12-20-14 Tax Time, What a Hassle!

“Tax time, what a hassle! I have to fly back to my hometown, stand in line for hours at the courthouse, then fly back home. I have to spend my vacation time staying in a boring motel just to pay taxes.” At least that is what I imagine it would be like if I had to do what Joseph and Mary did. 

For Joseph, tax time meant walking through dangerous country with Mary, who was due to deliver any day. The travel time would be much longer, no vacation pay to cover the expenses, quite possibly no pack animal to carry supplies and clean clothing.  No way to call ahead to make reservations and then discover that all lodging facilities are full and having to stay in a stable. And I thought what I imagined would be a hassle.

Most people lived their entire lives near their birthplace, but not so with Joseph. God worked out a way to force Joseph to go to Bethlehem, which was a fulfillment to prophecy.  

Nowhere does the Bible say that Joseph and Mary complained about this trip.  I dare say, I probably would fuss and complain about such a miserable trip – all to pay taxes! I don’t even want to stand in line at the store. God has a purpose for inconveniences, too.

“And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.” Luke 2:3.

© copyright Kevin T Boekhoff

12-19-14 The Workplace Raucous

“Don’t you know how these things work, Joseph? Har, har, har…”

Coworkers are as merciless as children when it comes to harassment and mockery. Joseph probably played the workplace raucous over in his mind. No doubt Joseph was concerned about this from fellow carpenters, friends and relatives.  Certainly, he wrestled with the idea of dealing with the future inlaws and his parents.  In his society, parents chose the mates for their children.  Thus, Joseph was deeply troubled when he learned Mary was pregnant.  A scandalous development, for sure. 

Being the man, he wanted to fix this.  He played various scenarios over and over, trying to see a way out. He loved her and didn’t want to make this a big public event.  He thought of quietly breaking off the engagement. However, with the angel’s explanation and encouragement, he decided he would put up with the workplace raucous and any scandalous accusations. He decided to man up and stand by Mary and the Lord.

How often have I tried to avoid hassles and hardships because I was afraid of my personal reputation? If God is in it, I can endure it.  As with Joseph, Jesus is at stake.

“Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Matt 1:19-20.”

© copyright Kevin T Boekhoff

12-18-14 True Love

Christmas is a time that many try to remember to express love towards others through gifts and gatherings.  Some give of themselves toward the homeless and needy. Some help with gifts toward kids.  The list can go on. 

At the same time, suicides are higher during the holidays. It can be a depressing time for those that are going through Christmas without a loved one. Some are in the depths of depression due to addiction and sin. The greatest gift is Jesus Christ. 

What greater expression of love is there, than someone who gave his/her life for another?  We celebrate the arrival of Jesus at Christmas time.  The reason He came was to pay the penalty for sin by dying on the cross and in so doing reconcile us to God (propitiation). God so loved us that He gave His only begotten (sired) Son.

God is reminding me this morning that in all my giving, not to forget to give Jesus to others.

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” I John 4:10.

© copyright Kevin T Boekhoff

12-17-14 Bah Humbug

I learn stuff every day, but I forget much of it.  Thus, I have to relearn things constantly.

In the past, I have taken a Grinch-like attitude toward Christmas.  I let circumstances or finances or whatever give me a bad attitude regarding the entire season. I even said, “Bah humbug” a time or two.

I learned something this year. I heard that “bah humbug” isn’t and expression of grumbling about Christmas.  I looked it up in the dictionary and discovered that it is really a term expressing “deception, deluding, something devoid of sense or meaning, nonsense, or one who is an impostor.” 

I used that expression out of ignorance. I had no idea that by saying, “bah humbug” that I was saying that Christmas is a sham, nonsense or a grand deception. Essentially, I was expressing disbelief in Jesus birth. I was saying that He was an impostor.  Thus, I asked forgiveness and will not knowingly use “bah humbug” toward Christmas again, Lord willing.

“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.” Acts 17:30.

© copyright Kevin T Boekhoff