12 December 2007

Shop Bambootique

I just added another link to my "Check this out" section. It is a link to a really cool online store that sells jewelry, purses, scarves, paper... One of my dear college friends, Beth is one of the owners of this store. The story behind how she got started comes from her worldwide travels. She traveled around the world for her work and always came back with unique purses, jewelry or other items that received many compliments and she received many requests to find similar items for others.

This sparked an idea in Beth to begin a business where she purchases items in foreign countries (mostly developing countries) and sells them in the U.S. Everything is fair trade and you can feel good about your purchase, not only because you've found something unique, but also because you are helping someone in another country earn money they might not otherwise have.

Great place for Christmas shopping!

The Other Secular Reminder

So I said I had another reminder of why we need Christmas and this one I found while reading the newspaper on Sunday morning. I read an interview with A.J. Jacobs who wrote the book "The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible." The main story of the book is that Mr. Jacobs tried to follow all of the moral codes of the Bible from the dietary laws to even throwing pebbles at an adulterer.

The idea of the book is really interesting in itself but the most profound part is this quote,

"I had a stapled list of all the 700 rules...but it was impossible - I couldn't keep them all in my mind at the same time... Naturally, I broke rules all the time, despite my best efforts."

We are commanded in Matthew to be perfect as our father in heaven is perfect, so we know this perfection is the expectation of God. Now, here is a man who deliberately was trying to follow every law in the Bible and he could not do it. How much more do I break the laws because I am not consciously trying to follow all 700 of the ones in the moral code. I can't obey to that degree! No one can!

This is why Christ came into the world. This is why He was born on the Earth. Jesus did live a perfect life and because of that was able to be a spotless sacrifice for our sins and pay for our inability to follow all of the laws. All the more reason to celebrate at Christmas! He came to be a perfect sacrifice because I can not be perfect by my own efforts to meet God's requirements.

10 December 2007

Secular Reminders of Why We Need Christmas

Every Decmeber, I struggle in search of a fresh understanding of Christmas. I get so frustrated with the commercialism of Christmas and fight to keep from becoming swept into what Christmas means to our culture. This weekend, I was surprised to find two reminders of why Christmas is so incredibly important to our current culture.

The first was through watching the movie Children of Men. While I don't endorse the prevelant violence or continuous profanity, (or the ending for that matter!), the overall idea of the movie makes it a powerful"Christmas" movie. The main plot of the movie is that there has been infertility in the planet for the past 18 years and the world has become chaotic and basically anarchy in most places other than England, where life is also extremelly bleak.
But in the middle of the grayness and depression, a woman is found to be pregnant! As people learn of this miracle, they are in awe and full of HOPE! This baby may change the course of the world. There is now a chance that life will return to the way it used to be. Laughter could return, the sunshine might be noticed, and people might once again connect.
When Christ was born, he brought this same kind of hope. Relationships can be restored through Him, we can experience true joy even in the middle of suffering, and our eyes can be opened to the world as He created it.

When this baby was born, the gunfire, swearing, shouting, and even the running stopped. Everyone paused as the little girl was carried by and for a minute, faces became less hard and all eyes looked at the baby.

This December, I hope to remember what that would be like to keep my eyes focused on the Christ child. To look at Him for hope and all of the promises that His incarnation means.
I know many of you who read this blog (are there many who read? anyway...) have your own precious little babies to remind you of the hope in children and especially in the baby Jesus, but thought I would share a sweet picture of Asher when he was a month old. What hope and joy he has brought us too.
(Oh yeah, I was going to share two reminders...I'll save the other one for another time.)