folks, if you ask them Who Jesus Christ is, will have a pat answer. The Son of God. The Messiah. A Jewish
carpenter and minister from biblical times. The guy whose Face is on the Shroud of Turin.
of those answers are technically correct, of course, but incomplete. Jesus was, and is, so much more than can be revealed
in one or two easy sentences. His very presence in our everyday lives illuminates the fact that The Son's heavenly total
is greater than the sum of all the parts. Are you truly aware of that holy presence? Is He a part of your being?
Unfortunately, except for the most devout among us, Jesus
has passed into being a mere footnote in the lives of many people. Oh, sure, they think about Him during Christmas and
Easter. But even then, His true essence is often overlooked. For many folks in this overly materialistic world,
Christmas is little more than an extended party season. Break out the eggnog and check the Sunday supplements for sales!
Many children, in this era of the Internet and Playstation and CDs and DVDs, equate Christmas with presents, and a LOT of
them. Gimme, get me, buy me. Christmas becomes a competition among parents to keep up with the Joneses.
Quantity overshadows quality. The houses and trees are decorated for showoff, not for reverence. Oftentimes the
poor tree is dwarfed by the number of gifts beneath it. The end result? Christmas morning comes and everyone has
more stuff. That's it. Just more STUFF.
And why? You can't have everything. Where
would you put it all?
it's time for all of us to stop and think. Reflect. Nourish the soul. Is your soul getting its minimum
daily requirement? Don't let it continue to go hungry. Pick up some stuff for the spirit!
Let's start with a little story that was making its way around the Internet when I first
put this page online:
man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael.
They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.
When the Viet Nam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous
and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.
About a month later, just before Christmas, there was
a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands. He said, "Sir, you don't
know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me
to safety when a bullet struck him and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art."
The young man held out his package. "I know this
isn't much. I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this."
father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way
the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own
eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture.
"Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift."
The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every
time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works
he had collected.
The man died a few months
later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing
the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collections.
On the platform sat the painting of the son.
The auctioneer pounded his gavel. "We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this
was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, "We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one."
But the auctioneer persisted, "Will someone bid for this
painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?"