Tag Archive | Jesus

Is there room in the mall?

DSCN1040Ah, the joys of Christmas. You know, making the list, checking it twice then hitting the mall to find that perfect gift for each one on it. This would be no problem if you were the only one shopping, but everyone else is there doing the same thing. And it is often contending with all those other people that robs you of that holiday joy. Sure, your arms are tired and your feet hurt, but they pale in comparison to waiting in long lines and trying to maneuver among throngs of frantic shoppers through narrow aisles and busy walkways and ecalators. What’s even worse is that some of those irritated individuals came with you. No wonder Scrooge avoided the mall. There was no room for him.

Those of the family of David, living at the time of Jesus’ birth, experienced a similar scenario. People from all over, not just their town, converged on Bethlehem to register for Caesar’s tax. They weren’t pleased to add one more thing to their already busy schedules nor did they want to travel so far just to battle the crowds. They needed food and lodging, but as Mary and Joseph soon found out, there was no room for them in the inn. Only a stable offered them shelter from the cold night air, and here Mary gave birth to the Savior and welcomed shepherds who came to see the babe in the manger. The angel’s message and song had prepared their sin-weary hearts. Not only did they worship but they also enthusiastically spread the message to others.

Does it make you wonder what people, absorbed in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, would do if out of the blue an angel (or someone who sounded like one) appeared and just started to sing the true message of Christmas? Would there be room in the mall? Click here to see.

Who would tell lies about Rudolph?

In this age of commercialized Christmases, I thought it might be fun to look more deeply into some of the songs, carols and traditions of the season. I’m not sure how close any of these things will come to the real reason of the season, the celebration of Jesus’ birth, but it may prove interesting. Regardless, these traditions, real or imagined impact our lives, so let’s see where the potpourri of nostalgia leads.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

LITTLE_GOLDEN_BOOK_RUDOLPH_THE_RED_NOSED_REINDEER_CHRISTMAS_FRONT_COVERRudolph’s prominence and popularity may make you think this red-nosed member of the deer family has been around forever, and to the children of today, he has. But in reality he did not appear until Christmas of 1939. Though one account states that Robert L. May wrote the fable to comfort his daughter, Barbara, after the death of her mother and sold the rights to Montgomery Ward Department Stores to pay off the medical bills, this is a stretch of the truth. It would make a great Hallmark movie, but if you’re looking for facts, you’ll need to dig a bit deeper – makes you wonder why someone would lie about Rudolph, but I digress.

According to Scopes, Montgomery Ward tasked May to write the story for the purpose of distributing it to children who visited Santa. As a member of their staff, the rights for the story belonged to Montgomery Ward. Writing in verse and couplets, May did test the story on his daughter to ensure of its appeal to children. Initially, Montgomery Ward compensated him only as their copywriter, but deeply in debt because of his wife’s medical bills, May negotiated with Ward’s president, Sewell Avery, to restore the copyright to him in 1947.  The key to Rudolph’s success came later when May’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, crafted the song made popular by the singing cowboy, Gene Autry. (Today’s kids likely never heard of him, either.)

The story about the ostracized reindeer does contain a message of hope for all those kids out there who don’t travel in the popular crowds or are sought out because of skill or beauty. Rudolph had none of this, yet he had a purpose for life that would not surface until the year Santa encountered fog on Christmas Eve. This situation led to Rudolph’s discovery. As lead reindeer, his glowing nose allowed Santa to transport his sack of toys safely and deliver them to all of the good boys and girls around the world. He became a hero.

I guess this does bring us back to the real reason for the season after all. Jesus’ message of love and forgiveness for each person, regardless of their station in life, skillset or outward appearance also indicates He has a unique purpose for each one. Human beings aren’t cookie cutter creatures, and God has a plan for every one. Each one is special, yet all have a choice to follow God’s plan or their own. The story of Rudolph leaves Jesus out of Christmas, but you can gain some measure of truth from the illustration as you watch him wait for his time to shine.

What do we celebrate?

Is it just me or have you also noticed how easily celebrations can get off track and how involvement with the event itself can make you miss the reason for the observance? 

Take Christmas for example. It’s so easy to become distracted with baking, cooking, decorating, shopping and attending holiday functions. We sometimes forget the real reason for the season is Jesus’ birth.  Yet once reminded, we like God’s gift to us in the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger. 

It’s more involved when we think of Easter. When we try to make our way past the baskets, bonnets and bunnies, do we remember that God sent His Son specifically for this resurrection day? His feet once bound with cloths for warmth climbed a hill carrying a cross. His tiny hands once touching blades of straw were punctured by huge nails to bind Him to a cross. He tasted death on that cross to pay the price for sin, but He rose again from the dead victorious over the grave.

And to think, God planned all of this before the creation of the world because He knew all of us would need a Savior. Wow! 

May you enjoy the blessings of Jesus’ resurrection this Easter. This is what we celebrate.