Is Christmas About Giving or Receiving?

No one can celebrate

a genuine Christmas

without being truly poor.

The self-sufficient, the proud,

those who, because they have

everything, look down on others,

those who have no need

even of God–for them there

will be no Christmas.

Only the poor, the hungry,

those who need someone

to come on their behalf,

will have that someone.

That someone is God.

Emmanuel. God with us.

Without poverty of spirit

there can be no abundance of God.

Oscar Romero

I would like to speculate that often in our answers we say: giving of course! Its all about giving!  But let us not forget that it is also a season very much about receiving and we are not very good at that part.  We must learn to graciously receive gifts from those around us and be thankful or we will never learn to receive the greatest gift of the season.  The birth of our God 2000+ years ago… the birth of God with US.

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Solitude

Today, I am musing on the lessons of solitude:
Teach me to stop and listen,
Teach me to center down,
Teach me the use of silence,
Teach me where peace is found.

Teach me to hear Your calling,
Teach me to search Your Word.
Teach me to hear in silence,
Things I have never heard.

Teach me to be collected,
Teach me to be in tune,
Teach me to be directed,
Silence will end so soon.

Then when it’s time for moving,
Grant it that I might bring,
To every day and moment,
Peace from a silent spring.
-Ken Medema

“Solitude does its work whether we have any cognitive understanding of it or not. Just as the physical law of gravity ensures that sediment swirling in a jar of muddy water will eventually settle and the water will become clear, so the spiritual law of gravity ensures that the chaos of the human soul will settle if it sits still long enough.” Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, Leighton Ford

Far From Home We Run Rebellious, 1993

Far from home, we run, rebellious,
seeking cities bright with dreams,
casting loose from love that claims us,
craving life that glitters, gleams,

Dreams that lured us on have vanished;
freedom’s road has run its course.
All that glittered now lies tarnished,
robbed of joy by guilt, remorse.

Long the road that winds us homeward,
faint the hope that love still waits;
yet the feet that once were wayward
lead us toward familiar gates.

Swift, a father runs to meet us,
bearing love that covers shame.
Sin and guilt no more defeat us;
grace restored, a home, a name.

Arms, long empty, close around us,
binding hearts in warm embrace.
Love we’d lost once more has found us,
shines again from face to face.

Bread and wine for celebration
on the table now are spread.
Songs ascend in jubilation,
for we live who once were dead!

–Herman G. Stuempfle, Jr.

Preachers of the God of Grace

love this!

Preachers of the God of grace,
heralds of the dawning day–
fit them, Lord, for all they face,
prove their calling, guide their way,
Meeting failure or success,
keep their faith and vision sure,
agents of your righteousness,
trained for unremitting war.

Undeterred by praise or blame,
dear to God, on earth unknown,
zealous for your holy name,
making known what you have done:
constant testing they endure,
persecution, pain, and blood;
by your spirit keep them pure,
fill them with the love of God.

In their weakness, Lord, be strong,
Satan’s claims let them destroy;
in their sorrows let their song
be of Christ, their hope and joy.
Fools for you–yet make them wise,
though on them all spite is poured
by a world that crucifies
faithful prophets of the Lord.

Dying daily, let them live;
fainting, make their spirits bold;
empty, teach them still to give;
poor, they shall enrich the world.
Triumph, Lord, when we despair,
honor those whom kings despise:
make their work your church’s prayer,
grant your glory as their prize.

Christopher M. Idle, Preachers of the God of Grace, 1976