“The Big Blue Cross”

If you want to print out a great teaching on the birth of Jesus, visit our website: www.throneofgraceministries.com navigate to the teaching page and select “The Real Christmas Story”. I am really proud of that piece. If you like that one, also print out and read, “A Mary Christmas”, it is a humdinger too. The Holy Spirit used my fingers to type both of those.

This years Christmas writing is different from both of those teachings and the Holy Spirit has taken control of my fingers again. It is a very good thing.

So here my friends, as a gift to us from Daddy God in the person of the Holy Spirit is “The Big Blue Cross”.

At the risk of offending all of the white light folk out there, I prefer colored lights. It’s just my thing. Primary colors make me happy. I went into nirvana the first time I laid hands on a box of crayons. Red, green, yellow, blue colors light me up. I am sure that those of you who decorate with white lights feel the same way about your colorless lights.

My neighbors light it up at Christmas time. This year five of my neighbors went heavy white/clear lights with red sprinkled in. four other neighbors went colored lights. Exterior illumination gets a little exotic in my hood. We have a brand new (one month) neighbor who didn’t know and just has a small tree in his bay window with white lights. He is surrounded; by a sea of twinkling, pulsating, nodding, and flashing luminescence.

Over the last years, there has been an almost amazing multiplication of white light reindeer in our neighborhood. It is almost natural, like rabbits. My next-door neighbor started out with one little scraggly reindeer a couple of years ago. Now she has a full- blown heard of them. Every yard around me, except for the poor new guy’s, looks like an incandescent zoo.

Mr. P. has, a three-year old, grandson, who now lives with him. I guess, to make the little boy happy, he has purchased a gaggle of light up deer. The strange twist is that: Mr. P. has never seen a deer that he didn’t personally and joyously, dispatch with extreme prejudice. The man has several horned heads staring wistfully at him at every meal. A bit of a canard we think.

Mrs. J, has an equally absurd scenario. A few years back an ice storm caused a minor incident in which a tree limb fell on her roof. It was a small limb. It only knocked a few shingles off the roof. Apparently however, the racket it caused, scared the slop out of the dear old lady. The very next day, two tree companies were giddily taking down every tree (thirty) on the ladies property. Not only so, she frightened five, other women, into doing the same thing. I remember the day that will live in infamy so clearly, the din of chain saws and laughing tree removers was deafening. The neighborhood smelled like pine sap for three years. Now to my utter amazement dear: Mrs. J, and her immediate neighbor who led the assault on the trees, have decorated their bare lawns with no less than ten store bought white light Christmas tree looking things.

Another strange anomaly this season is the blow up snow globe like things. They are filled with all nature of characters from old Saint Nick to penguins. Teenagers absolutely love these things. What to do on a dark boring night? I have never seen one that lasted a week.

So, surrounded by all of the confusing messages transmitted in my neighbor’s eclectic menageries am I. What I ask; has any of this to do with Jesus?

Clearly, Jesus is not the reason for the season. It would be very nice if He were. But think about it. How much time and attention do we really give our King during the “Holiday Season”?

The other day I found myself in a maddening rush through an indoor insane asylum, the mall. I was in full blown competitive, aggressive, three point stance, steam coming out of the ears, combative, defensive mania, over buying the perfect gift at the huge sale price. If a Psychiatrist had seen me, I would be in a rubber room with an I.V. drip of Valium. Not a month ago I was absolutely flabbergasted that a man was trampled to death at Wal-Mart on “black Friday”. Here I was in the same mode. It was very psychotic and frightening.

Allow me to present to you more of my less than Christ like thinking. Somewhere along the way, I began to build delusional expectations for Christmas. They have, like the white light reindeer, multiplied over the years. Now, here are the minimal requirements for me to have a “happy Christmas”: The bills must all be paid current.

