14 December 2008

Who Started This Christmas Stuff?

A woman was out Christmas shopping with her two children. After many hours of looking at row after row of toys and everything else imaginable; and after hours of hearing both her children asking for everything they saw on those many shelves, she finally made it to the elevator with her two kids.

She was feeling what so many of us feel during the holiday season time of the year - overwhelming pressure to go to every party, every housewarming, taste all the holiday food and treats, getting that perfect gift for every single person on our shopping list, making sure we don't forget anyone on our card list, and the pressure of making sure we respond to everyone who sent us a card.

Finally the elevator doors opened, and there was already a crowd in the car. She pushed her way into the car and dragged her two kids in with her and all the bags of stuff. When the doors closed, she couldn't take it anymore and she stated, "Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be found, strung up and shot."

From the back of the car, everyone heard a quiet, calm voice respond, "Don't worry, we already crucified Him."

For the rest of the trip down in the elevator, it was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. This year, don't forget to keep "the One who started this whole Christmas thing" in your every thought, deed, purchase and words. If we all did it, just think of how different this whole world would be.


I don't know who penned this little story, or if it's even true. Maybe it's a story to make us think. Today my wonderful husband-pastor preached a message from Isaiah 9:6-7. Those verses that tell us a few names of Jesus: Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Too often we read through them quickly. Or we hear someone sing them in all their majesty as part of Handel's Messiah. We have those verses memorized. We know them. But stop for a moment to consider. . .

Wonderful. What is wonderful? "Just wonderful" you say. No, this Wonderful means wonder, marvel, extraordinary, hard to understand. That's my Jesus. He's Wonderful. Maybe kind of like "indescribable"?

Counselor. And isn't your first image the psychologist, the psychiatrist, the shrink, trying to find out what's wrong with someone, the someone who has deep emotional problems and hates their family? Hmm. Try again. To advise, consult, give counsel, plan. That means that my Jesus is open to questions. He wants me to ask. He's there to give counsel and advice. He is my Counselor.

Mighty God. So often the portraits of Jesus almost make me think He's wimpy. Soft hands. Weak face. Wait. He's also the Mighty God. Mighty means strong man, mighty man, brave man. And that means absolutely anything but wimpy. Sort of makes me think rather of a hero. Conquering King. Standing up to the ultimate evil. Smashing the bad guys. Rescuing me.

But there's more. It's Mighty God. And yes, mighty and God are two separate words. The word for God here is the Hebrew "el". And yes, it means "God", but it can also mean "strength and power." So I guess that packs a lot of meaning into "Mighty God" doesn't it. To start out with just "mighty" and then add "God" to it. . .  sort of turns it into "the strong, mighty, brave God Who is full of strength and power". I don't think it's redundant at all. 

Sorry. That's all I've got for now. My pastor says if the Spirit is willing (and doesn't change His mind before next week) he'll finish the message and tell us about "the Everlasting Father" and "the Prince of Peace." 

So if your week gets tough, don't forget your Jesus is Wonderful, Counselor and a Mighty God. Walk with Him. He knows where you live. 

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