The Reason for the season

by Cora Blackburn 11/27/2016

What is the reason for this Christmas season to you? Is it the colorful lights? Is it caroling or going shopping? Is it baking or decorating your tree? Or is it opening presents on Christmas morning? 

We get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of baking, shopping, and caroling, that we forget the true meaning of Christmas. The true meaning of Christmas has little to do with any of these activities. 

Some of our traditions are not entirely related the birth of Jesus. The reason for the season is the birth of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Let me share some Bible verses that can help us remember the joy, hope, love, and faith of the Christmas season.

Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a

son is given; and the government shall be

upon his shoulder, and his name shall be

called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Matthew 1:23, “Behold, the virgin shall

conceive and bear a son, and they shall call

his name Immanuel”; (which means, God

with us)

Luke 1:14, “And you will have joy and

gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.”

The season of Advent, the four weeks before Christmas, is about counting down the days to Christ’s coming. Advent means “coming”. My essay is being shared on the first Sunday of the Advent season which is November 27.

As we count down the days to Christmas, the “presence” of Jesus in your heart is much more important than the “presents” under the tree.

Like Every Good Quest Story

by Josh Greer 11/6/2016

A traveler takes a long journey seeking a distant treasure, all the way trudging through barren wastelands and over mountains. He is guided by

a wise older friend, and they survive attacks and mutiny, overcoming a nearly impossible foe at the end.

A young woman rises from among a downtrodden people to a position of leadership she never asked for, challenging an oppressive ruler and ushering in a period of freedom.

Those tales are The Hobbit and Hunger Games, right? No. These are the stories of Joshua and Esther, actually, from the Bible. You know, that centuries-old book full of stodgy tales and ancient customs? It’s so easy, having read the Bible cover-to-cover and back again, to start to think that it’s just not exciting. That it’s the stories you’ve heard from childhood and what else can it really say?

I’ve been there. I’ve forgotten more Bible verses than most people have ever memorized; I’ve read and reread and reread again. I’ve closed the Bible and thought, “This just isn’t that interesting any more.” Like Bilbo Baggins or Katniss Everdeen, I craved adventure and newness. I wanted to see mountains! My Bible just felt dry, my longing for a quest


Then, as in all good quest stories (seriously, every one.) A mentor came along side me and challenged me to see things a new way—to see the Bible as a treasure trove of stories I don’t know, rather than a collection of books I know too well. He pointed to a new mountain—an Old Testament book that I’d probably not read in years, but one that told of conquest, of starting anew, of a people on the brink of destruction being saved, of swords and walls, so many walls.

Maybe you’ve never been there. Maybe you read your Bible, well, religiously, and every day it challenges you and you see passages anew. If it weren’t a sin, I’d envy you. God has blessed your diligence and you’ve been faithful. But maybe you have been there. Maybe you’ve felt, as I did, that you’d seen it all and there was nothing left to learn. This challenge is for you. Open up that Bible and thumb to the table of contents. I promise you, somewhere in those 66 books your adventure awaits. What have you not read in years? What have you skimmed every time? Where is your treasure trove just waiting to be discovered? It’s in there, I promise. Maybe you need a mentor as well—someone to challenge you to see things differently and try something new.

Take a journey into those forgotten pages, the minor prophets, the Psalms that don’t make the greeting cards, and the New Testament books not written by household names. After all, not all who wander are lost.