Posts tagged Christmas

Remember the Hope

1

Today has been wonderful. I have spent the entire day being lazy with my wife and son. No schedule. No work. No school. No stress. It has been a wonderful Christmas Eve’s Eve.

I absolutely love this time of year. The world seems to be softer and quieter during the few days that surround Christmas. The important things in life take precedence, as they should all year long. Families and friends enjoy time together. The birth of the King is celebrated, and His passion remembered. Today, my heart is brimming with love, joy, and peace. My mind is at rest. My stomach is holding more than it was designed to.

As all is right in my world, I am reminded that this is not so for everyone. For every child that is born, one is lost. For every full stomach, there are several empty. For every child that opens a present on Christmas, there will be plenty that have not known the pleasure of receiving a gift. For some, Christmas is a time of happiness, while others are stooped in despair. Many look on to the next year with excitement, and others dread. We never know where life will take us in a year. Things look up and turn down so quickly.

Life is spent vacillating between hope and hopelessness. Christmas is a time when many feel without hope. They go through the holiday motions, hurting, feeling an ache inside. Tragedy, death, pain, and loss do not set aside their cruelties for the holidays. I hope that this Christmas you find yourself blessed, excited, joyous, with a waltz in your heart, and a smile that cannot be hidden. Yet, I know there are plenty who feel contrary to joy this season, as they endure what life has served them.

Regardless of where we find ourselves, we should be reminded that Christmas is about hope. It is a celebration of hope. For unto us, a Child is born. Unto us, a Son has been given. Without the birth of Christ, we remain as dead men. With the death of Christ, we become alive. Apart from the cross, there can be no hope. Whether times are merry or filled with affliction, I pray we remember the Hope.

Is life difficult this Christmas? Remember the Hope.
Has there been loss? Remember the Hope.
Does your soul ache? Remember the Hope.

One day all will be set right. All tears will be dried. Joy will abound.

Merry Christmas. Remember the Hope

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

This will be my last original post for this year. I am content to end the year with the nice even number of 50 posts. Next week I will be celebrating with my family and enjoying the last remaining days of the year. I plan on re-posting the five most popular blogs of the year next week, then bring us a challenge for the new year after it rolls in! You can also now follow the blog on twitter @walkgood515

Thanks for you that read my thoughts and share your own. My wife gave me a really cool gift. She had all of my writings this year made into a book. It is really neat to flip through the pages and remember my thoughts! I find myself blessed this year! I Hope yours is too! Merry Christmas once again!

Apologetic Wednesday: 37 Million Atheist Know A Myth When They See One…Or Do They?

4

Recently, there was a piece on the morning news about a billboard hosted by the American Atheist group. As you can see, the underlying assumption is that Jesus is a myth, and can be likened to Santa Claus or Neptune. This is a completely unjust comparison that strains the limits of credulity.

First, we must remember that an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Yet,when it comes to Santa Clause we have good reason to believe that he does not exist. We have discovered no workshop at the North Pole. There have been no known reported Santa sightings. No elves have appeared on 60 minutes with their faces blacked out willing to out the man in red. There are plenty of “well behaved” children that receive nothing for Christmas.

When it comes to Jesus, we find there is positive evidence that justifies belief. He was an actual historical figure, who was crucified, buried, and His followers sincerely believed, even to the point of death, that He appeared to them after having risen from the dead (all of these facts the vast majority of historical scholars will concede to). We have eyewitness testimony that records His life and the events surrounding Him. Christians will also cite experiential evidence, having experienced Christ throughout their lives. There are also good reasons to believe in God (based on philosophy, cosmology, biology, psychology, etc).

The comparison between Jesus and other mythological figures is a straw man. It completely lacks substance and assumes that people are gullible simpletons who are willing to believe something for no reason. While we cannot prove with absolute certainty that God exists (the same goes for any worldview including atheism) we can be reasonably certain based on what evidence we have.

“The fact that people often use “blind” before “faith” shows that faith is not normally or necessarily blind.” – Sean McDowell

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

The Black Sheep

4

Anyone who has ever decided to read through the New Testament from Matthew to Revelation is perhaps met with frustration right at the start. Right out of the gate, in plain print, clear as crystal, they are met with the dreaded “begots.” That’s right…the “begots.” Before Matthew gets to the Christmas story that we all love to read about, he first bores us with the “begots.” As a kid, I would just skip over this stuff.

Let’s look at how Matthew begins his Gospel. “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: 2 Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. 3 Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. 4 Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon.” So on and so forth…yada, yada, yada. Sixteen verses of so and so begot so and so all the way up until Jesus Christ is born.

Now, while these genealogies may seem boring, they actually are of great import. These sixteen verses of Jesus family tree actually set the scene for the Christmas story. Matthew includes the genealogy of Christ, I believe, for a couple of reasons. First, he was trying show that Jesus was a descendent of King David. Matthew is trying to present that Jesus was Messiah to a Jewish audience, and if Jesus wasn’t connected to David’s bloodline it would be a no-go.

The second reason Matthew gives the genealogy of Christ has significance for all of us. Have you read through the genealogy? No? Go read it then, I will wait. No, seriously. Go read it. Did you notice anything in Jesus’ family tree? He has some shady relatives. Much like the family members you sort of hope won’t be at the family gathering this year. We all have some black sheep somewhere in the family.

Back to Jesus’ ancestors. Remember Jacob? He lied to his blind dad and swindled his brother out of millions. Remember Judah and his brothers? They all lied to their dad because they were jealous of their kid brother. They said he was dead, but they really sold him into slavery. Jerks.

Then we come to a woman in the genealogy. This was unheard of in ancient times. You don’t include women in anything, especially when you are trying to show that someone is the messiah. Women were only considered good for making babies and biscuits (sorry ladies, that is just how it was in antiquity). He mentions Tamar first. She slept with her father-in-law (can I get an eeew?). Then there was Rahab. How can I put this delicately…um…well…..she was a hoe. We also see Solomon’s mom make an appearance in Jesus’ family tree. Remember her? Yea, Solomon was born from a scandalous affair between David and Bathsheba.

As you can see, Jesus’ lineage had misfits sprinkled throughout. You would think Matthew would try and gloss over some of these names. So why does Matthew share them with us? Why does he put the spotlight on the black sheep in Jesus’ family? Because these people were the very ones that Jesus was born to one day die for. Jesus came that he might restore the relationship between fallen mankind and God. Jesus came to bring life to all who realize their records are tarnished and far from clean. He came for thieves, liars, adulterers, and all the rest.

The truth is, we all have our junk. We all have things in our past that we wish were not there. We all have skeletons hanging in hidden closets. There are certain memories that we hang our heads in shame at every recollection. The good news is, Jesus was born, died for our sins, and offers us life. It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter what you have done. It doesn’t matter if you are a black sheep, because Jesus came for the black sheep.

This Christmas, let’s remember where we came from. We were all once sinners. At one point, we were all black sheep, but Jesus was born to offer us life. He didn’t come for the well, he came for the sick. He doesn’t love us for who we are, He loves us because of who He is. Let’s be thankful for where He has brought us, and mindful of where we came from.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Go to Top