Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Welcome to In "Other" Words Tuesday, hosted by Lori, from I Will Take It Lord...All You Have To Give.

I love the quote she chose for today. It's so true and timely.

What is that something more?

I have passed by so many stores and malls filled to the brim with shoppers looking for that perfect gift to buy someone. Like ants scurrying around, the mad dash is on to find the perfect Christmas present. It's the latest talk at work. "Have you finished your shopping yet?" is a common question from many of my friends and co-workers.

I haven't, but it isn't what I'm driven by. I admit my stress level peaks when I think of the presents I still need to buy (Momma, Daddy, the gift for the names I drew, Kristyn & Corey, Nolan and Liam) and then knowing I have to wrap them...It's enough to make me want hire a personal shopper, hah hah!

The greatest gift I can find, though, can't be found in the store. You see, I have something to offer each and every person I come in contact with. The gift of Jesus.

His birth was foretold by the prophet Isaiah in such a sweet way.

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." ~ Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

Time passed and this prophecy was fulfilled.

"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told." ~ Luke 2:1-20 (NIV)

The greatest gift given was born in a stable, His birth proclaimed by the the angel of the Lord to shepherds who needed a Shepherd. With the heavenly host, I sing, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

The Greek word for peace in Luke 2:14 is eirēnē, pronounced ā-rā'-nā. Isn't that a beautiful word for this season? It means:

1) a state of national tranquillity
a) exemption from the rage and havoc of war
2) peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord
3) security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)
4) of the Messiah's peace
a) the way that leads to peace (salvation)
5) of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is
6) the blessed state of devout and upright men after death

Peace. Amidst the hustle and bustle, I do seek peace. Christ's birth was not surrounded by the trappings of getting the lights up or the presents bought, the food cooked, the schedules for parties planned. It was announced on a quiet, silent night.

The questions I ask myself this time of the year are:

Am I caught up in the Christmas spirit or the CHRISTMAS spirit?

Am I too busy focused on shopping, food preparation, decorating and such or am I taking time to prepare my heart for the celebration of my Savior's birth?

Am I honoring God in sharing the Greatest Gift of All with others?

Let's intentionally take some time each day to focus on Christ this Christmas season. May we not get caught up in the hustle and bustle that threatens to consume us.

C - Consider my words to others. Am I talking about the things of Christmas or the reason for Christmas, celebrating our sweet Savior's birth?

H - Help others in need. I need to remind myself not to just give gifts because it's what we do, but to truly give charitable gifts of time and money when I can.

R - Reflect on the promises of the birth of Christ and what His coming into the world means.

I - Invite others to ask Jesus into their hearts if they haven't already.

S - Spread smiles to tired people everywhere I go. Remember that as I am out and about, I may meet angels unaware!

T - Take time to read God's Word and not fill my devotion time with holiday preparations.

M - Make this Christmas memorable by taking an intentional break from the hustle and bustle of family gatherings to pause and pray, thanking God for friends and family gathered with me.

A - Acknowledge that I can give or receive no gift greater than Christ.

S - Sing praises to the God Most High, who sent His only Son into the world for me (us)!


Karen said...

I love your layout, the questions, the process of keeping your focus where it needs to be. We have a gift to offer, Jesus and the things he makes us out to be because He lives in us. He who started out in a stable lives in us if we allow it. I think I'm going to cry....I LOVE JESUS!

MiPa said...

Well said! Have a peaceful day!

:: jamie :: said...

I love the Christmas acrostic (isn't that what that's called???) you did here. Love it!

Thanks for a great post.

Jennifer said...

Laurie, you never cease to amaze me with your writings, your insight and how beautifully you put your heart and thoughts into words. You bless me daily.

Great post and great job, my friend.

Maybe one day...we can meet half way for lunch...me, you and Laurie.

Have a blessed day! Hope you aren't getting the "flood" that we are getting. We are about to need Noah's ARK!!!

He And Me + 3 said...

Love your acrostics again. Perfect!

JesusRulzMe said...

Sweet sister Laurie Ann,

I LOVE this! And of course, I always love your acrostics! I like when you said that Christ didn't come in all the hustle and bustle, He came on a silent night....full of God's peace.

My heart is right with you sister! What great love and peace in Christ emanates through your post!

I love you dearly,

Michele Williams said...

The acrostic is great! Beautifully said my friend. Thank you again for blessing my heart.

Amydeanne said...

you always amaze me with your acrostics! :) and this is the exact reason why we separate our christmas with sinterklaas day... so my kids can know the real truth!

Patricia said...

I just love how you share Greek with us. And I love your acrostics. And yes, I love the definition for peace you quoted. It's the very Hope for Peace the world is looking for and we should be pointing to.

Thanks for a great post!

Denise said...

Beautifully said.

lori said...

Laurie Ann,
What a BEAUTIFULLY written post...the acrostic was WONDERFUL too!!
Thanks so much for joining me today!

Melinda said...

That is my favorite part of The Grinch, when he realizes that Christmas is not about things. We live in such a materialistic society and its so easy to get caught up in all of that. I am thankful for every reminder that comes along, like your post, to keep me on track and focused on the real reason we celebrate Christmas.

Esthermay said...

T - Taking time to read HIS Word away from hustle. AMEN!
M - Make it memorable. AMEN!
I think that the more sacrifices we make to avoid the hustle/bustle/madness, the greater our JOY this season, don't you? HE becomes RICHER when we block out the distractions.

Thank you for the word study on PEACE. Just saying the word is peaceful.
~ esthermay @The Heart of a Pastor's Wife

Debra said...

Laurie Ann...

I just love this acrostic. I mean I always love you acrostics but this one I really really love!!

Thanks for your prayers today! Hugs to you my friend.

Susan said...

Wow, this was great Laurie Ann.

Sorry I didn't get by yesterday, just catching up. Going to read your next post!