As we look around us for the past few weeks, we see decorations, hear festive music, and feel a general spirit of hope and goodwill from people. I don’t believe that this is limited to Christians. With the exception of very few, everybody loves Christmas! But why? Sure some people love the gifts they get, others may enjoy being around family and community in a way that they usually don’t. But I believe that Christmas is so attractive because of the reunion it brings.
Even for those who are not in Christ, the joy of giving is pronounced during this Christmas season. And I believe that joy comes from the image of God that is in our DNA. Man, by nature, has an emptiness that is only to be filled by a relationship with God. For some, giving to another is the only small taste of God’s grace they ever experience. It is a small byproduct of so much more that is ours in Christ. God, long ago, gave the most precious gift ever given – His Son. And in doing so, He made a way for us to have a relationship with Him. (Romans 5:1-4) We give for the same reason – because we love, we give.
Tomorrow morning, I will watch with delight as my children open their gifts from me..and so will you. Whether we understand that this delight comes from our inherited image or not, we all love Christmas. Even better, the Reason for Christmas loves us back!
Merry Christmas from the Savages!
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
Here is a post my wife wrote on a devotional blog that our church hosts.
I hope you enjoy:
Precious Gifts, Big Responsibility
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
My wife makes the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had. The list of ingredients has some things that by themselves, are great! Chocolate chips and sugar to name a few… There are also some ingredients that by themselves are bitter and hard to swallow: baking soda, salt, flour… Much care and detail goes into making them, but of all the ingredients, she will tell you that the most important is “LOVE.”
Our lives are a lot like those cookies. It takes a lot of ingredients to complete a life. Some are great – finding our mate, having children… These are sweet, and we enjoy them. But just as in every great cookie, life has, mixed into it, bitter moments that are hard to understand – death of a loved one, health issues, and financial burden are a few. We cannot understand why these bitter ingredients are necessary, but without them our cookie would crumble. It is the LOVE of God that can take the sweet and bitter moments, and work them together into the masterpiece we know as life. So whatever ingredient you are experiencing right now, know that the bitterness only lasts a short time. The Lord is blending things for our good!
Okay, okay. I know a lot of people will see this and think, “Sour kraut?!? Eww!! Ick!” But my mother married a man who HATED sour kraut. I married a man who HATED sour kraut. And both guys utterly adore the stuff now. So be adventurous, and give it a try. If you love it, you’ve got another easy meal to add to your recipe box. If you still hate it, it’s not that expensive to make, so there is no real loss.
3 tablesoons of bacon grease
2 (15 oz) cans sour kraut
one third cup sugar
meat of your choice (for example: bacon, sausage, hotdogs, etc.)
Empty the cans of sour kraut into a large colander. Using hot water, rinse the kraut thoroughly. Squeeze any excess water from the kraut, and set aside. Heat the bacon grease over a medium high temperature. Put the kraut into the skillet. Pour the sugar on top. Mix together roughly, using a spatula. Add the meat. (as little or as much as you like.) If you are serving over hotdogs or burgers, omit this step. Cook over medium high heat until slightly crusty and golden brown. Serve warm. To make this meal special, sometimes I’ll use sausage or bacon for the meat, but I usually just use hotdogs because they are so inexpensive. I usually serve mine over mashed potatoes. Yummy!