What is Christmas? 8 Stories From Trinity Church

What does Christmas mean to you?

What does Christmas mean to you?

With Christmas only a couple days away, it brings back a lot of memories for some people. For others, it’s a time during the year where we reflect on the great gift God gave us with the birth of Jesus.

For everyone, there’s a different story about Christmas. Not everyone grew up with the same celebrations and for some, the story of Christmas is ever changing. Some have great family memories. Others have surprise presents.

We asked several people of our church to share their Christmas story. What was their favorite memory? What do they look forward to every year? What does Jesus’ birth mean to them?

Here are our stories:

Pastor Albert

What I love most about Christmas is that for one quiet morning, I feel as if God and my family have my full attention.  The distractions of work and the world seem to fade away and I am fully present in the moment.  I am truly content and blessed and at peace.

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A Quemex Christmas

Quemex is a watch and clock making company from China, founded in 1984.

By John K. Lee

It was the early `90s. Socially conscious hip-hop was being phased out by hardcore gangsta rap. Z Cavaricci and Jimmy Z were the brands that the cool kids were rocking. I’m not sure exactly how old I was, but I must’ve been in junior high, because these things were starting to become really important to me.

In those days my grandparents occupied the spare bedroom downstairs. I remember one winter morning when my grandfather asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Normally, I’d need some time to think about this, but this year I knew exactly what I wanted. Before he could even finish asking, I flew upstairs to my bedroom and frantically flipped through the latest issue of Sports Illustrated For Kids to find the ad for the ultimate Christmas present – a Swatch watch!

For those of you youngsters who don’t remember how popular Swatch watches were, let me tell you, back in the day, this watch was THE accessory to have. If you had one, or multiple ones (assuming that you had that kind of money), and a pair of Jordans then you were stylin’. The only problem was, the price for this watch was pretty steep. Nevertheless, I knew that good ol’ grandad wouldn’t let me down.

So in my best Korean, I explained how I wanted the white one with the florescent, Jackson Pollock-esque, design on the straps. (I know. In retrospect, this sounds pretty lame. But, in those days that color combination was the truth). I even ripped out the page for him to take to the store so he made sure to get it right.

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Cuddle Season: I Need You Now

By Jeff Cao

It’s getting colder. Hot chocolate will fill mugs instead of coffee soon. Fall fashion is getting into full swing, scarves are laying on necks. ‘Tis the season to give thanks, to get together with family and old friends, to give gifts to those who occupy our minds and lives. It’s also the start of cuddle season.

But wait! What if you’re single!? Crap. Another winter of looking at “happy” couples walking arm in arm down the street with their cheeks nearly touching just to “keep warm”.

couple-in-winter

Taken from itsyourwallpaper.blogspot.com

Look familiar?

For all you singles out there, you may relate pretty darn well with the opening lyrics to the song “Busted Heart” by for King and Country:

Winter has come back again
Feels like the season won’t end
My faith is tired tonight,
And I won’t try to pretend,
I’ve got it all figured out,
That I don’t have any doubts,
I’ve got a busted heart
I need You now
Yeah I need You now

I feel for those of you who can relate to these opening lyrics. I struggle with singleness quite often. Most of the time it’s a fleeting thought, doesn’t bother me much. But other times it feels like I’ve got a busted heart. How do you cope? Let’s look at the next part of the song, maybe there’s some redemption coming.

I am the wandering son
Enough is never enough
I keep chasing the wind
Instead of chasing Your love
I’m screaming out Your name,
Don’t let me fall on my face
I’ve got a busted heart
I’m in need of a change
Yeah, I’m desperate for grace

Did you catch the redemption in there? Did you look hard enough? Well, I don’t see it. The first four lines remind me of an awesome teaching of Jesus Christ. It’s recounted by Luke, the physician, in Luke 15.

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Headshot - Jeff Cao

Jeff is in a young man in his 20′s, living on the west coast of the U.S, just trying to experience life to the fullest while attempting to help others along the way. He offers up some advice on getting through your 20′s alive, passes around some hope while doing so, and throws in a few “life hacks” here and there which will, he’s sure, be entertaining to us all. Everything from finances, to family, to spirituality; you suggest it, he’ll blog about it. Check out his blog at: seecao.wordpress.com

Classic Christmas: 4 Stories Uncovered

By Cindy Cameron

A lot of movies have given us many Christmas-y icons that we associate with this time of year, sometimes even before we think of Jesus, the very person’s birth we are supposed to be celebrating! These relatable and redeeming characters have become traditional Christmas stories that we love to revisit each year to get into the holiday spirit. The stories of these characters aren’t completely worldly, in fact if you stop and think about some of them, you might be surprised what you uncover…

Grinch
The Grinch – this devious and greedy being was very easily irritated by others’ joy BUT when bequeathed with the kindness of others, he is reborn as a kinder self! Sound familiar? 2 Corinthians 5:17 “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

Rudolph
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – in charge of leading Santa’s sleigh through the foggy winters on Christmas Eve, Rudolph leads the rest of the reindeer, including ones who previously ridiculed and mocked him, on their mission to complete Santa’s journey. Matthew 5:14-15 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.”

