What Will You Give Jesus? Day 12

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me … A CHILD BORN TO SET THE WORLD FREE!!  On this twelfth and final day of our gift giving to Jesus, we have a poetic extravaganza to give to Jesus – four original poems crafted for Jesus’ heart and our blessing!  Thanks Eunice, Josh, Sam, and Abigail!  Enjoy and Merry Christmas, TD! – Arthur

Christmas Prose

by Eunice Im

Christmas is a season full of longing and expectation. For instance, the Christmas lights and other pleasant decorations induce a romantic feeling in air, which put us in ‘the mood.’ We look forward to time off from school and work, for Christmas morning when we get to open presents, and for that one time during the year when the radio plays Christmas music all day long (okay, some of us enjoy the music). With all the child-like anticipation building up, this season can turn the grumpiest of Scrooges into kind and generous men; it can also remind us of deeper hungers yet to be fulfilled. Gift exchanges may promote kindness and appreciation, but also stir within us a desire for this kindness to last throughout the year. The extra family gatherings warm our hearts, but also remind us of lost loved ones and relationships that need mending. Isn’t it funny how heightened expectations can and often does lead to a deeper sense of expectation? That’s probably the reason why this season is painful for so many – it’s a reminder of all the things yet to be fulfilled. Before we prematurely call Christmas a hoax, a fake, a huge trick, let’s remember Christmas in its true essence. On that historic night, many years ago, God met with us, not in a deceitful way (like the many advertisements that promise slimmer bodies and happier times but do not deliver on their promises), but He truly, humbly, genuinely met with us. He promised from ages past through prophets like Isaiah, and He came through. This Christmas, let’s celebrate how He began the process of fulfilling all those deeper longings for reconciliation, true kindness and eternal life. Let’s celebrate…and wait for He is not done yet.

 

Christmas Poem

by Joshua Hsu

The splendor and the grandeur that must have been there when the Son was born.

Well actually, I don’t remember that in the Bible mentioned on that Christmas morn.

He was born in a stable,

Humble to the lowest state.

He was the King of Kings

And yet he didn’t even grow up on an Emperor’s rich estate.

He came to die for sins that He never made

God loved us so, that He was sacrificed for condemned man that shouldn’t be saved

He bridged the gap, which was impossible for us to cross

As he hung there bleeding for us on the Cross

Amazing Grace, that’s what the Christmas story is.

In history, it’s His story of salvation and the love He gives

Don’t get me wrong, its not about us, Its all about Him

He is a jealous God, pointing us constantly to Him

He is the answer, but yet we don’t have the power to see

And maybe thats why it is so hard for us to believe

A revelation

I get it

Now I finally see

The Christmas story is the story of the loved sinners now redeemed.

On Christmas Day

 by Samantha Chen

On Christmas the sun shines bright

A single glint shines on a little girl’s eyes

She quickly awakens to the light,

Because Christmas day has finally come

She rushes fast down as if in flight

To find all the presents under the tree

But one particularly caught her sight

A single box wrapped in a bow

She quickly opens the box as if in rage,

Only to find a leather book inside

A single book with thousands of pages

Was what she least expect on Christmas day

Running up to her parent’s bed

She shows them her leather book

“It’s a gift for you,” They said

“And in it a greater gift lies”

“This book tells of a God who created,

Protected, and loved us a lot.

But because of the sin we committed

We were doom to a road to death”

“However because God love us so

He planned a gift that would given be to us

A gift we did not deserve but now we can hold

Was born on Christmas night”

“He was God’s only son named Jesus

And He lived a perfect sinless life

He performed miracles and healed weaknesses

And showed His Father’s love to many others”

“But that’s not only why God sent Him

He sent Him to us so that we may live

He sent Him to die for our sins,

Even though He lived a sinless life”

“This is the greatest gift given to us,

By a Great and Loving God”

With this they leave to clean up her paper mess

As the girl looks and wonders about the book

She eyes the book in a different way

As if it is a treasure to uphold

Because on this special day

She saw what Christmas was really about

The Twelve Days of Christmas

 by Abigail Suen

On the first day of Christmas,

We gave to Jesus,

Our hearts, strength, minds, and souls.

On the second day of Christmas,

We gave to Jesus,

Two offerings,

And our hearts, strength, minds, and souls.

