A Week after Christmas

EVER WONDERED WHAT happened shortly after Jesus was born? That’s an interesting question. We all feel that sense of uncertainty and even confusion after the crowds leave. When the house is still and quiet. The beautifully wrapped Christmas paper lies in piles, amid open boxes, stray ribbons, and bows. The once-hidden Christmas surprises sit silent and unattended under the tree now revealed.

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A Simple Season

THE WONDER OF AMAZON just continues to spread. Tens of thousands of employees and hundreds of thousands of square feet of operations all work with amazing precision to coordinate the receiving, packaging, and shipping of millions of products all around the world. Now then—if one man can come up with an organizational plan as complex as all that, think of how much more efficient God’s arrangement was almost two thousand years ago.

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An Unexpected Gift

CHRISTMAS DAY NEVER arrived so slowly, but finally it dawned. While no one was looking, I had shaken the box enough to know that it had to contain what I had been wanting so badly—right size, right weight, everything. When my turn came I tore at the wrapping and ribbon, pulled open the top, and to my disbelieving eyes there it was, a world globe the exact size, shape, and weight of a basketball!

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The Irony of Incarnation

THE CHRISTMAS STORY HAS been so sanitized and romanticized over the centuries that even Hollywood—as jaded a culture as can be found anywhere—fails to capture the gritty pathos that surrounded Jesus’ arrival. Truth be told, even some churches annually idealize the birth of our Savior. Yet it was anything but ideal.

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Tears at Christmas

I’VE LIVED LONG ENOUGH TO know that sometimes Christmas hurts. And when words fail, tears flow. In some remarkable way, our complex inner-communication system knows when to admit its verbal limitations and signal its need for assistance. It’s an amazing thing. Lips that previously moved freely begin to quiver.

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Looking at the Big Picture . . . and Finding Hope, Part 2

Without realizing it, mighty Augustus was only an errand boy for the commencement of “the fullness of time.” He was a pawn in the hand of God . . . a mere piece of lint on the pages of prophecy. While Rome was busy making history, God arrived. He pitched His fleshly tent in silence on straw . . . in a stable . . . under a star.

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Looking at the Big Picture . . . and Finding Hope, Part 1

The Christmas story has been so sanitized and romanticized over the centuries that even Hollywood—as jaded a culture as can be found anywhere—fails to capture the gritty pathos that surrounded Jesus’s arrival. Truth be told, even some churches annually idealize the birth of our Savior. Yet it was anything but ideal.

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Focus on What Matters

SHOPPING SEASON HAS ARRIVED! Admit it: you’re already on a roll! You’ve started swiping your credit card all over town hoping to get in on the early bird sales. And Black Friday is coming still! But in the midst of all the shopping, preparations for family to arrive, and just sheer mayhem when it comes to getting ready for this special time of year, I urge you to pause regularly as a family and consider God’s perspective on what really matters. Start by reading the following aloud.

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Slowing Down before the Holidays

APPOINTMENTS, ACTIVITIES, ASSIGNMENTS . . . demands, decisions, deadlines . . . schedules, services, seminars . . . plans, people, programs . . . STOP! Sit down and think. Think about your pace. How in the world did you get trapped in the busyness cycle? What is it down inside your boiler room that keeps pouring the coal to your fire? Consider the past three or four months. Has anything significant been accomplished? Probably not, if you’re honest.

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I Brake for Christmas

The bumper sticker caught my eye. Made me think. Even aroused some guilt. I was on the freeway as his car was pulling off. My day had been full and it was far from over. Stuffed in my pocket was a list, most of the items not yet purchased. A little panic rushed over the back roads of my mind as I pondered all the things yet to be bought in those few days left before Christmas.

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