My Thoughts

My Thoughts on Christianity and Other Things

Archive for the tag “Christmas”

I Have Been Busy

It’s been a long time since my last post, and as you can see, I haven’t prepared anything for our Lord’s Birthday.

All I can say is, “Lord Jesus, Happy Birthday. I can only give myself. Nothing more. You know what I’m trying to do in your name. Please help me succeed and bring glory to you. Amen.”

I am going to cheat a little (Did I just say that after praying?) and insert a link to a post I did before. Here’s the link. I decided to add another link here.

Now I will tell you what I have been up to. I’ve gone back to school. This is my fourth time. (Last year didn’t count as I soon had to drop out due to health reasons.) I started out taking an automotive repair class, then electronic technology, then computer networking, and now American Sign Language. Since most of my life I have been repairing cars, trucks, (both military and civilian) lawns mowers, generators and many other things, I call myself an old mechanic.

Many of you know I don’t hear well. A few of you know because of the type of hearing loss I have, no hearing aids can help me. And my wife and I believe it may be getting worse. Then again maybe it’s temporary. I wrote about this a few months ago. Rare Hearing This is why I decided to learn ASL. ( American Sign Language) Many hearing people tend to look down on non-hearing people. Either consciously or subconsciously. Because of this, if worse comes to worse I want to hopefully become part of the Deaf community.

I have been doing my best in ASL class. My grade point average so far has been 3.9. In the United States 4.0 is perfect.

I was invited to a Deaf church once, so I went. What a very humbling experience. I did a report on it for school. Here’s part of it.

When the sermon started, I was a little disappointed that Pastor Nick and his wife weren’t there. The man who did preached though seemed to have done a good job. I was also surprised that someone there was translating. At first they had praise and prayer requests. It’s been many years since I’ve seen that. I miss it. After a while I got up with a prayer request. I told them that I wasn’t hearing or deaf, but instead am hard of hearing. I need… I didn’t know enough to sign more. The man who sat in front of me signed for me. I spoke, “I need to learn this language because technology can’t help me. I want prayer to become fluent.”

After that there was prayer. They even prayed that I would become fluent in ASL. I like that. The preacher then preached. The subject was on 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy. Even though the man who sat in front of me spoke for the preacher, I understood very little because his back was towards me. I was a little able to fellow along only because all the verses were shown on the projector.

I was invited back and I would like to go back. But, boy do I need more learning!

Anyway back to Christmas. I know it’s Christmas Eve here, but for many of you it’s already Christmas. Remember, this is Lord Jesus birthday. We are saved by grace only when we believe in Him.

Merry Christmas - colored

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Christmas

There’s a song out there called Holly Jolly Christmas that says Christmas is the best time of year. Well for some it is. But for others, it’s a very stressful time of year.

I’ve heard some say Christmas is only for children. I’ve also heard that it’s only for the rich. Or for the stores so they could make more money. And now comes the stress. What do you buy for Aunt Sally? Uncle Fred? Cousin It? And your kids may want 1,346 things for Christmas and you can’t even afford one. And the stress builds. You have 4,025 dozen cookies to bake, and 1,236,489 bulbs of colored lights to put up. And the stress builds more. What will the electric bill be like? Here is an Norwegian-American song with lyrics, I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas that seems fitting for all this.

So what is Christmas all about? Well it’s not about Christmas trees, Santa Claus, reindeer, presents, or even snowmen and sledding. Even as a kid I wondered about snowmen and sledding. Growing up my friends and I may have built a snowman, but more often we would go sledding down the street we lived on. Christmas had nothing to do with it. It was just fun.

I remember the street we lived on, was on a big hill making it perfect for sledding. The only problem was my dog. My friends would hop on their sleds on would go all the way down the hilly street. But not me. When I went down, my dog would run up and jump on my back, knocking me off course. We would both, go off the road and head first into the ditch. Very rarely did we ever make it all the way down the hill. I’m sure my dog must have thought I was a lousy sled driver. But when you’re a 10 or 11 year old boy and a 40 pound (18 kilogram) dog jumps on your back, it’s really difficult to stay on course.

As much fun as playing and sledding in the snow was, it had nothing to do with Christmas. After all we did this all winter long.

So what is Christmas about? It’s about a birthday. The day we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus. John 3:16 says, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

In this culture the person who has the birthday gets the gifts. Yet Jesus came to give us the greatest gift of all; eternal life. It’s for anyone who believes in Jesus as Lord and accepts this gift. After all he came to die for you on the cross and then rise again physically, in His own body so you live. (I know, this sounds Easter.)

This eternal life is a gift you can not match. No matter how many credit cards you max out.

Something to think about as you “Yust Go Nuts At Christmas”.

