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    "You are really cool you are married to an European!! How cooler can you be??"
    Fisherman Pecheur

    "Smarty Pants"
    Mad Matt

    "Oh, you did not ask for Bonhoeffer's opinion did you? You wanted mine..."
    the SOFYST

    "You are like the master at this "feelings" stuff!
    Kind Kristi

    "I enjoy your comments, but they are always delightfully enigmatic"
    Dyspraxic Fundamentalist

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Spirit of Christmas

Resurrected Grief
During this time of year many people will try and recapture the pleasant feelings they experienced as children in anticipation of, and enjoying the traditions of Christmas. For most people this is a fruitless effort. Some will use vicarious means to relive the past while others will make themselves so busy that they can ignore the longing and the ache in their heart. Still others are painfully aware that those feelings are never to be again, lost with so many other wonderful vestiges of childhood. Even many believers will suffer the effect of their unresolved grief over the loss of the mystery of Christmas. Some believers might opt to try and reason away their grief, insisting that the feelings were never real and should then be ignored. Others will try and compensate the loss with love. This might certainly seem the best alternative but regardless of the specific source of grief, all of this suffering is founded in hopelessness. The spirit of Christmas is hope.

Why now?
There are three things God decided should be essential to our well-being, love, hope and faith. Our nature leads us to make substitutions for each of these in order to satisfy our own pride and lust. The deceiver will offer a smorgasbord of alternatives to the truth, all of which are more appealing to our carnal nature. We will accept carnal love in place of the love of God and most often we trust in ourselves rather than Him. With hope it is the same. We place our hope in things that aren’t really there and never will be. This allows us to believe we have some control in realizing our hope and lets us avoid having to acknowledge God as our provider. The traditions of Christmas emphasize hope and that hope is something we do our best to avoid having to question. I cannot assign evil to a tradition or to any other thing, but I do know these traditions are often used for evil, intentionally or otherwise. I suppose you could certainly use Santa Claus to illustrate the spirit of benevolence that is born out of love, I know I’ve tried, - or - you can substitute it for the providence of God, “ask Santa to bring that”. I’ve been guilty of that. “Peace on earth, good will toward men” can be applied annually for a few days in an attempt to squelch the guilt that follows a year of cut-throat, dog-eat-dog business practices - or - you can use this time to tell of His great love and illustrate it in your life throughout the year. Even if you decide to ignore all of the customary practices, the focus on hope will be evident during the Christmas season. Hope for the future is something we all need in order to be happy in the present. Sadly, to many times the things we quietly hope for just don’t exist. There is no easy life and there aren’t always answers for all of our questions as to why so many bad things seem to happen.

Things Hoped For
As children we have no problem hoping for things we can’t understand. We can easily hope that a huge man in a red suit can fit down a chimney or that reindeer can fly, without having to understand how it’s done. As adults we’ve learned not to hope for things we can’t understand or explain. We refuse to accept anything mysterious at all and dismiss it as being childish to believe in such things. Even we as believers reject the notion that there are things in this life we just can’t understand and if no reason is given we’ll create one that fulfills our belief system. “I don’t know” has become a shameful admission of stupidity instead of the rightful and truthful answer to so many of our questions. We are no longer willing to hope for peace on earth and good will toward men unless there are peace talks currently underway. We can’t “see” how God cares for us just as He does the lilies of the field. We only know that if we don’t strive for success we’ll never have anything. Worst of all we’ve refused to have any hope at all for a future we can’t design and create through our own foreknowledge called assumption.

Hope Eternal
We who believe can recapture the wondrous spirit of Christmas and hold it throughout the year. We can accept that the ways of God are beyond our understanding and have hope in things far more mysterious than flying reindeer or an oversized elf.

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

Somehow, someway we will be mysteriously changed and taken up to be together with our Lord forever more. What greater hope could there be than this?

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

Let us find our hope in nothing less than the mysterious promises of God so that our spirit of hope will extend through all the Christmases to come even to life everlasting.

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Blogger Kristi said...

Wow, Kc! I read through this, and am just amazed at your ability to communicate these deep thoughts. Things make so much better sense with this perspective. I think I would do well to just be quiet, listen, and learn! Thanks.

12/01/2005 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

You really are so kind and encouraging and it makes me really happy to think it might help to share my understanding but PLEASE never sit quiet! My understanding is formed from the wisdom gathered from you and others who care enough to share. ;-)

12/01/2005 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger Ron said...


I have to agree with Kristi! Your writing causes me to ask: Are we more focused on the traditions of Christmas than the spirit of it? That is a question that pierce a true believer to the core of their soul.

I was just thinking about the manger scene that we see each year at this time. It is made to look so majestic. Yet, when I went to look at that passage again, and looked up the definition of a manger again, I cringed. Since a manger is a feeding trough for livestock, I doubt that it was clean. And thinking about how Mary was forced to give birth to this child in the presence of animals did not create a pleasant image in my mind at all. What it did do, however, is confirm that the Savior of this world had to enter into the world under the most humble circumstances. The fact that they could not find room at the inn symbolized the rejection that not only Jesus felt, but that we as believers will also feel when we totally submit to His will.

My purpose is not to rain on anybody's parade, but to bring out the truth about what happens at this time of year.

I will conclude with this question: Is Christmas a celebration for Jesus, or for just us?

12/01/2005 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Good thoughts.

12/01/2005 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Ron, thanks for the thoughts. What history I know indicates to me it is a cultural event but I respect that many use it wisely as an opportunity to glorify God.

DF, thanks for the encouragement.

