. One can ignore any or all of it, but I believe that we should not only accept, as a fact of life, the secular traditions; the things that have been distorted and perverted away from the original intent of honoring the Christ-child, but turn them back upon themselves to their true purpose which is to celebrate His birth, to point to Him, to highlight Him, and to glorify Him in the unfettered, hopeful, optimistic, rejoicing manner in which the host of angels announced His arrival to the shepherds, and to us.
Those traditions can be used to help us illuminate Him in a darkened world. I believe that is our commission, our duty, and our pleasure, as believers and as beneficiaries of The Father’s miraculously humble, and humbling gift.
The gift of The Savior Child is given to every one of us, but it must be accepted before it can be unwrapped and enjoyed.

*

Whatever you do,
Whatever you think,
Seek Him in all things
And have yourself a happy,
Have yourself a joyous,
Have yourself the merriest Christmas!

Above all,
Remember Who is glorious,

Give Him all your glory,
Keep it Christmas-Story-ous!

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IT’S CHRISTBIRTH! I Don’t Like “Christmas”, But I Love Christmas.

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Please let me explain my title.
No, I don’t like the word Christmas.
I don’t like the word Easter either.
But I very much love what those two words represent.
Words are only symbols that we use to convey,
or identify, things, events, or ideas. Often, the words
we devise (or, in this case, that are devised for us) are
less than ideal, or appropriate, to represent the actual thing
being described. I believe that “Christmas” is such a word.
I’ll leave it to you, dear reader, to delve into the origins,
meanings, and protests concerning the word “Christmas”.
I have been through it, and it’s not pretty.
Some say it’s downright blasphemy, wickedness, and sin to use it.
However,
Nevertheless,
and, Be That As It May,
The event that has come to be known to us as “Christmas”
is the event that shook the earth.
It is the truth of the event that is important, not the word we have adopted to
describe it. To me, the birth of Jesus was, and is, the most momentous
occurrence in history. It is to be celebrated – its story told and retold in truth
to the ends of the earth.
So ( Blast semantics!) I say Merry Christmas, and by that I mean
Rejoice!
Celebrate enthusiastically!
For, to us a child is born! Our Savior lives!

I prefer the word
“Christbirth”
(which I think I have invented, haha, but probably someone beat me to it)
to represent this wondrous, marvelous Event,
but, no matter what word we use in reference,
in His birth, the very Word of God came to live among us, with us,
and in us, so that we too might be “born” into a new world, a world
of faith, of hope, and of love;
born in a new, a wondrous, and a marvelous way.
Happy Christbirth!
Merry Christmas!
Rejoice!

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Friendship Matters

^ ~ ~ ~ ^

^ ~ ^

~ ^ ^ ~

(I like a title that can be read two ways.)
(I like how, together, words can play.)

^ ^

A week ago, it came “to light” that:
“Our friendship has made a difference.”
That difference, not just to us (and for us),
although that is very significant to me,
but to the various communities to which we belong.
And not only because we completed a worthwhile project together,
but in the larger sense, in which a 1+1 relationship, when blessed, can equal “3”.
In the matter of friendship, “blessed” is the key word,
for I had been relatively alone, friend-wise,
for many years, in this city,
before He saved and transformed me,
and blessed me in many ways.
Now I have many meaningful Christian friendships.
I understand something of Christian love,
and the love of Father God which surpasses full understanding.
I hadn’t known what I had been missing!



~A treasure greatly precious, and rare,

is the time spent with a close friend.
Life spins and circles smoothly there,
Where, on a bond, one can depend.~

I’m reminded of how Jesus called the unworthy disciples
His friends,
and of how he calls us unworthy believers
His friends.
(We are unworthy by ourselves, but with Him,
our friend IN us,
we are made worthy.)
He taught His friends.
He showed them the Way, the Truth, and the Life,
through His companionship,
through showing them Himself –
His true Self.

