Family Christmas

Just like Jesus, when I was born I was the youngest in my family. Okay, Jesus was the oldest too, but that’s because he was the first. A mere technicality. Me? I was actually fourth, and last in line. Then, since my parents were convinced they couldn’t do any better, they quit. That’s one version. The truth is a little more pedestrian, but seriously, can you imagine that early sixties Christmas card without me holding little Santa? That’s right, I didn’t think you could. We still get a few family-photo Christmas cards from friends and family in the mail, and they’re wonderful. My sister especially is good about sending one every year. As we all have grandchildren now it’s cool to see hers as they grow. The pictures are a reminder that the clock seems to move faster as the years go by. Fewer and fewer people send any Christmas cards, let alone the family photo variety. I suppose that’s a side effect of the internet. Social media and all the other various means of electronic communication we enjoy allow us to drop in on each other instantly, so waiting for the mail carrier has largely fallen out of fashion.

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”
Luke 1:35 NIV


No matter how we go about doing it, Christmas is traditionally a time when families try to get together and celebrate. However, although we hope it’s a joyous time, circumstances and idealistic expectations can conspire to make the holidays tremendously difficult for many. Some are estranged from their families or simply don’t have adequate connections in their lives to make celebrating easy. For that matter, there are those who either don’t believe in Jesus or are jaded by the abundant commercialization. So, since not everyone has the desire or is in a position to celebrate Christmas, and since it’s often a time that seems to highlight not what they have, but what they lack, how can Christians be part of the solution? How do we please God in this?

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
Matthew 2:1-2 NIV


First, although Christmas is a time of great celebration for followers of Jesus, if it’s a day by orders of magnitude so different from our everyday life that we become someone else, something is wrong. Yes, cheer for Jesus’ birth! Yes, take the time to enjoy the unique traditions we all know and get excited about! But so infuse your everyday life with Jesus’ love to the degree that Christmas is the exclamation point to the person you already are. Second, recognize that not everyone relates to your experience. It’s your responsibility to communicate why we are so excited about Jesus coming to earth in the first place. Don’t assume people know. One may have heard the Christmas story seventy times and yet it was the seventy-first that touched their heart. Third, find practical ways to express the love and hope within you. There’s a reason so many hospitals were founded by Christians. We should allow God to use us to be the light shining in the darkness and the glue that binds our communities together in times of difficulty.

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV


Let this Christmas,
no matter how many I’ve seen,
be the Christmas
others see Jesus in me.
Let the joy and hope
of Jesus’ birth
infuse my walk
while I’m here on earth.


©Joel Tipple 12/21/2019



Good Morning!

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Good morning new day
I’m glad you’re here
Been expecting you since last night
couldn’t wait to see you
here already new life
up with the sun
on the other side of the clouds
now it’s time to run

It used to be I barely
could face another day
but now that we have met
I can’t go back to be that way
no matter what life throws at me
I’ll swing at every pitch
I may lead the league in strikeouts
but oh Lord when I hit…
when I hit…

Good morning hopeful
born of grace, born of the Son
beyond the sleepy eyes and pillow creases
beats a heart that’s born of Jesus.

Did you know your heart gets stronger
when you give your heart away?
The economy of hope just always works that way
a hand up then a hand up and then another hand
so many
like the beaches’ sand

Can’t wait to get the day in gear
like Indiana Jones
adventure I’m sure to find
out there or here at home
there’s quite enough of darkness
so it’s time to shine some light
and find some treasure?
I just might!
yeah I just might!

©Joel Tipple
#4/16

Missing Heartbeats

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One fifteen thousand times a day,
your heart was born to beat that way.
Jesus died for you and he rose again,
abundant life is now yours and freedom from sin.
The joy that you’ll feel will make your heart skip some beats,
now you’re free from that Adam disease.

If it seems I’m missing just a few of my heartbeats,
if counting them I come up shy every time,
it’s cause Lord, you fill me up with love and new meaning. I’m your design.
Your perfect love covers all my imperfections
and all I’ve gotta do is to surrender me.
You make my heart so full God that it skips some beats, see,
but they were never mine.
No they were never mine.

Joyfully my heart beats. Joyfully my heart beats.
Joyfully my heart beats. Joyfully my heart beats.
Joyfully my heart beats. Joyfully my heart beats.
Joyfully my heart beats. Joyfully my heart beats.

Life everlasting
Love never failing
Push away from the shore
Now you’re sailing!

God gives a new heart when you turn from sin,
when you turn to him.
You’ll put away your childish ways and become a beacon of light.
Help those you meet in the world gain new sight.

“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully,
even as I am fully known.”

If it seems I’m missing just a few of my heartbeats,
if counting them I come up shy every time,
it’s cause Lord, you fill me up with love and new meaning. I’m your design.
Your perfect love covers all my imperfections
and all I’ve gotta do is to surrender me.
You make my heart so full God that it skips some beats, see,
but they were never mine.
No they were never mine.

They were never mine.
And you take my breath away.
They were never mine.
You take my breath away.
They were never mine.

© Joel Tipple
#25/14

Wake Up And Breathe

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My friend, like a lot of people
you are searching
and searching’s not a bad place to be

to the light
point me to the light

but neon signs of false gods
masquerade as reality
their garish promises mislead
and leave you empty

to the light
point me to the light

truth strikes a chord when you find it
just like God designed it
you thought your heart was locked securely
but Jesus has the key

wake up and breathe
wake up and breathe
you were made to be one with the Father
where he leads, you can learn to follow
wake up and breathe
wake up and breathe

trade in those superficial dreams you thought were so fantastic
back before you had eyes to see
throw away your calendar
full of yesterdays
wake up and breathe

instead of marching in place
move
instead of waiting for someone
move
instead of trying in vain to reinvent yourself
let Jesus reveal who you were always meant to be

wake up and breathe
wake up and breathe
you were made to be one with the Father
where he leads, you can learn to follow
wake up and breathe
wake up and breathe

This is the most important decision you will ever make.
Are you ready?
Okay…
now breathe.

© Joel Tipple
#23/14

We Are New

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We are drawn to the cross, Lord,
where instead of a bitter ending
a joyous new beginning burst forth for all humanity.
Because of your astounding love we are new.

We are new and becoming new,
though by rights we should not be.
The sin that was our inheritance
you purchased on Calvary.
We are new and becoming new.
You reached down with your nail scarred hand.
You saw the lost children we were,
then gave us vision for who we could be.

The future we embrace now,
for this course we race now
we do not run alone.
You carry us when our strength leaves
and eternal life is our guarantee
for your power rolled away the stone.

We are new and becoming new,
for your sacrifice tore the veil.
Because we are adopted sons and daughters
death cannot prevail.
Life is new.

The world now can’t claim us as its own.
We have eternity written in our hearts
and a place before your throne.
We are new.

Earthquakes and tidal waves,
fires and ferocious storms,
poverty and sickness,
cannot prevail against your love.
No matter what the scales read before
your love is more.
Because you died
and rose again
we are new,
and becoming new.

© Joel Tipple
#20/14