1 Thing You Can Do to Start Having the Best Christmas Ever

Stop Being So Religious

It is really annoying.

You don’t have to purify the occasion by talking so much about it being Jesus’ birthday, or saying “Happy birthday, Jesus.”

You won’t win over a generation of cynics by imagining a huge cake with 2019 candles on it.

I caution my friends in the faith to do something very helpful in learning how to truly be a Christian.

Sit down every once in a while and just read the Good News.

There is an incident mentioned, in which the disciples of Jesus came upon a fellow who was having a real good time—celebrating off of the Nazarene’s success. Yet he was not giving any real credit to Jesus himself.

They confronted him, scolding him and saying he needed to come over and follow Jesus and do things the right way. Lo and behold, this independent spirit refused.

Well, the disciples ran back to Jesus in a full-blown-church-lady tizzy. “How dare he snub us and not give honor to you?”

They thought Jesus would rebuke the fellow, or perhaps even kill him for his insolence. Instead, Jesus said, “Leave the dude alone. For those who are not against us are for us.”

Yes, that person at the mall who only loves Christmas because he gets 80% off on electronic devices—he’s one of us.

And the family down the street who look on the December celebration as a commemoration of the Winter Solstice—they are with us.

And all the elves, Santa Clauses, mistletoe, fir trees, choirs, fundraisers and decorated plazas—they are with us, too.

It doesn’t matter what they call it.

It doesn’t matter if you think they don’t offer enough respect to the Bethlehem baby.

For one month out of the year, we stop teaching, breaching, preaching and impeaching and allow ourselves to consider “peace on Earth, goodwill toward men.”

Whatever wisdom people come up with themselves for December 25th, it will lead them to the Star in Bethlehem.

 

Jesonian (The Politics of Jesus) … June 2nd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3691)

PLEASE ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS

Name: Jesus

Birthdate: 0

Race: Human

Hometown:

  • Born in Bethlehem, Judea.
  • Grew up in Alexandria, Egypt.
  • Resided in Nazareth, Galilee until they tried to kill me

Occupation: Former carpenter turned storyteller

Marital Status: I respect everyone

Your voting block: The original millennial

Conservative? With human feelings

Liberal? With human compassion

Favorite Quote: Love your neighbor as yourself

Feelings about current leadership:

  • Herod–the fox who killed my cousin.
  • Caiaphas–head snake of the brood
  • Pilate–doesn’t know what truth is
  • Caesar–“I tend to render”

Salary: Daily bread

Major issue: Self-righteousness

Pet peeve: Hypocrisy

Goals: To do my part so you can do your part so God can do His part

Dream job: Son of Man

 

*****

If you like the mind of Jesus without religion, buy the book!

                $7.99 plus S&H

*******

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this inspirational opportunity

Donate Button

Jesonian … May 19th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3677)

With all the focus being placed on Jerusalem, dubbed “the Holy City,” I thought it might be fascinating to take a look at what Jesus felt about this newly-proclaimed capital of Israel.

For instance, his mother and father visited there before his birth, ended up stranded in the suburbs in a little town called Bethlehem, where there was no room for them in the Inn, and there they birthed their first-born in a barn.

When Jesus was twelve he visited the city, asking lots of questions which produced no answers. The fussy religionists basically told him to “go back home, little boy.”

Although he didn’t make many trips to Jerusalem itself, he frequently encountered a stony-headed group of followers of the Law of Moses who were more concerned about his eating habits than his message.

One day, while visiting the Temple with his disciples and realizing that they were enamored by all the gold and architecture, he explained to them that very soon “there would not be one stone left on another.”

Jesus was very upset about how Annas had turned the Temple into an unrighteous trading center, cheating the visiting pilgrims out of their money on goods and exchanges. He took a whip, beat the money changers and drove them out of the Temple.

When he raised Lazarus from the dead, not far from Jerusalem, spies and assassins were hired to plot the death of the resurrected man because it was bringing much notoriety to this upstart Galilean movement.

Eventually the religious leaders found a fellow-Judeean named Judas to betray Jesus. They put Jesus on trial, lied to Pontius Pilate about him, pretended that they were disinterested in having a “King of the Jews” because they were satisfied with Caesar, screaming for the Nazarene to be nailed to a cross.

On his way to his death, women who were weeping for him were rebuked by Jesus, who stated, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me. Weep for your children and yourselves.”

I believe at this point he might have flashed back in his mind to several days earlier, when he looked over the city of Jerusalem, and with tears, lamented, “How often I would have gathered you under my wings, like a hen does its chicks, but you would have none of it. Your house is left to you desolate.”

