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My Christmas List of Favorite Christmas Songs

I personally don’t start listening to Christmas music until the holiday is right upon us.  There are a few songs that are my favorite, so I thought I’d list my top five, hope you enjoy them as well.

#5  Little Drummer Boy – Bob Segar

I love the soul that Bob Segar adds to this song and have always liked this song.  When I hear this song, I am reminded of the excitement I’d feel watching the Claymation Christmas special of The Little Drummer Boy, along with all the other cheesy Claymation specials.

#4 Do They Know It’s Christmas – Band Aid

I love this song because it reminds me that they world outside of my own are in need of way more than I am.

“There’s a world outside your window And it’s a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears”

#3 Away in a Manger

This was one of my favorite songs to sing as a kid because I actually knew all the lyrics, I had to memorize them for a Christmas special one year in church.

“Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay, close by forever and love thee I pray.”

#2 Silver Bells – Andy Williams

Every time I hear this song, it reminds me of shopping downtown with my Mom and grandmother.  The city was busy with bundled up people going in and out of buildings, the stores were decorated with all the holiday flare, and the Christmas lights downtown shined upon the streets. I remember it being a time of excitement and people seemed genuinely cheerful and excited themselves.  This was a time when the holiday didn’t seem as commercialized as it is now.

#1 The First Noel – Bing Crosby

I loved hearing this song on the radio, Bing is the best one to sing it ever.  This has always been my favorite.

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Posted by on December 20, 2014 in Lists

 

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Decorated But Empty

emptybox

Through Christ we have a relationship with God.  At one time in my life I had a religion with God, it’s not the same.  You feel empty, you feel like you are never going to do enough or gain enough favor from him.  You mess up and you pray for forgiveness. You are afraid others will call you out on your sin and then hide it even more.  Then you slip and think if I do this or that, I’ll make my way into His Kingdom.  It’s tiring and unproductive.  Religion is cold, lonely and dark.

Christ’s love releases you from that worn out path of religion.  He knows you messed up, will mess up, and he doesn’t shame you in it, but instead he forgives you, constantly.  His love and forgiveness is never ending.   All you do is ask Him for it and it’s done.  With this type of forgiveness, you become victorious over anything that you need to overcome.  Because when you have a relationship with Christ, you come to Him raw.  You bear your heart to Him, because you trust Him.  You understand and somewhat grasp what all He has done for you.  Although, His love is unfathomable, you know deep down that it’s real and it’s there inside you.  He knows you better than you know yourself.    His love becomes greater than any sin that had power over you before.  He knows if you are having a bad day, if you feel awful, and yet He doesn’t close the door on you.  He’s there to listen, comfort you, and reassure you that He’s beside you.  A relationship is warm, comfortable, and light.

Anytime you have a close relationship with someone, you start to show little bits of their personality in your own.  I think it happens that way because you spend so much time with that person that they really do rub off on you.  That’s how it’s supposed to be with Christians, we should have such an awesome relationship with Him that we begin to show bits of who He is.  His light is in us and we should be shining it out of us.  His light is love.  He doesn’t love the world; He loves those who reside in the world.  He loves people, he doesn’t discriminate, he doesn’t choose particular types of people, instead He loves all people.   Christianity is made into something harder than it actually is.  Religion puts Christianity in a big pretty box, wraps it with expensive paper, puts a huge felt bow on it and tags it with, “Don’t touch unless approved by the Almighty.” 

Christ came and blended in with people that the religious folks didn’t expect him to be around.  This gift of Christ didn’t come wrapped in ribbons lying in a plush cradle.  This gift of Christ came swaddled in cloth lying in a manger.  This gift of Christ on this day whispered, “I love you and I’m here.” 

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2013 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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Peace, be still

This month in youth we have been exploring the topic of peace. There is so much busyness in our world today; as a whole we seem unsettled and always moving. So, the idea of inner peace seems nonexistant. The world is on edge in many nations. There are battling neighboring countries and battles within countries. Take for instance America after the last election, there is an even bigger division in politics and culture. So, the idea of peace in community seems rare. This is the season of Christmas, where we sing about Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men. Last Friday, we were shocked to see the news report of a man going into an elementary school and killing twenty kids and six adults. How can anyone be so heartless? So evil? Heartlessness and evil exists and walks the earth, it looks for a willing participant to carry out its plan. Someone without inner peace or peace with others is a perfect recipient. Without peace we are at war with our emotions, thoughts, and each other.

