Tag Archives: Christmas and holiday season

The Non-religious Meaning of Christmas


The AtheistYes, I know it’s not Christmas yet. But I want to get you thinking about its non-religious meaning before all the commercial and religious huppla makes you numb to the topic. And I want you to have a whole new experience this year. So forget everything you’ve ever heard “Christians” and atheists say regarding Jesus and read to the end.

Etymology of “Holiday”

The word “Holiday” came from the phrase “Holy Day.” (Ought Oh . . . you ARE talking religion. NO I’m NOT! Keep reading!) “Holy Day” meant “a day set aside” for a special purpose or remembrance. It was a day set aside specifically to think about and commemorate a theme which or person who impacted history. And to enjoy related discussions and remembrances with friends and family. On Memorial Day, we not only have the day off, but we have it off because brave men and women died to preserve our freedom and liberty. Martin Luther King Day commemorates the ministry and life of Dr. King and his valiant stand for civil rights against bigotry and oppression.

So why is Christmas a “Holy day”?

The One whose birthday we celebrate every December 25–though that was not the actual date when he was born–has so impacted the world you and I live in, that time itself is classified as A.D. “Anno Dei”–“the year of our Lord.” The celebration of that birth–the birth of God’s Messiah (or “anointed One”) divides old history (B.C.) from new history (A.D). The coming or “advent” of the Messiah not only did that, but it ushered in a new Kingdom. A Kingdom far different from the Kingdoms of men. It divided of an Old Covenant with God and ushered in a New Covenant (that’s where believers get the tern “New Testament” even though it’s origin is thousands of years old). When Messiah Jesus came, He inaugurated the prophesied “Kingdom of God.” What’s more, He claimed that Kingship. And God backed Him up, proving His claims by raising Him from the dead. NO OTHER HISTORIC WORLDVIEW CLAIMS A RESURRECTED SAVIOR AS ITS LIVING LEADER. Yes, Jesus is Alive! This is not religion. This is HISTORY.

The Supernatural Kingdom of God

People have always mistaken that Kingdom God for a human, political/religious Kingdom. Yet, that Kingdom has been expanding and growing quietly, secretly just as Jesus said it would. Most often, the Royal Reign of God is totally missed . . . even by so-called “Christians.” But those who are truly included in that Kingdom understand and expand it joyfully. We recognize its supernatural origins and ultimate natural manifestation.

he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’” (Luke 8:10)

Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless someone is born from above, he is not able to see the kingdom of God.”” (John 3:3)

for through him [Jesus] God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.” (Colossians 1:16)

The Shepherd-King Knows Us

We aren’t necessarily recognized by the world or even by the church, but we know that we know the King and–more importantly–He knows us personally. He communicates with us and we with Him (Gospel of John 10:14, 23). Those who say that they are followers of Christ or know Him are quite mistaken if they have never heard Him call them by name. Hear what Jesus himself says regarding this:

To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” (John 10:3–4)

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:14–15)(emphasis mine)

Jesus–the Shepherd King–is the reason for the season. He is the center-point of human history. It is from His life that both western and eastern Christianity were birthed. Granted, Christian orthodoxy has swung wide from it’s original intent and founder, but that does not mean that His was a life to be ashamed of or relegated to “religion.” Jesus is King of the Royal Reign of God–the Kingdom of God. He is God’s best and final WORD to hurting, distressed, and broken world.

Here and Coming Kingdom

The horrors converging upon this world in the forms of Ebola, ISIS, weather anomalies, kingdom rising up against kingdom, decadence and dissolution are evidences of the second-coming of the King:

Then he [Jesus] gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.”” (Luke 21:29–36)

You are Invited IF you Hear His Voice

This Christmas, perhaps you might think about topics worthy of the season, you will give and receive gifts, but if you don’t know the Shepherd-King’s voice or have fellowship and great joy from knowing Him (especially if He doesn’t know you), you have a hopeful word from Him. He said:

And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:16)(emphasis mine)

If you don’t know Him. If you’ve never asked Him to call you by name . . . Don’t waste a moment. Get alone and in all seriousness call upon Him with a sincere heart and watch the miracle unfold over the next few hours, days or weeks. He has another promise:

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” (John 6:37)(emphasis mine)

Celebrate a Messiah-centered Christmas this year as a follower of the Shepherd-King whose Kingdom is Just, good, compassionate, supernatural, and everlasting!

DISCLAIMER: We don’t behead those who don’t want the Royal Reign of our God. We grieve that they have missed out on the Kingdom and our most wonderful Shepherd and have never heard His voice.

Related Posts you May want to Consider:

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Churhcianity Versus Christianity

ONE MISSION —The Ultimate Christmas Shopping Experience REFOCUSED


[This is a revision and reprint of a Post I do each Christmas season]

ONLY 19 MORE DAYS till CHRISTMAS!!  

Prepare yourself for the BEST CHRISTMAS SHOPPING EXPERIENCE YOU HAVE EVER HAD!!

