Love Not Hate- Christmas Eve

cardinals, goldfinch, bluebird, nuthatch, chickadee:
art credit: James Hautman

History of the birds:

Love, Not Hate: Part 1

Love, Not Hate: Part Two

Love, Not Hate: Christmas Eve

Love, Not Hate: A New Chapter

Love, Not Hate: A New World

Love, Not Hate: The Division

Love, Not Hate: The Reconciliation

Love, Not Hate: Tragedy At Mandalay Bay

Love, Not Hate: Continue To Love

Love Not Hate: Love On Trial

Love Not Hate- Trick or Treat, Halloween Night

 

It was Christmas Eve all through the land

All the birds stared in amazement at the Christmas tree so grand

The little birds could barely contain their excitement

The older birds looked on, filled with contentment

The eagle remembered how far they have come

He remembered all the work ALL the birds have done

Which made this day an even more special day

He took his place and said: “Birds, I have something to say”

Want to see one--not at a zoo--SOON!:
photo credit: Paula Krugerud Photography

“I’ll keep it short since tonight the little ones can’t be up late.”

“It has been a long time since we chose to love instead of hate.”

“It was a lot of work to repair our broken relationships.”

“As you all know, it hasn’t always gone to script.”

“We have learned from our mistakes, our experiences.”

“We have learned to work through our differences.”

“We have returned this land to the way it was created.”

“For that reason alone, tonight we ALL should be celebrated!”

“We are gathered here today because of the one who was born.”

“Who also died for us, tattered and torn.”

“As some of us birds are getting older,

We know we can’t carry this land on our shoulders.”

“We must teach the next generation

That love is the only way to rule this nation!”

All the birds started to sing

A beautiful sound that caused a gathering

All the animals from the forest came

The deer, the rabbit, the skunk and others you know by name

They gathered around the Christmas tree

They held hands and all sung with glee

The sound reached near and far

Then humans arrived, by foot and by car

They couldn’t believe their eyes

It was then they started to realize

Everything they thought they knew had to be ruled out

Because right there was a hawk singing with a field mouse

There was a bear beside a deer

There was a sheep standing by a wolf  with no fear

There was a fox right beside a hare

All these beautiful birds were there

They could hardly believe their ears

When the animals said: “There is nothing here to fear!”

“Yes, at one time we were all enemies!”

“We decided to let love rule our hearts until our eyes could see!”

Then the humans held each other’s hands

All the different people across the land

Blacks and whites, Muslim and Christian

All races, all people, could see the animals vision

The eagle then spoke once again:

“One last thing to say my friends.”

“To move forward you must move on from the past!”

“You have to live as last is first and first is last.”

“Let every man, every woman, every boy, every girl

Know what it’s like to have peace in this world!”

“Let ALL our voices join together as we sing Silent Night!”

Then they sang Joy To The World  and We Wish You A Merry Christmas

I can only say it’s all true, as I was there to witness

All the birds of a different color

Helped all the people discover

Instead of fighting they should ALL join hands

Because love is the only way to rule the land

Merry Christmas to ALL and to ALL a love filled night 

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Image result for bible verse on christmas

Let It Be Christmas by Alan Jackson –

Santa’s Wish (Teach The World) by The Tenors –

Better Together by Gaither Vocal Band –

Join With The Angels by Matthew West –

Rest In You Tonight by The Oak Ridge Boys –

Gather Round by Band Of Merrymakers –

The Night Before Christmas by Brandon Heath –

Wish List by 7eventh Time Down –

Silent Night by Pentatonix –

What Christmas Present Will You Give Jesus?

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how many presents under your branches are for me?

How many presents are under the tree for Jesus?  It is his birthday. He is the reason for the season.

What presents can you give to Jesus you wonder?  There are many and I bet you have never thought of them. Maybe some of you are giving Him these presents every day.  Maybe some of you give them one day and take them back the next.

Present one:  trust.  Do you give him all your trust?  Do you trust him even when things are going bad? Do you trust his plans for your life? Do you trust him completely, 100%? If not, maybe this year is the year you give him the present of your trust.

