First Christmas Letter

First Christmas Letter

In the vast emptiness of space, outside of time itself, I existed. Rather, I always existed. In fact I created everything there ever was. With a single word I spoke every galaxy into motion and filled them with all kinds of planets, spinning them all into orbit. There was one special planet. In it I carved mountains and oceans, and filled them with all kinds of living creatures. Everything was good, but something was missing.

See, I am love. I wanted to show my love through my creation, so I created you in my own image. You would reflect my love in a perfect, intimate relationship. You would work but not feel pain… we would walk and talk… I would know you and you would know me.

Satan, who is the complete absence of me, has deceived you and brought sin into my creation. This sin keeps you from me, and it keeps you from knowing my love.

Now while the Deceiver has some power, my power is the greatest (after all, I created the very idea of power). Even though the payment for sin is death, I cannot and will not allow my most-loved creation to exist with no way of being cleaned of your sin.

So, I have a plan (I always do). I will become flesh and live among you. I will be born as an infant, grow as a child, and live as a man. I’ll experience what you experience, and I’ll feel what you feel. I’ll have growing pains, I’ll be laughed at in school, I’ll make friends — some of whom will stick by me, others will betray me. Ultimately, I will die for you.

You won’t understand it all, but that’s okay. The maker of the universe, the Lord of all creation, entering humanity as a child, being raised by a poor family is all difficult to comprehend. But know this: I am doing it all out of love. To show my love, and for you to know my love.

After all, this isn’t any ordinary letter. It’s a love story. This is the first Christmas letter.

Love,

God

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This post goes to you

This post goes out to everyone…

to the 9th grader getting ready to start high school…

to the brand new teacher getting her classroom ready…

to the graduate still trying to find a career…

to the employer trying to find the right new employee…

to the girl trying everything to make him love her more…

to the guy trying to impress his girl…

to the kid on the playground who got picked last…

to the kid on the playground who did the picking…

to the insomniac still awake at night…

to the recently divorced, wondering what went wrong…

…life sucks sometimes. Plans don’t always go the way we want, people disappoint us, and vending machines steal our money and won’t give us our M&Ms. Life can be tough and unfair.

But it doesn’t end there. There’s something you should know and never, ever forget…

…you were created for a reason. You were not brought into this world by chance or by accident. Your life has a purpose. Whether you realize it or not, you are impacting the world around you every day. And you have gifts and talents that no one else can do.

God never said life would be easy, but what he did promise is that he would help you through tough times. And that promise is to everyone.

How Eminem Helped Me Write My Seminary Paper

I’ve found my inner rapper. I searched deep inside, and I found the words of my soul beat to a rhythm I can’t contain any longer. I was born to rap, and I’m not doing the world a favor by keeping my beats inside.

That, or I’m dressing up as Eminem for Halloween tomorrow.

Two years ago, our office theme was the 80s, and my coworkers all but forced me to wear a karate gi. Last year, I dusted off my old Indiana Jones fedora and put together a totally awesome-looking costume (the ladies could barely control themselves whenever I wore the fedora… the eye rolls were just a cover).

This year, I decided to branch out a little and dress up as Eminem. In contrast, I’m also currently writing a Jesus paper for my New Testament class. Yes, I’m writing a graduate paper discussing the central theme of Jesus Christ’s earthly message while dressed up as Slim Shady.

For the record, I don’t by any means condone his language or model of behavior (see disclaimer at end of post). However, I have to say Eminem has helped me write my Jesus paper.

Before you think I’ve totally gone off the deep end (and before you fail me, Dr Majeski), ask yourself this question: Why did Jesus come to earth? The thesis for my paper is “Jesus’ earthly message–his mission– was to proclaim, portray, and provide the kingdom of God.” (Go ahead… take a quick yawn… except for you, Dr Majeski).

As I listened to Eminem’s song “Not Afraid” while trying to figure out how I was going to support my thesis, it suddenly hit me. Through the language and anger, I heard a cry for help. A cry for hope. The cry of the created searching desperately for his Creator.

“And I just can’t keep living this way. So starting today, I’m breaking out of this cage. I’m standing up, I’ma face my demons. I’m manning up, I’ma hold my ground. I’ve had enough, now I’m so fed up. Time to put my life back together right now!”

Jesus came to save the world. We say it over and over in church. We memorize John 3:16 like a creed. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, because it’s the core truth. But sometimes the hard reality of the truth gets lost in repetition.

Jesus came to save the world. We got lost from our Creator, so the Son of God left heaven to remind us why we’re lost, show us how to have a relationship with our Creator, and to make that possible again.

While they may not be the most positive and encouraging, Eminem’s lyrics are an honest, gut-wrenching cry for truth. They are the question for Jesus’ answer.

**Disclaimer: For any youth reading this, I must say that I do not recommend listening to Eminem’s music. The letter of James has a lot to say about being careful with what we hear and see, and I would strongly advise you to refrain from listening to such music.