He Remains

2 Timothy 2:13 ESV If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself

The Christmas bells are safely packed away in their cases and the small nativity scene has returned to its box. Though the wise men still stand above the china cabinet it will not be long before they are sent back to their far country on a shelf in the garage. This week between Christmas and New Year is quiet with the anticipation of what lies ahead and a sad sweetness of the end of our celebration of the birth of Jesus. – And yes, I know that December 25th was probably not the day he was laid in the manger, but today I wanted us to look back at that moment one more time to remind ourselves of what remains. Jesus remains and today’s verse tells us that He remains faithful.

Every day of the year is the day that our Lord has made, and every night is another night in the stable of our hearts where Jesus comes to be born in the middle of our mess. A New Year is already in the books somewhere in the world, but God is more interested in the calendar of our hearts than the calendar on our walls. If we make a time and a place for Him, He will come to bring light into our dark and empty places. But if we choose to go our own way and deny Him by our life’s choices, Jesus still remains. He is the I am. He is Alpha and Omega. He is the author and the editor of our faith and of all history. He remains, never packed away, never out of season, never failing. Thank God for such an amazing and mighty Savior; and, in the year, that ahead the best news of all is that He remains!

Receiving God’s Christmas Love

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16-17 ESV

The last few weeks have been a blur of events and emotions. Our California trip to attend my wife’s sister’s funeral and then 5 Christmas Services at different long-term care facilities have all blurred together in my mind. Last night we settled down to watch White Christmas (20 times and counting!) and slowed down enough to catch our collective breathes. We will not see family but are grateful that we have children and grandchildren to miss. We have each other, a few friends and a quiet life. How different our experience is from Mary and Joseph on a chilly night in Bethlehem.

The stable was dark and dank. There was no soft bed for Mary to lie on, no nurse or even mid-wife to attend. When the baby came, Joseph tried his best to find a place to lay him, but a feeding trough was all he found. There in that cold dark place the love of God was born as a fragile child, wrapped in rough cloth and laid in a hay bin. That Holy Night reminds me of another cold dark day, thirty-three years later when God’s love was poured out again. This time on a rough wooden cross, with blood streaming down from His hands and feet Jesus gave Himself for us. Now anyone willing to come as a child can find forgiveness and receive His gift of love (Eternal Life). May God bless you and watch over you in this Holiday season. Jesus still comes and God’s love is still being poured out. What we need are the eyes of children to see Him and receive His gift today! My song video this week features Away in a Manger. Have a blessed week all!

Thursday Sunshine – Fourth Advent Week – Love

Worship at His Feet

And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.  Matthew 2:11 ESV

At a recent meeting at our church the pastor’s wife reminded us of the wise men when she said, “The more we seek Him: the more He finds us.” We usually think of the wise men as going out on a quest to find God’s Son. But more likely they were emissaries chosen to carry gifts and give worship, to a neighboring king’s child so as to curry political favor. But the star they followed led them further than they imagined. Maybe when they left Persia, they simply planned on visiting a neighboring kingdom. But instead of a few days on the road, they discovered that the star directed them over a thousand miles across the desert to Israel. When they arrived at the capital city, Jerusalem they were invited into the king’s palace. The wise men probably unloaded the camels shouting, “Finally we’re here!” But that’s when things got strange. That evening at supper they learned that the one who they had been seeking was not the king’s son, but instead a special chosen one of God, whom the Jews called the Messiah. The next afternoon as they started towards Bethlehem, the star they had followed appeared again yet this time led them not to a palace, but to an ordinary house. There in the light of God’s star they found a child who was the true King sent from Heaven. In Him they found the one who had been seeking them and there they opened their treasures and worshiped at His feet!

“Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God, but only he who sees, takes off his shoes.” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Love Is

Love is patient to slow its pace
And walk with us our street
Love is kind when it takes time
To wash our dirty feet

Love protects from angry waves
And trusts when we can’t see
And hopes in hours before sunrise
When shadows finally flee

After everything in us has fallen
Love still stays standing true
Believing the impossible
That we will make it through

Love Is by Peter Caligiuri copyright 2021 all rights reserved
Do not waste time bothering whether, you 'love' your neighbor; act as if you do and you will presently come to love him" C S Lewis