The Real Reason for the Season

YOU’VE SEEN IT. SO HAVE I. The phrase is on bumper stickers, it appears on coffee mugs, it often finds its way onto greeting cards, billboards, and church signs. It has become almost synonymous with Christ. What is that expression? Jesus is the reason for the season. Catchy, isn’t it? Sure makes sense on the surface. In fact, an entire retail industry has been practically erected around this singular notion.

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The Gift That Lives On

“WHAT IN THE WORLD can I give to ______ this Christmas?” Sound familiar? Sure, it’s probably the most frequently asked question every Yuletide season. In our pocket of society where pampered affluence is rampant, we are often at a loss to know which gift to buy. For some people (especially those who “have everything”) the standard type of gift won’t cut it. Nothing in the shopping mall catches our fancy.

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Operational Arrival

MERRY CHRISTMAS! Lost in the wonder of it all, I believe a little child upon my knee would whisper simple words of advice up close to my ear. Let’s slow down. The special joy of Christmas is spending extra hours with folks you love. That takes time. Rather than talking about how much we’d like to make it happen, why not slow down and do it?

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The First Christmas Eve

IN 1818, a roving band of actors was performing in towns throughout the Austrian Alps. Their performance on a starry December night in Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria, impacted local pastor Joseph Mohr as the words of the Christ story remained in his heart. On his walk home, Mohr traveled up a longer path home, which took him up a hill overlooking the village.

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I Brake for Christmas

A FEW DECEMBERS AGO, I saw something that I won’t soon forget. The bumper sticker on the back of the car in front of me caught my eye. It made me think. And it even aroused some guilt. I was on the freeway as the car was pulling off. Like many December days, my day so far had been full, and it was far from over. Stuffed in my pocket was a shopping list, most of the items not yet purchased.

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Dangers at Christmas

IN THIS SEASON OF EXTREME BUSYNESS, we Christians need to stay alert to any potential dangers. I’ll mention only four of them . . . along with some strategies that will allow us to combat each risk. First is the doctrinal danger of substituting the temporal for the eternal. Paul explains: Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. ROMANS 12:2

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Incarnation

EVERY YEAR, as Christmas draws nearer, I remember a story Paul Harvey told on one of his radio broadcasts. It’s a tale that never grows old. One raw winter night the man heard an irregular thumping sound against the kitchen storm door. He went to a window and watched as tiny, shivering sparrows, attracted to the evident warmth inside, beat in vain against the glass.

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The Gift That Keeps on Giving

ALTHOUGH IT MAY BE a little ahead of schedule, it’s not too early to give some things away this Christmas. Not just on Christmas Day, but during the days leading up to December 25. We could call these daily gifts “our Christmas projects.” Maybe one per day from now ’til then. Mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion. Hug someone tightly and whisper, “I love you.”

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The Fullness of Time

ANY SIGNIFICANT BIRTHS IN the year 1809? Here’s a list of a few: William Gladstone was born in Liverpool. Alfred Tennyson took his first breath in Lincolnshire. Oliver Wendell Holmes cooed in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Edgar Allan Poe began his brief but tragic life in Boston. A physician named Darwin named his firstborn son Charles.

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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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