Saturday, October 29, 2011

This Christmas


"$441.97 billion
November through December retail sales last year, a decline of 3.4 percent from 2007, first drop recorded by the National Retail Federation since they began tracking in 1992.
Minus 1 percent
Expected drop in 2009 holiday sales from 2008. If the National Retail Federation is correct, then holiday sales will total $437.6 billion this year."

   Jesus. He left His throne in heaven to be born in a stable. He had nothing on earth, He was homeless and hunted, but He came to give us everything: Himself. For generations it has been a tradition to give gifts to loved ones, to be generous and bless those around us with gifts. Although it is a season of generosity it is also a season of glamorized selfishness; we expect to receive gifts, we expect them to be wrapped in an attractive way and if we don't get what we want we're disappointed in the gifts we do receive -- and all of that is justified by the season of giving? There is something wrong with this picture.


  Christmas isn't supposed to be a day where we open packages, hoping to get more unnecessary things that will bring us fleeting joy. Christmas is supposed to be about rejoicing in the One who gave us all we ever needed and gives us more than we could ever dream of wanting just because He can and He delights to give good and perfect gifts to His children! Did you know that in His presence is fulness of joy? And at His side are pleasures forevermore? What more could we want?! He is the fulness of Him who fills all in all. He meets all of our needs, guides us through life, uses our weak and brief lives to bring His love to the world... but we forget that, we get distracted by the pretty lights and the yummy food and the beautiful gifts and we forget Him. C.S.Lewis once said, "If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us...we are far too easily pleased."
   This year, lets remember what the season is really about and lets do so by sharing it with others. Jesus was born to give us Himself. Did you know that there are still 6.82 billion people on this earth who have never heard about that (and 4.50 billion of them live in the 10/40 window)? Let's tell them! And while we're at it, why don't we send out letters to children who don't have any family/loved ones to share the love of Christ with them on Christmas, instead of sending out Christmas cards to all our relations and friends. Let's "give this Christmas away". We can all do without gifts for a year, and there are people around the world who will not live to see next year so we can't waste this opportunity to tell them about our Lord who was born in a stable -- on purpose.

Letters to Royals by Amanda

In less than two months our mailboxes in America will be filled with beautiful Christmas cards from family and friends. Can you imagine a holiday season without one single Christmas card?  Many children around the world have never received a Christmas card and much less a Christmas gift.  Some do not even have anyone to tell them Merry Christmas.

This Christmas we want all the children in need at Royal Hope Academy to experience the joy of receiving a Christmas card and we need your help! There are 400 students enrolled at Royal Hope and only a small portion of these students have sponsors so we need YOU to send a Christmas card to a child that does not yet have a sponsor. Share the love of Christ with His treasures.  Tell them you love them, that you are praying for them, and most importantly that they are loved by Jesus and their Father in Heaven.  Feel free to include a scripture, and we would love if you can also include a simple photograph in your card!

Example:

"Dear Royal,
We are so happy to wish you a Merry Christmas.  We pray you will be blessed during this season in knowing that Your Father in Heaven loves you very much and that Jesus died to give you new life and to come and live in your heart so that you can be with Him in heaven forever.  We are the Doe family, Jane the mom, John the Dad, and we have two twins, a boy and a girl named Jack and Jill, age 8.  We love you and we are praying for you.  Have a very Merry Christmas full of joy, happiness, and love.

Love
the Does"

Mail your card by November 14 to:
Royal Child of God
C/O Rebecca Sorensen
300 Long Island Drive
Hot Springs, AR 71913

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