On the third day of Christmas,

We gave to Jesus,

Three cheerful carols,

Two offerings,

And our hearts, strength, minds, and souls.

On the fourth day of Christmas,

We gave to Jesus,

Four lovely cards,

Three cheerful carols,

Two offerings,

And our hearts, strength, minds, and souls.

On the fifth day of Christmas,

We gave to Jesus,

Five green wreaths,

Four lovely cards,

Three cheerful carols,

Two offerings,

And our hearts, strength, minds, and souls.

On the sixth day of Christmas,

We gave to Jesus,

Six meals for the poor,

Five green wreaths,

Four lovely cards,

Three cheerful carols,

Two offerings,

And our hearts, strength, minds, and souls.

On the seventh day of Christmas,

We gave to Jesus,

Seven gifts for needy children,

Six meals for the poor,

Five green wreaths,

Four lovely cards,

Three cheerful carols,

Two offerings,

And our hearts, strength, minds, and souls.

On the eighth day of Christmas,

We gave to Jesus,

Eight gospel tracks for neighbors,

Seven gifts for needy children,

Six meals for the poor,

Five green wreaths,

Four lovely cards,

Three cheerful carols,

Two offerings,

And our hearts, strength, minds, and souls.

On the ninth day of Christmas,

We gave to Jesus,

Nine home visitations,

Eight gospel tracks for neighbors,

Seven gifts for needy children,

Six meals for the poor,

Five green wreaths,

Four lovely cards,

Three cheerful carols,

Two offerings,

And our hearts, strength, minds, and souls.

On the tenth day of Christmas,

We gave to Jesus,

Ten Nativity plays,

Nine home visitations,

Eight gospel tracks for neighbors,

Seven gifts for needy children,

Six meals for the poor,

Five green wreaths,

Four lovely cards,

Three cheerful carols,

Two offerings,

And our hearts, strength, minds, and souls.

On the eleventh day of Christmas,

We gave to Jesus,

Eleven church services,

Ten Nativity plays,

Nine home visitations,

Eight gospel tracks for neighbors,

Seven gifts for needy children,

Six meals for the poor,

Five green wreaths,

Four lovely cards,

Three cheerful carols,

Two offerings,

And our hearts, strength, minds, and souls.

On the twelfth day of Christmas,

We gave to Jesus,

Twelve pious prayers,

Eleven church services,

Ten Nativity plays,

Nine home visitations,

Eight gospel tracks for neighbors,

Seven gifts for needy children,

Six meals for the poor,

Five green wreaths,

Four lovely cards,

Three cheerful carols,

Two offerings,

And our hearts, strength, minds, and souls.

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What Will You Give Jesus? Day 9

During our small group time at “A TD Christmas” Michael shared his “gift” to Jesus – reflections on his past, and how to “do Christmas better” going forward.  I thought it would be really useful and helpful for us to keep in mind in these final days before Christmas … and for the rest of the holiday season!  Thanks, Michael! – Arthur

What I Would Have Told My Younger Self

Knowing that I’ll be spending my last (ever!) semester of school at home in the coming months, I reflected on what advice I would give to myself at the beginning of high school, when I still felt I had life figured all out. Turns out I didn’t, and hopefully you can relate.

Here are seven things I would have done differently during the holiday season:

1. Appreciate what you normally can’t or don’t

Go outdoors (your computer can wait)! Or enjoy a moment of silence – reflect on your year, pray knowing that your innermost feelings can be trusted to God, and ponder life’s intriguing mysteries.

2. Don’t let possessions possess you

This year, I was shocked to find that shops were opening on Thanksgiving night to attract customers before Black Friday normally starts. As a result, people were sacrificing valuable family time and cutting off their dinners early to line up for bargains; but when you think about it, are the “benefits” really worth the cost?

Within the context of gift-giving, exchanging expensive presents is one way to show someone you care, but not the only way. Time is money, too! What about treating that friend to dinner and hiking on a trail that overlooks the magnificent Los Angeles nighttime cityscape?

3. A positive attitude brings good cheer

Even if you’re not a big fan of this season, there’s no need to ruin it for others. For the past few years, I’ve thought that I was too old for the fun of Christmas, so I spent my time working and studying at the expense of the rest of my family’s experience. Looking back, I realize how big of a difference a small change in attitude could have made.

