Washington At The Forefront

He created, and awarded three of the badge of merits, that would become the Purple Heart. His name was General George Washington. Today, on what we call President’s Day, we celebrate Washington’s birth.

The day, now widely regarded as an honor to all the men who followed after, began as the office did. It all started with George Washington. One stalwart American, a simple Virginian Veteran, laid out the course every other leader would follow.

From Lincoln to Roosevelt, each of our Presidents have attempted to follow in his footsteps. His goal was to do his best, and for that I am truly grateful. That’s all any of them have attempted to accomplish.

Yet, rather than dwell on any’s mistakes, I prefer to look what they’ve accomplished. The Stars and Stripes still fly, we can truly still sing from sea to shining sea, and liberty still beats in every American heart. That is the gift of Washington.

He painted something far greater than the portrait on our medals, coins, and bills. He painted the idea that every American, whether their beginnings were humble or great, can achieve the American Dream. A vision, not based on prosperity, but of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

His gift, like his presidency, was not of a fully formed idea, but the space to complete the ideals they fought for. He wasn’t only our first President, he was the veteran of a war that could have taken everything from him. Yet he believed in it so deeply, he embraced the call. 

So today, as each American builds their own mental amount Rushmore. As we all assemble our favorite President’s lists, may they all have one thing in common. May each begin like our Purple Heart, and the granite monument, with Washington at the forefront.

Jan 1 Or Mar 25

Happy New Year, at least it is now, but it wasn’t always that way. For example, in England, from the 12th century to 1752 the year began on March 25. January 1 did not become the beginning of the new year in Thailand until 1941.

This isn’t the first time that the beginning of the year changed though, it happened long before there was even a Roman Empire. Another empire existed, the Egyptian one. The issue was, they had oppressed and enslaved God’s People, and The Lord said it was time for a change.

In Exodus 12 He told Moses, the month of Abib, would be their January. Abib, and The Passover not only became their new year’s celebration, it led into the Exodus, and a new way of life. The wonderful thing about God, His changes are far reaching.

Abib means an ear of grain or corn. Thousands of years later, The Lord Jesus talked about an ear of grain. He explained that, except an ear of grain fall into the ground and die, it can’t produce fruit. In that one sentence He illustrated what the Jewish New Year had truly foreshadowed all those years before.

What is amazing, is He was talking about the death He would soon die. Christ died during the month of Passover, the month of Abib, and rose three days later. He didn’t just give His life in the month God declared would be the beginning of Israel’s year, He gave us all the means of a new beginning.

Later, the month of Abib was renamed Nisan, or their flight. From an ear of grain to flying away. Even the renaming of time itself, is a reflection of the possibilities of hope God has provided for all of us, Jew and Gentile. It doesn’t matter what you’re facing, when you know Jesus.

That’s not to say it will be easy, anything worth doing will involve sacrifice. A journey always follows a new start. It’s also why, it’s always worth the effort. The more you walk towards hope, the more momentum you build.

Wherever this January 1 finds you, whether secure, or struggling, your circumstances do not have to determine your path this day, or this year. Israel’s greatest day came, not when they were in charge, but when they were enslaved. Christ’s death cost Him unimaginable pain and sacrifice, but His love for us propelled Him forward.

No matter what you are facing today, no matter the size of your circumstances, or the depth of your battle remember this, it can be a new day. Every great event in life, every great accomplishment, and every one who has ever been successful at anything, didn’t start at the finish line, but by taking a step.

Take the step today towards a better future. Ask The One who makes all things new, to begin something new in you. Whether you’re reading this on January 1, or you don’t find it til March 25, it doesn’t matter. Any day can be your day one, so Happy New Year!

Our Christmas Hope

There’s a Nativity scene on the table, five trains in the house, stockings are hung, and lights gleam from the tree, bathing ornaments of various themes in light. It’s Christmas Day, as I set by the tree, it’s a peaceful Christmas morning. 

The Message of Christmas, that is the birth of The Savior, has endured everything from the dark ages to two world wars. Regardless of circumstance, opinion, or threat, Hope overcame fear, it’s no stranger to it. 

The story of Christmas didn’t start in a manger, it goes back so much farther. Before God made the worlds, He knew if man chose to sin, what He would have to do. In the garden, Adam and Eve realizing what their mistake had cost them, we’re despairing of hope. God had to do what He told them He would do, but He also told them something else.

There would be a child who would return hope to the world. A hope of not being bound by, or to their mistakes.  A hope that Isaiah whispered would grow out of a dry ground.  

When Jesus was born, David was not on a throne, nor was David’s descendants. David’s body was buried, and many believed the hope of Israel was as well. After all, the Roman eagle had compassed the known world. What hope did Israel see for their future? An yet today, a Jewish flag soars over David’s homeland, and Augustus’ body lies in a tomb.

If Israel felt hopeless, how much more Gentiles, descendants of everyone from Esau to the Philistines. None of us were part of Abraham’s family tree, there were no lights in our history.  Yet hope declared “Come unto me all you that labor, and are heavy laden!”

Hope walked from the streets of Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Capernaum, to the Gentile streets of Samaria and Sidon. Jesus reached out to the Samaritans, and the Syrophoenician. Hope shouted that Jesus was born to save the world, Jew and Gentile. 

Hope explained that His death on the cross would open the door of Hope to all the world, for He was The Door, The Way, The Truth, and The Life. He had placed a way of escape where none existed before. Three days after sacrificing His life for ours, He walked out of a borrowed tomb, and He left a God shaped hole in the fabric of fear.

Why do we celebrate Christmas? Because it’s more than statues on a table, or lights on a tree. It’s more than a small train just going around in circles. It’s the fact that no matter how dark the day, or sorrowful the night, His Light cuts through it!

Christmas holds the fact that, because He was born, died, and rose, He will return, silencing fear once and for all. Until then, He will calm our fears, reassure us that His Peace can endure tribulation, famine, war, and opinions.  

Jesus wrapped Christmas in something much stronger than either swaddling or grave clothes, He wrapped it in a promise. A promise that peace on earth, and goodwill to men is more than a song, but a reality. A promise that, because He lives, we will live also, and that is what Christmas means to me! It’s why I celebrate Christmas everyday!