Where does peace come from? Can you obtain it from within? I’ve tried to find peace within my own flesh and strength, but in my experience it is impossible. I’m too imperfect, broken, and weak to find any lasting peace within myself. The peace I have now comes from Jesus, he is the everlasting peace. Isaiah 9:6 (NLT) says, “For to us a Child will be born. To us a Son will be given. And the rule of the nations will be on His shoulders. His name will be called Wonderful, Teacher, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace.” When Jesus walked the earth he brought peace to those he came in contact with. He delivered people from demons, he healed people, he spoke to people about loving one another and being at peace with one another. In the bible we read where the disciples begin panicking when storm arises while they are out on the water in a boat. Jesus is sleeping, he’s not concerned about the storm. (Mark 4:38) The disciples wake him, thinking they are about to drown. Jesus gets up and tells the storm “Peace, be still.” The storm ceases and everything becomes calm.

There are many times that I’m like the disciples on the boat. I’m running about the ship freaking out, thinking I’m about to die or everything is going to sink. Then I stop trying to figure it out on my own and go to Jesus. He settles the storm and gives peace.

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2012 in Spiritual Reflections, Youth

 

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Beyond His Reach

I’ve heard people say that certain people are beyond God’s reach.  I’ve heard people say that they themselves have done too many wrongs and aren’t good enough for God to love.  The truth is no one is beyond God’s reach.  We move away from Him and punish ourselves because we haven’t met the merits we think we have to meet.  God knows we are imperfect, mankind has a history of screwing up and it started in the beginning.  This is where the good news comes in, the news that many people miss or forget about.  The good news is Jesus.  Simply Jesus, he came to save us from our sins, our defeats, our weaknesses, and our long arm list of screw-ups.  This gift is right at our feet.  It is within our reach.  We just have to accept it, pick it up, open it and receive it.  This is the best gift you can ever receive.  This is the gift that keeps on giving.  This is the gift that lasts for eternity.  This is what Christmas is about.  Christmas is a time to remember that a savior was born, born to be a gift to us.

“The God Who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth. He does not live in buildings made by hands. No one needs to care for Him as if He needed anything. He is the One who gives life and breath and everything to everyone. He made from one blood all nations who live on the earth. He set the times and places where they should live.  They were to look for God. Then they might feel after Him and find Him because He is not far from each one of us. It is in Him that we live and move and keep on living. Some of your own men have written, ‘We are God’s children.’    Acts 17:24-28 NLV

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2012 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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“A December to Remember”

                As we continue on to 80 ways, (see previous blogs), we started out the first Saturday in December with wagons to participate in a local Christmas parade. We had three wagons for eager teenagers to ride and about sixty treat bags made up to throw into the crowd. It seemed like forever waiting for the parade to start. So we were goofing off quite a bit with the wagons and each other. Finally, the parade started to move and we rolled up the road and over the bridge onto Main Street. The teens and adults involved threw out the treat bags to onlookers and grinned with their Christmas hats fit nicely upon their heads. The crowd laughed, commented, and smiled at the teens riding in the little red wagons.
                 The next day we planned to go to Kmart with wrapped gifts to give to strangers in the store. Each person was told to think and pray about who they were to give a gift to and what kind of gift they needed to give. Our original plan was to go into the store and put a teenager in a shopping cart and have another push the cart. With our group that would be about five shopping carts. When we arrived and asked the manager for permission to do this, he told us we couldn’t because of liability reasons, but we were allowed to pass the gifts out as long as we didn’t solicit. We were somewhat disappointed we couldn’t use the carts but understood the reasoning; we thanked the manager and strolled throughout the store. I was very proud of the consideration the teens were giving in handing out the gifts. They took their time looking for the person they felt they needed to give gifts to and when they found who they thought it was, they approached the person with a smile, said Merry Christmas and handed them the gift. People reacted in various ways, some were delighted to receive the gift, others acted surprised, some seemed confused, and some were trying to figure out what the catch was or didn’t want to accept the gift. To me this spoke volumes; people react to the gift of Jesus and salvation the same way. After everyone passed out their gift, we left the store and went to have ice cream so we could discuss what had happened and to socialize.

            Tia, one of the other youth leaders that helps us out, scheduled the group to visit one of the local nursing homes. We went to sing Christmas carols and the staff allowed us to roll around in wheelchairs afterwards, to count as one of our eighty ways. When we first arrived we went into one of the main lobbies where a group of elderly people were playing bingo. Tia announced to the room who we were and that we were there to sing to them. Josh, one of the teens, brought his guitar to play as the rest of the group sang. We let Josh play a solo before we started and then the group began to sing. It was a rough start on singing because of nerves and no one wanted to sing very loud. But, as we went on, it became somewhat easier. Some of the people in the crowd were joining along and singing too. After we sang several songs in the main lobby, we moved room to room to some of the bedridden residents. It did my heart good to see the reaction of the residents as we sang, some teared up, some sang along, and others smiled. Afterwards we went down one of the empty halls and borrowed some wheelchairs for a quick spin up and down the hall.
                December became a month to remember. I really felt the spirit of Christmas this year because of the participation with the teens. Giving to the community, reaching out to others with time and talent, and making other people smile is a real treat to the soul. As we embark on a New Year, I’m excited about what may lie ahead for this group.

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2011 in Youth

 

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