Activated Magazine Online

Switch to desktop

Activated December 2011

Christmas - December 2011

It has been a particularly difficult year for this weary world of ours, but once again Christmas helps put things in perspective and brings hope for a better tomorrow.
 

01-12-2011
Reason to Hope
Reason to Hope

If you’re finding it harder than usual to get into the Christmas spirit this year, you aren’t alone. It’s been an especially tough year for this weary world of ours.

The first two months alone saw popular revolts break out in 13 North African and Middle Eastern nations, following Tunisia’s lead a few weeks earlier. Some were bloodless, others bloody, but all proved that there are no overnight fixes for longstanding social and economic disparities. We all hope for the best for the 300 million people in those countries, but we must also realize that change will be a long, slow,...

Read more
01-12-2011
A Time for Reflection
A Time for Reflection

Many people look forward to Christmas with mixed feelings. There is happy anticipation of celebrations, good food, a break from work, and time relaxing with family and friends, but also the anxiety that comes from especially busy days of decorating, shopping, cooking, baking, and entertaining. Some also face the likelihood of friction when their family gets together, while others face loneliness.

No matter what our circumstances or expectations, we can all have a meaningful and truly blessed Christmas if we will take a few minutes each day for quiet reflection on symbols of the season like these.

Read more
01-12-2011
God’s Christmas Gift
God’s Christmas Gift

Christmas celebrates the most important birth in human history, when the Creator of the universe entered our world in bodily form as both God and man in Jesus. An angel appeared to announce Jesus’ birth to a few shepherds who were watching their sheep at night. “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people,” the angel proclaimed, “for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”1

Read more
01-12-2011
Happy Birthday, Jesus!
Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Because I grew up in the Soviet Union, I didn’t celebrate my first Christmas until 1991, when I was 16. Until then, I had never seen a manger scene, never heard a Christmas carol, and never been told the story of Jesus’ birth. But that year the truth and spirit of Christmas stormed my heart and mind and left me feeling tipsy with happiness from December 25th (Christmas in the West) to January 7th (Christmas according to the Julian calendar and the Russian Orthodox Church). I spent those two weeks with members of the Family International who had recently introduced...

Read more
01-12-2011
The Heart of the Matter
The Heart of the Matter

At a social event, I was pleasantly surprised to meet up with two colleagues with whom I had worked decades earlier. We chatted about the intervening years until our conversation turned to the joint project we had worked on. While we agreed on the sequence of events and the final outcome, each of us remembered different details. To get a clear understanding of what actually happened, someone would have needed to merge our recollections.

I thought of this recently when rereading the accounts of Jesus’ birth in the gospels. None is complete in itself, but together they tell an amazing story.

Read more
01-12-2011
Angels in the Christmas Story
Angels in the Christmas Story

God sends a prophet to prepare the way.

An angel appears to the priest Zacharias and tells him that his wife, Elizabeth, will have a baby boy, even though she is long past childbearing age, and that they are to name the baby John. The angel also explains that the baby has been sent by God to prepare the way for the Messiah. The baby grows up to become John the Baptist. (Luke 1:5–25)

Read more
01-12-2011
The Best Part of Christmas
The Best Part of Christmas

As I rushed around the streets of Morelia, Mexico,the stoplights were crowded with beggars. It was Christmas Eve, and I had gone out with my 10-year-old daughter for some last-minute shopping.

“Look at her!” Cathy drew my attention to an old woman who had stopped begging momentarily and was rubbing her cold, bare feet.

Read more
01-12-2011
The Reason for the Season
The Reason for the Season

Jesus temporarily renounced the rights of His citizenship in heaven and became a citizen of this world. Though He was rich, for our sakes He became poor that we through His poverty might become rich. He not only adapted Himself to our bodily form, but also conformed to the human ways of life, customs, language, dress, and living, that He might understand and love us better and communicate with us on the lowly level of our own human understanding. He did it that He might reach us with His love, prove to us His compassion and concern, and help us...

Read more
01-12-2011
Special Treasures
Special Treasures

Each December I ask my children, Toby and Kathy, now seven and nine, to go through their toys and clothes and set aside what they have outgrown or no longer use. Then I check what they’ve selected, weeding out worn-out items and exercising my veto power in a few cases, and box up the best of the rest to give to others who have less than we do. Besides instilling in the children a spirit of giving, I have found this to also be an effective way to trim down on clutter and put “gently used” items that they no...

Read more
01-12-2011
Christmas on the Road
Christmas on the Road

Some years back, my husband and I were serving as missionaries in northern Brazil when an opening came up for us to take part in a new venture helping young people in Buenos Aires.

At the time we had three children, and I was pregnant with our fourth. My husband is from Argentina and was hoping we could arrive in time to spend Christmas with his elderly father, so a few days before Christmas we set out on the 7,000 km (4,350 mi) overland journey. The trip went fine until we arrived at the border.

Read more
01-12-2011
Occasion to Love
Occasion to Love

For many of us, since we were young children, Christmas has been a special time of celebrating Jesus’ birth, giving and receiving gifts, and spending time with family and friends. But Christmas is not only a time to enjoy these blessings ourselves; it is also the greatest opportunity of the year to tell the world about our precious Savior. Perhaps more than any other day of the year, it’s a time when people think about the miracle that is at the heart of Christmas—God sending His own dear Son into our world to lead us back to Him. Even in...

Read more
01-12-2011
Christ, the Gift of Christmas Day
Christ, the Gift of Christmas Day

Christ, the Gift of our Christmas Day,

Come afresh to our hearts, we pray!

Of Thy fullness may we receive,

Every promise may we believe;

Richer treasure than this world’s best

Thou dost offer—Thou Royal Guest;

Unto those who thankful hearts uplift

And take Thee—the Father’s wondrous gift.

Read more
01-12-2011
The Gift of a Thankful Heart
The Gift of a Thankful Heart

What can you give Me this Christmas? A thankful heart is one gift I love to receive anytime. You make Me happy when you are appreciative of My blessings, great and small, because I love to see you happy. I love to see you smile, and that makes Me smile in return. I love to see you laugh, and I love to laugh with you. Each smile or laugh tells Me that you love and appreciate Me.

Think of specific things that make you glad, and thank Me for them. And when something happens that makes you feel happy or loved,...

Read more

 

Download the PDF

Copyright 2017 © Activated. All rights reserved.

Top Desktop version