He knew this verse:
Proverbs 27:17    “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

~As crystal dust polishes crystal,
so one believer polishes another.~

His brother knew something astute about errant friendship:

James 4:4   “. . . don’t you know that friendship with the world
is hatred toward God?
Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world
becomes an enemy of God.”

Undoubtedly, Jesus is THE best friend that any and every person could have.
(What A Friend  We Have In Jesus)
All that He hears from the Father, He shares with us.
I am His personal friend, and He is mine!
That friendship made, makes, and will make,
the greatest difference in the whole world,
of all time,
for everyone,
forever.

Remember that a friend is more than the condition of having access to someone’s social media page.
It takes more than accepting a digital request to be a real friend.
It takes precious time to be a companion,
~and companionship is the jelly on the bread of friendship.~
To anyone who is “a friend of the world”,
and not a friend of Jesus, you are like I was –
you don’t know what you are missing,
and I say that in the kindest, most compassionate way possible.

The best friendships are based on a mutual relationship with God.
David and Jonathan come to mind as Biblical best friends.
“Let God be between us,” said Jonathan, who had everything to lose,
yet, because of his love,
was loyal in saving brother-in-law, and close friend, David.

Friendship makes a difference! 
And not only to the friends involved,
but in an expanding sphere
which engulfs all creation.

Let God’s blessing be between us, as well,
as it has been,
as He has seen to it that friendship
has indeed inspired this message,
and it matters.

Yes, our friendship has made a difference,
is making a difference,
and will make a positive difference,
just as Jesus’ holy friendships
Have always,
are now,
and always will
make THE BIG difference.
All the difference in the world.
All the difference in His everlasting Kingdom.

I Shared My Everything

^~^

^~ ~ ~^

With you

Not only some cash

Not only some time

Not  only my past

Nor pain

Not only my failure and success

My love

True, and again, yes

But most of all I shared my faith

Spurned or embraced

That is all I have that really matters

Even Faith-So-Small

My everything and All-In-All

My joys and my sorrows

To make a difference

THE Difference in hope for your tomorrows

A deposit with endless interest

Awaits you there

When and where

And if you will accept the prayer

Of faith

Of everything with you I gladly share.

Your Daughter, My Mother

A slightly melancholy look at a child’s love.
A celebration for, and of, his mother.
A prayer for one whose presence was irreplaceable.
A prayer for one whose absence is always felt.
Love You, Mom.
Me


Your Daughter, My Mother

Dear Heavenly “Grand”-Father,

Many years ago; more than twenty-two,
You made Mom a place to live
When she went away
To live with You.
Would You go there today,
Right up to her house,
And give her, for me,
A nice new dress,
A flowery skirt,
A pretty blouse?
Would You give her
Nice-looking sandals,
Or some beautiful shoes?

Oh, Grandpa, today I’m getting the blues….

You chose her to bear me,
I was blessed from the start.
Please tell her I miss her.
We are too far apart.
Would You put a sparkling
Crown on her head?
Or just hold her hand?
Would You give her, today,
A big Daddy-hug?
The warmest kind as only You can?
And tell her that her prayers for me
Were answered by You,
And are being still,
To this very day.
Tell her I’m finally free.
I’m on Your Son’s path,
I’m following Your Way.
Maybe not all that she hoped
And she prayed, not  just yet,
But much closer, Grand-Daddy,
Much closer this day….

Today, she just seems
Much too far away….

All the time and the distance,
That pries us apart.
‘Spite life’s trials and resistance,
She’s still in my heart.
So thank her for me.
‘Cause it’s heavy to bear,
That it’s Mothers Day here and she’s way up there.
But tell her I will soon see her, perhaps!
Until then, maybe give her a dance.
Will you give her a flower?
Lord, give her a laugh.
Tell her I can hardly wait.
I’ll see her at the garden gate –
The one on the west,
When I finally come.

Meantime, Grandpa God, please give her my best.
Your best too, ’cause we love her,
‘Cause You hear all my prayers,
‘Cause You know who they’re from,
And just because she’s Your daughter,
And because she’s my mom!


