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Christmas Devotionals

  • Angel Chritmas OrnamentEvery family has those traditions and days that help define their family. I personally know some families (although I shall not divulge any names unless there is enough cash present) that are adequately defined by April 1. For me, Christmas Eve clearly defines me.

    Christmas Eve means many things to me. For one, it means shopping. Yes, it is true; I do all my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. It cuts down on the stress. I know some people who spend weeks shopping and their life is full of stress.

    Unlike me in many ways, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage begins her Christmas shopping in January and by August, she is in full shopping spree. There should be a law that any present bought before December cannot be considered a Christmas present.

    When the children were still at home, I was just as eager as they were on Christmas morning to see what I had bought them for Christmas. They always appreciated the thought that went into their gift. You did not hear this from me, but sometimes my wife was surprised at the gift as well.

  • loveIf I speak in the tongues of Christmas materialism and greed but have not love, I am only a tinny Christmas song or an out of tune choir.

    If I have the gift of knowing what Aunt Agatha will give me this year and can even understand last year's present, and if I have the faith that I won't get yet more socks and ties this year but have not love, I am nothing.

    If I clear out the house and give everything to charity and my credit cards are snapped in half but have not love, what can I possibly gain?

  • church crecheMost Holy & Majestic Father,

    There's so much "hype" around Christmas time. I have to admit that I enjoy all the jolly jingle and festive frolic as much as anyone. But, Lord, as I enter into the fast-paced season ahead, help me walk slowly and quietly.

    Let me stop and listen to the angels sing of the greatest news ever told!

    Let my heart, mind and soul join the chorus, "Glory in the Highest!! The Messiah has been born!"

    Among all the bright sparkling lights and cheery holiday tunes, let my spirit travel once again toward Bethlehem to honor and worship Jesus, my King, The Prince of Peace, the Lord of Hosts, Mighty Counselor, Son of God, the Lamb. All Your love, mercy and power somehow made flesh in the tiny form of a humble baby born in a manger. Let me worship the only One who is able to take our sin away and reconcile men and women with God once again!

    Amen

  • Advent Virus*VIRUS ALERT: ADVENT VIRUS*

    Be on the alert for symptoms of inner HOPE, PEACE, JOY, AND LOVE. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to this virus and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

    Some signs and symptoms of THE ADVENT VIRUS:

    ~ A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.

    ~ An unmistakable ability to enjoy the moment.

  • church crecheA man is at his finest
    towards the finish of the year;
    He is almost what he should be
    when the Christmas season is here;
    Then he's thinking more of others
    than he's thought the months before,
    And the laughter of his children
    is a joy worth toiling for.
    He is less a selfish creature than
    at any other time;
    When the Christmas spirit rules him
    he comes close to the sublime.

  • A Christmas Ornament in a Dry TreeI never have to look at the calendar to know when the Christmas holiday season is approaching. As soon as I lay down my fork on Thanksgiving Day, the battle drums begin to roll. Somebody, who apparently does not have much of a life, takes a pot shot at the Christmas holiday. You would think, from some of their comments, the Christmas holiday was the greatest conspiracy in all of human history.

    According to these protesters, the very word "Christmas," offends them to no degree. They forbid people to say cheerfully, "Merry Christmas," as if those words in and of themselves would create the repair of damage to the person hearing them.

    To placate these value-challenged patrons, some businesses have chosen not to put the word "Christmas," anywhere near their business, replacing that offensive word with the words, "Happy Holidays." Even employees are prohibited wishing customers a Merry Christmas but rather a "Happy Holiday." This, according to the all-wise Christmas Grinch, is more acceptable than simply saying, "Merry Christmas."

  • Christmas 1914

    sepia bellThe war in Europe was only four months old, yet it had already reached a savagery unknown until that time. After the initial success of the German army, the war became a desperate trench struggle with a very high casualty count. The promise of early success seemed like a faraway dream. The snow and the cold of 1914 made things even worse, but as the darkness fell on Christmas Eve something happened that would never occur again.

    Sir Edward Hulse, a 25-year-old lieutenant, wrote in his diary about this strange occurrence.

