Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Announcement #1

I read Luke 1:1-25 today. It is Christmas, so naturally I love reading those related passages in Scripture. So here is how it goes down...

Zechariah is at work. An angel named Gabriel appears at his job site. Zechariah feels fear. So, the fear thing at seeing an angel. Isn't that so human?!! I can relate to that response. The angel addresses that fear with "Don't be afraid." That's good. Would I snap out of it that easily?

Anyway, the angel goes on to say "For God has heard your prayer and your wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son!" Were there other wives? OK. Not the point. The prayer may be referenced in v. 25. So the angel goes on with the specifics: call him John, no wine because he'll be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth, and his work will be to turn people to the Lord.*

Zechariah listens to the "good news" and questions immediately. Oh, so human! The part where we all flee to the facts in the face of faith..."How can I know this will happen? I'm an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years." And then the angel silenced him for a few months. So there.

Then he goes outside where the people have been waiting for him. And he can't speak. "They then realized from his gestures that he must have seen a vision." Now picture that! There's a round of Charades not to be missed. I can just imagine that non-verbal communication.

I can also relate to God answering my prayer and me being surprised or questioning. Oh, brother. Humans!

Anyway, God is amazing.

*I'm curious to think more about why "no wine or hard liquor" is connected with being filled with the Spirit. I am also curious about the concept of "turn" people to the Lord. When I turn, I change my direction, my focus, my view. That sounds nice and an invitation to something else. It doesn't sound like that's a condemnation.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Purpose of Christmas, A Book

I have recently noticed a new book by Rick Warren, called The Purpose of Christmas. Here is some information I read on the web about it that made me more curious to read it. I haven't heard anyone mention this title yet. I just don't want another cliche Christmas book. I have so much respect for Rick Warren, so I'm interested in what the book might say, but haven't bought it to read. I was also moved to see what the proceeds will go to fund and my heart also aches for the five issues mentioned below in the last section. If you have read the book, let me know.

From a web article:

Rick Warren: “This book, The Purpose of Christmas, is the most clear definition of Christianity – of what it means to follow Jesus, what it means to be saved – of anything I’ve ever written,” Warren says.

Using Christmas, the book explains why Jesus Christ came to earth – which Warren says can be summed up through the three statements given by the angels that appeared at the first Christmas.

“First, he (the angel) said ‘I bring you good news of great joy.’ It’s a time for celebration,” explains Warren. “And then he says, ‘for on this day is born to you a savior, who is Christ the Lord.’ It’s a time for salvation. And then he says ‘Peace on earth; goodwill toward men.’ It’s a time for reconciliation."

“Jesus Christ came to the earth for celebration, salvation, and reconciliation,” Warren says. “In other words, to make peace with God, to make peace with ourselves, to make peace with other people.”

Like the book,
Link all net proceeds of the CD will go to benefit Saddleback Church's PEACE Plan – a global initiative created by Warren to mobilize millions of Christians in the fight against the five global giants of spiritual emptiness, self-centered leadership, extreme poverty, pandemic disease and illiteracy/education.


Favorite Flavors

I love Christmas time for many reasons. Simple, playful, and deeply meaningful reasons and everything in-between. I have two favorite flavors that dominate this season. Peppermint and eggnog -- not together, however. Peppermint ice cream, Starbuck's Peppermint Mocha holiday beverage, peppermint tea, peppermint milkshakes (introduced to me by my mother-in-law), peppermint bark -- it's all good. In moderation, of course. And then eggnog. Eggnog ice cream, Starbuck's Eggnog Latte holiday beverage, and a frothy cup of good old eggnog. I think I'll make eggnog milkshakes this year for something new to me. Growing up, my family would sit quietly at the end of the day on Christmas Eve, near the lovely decorated tree, still empty beneath, and sip a traditional cup of eggnog from little demitasse cups used only for this occasion, while we paused to be still at the apex of Christmas excitement for children. I remember that with fondness. Oh, and by the way, my eggnog enjoyment does not involve brandy or rum, just the creamy, thick, richness of the glug-glugging eggnog plain.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Hooray for a Hundred

I just reached my 100th friend on Facebook. And I actually know most of them. Yippee. That's plenty for me. I'll rest now.