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Present two: your heart. Do you give him your heart?  Does he come first in your heart? What does your heart treasure the most? That new job promotion? Your wife? Your football team?  This season put Jesus first in your heart.

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Present three: love people. Do you truly love others? Do you know your neighbor’s names? Have you forgiven those that have hurt you? Have you reached out to people that may not know about Jesus?  Do you live your life that will lead other people to Jesus? Are you making disciples?

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Present four: family. Is Jesus part of your family? Do you talk to him like you do your spouse or children? Do you share with him your heart? Do other members of your family treat him like he is part of the family?

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Present five: time. How much of your time have you given Jesus today?  Have you set any time out of your busy day to just spend with him?  Five minutes of quiet time with just you and him? Two minutes? One ?

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This post was inspired by a devotional I read that really spoke to me so I wanted to share it with you.

What other gifts can you think of that you can give to Jesus?  Not only on Christmas but every day.

Where’s The Line To See Jesus by Becky Kelley – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OExXItDyWEY&w=560&h=315]

A Gift To You by Kids Worship Childrens Ministry –  [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3iG1gkW9R0&w=560&h=315]

Jesus What Can I Give You by Oceans Edge Music – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIjBK-jD38o&w=560&h=315]

Give It All by We Are Messengers  – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNljt27vZc4&w=560&h=315]

Christmas Must Be Something More by Taylor Swift – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGEbfP3Afbg&w=560&h=315]

Nothing To Give by 7eventh Time Down – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqpH1arHGl4&w=560&h=315]

Little Drummer Boy from the cartoon –    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZvjPCcHI4g&w=560&h=315]

What Is Christmas by Kutless –  [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbHH38d1k3w&w=560&h=315]

Baby Boy by For King and Country – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oV4llLa_2nk&w=560&h=315]

Give by Jason Crabb – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlXajGcSC_s&w=560&h=315]

What God Wants For Christmas by Darius Rucker – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqlH19dhI9Q&w=560&h=315]

Christmas Will Come

Christmas will come

No matter what you’ve done

Whether you believe or not

It doesn’t matter if you forgot

He came to fulfill His obligation

There is no need for negotiation

Many said He wasn’t God, they lied

He was born, He lived, He was crucified

Christmas is about His birth

He came to show us our worth

Born with a silver spoon or born in a slum

Have no doubt Christmas will come


It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor,

Find it in your heart or in a store

If you live in America or Tel Aviv

It doesn’t matter what you believe

If you have or haven’t heard of Him

Whether your light is bright or dim

Santa Claus is not the reason

That we celebrate this season

If you can buy ten gifts or none

Have no doubt,  Christmas will come


A long time ago on a cold December morn

A beautiful, wonderful baby boy was born

To save this world of our sin

And that death would not win

Many years after His manger birth

He taught of ways not of this earth

To get to Heaven He is the only way

He forgives the times we sinned today

With the pounding of a drum

Have no doubt, Christmas will come


When we are down, our spirits He will lift

In all our wants we only need one gift

That was given to us free of charge

The cost of His death for me was too large

For me to live, this gift I must accept

I will live for Him, I will never forget

With the softness of a hum

Have no doubt, Christmas will come


Lights, trees, ornaments, presents

Christmas coming did not represent

Love came down, a star shined bright

Darkness was overtaken by His light

It doesn’t matter where you’re from

My dear friends, Christmas will come


Do you believe?

Do you deceive?

Some may try to stop it or delay

But you can’t stop His birthday

No matter how far away you run

Jesus Christ is here, He did come

It doesn’t matter what you’ve done

Have no doubt, Christmas did come

Christ Is Come by Jeremy Camp – 

Christmas Is Coming by Jason Gray – 

All Things Collide by Brad & Rebekah – 

You’re Here by Francesca Battistelli – 

Even So Come by Kristian Stanfill – 

The King Is Coming by Newsboys – 

That Day Is Coming by The Collingsworth Family – 

Come Lord Jesus by Dustin Kensrue – 

For All The World by Phillips, Craig and Dean – 

Yes, Kylie, There Is A God

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Dear editor:

I am 14 years old and a freshman in high school. I grew up in the church and believed in God, but now, I am not so sure. I see what is going on in this world, this country, and my hometown and I have to wonder if there is a God, where is he? I have friends whose parents both work full-time jobs and just barely have food on the table. She told me yesterday that they couldn’t even afford a single Christmas present this year. I see people starving not only all over the world but right here in my town. I read about human trafficking and people doing opioids to escape their pain.

