The Meaning Of Christmas

I thanked God for giving me an acronym this Christmas Eve to help us always to remember the meaning of Christmas as not to be lost in the midst of all kinds of secular celebration.

Gal 4:4-5

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

Taking Care Of The Whole Being Of Spirit, Soul And Body

I learned from the internet blogs that the most popular course in the Harvard University is the Positive Psychology class taught by Dr Tal Ben-Shahar.  It attracts 1400 students per semester and 20% of Harvard graduates take this elective course. According to Ben Shahar, the class – which focuses on happiness, self-esteem and motivation – gives students the tools to succeed and face life with more joy.  According to most of the blogs, this 45-year-old teacher, considered by some to be “the happiness guru”, highlights in his class 14 or 15 key tips for improving the quality of our personal status and contributing to a positive life.  (Some blogs include tip no 15 of developing a sense of humour.  Some may dispute whether his tips mentioned God.  I believe it is possible as religious people are more likely to give thanks for everything they have and are generally more joyful in life.)

I have noticed that all these 14 or 15 key tips are advice to take good care of one’s whole being of spirit, soul and body.  As Ben Shahar is a Jew,  it is not surprising that his tips correlate with the general biblical principles and wisdom of living in the Kingdom of God which is peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  Rom 14:17.   My comments on these tips made reference to the relevant Scriptural verses.

Tips For The Spirit

  1. Thank God for everything you have.  Write down 10 things you have in your life that give you happiness. Focus on the good things!
  2. Fervently believe in God. With him nothing is impossible!

Comments :

The Scripture exhorted us not to be anxious about anything but to bring everything to God in prayer with thanksgiving.   We are to focus and think on things that are true, honourable,  just, pure, lovely, commendable,  excellent and praiseworthy.  Phil 4:6-9.

Surely nothing is impossible with God as He is the Creator of the whole universe.  Luke 1:37.   And He will reward those who fervently believe in Him and seek Him diligently.  Heb 11:6.

Tips For The Body

  1. Practice physical activity.  Experts say exercising helps improve mood.  30 minutes of exercise is the best antidote against sadness and stress.
  2. Breakfast.  Some people miss breakfast for lack of time or not to get fat. Studies show that breakfast gives you energy, helps you think and perform your activities successfully.
  3. Wear comfortable shoes.  If your feet hurt you, you become moody, says Dr. Keinth Wapner, President of the American Orthopedics Association.
  4. Take care of your posture. Walk straight with your shoulders slightly backwards and the front view helps to maintain a good mood.
  5. What you eat has an impact on your mood.  Do not skip meals, eat lightly every 3 to 4 hours and keep glucose levels stable.- Avoid excess white flour and sugar.- Eat everything healthy. Vary your food.
  6. Take care of yourself and feel attractive.  70% of people say they feel happier when they think they look good.

Comments :

The body of a believer is the temple of the Spirit of God and obviously extreme good care of it has to be taken. 1 Cor 6:19-20. 1 Tim 4:8.    So whether we eat or drink, we do it all for the glory of God.   1 Cor 10:31.  When we are in good health so is our soul.  3 John 1:2.

Tips For The Soul

  1. Assertive.  Ask what you want and say what you think. Being assertive helps improve your self-esteem. Being left and remaining silent creates sadness and hopelessness.
  2. Spend your money on experiences.  A study found that 75% of people felt happier when they invested their money in travel, courses and classes; while only the rest said they felt happier when buying things.
  3. Face your challenges. Studies show that the more you postpone something, the more anxiety and tension you generate. Write short weekly lists of tasks and complete them.
  4. Put everywhere nice memories, phrases and photos of your loved ones.  Fill your fridge, your computer, your desk, your room, YOUR LIFE of beautiful memories.
  5. Always greet and be nice to other people.  More than 100 inquiries state that just smiling changes the mood.
  6. Listen to music (Praise God).  It is proven that listening to music awakens you to sing, this will make your life happy.
  7. Develop a good sense of humour.  Learn to laugh off matters, specially when things don’t go right for you.

Comments :

The Scripture exhorted us to count it all joy as we meet all kinds of trials in life because trials train us to be steadfast and yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness.  Besides, if we lack wisdom to face certain challenges, we can ask God and He will grant us generously.   James 1:2-4.  Heb 12:7-11.

