Friday, December 25, 2009

The Meaning of Christmas

I often have a lot of questions, and, honestly, sometimes I don't ask them because it seems like everyone else already has it figured out (and I don't want to look stupid).  One of those had to do with Christmas.  I always wondered why we celebrated Jesus' birth, because if you think about it, it's his death that actually did something.  It wasn't until I started studying Israel's history that I understood why we celebrate Christmas.

Imagine that God made you a promise, and you died before you saw it come to fruition.  In fact, your children also died before it came to be, even their children, and their children... So on and so forth until people stopped hearing from God, because the last prophet was dead.  Then, add 400 more years (a total of 1,000 years, I think) of silence from God.  By now, some people may have lost hope, and to the children, the promise may seem more like folklore. 

"For no matter how many promises God has made, they are 'Yes' in Christ." (1 Cor. 1:20)

But God is faithful to his promises, and at just the right time, we begin to see God's promises fulfilled.  This poor, tiny, olive-skinned baby, is the promised Messiah, the Anointed One.  He brings HOPE to people everywhere, PRAISE THE LORD!  Hope for peace, hope for rest, hope for completion, hope for salvation.  Our Savior, Christ the Lord, was born.  Immanuel, God With Us, gives us HOPE for a new life and relationship with the King of the Universe, the Creator, God.  Even though it's not complete yet, we can see the beginning, and so we know that the end is in sight.  God's promises to Abraham and to David, of blessings and a righteous King and a House for God, all of these and more, found in Christ.  Amen and Amen.

Shema Israel, Adonai eloheinu, Adonai echad.
Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord alone.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Intelligent Savior

God is working on using this quote to change my life.

"Can we seriously imagine that Jesus could be Lord if he were not smart? If he were divine, would he be dumb? Or uninformed? Once you stop to think about it, how could he be what we take him to be in all other respects and not be the best-informed and most intelligent person of all, the smartest person who ever lived?... 'Jesus is Lord' can mean little in practice for anyone who has to hesitate before saying, 'Jesus is smart.' He is not just nice, he is brilliant... He always has the best information on everything and certainly also on the things that matter most in human life."
The Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Italian Cookies

It's a good day, friend.  I discovered a new favorite recipe--Biscotti (click for the recipe)--and it was really easy!  I split the batch in half and made one cranberry-almond and one chocolate toffee.  It turned out quite delicious (mom even liked it), and it's going to be a great treat to bring to grandma's next week since she loves coffee and Italian food!  Here's a few photos I took of my creation...

First you bake the dough in loaves, then you slice it into the traditional long shape--perfect for dunking into coffee!

You have to bake each slice to dry it out and get the crunchy cookie you're used to.
(See my camera reflected?)

Yum!  Finished cranberry almond biscotti.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Isn't it Ironic, Don'tcha Think?

It's finals week for me, which means studying, trying to relax, and more free time than I've had all semester.  I actually took one final last week in my hardest class, Thermodynamics.  The teacher had this amazing policy that if you earned a 93% on your final exam, you got an A in the class, regardless of your work the rest of the semester.  Admittedly, I studied harder for this exam than any other--hoping for the golden 93% on my final.  After taking the exam last week, I was sure that I'd gotten it, feeling like the exam was very easy.

Today, our teacher posted the scores.  Much to my surprise, I finished the semester with an 81% on my final... leaving me with a B when all was said and done.  I was tempted to be quite disappointed, quite a natural response to not getting what I had hoped for (and quite frankly, expected).  However, I couldn't help myself, because Chris Tomlin's song "Rejoice" was playing.  I couldn't help but rejoice, and though I felt Satan tempting me to do otherwise, I could only rejoice, because it is the proper response.

"Rejoice in the Lord, always.  I will say it again:  Rejoice!"  (Philippians 4:4)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Trials and Ice Skating

So what I didn't show you on my last post was the subsequent picture of me helping my nephew ice skate over Thanksgiving break.  I think sometimes life feels a little bit more like this:

Sometimes when you're trying to move forward you feel like you've got ice skates on and you're dragging a squirmy 3-year old.  Sometimes you just feel like giving up because things are really difficult and you can't see relief coming any time soon.  And that's life, because God puts us through trials.

If you're there right now, I want you to know that whatever is going on isn't pointless, useless or worthless and that God has not forgotten you in the midst of it.  He is Lord, God, King of the Universe, Sovereign Over All and He has a purpose for your suffering.  Check out 1 Peter 1:3-9 and you'll see what I mean.  Grace and Peace.