Thursday, December 29, 2011

Facing a New Year

I’ve been reviewing old blogs, I’ve been thinking for some time now about this blog at the doorstep of 2012 and I want it to be memorable, yet not resort to the typical thoughts I’ve already been receiving in my inbox.

So, here is what is on my mind.

I will endeavor to travel these paths in 2012. 

-I will honor God in my living, in my thinking, in my acting.
-I will find ways to add value to my wife. 
-I will continue reading good and wholesome stuff – books, magazines, internet content
-I will model integrity in thought, word and deed.
-I will write to the best of my abilities.
-I will treat my fellow man with respect, cordiality and kindness.
-I will do a better job of honoring my body and bring balance and health to a higher level.

Do you notice that all of these center on making good choices? 


That’s it.  One word that now becomes the focus for my life this year.

I Choose – every day, every moment, every circumstance.

Will you join me in pursuit of good choices this year?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Wins Again

In Stanley Weintraub’s book Silent Night, I want to offer you an abridged version of the gist of this book.

On Christmas Eve, 1914, in the beginning days of WWI, a Christmas truce was called for.  At midnight on Christmas morning, all guns were to be silenced for one hour.

On this particular battle field, an entrenched squad of German soldiers faced an entrenched squad of French and Belgian soldiers. 

Moments before, each side had been shooting at anything that moved on the enemy’s side, but for this moment in time, all guns fell silent.

As midnight approached, the night became still.  Snow was softly falling. 

Listen to the stillness.  Take in the beauty of snow covering a barren landscape, and hiding all the ills of war.

As we listen, we hear … we hear …

Could it be?  It sounds like …


“Si…  Ho…”  I can’t quite make it out. 

Listen.  Did you hear that?

And then with clarity, one lone German voice sang out “Stille Nacht.” 

The melody lingered in the air, and soon, from the French side you could hear an echo. 

“Silent Night, Holy Night.”

Cautiously, slowly, one lone German soldier ventured out of his trench and made his way to common ground - the middle of the battle field.  And then a French soldier joined him at center point. 

Soon others came crawling out of their fox holes and trenches. 

For this moment in time, these men of the human race chose to put down their weapons and open up their hearts, all because of Christmas.

Before you could say “Jack Rabbit” some food was produced, and some drinks were passed around. 

And grown men, formerly sworn enemies, were enjoying a moment of friendship and celebration with fellow members of the human race. 

They were singing and making merry, offering hugs of acceptance and celebration, showing photos of loved ones back home, and communicating as best they could, all because of Christmas.

Rumor has it that the high command from both sides of this battle field did everything in their power to establish decorum of war-like conditions, but their commands and warnings went largely unheeded. 

Christmas broke out on a field of battle. 

Christmas and all it represents.

Peace on earth, good will to all men.
     Joy to the World!
          Hope has come.

On both sides, the conversations ran like this: 
“Wish we could go home.”
“Wish we weren't enemies.”
“Wish we could live in peace and harmony.”

As the cold Christmas day wore on, the soldiers moved back across their lines of battle, back to their lonely fox holes and muddy trenches, but with a warm glow of Christmas on their hearts and in their minds. 

It is said that later, on Christmas day, ranking officers on both sides continued issuing commands to resume fire, and the firing of weapons did eventually begin again.

But for a period of a few days, the bullets zoomed high above the heads of the enemies on the other side of the field.  High on purpose. 

For how could they fire upon someone they now considered “friend”?

You see, Christmas revealed itself to those soldiers that day on that particular battle field. 

Christmas came to war, and Christmas won.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hope Is Coming

Hope was promised in the ancient scriptures.  Isaiah 7:14 said it this way.

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

And in Isaiah 9:6 we read:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.

And then, then it happened.

Luke 2:1-20 “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)

And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and they were terrified.

But the angel said to them ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today, in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What the Bells Say

 (This is the #2 in Our Christmas Blog Series)

Perhaps you need a word of hope this Christmas season.  If you do, keep reading.

From the carol I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day we find this phrase:

“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep”

Sit with that for a few minutes.

Some in our world might sing to us a doomsday song.

Some might paint a bleak picture.
Debt on every hand.
Dissonance at every turn.

However …

However, these words ring out loud and clear.


What a comfort.

What a hope. 

God is still on duty 24/7.  How about that?

Is the world going to hell in a hand-basket?
Not on His watch.

God is very much real, alive and in control.  He doesn’t even take Sunday afternoon naps.

Simple message?

You bet.

Take heart.

God is watching over you!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What Child Indeed

A Christmas Blog - Part One of Four
(Today we begin a four-week Christmas series in these blogs.  
Wishing you a season of hope, joy and wonder.)

It is interesting to ponder the baby who became a King.  He was brought into the world into such humble settings.  His place of birth was less than wonderful.  His first swaddling left much to be desired.  His first visitors were farm animals, and then came shepherds fresh from the fields. 

Not a very exciting way to welcome THE KING, was it? 

His birth surprised the establishment of the day as well.  They were looking for a deliverer. 

Instead they got a baby.

They were looking for a warrior to lead the charge against their enemies and oppressors. 

Instead they got a baby.

They were looking for a hero.

Instead they got a baby.

But most of all they got love.

Ponder the child in the manger. 

Love expressed in the 
most wholesome, 
beautiful way.

Love expressed in innocence.

Love expressed in cries 
in the night,
just like the sounds
any normal baby
would offer.

Love expressed through a lifestyle of peace,
compassion, caring, passion. 

Never before had the world seen
such a life, nor would we ever see it
again in such a pure state.

This baby, this little one named Jesus grew to become

Well, what do you need this Christ Child to be in your world?

Do you need
A friend?     He is.

         A healer?     He is.

                A savior?     He is.

                       A comforter?     He is.

                A model of integrity?     He is.

            A pathfinder?     He is.

A protector?     He is.

What child is this?

Indeed, what child is this!