Monday, December 24, 2012

Santa vs. God

8 pb&j sandwiches, lots of raisins, a box of cheez-its and a bottle of milk later we are done with lunch and have the 3 babies are down for a nap. What better joy to have 3 foster kiddos over on Christmas eve! And cuddles with a 5mo old is a dream come true! Now, don't think that I am this super happy-all-the-time, smiley wonder woman. I often need proding from my Father to serve others. I am often ashamed of my begrudging attitude towards helping others when God reveals late...
r that through serving He is meeting my needs! How is it that God knows our every need? How is it that He blesses us regardless of our behavior? How is it that He doesn't withold His love and compassion when I don't deserve it?

That is what makes God different than Santa Claus. Santa says that "he's making a list and checking it twice, he's gonna find out who's naughty and be good for goodness sake." God says He has already found out who is naughty (all have sinned Romans 3:23) and nice (none are righteous Romans 3:10). Santa says we MUST be good. God says we cannot be good. Blessings from Santa come from working hard to be good. Blessings from God come from no work we can do on our own. Santa requires. God gives freely. God knew there was no way to do enough good to earn His favor. God knew that every lie, every lust, every selfish thought, every crime we commited would require a payment that couldn't be paid by receiving coal. God knew that we couldn't be good, but He planned to give us a gift anyway. He sent His perfect Son to pay the price of our crimes, to die in our place so that we can live eternally in heaven with our giving Father.

Our family doesn't celebrate Santa, it is too hard to earn his favor. Our family celebrates Jesus this season, one who earned the favor of God in a way we never could, and allows God's blessings to flow regardless of our behavior. St. Nicholas knew this as he served this Jesus, leading him to sell all he owned so that the poor and needy would receive a gift on Christmas, just as he did 2000 years ago. The true gift, the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ.

Posted by Shannon

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Is Joseph Jesus' REAL father?

Last night I was filled with so many emotions as the 7 of us cuddled close to watch the Nativity Story for family movie night. My husband who I treasure and my 5 blessings who point me more to God's grace everyday, a warm kitty purring and two dogs at our feet. I was filled with great sadness everytime Mary or Elizabeth gasped with joy and touched the life growing inside their belly. I couldn't he...lp but wonder, God will you ever allow me to know the joy of feeling a small life kick or hiccup inside me? This thought was fleeting as I looked around the room God reminded me of His great love. He reminded me that while He may not have chosen me to love and carry a child like Mary there is a different way to love a child, like Joseph.

Joseph is not Jesus' birth father, he would never look at this baby and see his own facial features, he is just a man who made a commitment to love this child as his own. But God showed me through the Christmas story how that commitment means just as much that a child is "yours" as a physical birth does. Jesus was to be born from the "seed of David", well it is by Joseph's heritage that Jesus gains His lineage from King David. It is through adoption by Joseph that God ties Jesus to a royal family, while Joseph is not Jesus' birth father, he is certainly His REAL father. God shows us His absolute love for adoption by knitting it into the story of the birth of His very own son, knitting it even into our own stories as orphans adopted by an amazingly good and gracious heavenly Father!

How good the God I serve is, how He can turn my barrenness and sorrow into a joy and love more kindred to His own heart, a heart who knows the beauty and realness of adoption!

"How deep a Father's love for us,
how vast beyond all measure,
that He should send His only son,
to make a wretch His treasure."

Posted by Shannon