Jesus Life


On New Year’s Eve, it is customary to look back at the year that just passed, and to make predictions about the year to come. It’s been a tough year for many, with the financial meltdown and recession, possibly the loss of a job, and many other problems that we’ve gone through. We don’t know if the next year will be a better one or not. Regardless of the presence of a new president in the White House, he still has to deal with disasters that currently exist and new ones that may yet occur.

What I can depend upon without any doubt is that God will be with me in the next year, just as he’s been with me all of my life. We are not promised an easy road; we are promised that Jesus will be with us every step of the way. He told his disciples in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

On their 1981 album, Fools For Christ, The Songwriters had this great song, One Less Tear For God To Shed. If you don’t know Jesus personally, in this new year to come take that step of faith and accept the salvation that He has made available to all. Don’t give your Father in heaven any more reasons to shed tears on your behalf.

Tonight there’ll be laughter
And music in heaven
Another wayward boy
Has finally come home

I can hear angels
Praising the Father
And raising their voices in
A hallelujah song

I know I’ve never given God much reason to smile
Just been a tear in His eye
But tonight I’m one less tear for God to shed

Jesus washed me in His blood
And He raised me from the dead
Filled me with the Holy Ghost
And now I’m Spirit-led

Tonight I’m one less tear for God to shed

I’m never alone now
‘Cause He lives inside me
He lifted the heavy load
I carried for so long

Now I can’t help but
Tell everybody
I’m headin’ for paradise
And you can come along!

You know you’ve never given God much reason to smile
You can wipe one tear from His eye
And tonight be one less tear for God to shed

Let Jesus wash you in His blood
And He’ll raise you from the dead
Fill you with the Holy Ghost
And when you’re Spirit-led

Then you’ll be one less tear for God to shed

Tonight I’m one less tear for God to shed
Yes, tonight I’m one less tear for God to shed
Don’t you know
Tonight I’m one less tear for God to shed

If you’ve never asked Jesus into your life
You can do it right now
And be one less tear

For God to shed

Fools For Christ / Guilty Of Love double CD Click here to purchase
the album Fools For Christ

Sources II-b

Thanks to receiving an email message from Larry Black, I’ve been able to better flesh out his story. Check it out on the page The Larry Black Show.



Anyone who has listened even a little bit to the Christmas story from the Bible (it’s in Luke 2:1-21 and Matthew 1:18-2:12 for those who want to re-read the details) have got the general idea: The trip Joseph and Mary had to take to Bethlehem for the Roman census; no room for them in the inn; their alternate living arrangements in a stable; the birth of Jesus, who was laid in a hay trough instead of a crib; the visit of the shepherds who had been told of the event by angels; and later the visit of the wise men from the east, bearing gifts. Nearly every religious Christmas song in existence contains one or more of the details of the account, and these songs are played endlessly on the radio and in stores during the Christmas season each year.

It would be difficult to have not heard the story, unless you have been actively avoiding any mention of the spiritual aspects of the season. And I could pick any of a number of songs to sweetly tell of the coming of Jesus to our world. But I’ve already done that this year, and I’d like to offer a song that tells it … differently.

From the Christian parody group ApologetiX, here is a song from their 1998 album Jesus Christ Morningstar.  It is a parody of Hotel California by the Eagles. Have a smile today as you listen to Hotel Can’t Afford Ya, their clever re-visitation of that classic narrative.

From a dark desert highway
We pulled into the inn
Rome called for a census,
I was from Bethlehem
Up above from a distance
A star was giving me light
My wife was heavy ‘cause her child was due
We had to stop for the night

So I stood in the doorway
Of Bethlehem Hotel
And I was thinking to myself
“I hope to heaven they’ll give me some help”
But they told us “no-can-do”
And they sent me away
“There’s a place around the corner, though
Where you both can stay”

Welcome, but the hotel can’t afford ya
Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)
But we’re out of space
Ran out of room and the hotel can’t afford ya
It’s the time of year (it’s the time of year)
With the census here

My wife was definitely gifted,
That’s what the Lord’s angel said
She was about to have a baby boy
While still virgin
We spent the night in a barnyard,
Cheap slumlord’s rent
Some night to remember
Some night to forget

So because of what happened
I was grieving for my wife
And I said, “They probably haven’t cleaned in here
Since B.C. 65”
Animal voices were calling for straw and hay
Keep you up through the middle of the night
Just as if to say …

