2020 A.D.

2020 A.D.

Today is January 1st, Anno Dominus noster est, or in the Year of our Lord. The Google screen above is perfect for today. All it needs is an fx-Atmos flying by! Jetson_fxAtmos

But hey! we have the Jetson’s TV! JetsonTV

The New Year is traditionally a time to start fresh, get off the sofa and exercise. Or, according to one survey of the top 5 New Year’s resolutions:

Learn a new skill or hobby (26 percent)
Quit smoking (21 percent)
Read more (17 percent)
Find another job (16 percent)
Drink less alcohol (15 percent)
Spend more time with family and friends (13 percent)

At the top of my list is something I was taught as a grade-school-er. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Or, as Paul the Apostle put it in 1 Corinthians 10:23:

“I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.”

What Paul is talking about is his conviction that eating meat offered to an idol, is meaningless, because the idol is a block of wood or stone, a representation of a god that doesn’t exist. But if he mouths off to the other person, what has he gained? He’s made himself look righteous, pompous, pure in his own eyes. But in the life of the other person, he’s a combatant, a jerk, a deplorable.

Jesus went right to the core of the problem. He is quoted in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew using this example:

Luke 6:41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

Matthew 7:5 “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

So I am calling this my year of PEACE. Starting with my mouth, when opening or closing, handle with care. Like a bottle of carbonated beverage, if it’s been shaken, keep the lid on until it settles down!

A prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.

“O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” Amen.

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

Well, it’s THAT TIME of year: THAT TIME when everything goes crazy. In addition to our already crazy lives, we add:

  •             buying a perfect gift for everyone close to us (and even some not so close),
  •             creating the perfect home setting for friends to come visit,
  •             fixing the ultimate holiday dinner,
  •             sending well—wishes to those who cannot partake in the first three,
  •             and in addition, attending school plays, work parties and festive gatherings.

Phew! I am usually very glad to usher in the New Year; if only to get away from the old one!

The holiday I celebrate at this time of year is Christmas. I used to be offended when someone would say “Happy Holidays”. “Wait a minute”, I would think, “Christmas is the holiday of the season! Don’t mess with my holiday!”

Well, since I am a Christian, I feel like I have to stick up for Jesus! I have to defend Him from those who would take away His season. Right…….me defend God. What would happen if I took a deep breath…….inhale the Holy Spirit……and exhale my selfishness. Bill Bright taught me this exercise in one of his writings many years ago. Christians believe that when you tell God you are sorry for your wrong actions (sin) and ask forgiveness, He sends the Holy Spirit to live in your spirit. He doesn’t control you…….God is too big a gentlemen to do that. He guides you, if you let Him. It is like having your own ‘App’ that you can check to remind you what is the correct path to take.

So I take a deep breath and check my ‘Holy Spirit App’, and He says ‘Ask them what holiday they celebrate?’ Now, instead of confrontation and grumpiness, you have a conversation, in peace.

Really, historically speaking, Christmas was not here first. Christmas was probably a Christian morph of the holiday honoring Saturn, a Roman god. Hanukkah also had earlier roots, coming from the celebration of the victory of the Maccabees (or Israelites) over the Greek-Syrian ruler, Antiochus about 2200 years ago.

And Jesus came to us, to show us a better way. So, ask a question, lay aside your own interests, and engage a fellow traveller. Isn’t that what Jesus would do? You may find you have common ground. You may get a chance to tell how Jesus came to earth to bring peace to us, our families, our world. Maybe by laying down your sword, you become someone that is perceived as safe. Not everyone is joyous during the holiday season. Some people struggle with depression, financial issues or loss that holidays only accentuate.

Jesus can turn a sinner into a saint. We have all heard this before. Let it begin with us: deep breath in……………and out. “Jesus, without YOU we can do nothing of true value. We alone cannot heal the broken-hearted, heal sick people, set our friends free from addictions. But, with YOU we can. Let us be the person you use to love one of your friends this Holiday Season!”