Reason for the season?

Merry Christmas! I hope all of you are celebrating with friends and family. I know I am. You see, Christmas has evolved and changed for me over the years, but the core reason behind Christmas has always stayed the same. Unfortunately, many celebrate without really knowing the significance behind it.

While the world celebrates Santa Claus and the time of year for joy and presents, those who are Christians also know that it’s so much more than that. For us, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Savior. Year after year, children recite the story about the baby, born of a virgin, and how the shepherds and wise men traveled to see him. We sing carols and hymn giving glory to God.

Meanwhile, we rush to and fro to store after store in search of the perfect gift, and many go into debt in the process. It’s supposed to be a time of peace, but instead we have road rage and packages being stolen from people’s houses. In all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it can be easy to lose sight of why we even do all this to begin with.

God with us. If we really truly believed that, would we get as frustrated at the long check out lines? If we knew God was with us right in this moment, would we have the joy and peace that should surround us all the time, not just at Christmas. Jesus came so that we could have salvation and healing and peace all the time. His presence is daily, not seasonal. Even if it’s just a moment, let’s make time to remember that Jesus is the reason for this, not ourselves.

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Trend: the general course or prevailing tendency; drift

Being part of the millennial generation is both an advantage and a disadvantage. The advantages include the wide technological advances that have occurred in the past few decades. More than any other generation, we have internet access that allows us to easily communicate with others around the world. A disadvantage is we often spend more time in virtual reality than in the real world.

We tend to substitute real relationships for those that we have online. Also, our attention spans have shortened because we have access to so much information. One common thing that my generation pays attention to are the online trends.

The thing with trends is that you never know what might be popular next. Most trends are very short-lived; what was big news yesterday is now yesterday’s news in the shadow of what’s happening today. So many people strive for acceptance and popularity online instead of looking to find real connection from the person sitting beside them.

Right now our trend is our phones and computers, but the trends can always change. The one thing that will always be relevant is our need for the presence of God. No amount of technology can substitute the real, tangible power and glory of God. Technology can be a helpful tool in helping others experience is, but it’s just the caveat through which it can move. I don’t know what will be on the news tomorrow, but I do know that God will still be God.

Perspectives: death, where is your sting?

Whether we want to accept it or not, 2016 is about halfway over now. This year is different from what I expected. People that I know in my church body have lost someone, and it’s affected all of us. Though they were different ages, none of them should have died. Despite that, I’ve seen a strength and peace in those families that only makes sense with God.

I will never be okay with death. It’s unnatural, and we were never created to die or be separated from our bodies. We weren’t even created for sickness and disease. God’s intentions have always been for us to live in wholeness and prosperity. His intentions were also for us to be in relationship with Him and His goodness. Death and sickness exist because we live in a world where people are choosing something apart from His goodness. He can’t always get His way and let us choose at the same time.

Even though we experience death and heartache, God hasn’t changed who He is. Even though we as Christians still experience the reality of death, Jesus came and did something about it. Those in relationship with Him fight for His presence and Kingdom here on earth, but even in death, we get to stay in His presence. The most tragic thing that could happen to one of us is still victory for Him because we’re not separated from Him.

It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are or what we see. God’s character and nature to heal and give life is more real than what we can see. Sometimes I know someone isn’t going to make it, but I fight for them anyway because I know who He is truth. What we feel as a loss is still His victory.