 

Metaphor Mountain

 

I “love” mountains and I “love” The Mountains.

(I’m using quotation marks because I’m trying to teach myself to use the words “love” and “hate” appropriately, that is to save them for situations in which their true meaning applies)

What I really mean to say is that I like mountains intensely.  In my book, one can only love living entities that one can have some sort of relationship with, like God (especially Him), a person, or perhaps a pet.  Of course the words love and hate can be used metaphorically and that’s the way they are most often used.  You hear it umpteen-zillion times a day. (Wink) I, myself, hate that.  Oops, I dislike that.  It is so common we don’t even notice the frequency of “I love it when”…., or, “I hate it when”. It’s annoying when I hear “I just love your hair, and that purse, I just love that, that’s to die for!”. We all do it, but how did we get so far from the true usage?   Love God with everything you’ve got.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  That’s a tall enough order for the word “love”. Hate the sin, love the sinner! Another mighty tall order, yet, in those two sentences are found the true meaning and usefulness of the words love and hate.

I’ve gotten slightly off the trail. Let’s get back on it: If there were inanimate objects I could love, however, they would be “the mountains”.  I have had, and am having, some wonderful real and metaphorical relationships with them, a few notable individual mountains in particular. If I had a “bucket list”, being in the mountains would be on it right after being with my people.

Mountains have real and metaphoric value in my life because they emphasize several opposing concepts:

Ascending and descending.
Higher and lower.
Danger and safety.
Climbing and falling.
Struggle and peace.
Beauty and desolation.
Heaven and Earth.
Spirit and flesh.
Good and evil.
And the awareness of the proximity of
life and death.

I could expand this list almost endlessly, but you get the point.

Recently, the subject of death has been on my mind. My post, https://gloryteller.com/2013/03/25/one-last-mountain/,  uses ascending a mountain as a metaphor for death.  Perhaps it will become more than a metaphor.  Perhaps I will “meet Death” on the slopes of a real mountain. Most likely it will be a metaphoric mountain that will claim my bodily life.

When I was transformed into a believer, my many and various fears were either taken away completely or were significantly diminished. My almost obsessive fear of death was one that was removed. All that is left is the natural, instinctive, compulsion to preserve my bodily life. Death, to me, is the necessary step I must take to reach Paradise, Heaven, and eternal life in the presence of my Lord and my Heavenly Father. Yet, it dawned on me that perhaps I’m taking death too lightly. Is it really a natural part of life? Is there nothing that can be done about it? If it is normal and natural, should anything be “done” about it?

I subscribe to the school of thought that death is a corruption thrust into a creation that was perfect before selfishness turned into sinfulness and spoiled the whole plan. I also believe that there is something that should be, and can be, done about death, and that is to believe, and believe in the Savior, who was sent to vanquish it. Death is the consequence of our sinful nature, but He accepted true death in our places, so that we would not have to face the permanent consequences of our selfishness. Jesus defeated selfishness with selflessness! Everything that should and could be done about the problem of death has already been done! Problem solved! Done! Over! Finished! But only for believers in the One who did it perfectly and died for it perfectly! (I’ll leave it to you to discern and comprehend the larger, more complex, concept of death beyond the relatively simple death of a body.)

So, that being said, perhaps I still don’t really know enough about death, nor the process through which it will take me. Perhaps when the moment comes, I’ll be unprepared and I might succumb to fear, or find out that everything I thought I knew was wrong. It only happens once, and, although there are those who claim to have returned to their bodies, or returned from Heaven or Hell after they died, I suspect that death is an individually unique occurrence to which the testimonies of others have little value. There is only one person I personally know who has returned from death – my Lord and Savior, Jesus. I only trust what He said about it. That is recorded in the New Testament.

