Tag Archives: Christian

So What Is Christmas?

SONY DSC

Isn’t that the question? What is Christmas?

Whatever you want it to be.

When you look at Christmas, it reflects your thoughts, your wants, your needs.

To a child, it’s a day that will never come. A day of wonderment and, of course, TOYS!

To a merchant, it may be the time of year when he gets his reward for keeping his doors open and his shelves stocked.

To some, it may be the time of year they can count on getting a job – even if only for a few months.

To a Christian, it may be a time of great joy – or even a time in which you wonder why you aren’t feeling great joy.

To a non-Christian, it may just be puzzling.

When Christ was on earth, He did the things only He could do. In other things, he expected His followers to take action – “Give her something to eat.” “Go out and take neither staff nor purse.”

He was trying to teach us to see things the way He did.

Not a leper. Not a despised tax collector or a prostitute. Each a person, loved by God.

This Christmas, look at it and try to see the best you can. A time of caring. A time to demonstrate what Christianity is about. Listen to others. Appreciate the fact that each of us is unique. O not judge.

Then take Christmas as a starting point and carry it with you as we head into the new year.

Trust me. Christmas will be what you want it to be.

You Can’t Hide from God

Michelangelo Cistine Chapel

Michelangelo
Cistine Chapel

Genesis 3

“(8) They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

(9) Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”

(10) He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”

The Bible is a marvelous teaching tool written to make us think.

When I read this passage, I don’t see it as God not knowing where Adam was, but instead as His way of saying, “You can’t hide from Me.”

We can deny His existence. We can pretend He can’t see what we’re doing. We can fool ourselves, but we can’t fool Him.

In other words, God is always near us.

When we’re tired, or lonely, or discouraged, God is near. He’s always close enough to hear the smallest, quietest prayer.

Thoughts on Death

charles-addams-now-play-dead

Nobody had more fun with death that Charles Addams

People stopped dying many years ago. Instead of dying, they passed away, then they passed on. Today, they merely pass.

People don’t like the idea of death. Many Christians look at death as the consequence of sin, and see their revulsion in both emotional and spiritual terms. Jesus himself was offended by death. When he entered the tomb of Lazarus in order to raise him from the dead, he reacted strongly to the presence of death. On the night before He died, he prayed that He be spared the suffering and death that awaited him.

Christians generally believe that there is a better existence in the next life than in this one. Many other faiths have similar beliefs, but most everyone believes that getting there is not half the fun. We seem to expect that it’s like birth – a bit of a chore.

Back when people died, they often died at home surrounded by family. Now they pass in the hospital surrounded by machines that make funny noises.

Back when they still died, the deceased was cleaned up, placed in a casket, and placed in the parlor.

Having grandpa’s body downstairs was the social norm but still kind of weird.  Morticians began to offer “funeral parlors” and the deceased was viewed there. Because of the previous macabre connotation, the “parlor” was renamed as the “living room.”

I noticed that many mortuaries now advertise “funeral apartments.”

I have to wonder if they expect a security deposit and references.

At least they don’t advertise “funeral condominiums.” Heaven only knows what restrictions the condo association would impose.

So we relabel, market, advertise, glamorize and use all our other skills to disguise the fact that people die. Some people convince themselves that they won’t die by cryogenically freezing their bodies in the belief that someday someone somehow will find the cure for what killed them and bring them back.

Even with Universal Healthcare, bringing back someone who died two hundred years ago is not going to be a priority.  Bottom line is that they’re just as dead – they’re just frozen spending a couple hundred years as a corpse-sicle.

Let’s just admit it, we’re all going to die.

When I’m dead and gone, you’re going to admit that I was right.

Oh, God, No!

I wasn’t feeling real well that night after dinner. I tried to watch television, but I just felt so uncomfortable that I couldn’t, so I went to bed. If you’ll excuse the expression, I just plain felt like hell.

I tossed and turned. I got up and threw a few antacid tablets in my mouth. Surely it was nothing worse than a little heartburn. I lay down. I got up. Eventually I was able to fall asleep.

There was a bright light – like a tunnel. I felt drawn toward the other end and felt like I was walking toward the source of the light.

“Oh, my God, I’m dying!”

“Yes?” came a reply.

“What?” I answered, quite confused.

“You called me. You said, ‘Oh my God…’ so I answered you.”

“So I’m?”

“Sure looks like it, doesn’t it?” I just stood there, stunned. Everything around me seemed indistinct like it was foggy.

“Well, let’s see,” the voice continued. “You have faith, so that works in your favor. Not too bad a life overall. Nothing spectacular, but I grade on a very lenient curve.”

“So what does that mean?” I asked.

“Heaven,” came the reply. I realized that I had been holding my breath and I let it out all at once.

“Breathing is optional, here,” the voice explained. “Lots of folks find it helps keep things in perspective, but there’s no oxygen requirement.” The fog around me swirled together and became the form of a very tall and quite distinguished man.

“So let’s see where We’ll put you.” A large detailed, three-dimensional map appeared behind the figure. He walked over to a podium and waved his hand over it. As he did, different parts of the map lit up in different colors as he spoke.

“Let’s see… Baptists…Baptists who read the King James Version of the Bible – No… Baptists who practice full immersion…No. Christians – non-denominational…No

“Catholics…Here we go…Armenian, Byzantine, Hmmm, Roman Catholic.” Each time he spoke, a different part of the map lit up.

“Okay, Roman Catholic, Latin Mass/Douay Bible…No. Here we go, post Vatican II Ecumenical Roman Catholic.” One portion of the map began to blink brightly.

“Excuse me,” I interrupted without meaning to. After all, I’d figured out that this was God with whom I was dealing. “Uh, sir, I mean Lord. Why the map. I thought that in Heaven we’d all be together!”

“So did I,” He replied. “However, in order to have eternal happiness, I’ve had to precisely place all the Christians. I can put Anglicans – or as you call them – Episcopalians next to modern Catholics. I can put Contemporary Methodists in the same neighborhood. Lutherans aren’t too much of a problem either, but it gets more complicated from there, then even more complicated, then – well you get the picture.

“This can’t be!” I exclaimed. “It’s like exclusive neighborhoods based on which church people attended!”

“Yep! Crazy, ain’t it?”

I realized this wasn’t the Heaven that I had hoped for.

“If you let me go back, Lord, I promise I’ll be more open to other Christians! I promise I’ll cherish all your children. I promise….”

I woke up with a start and sat bolt upright in bed.

“I promise I’ll never eat a jalapeno, chipotle, anchovy pierogi with hot sauce before bed ever again.

“Oh, and I promise to be more Christian and love my neighbor as myself.”