The Whole of Merry Christmas in Just 4 Words

“Merry Christmas”… what does that mean anyway?

‘Tis the season to be jolly, fa-la-la-la-la-la, etc….

Happy Holidays. 

Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward men.

… And all the other typical quoted quotes pervade the songs, the cards, and the movies.

But, I can tell you the whole Christmas deal in just 4 words.

Born.

Died.

Rose.

Coming Back.

That’s the whole of Merry Christmas from beginning to end, and the why.

First, Christmas is a celebration of the baby-Jesus being born in the manger; the scene is sung about, depicted on cards, and given subtle due credit in seasonal movies.  But, why celebrate this particular birth?

Second, what happens to that oh-so-sweet-baby-lying-in-that manger? He dies; His was no peaceful passing.  He dies after being stripped, beaten til bloody, spit upon, and nailed alive, to a cross, for all to see.

Third: When death takes his last breath away, this baby-from-the-manger-grown-up is buried just like all the other dead of the day – in a tomb. Yet, when three ladies go, to pay their respects, the tomb was found empty – this grown man walked about as alive as ever and then rose up into the sky and entered heaven; this grown-man simultaneously was God, is God – this is how He could ascend. He sits there even now, with his Father, and gives full rest and peace to my son, Caleb, who has been in His presence since May 27, 2018.

Lastly, just wait.

Wait, because one day, this same Jesus will come back to get all of us who believe on Him and love Him. Everyone will see this, no eye left closed, and this will be the end.

This is the whole of Merry Christmas.  It is the full story of why we celebrate.  Jesus, and all He embodies in promise and love for us, is our peace on earth and our happy in the holidays; ‘Tis the season to be Jolly…. merry measure clothes us when we size it all up against these 4 words that tell it all.

Born.

Died.

Rose.

Coming Back.

So dear friends and readers – I extend to you all with my words and my art – Merry Christmas to you all. May you understand the whole story and find no excuse not to be Jolly!

See you in the New Year!

 

 

 

What a Recovering Addict wants for Christmas

So, what do you want for Christmas?

That’s the question of the season right?

Both clandestinely and up-front-boldly, parents ask it of their children, children ask it of their parents, friends ask one to another, and all are expecting tangible ideas in order to compile their secret lists and sneaky plans…

It is a conversation starter when you are in groups; a good way to get people talking about what their hearts are set on…

the latest gadget,

a new pair of boots,

coveted jewels,

or… money – to get what they really want…

Those are the kind of answers I expected when I asked a small group of men in Recovery what they wanted for Christmas. But it is not the answer I got. Not even close.

Without hesitation, his voice was steady and strong:

“All I want is one more day, just like today, clean and sober.”

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Immediately, my heart melted right into the shape of a large piece of humble pie.  In my asking, I was boldly sneaky in hopes that I would be able to gain insight and surprise these guys with a tangible gift near Christmas Day. Instead, I was stopped in my tracks.

How many of us think, all we want for Christmas is: one more day?

It is a total perspective game changer to think like this! This young man’s answer caused me to realize how very ungrateful I was to not see the preciousness of one more day. Not to see the gift of one more day.

One more day to breathe in the cold winter air and feel the crunch of snow underfoot…

One more day to enjoy a taco on Tuesday…

One more day to laugh with a friend, hug a mom, and sing in the shower!

For those in Recovery, it is a different story. One more day, clean and sober, is one more day to live and enjoy life and the people in their paths.  Too many of these young men know the instability of recovery; too many of these young men have been revived by Narcan and fully know that unexpected deaths occur. Too many of these young men fear that tomorrow may not come.

One more day is a gift for sure.

And so, I ask myself …

If I all I wanted for Christmas was one more day…how would that change my Holiday season?

One more day to cook a meal for those I love…

One more day to give a hug, loan a dollar, listen to a hurting heart…

One more day to laugh and cry and  pray…

One more day to serve my Lord…

The best gifts of this season are those intangibles – the stuff you cannot buy, but that are given by the Father of the Baby Jesus that is so prevalently depicted during this season.  Today, I am thanking my young man friend for the gift he gave me:

… perspective.

I will align myself with him and say, yes – I want the same for Christmas – the best gift:

One more day to wake up and enjoy what God has given me.

What do you want for Christmas?