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The Snoop 12.11.2014

Have you looked at the calendar? Today is Dec. 11. Next Thursday is Dec. 18, and the next Thursday is Dec. 25. Christmas is just two weeks away. How many times have I asked – how many times have you asked, “Where does time go?”
I don’t know if it’s because we, here at the newspaper, live from deadline to deadline, or if it’s just the fast-paced world we live in. Maybe, perhaps, it could be our years of maturity (maturity, not age) that makes it seem time goes by so rapidly, but, honestly, I still have trouble writing 2014 – and soon it will be 2015!
Nevertheless, the Christmas season is here. Don’t be depressed by that fact. Enjoy it. The Ava Christmas parade is this Saturday afternoon and the weatherman has promised us a beautiful day for the parade. Do you remember last year? Schools had been closed for a week due to snow and ice, and with more freezing precipitation coming, the Friday Night Frolic and the parade were canceled. We’re looking forward to a great Frolic and parade this year.
Also, if you have not taken time to drive around town and look at all the Christmas lights, you should do so. Ava is a Christmas showcase this year, from north to south and east to west.
And now – Christmas story.
This week the Snoop borrows another “Good Thinking” column from Don Kuehle.
What’s A God Like You Doing In A Place Like This?
The time around Christmas is a time of surprises! We’re surprised at the change that takes place in people. People who never speak to us, are now friendly. People who are grouchy and grumpy are easier to get along with. People who are selfish now delight in giving to others. The “spirit of Christ” changes everything for the good!
The greatest surprise at Christmas time is to find the Lord God living among us! The God whose power created all things has come to live among us weaklings? The God whose wisdom and understanding boggles our human minds? The God who is pure and holy is now dwelling among an impure and un-holy people? The God who is so loving and forgiving that we are put to shame? The King of Creation has lowered Himself with us?
So, what’s a God  like You doing in a place like this???  You entered our world in a small hick-town nobody ever heard of. You came to us as a tiny baby. Born in a smelly stable. No trumpets. No fanfare. No red carpet.
Our world is not the kind of place where we’d expect to find a great and good God! Somehow, You just don’t fit in! We’re not sure You’re even welcome here. Our world is corrupt!  King Herod was greatly disturbed when Your light exposed the corruption in his government, his secret dealings, his lying and cheating, his violence and killing. Our world is full of greed! The Inn-Keeper was  overjoyed. His Inn was a popular place; business was booming. But he wanted more. So, when the crowds came – he raised the prices, cut down on the quality and quantity, and turned away anyone who could not pay. Was it any wonder that the young couple from Nazareth found no room in the Inn – no pay, no stay! Our world is over-shadowed by fear! King Herod was afraid. The Inn-Keeper was fearful. The pilgrims who traveled the roads of Judea were afraid. The shepherds were filled with fear. Everyone was hiding behind the walls they had built – afraid of the world outside. Only the shepherds overcame their fear, went to Bethlehem, and found the Christ-Child (God-in-a-manger). Many of us today celebrate Christmas, yet miss the Christ – because no one can find God while hiding behind a wall! Our world is filled with suffering and pain! The Government’s Tax program caused many to suffer. The pain of a child being born. The killing of innocent children by a ruthless ruler. Crosses lining the roads of a conquered land. Nothing has changed! Our world is still plagued with endless suffering, needless pain, violence and abuse, wars-without-end.
Question still is: “What’s a holy God like You doing in in un-holy and un-Godly world like ours?”Answer: This is Your world, not ours. You love everything and everyone You created; in fact, You loved us soooo much that You were willing to sacrifice Your only Son on the Cross in order to save us from ourselves, from our rebellious, sinful ways. You are a God who lives life – so, You came in person to show us the best way to live life – life that is rich and full and abundant and everlasting. You came to us because you saw how much we were suffering; you saw our pain. In Christ Jesus, You fully experienced our pain and suffering – and You overcame both. You experienced death – and You rose triumphant from the grave. In all the times of our life, You are right beside us. Good News!  You are Emmanuel – God-with-us!  Thanks for coming! ! !
Dr. Don Kuehle, United Methodist, Retired, Jackson, Missouri