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The Reason for the Season

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Every Christmas, it’s easy to complain about how commercialized the season has become. Santa seems to reign supreme with fewer and fewer nativity scenes gracing the lawns of neighbors. The news gives us all the bad news we need to feed our discontent. But we don’t always hear of the blessings of the season and the thousands of stories of people finding ways bless others in their midst.

Pastor Andy Stanley, of Northpoint Community Church in Atlanta, has a ministry that extends far beyond the churches that stream his weekly sermons. Many thousands look forward to his messages online. This year, in his first of three Christmas messages on “The Reasons for the Season,” he shared an observation that hit home.

He reminded listeners of a bumper sticker from the past that tried to bring Christ back into Christmas–“Jesus is the reason for the season.” Every saying captures a time but tends to run its course. You don’t see many of those bumper stickers today, but the sentiment remains.

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In his sermon, Andy questioned the validity of the statement. Jesus isn’t the reason for the season. Jesus didn’t come to be honored or adored at Christmas. The real reason for the season, the reason God sent his Son, is for YOU and ME. He came to be a blessing that by believing in Him we might have a personal relationship with God. But it came with mission—through faith we are called and empowered by the Holy Spirit to be a blessing to others.

Isn’t that what Christmas is really supposed to be about for believers? We take time to remember the greatest Christmas gift of all—God sent his Son to be in our midst and call us to a life of faith and service.

Whenever I get discouraged watching the news, I remind myself that every day the media must search to find new material to grab our attention. Some days, it’s easy to find the catchy headlines to stir our anger and despair. Some days it is thankfully harder. For in reality there’s a lot more goodness and love out there than there is hatred and crime. But the good too often goes under reported.

In this Christmas season, maybe it is time for us to put more focus on some of the blessings that we so easily take for granted. For twenty-one Christmas seasons from 1994 to 2015, I sent out a Christmas ezine “The 12 Days of Christmas.” Starting 12 days before Christmas, I would send an email every day helping to keep Christ in Christmas. I would include a thought-provoking quotation, a mirthful moment of Christmas humor, and a story that captured a Christmas blessing. People not only treasured and shared the email messages, they sent their own stories and content for me to include.

Looking back at the hundreds of past messages, I was touched again by the stories of people blessing others during the Christmas season. I’ve decided that for the next two weeks we could do with a daily story to remind us to do the same.

I have already started posting on Facebook a Christmas story designed to remind us how we too, with our words and actions, can help transform this Christmas season into memories to be treasured. You can follow me on Facebook and like or share my posts. You may even want to take time to share your own favorite memories of people who lived out the Christmas spirit in reply. Let’s let our blessings be a bit more contagious by spreading them around.

To give you an example of the postings you can enjoy let me share a family tradition that you may want to consider using in your family. With inflation hitting our pocket books and our minds struggling to find that perfect gift, here is a gift that finds a way capture the love that often goes unsaid.

Years ago, Angela shared a treasured Christmas family tradition you may want to try: “I am the fourth oldest of nineteen children. We grew up on a farm and didn’t have much money to celebrate a traditional Christmas. Each year we wrapped old shoe boxes in holiday paper and put them under our tree. Each box had a child’s name on it and a slit in the top of the box. During the entire month of December we would take time out each night to write letters to the other siblings. Sometimes we would write poems or funny stories about that person and then place them in their box. On Christmas morning the family would gather. We would read out of the Bible, sing carols, and then open our boxes and read our letters. Now that we are no longer children, and we have lives of our own, it is still the highlight of the season to wake up Christmas morning to find the ‘box from home’ with all of the letters inside. It’s not the material gifts that we look for, it is the gifts from the heart.”

What are the gifts from the heart that you treasure this year? What personal stories from Christmases past could you share to remind others what Christmas truly is about. This Christmas, remember that you are blessed, but even more important, find ways to be a blessing every day.

For now, enjoy your daily dose of Christmas cheer at https://www.facebook.com/terry.paulson and repost it to those you love.

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Dr. Terry Paulson is a PhD psychologist and author of The Optimism Advantage, They Shoot Managers Don't They, Speak Like a Pro, Meditations for the Trail, and The Dinner: The Political Conversation Your Mother Told You Never to Have. Since founding Paulson and Associates, Inc. in Agoura Hills, CA, Dr. Paulson has presented to such companies as IBM, 3M, Kaiser, Nationwide, SONY, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, and hundreds of hospitals, government agencies, and associations. Dr. Paulson is a past president of both the Global Speakers Federation and the National Speakers Association. He’s been inducted into NSA’s CPAE Speakers Hall of Fame, an honor given to less than 230 speakers worldwide. Dr. Paulson is a long-time conservative Republican who has spoken to numerous Republican groups. He currently is a regular op-ed columnist for townhall.com and politicrossing.com. Terry brings knowledge, tasteful humor, and a passion for conservative principles to every presentation. Dr. Paulson graduated with honors from UCLA and received his PhD in psychology and an MA in theology from Fuller Graduate School of Psychology in Pasadena, CA.



