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Monday, December 26, 2005

Peace on Earth

Dec 26, 2005

Well, I do hope you had a very Merry Christmas and can now bring yourself to the computer to
read this blog. My Christmas was okay, if you consider a houseful of people-about ten in all, including grand-children ranging in ages from seven to eighteen months. But I loved it, although now I’m dog tired. But now that Christmas is over we can reflect on the blessings, disappointments, joys, sorrows of 2005.

Uppermost in most people’s minds I’m sure would be the battering of storms we had this year. For us in Florida it seemed like there was hardly a let up once the season got underway. And for the people of New Orleans, not used to the unusual temperaments of Mother Nature, this year must have been a real shocker. London and Spain had their share of terrorist bombings, and Israelis saw themselves giving up their much cherished land for the sake of peace.

However, peace, in Israel and elsewhere, remains an elusive dream. I asked some of my patients-about fifteen of them- to arrange a list of goals, including world peace, on a scale of 1-10. Amazingly, not one of them assigned peace to the top five. When I asked them why, they all said it’s not attainable.

Their response filled me with sadness. To think that we have grown so cynical that we no longer expect to live in a peaceful world. But this is what makes Christmas so special, so unique. Because it celebrates the birth of One who came to the world that we might have peace. When the angels announced Jesus’ birth they said, "Peace on earth to men of goodwill", and just before He left this earth He said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you ..." (John 14:27).

However as I write this men are fighting in Iraq and other parts of the world. Peace on earth? What peace, you ask. It’s the peace that fills your hearts and minds when you embrace Jesus as your Lord and Savior. When you do that, it doesn’t matter whether shells are falling all around you, you will be like the little bird I saw in a picture, sound asleep on the tip of a branch in the midst of a raging storm! That is the peace that passes all understanding.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Reason for the Season

Well, the Christmas season is upon us, and even though I promised myself I would not get caught up in the shopping frenzy, the cleaning and decorating frenzy and the cooking frenzy, I am, because I have relatives coming over from this weekend. And I never seem to have enough time or money to do everything that I would like to do. However, in the midst of all the frenzy, I managed to pause for a moment and consider my pastor’s words from last Sunday’s sermon.
He said that corporate is pushing God out of all of its affairs, and it will reach the point where our very freedom to worship may be threatened.

Frightening, but very probable. When you consider that prayer is no longer allowed in schools, a judge was fired for posting the Ten Commandments in his courtroom, and everywhere you look amidst all the glittering public decorations nothing is mentioned about Jesus Christ, then what he said is a distinct probability. In what other part of the world would someone come up with the idea of calling a Christmas tree a holiday tree? But here in a country that boasts of having been founded under godly principles, our creativity knows no bounds. Celebrating Christmas without mentioning Jesus is like coming to my birthday party and bringing a gift for someone else. That would be a gross insult, wouldn’t it? But that is exactly what we are doing here in America.

In my workplace there is a banner that reads Happy Hanukkah, and lots of pictures of Santa Claus and his reindeer, but nothing about Christmas. Well, I came up with the idea of putting up a little nativity scene with Merry Christmas written over it in my area. I encourage you to do the same, if you can. If you cannot put something up, how about putting something on- a T shirt, pin or some other emblem that would show that you’re celebrating the birth of Jesus. After all, He is the reason for the season. Merry Christmas!