It must snow.
The family must behave as I wish them to.
There can be no disorder.
Noise must be kept to a minimum.
Happiness by everyone is mandatory.
The house must be in perfect order.
No messiness of any kind is permissible.
At all times and under any and all circumstances, when in doubt, refer to the nearest Currier and Ives, Norman Rockwell or Thomas Kincaid painting and duplicate the scene immediately.
There must be macadamia nut cookies and hot chocolate on Christmas Eve. Ignore the fact that I don’t drink hot chocolate or eat cookies (when anyone is watching)
I must have the aisle seat in the pew at the candle light service.
The pew must be sparsely populated, and good air- flow, is required.
I must not be expected or required to participate in morning activities on Christmas day, as this time is reserved for the much ballyhooed “long winter’s nap”.
I must not be inconvenienced in anyway by pre-meal chores, related to transporting or preparing dishes to be shared at the family meal. To be specific, carrying and loading, dressing pans and casserole dishes into the family vehicle, and to and from the place to which they are being transported.
I require that casserole dishes be muted in some way if they are to be chauffeured by me.
Since I refuse any participation in the menu, I have no real right to complain about it, as long as Turkey, dressing (no sage, onions or celery please) Pecan and or Apple pie; are present in sufficient quantity.
An uninterrupted turkey (triptafan) induced post- prandial nap is not negotiable.
Untrained and ill-mannered yapping miniature French poodles, must be fed to a nearby alligator. (Please do not infer that I am referring to my Sister in law’s five dogs.)
You get the picture. If any one or more of these mandates go unfulfilled, I will not have a happy Christmas. Where do these false expectations come from?

Does any of this sound familiar?


Almost forgot the whole Santa thing. There is a piece of work. Let’s see, how opposite of Jesus can we get? Santa is going to find out whose naughty or nice, he is making a list and checking it not once, but twice. He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you are awake, so you better be good for goodness sakes, or you are getting a lump of coal. Great, let’s put that whopper lie on our children, so they grow up thinking God is like that too. Jesus is about grace and mercy and unconditional giving. But let’s not let truth mingle with a good lie. Now please don’t be offended if you do the Santa thing. I did without much thought, with my kids.

Jesus? Oh yeah, Him, well we will sing a few little ditties and listen to the manger story and watch our watches while we wait on the cookies, or in some cases the adult beverages. Light a candle. Try not to drip the wax. I’m in. ” Did you see me at church Jesus? Oh yeah, I was the one in the aisle seat.” “What’s that?” “You did?” “You heard me dog cussing the traffic on the way to church and the crowd at church?” “What’s that Lord?” “You heard me fussing at sweet T for being late leaving?” “You did?” “You say you heard my thoughts about the big haired lady in front of me?” Woops!

I am just thinking with my fingers here, this is about my berserk behavior. Not yours. Please do not be offended. But, this year, can we make a conscious effort to see that Jesus is not the reason for the season? But, what if He were? What if one heart at a time, one home at a time, we determined to live and love for Jesus? What if we chose one household at a time to teach our children the truth of Jesus as joyfully and passionately as we do the Santa lie? What if we took them to see Jesus instead of at a mall, from the love in our hearts for Him?

Imagine that it is Jesus’ birthday. You have a cake prepared and balloons (in your heart), try to focus on what you would give our Lover, Brother, Lord, King, Master and Friend if you wanted to give Him a special, best ever, birthday present? What will be your gift to Jesus this year? What will you give him? How about a nice decision to believe Him and His Words beyond the shadow of a doubt?

Or, what about a choice to live in this present moment, with joyful expectation of the things you can’t see, but that He promised and guaranteed?

How about when you take Christmas communion, consciously deciding to eat His flesh, by believing His Words, and believing when you drink the wine that it is symbolic of His guaranteeing every word that He said with His blood?

How about a sincere promise to fall madly in love with the God who died on the cross to demonstrate His love for us while we were yet sinners?

How about promising Him to never forget those less fortunate than we are?

Will you wrap up a beautiful gift for the one who gave us every thing? I went coo-coo trying to get the perfect gift for a human. What if I loved the Lord enough to as passionately search for the perfect gift for him?

Having trouble thinking of the gift? Here is a little gift guide from Jesus. Try to imagine a gift equal or similar to this one of many that Jesus gave us.

” Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater than these shall he do because I go to my Father. And whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.”
(John 14:12-14)

Oh Yes, “The Big Blue Cross”! So, in my yard instead of a variety of reindeer and weird looking trees and blowup things, I have a cross. It is four feet tall and three feet wide. My Sister in-law gave it to me. So I guess I can forsake feeding her dogs to an alligator. I wrapped it in blue lights. It knocks me out. It is to remind myself, and my dearly loved neighbors, including the new guy; that Christmas just might, one day, really, be about Jesus.

Pastor Allen,

I pray that this message has blessed you. If you have been blessed: please, pass it to another, who will also, be blessed.

Write me at Throne of Grace Ministries, P.O.BOX 669153 Marietta, Georgia 30066 or at the website above.

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