Is Christmas solely about the decorations and the term “Merry Christmas”? Haven’t those insisting there be a “War on Christmas” learned anything from Dr. Seuss? Whether it is the Grinch or Scrooge, you shouldn’t allow those who wish to hurt you do so. Why give them the power over what makes yours a merry Christmas or not?
In How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Whos of Whoville didn’t need the Christmas tree, stockings, presents, food or decorations to celebrate Christmas. In their song “Welcome Christmas,” they sing “Christmas Day will always be. Just as long as we have we.” In the midst of having their entire holiday celebration stolen from them, they still woke up and celebrated with warmth in their hearts. What the Grinch hoped to rob from them, he couldn’t. Getting angry over the secularization of the holidays is allowing others to get inside your head. By giving them the fight they are looking for, you’re giving them what they want for Christmas.
After all, it was seeing the warmth and happiness of the Whos that melted the Grinch’s ice-cold heart in the end. That’s the lesson the Grinch learned. It’s also the lesson we should be teaching our kids, the Grinches and Scrooges in our lives. They can tear down our Christmas trees and replace “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays” but they can’t take away the warmth the season brings to those who celebrate it. Make them see they are missing something just like the Whos did for the Grinch.
Remember Christmas isn’t about the things or even red holiday cups – it’s about the spirit of Christmas you have in your heart and no one can take that away from you unless you allow them to.
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I just had to share this verse and commentary today. I receive daily scripture emails and this one really struck me this morning. I like what Whitehead says in his commentary about how loving your enemies creates hope that God loves everyone. No matter what wrong we do, what we believe or don’t believe, God is still there for us.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. – Matthew 5:43-45
Jesus was stretching the imagination of the Jewish listeners. To love your enemies is to acknowledge that God loves them too. This is another way of saying that there is hope for anyone. No matter how evil or unrighteous someone may seem, the sun still shines upon them. We are challenged to live in the love of our heavenly Father, who wishes for none to perish and all to come to repentance.
by: Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org
Alright, it’s been more than a week since I’ve had anything decent to write about or recommend but this one is worth it. This show premiered last year right as I was turning 40 and I loved it. The comedic drama stars Ray Romano, Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher in his Emmy-nominated role as, well, men of a certain age. The lyrics from t he show’s opening credits are from the Beach Boys “When I Grow Up to be A Man” ask Will I dig the same things that turn me on as a kid? Will I look back and say that I wish I hadn’t done what I did? Will I joke around and still dig those sounds when I grow up to be a man? Well, we’ve gotten older but have we really grown up? If you’re anywhere near approaching your late thirties or already beyond that, you’ll definitely identify with this show. It’s a perfect combination of both funny and real (in a good way). The writing is sharp and Romano’s turn as a more serious actor is decent. It was easily my favorite show last year during its first season. Its second season premieres on TNT on December 6, 2011. You can watch Season 1 episodes right now on TNT.com for free. If you’re a guy – you won’t be disappointed. It’s one of those undiscovered gems that you should be watching.
With both of the nation’s national booksellers filing for bankruptcy (Borders in 2009 and Barnes & Noble this year), what does the future of actual books hold? If you go into one of these bookstores today, you willcertainly notice they don’t carry the inventory they did 10 years ago. With E-Books, the Kindle and I-Pad, bookstores are sure to suffer the same death as music stores already have.
There is nothing like spending hours, at a time, in a bookstore, especially when you find a gem of a book that you would not have found without being there and seeing it. It was the same with discovering music. I still remember flipping through records at Licorice Pizza and The Wherehouse stores for that new undiscovered band. Even the mega chains like Tower Records and Virgin Megastores couldn’t keep up. And, frankly, buying music on itunes just isn’t the same. You either need to know what you are looking for or you have what Apple gladly displays in the genre of your choice by “popularity.” It’s just not easy to find something unique and new online in the same way as going into a store.
For me, this is sad on a personal level. My wife and I used to spend countless hours together in the music store looking for new stuff. It was fun and a social occasion. We have also spent countless hours in Borders together: scanning shelves, sitting and reading, and buying countless books we didn’t really need. Some of them real gems! It’s a huge social event for us. We even browsed a bookstore on our first date (waiting for a movie) and enjoyed trying to make the other laugh.
I know it’s not just us either. Browsing in a bookstore is an American social pastime (think ‘Seinfeld”, “When Harry Met Sally,” and “Annie Hall.”). The more and more we do online, the less social avenues we have together. We used to go out to buy our music, movies and books. Not anymore. Of course, when we wanted to talk to our friends, we also called them. Now we just read their Facebook status.