Here is Mary Did You Know with lyrics.

Merry Christmas - colored

Anti-Christmas?

Starbucks Red Cups photo from buzzfeed.com

Starbucks Red Cups photo from buzzfeed.com

Lately some people got all upset because Starbucks Coffee had red cups instead of cups with Christmas trees, Santa Claus, reindeer, snow flakes, or some other stuff on them. Because of the plain red coffee cups (they did have the Starbucks logo on them) people were saying that the coffee shops were anti-Christmas. Remember, the cups are normally white.

What about the people that decorate their homes with only red lights? Or all green lights? Or white or blue? Are they anti-Christmas? I seriously doubt it.

How about having a Christmas party without Christmas music? Yes I’ve been to a few of them. And even though it wasn’t a Christ centered Christmas party, there were other Christians there besides me. The room was decorated with all the usual Christmas decorations and there were lots of food. But no music. We were a local chapter of Hearing Loss Association of America. Having a lot of music would make it difficult for some of us to communicate.

So back to this so call ‘war on Christmas’ by Starbucks. How many of us will really be celebrating Christmas? I’ve read through the Bible several times and so far I never read anything about flying reindeer, and some guy in a red suit sliding down chimneys. Also Christmas really isn’t about buying a bunch of stuff either.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with having fun and giving gifts. I’m just saying, remember that Christmas is about the birth of our Lord Jesus. And lighten up on the lack of Christmas decorations some may have.

Here’s the real Christmas story without the man in red and his flying reindeer. And a song: Mary Did You Know with lyrics.

And for those who may need something silly (sometimes we all do) here’s Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer, with lyrics of course.

Merry Christmas - colored

Non-Hearing Christmas

Hearing Loss Symbol

Hearing Loss Symbol

I should have written this before Thanksgiving, but I didn’t. Oh well. Christmas, New Years, and yes, even Thanksgiving, though it has already past; is a time for family and friends to be together. A lot of people have a slight hearing problem. But there are a few that have a big hearing problem. Maybe even deaf. But that’s OK. All of you can still have a Merry Christmas. You just need to know how to communicate.

First relax. Don’t let them just sit in the corner somewhere. Interact with them. Treat them like you would anyone else, almost.

As someone with a hearing loss myself, I’ll say, look at us when you talk. And when you talk, do as my wife does and project your voice. But do not exaggerate your speech. In other words don’t TAAALLK LLLIIIKE THTHTHIISSS. I don’t know what you’ll look like, but some people when they do that, look like they’re trying to make out with a fish. Please do not be a ‘Fish Kisser’.

Another thing is let us see your face. Your full face. Don’t sit in the shadows looking out. Most likely, you are NOT a cold war secret agent. We know who you are. Well someone does. Here are the lyrics and song of Secret Agent Man by Johnny Rivers in 1966. Somehow this song doesn’t seem very Christmasy. Can you imagine Christmas carolers singing this song? Also, I wonder what kind of ‘secret agent spy stuff’ Santa Claus uses in the song Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.

The best conditions for communicating is in a quiet setting. But that’s very unrealistic in a family holiday gathering. So be patient with us. After all we’re patient with you. Usually.

My hearing loss is different than most. I hear, but I still miss things. The best way to describe it is like having hearing ears but a deaf brain. Yet I have 14 years of the United States military service.

For many years I went with my wife to hear the entire Handel’s Messiah. I didn’t like it. All I heard was two and a half hours of Tarzan calls. And without seeing Tarzan wrestling with alligators and fighting lions, I’d get bored. But for my wife, I went.

Then when I was writing my post Revelation 19 I found this video with words to the “Hallelujah Chorus”. I was absolutely, totally amazed at what I saw. I had no clue of what I wasn’t hearing.

So far in this post, I have the Secret Agent Man song, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town and the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah, so how about a few more, with the lyrics of course.

O Holy Night
Mary Did You Know
Silent Night
Go Tell It On The Mountain

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

What do you do when you hear Happy Holidays at the store? Do you just let it go, or do you complain to the management? Do you answer back with a Merry Christmas?

I myself just say Merry Christmas back to them. I have found that even though they don’t or can’t say Merry Christmas to you, they will most likely enjoy hearing it. Even those who don’t celebrate Christmas will often take it as a good will jester. So go say Merry Christmas.

Now for an off-beat Christmas story. For over twenty years I have had a beard. Sometimes it’s trimmed and sometimes it needs trimming. And although it used to be dark, it’s not anymore. It’s gray. My wife says it’s because I’m getting old.

One summer day, maybe July, when my beard was a little longer than it should be, (when you’re a self employed mechanic, you can do this.) I was in the store shopping. When I went around the corner of the aisle a small boy of maybe 4 or 5 years old saw me, and cried out, “Santa Claus”.

