The First 3 Christmas Gifts: A Little Life Encouragement

It’s been a rough year. Some of us have lost so much. Lives, livelihoods.. but dammit, we can’t lose hope. Covid has turned our world upside down, but there have also been some bright spots, like really “seeing” people.

But as the year closes, gratitude and Gift-giving are on some minds. I thought a reflection on the first “Christmas” gifts might boost us all.  Who doesn’t like a gift?

I’ll start with this: the gifts given to Jesus are gifts for each of us.

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Freedom from Power-Seeking & Glory on the Fourth of July

Independence Day… reminder of freedom in America from Tyranny, Oppression, Dictatorship…

“E Pluribus Unum” or,  “Out of Many, One” (traditional motto of the US).

Yes, America has come a long way,  but yesterday I saw tanks lined up for the Celebration??! I’ve been American my whole life and never recall this happening before.

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It’s Not You, It’s Timing – How to Keep Hope When Nothing’s Working

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Is it just me? Sometimes disappointment, frustration, or fatigue keep banging on the door. You’ve got a project, dream, plan, but it’s stuck. You wonder: Is it me? My skills or vision? Do I lack proper education or experience? Is my heart really in it?

I read about some fisherman who may have thought the same. They worked all night with nothing to show.

Were they unskilled?
No. They were “Fisherman.”

Was the net broken?
Nope. Strong and ready.

Were they in the wrong place?
Absolutely not.

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Dear Church Leaders: The Revelation Came from the Wilderness, not the Pulpit

Crap, another friend shared about getting kicked out of church. Arrgh. It’s painful, but sadly not rare– I have my own stories…

People can have different ideas, or giftings that don’t fit traditional parameters (e.g. gender/marital/parental status, etc.), and misunderstandings can be easy. But should talents or abilities cease the moment someone enters a church? Can we, especially those in church leadership, listen to someone if they aren’t preaching from the pulpit?

God has used a whale, worm, donkey and various plants to communicate throughout the Bible. How much more a fellow human?
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The Torch and Oven: A Christmas Story You Didn’t Hear

Christmas is a time to enjoy cozy lights, sweet treats, and Dutch gezelligheid – a wonderful word without pure translation, but roughly: nice/comfy/friendly/cozy- ness.

Some think of “baby Jesus,” or making everything just right, and still others wish to fast forward through the season. Holidays can be painful for some so I want to share a verse I’ve never heard at Christmastime which may give hope, especially to any who’ve ever been oppressed. Or maybe it gives more perspective beyond the baby in a manger.

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