4. Take the time to decorate yourself

The tree is in the living room, the lights are up, the fireplace is lit…but remember that as Christ’s temple, you could use some decoration too! Consider how you could clean up bad habits and patch the holes (the inconsistencies) of your life. Then, when others look at you, you’ll be representing the body of Christ as best you can!

5. Give others the gift of…you!

Whether it’s volunteering, caroling at the convalescent home, or just lending an ear to listen, there are so many valuable contributions you can make to your community. Be proactive in finding these opportunities, and you’ll be blessed in return. Read Luke 14:13 if you need some inspiration.

6. Do yourself a favor and set some goals

Make a list, check it twice. If you’ve been naughty, resolve to be nice. Stick to your goal, no matter the price. Talk to a counselor, should you need some advice.

7. Remember Romans 14:8

Paul kindly reminds us that “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” In every situation that you’re in, make decisions that reflect who and what you live for!

– Michael Ruan

What Will You Give Jesus? Day 6

What will you give Jesus?  How about the gift of true acceptance?  Accepting Jesus as He really is and not a Jesus fashioned the way we want Him to be?  I know He’d love that.  During this Christmas season, we need to objectively assess whether the One we celebrate is Jesus Christ … or Santa Christ.  Please read this re-post from the Ligonier web site and talk with Him about it.  – Arthur

Do You Believe in a Santa Christ?

from Dec 18, 2013Category: Articles

In Sinclair Ferguson’s book, In Christ Alone, he shares the sad reality that many Christians have a Christology that is more informed by Santa Claus than Scripture. For them, the message of the incarnation has been so twisted or diluted that they have in fact created for themselves a savior who is nothing more than a Santa Christ.

As you prayerfully read Sinclair Ferguson’s words, ask yourself the following question this Christmas season: “Do I believe in a Santa Christ?”


1. A Pelagian Jesus is a Santa Christ

Santa Christ is sometimes a Pelagian Jesus. Like Santa, he simply asks us whether we have been good. More exactly, since the assumption is that we are all naturally good, Santa Christ asks us whether we have been “good enough.” So just as Christmas dinner is simply the better dinner we really deserve, Jesus becomes a kind of added bonus who makes a good life even better. He is not seen as the Savior of helpless sinners.

2. A Semi-Pelagian Jesus is a Santa Christ

Or Santa Christ may be a Semi-Pelagian Jesus — a slightly more sophisticated Jesus who, Santa-like, gives gifts to those who have already done the best they could! Thus, Jesus’ hand, like Santa’s sack, opens only when we can give an upper-percentile answer to the none-too-weighty probe, “Have you done your best this year?” The only difference from medieval theology here is that we do not use its Latin phraseology: facere quod in se est (to do what one is capable of doing on one’s own, or, in common parlance, “Heaven helps those who help themselves”).

3. A Mystical Jesus is a Santa Christ

Then again, Santa Christ may be a mystical Jesus, who, like Santa Claus, is important because of the good experiences we have when we think about him, irrespective of his historical reality. It doesn’t really matter whether the story is true or not; the important thing is the spirit of Santa Christ. For that matter, while it would spoil things to tell the children this, everyone can make up his or her own Santa Christ. As long as we have the right spirit of Santa Christ, all is well.

But Jesus is not to be identified with Santa Claus; worldly thinking — however much it employs Jesus-language — is not to be confused with biblical truth.

Who is the Biblical Christ of Christmas?

The Scriptures systematically strip away the veneer that covers the real truth of the Christmas story. Jesus did not come to add to our comforts. He did not come to help those who were already helping themselves or to fill life with more pleasant experiences. He came on a deliverance mission, to save sinners, and to do so He had to destroy the works of the Devil (Matt. 1:21; 1 John 3:8b).

  • Those whose lives were bound up with the events of the first Christmas did not find His coming an easy and pleasurable experience.
  • Mary and Joseph’s lives were turned upside down.
  • The shepherds’ night was frighteningly interrupted, and their futures potentially radically changed.
  • The magi faced all kinds of inconvenience and family separation.
  • Our Lord Himself, conceived before wedlock, born probably in a cave, would spend His early days as a refugee from the bloodthirsty and vindictive Herod (Matt. 2:13-21).

