What’s it all about?

10 12 2009

Hey guys,

So this will be my last devotional for the next couple weeks.  I know many of you will be heading home for the holidays soon.  In the midst of all your busyness, here’s a couple questions for you:

*How have you prepared for Christmas?

*What is it all about?


Have you taken time during this Advent season to prepare?  I’m not talking about getting your shopping done, or your decorations and lights put up, or whatever traditional preparations we all have.  I mean, have you prepared your heart for Christmas…to celebrate the birth of your Lord?


I attached a movie clip from this movie called God Grew Tired of Us.  This is a documentary that follows the journey of the “Lost Boys” from Sudan who left their homeland of chaos and war and moved to America.  This clip sees our “American Christmas” through their eyes for the first time. 


As you watch this clip ask these questions:

            *What is the focus of our Christmas celebrations?

            *Do all the “things” (trees, presents, shopping, lights, carols, Santas, traditions) we surround ourselves with at Christmastime really help us celebrate Christmas?

            *Do we prepare ourselves spiritually for Christmas? 


The Gospel of John presents the Christmas story as this, plain and simple:

The Word became flesh and blood,
      and moved into the neighborhood.
   We saw the glory with our own eyes,
      the one-of-a-kind glory,
      like Father, like Son,
   Generous inside and out,
      true from start to finish.

John 1:14(MSG)


The Glory of the Lord became incarnate, came to us. 


Emmanuel…God with us. 


That’s what it’s about.


That’s something to celebrate!


Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year! 


We still have some spaces left on our Alabama mission trip.  Let me know ASAP if you are interested in going.  Also, I attached a letter from Tim Hagmaier, the clerk of the Executive Committee of WYM, responding to the Young Adult Minute we presented to them this last weekend. 




To the King!


Clip can be watched at: http://www.wingclips.com/cart.php?target=product&product_id=16272&category_id=536


Letter From Tim Hagmaier:

Young Adult Minute Acknowlegment



Preparing for Christmas

3 12 2009

Hey guys,

So it’s the season of Advent.  The season to prepare for Christmas. 

What do you do when you’re preparing for something big?  Like a big event that you know is going to happen?  Or a big conversation you know you need to have with someone?  Or a right of passage or milestone in your life?  I know sometimes I get butterflies in my stomach and get nervous.  Or I run around like crazy trying to get everything done before I run out of time.  There’s a sense of urgency in the air…and a sense of expectancy.

There’s a really great Christmas carol by Charles Wesley called Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.  Listen to the words and reflect on the urgency and expectancy of Christmas.


Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

 Come, O Long-Expected Jesus

By Dr. Mary Manz Simon

This hymn is hard for me to sing.  The tune…is not particularly difficult.  The words are easy to pronounce.  It’s the image of the cross of Calvary, not the star of Bethlehem, that makes me uncomfortable.

 “Born to set your people free…by your death on Calvary” is a picture that’s easy to avoid during this pre-Christmas season.  Mary and Joseph with their Newborn is such a tender scene.  It’s so easy to focus on the baby Jesus as a precious, cuddly, tiny human being.  That’s the mental image I like to remember during these busy days.

 There’s more than the star of Bethlehem in Christ’s life.  The cross of Calvary waits.

That Child born of Mary will grow up, enjoy a brief adulthood, and then die.  But the cross soon will be empty, for Christ will rise.  Even as we anticipate the birth of Jesus, we think of the time when he will raise us to the glorious throne, in the words of this hymn.

 To Bethlehem and beyond, we travel this Advent.  We move toward Calvary, then even further, to an eternal home with Christ our Lord.


Are you preparing for Jesus’ arrival this Christmas with urgency and expectancy?

Do you feel the excitement of His love and joy in your life?

That’s what this season is about…remember?  Jesus Christ came to set you free because He loves you so much.  And He came to die on the cross at Calvary for you and for me.  Christmas leads to Easter.  You can’t have one without the other.  You are a child of God, set free by the blood of that baby born in Bethlehem.

But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that he might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!” Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance.

Gal. 4:4-7 (MSG)

Take a few moments to soak in the reality of God’s love for you today.

To the King!