16 December 2016

This 'n' That

It's no secret that I love this time of year. The colors, the smell of cookies baking, the music, finally having the opportunity to take my vacation days—all of it brings a smile to my face, even in the midst of uncertainty, sorrow, or adversity.

And even though it's cumbersome, dusty, and, well, kind of a pain, I'm always happy to put up the Christmas tree. My family has always decorated simply for the season, but over the years the decorations on our tree have evolved with our focus. We now decorate our tree with simple garland and, as ornaments, the names of Christ. I've found this to be a beautifully simple way to turn our focus toward the Savior. I'm not sure I'll ever break out the old Hallmark ornaments again!

One of my favorite names for our Lord that is especially brilliant this time of year is "Light of the World." Jesus said,
I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life. (John 8:12)
The blackness of sin permeates this world. If the Holy Spirit does not cause a regenerating work within us, we remain enslaved to this darkness.

Yet, it is through Jesus Christ that we come to know the truth about God and His holiness, as well as the truth about man and his wretchedness. When the Light of the world shines His light into man's wicked soul, He reveals man's need for a Savior. When we trust in Christ for salvation, we are freed from sin's chains. We are released from the dark prison in which we formerly lived.

Christmas is a time when lights sparkle and shine in the darkness of night. May this be a reminder to us of that one shining star that shone through the night sky of Bethlehem, guiding men to the One who was and is the true Light of the world.
After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. (Matthew 2:9-10)
Do you rejoice with great joy that this Child has saved your soul?

Now, I also hope you rejoice, on a far, far, far lesser scale, of course, that it is time for your week in review (kind of):
  • Do you know how to defend your trust in the Bible?
  • Aimee Byrd's new book, No Little Women, is half price here for a limited time. To be clear, I've not read the book, I just like to pass along good deals.
  • Here's the interesting history of the poodle skirt.
  • My grandfather died on December 21, 2002. That means that Christmas is now a bittersweet time for me, particularly because I have so many wonderful Christmas memories with my grandparents. Nevertheless, this idea is strange to me because it is yet another method of turning Christmas into a narcissistic celebration of us, even if we are grieving.
  • Look at it this way: how many of us will be able to say that we are still working at age 86?
  • Are you annoyed by that one person who always seems to be complaining that he/she is cold? Well, some of us really are cold.
  • Michael Kruger shares five myths about the ancient heresy of Gnosticism.
  • Christmas is a time for peace.
  • "Union Pacific released two animated YouTube videos urging people to take selfies away from railroad tracks as part of a railroad safety campaign launch in August 2016." Um, how about we just don't take selfies near railroad tracks, period? Or, better yet, how about we just don't take selfies?
  • Yep, this is about right.
  • Here's your weekly dose of adorable.
  • On the value of Scripture.
  • Do nativity scenes break the second commandment?
  • The supernatural birth of Jesus:

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