CHRISTMAS BREW

 

By Bill Byrnes

      John 3:16:     For God so loved the world he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not perish but have eternal life!

christmas-coffee

…we can drink from a special brew..”

Those of us who are over 40 (& in my case-68)  are very fortunate at this time of year.  The reason–we can “drink” from a special brew. It’s a Yuletide formulation so potent that the first “sip” totally grabs control of your mind & transports you into other places & other times. The best part of it is no hang-over, no headaches, no nausea….no munchies! It’s just a total “mellowing-out”. Dickens was the first to popularize this notion  when he referred to it as the “Ghost of Christmases Past”.

future_ebenezer_scrooge

 

 

There are also those who, unfortunately, feel just the opposite effect. Their Christmas-time reflections might trigger some awful, traumatic memories from the past, or just some case of  holiday  melancholy. I wish them only the best, with the hope that they can, at some point, start adding to the “plus” side of the holiday ledger of emotions.

Over the past several years each time that I’ve imbibed this Christmas brew one point has become very clear: the warmest and best memories are of giving. There’s few memories I have about receiving gifts. These are from when I was a toddler (and for any other guys my age–yes, my Robert The Robot broke right away too!). But, each episode of  my Christmas giving leads me down the same path: at times I’ve given a lot, other times, not as much–but I’ve never given everything!

Robert_the_Robot

The boy pictured above is not Bill Byrnes!

Now you know where I’m going with this story, especially given the quote from John. Will we ever be able to, even remotely, understand how much God loves us that he gave us his only son. He literally gave us EVERYTHING: his love, his Son, the path to everlasting life! He also gave us a special dessert, (for lack of better descriptions) let’s just call it “humble-pie”.

Just think about it: the birth of Jesus was the GREATEST event in the history of the world! This event even changed the perception of time: all years prior referred to as “B.C.”, years after his death as “A.D.”. Man’s greatest event and who on earth even knew about it? Just a handful of people for sure; but there were no announcements, no huge celebrations (by mortals), no emissaries, no banquets or parties. The only celebrants were Mary& Joseph, some shepherds & 3 Kings who followed a star. Talk about humble beginnings– the greatest Prince ever–and his first nap was, most likely, taken in an empty cattle-feeder! It was only fitting that years later, in his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus paid tribute to the humble multitudes.  Matthew 5:3;5:5:  “Blessed is the poor in spirit; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”…”Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.”.

nativity-scene

“…talk about humble beginnings…”!

The main advantage of enjoying this “Heavenly” pie is that it is always topped-off with an ample portion of pride. Once you’ve tasted humility, and swallowed your pride, any arrogance you might have dissipates and you truly appreciate the value of giving. You experience a richness of flavor to your life gained only by knowing that  acts of giving, no matter how  insignificant the object or effort , were truly their own reward when they enriched the lives of  others. Matthew 25:34; 25:40: “Then the King will say to those at his right hand ‘Come, you that are blessed by my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…because those of you who gave to the LEAST of  members of my family…gave to me!’”. 

So, this Holiday season, after the shopping and “endless” errands. Don’t forget to kick-back and enjoy whatever portion of Christmas Brew you’ve accumulated–and don’t forget at least a smidgeon of humble-pie. It’s a great combination! Better yet, it grows each Christmas…next year-you’ll have more!

Have a Blessed & Merry Christmas, and a Happy Holiday season!  Love to all of you!

 

 

 

 

YOUR PRESCRIPTION IS READY!

By Bill Byrnes

As a tree gives fruit; healing words give life, but dishonest words crush the spirit.             Proverbs: 15:4

As we start another Holiday season, many start their annual ride on an emotional roller-coaster that includes, among other feelings, discouragement, hopelessness & depression. At the least, this mix can be confusing–at the most–devastating!

Holiday-Stress

A lot of us who have ridden on this “highway to Hell”(myself included) have found a way off. It’s marked by a sign where “exit” is spelled with five letters: BIBLE! There’s no self-help here; no “…isms” or “…oias” for you to contend with. It’s a very simple, no-cost first step. Open a Bible to the Psalms.

Also referred to as “songs”, the Psalms consist of 150 short passages that have several themes .Many describe God’s reaction to the “afflicted” heart–his anti-depressants (so to speak). Probably the most familiar is Psalm 23: “…lay me down in green pastures…”; “…He is with me when I walk thru the Valley of Death…”, etc., BUT there are several others just as comforting.

So, for any of you about to start your ride on the “Holiday roller-coaster”, take a brief exit & pick up some “anti-depressants”– for example, try some portions of Psalm 37. Your prescription is ready! No insurance necessary!

Psalm 37:

1-9:       Don’t be upset because of evil people. Don’t be jealous of those who do wrong, because like the grass, they will soon dry up. Like green plants, they will soon die away. Trust the Lord and do good. Live in the land and feed on truth. Enjoy serving the Lord, and he will give you what you want. Depend on the Lord and he will take care of you. Then your goodness will shine like the noonday sun…Don’t be upset when others get rich or when someone else’s plans succeed. Don’t get angry or upset; it only leads to trouble,

11-13:      The meek shall inherit the earth and will enjoy complete peace. The wicked make evil plans against good people. They grind their teeth at them in anger. But the Lord laughs at the wicked because he sees that their day is coming.

16:18:26-28:      It is better to have little and be right than have much and be wrong. The Lord watches over the lives of the innocent, and their reward will last forever. Good people always lend freely to others and their children are a blessing. Stop doing evil and do good so you shall live forever. The Lord loves justice and will not leave those who worship him.

39-40:   The Lord saves good people, he is their strength in times of trouble. The Lord helps them and saves them; he saves them from the wicked because they trust in him for protection.

          And, like most other prescriptions, there are several additional treatments. Don’t forget the always popular (and comforting) Psalm 23. Perhaps, you can top-off your doses of Psalms 23 & 37 with some Psalm 91. They’re all good! Better still, your prescription has unlimited refills–no side-effects! Shop anytime–at your friendly neighborhood Bible–open 24/7 for the rest of your life! Just head for the aisle marked “Psalms”.

christmas-coffee

                                                             PSALM 91- Excepts

 2-9:   “The Lord is my refuge and my fortress. I will say to him ‘You are my God and I trust you’.  He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you can hide. His truth will be your shield and protection. You will fear no danger at night or any arrows during the day. Don’t be afraid of diseases that come in the dark or illnesses that strike during the day. At your side, 1,000 people may die but you will not be hurt. You will only watch and see the wicked punished! You have made God your protection–your place of safety.”

10: 14-16:    “The Lord says ‘Whoever loves me I will save. Whoever knows me, I will protect. They will call me and I will answer them. I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue them and honor them. I will give them a long full life, and they will see how I can save’.”

            SOME GREAT NEWS!! THERE’S ONLY 147 PSALMS LEFT!!!