My friend Ken has forever solved the Christmas shopping dilemma for me (and those like me who dislike Christmas shopping).

Here’s how it works.

1. Make sure that you understand the strategy: ONE DAY, ONE PURPOSE, ALL ALONE. That’s the ONE MISSION. {Repeat out loud 4 times, then Memorize}

2.  Set ONE DAY–a full day, morning till evening—one full day—for you to spend ALL ALONE at the stores. Plan on being out from 8am to 9pm. Make sure your spouse and family know that you won’t be home for any meals that day. You may not need ALL that time, but plan for it in case. This day may be AFTER Christmas instead of before Christmas. After all, most of the sales follow Christmas. For some, that can add even more enjoyment to the Mission. If you choose the after-Christmas option, then give cards to people that say “Gift Coming Soon.” And give them their gifts a couple of days AFTER Christmas.

3. Remember, ONE PURPOSE—You can’t have anything scheduled that day that would cause you to have to rush or hurry. You have ONE PURPOSE–to buy ALL your Christmas presents at one sweep. Don’t let anything push or pull you. Relax, take your time. Shop all you want. You have no pressing engagements.

4.  Bring Music! Several days prior to the target-day, equip yourself with a music listening device and make sure that you select holiday music that you love to listen to that quiets your busy spirit. This is an essential ingredient. If you say that you’ll do without the music, then Ken (and I) cannot guarantee the results of your experience. We both agree that without the Christmas music, your mission falls short. It’s not just about gifts and shopping; it’s about refreshment, joy, and praise too.

5. Dress comfortably. Layers are best. You can always shed or add on by going to the car. Don’t bundle up—you’ll be too hot. Don’t wear to little—you’ll be too cold.  You get the point.

6. You take your meals out, beginning with a good breakfast [this one meal you can do with a good friend who is also on his/her ONE MISSION that day]. Today you want a Farmer’s breakfast–two eggs, homefries, short stack of pancakes or French toast, steak (if you must), baked beans if you can get them.


The strategy here: breakfast is the least expensive meal of the day.

Eat a big one. Less spent later on lunch and dinner. Maybe no lunch at all!  I can already see your wheels turning: (well, I’ll eat breakfast at home, pack a lunch and save money that way). Nice try!!

The problem here?  You just RUINED the reward system that is built into this day where you not only get all your shopping done in ONE DAY, but . . . you also get rewarded with a memorable experience (and a little well-deserved break from fixing your own meals).  So don’t cheat at this point. Breakfast, AND dinner while out shopping are a must if you’re going to be a purist of the ONE MISSION this Christmas season. Lunch is optional, depending upon how much walking you do. More walking and exercise, more reward (if you reward yourself with food–probably not a good idea). Follow your mentors on this one–we’ve been there, done that, got the T-Shirt! Big breakfast, mid-day snack, special dinner.

7. Now, beginning with your list, TAKE YOUR TIME in the stores. You’re in NO HURRY. You have no place other than the present [no pun intended] to be.

You’re listening to nice music. You can smile at people. Be nice to the store clerks. So what if someone cuts ahead of you in line. Smile, and enjoy your music and think about that steak/lobster you’re going to have for dinner later. A lobster that you don’t have to cook. Someone else is going to cook and serve you tonight. You’re just working down your Christmas list.

8. Make sure that you take extra money along for gift-wrapping.
No matter what you have to do, make SURE that the gift-wrapping people at the mall wrap your gifts for you. Not only does this save you an extra day, but . . . they do a nice job, your gifts will look nicer,
the ladies who serve you will get a little extra for their trouble (tip them, it’s nice), and you’ll be able to arrive at home without the stress of wondering where to hide your newly purchased gifts. You won’t
have to struggle with finding an extra day to set aside for wrapping. Oh . . and who has to go to buy wrapping paper, scotch tape, pens, labels, sharpen scissors . . . get the point [no pun intended]??

9. This is not Ken’s, but my own added little tip: Make sure you get a Café Vanilla Frapaccino at Starbucks (size is immaterial, although on a day like this, I prefer Venti, (1700 calories) with an extra shot of espresso—not that I need the caffeine, but I love that coffee flavor with the Vanilla and the calories will keep you going the rest of the afternoon and evening; you might even be tempted to skip dinner).  I normally arrive at Starbuck’s at about 3pm, when I hit that afternoon slump for about an hour, where I just want to sleep. By the way, if you get tired, no problem. Grab a quick nap in the car.

10. ESSENTIALkeep the negative self-talk to an ABSOLUTE MINIMUM. No self-deprecating stuff:

“Well who’s going to want that?”

“Why would you ever pick that color?”

“No one’s going to buy you anything this nice.”

“All that money you spent today could have housed and fed the poor of Detroit or Rwanda”

“If you weren’t so chunky, you wouldn’t be whining about carrying these packages.”

