You Will Get Through This

It’s been said that the Christmas/New Year’s holiday is a time when depression sets in. All that holiday cheer isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Although, in moderation, it’s fine. I had fun at my sister and her family’s house Christmas day playing tug of war with their dog and her rope. I even tagged teamed with my brother-in-law. Rosie just kept playing hard, even almost doing flips! But being around Christians Christmas day is something more satisfying than rough housing with the family dog.

Not many of us could be down in the pits more than Joseph in the book of Genesis. Joseph was thrown into a deep dark dirty cistern by his brothers who then sold him into slavery. But in the end, the dysfunctional family learned a valuable lesson and it was for good. The spoiled, pampered brat who was brought down, over time, started obeying God. He ran away from his master’s wife after she hit on him and tried to pull him. And he was the one who got in trouble! But in the end, Joseph became Pharaoh’s right- hand man and became the de facto head honcho in Egypt. He walked like an Egyptian, talked like an Egyptian, but kept his faith in God.

https://youtu.be/Cv6tuzHUuuk

Joseph helped save the greater Egypt area from famine. It took a while, but he eventually forgave his brothers and helped them out.

Forgiveness is something I’ve struggled with. It took me awhile, and the occasional gentle admonishment from my late dear friend and companion Sandi to, like Joseph, have some victory in this matter. Former foes reached out to me after Sandi went to the Lord to console me. Even as Sandi’s health wound down, I started thinking more about what’s important in life.

Seeing Sandi withering away, the brain cancer making her increasingly weaker, I was reminded that before God, we are all the same whether we are a Pharaoh or a slave. I’m thankful that Sandi did not die out in the woods like some wild animal, thanks to people, including some Bucks County, PA homeless, helping her.

This past Thursday I went to a candlelight vigil for the homeless. Like all of us, the homeless have intrinsic value, made in the image of God, who breathed life into man and created woman from man so man would not be alone. Homelessness does not define your character! All homelessness is, as Clarence “Frogman” Henry sang, people who “ain’t got no home.”

To help me cope with Sandi going home, I’m reading “you’ll get through this: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times” by Max Lucado. Max epitomizes his message with the lines:

You’ll get through this.

It won’t be painless.

It won’t be quick.

But God will use this mess for good.

Don’t be foolish or naïve.

But don’t despair either.

With God’s help, you’ll get through this.

This Christmas season, when the party’s over the celebration of Christ’s birth continues for those who believe He died for their sins and is always present with them. Although you may not always realize it, God has your back. Like Sandi, she has a future in heaven with the Lord. As the Westminster Catechism states, our chief end “is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”

Here are Bible verses from Max’s chapter “good-bye to good-byes”:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Revelation 21: 3-4

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”  2 Corinthians 5: 1-5

I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:5-54

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the LORD Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” Philippians 3: 20-21

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14: 1-3

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is1 John 3:2.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11

Christmas Oasis

This time of year, with people running around like the White Rabbit and acting like the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, getting caught up in the hype and the materialism of worldly Christmas, there are some who engage in the true spirit of Christmas.  The Marrazzo family will serve the homeless and needy when they spend Christmas day hosting a Christmas dinner, as they’ve been doing every Christmas.

Details: http://www.ahtn.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Marrazzo-Christmas-dinner-flyer.pdf

The meal is an oasis in a desert of incessant ads and jingles, clichés that wear on the nerves. It’s good to know that beyond the surface glitter there is something noble.

Christ was born in Bethlehem to save us from sin and to show us the way – to become more like him. Jesus healed the sick and lame and helped the downtrodden, accepting them for whom they are, a creature made in the image of God.

Christmas is not just about a baby in the manger. It’s about Jesus coming to earth, being one of us, suffering like humans, being tempted but, being perfect, he had victory over sins on our behalf. It was the gift given graciously out of mercy for our fallen state.

The annual Marrazzo family Christmas meal was an act of compassion. Helping those who have nowhere to go for Christmas have the companionship of others, many of whom only see each other’s at the meals shows shares the joy and self-sacrificing love of Jesus, the reason for the season.

Like other community meals hosted by local churches in Bucks County, they are more than just a meal. Man does not live by bread alone. The meals are a place for the homeless and those in need to feel welcomed and where they can socialize with friends. It’s a place where people can be kept up to date with the latest news and what’s happening in their lives. Information in the homeless community is most often passed on by oral tradition, word of mouth.

In the midst of all the surface glitter and manic, worldly ways this season, we need to be reminded what Christmas is about. A Christmas poem illustrates this:

All Christmas Poetry 

The True Meaning of Christmas 

by Brian K. Walters 

In todays day and time,

 it’s easy to lose sight,

 of the true meaning of Christmas

 and one special night.

When we go shopping,

 We say “How much will it cost?”

 Then the true meaning of Christmas,

 Somehow becomes lost.

Amidst the tinsel, glitter

 And ribbons of gold,

 We forget about the child,

 born on a night so cold.