I see people in my school that are so stressed out and have such low self-esteem that they hurt themselves or do whatever it takes to be liked. I see Instagram and Snapchat pictures of smiles on their faces but I look in their eyes and see nothing but hurt. I know I am loved, but there are so many people my age who do not feel loved or do not know who they are.

I have friends I  go to church and Wildlife and now Younglife with that are having these same issues and are leaving the church or just quit believing. I want to believe there is a God, I want to believe there is hope and love in this world, but I am struggling.

Mr. editor, I am 14 years old, I should not have to worry if today is the day I go to school and someone will shoot me and my friends.

So, is there a God and if so, where is he?

Dear Kylie,

First, thank you for your letter. I want you to know that you are not alone in feeling this way. It does not matter if you are four or fourteen or forty-four, we are all frustrated with the world we live in.

I am not a theologian, simply a writer, and I will do my best to answer your questions.

A simple answer to your question, where is God, would be that we, or some people, asked him to leave our schools, we told him we didn’t need him and we stopped praying, we told him we could do it on our own. So, he simply left.

But like I said, that is a simple answer and also the wrong answer because I do not believe he left at all. I see teenagers every day that are making a difference. You probably see them, and maybe you are one of them, that take a stand against bullying, that reaches out to someone who is hurting, even if that person is not in their “circle.” They are the ones that will do what is right, not what is popular, no matter what others will think about them. Kylie, that is where you will find God.

I know our church collects gifts to give to those in need and can’t afford Christmas presents. Not only our church but churches and communities and individuals that give to the needy, like your friend’s family, so that they can have a Christmas. I know this time of year is hard for families with financial hardships, but when you see others giving and volunteering to help those in need, that is where God is.

I see the same news and social media you see about the evil in this world, such as human trafficking and drug overdoses. That’s what the news wants you to see, but they do not show the good that is out there. You truly have to search for it to know that for every bad news story, there is a good one. The Bible says seek and you will find.

I ask you to do that Kylie, turn away from the news feeds and search for good. Organizations like ECPAT-USA, ecoatusa.org, who are also international, or Polaris Project, polarisproject.org. Even right here in central Ohio there is Out Of Darkness Columbus Ohio, outofdarknesscolmbusoh.org and Live United Delaware County, liveuniteddelawarecounty.org.

There are thousands and thousands of other organizations and individuals that are fighting against evil in this world. That is where God is Kylie.

How do I know  God exists? Take a look at our planet Earth. If it were positioned just a few inches from where it is located, it would not exist. Think about that Kylie. If the earth was located less than half the size of your iPhone, it would not be able to support human life. Scientists can’t even disagree with that.

How else do I know God exists? Well, it is you and me and every other human in this world. None of us are exactly the same. Who could make billions of people and not one of them is the same? How could billions of people exist that are all unique down to the tiniest DNA in their bodies if they were not created by God? Do you think that could happen by chance? I do not.

I did not always feel this way. Unlike you, Kylie, who grew up in church and knew about God and his love from the moment you were born, I did not. I did things my own way and ran my own life and was desperate to change the way I was living and one day I just stopped and turned around. I let God, who was pursuing me my entire life, catch me. And when he caught me, my life changed. I fell to my knees and I wept. Which was strange to me because I was raised to not show my feelings. To keep it all inside and be tough like a man. But that very moment God caught me, I was overwhelmed with love. As I learned about God, I learned about who he made me to be and what my identity is in Him. Not what everyone else thinks of me, but what God thinks of me. That changed my life.

