Friday, December 28, 2012

If There Were No Christmas...

It's a couple of days after Christmas. The magic is over...the secrets revealed. It's back to the everyday tasks of life.

Without going into any of the history of Christmas or of Christmas traditions, since I'm not familiar with them anyway, I'd like to stop and invite you to think with me about what it would be like if there was no Christmas.

Superficially, if there was no Christmas, the most important source of income for retail stores, at least here in the USA, would not exist. The buying frenzy that fuels many businesses because of gift-giving at Christmas time would be gone. Perhaps there would be something else that would rise up to take its place, but without having statistics at my disposal, I suspect that all the other holidays we celebrate in our American culture put together wouldn't produce as much revenue as Christmas does.

Also superficially, we wouldn't have all the music, the movies such as "It's a Wonderful Life," the special Christmas pageants, concerts, plays, parties, etc that fill up our December calendars. In short, December would be pretty drab and dreary. We would also miss out on those special family get-togethers that Christmas affords. Oh, and don't forget - there would be no candy canes, no Christmas stockings, no Santa Claus, no divinity fudge, no Christmas goodies in the form of candies, cookies, fruitcakes, fruit filled breads, etc.

On a slightly less superficial level, would we take the time sometime during the year to extend wishes for peace, prosperity and happiness to our friends and neighbors if we didn't have Christmas traditions that encouraged us to do so?

On yet another level, if there was no Christmas, then Christ the "newborn king" would not have come. The implications of this would be astronomical. The apostle Paul described it best in his first letter to the Corinthian church. Although he was talking specifically about the resurrection from the dead, if Christ had never been born, He would not have lived, taught and walked on earth. Nor would He have gone to the cross and been raised from the dead. I Corinthians 15:3-4 says:
"For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures."
I don't want to venture a guess on how many prophecies there are in the Old Testament regarding the birth of Jesus, but there are many, some well known, others obscure! None of them specify a date, but all of them together make a very strong case for the FACT of his birth. No other fact in history has such overwhelming evidence to back it up. Some of those prophetic scriptures talk about his death and sacrifice for our sin. If He had not come, we would still be waiting for the fulfillment of those scriptures.

One of my favorite Christmas songs this year is one that the group "GO FISH" sings. It sums up what Christmas is all about. Here it is:

If you enjoyed this post or have thoughts to share, please comment. I love getting comments!

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Endurance - Should You Endure?

Endurance is one of the most important qualities that will contribute toward success over the long haul. Endurance is the epitome of that famous saying, "Never give up."
I must, however, qualify the quality of endurance because there are some things in life that are not important enough to pursue without ever giving up. For instance, playing a game...there comes a point when giving up is a wiser choice than continuing.
But once you have identified that activity, business, calling, vocation that is your passion and to which you are well suited, endurance is the key to realizing your goals and your full potential in that activity. My middle son while studying at Wheaton College, was determined to master Organic Chemistry. It was crucial to his goal of going to Med School. But after persistent, diligent, enduring effort he finally acknowledged that Organic Chemistry was a beast he was not gifted or qualified to conquer. It was difficult for him to give up that goal and to realize that he was not gifted enough in that area. Endurance had been so deeply etched into his soul that giving up was extremely painful. But in any pursuit we must acknowledge if and when it can never be reached. So he went on to be successful in Biology instead - so much so that he spent some time teaching his teachers a new technique he had learned.
So how do you know when something is worth enduring in the effort to achieve it?
First you measure the reward. Is the reward worth the endurance it takes to get to the prize? If the answer is yes, then you need to find ways to help you endure to the very end. Perhaps that means getting help with the things you yourself don't understand or aren't talented enough to do. Perhaps that means learning new skills, perfecting ones you haven't mastered completely, being innovative and finding creative ways you might be able to accomplish the same end through different means.
Second, you need to gauge whether endurance will really get you to the goal. Or, like my son, is it simply an exercise in futility. Wisdom is sometimes more important than endurance! And perhaps the goal wasn't the right one for you in the first place. Sometimes we need to know when it is wise to abandon a "sinking ship."
I hope these thoughts are helpful as you pursue your goals and dreams with excellence and endurance.
If you liked this post, please comment, like and share. You never know who you might bless!
Sharon Reece
214 701-8298
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