Welcome, but the hotel can’t afford ya
Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)
But we’re out of space
Holiday rush and the hotel can’t afford ya
What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise)
For your silent night

He was born that evening
Shepherds came that night
And they said “We’re all just visitors here
Of the Holy Christ”
And in an ass’s manger,
They found the boy asleep
They started getting teary-eyed
So they went back to their sheep

Last thing I remember there were
Wise men at the door
They had a bunch of packages
From the place they were before
“We’re late,” said the wise men
“We had problems Christmas Eve
We’ve been checking out your shiny light
All through the Middle East”

Jesus Christ Morningstar, ApologetiX, 1998 Click here to visit the ApologetiX
web site if you want to buy this album


I heard from somewhere this year that we should not make such a big deal out of it if Christmas doesn’t seem to have Christ in it. The argument, so it goes, is that the holiday has been so commercialized, so secularized, so merchandized, that there already is not much about the holiday that makes people really think about Jesus and His part in it. Furthermore, it was also said, the day that was chosen so long ago to use in celebrating the birth of Jesus was picked to coincide with a Roman holiday or the winter solstice, and so has its origins in pagan customs, rather than being a true religious celebration.

When I heard this argument, I had to grudgingly agree that yes, there seems to be precious little about Jesus that really is stressed this time of year. It does seem to be more about the sales bonanza that is hoped for by the retail industry, as people buy gifts for each other, going into further credit card debt, and thus supposedly helping boost the economy.

And it is amazing to me how much this holiday has an emotionally charged effect on people. It can have the effect of creating and resurrecting the joy they had as children, anticipating the day when they could open amazing gifts of toys from parents and grandparents. And it can have the effect of creating

  • terror — “How will I ever get my shopping done in time???”
  • depression — “I can’t find the right gifts!!”
  • guilt — “Have I let my children/parents/friends down this season if I didn’t have the right party/gifts/decorations?”
  • stress — “Arrgh! I hate this season because it means I have all this work to do!!”

Yes, Christmas has unfortunately become all of these things, and more. But just because it has mutated into this seemingly unmanageable monster does not mean that I have to succumb to it and simply give in to the craziness. We are encouraged by Paul in 2nd Timothy 4:2 to “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” Paul goes further to point out that people would eventually choose to turn away from the truth, and follow other teachings that make them more comfortable, turning aside to myths (you can insert “Santa Claus” or “Easter Bunny” here).

We don’t have to wring our hands and worry that Christ is not being properly remembered this Christmas. It will be just as uncomfortable on December 25th for those outside of the Church to remember that this holiday is really about Jesus as it is on any other day of the year. It is as important in the Christmas season as it is on April 5th or July 21st or whenever to make sure that people really know what we believe and why.

Tell your friends about why the birth of Jesus is important to you, and when you do it, make sure you do it in love and not to point out what lousy sinners they are. You have this wonderful hope and joy in life, and Christmas it not a holiday to get all worked up about; it is a perfect time to be that light yet another time, and point someone to Jesus.

Randy Stonehill’s classic 1976 album, Welcome To Paradise included the song Christmas Song For All Year ‘Round, which expresses my point neatly and concisely. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, and the birth of Jesus is pointless unless it is an introduction to the Cross.

So, as Randy says, “Merry Christmas”!

I wonder if this Christmas
They’ll begin to understand
The Jesus that they celebrate
Is much more than a man

‘Cause the way the world is
I don’t see How people can deny
The only way to save us
Was for Jesus Christ to die

And I know
That if Saint Nicholas was here
He would agree
That Jesus gave the greatest gift of all
To you and me

They led Him to the slaughter
On a hill called Calvary
And mankind was forgiven
When they nailed Him to the tree

But most of all the children,
They’re the ones I hope will learn
That Jesus is our Savior
And He’s going to return

And Christmas isn’t just a day
And all days aren’t the same
Perhaps they’ll think about the word
And see it spells His name

And I know
That if Saint Nicholas was here
He would agree

That Jesus gave the greatest gift of all
To you and me
They led Him to the slaughter
On a hill called Calvary

And mankind was forgiven
Mankind was forgiven
We were all forgiven
When they nailed Him to the tree

So Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas

I wonder if this Christmas
They’ll begin
To understand

© 1976 King Of Hearts Publishing

Welcome To Paradise, Randy Stonehill, 1976