Just say, “Quiet!!  Wrong Address. I’m not listening to you . . . “ OR hold your hand out in front of you at arms length and say, “Talk to the hand!” Don’t worry about appearances. No one will think anything of it. Remember, you’re at the mall!

Oh yeah, and if you work a job where you get tips, set your  ONE DAY as close to Christmas (before or after) as possible (more time to accrue more tips).

And . . . enjoy yourself!!

You might want to bookmark and take along this post in your smartphone or iPhone so that you can review it or read it for encouragement at breakfast or dinner.

OK? REPEAT AFTER US: ONE DAY . . . ONE PURPOSE . . . ALL ALONE = ONE MISSION!

Make Ken and I PROUD!

P.S. Make sure to report back to us. How’d it go?

 

Presence

ONE MISSION–The Ultimate Christmas Shopping Experience!


[This is a revision and reprint of a blog I did last Christmas season. It is printed annually by popular demand.]

Prepare yourself for the BEST CHRISTMAS SHOPPING EXPERIENCE YOU HAVE EVER HAD!!

My friend Ken has forever solved the Christmas shopping dilemma for me.

Here’s how it works.

1. Make sure that you understand the strategy: One Day, One Purpose, ALL ALONE. That’s the ONE MISSION.

2.  Set a full day, morning till evening—one full day—for you to spend alone at the stores. Plan on being out from 9am to 10pm. Make sure your spouse and family know that you won’t be home for any meals that day.

3. Remember, ONE PURPOSE—You can’t have anything scheduled that day that would cause you to have to rush or hurry.

4.  MUST HAVE MUSIC:  Several days prior to the target-day, equip yourself with a music listening device and make sure that you select holiday music that you love to listen to that quiets your busy spirit. This is an essential ingredient. If you say that you’ll do without the music, then Ken (and I) cannot guarantee the results of your ONE MISSION experience.

5. Dress comfortably. Layers are best. You can always shed or take on by going to the car. Don’t bundle up—you’ll be too hot. Don’t wear to little—you’ll be too cold.  You get the point.

6. You take your meals out, beginning with a good breakfast. Today you want a Farmer’s breakfast. The strategy here: breakfast is the least expensive meal of the day. Eat a big one. Less spent later on lunch and dinner. I can already see your wheels turning: (well, I’ll eat breakfast at home, pack a lunch and save money that way). Nice try!!  The problem here?  You just RUINED the reward system that is built into this day where you not only get all your shopping done in ONE DAY, but . . . you also get rewarded with a memorable experience (and a little well-deserved break from fixing your own meals).  So don’t cheat at this point. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner while out shopping are a must if you’re going to be a purist of the ONE MISSION this Christmas season.

7. Now, beginning with your list, TAKE YOUR TIME in the stores. You’re in NO HURRY. You have no place other than the present to be.

You’re listening to nice music. You can smile at people. Try it. It feels great. Be nice to the store clerks. So what if someone cuts ahead of you in line. Smile, and enjoy your music and think about that steak you’re going to have for dinner later. A steak that you don’t have to cook. Someone else is going to cook and serve you tonight. You’re just working down your Christmas list.

8. Make sure that you take extra money along for gift-wrapping. No matter what you have to do, make SURE that the gift-wrapping people at the mall wrap your gifts for you. Not only does this save you an extra day, but . . . they do a nice job, your gifts will look nicer, the ladies who serve you will get a little extra for their trouble (tip them, it’s nice), and you’ll be able to arrive at home without the stress of wondering where to hide your newly purchased gifts. You won’t have to struggle with finding an extra day to set aside for wrapping. Oh . . and who has to go to buy wrapping paper, scotch tape, pens, labels, sharpen scissors . . . get the point [no pun intended]??

9. This is not Ken’s, but my own added little tip: Make sure you get a Café Vanilla Frapaccino at Starbucks (size is immaterial, although on a day like this, I prefer Venti, with an extra shot of espresso, no whip—not that I need the caffeine, but I love that coffee flavor with the Vanilla).  I normally arrive at Starbuck’s at about 3pm, when I hit that afternoon slump for about an hour.

10. Essential—keep the negative self-talk to an ABSOLUTE MINIMUM. No condemnation! No self-deprecating stuff like:

“Well who’s going to want that?”

“Why would you ever pick that color?”

“No one’s going to buy you anything this nice.”

“All that money you spent today could have housed and fed the poor of Detroit”

“If you weren’t so chunky, you wouldn’t be whining about carrying these packages.”

Just say, “Quiet!!  Wrong Address. I’m not listening to you . . . “

Oh yeah, and if you work a job where you get tips, set your day as close to Christmas as possible (more time to accrue more tips).

And . . . enjoy yourself!! No Hurry. Yes, it’s crowded, but your cruisin’ and chillin’ No pressure!

REMEMBER: ONE DAY, ONE PURPOSE, ALL ALONE = ONE MISSION

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