Yesterday at church, it was announced that, because Christmas falls on Sunday this year, there would be no church services that day. Huh? No services on Christmas? Isn't that kinda like having a birthday celebration without the guest of honor?
Seriously, I do get it. One does not have to be in church to worship God or to celebrate Jesus' birth. One can worship in their own home, in the beauty of nature, in a car in rush hour traffic, or anywhere else. God is everywhere. And as long as our Christmas celebrations commemorate what the holiday is really all about, we're good.
My grandmother used to go to church every Sunday. Grandpa, on the other hand, read his Bible down by his still. Guess who knew it chapter and verse?
And here's a bit of advice: forget about Santa. God knows when you're sleeping, when you're awake, when you've been bad or good.... If you've been good, breathe a sigh of relief. If you've been bad, well, I hear those life reviews on the other side can be painful. You get to see every screw-up you've ever made. And when you're asked when you want to be for eternity, you'd better have the right answer!
Bear in mind that He doesn't care how much money you've made, how successful you've been, what property you own or other such unimportant crap. He cares that we have loved well. He cares how we've treated others (being an animal lover, I like to think this includes all creatures). He cares that we've accepted his gift of salvation and put Him first in our lives.
Not too long ago, I told my pastor I believed God created me to be a warrior. Much to my surprise, he didn't disagree with me. I didn't get that look that says so much without a word. He said he thought I'd been made a warrior to enable me to survive all I'd experienced. I'll take it one step further and suggest that he made me who I am and gave me the experiences I had for two reasons: one, I had pride issues. Of all the Seven Deadly Sins, that's the one that always gave me the most trouble. I had to hit bottom to free myself of it, and I had to be a fighter to make the climb out of that pit. Sometimes, God lets us struggle, just as any parent allows their children to struggle to enable them to grow. I'd been a spoiled child who was given everything I wanted. I was a spoiled author who was given too much too fast.
So I had to start all over again.
In the journey back from rock bottom, I did evolve. I came back stronger, but also more compassionate. I have zero tolerance for the mistreatment of people or animals who are unable to defend themselves. Hey, I don't mind kicking butt when the object of the butt-kicking really has it coming, but there's no sport in kicking puppies!
I'm the one who will go to the animal shelter and, while everyone else is snapping up the really cute puppies and kittens, I'll seek out the most pathetic creature in the place--the one that's old and scruffy, days away from execution, huddled in the back of the cage, looking as if he/she has lost all hope. Collin once said I'd look at the most butt-ugly critter on the planet and say, "Oh, isn't he cute...."
Guilty as charged.
I leave you today with a final thought from the words of St. Catherine of Siena: "Be who God meant you to be and you'll set the world on fire."
I invite you to check out William's and my discussion on collaborations at Writers of Mass Distraction and the new look Collin and I created for Sam's Story, along with William's review of A Time for Legends (The Unicorn's Daughter) at Speak of the Devil and Beishir Books!