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God's Not Mad at You
It’s Christmas Eve. Let’s remember.

It’s Christmas Eve. Let’s remember.

DECEMBER 24, 2021

/ Programs / Key Life / It’s Christmas Eve. Let’s remember.

Steve Brown:
It’s Christmas Eve. Let’s remember, on this edition of Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
If you think laughter isn’t spiritual or that faithfulness to God, means conformity to Christian stereotypes, then this program probably isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for honest, Biblical answers to honest questions, welcome to Key Life. Here’s our host, author and seminary professor Steve Brown, along with Pete Alwinson from ForgeBibleStudy.com

Steve Brown:
Hi Pete. It is Christmas Eve. Did you get all your Christmas shopping done?

Pete Alwinson:
Yes sir. And that’s because most of it, my wife does. Right?

Steve Brown:
In fact, that’s the only reason, accept her present.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
Listen, I’ve got your number. I’ve got the same thing here. If I had to do all that shopping, you know, they’d put me in an insane asylum.

Pete Alwinson:
But you can do it on Amazon now. You just shop online. Right?

Steve Brown:
Click it.

Pete Alwinson:
Click it. You don’t even have to go out and brave the crowd.

Steve Brown:
And they even tell you when they’ve delivered it.

Pete Alwinson:
I know, isn’t it amazing?

Steve Brown:
You know, I have some problems with Amazon, but I use Amazon regularly cause they do it right. And they’re the perfect example of a company that put together a product that met a need in a profound way and made a lot of money doing it.

Pete Alwinson:
Boy, they did.

Steve Brown:
That’s capitalism.

Pete Alwinson:
Wow.

Steve Brown:
Yeah. Well, so, so all you do is click it.

Pete Alwinson:
I know.

Steve Brown:
That’s not caring.

Pete Alwinson:
But you have to think about it. So, you know, so Christmas Eve and Christmas Day have to do a lot with gifts. How do you negotiate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with opening gifts and all that.

Steve Brown:
Well, we do what everybody does. We do it on Christmas morning and have, and when the family’s there and our grand kids are going to be at our house over Christmas. And so, Christmas morning, we will all gather in the living room around the Christmas tree. And we’re going to make a mess. I mean, an incredible mess and a paper all over the place and the dog’s going to go, Annie our German shepherd’s going to go nuts and we’re going to laugh a lot and get neat stuff. And then we’re going to be still, and we’re going to read about Jesus. And we’re going to have memories. , You have memories, good memories of Christmas?

Pete Alwinson:
I do. I do. I even, even in a family that was Christian, but had a lot of disharmony in it. I do. Christmas was one of those good times. And even after Christmas, I remember in Southern California, cutting up the tree with my dad and burning it in the fireplace. You’re not supposed to burn pine in the fireplace because of the creosote, but we did. And I just have a lot of good feelings about that, in Southern Cal. It would be, it’d be cool, usually in Christmas time.

Steve Brown:
That was a good time, a good time of memory.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
You know, I think one of the reasons that I struggle or have most of my life with Christmas, is that some of the memories are not that good. My father, as you know, had a problem with alcohol and he was also a gambler who usually won, but sometimes lost. And if he didn’t win, we sometimes were dealing with a Christmas where there wasn’t a lot of money and a lot of things didn’t happen. And those are superficial things, but there was that, there was the division, there was some anger, but then I have the warm memories. You know, when I say bad things about my father, I know a lot of better things about him. He taught me what unconditional love was about. And so at Christmas, my father was there and was kind. And he loved my brother and I in ways that you just can’t imagine. I used to deliver papers when I was a kid. And you’ve heard me tell this and I would, we would steal, well, the statute of limitations has run out. So, we would steal cherry pies from the supermarket.

Pete Alwinson:
Whoa.

Steve Brown:
In those days, they put them out. And they trusted people. And then when they opened up the supermarket, they moved all that product in, minus a couple of cherry pies, we had stolen.

Pete Alwinson:
A boy’s got to eat.

Steve Brown:
Yeah, you’ve got to eat man. It was early in the morning. We were hungry. It was a morning route. So, we would gather around and we didn’t have forks or anything cause you couldn’t steal those, but we would eat cherry pie with our fingers. And I can, I can remember the other guys that were paper boys with me saying, you know, if my dad finds out about this, I’ll leave my bicycle to you cause I’m history, man. I mean, he’s going to kill me. This is, and I remember thinking even that young, if my father finds out, he’ll love me and that’s worse. I mean total unconditional love. And when I talk about God being that way, I got that from.

If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts, how much more your Father in heaven.

And Christmas was a time when I remember, when you said, you know, going with your father and then burning the Christmas tree, the good, the good memories came from my father being there, the bad memories, sometimes from the week before.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
And sometimes from not having a lot.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. And I think it’s important for us at this time of the year, we can process that and think about it. And one of the great things is for young couples is, you can begin to build your own traditions.

Steve Brown:
Oh yeah.

Pete Alwinson:
And we did that. We have a little Scandinavian background and so, in our family, so we started doing Christmas Eve, if the kids come over after church with us, the grandkids, we’ll open up one gift, you know, or do the stockings, you know, on Christmas Eve. And then they’ll go home and do their Christmas Eve there and then come over to a Christmas Day at their house. And now, we’ve got these grandkids, all our grandkids are really young. And so it’s, it’s like pandemonium and, but we started doing one gift at a time. Which is helpful because then you can kind of enjoy who gets what.

Steve Brown:
Right.

Pete Alwinson:
And so that’s been fun. And last couple of years, we finally figured that out.

Steve Brown:
What does being Scandinavian have to do with that?

Pete Alwinson:
Well, a lot of Scandinavians, you know, they do the, they do Christmas Eve. They do open gifts, Christmas Eve.

Steve Brown:
Oh, that’s a part of their tradition. I see.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s their tradition. And my last name Alwinson is Norwegian, and that’s the last thing I look like is Norwegian, but there it is. And, so that’s been kind of fun too, Christmas Eve, one gift, and then Christmas Day, the rest.

Steve Brown:
You know, one of the things that we did is that we, when our girls were growing up is that we had a creche and the last piece, which would be the baby Jesus, was put there on Christmas Day.

Pete Alwinson:
I like that.

Steve Brown:
And so, they brought the shepherds, then we talked about the shepherds. And the angels and we talked about the angels. And it was a pedagogical effort on the part of parents who were concerned with the education. Actually, it was fun. And we, and our kids did learn and learn to appreciate Christmas, with the tangible ways that we dealt with that particular creche.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah, that’s good. That’s a great teaching thing. And even walks in the neighborhood before Christmas can be a teaching time, like okay, the creche and Santa Claus and the reindeer in the same yard, you know, you got to explain that to your kids. Alright, let me tell you what’s going on here.

Steve Brown:
You know, I don’t resent Santa Claus. I make all those comments about it. But, you know, that I’ll bet you, when you were a kid that Santa Claus was a part of a good memory.

Pete Alwinson:
It was, and you know, the Christian take on it, Saint Nick or Nicholas, or it was there a real figure that did something like that is illustrative and powerful.

Steve Brown:
And the Puritans didn’t celebrate Christmas. And I love the Puritans.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
They knew how to party. I mean, they understood grace profoundly, and I use some of the Puritan prayers in my devotional, but they missed it with Christmas. I mean, how could you call yourself a Christian and not celebrate Christmas.

Pete Alwinson:
I know. I got it. I got it. Hey, listen. You know, we can, we have a lot of good memories to think about, and I hope all of our friends do too, I would love for you to end this time by just reading the Christmas Story. Would you do that for us? I think it’d be great.

Steve Brown:
I’m reading from the second chapter of the gospel according to Luke.

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her firstborn son, wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in that region, there were shepherds in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shown around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will come to all the people. For to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” and they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made, known the saying which had been told them concerning the child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

From all of us at Key Life, to you. Merry Christmas

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