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Christmas, My Thoughts and Beliefs
December 19, 2011
I'm dreaming of a White Christmas.......
Back in early October, the local and national meteorologists predicted for Southwest Michigan, an early, colder and snowier winter than normal.
Well, it hasn't happened yet.
In my little corner we have yet to see 2 inches of snow total.
It's too late for an early winter.
Do I wait for a colder and snowier one from here on out?
As you can see, Ziggy the Toy Poodle is showing off his new poodle cut (in time for Christmas), ear flip and all.
(Please forgive me if there are too many errors, I'm having some computer issues and this is a bit of a rush job. Screen keeps going black and freezing.)
As we see 2011 come to an end, I sometimes find myself sitting in a room with just the Christmas tree lit and enjoying its beauty.
I thank our Creator for everything.
Certain memories of the past year play through my mind.
Our little trip to the DeYoung Zoo in Michigan's U.P. and the looks on Yolanda's face when she got to feed a baby hippo and hold the baby monkeys.
Dad and daughter bonding times when Karen is out and about.
I thank Him for my wife and family.
I think back to some special bird moments of 2011, (for me).
Seeing and watching Bald eagles in March on the frozen lakes as they feed, or watching the majesty of the grand bird perched on a leafless branch.
We must travel a bit hoping to get a glimpse of an eagle.
Also, having the rare pleasure of Green herons nesting in my backyard.
Watching the babies emerge and a couple of weeks later fledge.
Enjoying most of the summer having a Black-capped chickadee family feed from my hands.
Even to the point where a special two toes youngster became my favorite bird.
They still feed from my hand from time to time.
I am so thankful for you and all subscribers.
Many of you have taken the time to write back to me.
You may ask questions, say thank you, or take the time to get to know each other.
It is special to me.
I want to take a moment to say thak you to everyone.
You are the greatest bunch of subscribers/readers out there.
You put up with me, you force me into research sometimes.
You teach me and hopefully we can share a laugh and cyber hug.
Many of you have even shared personal parts of your life with me.
Nothing says friend like sharing personal things.
To me, that is a Great Honor.
Thank you so very much.
This is indeed an exciting time of year.
Not only do we have Christmas and all it stands for.....
We also have the winter solstice this week on Dec. 22 (12:30 AM EST)
Yes, now the days will slowly grow longer once a agian.
We celebrate the New Year an overload on Football games (the Bowl season is upon us guys).
Veteran readers know that I sometimes have a Christmas letter with reader comments and Christmas memories.
Some years I also write my own Christmas letter from a Christian's point of view.
This is that year, if you feel uncomfortable, you may want to get off now.
I'll wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and hope to have you back early in January, 2012.
To all readers, I hope you had the chance to drop off a toy or food for the needy (we are so blessed).
It is a year long struggle for some, and the season (how brief) draws attention to their plight.
Anyone that continues to read, I hope and pray you can feel God's message and my love and faithfulness toward Him.
Our Creator, has given us the wildlife and the plants we grow for flowers and food.
The very air we breathe.
The sun and the moon.
He has also given me special gifts that I attempt to share with you on a weekly basis.
This week, is about Christmas and the gift God gave us.
A gift that keeps on giving "Jesus Christ"
Not always in ways we expect or would like, and rarely does it fit into out time schedule.
However, He is always faithful and true to his word.
"For I am watching over my word to perform it.” (Jeremiah 1:12)
Take your time reading and I will be back January 2, 2012.
Yes, I give myself time off to enjoy the season.
Enjoy and God Bless.
I've written and re written this letter a few different times, trying to come up with the ideal letter.
I don't know if there is 'The Ideal Christmas Letter", so I am doing what I should have done from the get go.
Write this letter from my heart.
If you don't believe in Christ, this may be where you want to get off.
Better yet, please stay and prayerfully with an open mind and heart.
Like most North Americans, I grew up celebrating Christmas.
There was always a tree to cut and decorate.
Shopping, shopping and snooping to do.
Cookies and candies.
Songs to sing and of course Santa Claus.
As a child, these things often out weigh the true meaning of Christmas.
Yet, Christmas was a special time, and my mom always made sure we all knew that Christmas was a birthday celebration for 'Jesus'.
There were church programs and back in the early 1960's the birth of Christ was still in every grade school play.
Boys in bath robes (mine was blue), cardboard angel wings and fun stuff like that.
No matter where you went, 'Jesus was the reason for the Season'.
Shoppers didn't trample each other.
Road rage and hand guns didn't make Headlines.
Nativity scenes and decorations were part of Christmas.
Culture always plays a part, and decorations, trees, gift giving are part of our culture (for many of us).
Beliefs and religions play a part in how to celebrate or not to celebrate, and the more diverse society comes, the more these factors come in to play.
I wanted to write on the total importance of Christmas, and I will, but along the way, God stopped me and had me take a look at myself first.
Yes, we celebrate Christmas at the Patterson house with decorations, a tree or two, gift giving , and family gatherings.
Just as many of you do.
Spending sometimes gets out of control (and I think this is wrong), which shows a lack of control and responsibility on our part.
I am no different than many of you.
I am however, making every effort to not get caught up in the commercial traps.
We make sure we give to others and to the needy and make every effort to show it is from the heart.
Gift giving is pretty empty if there isn't love involved.
I am also reminded that God enjoys a good celebration as much as we do.
After all, He his the Author of life, the Great Creator of the universe and everything within.
The Great Scientist.
The Great Mathematician.
The Great keeper of time.
Author of all universal laws.
The Great "I Am and Always Will Be".
