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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Joy to the World!

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

“Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat, please put a penny in the old man’s hat”  Who can think of Christmas without the joy of Christmas carols?  Everyone wants joy at Christmas.  Everyone wants to be loved, to be cared for, to be remembered.  There is no lonelier time of the year than Christmas spent alone.  Sometimes we try too hard to be joyful at Christmas.  I usually find that the harder I try to be happy, the more self-obsessed and miserable I become.

‘Joy to the World!’  Why is Christmas often the high holiday for alcoholics and the chemically dependent?  Perhaps because people feel this ‘moral burden’ at Christmas to be joyful at all cost.  Joy for many is like the elusive butterfly that is just out of reach.  They can almost grab it and suddenly it is gone again.  All the Christmas presents, all the eggnog, all the tinsel, and all the Christmas lights just don’t seem to be able to produce that strange phenomenon of joy.

‘Joy to the World!’  Joy is like being tickled.  In the same way that you can’t tickle yourself, you can’t ‘pull up your bootstraps’ and conjure up joy.  Joy can’t be forced, manipulated, controlled, psyched up, or packaged.  Joy is a gift, a free gift, an overwhelming gift from the most generous giver in the Universe.  Joy is the true heart of Christmas because Christmas is both about the joy of giving and the giving of joy.

‘Joy to the World!’  Have you ever noticed how you can’t fake laughter?  Laughter too is a gift, a gift of joy, a gift of freedom.  Can you imagine how sad a Christmas Dinner would be without laughter?  Many of us have such a stern view of Jesus that we can’t imagine him laughing or joyful.  Yet Jesus was at his best when he hung out at parties with some of the most unexpected people.  We forget that Jesus, being Jewish, made use of Jewish humour and hyperbole to shock people into thinking.  Can you imagine how racy Jesus’ story was about the prodigal Jewish son who ended up working for a pig farmer?  And yet he used that now famous story in Luke Chapter 15 to remind us that no matter how messed up we become, we can always come home to the Father’s arms.  That’s the true joy of Christmas.

‘Joy to the World!’  Joy and sorrow are neurologically linked in a way that few of us expect.  How true it is that ‘those who sow with tears shall reap with songs of joy’.  Unless we grieve the losses of life, true joy never comes.  Alcohol and drugs merely postpone our doing the hard grief-work that awaits each of us.  Is it a coincidence that the symbol of drama is the twin masks of Greek comedy and tragedy?  How true it is that ‘weeping may last for a night but joy comes in the morning’.  The price of really enjoying this Christmas may be paying the price of grieving the loss of our parents in death, our ex-spouse in divorce, or our children in heartbreak.

‘Joy to the World!’  Shakespeare in ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ said: ‘frame your mind to mirth and merriment, which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life’.  The ancient Proverbs said ‘A merry heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones’.  More and more scientists are discovering that joy and laughter are scientifically good for you.  Joy and laughter strengthen our immunity systems, reduce our stress levels, and alleviate chronic pain.

‘Joy to the World!’  Isaac Watts back in 1719 wrote the unforgettable Christmas Carol ‘Joy to the World! The Lord is come: Let earth receive our King’.  This Christmas, let joy fill our hearts, let the King fill our lives, let the baby Jesus fill our homes.  This Christmas ‘let every heart prepare him room’.  Joy to you and your families this Christmas!

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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In the Midst of Christmas….

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

In the midst of multi-coloured Christmas lights on every neighbourhood street, he loves you.  In the midst of Jim Carey’s ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas’, he loves you.  In the midst of red-nosed Rudolph and the Christmas elves, he loves you.  In the midst of desperate Ski Hill ‘Prayers for Snow’, he loves you.

In the midst of turkey dinners on a family night, he cares for you.  In the midst of stocked stockings hanging by a roaring fire, he cares for you.  In the midst of frost on a snowy window, he cares for  you.  In the midst of carolers singing at your doorstep, he cares for you.

In the midst of Scout Christmas tree sales, he watches over you.  In the midst of Christmas pageants and winter fests, he watches over you.  In the midst of shopping centre santas and boxing day sales, he watches over you.  In the midst of early-morning presents and sleepless children, he watches over you.

It is so easy to be cynical as Christmas rolls around.  Most of us long to get back to the real meaning of Christmas.  Most of us are tired of the endless commercialization that seems to swallow us every December.  I wonder if Jesus realized how much work and expense would spring from his being born over 2,000 years ago!  My hunch is that he never intended that his annual birthday party on December 25th should become so complicated and wearisome.  The first Christmas ‘away in a manger, no crib for a bed’ was a very simple affair indeed.  Just baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and a few animals for company.

It is impossible to think about Christmas without pictures of angels and shepherds.  Many of us fondly remember dressing up as children in such getups.  Our parents would get out their cameras and make a fuss over us in front of our relatives and neighbours.

Christmas morning was always very exciting.  Waiting for Christmas morning to finally appear seemed to take an eternity.  I remember ripping open the carefully wrapped presents with joyful abandonment.  I remember feasting on the delicious turkey dinners and hot apple pies.  I remember my grandparents gathering around the dining room table, telling curious stories about long-dead relatives.  Each Christmas I went to the 5, 10 and 25 Cent store to buy my grandparents their traditional pencils and socks.

In the midst of mistletoe, tinsel, stuffing, cards, and mince meat pies, I loved Christmas.  But I didn’t love the reason for the season.  In the midst of the world’s most fun birthday party, I forgot to invite the birthday boy.  In the midst of family and togetherness, I forgot about the love that emanates from the Christmas manger.  Jesus, despite my being raised in church, just wasn’t on my ‘radar screen’.  Somehow he didn’t belong in Christmas, despite the fact that even the name Christmas spelled his name.

My prayer this Christmas for those reading this article is that the birthday boy of Christmas will once again be welcome at his own party.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.