The blessingsof our daily tasks

While reading a meditation by Abraham Kuyper here, I was impressed by several insights he drew from the text about the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night. One of those insights deals with how the shepherds performing their tasks in obscurity. He said that if they hadn’t been doing their jobs, they would have missed the glorious message from the angelic hosts. I would add that in this they also were made the first human heralds of the Incarnation.

We all have daily tasks, just like those shepherds did. What is the payoff? It is in these tasks that God comes to us. Think of Peter, James, and John. They were about their daily routing of cleaning their nets when Jesus called them. Elisha was plowing in the field when God’s calling came to him through the prophet Elijah. It is easy to become discouraged in our work routines. We don’t think that our work accomplishes anything; but in doing this work, you avail yourself to the ministry to which God has called you, prepared you, and empowered you.

Your vocation enables you to be salt and light in the world. Don’t despise it.

Against Christmas / For Christmas

We have just ended a time of year that many people enjoy. No I don’t mean the time of rejoicing that God became man in the incarnation. I mean the time when people complain about the low state of the world. It seems that this time of year is especially ripe for finding things to complain about. Whether it’s consumerism, liberalism, or the commercialism of a holiday, whiners who have time off of work don’t taper off; they raise the complaining lever three notches.  “Too many people are buying too much stuff. Can you believe that the lady at Joe’s Hardware said ‘Happy Holidays’ to me instead of ‘Merry Christmas?’ I’m not going to celebrate Christmas at all because it’s become on big commercial?” And my personal favorite: “They are taking Christ out of Christmas.”

Now I realize that there are some who choose not to celebrate Christmas from biblical conviction, and I understand where they are coming from. But most of the people who complain the loudest are the ones who continue to participate in celebration, while maintaining their excuse to play Oscar the grouch all the while. Those are the people I’m speaking to. Let me tell you why I’m against Christmas and for Christmas.

To celebrate or not to celebrate

Here are a few links to interesting articles about Christmas.

This one discusses why December 25 was chosen as the date for Christmas.  It leans against the belief that Constantine started it.

This article is an excerpt from a recent book by Doug Wilson on how our celebration of Christmas displays the grace of God.

The last one is not for those with sensitive skin.  James Jordan explains why we should not eat Chinese food (yes it relates to the topic).

Enjoy!

Raising a child to love the material

Rachel Jankovic has written an article about how we teach children at Christmas.  It brought elements together that I had never thought of.  The most surprising was this:

“Christmas is the ultimate celebration of the material. Because Christmas is the time when God became man. Word to Flesh. Unfettered spirit to the hazards and joys and stresses of physical life. Think about it. Some people want to filter the material out of Christmas and morph it into some pure ethereal spirit religious day. And some people want to filter all the spiritual out of it and make it simply a holiday celebrating the purchasing power of plastic. But the power of Christmas is when spiritual and material meet. And it always has been. That is the joy of the season, that is the good news, that is the laughter and the paradox and the earth-shaking magic of Christmas. The infinite Word became a physical baby.”

If you’re not familiar with Rachel’s work, she’s a mother of 5 children, ages 6 and under.  She’s not writing from a lofty perch somewhere, but from the dirty living-room floor.  You’ll understand when you read the article.

Christmas Eve Meditation

This morning my wife handed me Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening devotion and said, “What do you think Spurgeon’s eschatalogical position sounds like here?”  After reading it, I didn’t know what I was excited about more, Spurgeon’s words or that my wife used the phrase, “eschatalogical position.”  Either way, his words add more joy to an already joyful time of year.  I’ve included the entirety of his evening devotion here.

“The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”  Isaiah 40:5

“We anticipate the happy day when the whole world shall be converted to Christ; when the gods of the heathen shall be cast to the moles and the bats; when Romanism shall be exploded, and the crescent of Mohammed shall wane, never again to cast its baleful rays upon the nations; when kings shall bow down before the Prince of Peace, and all nations shall call their Redeemer blessed. Some despair of this. They look upon the world as a vessel breaking up and going to pieces, never to float again. We know that the world and all that is therein is one day to be burnt up, and afterwards we look for new heavens and for a new earth; but we cannot read our Bibles without the conviction that—

“Jesus shall reign where’er the sun

Does his successive journeys run.”

We are not discouraged by the length of his delays; we are not disheartened by the long period which he allots to the church in which to struggle with little success and much defeat. We believe that God will never suffer this world, which has once seen Christ’s blood shed upon it, to be always the devil’s stronghold. Christ came hither to deliver this world from the detested sway of the powers of darkness. What a shout shall that be when men and angels shall unite to cry “Hallelujah, hallelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth!” What a satisfaction will it be in that day to have had a share in the fight, to have helped to break the arrows of the bow, and to have aided in winning the victory for our Lord! Happy are they who trust themselves with this conquering Lord, and who fight side by side with him, doing their little in his name and by his strength! How unhappy are those on the side of evil! It is a losing side, and it is a matter wherein to lose is to lose and to be lost forever. On whose side are you?”