A certain man was not much of a handyman, but he decided to save some money by changing the oil in his car himself. He prepared very carefully. He went to the store and bought a pair of vehicle ramps to drive his car up on. He bought a “creeper” so he could roll under his car easily. He also bought a special flat oil pan, a super special drip free, oil can spout, a special oil filter wrench and the oil filter. He took all of his stuff and headed home. He drove the car up on the ramps. Got on his creeper and rolled under the car where he took out the oil plug and drained the oil in the special flat oil pan. He unscrewed the oil filter with the special oil filter wrench and replaced it with the new filter. Grabbed the special drip free oil can spout and realized that he had forgotten to buy any oil. No problem, the store wasn’t that far away. So, he jumped in the car, backed it off the ramps and drove to the Store. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it. Cars don’t run very well without oil. Now along with everything else he bought, he had to pay for an overhaul.
He had everything right, except he forgot the part of an oil change, but tried to go on as if it didn’t matter.
I know a lot people who treat Christmas the same way. They have all the right decorations. They trim their tree beautifully. They spend too much money on all their gifts. But when Christmas comes, they still feel empty.
Perhaps they need to remember the main reason for Christ is Jesus. Without Him, everything else is just trimming. Without Him, everything else is pointless.
All the extras take their meaning, their purpose from Him.
So don’t forget what you are doing this Christmas season. Don’t forget Jesus. He’s the one that makes everything else work.
In Russia, a period actually saved a man’s life. The Czar had condemned the man to death and sent this telegram to the jailer: PARDON IMPOSSIBLE. TO BE EXECUTED. The Czarina, who felt sympathetic toward the prisoner, intercepted the note and changed the punctuation as follows: PARDON. IMPOSSIBLE TO BE EXECUTED. The jailer released the prisoner and he fled the country before the Czar discovered what had happened (mrcoward.com).
That is what Christmas does for us. God moves the period of our lives and brings grace into our lives. What was impossible for us to do ourselves. Is now reality through Christ.
Through the history of the human race, we human beings have tried to find pardon and forgiveness for their lives. We have tried everything from trying to be good enough to belittling others to make ourselves look good. The end result is always the same. Pardon is impossible.
But what is impossible for us is not with God. He moved the period in our lives. Not only with our pardon, but in every aspect of our lives, God can move the period. He can bring not only pardon, but hope, joy, peace and life.
This Advent, start letting God move the periods of your life. Let Him decide what is possible or impossibe. You might just be surprised at just what is possible.
“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ” (Matthew 19:26, NIV)
In Nome, Alaska, teachers receive the same professional journals and publications as teachers in other states. But the situations they face are quite different from all the other states.
A fourth-grade teacher, a newcomer to Alaska, had just received her latest curriculum resource and was discussing with the class the suggestions for a Christmas pageant. The instruction manual read: “For the children playing Santa’s reindeer, there should be brown outfits, and passable reindeer horns could be made of bare branches, trimmed to the proper shapes and painted.”
She looked out at the barren, treeless, snow-covered landscape. “Well, children,” she sighed, “I guess we’ll have to do something else. We can’t make horns of branches because there isn’t a tree for miles.”
The children looked disappointed. Then one little boy spoke up, “We haven’t any trees, teacher,” he said. “But we do have lots of reindeer horns.”
Sometimes we have to improvise. Our shepherds wear bathrobes. We make camels out of cardboard. But sometimes we substitute so much that we overlook the real thing.
We adults do a good job of substituting as well. We are so caught up in the festivities that we have forgotten the real message of Christmas. We have let Santa Claus and bright lights and packages take the place of the Christ Child and His message of salvation and hope.
This Christmas, let’s not substitute any longer. We will still have joy and happiness, but it will come from having Christ in our hearts and not tree branches on our heads.
Since Advent starts this Sunday, I have been thinking about what I want for Christmas and I have come up with a few things. Here they are:
1. A Christmas letter from someone who’s children are average.
2. To be able to find the scissors and tape when I need them.
3. That when I order online, that they would tell me if they are out of stock before I type in all the address and payment information.
4. An express checkout line that actually is express.
5. To spend more time shopping and less time looking for a parking place.
6. To see a lot less hype and a lot more love.
7. To see Santa less and Christ more.
8. To spend more time enjoying my friends and family.
9. To spend more time thinking about how much God loves me and that He sent His Son so I would know it.
10. That each of you would have a very holy and blessed Christmas season.
I hope I get what I want for Christmas.
The House of Christmas
by G.K. Chesterton
There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.
For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay on their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.
A Child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost – how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky’s dome.
This world is wild as an old wives’ tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.
To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.