Christmas Spirit

Posted: December 12th, 2011 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Fitness, Other, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

It’s less than two weeks until Christmas. So how’s your Christmas spirit holding up? Do you feel connected to God? Or has the busyness of the season already robbed you of what little joy and peace you had?

Sometimes I think the root of our problem is the simple fact that we practically live like atheists or agnostics. And I’ll be honest, I don’t know how atheists and agnostics do it. How do they keep going? Even more, why do they keep going?

If you’re convinced there is no God (atheism) or you neither believe nor disbelieve in God (agnosticism), what’s the point? Of anything?

Why go to work? Why try to do the right thing? Why help someone less fortunate? Why tell the truth? Why remain faithful to your spouse? Why keep living?

Why? Why? Why?

What’s the point if there is no God?

If you believe there is no God and that the theory of evolution explains our existence, then there is no meaning or purpose or point to anything in the universe. If everything that exists came from nothing, then everything is an accident. Pure, random chance. And there can be no point to an accident. By definition, an accident lacks intention or purpose.

But if there is a God, then there is a point. Our lives do have meaning and purpose. We were created with intentionality. There’s a reason we’re here.

And if there’s a reason, then is there anything more important than understanding what it is?

In other words, if you exist for a reason, if there’s a God who created you with a purpose in mind, then it would seem like the wise thing to do to discover what it is and then live according to it.

I believe the Bible provides the answers to those questions. In it, we discover the One who created the universe. He has revealed Himself to us. He has shown us what He’s like and what’s important to Him.

“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Hebrews 1:1-3)

Jesus is “the exact representation of his being.” In other words, Jesus is God.

In the first couple of chapters of Luke, we find the story of Jesus’ birth. For many of us, it’s a familiar story. Mary is virgin and gets a visit from an angel who tells her that she’s going to give birth. He tells her that God Himself will be the child’s father.

Do those last few sentences amaze you? Or has the familiar become boring and almost meaningless? If it has, maybe it’s time to stop what you’re doing and re-visit the story.

Think about it, God made the conscious decision to step out of heaven and become one of us. He was born to a virgin in the town of Bethlehem, just as it had been prophesied. He came to reveal to us what He’s like and to pay our penalty for sin.

It really is an amazing story.

Do you believe it though? Do you really believe it? Will it effect how you live today? How you speak? How you spend your time? How you spend your money?

It just doesn’t make sense to believe God stepped into human history and then live as if He doesn’t even exist. He wants us to know Him and experience His love for us. And He wants us to love Him in return.

It’s what God has always wanted. Friendship. With you.

That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

10 Ways to Get Into the Christmas Spirit

Posted: December 18th, 2009 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

img 0173 300x225 10 Ways to Get Into the Christmas Spirit

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere you go…”

Christmas is one week from today, but you may not be feeling much of the Christmas spirit this year. If you are, then wonderful…some of these ideas will only enhance this next week, but for others, this next week could be tough.

You may have lost someone very close to you–a spouse, a child, a parent–and so this season just isn’t as special as it used to be. The “magic” is gone. Rather than making you joyful, the memories are painful.

If you’re divorced or separated and won’t have your children with you, then you’re struggling with feelings of sadness or loneliness.

Maybe you’ve recently lost your job, so things are going to be tight.

You might be waiting for the results of a medical test and you just can’t think of anything else right now.

It won’t be easy, but if your circumstances aren’t very good this year, ask God for His help to get into the Christmas spirit…whatever that looks like for you.

Try some of these ideas over the next week…

  1. Listen to the Hallelujah Chorus. I just found a version by Neil Diamond on iTunes I really like. Right now, I’m listening to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra perform it. Find a version you like and listen to it…over and over. Let the words soak in. “King of kings and Lord of lords. He shall reign forever and ever…and ever and ever…”
  2. Read Matthew 1:18-25. Don’t read it too quickly. Again, let it soak in. Let it amaze you. God…became…a helpless…baby. He made Himself dependent on a teenage girl.
  3. Want to feel what it might have been like to be present for the very first Christmas? Rent “The Nativity Story.” It’s a great film.
  4. Look for someone to bless. You could buy presents or food. You could deliver cookies. You could simply tell someone how much they mean to you or that you’re praying for them. Is there a co-worker who needs you? A lonely neighbor? A single mom and her kids? If you are a single mom–think about still doing it for someone else. We seem to reap what we sow.
  5. Volunteer to help someone less fortunate than you. Our church is providing and serving lunch at a homeless center on Christmas Eve. What can you do?
  6. Something else our church does is serve communion on Christmas Eve. It’s not an hour long service, just a time to come by with family and receive communion. It’s a great way to refocus on Christ. If your church doesn’t do this, there’s nothing wrong with you serving communion to your family.
  7. Tip someone who would never expect it…whether they deserve it or not. Be as generous as you can and tell them, “Merry Christmas.” It could be the UPS driver, the cashier at the grocery store, the mailman, the person who cleans the building where you work or anyone else you can think of. Ask God to show you who it is.
  8. Make a list. Not of what you want, but of what God has already given you.
  9. Get alone with God. Maybe it’s been awhile since you’ve talked with Him. Open your Bible. Read a few psalms. Read some passages in the gospel of John. Listen to Him. Then pour your heart out to Him. Nothing wrong with setting aside a couple of hours for just you and Him. He’ll love being with you.
  10. Then of course there’s this.

If you have other ideas or something you’ve done, I’d love to hear about it.

Last thing, remember this: everything changed 2000 years ago. We are never alone. Emmanuel, God with us, came to earth. Whatever you’re facing, know this…God is with you.

If you need someone to pray for you, feel free to email me: