Merriest Christmas to You All!


‘The people walking in darkness have seen a great light….for to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing it and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.’

(Verses from Isaiah 9)

Where Are You, Baby Jesus?

photoTime to unpack the Christmas boxes

And ready the house for all to see.

Ornaments, garland, gingerbread houses,

And we can’t forget the flocked tree!

Untangling the lights is quite a chore

And removing the Snow Village with care,

How shall I decorate the mantle this year,

Will I have time to mend the tree skirt tear?

Now where is Baby Jesus?

Is He at the bottom of the tinsel pile?photo

Cookie exchanges and cards to address,

It’s time to prop my feet up for awhile!

Burnt appetizers, crumpled gift bags

From the previous holiday season,

Santa’s beard is a mess, the parking lot is full,

Have I forgotten the true Christmas reason?

Now where is that God-Child?

I began searching with all my might.

photoDid I drop Him in the mistletoe

When I was hanging the wreath last night?

Broken angel wings, chipped China dishes,

The snowflake tablecloth has a crease.

Oh, how I need to find that pristine

And heavenly Prince of Peace!

Hours upon hours of gift-wrapping,

The Butterfinger bells have all but disappeared.

The fire is crackling, the coffee is brewing,

Then I heard a “smash!” from the tree- was it what I feared?

A broken baby Jesus, “Oh no!”

I could only sigh and stare.

I tenderly held the pieces of Him in my hands,

And thought about my sins He did bare.

Distractions, bad attitudes,

Anger, lust, envy and pride;

Vanity, hate, materialism and guilt,

Ridding my heart of these things, I had tried.

The appearance of true beauty Is not what first appealed,

Jesus-in-mangerBut the brokenness of Jesus’ body Is how His divine glory was revealed!

He was pierced for my transgressions,

He was crushed for my iniquity;

He chose to take my punishment Upon that ancient tree.

His love is everlasting,

In Him my spirit is sealed;

When I chose to bend my knees and confess,

By His wounds I was now healed!

Forgiveness and eternal life He has given me,

From His shattered body He’s made me new;

How beautiful the salvation gift,

He has offered to me and you!

kinkade_nativity1As I held the broken Jesus in my palm,

I thanked Him for many things;

But especially that the One who loves me,

Will be returning as the King of Kings!

– Lisa Epperson

Hanukkah: Preparing the Way to Christmas!

hanukkahWell, the eighth day of lighting the Hanukkiah was tonight. What a rich time of learning it has been! I think that it’s amazing that Hanukkah proceeds Christmas on our calendars, just as it did more than 2,000 years ago! See, the rededication of the Temple had to occur BEFORE  Jesus, the Lord of the Temple, entered the world and came to us! In a sense, Hanukkah helped prepare the way for that first Christmas, the time we celebrate the birth of our King!

And just as the physical Temple first needed to be cleansed and rededicated, our body (the new temple of God) also needs to be cleansed from sin and rededicated to God.

I Corinthians 6:19

‘Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? ‘

The parable of the 10 Virgins is a great lesson for how we are (and are not) to live…

Matthew 25:1-13

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

First of all, the message teaches us to not be just an ‘outwardly professing’ Christian (represented by the five foolish virgins who ran out of time to get more oil).

In Matthew 15:8-9, Jesus says,

‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.”

Then in the book of Titus, it says,

They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed. (Titus 1:16)

The limited supply of oil may appear to get them through this life, but their light will eventually go out upon death. And if they don’t prepare ahead of time, they will miss out for all eternity! The door to eternal life with the King of Kings will permanently be closed.

Secondly, we are, in contrast, to be like the five wise virgins who brought enough oil with them to make their way through the dark and dangerous journey.  This is one who is a true believer inwardly. One that is born-again and saved by faith through grace; is forgiven of sin; has experienced true repentance; lives obediently (this doesn’t mean perfectly); praises and worships the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ; and desires the Bridegroom’s Return!

The third lesson we learn from the 10 Virgins parable is that we are to remember to keep our wicks trimmed so that our light (good deeds) shines brightly to illuminate the love of Christ in the darkness of this world until the day of His Great Return!

Matthew 5:14-15

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

(Isaiah 9:1-3, 6)

‘The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest,…For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders. 
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your One and Only Son, Jesus, to us that wondrous day. Your Bride eagerly awaits your next visit to come bring us home!

Know Jesus and Make Him Known during this joyful season of holidays! Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!


For more information about Hanukkah, please check out these articles: