Christmas morning always had special memories attached to our lives growing up. Whether we get lost in the Christmas Story dream of the ultimate toy, there is an expectation that comes with this holiday like no other. Last night we were talking about families all over the world, India, Turkey, Romania and every other corner of the globe where "even if they don't celebrate Christmas", they get the day off.
A DAY OFF
Our world is so busy and so filled with the hurry up mentality of life, to actually stop and have businesses recognize that the time is Christmas and businessess should close, not just because of some "Scrooge Principal" but because this is the right thing to do, to rest, to cease activity and to reflect on a new kind of majesty.
My father was a banker and lived a "George Bailey" kind of life. He worked for the Savings and Loan and helped people build houses, grow small business and financed deals on a handshake. This was a totally different kind of day back in the sixties and seventies, but the lessons still apply. He saw the good in people and endeared trust and did not have problems collecting, because people had a "base" of beliefs which led them to character.
A DAY TO GIVE
Christmas has also taught us character because the principals of giving, supporting and providing help to those in need, whether it is food or clothing is so important. Several years ago, I had the blesssing to meet a family who run a great feeding ministry and what a blessing they are to so many, not just at "Christmas time" but throughout the year as they pledge to feed and help others.
A DAY TO GATHER
The gatherings that take place on this day all over the world with friends, family and comrades bring a sense of purpose and joy too. Often these gatherings include the "Christmas movies" so well celebrated by all. The movies have always been a tradition of the holidays going back to ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE or WHITE CHRISTMAMS or the amazing miracles found in Charles Dickens, SCROOGE. Entertainment means to distract or divert one's attention in the Greek, so the distraction is always wonderful.
While there are many "things and happenings" about this holiday, there is one belief our society has often become rather bankrupt in understanding and this is th reason for the season. While we all need to slow down, we all need more character, it's fun to give gifts and receive and who doesn'tlke a family reuninon anyway? There is something more than Tiny Tim saying, "God bless us everyone".
THE DAY TO REMEMBER
Jesus was born on a day, just like any other day. We do not know the exact day and we are not positive it was December, but to me...this was never the point. Christmas has always been the greatest symbol of the birth of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, Christmas does not symbolize the birth of any other great teacher and or mystical belief in a God because he was the "only self proclaimed God-man".
Personally, the fulfillment of personally knowing a day is "chosen" by others to celebrate Christ is a reflection of the true joy Christ in Christ-mas makes this season more than magical for me. I am so very thankful all over the world in countries far and wide, there is a Christmas. Do you realize what a blessing this is? Are you truly taking advantage of the moments this represents?
A DAY OF VACATION
The concept of a Christmas vacation is something I never experienced, until this year. I will be sixty years old and actually for the first time in my life, have a family gathering not in a home, but in a place I would have never expected in the world. Entrenched and surrounded by Native American culture in the Southwest, we recognize this holiday with people who, just like us, stop, give and assemble in a midnight mass to celebrate Christmas.
A DAY TO WORSHIP
I was personally too tired to attend the midninght mass but walked into the six pm mass and saw the wonder of church and the celebration of his birth. Wow, this was an amazing thing to behold. Do you know what I saw in the streets? People singing Christmas Carols, musicians, carolers, fires burning and hot cider, nativity scenes and this unmistakeable joy being shared as the words, "Merry Christmas" were on the lips of all.
People were dressed up and the almost freezing weather did not deter the streetwide celebration, the houses being liit up with candles, lights, beautiful decorations and a warmth which overcame the cold. This was a Christmas just like home, but with many people I will never know. Their smiles reminded me of why I love Christmas, because when I found Christ in my heart, I began to smile and live.
A DAY TO WORRY
What would my life be like without Christmas? Well, I would be worried about my past or not being perfect, looking over my shoulder and feeling like the bankruptcy of life was overwhelming. Instead, I see a new today and a better tomorrow because I have hope, I have dreams and I have Jesus in my life. Do you? I pray if you have not explored the tradition of Christmas to find the real "Christ", you will. There is nothing like Him.
