Sunday, December 26, 2010

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas and what a night it was. The day started like any other though because Christmas was on Saturday we had the whole day off. We had a few last minute shopping and a few more packages to wrap, then I took off for a good long run. We loaded up the car and headed off to Austin to be with my sister-in-law and her family. Arriving without incident at about 6:00 PM, we came upon an empty house. A little perplexed, we texted them and found out there was a little communication error. It seems that when Luana talked with her sister she told her we were coming on Saturday and they had arranged time with their friends from Colorado. Here is where the adventure began.

We decided to get a bite to eat and thanks to the I Phone we found a nice place not too far away. After a leisurely meal we decided to take in a movie and again thanks to the I Phone we found a show and located the place, turning on the GPS and headed out. We were a little short on time but were right there when we realized that the movie theater was not where the little red dot on the GPS said it was. By then it was too late, so we settled on a new movie and a new theater. We had an hour to get there so off we went. Unfortunately the red dot on the GPS was off again and we finally had to go old school and stop at a gas station to get directions. We finally got there with 5 minutes to spare. We got out of the movie at 11:45 and then had to try to find a hotel. No one at the theater knew where one was and so back to the I Phone and we finally found a La Quinta. We just knew there would be no place in the inn. But there our luck changed - we had a room, unlike the first Christmas.

It was certainly not the Christmas Eve we expected and not like any other one we had ever experienced. Thankfully two good things happened. We really had a good time and laughed a lot at our mistakes and made a bad situation good. The other thing was that God in His grace kept me from getting mad and losing my temper. That would not have happened just a few years ago.

Friday, December 24, 2010


As I was meditating the other morning I started thinking about the holiness of God and what exactly that meant or looked like. We read in Revelations where the four living creatures and the elders are always singing over and over "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty". So here are my thoughts. The English word means to be free from sin; pure; sacred. The greek word is hagios which literally means to be set apart. It is to be seen in apposition to the word koine which means common. So how does all of this relate to God?

As I thought I wondered what it is that sets God apart. And I kept coming back to the two most important aspects of who God is - namely that He is powerful and He is good. No created being can boast that he is all powerful. Many have power (though all of their power is given by God) and in our eyes that can look almost limitless, but held up next to God it is pathetic. But God's power is unlimited and that sets Him apart from anyone or anything else in the universe. Related to that is His majesty and splendor and when one looks at Him in all of His glory, he cannot help but cry out that there is no one like You - You are holy, set apart from everything else. Here on earth we do not see Him that way most of the time, though at times we get a glimpse. Therefore we do not really appreciate His holiness. Isaiah got a chance to see Him and saw the true holiness of God, and what did he do? He fell on his knees and face thinking that he was doomed because he saw his own sin in comparison to God's purity. It is a lot different than when we compare ourelves to each other.

That brings me to the other characteristic of God - His goodness. Power is one thing and it is expected for after all God should be all powerful or He would not be God. But what is so unexpected in an all powerful God is His total goodness. That just blows us away when we really think about it. We have never seen absolute goodness, though once again we occasionally get glimpses of it. That also sets Him apart from any other being in the universe. It is impossible for us to even comprehend all that it means and all that it looks like. His goodness is manifested to us in many ways including His love, mercy, grace, forgiveness and compassion. When we get to heaven and see the absolute goodness of God, we will fall down before Him like the living creatures and proclaim His holiness.

Then of course there is the aspect of His purity. We cannot really comprehend what absolute sinlessness and purity looks like. Once again it brings us to our knees and in a lot of ways terrifies us because we see our own sinfulness in comparison. Even the angels are in awe of the purity of God. It is not clear if they are capable of sin (certainly at one time they were, hence the fall of Lucifer), but I think, and this is my opinion only, that they recognize a difference in their purity and that of God's. In summary, all of this separates God from the rest of the created universe and leads the creation to bow in awe and sing holy, holy holy.

