Thursday, December 25, 2008

A True Christmas Parable

Merry Christmas Everyone! We had a fun, chaotic day with our family and my extended family. When I was about to put the ham in the oven, I realized the oven was broken. So we grilled it and it turned out fine. I didn't even freak out over plan B. Now Maren is in bed and all the other kids are at the hotel with my parents and sister. I decided to stay home and "clean up".

It's so easy at this time of the year to get wrapped up in materialism. Everyone asks the kids what they want. We try to find things that will make them squeal with joy. In some ways, Christmas opens the door to greediness: things you want, things you didn't get, things you still want to buy.

So now that I am sitting in front of the fire I want to share a story with you. Actually, it's a western!

Out in the middle of nowhere, in ranching land, there lives a wealthy and successful rancher named Bob. He works hard and has acquired lots of land and lots of cattle.

There is another rancher named Charlie, he also works hard but has not acquired the amount of success and wealth as Bob.

One day, a large desirable piece of land came up for auction. It was good, rich pasture smack dab in the middle of Charlie and Bob's land. At the auction, the bidding came down to the two men, both of which desired the land. As the bidding continued, Bob stopped and walked away. People were shocked. Bob's father was mad. He knew his son could have easily doubled the bid and won the land. Most people knew that Bob didn't get outbid, he let the other man have it.

There are some lessons I'm trying to teach my kids:
Some things have higher value than material possesions.
Just because you CAN buy it, doesn't necessarily mean you should.

All of which I think are illustrated in this story. Merry Christmas!

Luke 2:13-14

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."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sticky Gunk

I was cleaning the top of my oven tonight and it's not just because my Mother is coming tomorrow. Okay, actually it is. Since I have very limited counter space and most of the space I do have is usually covered with junk, I tend to use the oven top for food prep. Plus, I let things boil over all the time.

The other day I made a can of tomato soup and it bubbled over. In my haste to feed everyone, I didn't take time to wipe it up. Then I spilled some rice on the same spot. So today, I spent 20 minutes scouring it off. Isn't that just the way it goes?

All those little messes that build up into one massive problem! Why don't I just take the 30 seconds to wipe it up when it's a little mess?

And it reminded me of keeping a short account with God. Dealing with sin daily and asking God for forgiveness before it builds up and becomes a major problem.

And keeping a tab on anger and bitterness that so easily builds up. It seems like in my life it happens little by little, a small offense or off-handed comment that I let fester into a big time grudge. After which every comment or gesture is cause for me to take offense.

Thinking about Christmas and all God has done for me makes me feel like a petty little brat for harboring these feelings. I've been trying to practice asking God for forgiveness daily and asking him to show me areas that need change that I don't even see yet. And asking Him daily to replace my feelings of bitterness, anger or resentment with His love.

The amazing this is that He does it!

Colossians 3:5-17

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.