If you’re curious about the definition of “desolate,” it is “a place deserted of people, with a dismal emptiness.”

Even after they killed him–murdered him on the cross–the Jerusalem leadership was still afraid that the disciples might steal his body, so they placed guards in front of his tomb.

When he rose from the dead and ascended to the Father, Jerusalem continued to persecute the disciples and early church members, killing and scattering them into the world.

So there weren’t many Christians left in 70 A.D., when Jesus’ prophesy about the destruction of Jerusalem came to fruition, with the Roman Legions destroying the Temple and the town.

As you can see, Jesus had no love affair with Jerusalem.

He angered the Jewish people because he told them that he existed “before Abraham,” and that “God had the ability to take stones and make children of Abraham.”

So it is a good idea for us to check out the Jesonian view of Jerusalem instead of joining the pandering that is done in this country under the auspice of “Judeo-Christian.”

I will tell you, certainly Jesus was not anti-Semitic. He loved the whole world.

But I also must tell you, he certainly was not pro-Israel.

 

*****

If you like the mind of Jesus without religion, buy the book!

                $7.99 plus S&H

*******

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this inspirational opportunity

Donate Button

Jesonian … December 23rd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3530)

jesonian-cover-amazon

A baby being born in a sheep stall in Bethlehem of poor Palestinian parents is not difficult to believe. After all, poverty extracts much of the comfort of good cheer.

Maybe the angels seem a little far-fetched to you (but you know how it is with stories about your young’uns.)

Believing that a year-and-a-half later, a troop of astrologers made their way into town to proclaim this child the hope of the world and the King of the Jews does seem highly unlikely–yet there are always people who have their eccentric ways and live them out because they have enough money to fund them.

Comprehending that there could be a leader of a nation who was so insecure that he was frightened of any competition, and scared a young family away, fearing for their lives, does not seem improbable. Matter of fact, it could be ripped from the headlines. One more refugee family ending up in a foreign land where they have neither kin nor kind is certainly well within the grasp of reality.

Having that young boy return to his alleged home town at age seven, carrying all the trappings and mannerisms of the heathen, would certainly make growing up difficult, not to mention the colliding wills of an every-growing collection of siblings.

Thinking that this boy would have no interest in carpentry, but instead, a precocious passion for humanity and the things of Spirit, is not implausible. After all, he’s the ugly duckling, whom we assume might one day become a swan. He grew in wisdom and stature, and even though he was a foreigner, gradually gained the favor of his neighbors.

It’s not difficult to believe that he lost his Papa, his only real connection with the village of Nazareth, and like many young men, launched out to find some purpose, ending up at the Jordan River, interacting with a wild and wooly cousin named John.

You can certainly believe he got baptized, and probably went out into the wilderness for a while, just to find himself, coming back with claims of interfacing with the devil. You might even forgive his youthful explanation, knowing that to some degree, we all wrestle with our demons.

But the story stalls.

He is rejected by his home town, moves to Capernaum next to the Sea of Galilee, encompassed by a sea of apathy, picks up some friends and followers, and starts traveling the countryside. It is hit-and-miss at best.

It is at this point that many folks who consider themselves to be intelligent and reasonable become cynical about a miracle-worker who calms the waves and casts out demons. But to a certain degree, even those sardonic souls might be able to explain away this and that, but still maintain their interest in the story–especially since he begins to hammer away at religion, loses the favor of the crowd and opens the door of the hierarchy to plot against him, find a betrayer, try him, beat him, nail him to a cross and kill him.

If the story ended there, the baby born in Bethlehem had a life that was a complete failure. His friends are scattered in every direction, his movement was about to become a joke–a piece of farcical history.

So this is where faith comes in. That’s right–you don’t really have to use much to this point. You can just glide along with the story, picking and choosing at will.

But the tale that unfolds, spoken of by those who claimed to be eyewitnesses, is that this baby of Bethlehem rose from the dead.

Now … faith is in full function and also full demand.

Did Jesus of Bethlehem, Egypt, Nazareth, Jordan River, wilderness, Capernaum and Mesopotamia end his life as a failure, beaten down by his critics?

Or did God, the power of the Ethos and the Spirit of the Universe, choose to resurrect him to give the message one more chance?

It’s a very important decision.

It changes this story from a baby shower to a heaven-ordained miracle.

For as we know, several weeks later, a hundred and twenty people in an Upper Room believed it was true. Twelve disciples gave their lives as martyrs, insisting they had witnessed a resurrection.

