Friday, December 23, 2011

The meaning of Christmas

This is a short article I wrote for the Altona Echo's Christmas edition:

The meaning of Christmas
I know, I know Christmas is all about good things and happy times.  You know food, family, parties, children’s programs…
But sometimes (often?) it feels broken.  Instead of being a time of celebrating that all is good in life, it is a time when one may realize that life stinks.  Family relationships are shattered, debt is piling up, and it is kind of lonely.
Merry Christmas!?
But this is what Christmas is actually all about.  Christmas is about pain, brokenness and loneliness.  We forget that there would be no Christmas if things weren’t messed up.  Christmas is a celebration, a remembrance, that God entered into this world as Jesus.  And Jesus came into our world not because we are so good and happy but because we are bruised and beat up.  Jesus is here to rescue and save those who are wounded and lost.
The good news of Christmas is that God has not abandoned us in brokenness.  He is with us.  He enters into the mess of our lives.  Christmas is God’s response to our brokenness.
The story of Jesus, according to Matthew, begins with the announcement of the birth of Jesus saying that he will be called “Immanuel” which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).  It then ends with Jesus declaring “I will be with you always” (Matthew 28:20).
Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is understood in the light of the promise of God to be with us.
Christmas is a time for us to remember that God is with us, not that life is great but He is present.  And this is what allows us to say “merry Christmas!”

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Men's Breakfast

On Saturday Jacob and Arlene Friesen shared at a men's breakfast.  They did a great job.  The theme was guy/girl relationships.  They encouraged us to work at answering some questions about the important women in our lives (wife, daughters...).
These questions were taken from Intimate Allies:

  1. In what ways has your relationship with your spouse changed you (for the better)?  How has your spouse influenced you to reflect God's glory more clearly?
  2. In what way is your spouse special?  How is she like no one else in your life?
  3. Spend 15 minutes thinking about these questions: "What do I know and what don't I know about my spouse?  What intrigues me about my spouse?"
  4. What are your spouse's potential, giftedness, burdens and passions?  Make a list for each of the four areas.
  5. What is most beautiful and wonderful about your spouse?
  6. What about your spouse makes you thankful?
  7. How is your spouse like Christ?
  8. How can you draw out her uniqueness, to live out God's glory in a way that no one else can?