Christmas – What Charlie Brown and Linus Got Right – Luke 2:8-14

In the classic TV special, A Charlie Brown’s Christmas, Linus responds to Charlie’s display of holiday stress by reciting from the book of Luke. This year the same verses hit home for me, too. (Thank you, Linus!)

With Shaia, my youngest grandniece

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!”

Luke 2:8-14 KJV

As a follower of Jesus for many years, I’ve encountered many interpretations, traditions and opinions related to how Christian holidays should or should not be practiced. And now, with so much of what we hear and read in the news about divisions between people, it’s easy, sadly, to separate ourselves in our celebrating as well.

But when I read the verses Linus quotes, my distress about our world is relieved like it was for his friend. For one thing, I’m reminded that God sent his messenger to declare the news to humanity that the time had come for our salvation.

Secondly, he brought good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.

Did you catch that?

God sent good news and joy for all people. There are no qualifiers. No one is excluded. No us versus them.

The apostle Paul wrote, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15 ESV). We have all done wrong. We all need salvation.

My response to this, the best news I’ve ever heard, is Hallelujah, Glory to God and Merry Christmas, everyone!

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

The Believer’s Welcome in Heaven – Genesis 49:33

While watching a reality show with my husband, one of the contestants gave me a glimpse of what our entry into heaven might be like.

As he gripped his walking stick and described his struggles with hunger and weight loss, a woman approached from behind. She was there to congratulate him for being the final contestant in that season of Alone.

He’d been away from his family for weeks, and he looked worn and thin and spent. But that was a stark contrast to the brightness in his appearance moments later as he realized his wife stood by his side.

I won’t tell you which season of Alone I’m describing, in case you haven’t watched it yet, but as he encircled her in his arms and absorbed the reality of her presence, he said,

“You’re here!”

With a smile on her face, she searched his eyes and announced, “You won!” But it was like he didn’t hear her.

When interviewed later, the contestant said he didn’t process the fact he’d won the competition until hours later. It seems winning wasn’t important in those first moments with the woman he loved. Though enduring the separation and starvation to provide for his family, the prize money clearly wasn’t what his soul had hungered for.

And though the wilderness was rich with beauty and adventure, the one he loved and endured the hardships for was miles away. He struggled with his longing for her.

When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people.”

Genesis 49:33 ESV

Can you imagine what it will be like when we leave this life as we know it, and really see God? Will we be “gathered” by the ones we love, like the Alone contestant was?

I like imagining that I am, like Jacob, being gathered with my loved ones after finishing my earthly business, tucking my feet under my blanket, and arriving at my true home.

And I tell you [learn from this], make friends for yourselves [for eternity] . . . so . . .they will welcome you into the eternal dwellings.”

Luke 16:9 AMP

I hope I never forget the look on the young man’s face when he turned and saw his wife. It showed a mixture of sorrow that he’d gone so long without her, and relief that he could now fully enjoy being with her. His ordeal was over.

In 2019, when my mother was days away from taking her final breath, she awoke and remarked, “Oh, I’m still here.” She seemed sincerely disappointed.

Can you imagine her relief when she finally did wake up to find herself gathered to people who were probably shouting,

“You’re here!”

I definitely want to see a replay of that scene.

Kathy Sheldon Davis

The Message That Wasn’t From God – Lamentations 3:22-23

My heart was warmed when I read the Verse of the Day in my inbox, a personal message from God. At least, that’s what I thought it was.

“All the saints greet you.”

2 Corinthians 13:13 ESV

How sweet that God arranged that particular scripture to come to my inbox the day after my birthday. I’d been responding to greetings from people far and wide, thanking them for visiting, sending texts or leaving messages on social media. So the verse was true—many saints were greeting me.

Then it hit me, or I guess you could say, wisdom kicked in. Come on, Kathy, anyone on the internet can see it’s your special day. My emotions slumped. The verse may not have been sent directly by God after all.

I wanted to gripe, but the truth is, I am a blessed woman. And there really are non-auto-generated communications that come my way from friendly people most every day.

But even if they didn’t, God’s mercy greets me without fail every. single. morning.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV

So yes, there is a good reason for me to feel loved. Because God’s mercy is extended toward me, I’m not consumed by anything in this world, including my sin. Thank you, Jesus!

So, whether or not “all the saints” acknowledge me, I can proceed with my birthday dance of thanksgiving. Great is his faithfulness!

Kathy Sheldon Davis

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