"I am God and always will be. No one can escape from my power; no one can change what I do."
"I am the Alpha and the Omega--the beginning and the end," says the Lord God. "I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come--the Almighty One."
Revelation 1:8 (NIV)
Before Albert Einstein and his great mind, God wrote all of the laws that govern our universe.
From the speed of light, relativity, time, gravity, cause and effect, you name it.
When the theory of evolution became public (and it is still just a theory), it rocked the scientific world.
After all, we believed in creation.
A superior being, a creator, a God.
It was simple, yet took faith to know their was a superior being.
Then the late Carl Sagan and now Steven Hawking comes along and attempt to explain away everything as evolution and pure happen stance.
Brilliant yet in my opinion, narcissistic thinkers that want us to believe in such things as 'Big Bangs', that things just happen, and we are the results.
Without laws or rules to govern.
Is it so easy to believe such nonsense.
That some people don't want to believe their is a Superior Being?
The audacity to think there is something or someone out there smarter than me.
Yet, look around and everything you see oozes Creation and a loving Creator.
Well, there may have been a 'Big Bang', and I enjoy watching certain documentaries with the theories and all, but not a single thing would have happened if God didn't say so first.
Yes, to some degree we see things evolve everyday.
The weather evolves constantly, plants mutate, and so on.
A reader once mentioned to me about "Evaluation by Design".
Interesting I thought, but isn't that still creation, or God in control?
Isn't evolution supposed to make things more efficient?
Then why evolve from simple single reproduction to "It takes two to tango?"
God never stopped creating, it continues today.
Creation is really part of the Christmas story, read on.
The beginning of God's gifts
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and so every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."
Genesis 1: 26
If you noticed, God said to make man in "Our" likeness.
Meaning God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Yes, the Trinity was already there from the beginning and the gift of their likeness was passed on to mankind.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son and call his name Immanuel.
One more piece to the puzzle is foretold.
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.
There are other bible passages as well.
From the beginning of time to the birth of Jesus, God had planned the most wonderful gift and time of the year for then and for all time.
Can you imagine spending that much time making shopping or preparing for a gift?
Can you imagine the celebration?
Now the stage is set.
Thousands of years to prepare for the party and then...........
Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name is Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and his kingdom there will be no end. And Mary said to the angel, " How shall this be, since I have no husband? And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
Luke 1: 26 - 35
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and here husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. but as he considered this, behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a son; and called his name Jesus.
The virgin birth not only tells us that this is truly a miracle of God, but also is a symbol purity, innocence and holiness.
Matthew 1: 18-27
Time for a head count.
There were no pamphlets in the mail or a person from the Census Bureau knocking on your door.
Nope, you had to go to the city where your heritage lies.
Now this just happened to be the time of Jesus birth and the town was full of others waiting to be counted.
And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. and an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will come to all people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!"
Luke 2:6- 14
What a birthday celebration that must have taken place in Heaven.
Music playing, angels signing.
Yet, here on earth it barely went noticed.
Is this whole setting all fit for a king?
I mean the King of Kings?
The most humble of births and visited by common folk shepherds. (there is a story line here as well but not today).
Lord of Lords.
Creator of the universe and everything within.
He lowers himself and limits himself to be born as a common person.
To experience life as we do.
A carpenter, yes a working stiff.
He was tempted in every way that we are tempted.
He felt love and happiness.
He felt sorrow.
He felt pain.
He experienced every human temptation and negative emotion we have ever felt, so he can relate to and understand us better.
He had to......... or the great birthday present was for nothing.
The True Christmas Gift. is of love and giving of your self.
Can you even begin to imagine what this must've been like?
Leaving Heaven, your home since..................well, before the beginning of time.
The fact that God indeed loves us so much that he gave us the perfect gift for all time.
A gift that will last through eternity.
The day I said yes and accepted Jesus into my heart, my life changed forever, and yours can too.
Now, we have the perfect gift and we celebrate the Birth of Christ.
Now the angels sing and rejoice for us when we welcome Jesus into our hearts.
A celebration of life I suppose.
Yes, I don't think God minds the decorations, the trees, or gatherings.
After all, Creation and life is a celebration.
I think however, that God does mind, when we leave his Son, 'Christ Jesus' out of Christmas.
After all, He is the Reason for the Season
He is teaching us the importance of giving, and giving freely with your heart.
Christmas isn't gimme, gimme, gimme.
Christmas isn't a shopping list and crowded malls and going in debt.
It isn't about looking good.
Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ.
To love, to share and to give.
Celebrate and loving life.
When you get something, it is the thought that counts (hopefully) not the gift you asked for.
Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year.
We don't need snow or mistletoe (snow would be nice :-) )
I love my Lord and I thank God daily for the most perfect gift of all.
I also thank him for his gift of family, friends, a home, nature and of course I thank him for you too.
Yes, I suppose Christmas is about children as well, after all, didn't Jesus say to "let the little children come onto me".
And we do celebrate and have parties for our kids.
"God is Love".
Remember, I wont be here next week.
Well, it's time to fly for now.
Please have a heart felt and Blessed, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the 'Patterson House (Ron, Karen, Yolanda and fur kids)' to you and yours and remember the Christ in Christmas.
Before I go, here are your multiple Positive thoughts for the week.
"You can give without loving, but you can't give love without giving."
Robert Louis Stevenson
"He who cannot give anything away cannot feel anythig either."
"Choose you this day whom you will serve; but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord."
Joshua 24:15 (KJV)
"Treat the earth well:
It was not given to you by your parents,
It was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our
Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."
Ancient Indian Proverb
Your friend indeed,
Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.
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