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Kylie, I have made many mistakes in my life. I have been divorced twice and tore apart my family because I was selfish and did things my way. Christians are humans and like all humans, we all make mistakes. After I accepted God into my life, seven years ago the unthinkable happened. My wife had an affair. It started around this time of year and I kept hearing a voice, or having a sixth sense if you will, to check her emails. Call it God trying to get involved before it got too far or call it the devil trying to tell me to look at what I helped your wife do, I do not know, but I ignored it because I trusted her. Until I could not ignore it and I found out the truth. In my anger, rage, hurting, and how could you, I wanted a divorce. Then on January 17th, I could not sleep. I was tossing and turning and crying and at 2:37 am, I felt the need to bundle up and take a walk. I remember the exact day and time because it is the first time I heard God speak to me. As I walked outside and tears streamed down my face and I yelled at God why, how could he let this happen, I looked up and saw the many many stars. In the stillness of the cold night,  I heard him say stay, this is not about you, it’s about her and I need you to stay and be strong and help me help her come back to us. Over the next few weeks, a peace came over me and instead of yelling and saying hurtful things, I spoke words I never thought I could speak. They were not my words but God’s. Seven years later, even though not all is perfect, no marriage is, we are still proof of God’s grace, forgiveness,  mercy, and love.

Kylie, Only God can heal a man like me, a marriage torn apart by an affair, and the brokenness of the people in this world.

We only have to be still and ask for him to help us and tell us what to do.

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My dad did not believe in God. Thankfully, to his wonderful wife, my mother, who had a heart of gold and to his caretakers over the last few months of his life, and maybe to the way I lived my life after I accepted God, he accepted that Jesus is his lord and savior and invited him into his life shortly before he passed. I wish he could have had more time to know how much God loves him but in my grieving, I also knew that I would see him again. Only God can heal the grieving and the hurting Kylie.

Kylie, I wish everyone your age, or any age, knew what their true identity in Christ is. I believe that if everyone knew how much they were loved, how they were chosen to be born and that there is a plan for their life that there would less hurt in this world. I wish that they defined themselves as God defines them. That they would understand that false identity comes from the brokenness in this world. Trust that Jesus died on the cross for their sins and that they were forgiven and that there is a better way to live this thing we call life. I wish that they would find their plan and purpose for what God has for them, not what this world tells them they should be.

Kylie, do not choose happiness. It is an emotion like sadness or anger or excitement. It comes and goes with circumstances. Choose joy and love Kylie. No matter what you are going through choose to love, choose to be joyful. That is where you will find God.

You can choose what your heart will follow, Kylie, and what your heart follows is where you will be. Choose goodness, compassion, empathy. Choose to follow the good in the world and people will follow you because they will see how you live. Kylie, that is where God will be.

I recently saw the movie Overcomer. I could tell you a million quotes that I wish every teenager would know in this social media world where everything is based on smiles and likes but one I would like to share is this: people always try to tell you to look like this person or do something this way because it is popular but knowing that God loves you and he made you, why would you want to be anyone else.

Be yourself. Kylie, When you realize and accept that, your self-image and your identity and your view of the world will change. Filter out the negatives and live in the positives.

You, Kylie, are a child of God and you are here for a reason.

Kylie, I wish this world was not what it is. I wish and pray today when you go to school that it won’t be your last day on this earth. But, I beg you Kylie, do not live in fear. God does not live in fear. Live with hope Kylie, go out today and change the world. Be the one who shows the world that God is alive and well and that he lives in you.

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Kylie, even in the bad I see all around me, I choose to see the good more. From the morning sunrise to the evening stars, from the leafless trees of winter to the first flower that blooms in the spring. From the first breath a baby takes to the last breath someone breathes. There is a shell that covers this unseen world and people choose to believe in what only they can see but there are mysteries in the unseen that we will never fully understand but it is as real as the next breath you take. You must have faith, hope and love, Kylie. That is where God resides and that is where you will find him. From the beginning to the end, I choose to see God in all of it and that is how I know God was here yesterday, he is here today, and he will be here tomorrow.

Kylie, God is alive and well and he is in you. He made you and he saved you, he loves you, he blesses you, he protects you, you are chosen and he died for you, Kylie. If you will find it in your heart to believe how much you are loved and chosen then you, too, will see him everywhere for he will be with you everywhere you go.

In the good and the bad, in the laughter and the tragedy, seek him, Kylie. He is there.

And that my dearest Kylie, is how I know that God exists and that he is here today.

