22 12 2020


For all the things I am not, the one trait that I do have is God gave me lots of volume when it comes to projecting my voice. When there have been no microphones available, I have been called upon to do what I do best and that is being loud. There are days that I can preach in Cape May Court House and still be heard in Rio Grande. When it comes to talking about Jesus, I want to never be ashamed of saying it loud and living it proud. God boldly has declared His love for us, how can we not be vocal when it comes to proclaiming our faith in Him?

Speaking of making sure that your voice is heard, I read this week about two little boys who were spending the night at their grandmother the week before Christmas. After their grandmother saw them off to bed, she proceeded to head to her room to go to sleep but before she did, she made sure that she reminded her grandsons to say their prayers. The younger boy spoke first and shouted his prayer in a loud voice: “Dear God, I want a bicycle for Christmas! Amen!” His older brother said, “Why are you yelling? God’s not deaf.” “No,” the younger sibling replied, “but Grandma is!” When in doubt if God is listening, make sure Grandma does!

Do you know we get one of our most familiar sayings from those who yelled in the night? “Ten O’clock and All is Well,” is a phrase that was proclaimed so all could hear it at all hours. It was not necessary to do so in the daytime because with the light, everyone could see what was going on. In the wee small hours of the morning, all ears were attentive to the words of the sentry on duty. It all started during the Civil War when the prison camp guards were required to call out through the night their post and the hour and assure anyone listening, no need to get up as things are holding steady. “All is Well,” did not mean the War was over. “All is Well,” didn’t mean things were safe and sound. “All is Well,” was just a reminder that in the midst of the battle, there was no change that would cause one to retreat!

If I were to ask you how 2020 has been for you, not too many would boldly shout, “2020 and All is Well!” This year has brought us a pandemic that has caused much panic. Fear has replaced faith in far too many places. Terror has kept many a believer from trusting the Lord. The craziness of politics has divided even family and friends! Social media has been toxic. Churches have been online, outside and off balance. But God has never lost control. His Light has never gone out. And as much as darkness has been a nuisance, it can’t dispel the power of the Presence of our Savior.

Light’s nature is to shine and by doing so it does eliminate the darkness. Darkness doesn’t have even the slightest chance to intimidate the Light! Christmas activities might be postponed this year but the power of the Season itself cannot be cancelled because the Savior from Heaven is invincible. Light still shines in the darkness! The Word became flesh and invaded the brokenness of Bethlehem and gave hope to where the spirit of despair had gotten way too comfortable. The same One who shouted, “Let there be light,” in Genesis still commands the stage today in New Jersey! Christians can say with confidence, “All is Well,” because He who lights us up on the inside is greater than anything life can throw at us from the outside! All is well because nothing can extinguish a fire that the Holy Spirit has ignited.

If I could change anything about the way we do Christmas as Christians is the way we picture the Nativity. Mary looks way too polished for a young girl who just had a baby. Joseph appears far to chill to represent a man who had to play midwife because nobody else was there to care for his wife. Jesus looks like he has the disposition of an elite diplomat and not like someone who has just survived the trip down a birth canal. Mary was beside herself. Joseph was in over his head. Jesus cried like any other ordinary baby. But Peace came to earth and Hope became personified. As long as Jesus was here with us, we finally had a chance that our story would not end in defeat! The same Jesus that inhabited that manger is now available to any heart that would give Him room! And this is what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown!

God didn’t avoid the mess, He was born in the midst of it. The realism of Bethlehem included unnamed shepherds who were the outcasts of society and didn’t have time to take a bath before their visit to see the King! Nobody could get their act together because only the Birthday Boy could give us the transformation that was necessary to free us from the treadmill of religion. There are 365 “Fear Nots” mentioned in the Bible. One for each and every day of the year. Our faith will become stronger than our fear. Our terror will be turned into trust. And even though there are so many things still wrong with our world this Christmas, Jesus is the guarantee of all that is right.

The other day, my kids and grandkids were coming over to make gingerbread houses. It had all the makings of the latest Hallmark Christmas Movie. These movies model for us the Holiday we all hope to experience. The ones where you can live in the heart of Phoenix, Arizona and still have it snow on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, my life is nothing like that. I’ve seen too many rainy Cape May County December 24th’s to know that life doesn’t imitate art. Back to the family gathering at my house. Right before everyone arrived, our septic tank backed up. When is the last time you have seen that on television? Everyone came. We all made memories. Love was expressed and shared. All of that still occurred even though the sewer system tried to sour the moment.

Merry Christmas 2020 and despite what the news might tell you, all is well for those who believe! God has never promised that living in this place would be trouble free. We will get sick. Things will break. Even our hearts may be hammered a time or two. But God has promised us that we have nothing to fear because He is here with us. If I am not alone then all is well and neither are you. Nothing came easy the first Christmas. What makes us think that it will come easy this year? But as long as Jesus has come to earth, the Light shines and we can follow its glow right into the lap of God! 



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