And at last count, 2.2 billion humans still living two thousand years later have taken their faith beyond the crib, past the crypt … and placed it in the Christ.

 

Donate Button

 

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Jesonian … December 9th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3516)

jesonian-cover-amazon

To the classic question, “Were you born in a barn?” I can truthfully answer, “Matter of fact, I was.”

Although my good friends, Matthew and Luke, did a charming job relating the circumstances of my coming into this world, many layers and textures of the actual tale were left out in favor of a concise sharing, a Hollywood ending with all the participants–shepherds, wise men, angels and Holy Family–lined up in a row for a photo op.

Certainly beautiful and even miraculous, the actual unfoldings were different. I did not learn all the factors of my birth in Bethlehem until I was twelve years old. Mary and Joseph wisely chose to withhold some of the more frightening aspects of the experience from my ears until I was of an age when I could at least attempt comprehension.

But following a trip to Jerusalem, where I was particularly disobedient to them by chasing my curiosity instead of using my common sense, they sat down one night along the trail and spilled.

First, let’s understand that a young girl getting pregnant without a husband was always met with shunning or stoning. Mary’s simplicity and piety did not spare her from the wicked tongues of the gossips.

Joseph felt pressure. We’re told that an angel spoke to him, but Joseph never confirmed that with me. He said he was tortured in his dreams and finally realized that he loved my mother more than he wanted the approval of the town elders.
He did not need to make the journey to Bethlehem with Mary–he could have represented on his own to give the information about the taxes. He brought her because he was afraid to leave her alone.

So they made a fifteen day journey to a little town outside Jerusalem, which had no significance in their lives other than the fact that some “Great-Great Somebody” was born there and Joseph happened to be part of that clan.

When Mother and Father were unable to access lodging in the houses surrounding the town square, they quietly slipped into the stable, hoping not to be discovered. The innkeeper found them huddled in a corner among the animals, and when he saw that Mary was hopelessly pregnant, he chose to leave them alone rather than interfering.

They were stowaways in an animal shelter.

The birth was difficult because Mary was so small, weary from the journey–and both of them completely inexperienced with the process.

No shepherds arrived that first night. No angels sang. Nothing but grunting animals, relieved parents because the baby actually came out whole, and a chill in the air disguised by the heated odor of the stable’s occupants.

The next morning Joseph went to try to find food, and both of them realized there was no place for them to go. They would need to stay where they were for eight days to fulfill the Jewish law on circumcising the baby, so they remained as quiet as possible, hoping the innkeeper would leave them alone.

Three days passed with them scrounging for food, tucking themselves away in the farthest corner of the manger. It was on the fourth night that some shepherds did arrive. They looked perplexed, abashed and completely out of their element. They explained that they had been spoken to from the skies and told to come to find a baby in a stable.

It made no sense. Matter of fact, there was a sniff of alcohol on all three of them which hinted that the visit from heaven might have come from a flask. But Mary and Joseph listened politely, and it made for great conversation over the next few days while they waited for the circumcision.

Arriving at the temple on the eighth day, they were accosted by two very old, wild-eyed individuals–one man and one woman–who claimed the gift of prophecy. They told Mary and Joseph that the baby was going to be great and amazing. Even though Mary and Joseph wanted to believe the words, they feared the utterings were coming from dementia rather than another dimension.

Then things became really difficult. There was no need to go back to Nazareth. The presence of the baby would only increase the gossip.

So Joseph talked to the local carpenter and secured a single room in his home in exchange for work. The job included repair work, masonry and even some garbage collection.

They found contentment, until Joseph was awakened by an angel. (This time he really believed it was an angel.) He was told to leave Bethlehem to protect me from danger. When Joseph told me the story, he said it was the hardest decision he had ever made. It seemed illogical, for they had been in the carpenter’s home for a year-and-a-half and had found some peace of mind. Leaving seemed futile, if not insane.

Before departure could be executed, there was a visit from foreigners–those wise men mentioned in the Gospel story. They brought gifts. They inserted finance into a family that was about to be on the lam from the law. It was certainly timely.

The visitors explained about a star in the sky, but Mary and Joseph never really understood the significance, nor the tie-in.

During the journey to Egypt and the next six years of exile, I developed a separation anxiety. I just never felt part of anything. When Mary and Joseph started having other children, I didn’t feel like a brother. It was more like I was an intrusive uncle or a foster child.

This haunted me my whole life. I never felt quite secure with my surroundings. There were times I left the fellowship with my disciples to slip away and get my head straight, so I wouldn’t come off like a crazy man, nervous and frustrated.

