Monthly Archives: December 2023

Looking Forward


Seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1

We like to say, “Looking forward to it,” when an upcoming event or holiday is mentioned. But have we ever taken the time to consider what that phrase means to us in real life—especially on this New Year’s Eve?

Looking forward means we are not dwelling too much on the past and what might have been or could have been or on mistakes or failures.

Looking forward indicates we are excited about what is to come and have hope for the future.

Looking forward captures the feeling that our eyes are peeled toward an end goal, a time when we have reached our final destination.

All of these are sentiments that we can take to heart as we head into the new year. Don’t live with regrets. Do have a positive outlook. And remember that our ultimate goal is heaven, and God is looking forward to seeing us there one day.

Happy New Year to you all!

Christmas Greetings


On this holy night, we welcome the baby Jesus to earth. We lift up our hearts to him for his love. We reach out our arms to embrace our family and friends with the Christlike love. We unwrap presents so carefully selected for us and unleash our joy in Jesus who came to free each one of us from sin. We celebrate the blessings Christ bestowed on us that now flow through us to the whole world. Merry Christmas to you all!

Classic Christmas Specials

classic specials

Now is the time of year when the classic TV Christmas specials come out. I remember as a child watching them with glee, and that childlike excitement returns whenever these specials come on the screen again. In most cases, we are whisked back to a simpler time and a quieter reflection on Christmas.

Are there some TV specials that you watch together as a family every year? Take the time to do that again this year.

Are there some specials that do not contain anything specifically about Jesus but that you can draw Christian messages from? Think about how you can share Jesus with those who do not know him.

Are there certain scenes from your favorite special that bring you to tears every time, no matter how many times you have seen it? Reflect on why those moments touch you so.

Let this sort of screen time enrich your Christmastime.

Are You Ready Yet?

getting ready

Christmas is 10 days away. So are you ready yet? Now is the time when people start to scramble to get those last few gifts for family, friends or co-workers. It is when clean-up of the house begins in earnest for guests that will be arriving. It is when the final rehearsals take place for the Christmas pageants and cantatas.

All of this getting ready is well and good, of course. But the bigger question is “Are you ready spiritually?” Are you ready to give praise and glory to the Christ Child? Are you ready to come to Christ to be clean of your sins through confession and forgiveness? Are you ready to serve the newborn King in response to his loving presence with us?

These are the questions that matter. These are the questions that define this season. These are the questions that make Christmas come alive in us. Get ready for the joy!

Earlier Decorating?

early decorating

I don’t know what it is about this year, but I have seen Christmas lights up on houses sooner than usual, and I know some people who had their Christmas tree up before Thanksgiving. Why the urgency to get started on Christmas a little earlier? I wonder if it has to with the state of the world and the struggles we have collectively been through in the last several years. “Let’s get back to normal!” “Let’s do something positive and uplifting.” Those are the sentiments that are prompting the early Christmas decorating, I think.

Then I think about the first Christmas. The world at that time was not perfect in the least. Mary and Joseph lived in an area under Roman rule. Their lives were being dictated by an emperor who wanted all people to be counted for tax purposes. They were forced to travel far when expectant Mary was in no condition to journey anywhere.

But then God said, “Let’s get things started.” Jesus was born in Bethlehem, probably a little earlier than Mary and Joseph had expected. But it was Jesus’ birth that got the angels excited, that got bored and sleepy shepherds up and running to the manger where Jesus rested. It was Jesus’ entry into the world that introduced a sparkling star into the sky for the wise men to follow to come and worship Jesus.

Let the Christmas lights this season that you may have seen up a little earlier this year remind you that it is OK to start the celebration of Jesus’ birth whenever it feels right for you to do so. Because, whenever you get started in celebrating, it can lead to a chain reaction of celebrating our Savior.

So don’t ever feel bad about celebrating a little early this year. When it comes to celebrating Jesus, the sooner the better, and the longer the celebration.

Advent Living

Advent calendar

When the Church calendar turns to Advent, I always find myself feeling a different way. My inner child gets excited about Christmas once again. My thoughts turn to children’s Christmas programs I prepared for in grade school during the Advent season. I ponder opening daily windows or pockets on some sort of Advent calendar to count the days until Christmas. I can smell the scent of candles from an Advent wreath being lit at dinnertime. I hear Christmas music being played from my car radio and start to feel a little more upbeat about things in general.

That’s what Advent does: It sparks joy. It lets excitement build. It brings to mind the things that matter. It drives our living toward Jesus, born in a manger on Christmas. What if all of life was like our Advent living? It can be, if we let it. We can get ready for Jesus’ arrival on the Last Day any time of the year. We can pray and read Scripture every day to remind us of the salvation we receive through Jesus. We can cross off days on our calendar each night, knowing that we are one day closer to meeting our Savior. We can light candles anytime to remember the Light of the World. We can even listen to Christmas music in any month if we want to, to let the message of Jesus linger. Enjoy Advent living today and every day!