In a Peanuts strip Lucy once grumbled to poor Charlie Brown about the awful New Year she was having. She complained that problems abounded, and she felt that difficulties were around every corner. Then she said, “I don’t think this is a New Year at all—I think we’ve been stuck with a USED year!!!”
The story is told of a father who decided that Christmas was going to be different this year. He called a family conference and challenged his family to be more disciplined in the management of their time during the busy Christmas season. They had to curtail excessive spending on gifts. He talked about better relations between visiting relatives and a more congenial atmosphere around their home. He brought his speech to a crescendo with his final rally cry, “Let’s make this the BEST Christmas EVER!”
Jim was leaving church after Christmas services when the pastor greeted him and said, “Jim, it’s time you joined the Army of the Lord. We need to see you every Sunday.”
“I’m already in the Army of the Lord, Pastor,” Jim replied.
“Then why do we only see you on Christmas and Easter?”
Jim looked to the right and to the left, and then leaned over to whisper, “I’m in the Secret Service.”
Your standard man, at this point in the Christmas season, has purchased zero gifts. He has not yet gotten around to purchasing an acceptable gift for his wife for last Christmas. He did give her something last year, but he could tell by her reaction to it that she had not been dreaming of getting an auto emergency kit, even though it was the deluxe model with booster cables and an air compressor. Clearly this gift violated an important rule, but the man had not idea what this rule was, and his wife was too upset to tell him.
Some retailers are concerned about the the fact that there are only 26 shopping days between Black Friday and Christmas day this year. Yet, the National Retail Federation expects Americans to spend even more than they did last year. They estimate that we will spend $602 billion on Christmas gifts and merchandise. That is close to $85 for every person alive on the face of the globe.
It is amazing that at the time of year we set aside to honor Christ’s birth, we can easily be consumed with ourselves.
Source: USA Today, November 29, 2013
D.L. Moody was the most famous evangelist in the world in the late 1800s. People came from around the world to attend his Bible Conferences in Northfield, Massachusetts. One year a large group of pastors from Europe were among the attendees. They were given rooms in the dormitory of the Bible school. As was the custom in Europe, the men put their shoes outside the door of their room, expecting them to be cleaned and polished by servants during the night.
In 1914, Ernest Shackleton and a team of explorers set out from England to do something that no one before had accomplished—cross Antarctica from one side to the other across the South Pole. Disaster struck when the team’s ship, Endurance, became entrapped in ice and eventually sank after her hull was crushed. Marooned on nearby Elephant Island, there seemed little hope for their survival.
In January of 1956, Jim Elliot and four other missionaries gave their lives in Ecuador in their effort to reach the Waodani (Auca) Indians. This fierce group was known to attack any outsiders, but the vision for reaching them with the gospel compelled these young men to take the risk. Not long after they set up camp near the Waodani village they were attacked by warriors. Refusing to defend their lives with force, the missionaries were killed. The news flashed around the world, and the story of courage and sacrifice challenged many to take up the missionary cause.
Professional baseball has been played in America since 1875, but on September 14, 1990, something happened that has never happened before or since. Late in his career, Ken Griffey, Sr., who had been a key member of the World Series champion Cincinnati Reds years before, was signed by the Seattle Mariners. His son Ken Griffey, Jr. was just starting his major league career. In the first inning of a game against the Angels, Griffey, Sr. hit a home run to left center field. His son followed him to the plate and hit another home run to almost exactly the same spot.