When I think of Christmas, thoughts of joy as well as sad memories flood my heart and soul. My memories take me back to my childhood while living in Mexico, when an apple and an orange made the holiday swell. There was no tinsel and bells, no Christmas tree in our three room house that housed all twelve of us.

     In the better years maybe a ten cent kite or a wooden spinning top. But the greatest excitement always came from my mother's kitchen. The bunuelos (fried bread sprinkled with sugar), tamales of course, and my favorite was mom's capirotada (mexican bread pudding).

     Though gifts were not in abundance and most of our toys were homemade, what I remember most were the sing-alongs enjoyed by just about every member of the family. It seems to me that the absence of things left us more time to enjoy one another. One would think that the aboundance of things to enjoy would certaintly make one happier. The empitness we see in people all arouind us is a testament to the contrary. I don't know about you, but I can see among young people a searching for something more fulfilling, a greater reality that transcends the dull drum of every day excistence. I think that's why we see them turning to alcohol, drugs, homosexuality, and even crime.

     I've had the opportunity to travel to many places outside the United States. The only two places I have not been to is India and Africa. But everywhere I've traveled to I have seen real poverty; real distress. But to my surprise these poor and needy people did not seem as unhappy as we can observe in our own affluant society. We have so much more compared to the rest of the world and yet we don't seem to be very thankful. No wonder Jesus said that "a man's life does not consist from the things he posseses." Happiness does not come from how many things you have! Being happy as I see it is a choice, it involves a decision. The greatest happiness, the greatest joy, the greatest satisfaction I have found is in being in a right relationship with God.

     Booze, drugs, women, music, sex, did not make it happen for me. Don't get me wrong it was fun for a while. Even the Bible agrees with that. Proverbs 9:17 says, "stolen water are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant." The pleasures of sin are for a season. After a while you will come up empty and then what? Many people (young and old) die every year because they discover it's all a delusion; suicide is on the rise.  Alcohol kills, drugs turn you into a slave, there are over thirty sexually transmitted diseases. Aids has become an epidemic. Homosexuality is a perversion, it goes contrary to nature. To sodomize a man is to humility and rob him of his manhood. A man was never intended to be a woman, nor a woman a man. "From the beginning God created them male and female."

     God just wants us to be thankful whether you have much or little. Christmas means God gave us His son, the greatest gift. For this we all can be thankful. JESUS IS GOD.

~ Pastor John