12/01/2005 10:50:00 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

I just figured it was time for me to leave a comment on your site. I always appreciate your 'two cents' and feel a sense of encouraging, sharpening observation coming from your mind and your soul, keep up the blogging. Josh

12/01/2005 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Josh you're too kind but thank you very much for the visit, the kindness and encouragement. You have a great blog and I appreciate your hospitality. ;-)

12/01/2005 02:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hope for the future is something we all need in order to be happy in the present." again, this is like a slap on my face. i'm losing my patience and i'm beginning to feel frustrated. thank you for posting this. i needed to be reminded.

12/02/2005 01:05:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Pia my hopes for your needs are very high and I hope our hugs help to ease the slap in the face a bit. ;-)

12/02/2005 06:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks kc, we all need to be reminded, " the reason for the season" although my christmas prayer has come true early. Jody is home for good, for a while anyway. I am thankful that I found your site through him. I am inspired everytime I read your thoughts. you make my head hurt.ha ha no really, It makes me stop and ponder. something we should all do. thanks again. zina

12/02/2005 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Zina, I am so happy for you! I have been checking in at Jody's blog hoping for an update and I am so grateful to know he's home safe. I know you'll all be so busy now but I can only imagine the joy around there. God is so good. ;-)

12/02/2005 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger An Ordinary Christian said...

Hope. I think that through my life God has continued to encourage me to hope that certain things were going to pass - the very things He was working and doing in my life. All the while saying to hope in Him above all things. He brought that point across when the other things did not come to pass very quickly. He is our hope and our great encourager.

12/02/2005 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger curious servant said...

I have enjoyed those links you have on your blog. Very interesting collection!

God bless!

12/02/2005 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

CS, thanks. My favorites are Pecheur's concise study notes and Foxe. I hope to add some study help links soon. ;-)

12/02/2005 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

OC Amen! I think we can petition God for our wishes, I even think we're instructed to ("ye have not because ye ask not"), but we can fully depend on Him for all He has promised.

12/02/2005 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger curious servant said...

There is a prayer request on mmy blog. If you have a moment, it would mean a lot.

God bless

12/02/2005 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Hope is a part of faith. But the hope of a Christian is not wishful thinking, it is steadfast and sure IF it is hope for what Christ has for us.

12/02/2005 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

I find that a paradigm shift is what we all truly need. When we gain an eternal perspective, things seem to fall neatly into place.


12/02/2005 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger curious servant said...

Thank you!

12/02/2005 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger jeff said...

Hey kc,

I agree with Joe. Our 'hope' is so much more than, "I hope so!" It is the steadfast foundation upon which our faith is built.

The worlds hope leaves room for failure and bad luck. God's hope leaves only room for victory.

I think about it like this...
2 guys stranded on a desert island (looking for a Burger King, probably...). One is a pilot. The other is a passenger.

The pilot is confident in his hope, because he spoke with the control tower when they went down. he understands how the little black box works...etc. His hope is in rescue.

The pasenger knows nothing of any of this, His hope is that someone mught find them, if they wait long enough...

Finally, the pilot explains the security features of the plane. He unveils the mystery of the black box. He also lets the passenger know that he has been in personal contact with the control tower. They know right where everything happened, and they're on their way.

Now, the passenger's hope changes. It is transformed by hearing the pilot.

I hope there's a way we can find to share our hope with all the 'passengers' we come in contact with this holiday season... you know, let them know we've been in contact with the guy in control, and He's on His way...

Imagine the look on their faces...

12/02/2005 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger forgiven said...

Great Post thank you for that writing . Christmas to me is a very mind probing time of thought. Just looking back to my family when I was young. That was a great time , but to many looking back is the only time that they were happy. My life as been wonderful with Jesus. You are so right ,they need to look to Jesus and have christmas every day..,Amen

Thank You Brother

12/03/2005 02:49:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Everyone, great thoughts on hope.

CS we’ll continue to remember this request.

Joe, so true. Faith and hope are so completely intertwined and that big “IF” is critical.

Antonio, I’m thankful to see you’re better and I hope all your family is well. I completely agree concerning perspective. We tend to get too caught-up in our temporal life. I’m anxious to get the next installment on James.

Jeff, great illustration and I really appreciate that comment about telling all the passengers.

Forgiven you are so kind and encouraging. Your words mean a great deal to me. May God continue to bless you dear brother.

12/03/2005 04:48:00 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Hi Kc,
This is a great post. It made me think about the fact that the awe and wonder I feel when I think of all that God has planned for us is so much greater than the wonder of children at the myth of Santa Claus.

(I don't tell my kids that Santa is real - not because I am no fun, but because I don't want them to doubt the other things I tell them by equating them with the whole parent/kid Santa trick)

Unlike the dissapointment that a child feels when he discovers that Santa isn't real and that it was all a fun ruse by the adults ... we will be overcome with amazement at the engulfing reality of the fulfillment of God's promises!

Thanks for the post!

(why does Joe at JJ have the name [Ron] in parenthesis next to your blog name on his list of links ... is your name Casey or Ron ... or do you have an alter ego? :~) )

12/03/2005 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Rose, thanks for your thoughts, they're very much appreciated.

I think Joe added Ron and I about the same time and may have got us confused. I considered it an honor to be confused with Ron so I never bothered to mention it. ;-)

12/03/2005 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Ron said...


I can understand - we look so much alike,no one could probably tell the difference

12/03/2005 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

I guess you should know I tell people we're twins.

12/03/2005 11:44:00 AM  

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