Buddy the Elf Buddy the Elf – naïve and innocent man who was raised away from his family in a whole different world (the North Pole), and yearns to look for his real Father, and eventually finds him. Deuteronomy 4:29 “But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

But there is one story we cannot forget.

baby-jesus-mary-joseph-by-dewey

My favorite place to read it is in the Bible, found at Luke 2:1-20. It is the birth of Jesus! Thankfully, God sent us the perfect Savior and this is why I celebrate Christmas. The characters from those classic movies have become memorable, but the best Christmas story to tell each year is the birth of Jesus. Isaiah 9:6 “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Jesus isn’t some fictional character. He is real and alive! If you have never read the story of the birth of Jesus, I welcome you to uncover it for yourself here → The Birth of Jesus

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Cnd
Cindy is the coordinator for Trinity’s House Church, The Fellowship. The Fellowship is Trinity’s alternative spiritual community focused on making deep connections and enjoying each other’s talents and company. We meet in our homes, where we build camaraderie around singing, sharing, prayer and food. Join us on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month.

MC Jin drops new EP calling Christians to stop being ‘Hypocrites’

By Samuel Lam

Hypocrite

Rapper MC Jin just dropped his latest EP called “Hypocrite.” Jin’s decision to call the EP “Hypocrite” is his message to Christians to not be hypocrites with their faith. He wants them to not say one thing about their faith but do something that doesn’t match their words. In a sense, to practice what we preach.

For Jin, his journey has been a very rocky one but it has come full circle. I’ve been a fan of his music since he made his debut over 10 years ago with Ruff Ryders. I’ve even seen him perform live. He’s good. But it appeared as if he was an unfair token gimmick for the rap group. As a Chinese-American rapper, he had to fight his way to prove that his skills were worthy for radio airwaves.

At the time, I was just proud that a Chinese person made it in the music business for their skills. But I knew that he had a tough road ahead of him if he was to ever be mainstream. He had the skills, but was there for room in the rap game for a Chinese-American? Apparently the public said there wasn’t.

But then his life changed and his music changed with it. And I am so glad he did.

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Come All Ye Faithless?

By Juan Zung

When I was a kid, there were several bands I was afraid of. Bands like AC/DC and Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. I thought that if I liked those bands, God would be angry with me and I wouldn’t go to Heaven. Little did I know that Ozzie Osbourne was (and is) a praciticing Christian. And that AC/DC, despite common loadie speculation, does not stand for “Anti-Christ/Devil’s Child.” And, to my surprise, Judas Priest was not a Satanic cult, but actually got their name from a Bob Dylan song (which incidentally is about the value of Commandments 7 & 10).

So, over time, I let go of my superstitious fear of listening to “Devil” music. But it still subconsciously bothered at me. Even during my most agnostic times, I avoided overtly anti-Christian bands. Take Bad Religion for example. After all, can a band be more anti-religion than to be called Bad Religion?

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Man Up!

By Samuel Lam

Jesus is so manly. But not exactly like these action figures suggest.

Ever since the Act Like Men conference back in October, some of the men in the church have taken a serious approach in what it means to be a man of God. There was a lot of new information and approaches, that we followed up with meetings prior to service every Sunday.

During these meetings, we’ve been following through this book by Eric Mason. It covers the misconceptions of what some may think it means to be a man. It also enlightened us on how some of our previous ways were actually unhealthy in our walk with God.

One of the topics that was being discussed was the topic of sensitivity and pride. Men, for the longest time, have believed that asking for help or showing what they perceived to be weakness was not acceptable. Men had to be strong, hard and firm all the time. Ever since Christopher Columbus, men have refused to ask for directions because it made them feel inferior. Men try hold back tears because crying supposedly makes them soft. They had to be strong all the time.

That’s not true, but men believe it. All men at one point or another, have acted in such a way to save face. Here’s a PG-13 skit that captures my point.

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Don’t Believe The Christmas Lies

By Johnny Cabrera

I am getting tired of this.  The so-called holiday commercials that are currently inundating the airwaves have already started to get on my nerves.  I suppose what irks me most is the fact that these commercials really have nothing to do with the “holy day” (holiday) of Christmas, but in fact companies use this special time to convince people to spend their money on things they don’t need.  And for the most part, it works.

black-friday-craziness

Of course these coercive commercials do so much more than just advertise; they manipulate.  They send deeply deceptive messages, banking on the fact that we will spend our funds on their product, in an effort to have a more fulfilling Advent season.

Annoying Ads

Here are a few advertisements that exemplify what I’m talking about.

  1. A Levi’s Jeans commercial I heard on the radio starts out by saying, “Treat your family better than ever, with a pair of Levi’s Jeans.”  Because that’s what any good marriage and family counselor will tell you keeps a family together: quality denim.
  2. K-Mart decided to go with this slogan for their holiday campaign.  Apparently, K-Mart is not just the source for Joe Boxer.  They provide Christmas too.

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