 
 
 

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Faith

The Left Is Fueling a New Racism

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It’s my firm belief that the number of Americans holding racist views is small, whether white, black, or Hispanic. At this point in our history, the vast majority of Americans try to live up to the challenge delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. We keep moving toward the hard-fought dream he envisioned of an America where a citizen’s character would mean more than the color of their skin.

We are a different country today. I’ve presented leadership programs to hundreds of companies over the last 40 years. I’ve seen the work they’ve done to embrace diversity and advance capable employees and leaders from all races. Many minority members have advanced and earned their rightful place in making this great American economy work. At a time we should be celebrating and furthering our progress, our American culture is under attack from the left. Angry race-baiters are doing everything they can to increase our racial divide through pushing the 1619 Project, CRT, and BLM. They make extreme racist claims with a clear goal—to expand the government gravy train that only racial “victims” can justify.

I lived in pre-civil rights Atlanta where there were separate schools, separate bathrooms, and the baseball team was the Atlanta Crackers! Today, it’s more likely that leftist blacks are the ones who want separate schools, separate rights, and special reparations for their race.

As one anonymous post asserted, “Only in America can an ethnic group of black awareness month, black holiday, black only colleges, black only dating sites, and black only bars and clubs…and turn around and call everyone else racists!” You don’t have to look far to find evidence of extreme black racist demands.

In California, the San Francisco African American Reparations Advisory Committee released a report calling on the city to pay every qualifying black California resident $5 million and absolve them of their outstanding personal debt. This is madness. California was a free state and did not condone slavery, but the committee is doing all it can to justify reparations: “While neither San Francisco, nor California, formally adopted the institution of chattel slavery, the tenets of segregation, white supremacy and systematic repression and exclusion of Black people were codified through legal and extralegal actions, social codes, and judicial enforcement.” To the left, this “failure” warrants millions of innocent California citizens being forced to pay higher taxes to fund exorbitant benefits to one race they haven’t abused in any way.

In Washington, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) is proposing a law that could codify black racism in America. There is a common mantra in her political speeches: White America is defined by institutional racism, systemic racism, white supremacy, and white nationalism. She attacks “white” America and seems to see the clan in the face of every white citizen. Such general attacks are evidence of a new racism—black racism.

Read for yourself Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s proposed law, the Leading Against White Supremacy Act of 2023. The legislation promises to criminalize criticism of any minority that is subsequently used to incite anybody else to commit a hate crime. The law reads: “A conspiracy to engage in white supremacy inspired hate crimes shall be determined to exist between two or more persons, at least one of whom published material advancing white supremacy, white supremacist ideology, antagonism based on ‘replacement theory,’ or hate speech that vilifies or is otherwise directed against any non-White person or group could, as determined by a reasonable person, motivate actions by a person predisposed to engaging in a white supremacy inspired crime.”

This is a chilling attack on freedom of speech against one race—caucasians. In short, if you criticize a minority and another person states that your statement was all the motivation needed to do a hate crime, you may be jailed because your criticism “motivated” a hate crime you did not commit. Get the message—be silent and conform or we will put you away.

Black racism is real and just as evil as white racism. Both must be soundly rejected by responsible citizens. As a Christian, I affirm my Savior’s claim that all God’s children matter! No responsible citizen should be shamed into silence by the irresponsible racist attacks of the left. Be proud of yourself and of America. Whether black, brown or white, success as a small business person or advancement as a good employee had to be earned by hard work, long hours, and diligent sacrifice. As with Americans for generations, it was not handed to you. You didn’t depend on government handouts to get ahead, you had to find a way to earn your own American Dream.

Reparations will never happen! Politicians can’t even afford to fund the entitlements they’ve already promised. Special black racist demands are unethical, divisive, and risk fueling a new racism backlash. Politicians from the left keep making the promises to fuel racist anger and secure special interest donations and votes.

Don’t fall for their racist rants and demands. Depending on government entitlements is never the answer. Instead, get busy following the models and learning from citizens of all races who have made America work for themselves and their families.

Let’s reclaim the American Dream Martin Luther King, Jr. affirmed. Do not judge a fellow citizen by the color of their skin. Celebrate the character of the vast majority of good American citizens you meet. Keep rejecting racism of any kind. It’s time to stand proud and applaud hard work and success wherever we find it, no matter what the race. May it always be so in this great republic we treasure…America!

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Faith

Tired? Hopeless? Discouraged? Read This.

I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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Want to Influence like Jesus? You can! Click here for Jesus: Master of Influence.

I get it. Many people are feeling tired, hopeless, and discouraged. Life is tough and the past few years have been really tough. But there is hope. Take some time to read slowly through this familiar passage. Focus on it. Claim the truths for yourself. Refocus your mind onto the truth of God rather than the problems of the world:

Psalm 23

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1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. (He gives us everything we need with generosity)

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, (He brings us to a peaceful place)

3 he refreshes my soul. (He invigorates my spirit)
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake. (He takes me to where I need to go)

4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; (When evil is present, God is right there with me)
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me. (He brings comfort to us)

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies. (When my enemy is ready to fight, God is ready)
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows. (Abundance is mine)

6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life, (God’s love for you is eternal and never-ending)
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever. (The promise of heaven is real for us)

Aren’t these great promises? Focus prayerfully on them today!

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