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GLAD TIDINGS TO YOU & TO US! CHRIST IS BORN & REVEALED!

GLAD TIDINGS TO YOU & TO US!
CHRIST IS BORN & REVEALED!

Everyone understands the Christmas message of the above statement. The translation is that Jesus Christ is born and this is very good news for you and me. Yes, it is very good news. We are not alone in the world. God is with us. We welcome this very important guest that humanity is waiting for a long time. This is the day to welcome guests to your home, to your heart, to reconcile, to forgive your enemies, and to pray for those who curse you. This is the day to perform good deeds, have mercy, do charitable acts and spread the love. During your hectic life, this is the day to stop and look around to make sure you make the time visit your family and friends. This is the day for big family gatherings.
We are one. There are no rich, there is no poor. There is no left, there is no right. There no wise or dumb. In other words, there is just Christians united with love and understanding. This is the Christmas miracle. Why not? Christmas is the day of miracles.
Here is a true story that I had once read in a newspaper:
On Christmas Eve, everyone was rushing to the church. A young man had decided to stay at home and there was no need to go to church. These are his words that changed his life. It was snowing and very cold. Like Chicago. He noticed the birds were freezing and falling off the tree branches into the snow. He had pity for them. He opened his window for the birds there were close by to fly into his home for warmth and security. But, as you can imagine, the birds didn’t realize he was trying to help them. He tried many different ways to attract them to come in, but it did not work. He thought that if he became a bird to speak their language, he would fly amongst them and bring them with him back into his home. While he was busy thinking like this, he heard church bells ringing in the distance, announcing Jesus Christ is miraculously born today. He realized at the moment exactly what Christmas is all about. Jesus did exactly what I wished for to save the birds; Jesus became man to save us. The he ran to the church to welcome baby Jesus!
God, as a human, visits us to invite us to paradise, to our home where there is brilliant light and welcoming warmth.
Amen.

Thanksgiving

~ Endless Thanksgiving

 

“…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Thessalonians 5:18

 

Remember when your children were young or when you were a youngster; how we educate little ones to say ‘thank you.’  If someone gives a candy to a small child and taps him on the head and the child forgets to say thank you, we as adults remind him by saying, “What do you say?” Mostly the automatic answer comes out ~thank you.

 

Sometimes it can be another scenario.  When my daughter was a kindergarten student, one day she received a piece of chocolate with the pat on the head, she glared at the teacher and I had to remind her, “Helen, what are you going to say?”  She looked up at me and answered, “She messed up my hair, dad!”  I tried to resolve the problem in front of the teacher. “No, no, you forgot to say something to the teacher about the piece of candy.”  Helen then said, “Oh, can I have another piece of candy?”  This kind of behavior is typical of small children and we are humored by it.

 

Now, let’s talk about adults. Of course when an adult forgets to be thankful, it is not so humorous…and sad because thankfulness is the door to a joy filled life. In other words, you would be missing the opportunity to open that door to a joyful life.

 

Why are we thankful?  Because we live on this planet, we are alive, we have good friends and family, we have funny puppies, we have beautiful weather even if it is raining with thunder.  We are enjoying our life. We are thankful to God and nature, to our parents, to our community, to our neighbors, to the teacher who gives our children candy, to everyone that is part of our everyday lives. We are thankful to those that they make special efforts to make each of us happy and they try to give the best that they have of themselves to build us up. It is the biggest gift one can give to each other.

 

Here many of us sacrifice our time and effort and give of ourselves for the benefit this Church. Now is the time to say thank you.  That one word will complete the building of our spiritual accomplishment. That one word is thank you…to God and to all of you!

 

The Church is a gift that we have given to ourselves. This is very good.  Once in a while we need to give to ourselves and be thankful in this way, too. Now we have the time from Thanksgiving to Christmas to prepare to give gifts and share good deeds with the needy, the unfortunate, and the lonely.

 

Why not make the entire year about gift giving and Thanksgiving?  Why not make the gift giving a habit and be thankful throughout the year?  Now you will probably answer my question with another question.  How can we be thinking about being more generous during this bad economical time? Not every gift has to do with money. A gift can be a smile, a child’s kiss, a prayer for your loved ones, and an evening gather of family members to enjoy a cup of tea and each other’s company and be thankful to God for these gifts.

 

It is not important what is served on the table; but who is surrounding the table, especially when Jesus Christ is sitting amongst us.  It is the most divine event.

 

An open-hearted man can always think of a reason to do a good deed toward another and at the same time he can see the good seed in every situation. We, always say you can find a blessing in a bad circumstance. The opposite of an open-hearted man is a selfish man to whom you can never satisfy. Obviously, he does not know how to say thank you and does not know how to return the favor. He is only thinking to ‘take,’ not to give.  We should learn from childhood how to not be selfish.  It is never too late to learn.

