Monday, November 28, 2016

Christmas Message from the Artist

It is an understatement that the Christmas season can be a time of stress. There is a host of reasons for this. We feel obligated to attend as many events as we can. We may have guilt driving us to give to a long a list of those we owe gifts or favors to. Often guilt or obligation come into play. The true ordeal, however, is the relentless pursuit of stuff. Afflicted with long lines, mad dashes, and traffic, we try to get as much as our wallets or overextended credit will allow. Driven to bury our loved ones under objects, gadgets, and trinkets, or things we want ourselves, it overtakes our energy and thoughts.

This is a stark picture for a Holiday that calls us to focus on meaning. With issues of loneliness, loss, and trials with finances, we become even more burdened.

I invite you this year to devote yourself, with active intent, to the true meaning of Christmas. Together, let us center instead on the awesome gift of God’s Son to us, His love for us, and give ourselves in love to our friends and family. This does not mean adding Christ onto the mayhem, cramming substance in somewhere to make a moment that is nice. Instead, we seek our God, allowing Him to bless each day until Christmas by filling us with His blessed Son.

Our Spirit-filled reaction to this focus is to offer ourselves outwardly, in love. Giving our prayers, our smiles, our presence, and our time. There is no perfect present that can bestow our child, loved one, or be received by us to create a perfect Christmas. We have substituted the profound with material objects. This Christmas Holiday spirit is what I resolve to seek this year. It starts right at home. This is the example for my wife and I, starting early to enjoy it even more.

God grant you His peace in His beautiful, wonderful Son. Jesus, a baby humbly laying in a food trough - incarnate God - a man who walked among us and sacrificed His pure life for our sins. Praise His name forever. This greatest of gifts alters a lifetime, fills us with joy, and grants us an eternity with God.

Jeffrey M Green

Friday, November 18, 2016

Social Media

Social media has become a place where there is little filter. Without face to face contact, interactions become volatile. We often say things with strong words and hold opinions that are written with a fist. Just like every other area of life such as school, work, and our communities, it is always the other guy we esteem as wrong. Epithets are thrown around like rocks.

It is so easy to have an armchair denunciation of anyone we disagree with. We have much to learn about how to relate to one another.

As Christians we are called to humble ourselves before God, to search our own hearts. It is there where we see the darkest part of ourselves that desperately need the gracious love of God. How blessed it is that this love is freely offered, redeems us entirely, and brings joy to our every day life. No matter whom we may be – the average Joe, stellar citizen, or unwanted outcast – the grace of Christ is offered to change us forever. In a dark world, there is light.

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19.

Artwork: "Garden Butterfly", © Jeffrey M Green.