Christmas Essay


Jesus, I cannot imagine what that moment must have been like, that moment when you stood at the threshold of heaven, ready to step through the veil of multiple dimensions of existence into our world. What was it like to realize that you would for the first time ever be limited in any way. And how much more difficult was it that you knew you would be totally helpless and in the hands of a teenage woman. Jesus I cannot imagine the love that brought you to this threshold, the faith in your Father that he would see it through or the hope you held out for all mankind that prompted you to take a deep breath and finally step through.

Jesus did you know that when you took your first breath,
That it was you who gave breath to all life.

Jesus did you know that when you drank the milk from Mary’s breast,
That it was you who sustain all creation.

Jesus did you know that when you took your first step,
That it was you who would one day heal a man who could not walk.

Jesus did you know that when you said your first word,
That it was you who spoke and the world came into existence.

Jesus did you know that when you held Joseph’s hand,
That it was you who hold the world in your hands.

Jesus did you know that when your diaper was dirty,
That you had left heaven and perfect purity.

Jesus did you know that when you cried in need of a nap
That you are a God who never sleeps or slumbers.

Jesus did you know that when your mother held you in her arms,
That it was you who hold us in the shadow of your wings.

Jesus did you know that when you at 12 asked the teachers about the law,
That it was you who gave the law and fulfill the law.

Jesus did you know that when your father died,
That you are the father to the fatherless.

Jesus did you know that when you ate bread at your table,
That you are indeed the bread of life.

Jesus did you know that when you drank water from the well,
That you are the living water and those who drink from you never thirst.

Jesus did you know that when you would drink wine,
That you are the new wine of the new covenant.

Jesus did you know that when you fell and cut yourself and bled,
That one day your blood would cleanse people from all their sins.

Jesus did you know that when you learned how to read,
That it was you who are the beginning of wisdom.

Jesus did you know that when you put on clothes,
That at one time you had wrapped yourself with all majesty and splendor.

Jesus did you know that when you looked out at the stars at night,
That it was you who set them in their places and gave them names.

Jesus did you know that when you saw the sun rise and set each day,
That it was you who set the times and seasons.

Jesus did you know that when you played with your brothers and sisters,
That at one time you enjoyed perfect fellowship with the Father and Spirit.

Jesus did you know that when you saw people in your village die,
That you would one day raise the dead.

Jesus did you know that when you went to weddings,
That you would be the bridegroom for the church, your bride.

Jesus did you know that when you worked as a carpenter,
That your heavenly Father is always at work.

Jesus did you know that when you rested on the Sabbath,
That you are Lord even of the Sabbath.

Jesus, at what point did you know who you really were? Was it an incredibly difficult burden to carry? Did it affect how you lived your life, how you worked, how you related to others, how you served? So what is that you are saying to me? At what point did I realize who you are? Has it affected how I live my life, how I work, how I relate to others and how I serve? I think I am beginning to understand. We can not know you and ever be the same again.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


^ The winners!!!!!^

And the losers-----

The girls in their aprons.

Making the cookies.

You just can't do it and not laugh.

The new generation of cookie decorators!!!!!

It is intense work.

It requires a lot of concentration.

And a steady hand.

But you have to be creative as well.

Like father like daughter.

Yummy yummy yummy, I got cookie in my tummy.

Mommy and son - sweet Christy and jayden.

The final product!!!!

It is tradition in the Sudan family that every year about this time we have the Sudan cookie decorating contest. It has become quite a fierce contest over the years and the decorating has become more elaborate. The addition of in-laws has added another dimension and now with a new generation of the Sudan clan coming along it is even more fun. This past Sunday (19th) we held it at the Ogdens in Dallas and Christy is so sweet to allow us to destroy her house while doing this - flour and sprinkes and icing everywhere. Mary Beth won for the second year in a row but Jason got most creative for an x-ray of a stocking and Luana placed honorable mention for the first time. Christy got second place and Amy third. Jayden even decorated his own and EK participated by eating anything she could get her hands on. Thanks to all for another great year.