    "A scout named F. Marker went out and met a German Patrol and was given a glass of whiskey and some cigars, and a message was sent back, saying that if we didn't fire at them they would not fire at us." That night, where the fighting only five days earlier had been fierce, suddenly just stopped.

    The following morning, Christmas day, German soldiers walked towards the British lines while the British came out to greet their enemy. They exchanged souvenirs with each other and the British gave the German soldiers plum pudding as a Christmas greeting. Soon arrangements were made to bury the dead British soldiers whose bodies were lying in no man's land. The Germans brought the bodies over and prayers were exchanged.

    The spirit of Christmas overcame the horror of war as peace broke out across the front. The Germans, who previously were viewed as demonized beasts by the British and French, almost always initiated it. This contact was followed by song. The Germans sang 'Die Wacht Am Rhein' and the British soldiers sang 'Christians Wake.' It was in many ways a miracle. Sapper J. Davey, a British soldier, wrote this in his diary. "Most peculiar Christmas I've ever spent and ever likely to. One could hardly believe the happenings." Hate, for a moment, disappeared along the Western front.

    Another British soldier, Second Lt. Dougan Chater wrote, "About 10 o'clock this morning I was peeping over the parapet when I saw a German, waving his arms, and presently two of them got out of their trenches and came towards ours. We were just going to fire on them when we saw that they had no rifles so one of our men went out to meet them and in about two minutes the ground between the two lines of trenches was swarming with men and officers of both sides, shaking hands and wishing each other a happy Christmas." This continued for nearly an hour before their superiors ordered the men back to their trenches.

    The powers to be objected to this display of humanity by the common soldier. For a brief moment, their gesture ended a war that the leaders of both sides would continue to fight for nearly four more years. Millions more would die, indeed many of the men who greeted each other would perish, but their spirits live on in history as an example to all of us. We have much more in common with each other than the differences that divide us. Peace is better than war. Understanding is more important than division. Love can overcome hate. Merry Christmas!

    Sources: The First World War, Martin Gilbert

  • christmas gift2Christmas gift suggestions:

    To your enemy, forgiveness.

    To an opponent, tolerance.

    To a friend, your heart.

    To a customer, service.

    To all, charity.

    To every child, a good example.

    To yourself, respect.

    To Jesus, all.

  • Christ was Love ChristmasThe students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song. Those in the front row - center stage - held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song.

    As the class was to sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love."

    The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M” upside down - totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W".

    A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen.

    For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:

    "C H R I S T  W A S  L O V E"

    And I believe He still is.

  • christmas fruit cakeTHE SEASON OF FAMILY FRUITCAKES

    By Saralee Perel

    This season, certain relatives we haven't seen since last Christmas (because we kept making excuses) gather together. During festive meals, we sharply elbow loved ones sitting next to us. This is to discourage them from snapping back at innuendos that loved ones sitting further away are spewing.

    Sibling rivalry is a brief adolescent phase that ends at age 92. It stems from the fact that most kids have distinctively different ideas as to what their parents are really like. And we each know our perspective is the RIGHT one.

  • Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in 40 languagesAfrikaans - Geseënde kersfees en voorspoedige nuwe jaar

    Apache (Western) - Gozhqq Keshmish

    Arabic - I'D Miilad Said ous Sana Saida

    Croatian - Sretan Bozic

    Danish - Glædelig Jul oggodt nytår

  • Which list is Rev. James Snyder on?Sitting in the living room the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and me were enjoying some hot apple cider tea and listening to some Christmas music. The song came that referred to Santa’s nice list and naughty list. I was not paying too much of attention, but somebody else in the room was.

    “Do you think you are on,” my wife said rather sarcastically, “Santa’s nice list or naughty list?”

    I always get trapped by such questions. I have been married long enough to know that questions are not posed to get an answer, but rather to get someone in trouble, mainly me.

  •  christmas horseIn first grade, our teacher asked us to pen a letter to Santa for Christmas.

    She asked us, “Name one present you would like Santa to bring you for Christmas.”