There is, therefore, an element in the Gospel narratives that stresses that the coming of Jesus is a disturbing event of the deepest proportions. It had to be thus, for He did not come merely to add something extra to life, but to deal with our spiritual insolvency and the debt of our sin. He was not conceived in the womb of Mary for those who have done their best, but for those who know that their best is “like filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6)—far from good enough—and that in their flesh there dwells no good thing (Rom. 7:18). He was not sent to be the source of good experiences, but to suffer the pangs of hell in order to be our Savior.

Adapted from In Christ Alone by Sinclair Ferguson.

What Will You Give Jesus? Day 5

Hello TD!  We hope you’re enjoying our daily gifts to help you love Jesus more this Christmas!

Well, gift #5 may be familiar to some of you, but it is so fun and heart warming … and a perfect way to model for us the enthusiasm, energy, and heart we need to have when we go Christmas caroling at the convalescent home this Friday as part of “A TD Christmas.”  I love it and tear up watching it.  Enjoy and be prepared to “bring it” on Friday! – Arthur

 

What Will You Give Jesus? Day 4

Today’s gift is intended to help you prepare your gift for Jesus this Friday at “A TD Christmas,” which begins at 6 p.m. at my house.  So, Sandra wrote this devotional for you to help you out.  Thanks Sandra! – Arthur

Hey TDers! Lights are up, Christmas songs are being played on the radio and in the malls, cards are being sent, gifts are being prepared … it is all fun, exciting, and busy.  Christmas means Christ’s mass. Even though the celebration of Christmas has taken a life of its own, we can still determine to keep the essential and real meaning of Christ’s mass in Christmas.

As we recall in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the FREE GIFT of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Let’s focus on that “free gift” that we as believers have received.  The Greek word is “Charisma”.  Charisma is the gift of faith, knowledge, holiness and virtue.  It is the grace or gift denoting extraordinary powers, distinguishing certain Christians and enabling them to serve the chruch of Chirst, the reception of which is due ot the power of divine grace operating on their souls by the Holy Spirit. (http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G5486&t=NASB)

For TD this Friday, we would like you to go against the cultural grain, go deep, unplug (unless you are using your computer or phone to read the Bible or listen to a sermon) and unleash the CHARISMA that God has freely given you.  Here are some practical suggestions for you to consider:

1.  Listen to a message – maybe one of the podcasts on this blog; or go to TD.mbcla.org and go to Messages and listen to a great TD message; or go to Resources and pick a website and a great sermon to listen to.  After listening to it, respond by writing out a summary, journal entry, poem, or even an exhortation to share.  Just write a response to what you’ve heard.

2.  Listen to the message on the temple that inspired me to write my poem.  Warning, it is 1 hour and 15 minutes long, but it is worth it!  It was recommended to us by Joni, herself!

In The Temple: The Glorious and Forgiving God (1Kings 8)

3.  Share the love of Christ to someone considered “the least of these”.  If you want to give a gift back to Jesus, He said in Matthew 25:24, “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’  Give a gift or card to someone who is not in your immediate cirle of friends.  Extend yourself, reach out in His name!

4.  Create or do something for the Lord’s honor – write a song or song lyrics, draw or paint a picture, write poetry, read extra portions of Scripture, spend extra time in prayer and praise, etc.

On Friday, we would love to hear about the “charisma” that you allowed to explode in your life today.  We want to have a Christmas celebration this Friday where Jesus is truly honored and celebrated! Maranatha (the Lord is coming) !  – Sandra

(btw, eat dinner before you arrive; we’ll have snacks and refreshments after returning from the convalescent home)

What Will You Give Jesus? Day 1

Hey TD’ers,

It’s 12 days until Christmas! What will you give Jesus for Christmas? We challenge you to your time, talent, and heart to create a unique gift for Christmas gift for Him!

For the next 12 days, we will be posting Christmas gifts – videos, poems, songs, and essays that have been produced to bless the Christ of Christmas!  Check in each day for Christmas blessings!

For our first gift, here’s an absolutely AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING video that we posted last Christmas, but is so good, we’re posting it again!  You WILL be blessed.  It’s a great way to start the season! – Arthur