The children look for Santa

 In his big, red sleigh

 Never thinking of the baby

 Whose bed was made of hay.

In reality when we look into the night sky,

 We don’t see a sleigh

 But a star, burning bright and high.

A faithful reminder,

 Of that night so long ago,

 And of the child we call Jesus,

 Whose love, the world would know.

This year we lost two of our sisters who have spent a season in the homeless community. Made in the image of God, we greatly valued them. So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27  They have greatly touched our lives.

As one of the hosts at the last community meal at Restoration Church pleaded, “be kind to one another.”

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.”     John 1:4,5

Christmas is about light, the light the apostle John wrote about where Jesus took humans out of the dark, clueless world and into His light of righteousness. The light leads us to a life centered on God and his ways. Those who follow Christ  become more like him, not thinking of self but of others, putting their interests above theirs, sacrificing the way people do to provide a Christmas meal for the homeless and needy.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Christmas Compassion

The annual meal put on by the Marrazzo family for the homeless on Christmas day in Penndel, PA was an act of compassion. Helping those who have nowhere to go for Christmas have the companionship of others, many of whom only see each others at the meals shows shares the joy and self-sacrificing love of Jesus, the reason for the season.

The Christmas dinner was a time of peace and goodwill in Penndel. There was plenty of good food served by caring hosts. There was even enough for take home. A sick friend I’ve been taking care of didn’t make it, so the take homes came in handy. She loves mushrooms, and one of the servers gave me a generous amount to take home for her. Having “leftovers” to zap in the microwave gave me a break, as taking care of my weak friend with lung cancer stresses and wears me out.

The meal was an oasis in a desert of incessant ads and jingles, clichés that wear on the nerves. It’s good to know that beyond the surface glitter there is something noble.

Christ was born in Bethlehem to save us from sin and to show us the way – to become more like him. Jesus healed the sick and lame and helped the downtrodden, accepting them for whom they are, a creature made in the image of God.

Christmas is not about a baby in the manger. It’s about Jesus coming to earth, being one of us, suffering like humans, being tempted but, being perfect, he had victory over sins on our behalf. It was the gift given graciously out of mercy for our fallen state.

Columnist Cal Thomas puts Christmas in perspective:

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/12/24/true-meaning-christmas.html

Christmas is just a one time celebration, but a reminder of why Christ came to earth that we should hold dear all year long. It’s not just an isolated moment. To adapt lines from an old love song, Christmas is not just a moment’s pleasure, but a lifelong treasure. God is not a distant concept; he is ever present.

God is found in all creation. He didn’t make the earth and people then go off to a distant cloud like the pagan gods of old, but he is alive.

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
 the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
 no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
 their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
 like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
 It rises at one end of the heavens
 and makes its circuit to the other;
  nothing is deprived of its warmth.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
 refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
 making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
 giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
 giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
 enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
 and all of them are righteous.

They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
 be pleasing in your sight,
 Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

-Psalm 19

Christmas Light

The true spirit of Christmas is found in the Christmas dinners for the homeless and needy that the Marrazzo family puts on each year. Caring people dedicate part of Christmas day to serve others. The event takes place at 3 p.m. at 125 Lincoln Avenue, Penndel, PA.

There will also be a free community meal at St. Mark AME Zion at 136 North Congress St. in Newtown, PA at 2 p.m. Christmas day. According to the Advocates for The Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) website, there is no bus transportation to this meal.

http://www.ahtn.org/calendar/

On Christmas day, many homeless people have nowhere to go. Like other community meals hosted by local churches in Bucks County, they are more than just a meal. Man does not live by bread alone. The meals are a place for the homeless and those in need to feel welcomed and where they can socialize with friends. It’s a place where people can be kept up to date with the latest news and what’s happening in their lives. Information in the homeless community is most often passed on by oral tradition, word of mouth.

Christmas is about light, the light the apostle John wrote about where Jesus took humans out of the dark, clueless world and into His light of righteousness. The light leads us to a life centered on God and his ways. Those who follow Christ become like Him and become more like him, not thinking of self but of others, putting their interests above theirs, sacrificing the way people do to provide a Christmas meal for the homeless and needy.

In the midst of all the surface glitter and manic, worldly ways this season, we need to be reminded what Christmas is about. A Christmas poem illustrates this:

All Christmas Poetry 

The True Meaning of Christmas 

by Brian K. Walters 

holy night

 

In todays day and time,
it’s easy to lose sight,
of the true meaning of Christmas
and one special night.

When we go shopping,
We say “How much will it cost?”
Then the true meaning of Christmas,
Somehow becomes lost.

Amidst the tinsel, glitter
And ribbons of gold,
We forget about the child,
born on a night so cold.

The children look for Santa
In his big, red sleigh
Never thinking of the baby
Whose bed was made of hay.

In reality when we look into the night sky,
We don’t see a sleigh
But a star, burning bright and high.

A faithful reminder,
Of that night so long ago,
And of the child we call Jesus,
Whose love, the world would know.

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.”     – John 1:4,5