Cynthia Ruchti: Christmas and God’s Restoring Love
Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, And sustain me with a willing spirit.
We celebrate Christmas because God came to earth as a baby to die for our sins. That’s a pretty huge event, very worth celebrating.For many people, it’s a painful time. You may have sustained a loss during the year or miss someone who died years ago. We don’t often think about Christmas and restoration in the same sentence, but my guest, Cynthia Ruchti wrote a book, Restoring Christmas. What an interesting concept! I looked up the word restore and found it occurred about seventy times. (depending on your translation, that may vary.)
After giving the matter some thought, I agree with Cynthia. Jesus came to earth to be our redeemer. He came to pay the price for our sins so we can have restored fellowship with God. But what about all those other hurts we experience? Cynthia shares her heart on heartache during Christmas.
1:45 Share the basic story of the book
5:35 Did any event in your life prompt this story?
12:10 Talk about restoration for those hurting places.
19:50 Jesus is close to the broken-hearted. Share with people who may be there this year.
21:25 What about folks who are stumbling through Christmas with sadness or depression?
[tweetthis]I can’t unravel, I’m hemmed in hope[/tweetthis]
[tweetthis]Christmas is all about God’s love[/tweetthis]
Have you ever looked up the phrase Christmas rush? I just did that. I saw pictures of people buried in lights that didn’t work, or under a pile of packages. One picture had Santa Claus pointing to a clock. Another showed a distressed lady surrounded by piles of bows and ribbons. The one I liked the best was shoppers pushing carts heaped with gifts. One lady in the foreground is trying to hold a package in place as she hurried to the register. Shopping can be a huge distraction for me this time of year. After all, we are celebrating the birth of Christ. Right after Jesus arrival here as a baby, God saw fit to send an angel chorus to earth to sing:
Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Without a doubt, this his message of peace was pretty important. God didn’t send angel choruses often in history. He was announcing hope for our broken world, yet sometimes I get forget and still get caught up in the craziness of the holiday. How can we keep our focus and not get obliterated by the holiday?
Author Linda Gilden shares thoughts from her newest book and meditations from her newest book, Words to Live By.
Karen Whiting: Christmas Advent – Teach Kids While They Wait
As a child, Christmas was a magical time for me. I loved the lights, the color, the carols, the excitement. I have lots of fond memories. At our church, combined choirs would do parts of Messiah every year. What a feast for the senses! Mother always made us wait for a tree because she liked real trees, and she worried about the tree drying out. It seemed like we were always the last to get a tree, but the big day would always arrive. Once the tree was up, she’d let us decorate. She’d hand us icicles, which were long, thin and shiny. She expected us to hang the icicles one by one one. I found it much more exciting to toss them on the tree. They always landed in interesting shapes which reflected the lights so nicely. However, I can remember how Christmas took forever to arrive. I remember talking about the eve of the eve of Christmas Eve, and then the eve of Christmas Eve.
The Christmas 2016 has arrived. The baby in the manger can easily be overlooked in our digital world. Parents must work to keep the focus on the true meaning of Christmas rather than the commercials and ads that catch the children’s attention. What a challenge! While we are busy preparing for the holiday, our children may grow restless since time passes slowly for them. Karen Whiting has written a book called Christmas is Coming, but Waiting is Hard. She has lots of ideas to share.
1:25 What are some activities that can help kids focus while they wait?
2:55 Do you cover the history of Christmas?
4:15 Share some traditions of the past and their meanings.
5:10 What is the peace candle?
7:01 What does red have to do with Christmas?
7:30 How about green?
8:00 What about the Christmas stocking?
9:15 How can you keep the new gadget or toy from becoming the focus of Christmas?
Surely everyone would want to be released from bondage. Right? You can be a bondage breaker.
There’s an interesting story told in the OT about that.
Theologians dubbed Jeremiah the weeping prophet. He had to deliver bad news and was often despondent. The spiritual failures of his nation tormented him because God had revealed his plan. Bondage. Jeremiah didn’t want his job, but the heartrending message burned inside him. He worked hard delivering God’s decrees, even employing creative imagery. His fellow citizens, however, preferred the soothing messages of the false prophets. Despite Jeremiah’s concern, his people plotted against him and threw him into prison. What a burden he carried.
Jeremiah had prophesied an upcoming invasion. And As he predicted, in 605 B.C. the Babylonians attacked and carried away the first captives. Daniel another prophet in the Old Testament was in that group. King Nebuchadnezzar deposed the King Jehoiachin who reigned in Jerusalem and placed Zedekiah, a man Nebuchadnezzar thought he could control.
Now, I don’t know about you, but after that incident, I like to think I would have listened to Jeremiah. He was correct. But most of the people continued living exactly the same way. Ignoring the alarm. After that event, Jeremiah predicted the fall of Jerusalem
I find it so interesting that King Zedekiah called Jeremiah to the palace and asked him what to do. Jeremiah told the king he would live if he gave himself up to the King of Babylon. The king refused and suffered the fated Jeremiah predicted.
I can relate to this story. I want our nation to turn back to God and avoid the judgment that will come. I want to be a bondage breaker.
Singer and song writer, Dennis Jernigan is my guest today. He’s written a book and completed a video series called, Stand in Love. It’s for churches and others who want to break their bondage.
The holidays are approaching fast, and it’s such a busy time. Many of us will see relatives we love and a few relatives we don’t like. For some of us, Thanksgiving and Christmas bring stress as we consider interacting with that difficult person. Today we’re here to offer some thoughts to make those times easier.
I remember what Paul said in Romans. He advised us strongly to make our bodies a living sacrifice. I don’t know if you’ve noticed the change in language these days. But you’ll hear people talk about freedom of worship rather than freedom of religion. I think that’s deliberate. People who don’t understand our faith assume everything happens inside a church, but it doesn’t. A living sacrifice doesn’t crawl off the altar. In fact, that phrase is an oxymoron. That’s like saying that’s a hot ice cube. The word sacrifice entailed death. In our case, however, we are to live all the time through Christ as if the old nature is dead. That’s or service of worship. In that same passage in Romans Paul says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Hebrews 12:14) What a huge assignment, especially with the history we bring to our families.
Today we have Counselor Judy Herman to share ideas about demonstrating God’s love to those hardest to enjoy.