Even though Egypt saved me from King Herod, the rejection hung in my mind throughout my life. I had to be careful not to get offended by the treatment I received. I learned mercy because I had no sense of mercy being given to me.

It became especially strong, and nearly violent in my soul, when Nazareth rejected my ministry, and then my mother and family thought I was crazy. I had to walk away from them.

You see, Christmas is a different tale to me.

It’s a story like many stories in the sense that God’s hand is not completely obvious in the moment, and is only unveiled through the endurance of his followers.

God picked the right pair. For if Mary had been prissy, Joseph would not have been able to manage without her. And if Joseph had been too conventional, Mary would never have been able to muster a companion. They needed each other.

Christmas is a miracle story–about God allowing people of faith to use their faith to do faithful things, to see their faith make things whole.

So Merry Christmas.

And now you know the rest of the story.Donate Button

 

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … December 6th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3513)

I Don’t Fit

I don’t fit the manger scene

Not a lass who’s barely fourteen

Nor a man who heeds his dreams

I’m too possessed with my schemes

Never sheepish, devoid of sin

Willing to welcome a baby in

Yet perhaps an ass from the working class

Grunting a complaint over midnight cries

Where would I fit, with all my lies?

I would be the shepherd who remained with the flock

Bound and determined to punch the clock

“Angels we have heard on high”

Don’t pay the rent–let ’em fly

Bethlehem’s too simple and quaint

No time to stress or offer complaint

I just don’t seem to belong

With angels singing a heavenly song

Go to bed, get some sleep

Rise again to sow and reap

For I would never stare at the sky

Believing a star had the answers why

And trek across the desert sand

A stranger in a foreign land

To burst into tears of joy

Because I found Heaven’s Boy

I’m so glad I missed Holy Night

Because I would have failed to see the light

‘Tis the story that touches my pagan soul

And allows me a chance to be made whole

I don’t fit in the manger scene

With Mama and child, so serene

God was smart, with all His clout

To give me time to figure it out

 

 

Donate ButtonThe producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this inspirational opportunity

Ask Jonathots … December 22nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3164)

ask jonathots bigger

Do you think there’s a need for saying “Happy Holidays” as opposed to “Merry Christmas?”

Mary and Russell were my parents, and when they birthed me they named me Jonathan Richard Cring.

I had an uncle who immediately dubbed me “Johnny.”

One of my older brothers called me “Rock.”

Aunt Mary thought I was better suited to “Little Jon.”

I had one friend, Mack, who always enjoyed referring to me as “J.”

Many, many friends rejoiced over proclaiming me “Big Jon.”

One business associate in Nashville, Tennessee, recognized me as “J. R.”

And of course, countless folks have shortened my Jonathan to just Jon.

At no time during all these transitions did I lose my identity, nor fail to respond to a beckoning.

Likewise, Christmas does not lose any of its impetus by being referred to as “Happy Holidays”–especially when you consider that the word “holiday” is an Old English version of “Holy Day.”

Jesus is not diminished by “Season’s Greetings,” since he is the “reason for the season.”

And even the tiny handful who might call the occasion “Winter Solstice” are still surrounded by innumerable manger scenes dusted by snow.

Yes–the critics are outnumbered.

Sixteen million Jews worldwide may celebrate Hanukkah and twenty million African-Americans may honor Kwanza, but two-and-a-half billion people over the Earth worship the Baby of Bethlehem.

It’s not even close.

And when we become defensive over the terminology of Christmas, we miss the whole point of the message of “Peace on Earth, good will toward men.”

We fail to recognize that Jesus, himself, said “those who are not against us are for us.”

So a Jewish family which lights a candle, and a family in the inner city of Chicago which dresses in African garb and jubilantly trumpets the celebration are certainly not against the Christ child.

Jesus was not defensive.

Jesus did not insist on silencing those who had different opinions, but rather, welcomed questioning.

So I will tell you, it doesn’t matter what people say to me–what I hear is “Merry Christmas.”

And may I point out–it is impossible to hide, disguise, obliterate or even marginalize the effects of that one solitary life which changed the dynamics of the planet–whose birth even set time in motion.

Donate Button

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this inspirational opportunity


Don’t let another Christmas season go by without owning Jonathan’s book of Christmas stories

Mr. Kringle’s Tales …26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling!

An advent calendar of stories, designed to enchant readers of all ages

“Quite literally the best Christmas stories I have ever read.” — Arthur Holland, Shelby, North Carolina

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

"Buy

 

 

 
%d bloggers like this: