Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ready for Christmas?

I know what you are thinking? Bill is adding another post so soon? My last post, "What are you going to do with Christmas?", moved one of the staff members at Wesley Freedom UMC, to share with me the following poem.

“Ready for Christmas,” she said with a sigh,
As she gave a last touch to the gifts piled high.
Then wearily sat for a moment and read
Till soon, very soon, she was nodding her head.

Then quietly spoke a voice in her dream;
“Ready for Christmas! What do you mean?
When just two days ago last week
You wouldn’t acknowledge your friend in the street.”

“Ready for Christmas, while holding a grudge!
Perhaps you had better let God be the judge.
Why, how can the Christ child come and abide
In a heart that is selfish and filled with pride?”

“Ready for Christmas! You’ve worked, it is true.
But just doing the things that you wanted to do.
Ready for Christmas! Your circle’s too small.
Why, you are not ready for Christmas at all.”

She awoke with a start and a cry of despair,
“There’s so little time, and I’ve still to prepare!
“Oh, Father, forgive me, I see what you mean;
To be ready means more than a house swept clean.”

Yes, more than the giving of gifts and a tree,
It’s the heart swept clean that He wants to see,
A heart that is free from bitterness, sin,
Ready for Christmas means ready for Him!”

My question for you, is with Christmas a little more than a week away, are you ready for Christmas?

Monday, December 13, 2010

What are you going to do with Christmas?

One of the questions I am often asked is "what are going to do this Christmas?" Like most people, I am finding myself in the midst of the flurry of activities that come with our modern day celebration of Christmas. I've been shopping, to parties and I have experienced some uplifting worship. But something I saw, on one of the blogs I read, has me reworking the question.

I was going through my Google Reader list of new blog posts, and came across this picture...

It is a sign in front of a non-denominational church in Georgia, advertising it's seasonal sermon series. Really??? Turning "Peace on earth, goodwill to all", into this? This is what they are doing for Christmas?

Instead of what are you doing for Christmas, my question to you is "What are you going to do with Christmas?" How will the birth of Christ transform and change you this year? How will the seminal event in human history guide your thoughts and actions?

Once again the congregation I serve, Wesley Freedom United Methodist Church, is making a statement this year. We are proclaiming that Christmas isn’t about us; it’s not our birthday; it’s not the day for our church to meet her budget; it’s not about our bottom line. This year, 50% of our Christmas EVE offering is being given to ESCAPE Ministries and The Shepherd’s Staff. Both of these agencies provide help for those in our community who are in need and we refer people to them, who come to us seeking help. You can make a difference in the life of another member of our community.

It is humbling to be the pastor of a church that is willing to do this with Christmas. What are you willing to do?