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Archive for December, 2009

Jesus is the reason for life. Jesus is the reason for our existence, as well as the existence of the cosmos and all contained within.  Christians, this time of year make a habit of reminding others that “Jesus is the reason of the season”.  Yes, it is true that Christ is the meaning and the point of Christmas, but he is so much more.  Jesus is the reason for Thursday’s and February, and clouds, and giraffe’s, and rain, and children on Christmas morning.  Psalm 24:1 states that the world and all that is contained within belong to God.  We are also told by Paul to do all things to the glory of Christ in I Corinthians 10:31 (whether you eat idle meat or not).  Every day, each moment, in all things, we Christians are to glorify God in our lives.  Life is because of Christ.  You and I have been redeemed for and through Christ (II Corinthians 5:17-19).  My hope, my goal for you and I as we celebrate Christmas and God’s gift of a child, we would also celebrate new and abundant life every day in all we have and do.  Our lives are filled with opportunities to either glorify God or ourselves.  We all were born to glorify God, we are born again to glorify Christ, that is the reason for season of life.

Colossians 1:15-20

        15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.    emphasis added

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Christmas 1992 will forever live with me.  It was the last Christmas for my mom’s mother, my “Granny Jo”.  Granny Jp was diagnosed with lung cancer in November of 1992 just prior to Thanksgiving, she would only live until March of the next year.  I don’t recall every Christmas of my life, but that Christmas I remember well.  I can still see my Granny Jo sitting in a chair at my Uncle Dale and Aunt Donna’s farm near Boaz AL.  Her head was covered in a wrap to keep her head from being exposed to the elements of weather and the hearts of  her family.  Chemotherapy had taken Granny Jo’s hair, cancer would soon to take her life, but first she had a Christmas gift to give.  My mother’s side of the family is very large.  Mom has six brothers and sisters and most have several children.  I don’t recall what Granny Jo got everyone that year, I only can tell you what she gave me.  When the time came to exchange gifts we all gathered in a large formal sitting room in the front of the house which overlooks large oak trees in the spacious front yard.  All thirty or so family members squeezed into that one room for gift giving and receiving.  I don’t recall if it was the first gift I received, or the last gift I received, but in my mind’s memory it is the only gift I received that day. I was sitting on the stairs that lead to the entry way of the house and the over nine foot Christmas tree that welcomes all who enter.  My mom walked over to me carrying something in a large white trash bag.  As she sat down next to me on the stair and she tearfully watched me pull out my gift.  It was a beautifully hand-made quilt my Granny Jo had made for me.  Being twelve my mom was worried I would be a bit disappointed by a quilt, so she began to tell me this was a special quilt and a special Christmas.  I let her explain that to me, but I wasn’t disappointed.  I did not fully understand many things at twelve, but I understood my mom’s tears, I understood cancer, and I understood Christmas.  I told mom I really liked it and went across the room to where Granny Jo and Paw Paw Slick were sitting and I hugged her neck wrapping both arms around her and told her thank you for my quilt.  I am twenty-nine years old today, which means I can recall about 23 Christmas’s.  I have been given more stuff over more Christmas’s than I can recall, The Quilt is the greatest and warmest gift I have ever received.  Today in Atlanta GA in my living room in a wicker basket I keep that precious quilt.  The Quilt has been with me in Louisville KY, Auburn AL, and now here in Atlanta.  It has kept me warm, my wife warm, as well as guests who stay the night with us.  One day I will pass th Granny Jo Quilt on to my daughter Perry Rose and share with her the story of its warmth and love.  Granny Jo gave me the best gift she could on her last Christmas.  God gave us his best gift on the first Christmas in Jesus born a baby to a virgin in Bethlehem.  Christmas is about giving and receiving,  God gave us a Son, and just as I treasure the Christmas Quilt…even more precious is Jesus to me.  May your Christmas’s be filled with less presents you don’t really need and more quilts, and may Jesus born to us a child be all we really want this year. 

Luke 2:8-14

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

 13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 14“Glory to God in the highest,
      and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

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The Lion Has Spoken

 

In C.S. Lewis’ great literary work The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe there is a scene in which The Great Lion known as Asland speaks boldly to the Witch…the imposter ruler of the land of Narnia.  Edmond, the younger of two brothers has betrayed his other three siblings.  After being rescued from the camp of the ice queen, the Witch demands a meeting with Asland.  The witch acting as a prosecuting attorney attempts to remind Asland  the true ruler of Narnia that as a traitor Edmond is to be given over to her and put to death.  Asland responds by saying, “Don’t recite the deep magic to me witch, I was there when it is written.”  This scene in the movie literally brings chills to my entire body.  The Lion Asland, is perhaps the best characterization of Christ I have ever seen in film.  What Asland says is a great reminder to we Christians of our great Savior and his authority over all things…even before they exist.  The Gospel writer John in his narrative writes,  

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.

 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:1-3).

Christ the Word, is preeminent, he is before all, overall, and the meaning of all (Colossians 1:15-20).  And just as the Lion has spoken, so Jesus has spoken and his roar is loudest of all.  The devil is much like the white Witch in the movie, an accuser.  Christ is our defense attorney, and when we stand before God on the day judgment our great savior will be the one who advocates to God on our behalf.  No one in Christ will stand in the judgement before God alone, Christ will stand in our place.  He has taken upon our sin, he has removed our transgressions, and he alone will give us access to the Father and eternity.  We have been justified by the blood of Christ.  No accusations or attempts by the evil one can or will overcome Christ’s blood shed for us.  In those moments when Satan attempts to prosecute us before God on the basis of our sin (and we are well deserving of the eternal death sentence apart from Christ)  can you picture our Lord with a great roar, boldly reminding the enemy whom he is speaking with…Don’t recite the law to me Satan, I was there when it was written, it was I who wrote it, it exists for me and because of me…I am the true law of God because I alone fulfill it’s righteous requirements.  Glad that Lion is on our side.  The Lion of Judah has spoken…It is finished!      

Colossians 1:15-20   

        15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

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