To climb a mountain, it is vital to be prepared. It’s interesting that the word “vital” comes from Latin roots meaning “relating to life, or the quality of being alive”. In my case, it means being able to preserve my life and my ability to stay alive throughout the whole journey; until the adventure is completed. I must pack the essential food, water clothing, and first aid supplies. I must have a map of the area and the route to the top either in my “head” or in my pack. I must be in good physical condition. I must have a positive mental attitude. I must have skills and knowledge, and be able to use them wisely. I must read extensively about the subject. I also must know how to pray and talk to the only One who will be my companion all the way. There will be only one chance to “get it right”.

Preparing to summit a mountain is like anticipating both bodily and metaphysical death – knowledge about what will kill you, makes you stronger. The stronger you are, the more likely a good outcome. The Bible says every person will die, then live again in an eternal body. The only question is “ which of two eternal ‘places’ will a person exist in after that”. I choose life – abundant life – with God.

Yes, that metaphoric mountain rises before me, and yes, evil will stalk me all the way up, but, before me, Jesus walked, and fell, and died, and lived again on that final mountain so that I would need to fear no evil; so that I would not have to fall, and break, and die before reaching the summit. His Spirit will accompany me and I will rely on His strength as I get weaker on my journey to the top, where He, Himself, awaits my arrival. From this land’s end until The Endless Land, I will trust God and believe in The Son of Man, and that not a moment too soon, for now, day breaks the gloom of night, and I can begin to see my humbling,        huge,        sobering,         mysterious,       towering,        massif on the horizon.

^^^

Rejoice! Rejoice! With All Your Might, Rejoice!

Rejoice! Rejoice! With All Your Might, Rejoice!

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t think, in some way, about Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.
Today is no different.
But wait, it is different, for today is the church’s official celebration of that creation-changing, world-changing, life-changing Day.
Today, let there be loud singing and joyous dancing.
Let there be massive celebration over all the Earth,  for our Jesus is alive!
Let there be all of that but, most importantly,
let Him be the Lord of your life.

Rejoice, My Soul – All People, Rejoice!

I celebrate this holiest
Of all the days of holiness,
For as the sun appears to rise in the East,
The Son of God did arise
On Easter – Resurrection Day,
The greatest Day the Lord Has Made.
I rejoice and I am exceedingly glad in it,
For my Savior lives!
Oh, Lord, He lives!
Now and forever, He lives!
And because He lives,
So can I!
For my heart, too, was sealed
With hardened stone,
And in that darkened tomb
Dwelt death.
With tender touch He moved
The hardened part away
To let in light and life
So death was put to death.
The Holy Spirit Jesus sent
Was sent to live in me.
As Christ began to breathe again
I felt my spirit leap.
It leapeth still in Heaven’s realm,
So graciously removed from hell
That I can only raise my hands and say,
“Rejoice, all people, rejoice!
Hallelujah, praise God, rejoice!”
For our Savior lives and breathes in us!
He arose!
He conquered bitter death and saved!
He does that still, today!

With love,
Your Gloryteller

 Resurrection Sunday,  3-31-2013

 

Meet Xian (Christian), Part II

Meet Xian (Christian), Part II

Well, you can’t win them all (said anyone who has written a blog).
My post ( https://gloryteller.com/2013/03/07/meet-xian/) about the genesis of my “Xian” (Christian) character, a.k.a. “Chi” was a big flop. I don’t think anyone even read it, let alone liked, rated or commented on it.
That’s life!
However, I’m not one to give up, even when giving up might seem the prudent-est course.

Perhaps it seemed childish, superfluous, or irrelevant, but I like to branch-out; to write in different styles about different subject matter.  It keeps me flexible, keeps me thinking, helps me focus, helps my creativity, keeps me growing as a writer.  I could go on, but I might get boring.  That’s one thing I don’t want to be, for that would dishonor the One I write for, Who is never boring, always exciting, always awe-inspiring, always creative, and in Whom there is never a dull moment!

