The Inflatable Christmas

by Tom Norvell, heartlight.org
 

One of the holiday decorations that has literally popped up on the lawns of neighborhoods throughout our community, and I suspect around the nation, is the inflatable. These inflatables declare with unmistakable fashion the coming of Christmas. In close proximity of our home, one can see an inflatable Santa, an inflated Rudolph, an inflatable Frosty the Snowman that stands fifteen feet tall and bounces in the breeze, and an inflated Merry Mickey Christmas. Some of these decorations have lights and some do not. Some even have fake snow falling and swirling. On one lawn, a passerby can see Joseph, Mary, the baby Jesus and at least one of the Magi safely enclosed in a colorful plastic bubble that lights up at night.

 

It’s inflatable Christmas. Hmmm. An interesting concept. The inflatable Christmas is full of air. There is not much to it, at least not much of substance. It’s decorative and is totally dependent upon air to make it appear as anything more than a piece of trash on the lawn. Pull the plug, and these inflatables collapse. The inflatable Christmas is for show. Drive through these neighborhoods in the daylight hours and these same displays usually lay flat and lifeless on the ground. Empty. Deflated.


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Thanksgiving

by Phil Ware, Heartlight.org
 
Wilbur was a sweet man with a serious countenance — those who didn’t know him would call him dour or crusty. But, his heart was good and generous and kind. His young grandson, who was four or five at the time, came to stay with his grandparents for a week. On weekdays, they had the typical southern breakfast — eggs, bacon, toast, orange juice, and coffee. On Saturday, however, Wilbur and Willie Maude usually had cereal and coffee or juice. They sat down at the breakfast table and Wilbur asked his young grandson to say the blessing. The little guy hesitated for a minute, and then prayed, “Dear God, we thank you for this breakfast … even though it’s small. In Jesus’ name. Amen.” Wilbur cracked up with laughter.

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Discipleship Demands Self-Denial

by Mike Riley
 
Matthew 16:24, Then said Jesus unto his disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
 
Thus, discipleship demands self-denial. That means putting God above emotions when we must choose between God and family. It means putting God before self when we really want to do something that God forbids. Self-denial means willingly obeying a command of God though we do not see why it should be necessary. In this sense, self-denial is human sacrifice. It is self-offered to God on the altar of unconditional obedience. Regarding this idea, Paul emphatically stated: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.” (Rom 12:1, NIV)

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