 

A Sunday school class had a reception for the students and the teacher decided to use the opportunity to teach how not to be greedy and selfish. They put out a big plate of cookies and candies for each child to take. At the cookie plate, there was a sign that said, “Pick one, God is watching” to teach them to share.  Two children approached the table and one said to the other, “Peter take as much of the candy that you want because God is only watching the cookie plate.”  God bless our children!

 

As adults, we think that God is only watching us when we are inside the church and we are free once we pass through the doors on our way out. God is always watching us and He is always ready to appreciate our gift of faith.  He is prepared to reward your thankful heart.

And there is ALWAYS something GOOD for which we can be thankful!

I Thess. 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Lets make a list… a list of all for which we are thankful.

_for our church that we have here , for life, family, friends, health.

 

READ LUKE 17:11-19 = “Now on his way to Jerusalem , Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee . As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him–and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
It is an important story about the attitude of thanks and the attitude of ungratefulness. We know that out of the ten lepers who were healed, only one returned to say thank you. There were nine who did not take the time nor make the effort to say thank you to the one who had healed them.
Why did the other nine never return to give thanks. What about you ? Do you recognize all the goodness and blessings in your life??

Amen.

THANKSGIVING PRAYER

 

Almighty and gracious Father,

We give you thanks

For the fruits of the earth

In their season

And for the labors of

Those who harvest them.

Make us, we pray,

Faithful stewards of your of your great bounty,

For the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name;

Through Jesus Christ our Lord,

Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever.

Amen.

 

 

Who has ears to hear, let him hear

“Who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 13:9

 What is the most important aspect of your Christian life? How have you lived? What have you learned?
Is there a truth or a religious concept that has made a difference in your life? Are we able to live what we believe or is faith only an idea?
Our life is like climbing the Alps Mountains . We start at the base, we grow, and we reach the top. Once on top, your descent is like going through darkness. Are we ready to face that other side, the darkness? Do we have enough courage? Are you going to be able to see Jesus at your death? Will you meet Jesus on your day of death with faith?
So many questions; and time is short. Most of our time passes without meaning. Other time is spent solving unimportant problems. Another portion of time is stolen by unnecessary actions. Time is gone and we are not ready to meet death. We have not found the essence of our life.
Life is too precious to live uncaringly or to consider our faith as a game. This way of thinking will not help us to face sadness, disappointment, hardship, and temptation. By the way, sometimes we need temptation and such to learn to overcome them. Only then through hard work, struggle and suffering, we can create beauty and truth. During temptation, Jesus enters our life and allows us to change ourselves. He fills our heart with love and readiness to sacrifice for that love.
Jesus, the God of love can change our life, change our point of view, our outlook, our values, etc. He helps us to find our place in the world. Jesus’ love helps us to re-establish and renew if we were to stumble in our lives. God’s help is divine. This is different than human help.
Here is a story:
The composer, Ludwig von Beethoven considered himself as an unfortunate man who thinks he lost his time during his life. Because of that, he became nervous and hopeless. We can all relate to that type of emotion. We all have problems and do not see the path to solve them. Especially, the way that God shows us. God can find something good even in evilness. He can bring out light from darkness. God wants to teach us to see the sunrise through nightfall, the darkness of life. He wants to teach us to see the bloom of a cactus through the thorns on the stems. God wants us to see through the planted seedling the giant future tree.
Back to Beethoven, he said to his friend, “No one understands me. No one is interested in me.” His friend suggested taking a walk through the night to change his mood. They walked together in the quiet darkness. As they were passing through a poor neighborhood, they heard piano music. Beethoven recognized his composition. They walked closer to the window and heard the conversation between a sister and brother. The sister, who was playing the piano, was regretting that she never had the chance to see a professional pianist playing this melody. Her brother was justifying to her that they were not able to afford such a thing. Beethoven knocked on the door and expressed that he had heard their conversation. “I am a musician. Will you let me play the piece on your piano?” They welcomed him inside and explained that the piano was not in good condition. Beethoven noticed there were no notes. He asked how she was playing such a long piece without notes. The young girl answered, “By memory.” When he looked at her, he realized she was blind. He was moved by her love and ambition of learning music.
As he sat at the piano, he noticed the moonlight sparkled on her eyes and shined on her face and he immediately began composing what we know today as the famous “Moonlight Sonata.” The brother & sister’s love of music changed Beethoven’s life with such a moving moment.
Beethoven was a brave man, who knew how to struggle and fight, to be God’s crusader. With those feelings, he was able to continue his work, even when he became deaf. He was fighting for his creativity, like Jesus teaches us. Beethoven began to hear his music with his heart. Like the blind girl was watching him with her heart. Our heart always knows what is truly important.
Beethoven heard God’s voice through the noise of the world. He found the meaning of his life. Now it is our turn to find the meaning of our life. Who has an ear, let him hear!
Amen.