Listening to music soothes our souls.  Whenever King Saul was tormented in his spirit, he would send for David to play him the lyre.  1 Sam 16:14-23.  Singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs is evidence of a Spirit filled life.  Eph 5:19.

Whenever we are nice to people speaking kind and gentle words,  not only we deflect animosity but we also gain friendship.  Prov 15:1.  Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.  Prov 16:24.

Always keeping a merry heart is not only good medicine for the body but also it bring out a cheerful face.  Prov 17:22.  Prov 15:13.  It can be achieved by developing a sense of humour and laughing off stressful matters.

It is the gift of God that we may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all our toil.  And spending on travel is one great satisfaction.  Eccl 3:13.

Testimony (19)

My son and I traveled to Indianapolis via New York on 13 November 2018.  It was snowing that day when we arrived and we missed the connecting flight.  We arrived into Indianapolis late by a couple of hours.

When we returned from Indianapolis to New York Manhattan on 15 November, we were caught in a sudden snowstorm across the whole of the Northeast of America.   We were stranded in transit at Detroit Airport.  Most of the connecting flights were cancelled.  The snowstorm was unexpected in November and was the worst in 136 years with some 6.5 inches of snow fall.

I knew the incredibly slim odds of ever making back to New York from Detroit.  Let me try to explain the odds.

What is the probability of winning the first prize of the four digit lottery ?   It is one chance in 10,000.   For each digit, the chance of a particular number is 10.  So for 4 digits,  it will be 10 times 10 times 10 times 10 and that equal to 10,000.

I have to face 4 to 5 situation and clear all hurdles altogether in order to make it back to New York.  And you can imagine the incredibly slim odds far more slimmer than winning the 4D lottery.

  1. I managed to get into the plane ready to take off but twice I was de-planed as Newark airport refused to allow incoming flights.  Finally my flight was cancelled and also many other connecting flights.  What was the chance of me getting onto the last flight in the evening ?   What was the chance of even re-booking on flights the day after and subsequent days ?  The capacity of most domestic planes is only 80 persons at most and I have noticed the load for each flight was around 90%.
  2. It was the worst snowstorm in 136 years. The taxi ways were so jammed because not only planes departing were required to de-ice and so there were many other vehicles on the taxi ways, but also they were full of snow and impassable unless they were removed.  What was the chance that New York airport would re-open for the very last flight ?
  3. After prayer, I decided to go on standby for the last flight in the evening. We were 5 and 6 in the queue.  And the boarding was not closed till 5 minutes before departure time.  What was the chance of us getting on board ?   Even when we got on board,  would the flight be cancelled while waiting for clearance from Newark Airport ?   Would the flight flying half way be diverted to another airport should the snowstorm get worse before landing ?
  4. The ground mass transportation systems were shut down. Only taxis were operating and most roads were impassable because of the snowfall.  It was unexpected total chaos.  What was the chance that I could get ground transportation to take me to my hotel ?
  5. Since we boarded the plane in the last minute, what was the chance that our luggage would follow ?   My son suffered from severe eczema and it would be a disaster for him without his medicine and creams.

It became clear to me that the odds of clearing all the above hurdles was way much much slimmer than winning the first prize of the 4D lottery.

I pleaded for God’s deliverance.  I have never been more helpless in such situation before.  God answered my prayer for every hurdle on the way.

  1.  We managed to get on board the last flight even though we were no 5 and 6 in the standby queue.  We were the last passengers to make it on board the plane.  I could feel the helplessness of some 20 people on standby who did not make it on board, as they were quarreling at the gate over the queue.
  2.  We arrived safely but we should not expect our luggage to follow for the plane departed from the gate as soon as we got on board.  We were so surprised to see our luggage at the Newark Airport.  The luggage came in on an earlier flight in the morning.  That was against aviation regulation as far as I know.  Anyway we were so thankful for this “mistake”.
  3. When we called for transportation, we were told we would not have any driver till 8 or 9 am the next day.  To our amazement, I received an SMS informing me that our transport would be picking us up in 4 minutes !

How grateful I was for God’s deliverance !   We managed to get to our warm hotel just 2 hours after midnight.

Immediately upon our return on 20 November 2018,  the temperatures in Northeast America hit Siberian temperatures.  We would be ill prepared for such temperatures as we never expect such cold temperatures in November.

Our God is sovereign and He cares !    All thanks and glory to Him forever !

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-11-22/coldest-thanksgiving-100-years-northeast-braces-siberia-temperatures