And to that I quickly said, “Yeah and I’m here to see if you have been naughty or nice.” The kid was shocked and greatly shaken up. He quickly ran off to his mom.

I don’t know who this boy was. I’ve never seen him before. But I bet you he was most likely the best behaved kid for the rest of the day.

Have fun this Christmas and remember whose birthday we’re celebrating.

The real Christmas story.

Luke 2:1-40

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

It’s Christmas time. Time to go to the stores and buy gifts. It’s part of our culture. And like it or not, we will hear “Happy Holidays” as we stand at the checkouts buying these gifts.

As Christians, we celebrate Christmas and not Consumer Day or some other generic holiday. So as Christians, this bothers some of us, and yet others of us say it’s no big deal.

So what do we do with store employees and stores that say “Happy Holidays”? Some say that we should boycott the stores. I’ve heard some say we should write letters demanding they say Merry Christmas. But I must ask; will boycotts change the minds of CEOs? I doubt it. What about writing letters? The main thing I see happening is they will see Christians as a bunch of angry people. But we are not angry people. We just want to remember Jesus and celebrate His birth without having this other stuff crammed down our throats. So what should we do?

First remember many people are stressed out this time of the year. Second we must remember that we must stand firm for our Lord in love. After all Jesus come so that whoever believes in Him willingly will live. Forcing Jesus on others is counter-productive. So what should we do?

I have a suggestion. I’ve done this for several years now. When someone says “Happy Holidays” to me I try to always smile (a real smile, not like an angry dog bearing its teeth) and say “Merry Christmas” back to them. When I do that two things usually happens. One they almost always smile back. Two many times they will say Merry Christmas back to you. In other words, even though they may say Happy Holidays to you, most often they will love hearing Merry Christmas back from you. So no matter what; say “Merry Christmas”.

O Holy Night sung by Kenny Rogers with the lyrics

Merry Christmas

Christmas

Is Christmas about joy or stress? Unfortunately for many people it’s about stress. They must do this and they must do that, and to make it worse; they feel they must buy things whether they can afford it or not.

Our culture says you must bring a tree into your home and decorate it. The last twenty years I questioned this.

God created us, and gave us life. God wanted us to live with Him and for Him. Again life. But mankind did wrong and blew it. But God loved us so much that He sent His Son to be born (again life) so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life . Again life! So to celebrate all this life, why are we suppose to bring big dead plants into our homes? Please understand, I am not against Christmas Trees. I am only questioning some of the traditions.

Another tradition I question is all this buying and selling and going into debt. Now I’m not against buying and selling and giving gifts. But come on, even the Pink Panther gets caught up in it.

OK I’ll be serious for a little bit. To be honest Christmas is very difficult for some people. Some people may be poor and can’t afford gifts for their kids. Some are part of a very large family, with lots of people to buy gifts for. On her side and your side. And what do you get them. What if Uncle Hank has everything and needs nothing? Uncle Hank even says he doesn’t need anything. But you still feel obligated to get something because the culture says if you don’t, then you’re a cheap-skate and a scrooge.

So we stress out getting trying to figure out what to get everybody, then rush home to wrap it very quickly so we can them rush off to mail it to Aunt Sally or who ever. Will they get the gift in time?

Several years ago my Dad in his wisdom said that instead of the stress of buying gifts for each other; we should use the money we would spend and give it to a charity of our own choice. That removed so much stress; it’s great. Of course we still get gifts for the kids.

What about Santa Clause and his reindeer friends? This has been part of our culture for generations. As far as I know, this Santa Clause has little to do with what Christmas is really about. I like what someone told me a long time ago. He said that in the beginning he and his wife told their kids there was no Santa Clause and that it’s all pretend. They did tell their kids about St. Nicholas also told them that Christmas is really about celebrating the birth of our savior Jesus. It’s OK to pretend and have fun, just remember it’s all about Jesus.

So they put up a Christmas tree and all that other stuff, and the kids have fun sitting on Santa’s lap; but they still know the truth.

Christmas was never meant to be about stress but about life. A verse that I have quoted many times in the past is John 3:16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. This Son named Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The same Bethlehem that is in Israel today.

Here is a little song with a Norwegian accent. I’m glad it has the words. I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas

This next song is also in a Norwegian accent. Unfortunately I couldn’t find one with the words. It’s hard to understand, but there’s enough movement that I hope many deaf and hard hearing people will enjoy it. Walking In My Winter Underwear

This last song is not silly a song, but instead is about Jesus Himself. Many people like this song. I hope you will too. Mary Did You Know

Merry Christmas

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