Your friend,

Rob

You Say by Lauren Daigle –

Enough by Koryn Hawthorne –

Who You Say I Am by Hillsong –

What Mercy Did For Me by Micah Tyler –

Father by Jeremy Camp –

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Christmas Songs For Our Military 2019

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Thank you military for all the sacrifices you make.  May God watch over you if you are not at home this Christmas.

Most of these songs I had on last year’s post but I have added a few.

Merry Christmas To All Our Heroes by Glenn Boudreau –

Camouflage and Christmas Lights by Rodney Carrington –

Waiting For Christmas by Nicki Park –

I Won’t Be Home For Christmas by Steve Howell –

Bring Daddy Home For Christmas by Oak Ridge Boys –

Christmas Where You Are by Five For Fighting –  

I’ll Be Brave This Christmas by Big Daddy Weave –  

A Soldiers Christmas Song by Danny Rongo – 

The Soldiers Christmas Poem – 

Christmas In America by Melissa Etheridge – 

Someday At Christmas by Stevie Wonder and Andra Day – 

Peace On Earth by Casting Crowns – 

December Prayer by Idina Menzel – 

Christmas Stockings

The Christmas stockings were hung with care

Some were extraordinarily beautiful, others ordinarily fair

Some were hung by the chimney

Others were hung on the tree

Some were made with bright colors

While others must’ve been bought for a dollar

Some had lights that shined so bright

Others even glowed in the dark of night

Some had glitter that sparkled from time to time

None of these comes close to describing mine

On my wife’s she had written a bible verse

One of my daughters had Santa on hers

Another daughter made hers with good cheer

While another finished hers by writing the year

When we were all done we were quite pleased

Then we joined hands and prayed for the least of these

But back to the stockings galore

There’s so much to say, so much more

Some had to be at least three feet long

When those are filled, I hope the nail is strong

Some are just a little bigger than my foot

For mine, I gave Santa a list, in case he needed my input

Some are made with love, paint, and glue

Some are quite fantastic while others have a mistake or two

Some were stitched and crocheted with extreme care

Others looked like they came out of the drawer by your underwear

Some had stickers of Santa and Rudolph and such

Others had just a name, but that was enough

On that Christmas morning, I learned a thing or two

From these Christmas stockings and I’d like to share with you

It doesn’t matter what the outside is

Because there is one thing I know and it’s this

It doesn’t matter what’s on the outside

Because the outside is just a brilliant disguise

What matters the most the outside tries to hide

What really matters is what’s on the inside

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Elf On The Shelf Is Missing

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Our elf on the shelf is missing

Last seen on a frozen lake fishing

Maybe he fell in, but I suspect foul play

As a matter of fact, it was just the other day

Our teenager, the suspect, said she no longer believed

At first, I have to admit, I was quite relieved

No more candy wrappers to clean up

No more messes, no more spilled cups

No more having to re-roll the toilet paper

No more misadventure superhero capers

No more Christmas lights to untangle

No more worries he would end up mangled

Then it hit me, she no longer believed

My heart shrunk three sizes as I grieved

Not only had the elf on the shelf disappeared

But she no longer believed in the man with a beard

Would Christmas ever be the same?

Instead of snow, would it always rain?

But then, from upstairs, from my teenager’s room

It started off faint but I knew it was a familiar tune

My ears heard such a wonderful sound

She was singing Santa Claus is coming to town

Then she jumped into Frosty the Snowman

When she finished I held my wife’s hand

Christmas isn’t about Santa or an elf on a shelf

Christmas is about family and about something else

As she started to sing Silent Night

A terrible thing I suddenly realized

That as we looked for the elf all around

Nowhere in our house was Jesus to be found

Jesus was also missing, completely gone

An ancient star the wise men looked upon

A manger for there was no room at the inn

God came to earth to take away our sins

Then a thought went from my heart to my head

I remembered words I long ago had read

Today in the town of David a Savior is born

Born to die, our savior, our Lord

My heart grew three sizes as I remembered the true meaning

I was suddenly okay with Santa and the elf on the shelf leaving

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Where’s The Line To See Jesus by Becky Kelley –

Christmas is All About You by Mallory Hope –