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Activated December 2016

Finding Christmas - December 2016

Has it been a tough year? Join us as we explore the reason for hope this Christmas.
 

01-12-2016
Living the Angels’ Message
Living the Angels’ Message

In this weary world of ours, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the recurring bad news of terrorism, war, natural disasters, and suffering. The message of Christmas—peace on earth and goodwill toward men—has never been more relevant. And yet I know I sometimes feel my efforts are like a drop of water in the ocean of what needs to be done to truly make a difference.

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01-12-2016
The Gift
The Gift

Christmas can be likened to a Christmas gift, where the giver is God, the gift is Jesus, and the recipient is both the whole world and each of us personally. The analogy is based on what is probably the best known and most important verse in the Bible, John 3:16. I’d heard the analogy many times over the years and even used it myself, but the following email from Paloma Sridhar in Bangalore, India, added a surprising twist: 

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01-12-2016
God Outdoes Himself
God Outdoes Himself

The baby’s first cry rings out, the umbilical cord is cut, and the proud parents and everyone else present—whether it’s an obstetrician and attendants in a gleaming hospital or a tribal midwife in a thatched hut—rejoice at the wonder they have just witnessed. The birth of Jesus on the first Christmas was all of that, but also involved at least eight more miracles. 

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01-12-2016
Through a Glass Darkly
Through a Glass Darkly

The Bible tells us that we see through a glass darkly. This refers to our limited ability to grasp the full spiritual realities of heaven, but I believe that our limited perception also affects our ability to fully understand the hearts of others who we encounter here and now. We often fail to see others as Jesus sees them, as His beloved whom He would have paid any price for. He sees in them a beautiful spirit that He has created and He sees what they can become in Him.

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01-12-2016
The Sand Clock
The Sand Clock

I went to my desk on Christmas Eve morning to find that our beloved sand clock glass had somehow broken. I threw it away, then fished it out again to take one last dramatic photo.

Sand clocks have always held a fascination for me, especially this one. It was a gift to my wife last Christmas, meant to represent “the gift of spending time together.” It also reminded me of a story and play I had written based around the symbolism of the sand clock.

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01-12-2016
Giving Christmas
Giving Christmas

It was Christmas Eve. I was in a hurry, trying to finish my work early and prepare for the evening with my family and friends, when the phone rang. I answered impatiently, “Yes, hello?”

“Merry Christmas, Lilia!” the voice on the other end cheerfully exclaimed in accented English.

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01-12-2016
Finding Christmas
Finding Christmas

Just about everyone is excited to receive a gift. There is something wonderful about knowing that someone cared enough to think about what you would like, shopped for it or created it themselves, and gave it to you.

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01-12-2016
Father to the Fatherless
Father to the Fatherless

“God is your father,” the young man said. “He came down at Christmas in human form. Through Jesus, you can know what God is like.” He looked at me with hopeful eyes, but I wasn’t convinced. “A father cares,” he continued.  “A father watches over you and is always there.”

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01-12-2016
A Multifaceted Savior
A Multifaceted Savior

I’ve been thinking how Christmas traditions vary not only from country to country, but from family to family.

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01-12-2016
A Season for Love
A Season for Love

Christmas is “the season of joy” and “a time of cheer.” But as Christmas comes around, do you find yourself experiencing things far from joy and cheer?

If you look at each Christmas as needing to be bigger and better than the last, you’re probably anxiously filling up every moment with preparations toward that goal. But sometimes less is more.

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