    Then we were to write a letter to Santa, who, according to her, lived at the North Pole, and tell him what we wanted for Christmas and why we wanted it. Then, we put it in an envelope and she mailed it to the North Pole.

  • ornaments goldGod is not served by human hands as though he needed anything (Acts 17:25). The gifts of the magi are not given by way of assistance or need-meeting. It would dishonor a monarch if foreign visitors came with royal care-packages.

    Nor are these gifts meant to be bribes. Deuteronomy 10:17 says that God takes no bribe. Well, what then do they mean? How are they worship?

  • christmas manger1One word defines Christmas. It is the word “merry.” I never tire of wishing people a Merry Christmas. Although, for some, it may not be politically correct, but for the rest of us who have at least two gray cells working, it is wonderful.

    I was relaxing one afternoon this past week when the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage approached me with a request. It is very difficult for me to deny her request, even though it goes against my current energy status.

    “Would you,” she said so very sweetly, “go to the mall and pick up a gift that I had ordered?”

    Being married to GMP for more years than I can remember, is very difficult for me to say no. Actually, even when I do say no, someone on the other end of the conversation is not listening.

  • christmas shoppingBetween now and the end of the year our house is going to be a mad dash for the stores in preparation for Christmas.

    This time of the year, I lay low and try to be as invisible as possible. If I hide in the shadows of the parsonage and do not speak, I am in pretty good shape. I have been practicing this for over 40 years, so I have reached a certain level of proficiency.

    Having a wife and two daughters has been a challenge, especially at this time of the year. My son and I have survived and so I am sure I will make it through another year. However, I am not taking anything for granted.

    I am somewhat of a competitive person, in some degree. I like a good challenge and I certainly like to win. Going up against the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage has not been a successful competition. Even when she loses, so to speak, she wins. When she wins, I also win, so why should I complain?

    The contest at this time of the year is to see how much money these ladies of the parsonage can save. I have not kept track over the years for obvious reasons, so I do not know who is ahead and who is behind.

  • The Risk of InnocenceTiny, helpless
    swaddled in hay
    washed, clothed, fed
    carried each day.

    Poverty, heat
    occupied land
    Romans, cruel Herod
    Palestine sand.

  • A message delivered to Houston's First Baptist Church on Sunday, Dec 24th, 2000

    I was asked to share with you what Christmas means to me. In order to do that, I will begin with a brief history of my personal journey out of Hong Kong followed by four applications of what Christmas means to me as a result of that background. I pray this message will bless you in a special way.

    A Christmas ManagerI was born in the city of Hong Kong. I went to a mission school and accepted Jesus for the salvation of my soul at a young age. I remember going to the chapel every day at the age of 10, talking to God, longing to have more of Him but not knowing then that God reveals Himself in the Bible and that the only way to know God better was through studying His Word.

  • christmas fruit cakeThe period between November 1 and January 1 happens to be my favorite time frame. Oh yes, there is the idea of Christmas and Christmas presents and all of that. I certainly enjoy Christmas with my family and friends.

    As the oldest person in my family, (I will never mention aloud that the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is a wee bit older than myself), it is my duty to pay for all of these Christmas presents. By the time January 1 rolls around, I am just about broke.

    What good is money if you can’t spend it on your favorite people in all of the world? I won’t say that my family is the best people in all of the world, although it is true, I just won’t say it aloud.

  • sherlock holmesI, like so many people, love a good mystery. I have read all of the Sherlock Holmes stories, the Father Brown stories and other good mystery novels. I just like trying to solve a good mystery.

    A good mystery does not reveal the mystery until the very end. All the way through the story, importance evidence points to that person and the other person and so forth. However, you must read the end of the story to find out the answer to the mystery.

    Mysteries do not just exist in novels for short stories. In my case, mysteries are all through my life. I cannot manage one day without some kind of a mystery.

  • christmas shoppingA woman was out Christmas shopping with her two children. After many hours of looking at row after row of toys and everything else imaginable, and after hours of hearing both her children asking for everything they saw on those many shelves, she finally made it to the elevator with her two kids.