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Activated December 2010

Christmas - December 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from everyone at Activated. May your holiday season be happy and blessed, and may this issue help make is so.

01-12-2010
Christmas is…
Christmas is…

Christmas is different things to different people.

For some it’s a time to enjoy family and friends, a time to love and be loved; for others it’s the loneliest time of the year.

For some it’s the warmth and security of hearth and home; for others it’s a stark reminder of all they don’t have and maybe never will.

For some people it’s the moneymaking opportunity of the year; for others it’s a seemingly inescapable financial disaster—a sinkhole of overspending that will take them months to climb out of.

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01-12-2010
Christmas in the Heart
Christmas in the Heart

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.

—Roy L. Smith

 

Christmas is not a date. It is a state of mind.

—Mary Ellen Chase

 

Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.

—Washington Irving

 

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01-12-2010
Through Darkness to Light
Through Darkness to Light

It’s Christmas Eve. A month ago the sun disappeared below the horizon and will not be seen again until mid-January.

Norway at this time of year is not as dreary as you might think, though. The snow-covered landscape glistens from the light of the moon and stars, and the sun’s reflected rays dance across the night sky. The colors can take your breath away.

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01-12-2010
Giving to Jesus
Giving to Jesus

Three years ago, I began writing Christmas cards to Jesus—or rather, birthday cards.

I got the idea after reading an article about giving birthday gifts to Jesus, either directly or indirectly. Examples included the gift of praise for His love and unfailing care, the gift of faith, and gifts to others of service, kindness, forgiveness, and a listening ear.

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01-12-2010
Can You Spare Some Love?
Can You Spare Some Love?

Last Christmas a doctor invited my family to perform a show for about a dozen of his elderly patients.

As it turned out, only five were well enough to attend. It was the smallest audience we had ever performed for, but the beautiful smiles on those wrinkled faces made it worth the time and effort. Afterwards, we visited a few more frail seniors in their homes. One woman with a walker greeted us outside and led us into her dark little house, where I sat with her on her bed and we sang Christmas carols together in the local dialect.

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01-12-2010
Portrait of Love
Portrait of Love

The Christmas season is here again. Christmas decorations are up in the streets and shopping areas, Christmas music fills the air, and store windows are filled with Christmas displays and gift ideas.

As I stood in front of one store window and watched a band of animated elves dance and play on little tin horns, I wondered what such a scene had to do with Christmas, the birthday of Jesus, God’s Son. Why had the store chosen elves over a nativity scene?

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01-12-2010
The Ultimate Christmas Gift
The Ultimate Christmas Gift

The Bible tells us, “God is Spirit”1 and “God is love.”2 He is the great Spirit of Love who created you and me, this beautiful world, and the entire universe. Then, to show us His love and to help us understand Him, He sent us His Son, Jesus Christ, in the form of a man.

Although He was predestined to be the King of kings, Jesus was not born in a palace.

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01-12-2010
The Christmas Butterfly
The Christmas Butterfly

“Let’s have a Christmas party on Christmas Eve,” Yoko Takahashi suggested to her husband one December morning. “I’m sure the children would enjoy it.” Koichi didn’t answer. He just said he would be home late and left for work.

December was usually the most stressful month at his company, and it was especially so this year with the sluggish economy. He wondered if he would be laid off someday, like so many others. Just two days earlier, he had attended a farewell party for one of his colleagues.

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01-12-2010
The Barrier
The Barrier

“Wait up!” a girl called out from behind me. It was a cold, rainy winter morning in Taiwan. As I turned around, a petite girl about my age ran up and said, “I thought all foreigners returned to their home countries at Christmas. You won’t find it the same here.”

“I know,” I replied, “but I am a volunteer worker here. I can’t afford to return home this Christmas. I do have friends here, though, so I will be okay. I also have Jesus, who is with me no matter where I am.”

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01-12-2010
It’s All about Love
It’s All about Love

How easily love seems to get lost in the shuffle of getting to where we want to go! It’s easy to get so preoccupied with “doing” that we forget to love.

We’ve all inadvertently done that at one time or another. We know that the right thing is to treat others with love,1 and we usually try to do so, yet in those moments when we’re faced with a need that requires a greater measure of love and unselfishness than usual, it’s easy to make choices that squeeze love out of the picture. But the right choice is always the loving...

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01-12-2010
My Prayer for You this Christmas

Dear one,

No gift could fill your heart with all the special things you deserve, so this Christmas I offer a prayer instead, asking the One who knows your every need to give you His very best.

First I pray for your happiness. Not the fleeting kind that comes from happenings or new acquisitions, but deep abiding happiness that will be there even when nothing special is going on.

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01-12-2010
"What Shall I Give Thee, Master?"
"What Shall I Give Thee, Master?"

When Christmas comes, I’m already reflecting on the past year, what I did or didn’t get done that I meant to or should have, and I’m already thinking about my goals for the next year, how I can aim higher or do better. That’s when the message of an old song comes back to me:

What shall I give Thee, Master?

Thou who didst die for me!

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01-12-2010
The Gift of Giving
The Gift of Giving

A Christmas Carol, written by Charles Dickens and first published in 1843, has been retold in numerous versions and forms. A timeless story, it is much more than an account of a mean, miserable old man—Scrooge—who changes his ways after a Christmas Eve visitation by three spirits. It is a reminder that it is only when we give to others that we truly celebrate the spirit of Christmas. Giving may be material, like a beautifully wrapped present or a monetary gift to someone in need, but true giving is more than that; it extends to sharing ourselves.

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01-12-2010
Let My Love Warm Your Christmas
Let My Love Warm Your Christmas

No matter how down you may be—if you are out of work and have an empty wallet or bank account, if you’re lonely or sick or have suffered personal loss, if war or hatred or injustice or others’ indifference has chilled your heart—My love can change that. Let My birth and all that it heralded be remembered. Let My love fill you and give you purpose. Evils also plagued the world at the time of My birth and throughout My life on earth, but in the midst of such great darkness came the brightest light the world has ever known;...

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