So!  There’s more to Chi (and that rhymes with my guy) than meets the eye:

Chiasmus

Chiasmus is a literary figure of speech (and how I love a good figure of speech) in which two or more clauses are related to each other through a reversal of structures in order to make a larger point.  Chiasmus means, in Greek, “to shape like the letter X,* thus the sentence structure looks like this: When read left to right, up to down, the first topic (A) is reiterated as the last, and the middle concept (B) appears twice in succession (Also, the middle concept could appear just once).*
I will try to give you an example:
“I don’t want the symbol ‘Xian’ to be boring, to keep ‘Xian’ interesting is my aim.”

Many long, complex chiasms can be found in Shakespeare and in Greek and Hebrew texts of the Bible.  You knew I would get around to The Bible didn’t you!    I was amazed when I noticed how many ways my study of the letter Chi led me to connections with Scripture.  First, the chiastic pattern shown above is well known as the “criss-cross”  pattern.  The apostle Peter was martyred on an X-shaped cross.  “X” also invokes to me the shape of the cross of Jesus.
Second, the chiastic pattern is also known as the A-B-B-A pattern.  ABBA!  One of the most dear names of God, ABBA is Aramaic for “the Father”, and arguably, is Hebrew for “Daddy”.  It was used as an intimate, yet respectful way to address one’s father, and in a very special sense, one’s Heavenly Father.

The classic Scriptural chiasmic ABBA structure is from Matthew 19:30 wherein Jesus says, “But many who are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.”  

Finally, I say that not only is Xian a most interesting little “guy”, but delving further into “his” origins has yielded a wealth of interconnected knowledge, knowledge which touches the very origins of my faith,  all begun by a little drawing of a “guy” I call Xian (Christian).

Did you see what I did there?  😉

*From Wikipedia

Meet Xian

Meet Xian
AKA, Chi – My Kind Of Guy

He has shown up twice in my latest posts.
Who is he?
Readers, meet Xian.

This is his story:

When I first started reading Christian-oriented material, “Our Daily Bread”, for example, I used symbols to mark and highlight passages that were important and inspiring.  I used the five-pointed star: It is easy to draw without lifting the pen, but it has pagan connotations, so I went to the six-pointed star:

Two triangles, voila – a Star of David.  But that takes a little too much time to draw, so I went to the asterisk:Three quick, simple lines that intersect.  My ODB, and books, and Bible are full of them.  However, for some reason, (who can explain ME) I recently began to take the X out of the aster, and just use that.  I may well have been led to do it:So there it is. X .

You knew I would get around to this, didn’t you…..I began to think about how the X in Xmas stands for Christ.  I found that the X is actually Chi, the first letter in the Greek word, Χριστος.  I hope I got that right, because, hey, it’s Greek!  Anyway, that Greek word means Christos – the anointed One – which is a translation of the Hebrew “Messiah”.    The X in Xmas is derived from the Chi (pronounced “Ki” which rhymes with “my”, or “guy”) in this word: Χριστος.  X came to denote “Christ” sometime in the sixteenth century.  Xmas is often misinterpreted as a modern secularization of “Christmas”, thinking that it is an attempt to remove religion from the holiday.  If it is, it has backfired!   “Xian” has been used as an abbreviation for “Christian”, as well.  These are merely abbreviations, not to be used in formal writing, and words are symbols, so maybe it is much ado about nothing, but the things words stand for, especially when they stand for people, and God, and Godly concepts, are important.  But I diverge.

One morning, I looked at the X and saw a figure with hands raised.  I don’t know what made me put a head on it, but that’s what I did.  A trinity of lines.

It came to life!  Xian was born!  (You can surely tell that art comes naturally for me).
Xian has since become just slightly more than a symbol to me, more than a stick man.  He is naturally worshipful.  You can see how he surrenders his all to the Almighty.  His hands are raised in surrender and praise.  He somehow expresses “giving glory to God in the highest”.  Sometimes I call him “Chi – my kind of guy”.   Three simple lines with a lot of heart.

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