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Category: Christmas

Police Dole Out Gifts Not Tickets

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Topic: Christmas
Scripture: Isaiah 9:6
Source: “These Drivers Thought They Were Getting Tickets. Instead, Police Gave Them Christmas Gifts” by Kate Abbey-Lambertz, posted HUFFINGTON POST, 12/12/14
Author: Kate Abbey-Lambertz / Illustration Exchange

“Getting pulled over by a police officer can make a good day bad and a bad day worse. Unless, of course, he helps you with your Christmas shopping instead of writing you a ticket,” reports the HUFFINGTON POST:

In a video released Tuesday, the police department in Lowell, Michigan, did just that.* Over two days in November, Officer Scot VanSolkema stopped unsuspecting drivers for minor infractions, like illegally tinted windows, that the department might normally let slide, according to Today.

After he pulled them over, VanSolkema made small talk and sneakily asked drivers what they or their kids wanted for Christmas. Meanwhile, a group of helpers were standing by at a nearby store. As soon as they heard a driver’s Christmas wish, they’d race to find, buy, wrap and deliver it to VanSolkema.

Instead of tickets, the officer handed over gifts, like a new TV and an electric scooter. Drivers had reactions that turned from irritation into confusion before melting into joy, and, in some cases, hugs.

*Click link to source above to view the video.

Application:

Isn’t it sad that those who have been tasked with the job of “keeping the peace” usually evoke such a sense of fear and dread within us? There’s no doubt that those Lowell, Michigan, citizens were convinced that the officer approaching their car was there to drop the hammer and nail them on one infraction or another.

Some of that stems from our own sense of guilt and shame. We’re just sure that we must have done something wrong! And some of it stems from an expectation that those who are charged with keeping the law take some sort of perverted delight in catching us when we break it.

But on this day, all expectations were shattered. It’s important to note that the officer pulled over the drivers for legitimate reasons (illegal tinting or a burned out turn signal). Yet he chose to look right past the driver’s guilt to the driver’s need for those yet unfulfilled gifts on their Christmas lists.

This is exactly the way our gracious God chooses to deal with us each and every day!

While many of us see Him as the great “law keeper” in the sky, just waiting to nail us on one thing or another, the reality is exactly the opposite. He’s the great keeper of the peace Who has Himself already satisfied all the requirements of the Law, so that He can look right past our guilt to our need. And the best part is HE is our gift!

It shatters our expectations. It’s confusing. But let the reality sink in, then just melt into the joy!

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

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Stealing Baby Jesus

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Topic: Christmas
Scripture: Colossians 1:12-18
Source: Tracking Systems Direct
Author: Illustration Exchange

NBC News:

When Baby Jesus disappeared … from a Nativity scene on the lawn of the Wellington, Fla., community center, village officials didn’t follow a star to locate him. A GPS device mounted inside the life-size ceramic figurine led sheriff’s deputies to a nearby apartment, where it was found face down on the carpet. An 18-year-old woman was arrested in the theft.

Giving up on old-fashioned padlocks and trust, a number of churches, synagogues, governments and ordinary citizens are turning to technology to protect holiday displays from pranks or prejudice.

It’s a sign of the times. Holiday display theft is on the rise, and Baby Jesus is a particularly common target.

  • At First United Methodist Church in Kittanning, PA., a baby Jesus was stolen and replaced with a pumpkin.
  • In Eureka Springs, AK., someone who took off with a plastic baby Jesus from a public display, as well as the concrete block and chain that was supposed to keep it locked down.
  • In Meridian Hills, IN, a couple stole the figurine, and then led police on a high-speed chase in an effort to keep their loot.
  • A parishioner of a Brooklyn church prayed that whoever stole the Baby Jesus from a $1,700 Nativity scene dedicated to his late parents would have the heart to return it.

Sensing the opportunity, reports NBC News, security companies have increasingly started rolling out products and special seasonal contracts specifically designed to address the threat. “We have seen a growing number of cities and homeowners simply frustrated with holiday theft and vandalism, and that is the primary reason behind the increased use of GPS theft recovery systems during the holidays,” explained a Tracking System Direct specialist.

Application:

“Stealing” Jesus isn’t just a “seasonal” threat.

Everyday, whether at the hands of false religions, pseudo-Christian cults, false prophets, or even secular humanists and atheists, Jesus is being plucked from his place of prominence in the Gospel message.

Materialists and commercialists pluck him from the center of the Christmas season and replace Him with Santas and sleighs and gifts and gadgets galore.

Secular humanists and atheists rob Him of His divinity, reducing Him to mere human, or worse yet, mythical status.

Take whatever security measures are necessary to keep Jesus in your Christmas this holiday season, giving Him, in all His glory, His place of preeminence.

“Giving thanks unto the Father … Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:12-18, KJV).

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