A DAY WITH A PROMISE
One day, I will be with my mother again. She is with the Lord now. My Grandparents are with God too and so many people I love who have gone befor us. There is a promise we all have, who know this Christ. He said on the cross to one, "Today, you will be with me in paradise". I believe this was the most perfect statement of the promise of heaven I had ever heard and it's just one more reason why Jesus Christ is the answer to life's greatest questions.
A DAY TO BE ALONE
Some people are alone at Christmas and they feel isolated. Family members have gone and they have trouble making friends. Tragedies happen during a holiday when there is "no hope" and it can be abysmal if you are not careful. Depression can set in and the "expectation can be unmet" bringing peril and problems. Be sure to not isolate yourself this holiday, because all of us are meant to live in true community.
A DAY OF FREEDOM
My prayer is that you will be Merry this holiday season. This can be a holiday for true freedom in your life. This can make the difference forever. Every moment you have, know this. Whenever you may wonder if there is a power in Christmas, the answer is no. The power is in Jesus Christ of Nazareth and there are true miracles, not manufactured movie ones. There is a real Savior and we are all in desperate need of Him and when you find His love, it is my belief your life will change forever and you will never be alone again.
May the Christ of "Christmas" touch you because in this hour, "He lives".
One of the most wonderful opportunities we have at VERITAS MISSION FILM ASSOCIATION is when we get to connect with content creators who have a story they believe can change the world. So many great books are being written and transition into film. They believe in using the visual language of film should be an integral part of their future and they connect with our non profit to partner. Personal biographies are always exciting when you see how powerful truth goes beyond imagination into a new realm.
Tom and Rene' Stewart have both been victims of abuse and to a large degree, they have been treated tragically in their past and much worse than the average person. When you meet them now, you find people who have gone through so much, to turn tragedy into triumph and they are now focusing on helping others. They needed VMFA to come alongside of their vision in helping people and now, secretknots.net is online. We are so thankful.
MEETING IN DETROIT
This past month, Tom flew to Detroit to be with our team as we shared one of our movies honoring American Veterans and what a wonderful experience it was. Thanks to Glenn Brown of Jackson, Michigan who is our newest Executive Producer, we all got in the same room. Tom's story is unique in that it is all true and this became part of a worldwide legal case which got international attention when he and his brother illuminated truths about a national organization who desperately needed to improve the qualifications in the role of helping supervise children. When you take a stand, this requires real courage.
As a victim, who understands other people who have lived through tragedy on so many counts, I am always moved by stands of courage. In October 2017 the author and his wife who had tried to capture their story in a book, came to us with a dream. We believe this is a perfect venue to help share this story to the world.
The couple was in between publishers and yet, still had a dream to create a new work, a new visual documentation of where they were going. A special thank you to all the great self publishing arms in the industry who are doing a great job of encouraging these authors. This is why writing a book is always such a great start when it comes to sharing a powerful story, just like Tom and Rene' Stewart.
It didn't take long for us to realize this was a "Christmas gift" coming to VERITAS in a new fashion and we are so honored to be working with the Stewart family. You see they desire to start a worldwide organization with a big vision, to help those in need. They started a new website we helped them with, it's entitled secretknots.net and if you want to see how something can be birthed in a short order, established to help others, you have to check the site out today!
Authors who realize their role in helping find investors, securing the seed capital needed and are willing to role up their sleeves like Tom and Rene', should be applauded. Not only are these wonderful people, they have a mission and a purpose in everything they are doing. They are looking for NON PROFIT DONORS who see their need in their website, so please go check it out and contact them today.
Another side to the Stewart family, is their gentle approach in helping people who have gone through PTSD and other tragic forms of emotional challenges. Today, they are looking to network with some of the finest counselors in the world and beginning a new portal for people in trouble. This is the kind of "vision thinking" which really inspires us at the Roundtable.
To summarize, never think of your story "inside the box", but think outside the realms of traditional thinking and you will be amazed at what can truly happen to change people and their lives for the better! We are honored to have secret knots.net as our new partner. Thanks again to the amazing work of Glenn Brown and so many who go behind the scenes to make dreams come true.
Merry Christmas Friends,
Love you all!
Kevin McAfee is a filmmaker who writes for the purpose of inspiring others to make a difference in the world through faith in God and using the visual language of film. His blog shares the hopes of impacting culture, because his heart is in media missions and the church.