A Guest Post from my daughter Lydia Snider:
The radio was on and we were cleaning up the house. We turned it to a Christmas station and the song Here Comes Santa Claus was just coming on. We worked and listened and when it came to the part where it says, “Peace on earth will come to all if we just follow the light, so lets give thanks to the Lord above that Santa Claus comes tonight.” We started laughing at the way they had mixed Santa Claus and God; two things that really don’t go together.
But the mixture of these two things didn’t start in the last verse. In the very first verse, in the same line, we hear, “Hang your stockings and say your prayers cause Santa Claus comes tonight!” After listening to the song, you begin to wonder if kids are going to pray to God or Santa (the latter most likely). The Santa Claus story is almost more appealing for kids, isn’t it? Santa brings presents every year, presents that, by the time next Christmas rolls around, have long since been forgotten. Santa will love me whether I’m rich or poor (verse 3). And I don’t mean to say that gifts aren’t good and memorable, they are! But let’s talk about a better gift.
God sent us a gift greater than any Santa could bring: He sent His Son as a baby to be born in a lonely manger in a little town called Bethlehem. It’s sad that such a great God could even be compared to Santa Claus. God sent a gift that would never grow old or be forgotten, a gift that is there for us every morning (not just Christmas morning).
And so to finish, lets remember: 1) Giving gifts is a great thing to do. 2) It’s not loving or kind to say that Santa is coming because he has never come, he’s not coming this year, and he never will come. 3) The story of Saint Nicholas is a wonderful story. He was a person who cared more about others than himself. The way the world has taken this story and turned it into a lie is sad. 4) “Let’s give thanks to the Lord above because he sent his Son to us!”
Merry Christmas ~Lydia
I am aware that you need more context to understand fully what I write here. However, that will not be provided. I hope it is of value as it stands.
September 12, 2013
I don’t think a church plant will happen…at least not right now. The letter I sent to various people did not reveal much interest. Therefore, I will push on doors elsewhere. If you hear of any opportunities please pass them along. Thanks for all your help and prayers. All that you poured into me is still bearing fruit brother…it was not in vain.
I am thankful for the time I have had after seminary. Seminary was good for me in many ways but I needed to adjust to life outside the academy. I was not ready to deliver truth with mercy and patience. I had a packaged deal (that had many flaws) that would not fly very quickly. I would have lorded it over them. I would have pushed my agendas. But now, I am ready to walk with them (whoever they are) for however long it takes. I will have compassion instead of compulsion. Discipleship rather than dictatorship.
Also, I think my marriage is better as a result of waiting. I think I am a better father having waited. I have learned a ton! Many adjustments along the way. The Lord has been so merciful to me.
Seminary students don’t know what they need because they think they know. They don’t know…most of them. I hope you will encourage them to hang around the church for awhile before going into ministry. They need to be around you. Brother, you have such a gift from the Lord. I thankful for the time with you.
At the end of the day, God has not called me to be a pastor but to trust in His Son. The process of following everyday in everything is far more important than ministry. I could be so consumed with seeking a ministry position that I become faithless to the ministry of my family and those I am in contact with everyday.
I could tell you a story about Stanley who was our delivery guy where I work. I spoke with him about Jesus each week even though he claimed to be a believer. A few months ago, the Lord got his attention and he and his son went to church, heard the gospel, and believed. Now his wife is believing. They are making backpacks for the homeless. I could go on and on about things like that. God is using me right where I am…a husband, father, and hardware salesman.
I am in a discipleship relationship with two guys. We meet at McDonald’s every Saturday morning. I see fruit in their lives! Yet I long for more.
I feel like I am doing nothing for Christ. I ponder giving it all up because I can only do so little. Then God sent this to me: “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do so little” (Edmund Burke).
May the Lord do with me as He pleases. May I be content with the small ministry that I have. I will give an account for them too! Pray for me…I so need it.
It is fitting this day to honor those who have fought for our freedom–many at the cost of their lives. I have to admit that I have never been overly patriotic. I’ve taken for granted the freedom earned for America. I guess I am too far removed from the events of history for them to land on me. I am not a historian. In other words, I hated history. It wasn’t pushed in my family. I would guess that I am not alone in many of these contributing factors. When I look at the zealous patriot, who only talks about honoring freedom, I can easily decide not to be that way. That was until I stepped into Arlington Cemetery and observed the memorial at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Of course, it did not make me a zealous patriot. However, the reality of those historical events in plain sight landed on me. If possible, every American should make that visit–especially those visual learners like me. Stepping into Arlington was breathtaking. The sight of the magnitude of lives lost was humbling. It’s not a place to be entertained but reverenced. It’s not a place to laugh but to cry. So when you visit, set your mind to be more aware of your demeanor. May it be humble and honorable.
Now, if this is humbling how much more the reality that God the Son died for our freedom–the Innocent One for the guilty. Our freedom from sin cost something. It cost Jesus Christ his life. There’s no Arlington Cemetery for Christ because there is no need. The grave could not hold him. However, we can honor him today by not continuing in sin from which we have been freed!
Romans 6:3-7 “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.”