Christmas Trees

Church Vocal Choir – images from pixabay.com

Christmas Trees are Wonderful


Christmas Star – images from pixabay.com

SONG: O Tannenbaum – Weihnachtslieder zum Mitsingen | Sing Kinderlieder

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27JleM39TPY
Way uo top – images from pixabay.com

History of the Christmas Tree: https://www.whychristmas.com/customs/trees.shtml
Reminder what is Christmas – images from pixabay.com

Under the Tree – images from pixabay.com

Decorating the Christmas Tree

Many variations in just what people put on a Christmas Tree and there are new things as well as old traditions applied; live trees and artificial trees are in use to day. Sometimes “The Star of Bethlehem” is put at the very top; sometimes and Angel.

Share Jesus with anyone and everyone; you may help someone gain peace, joy, purpose and eternal life.

Romans 6:23 ESV

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Angel – images from pixabay.com

Live or Archived Sermons (to learn from):

https://www.calvaryleh.org/live-stream

Audio Sermons too Learn by:

https://www.calvaryleh.org/audio-sermons

Next Week: Jesus Christ in the Line of David

ESV: English Standard Version – Crossway

Join a Church, Bible Study . . .  read the whole Bible in order to learn the full meaning of GOD’s Word.

A Season of Hope and Joy

Lyrics – images from pixabay.com

 

 


Family Joy – images from pixabay.com

Hope and Joy


SONG: SEASON OF HOPE (With Lyrics) : Don Moen

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKT1VUj5Qrs


Romans 15:13 ESV

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Traditions – images from pixabay.com

We have Hope in our future because Jesus Christ came to offer a way to share eternity with GOD. We have Joy because of that and how we can share this greatest gift of all. Christians mimic this at this time of year by exchanging gifts or giving them and not expecting them in return. We take part in all kinds of programs designed to benefit the less privileged in our communities and even the whole world. The giver receives as much, if not more, joy that the receiver.

2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Happy Children – images from pixabay.com

We Enjoy the Delighted Children

Boy Grin – images from pixabay.com
Shy Joy – images from pixabay.com

Psalm 127:3 ESV

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

Smiles – images from pixabay.com

How wonderful to watch the innocent faces of the children all a glow during this time of year. The laugh and sing and dash about within our midst helping us to feel younger, remember our youth and encourage new joy at whatever age we are.

Babies – images from pixabay.com

 

Do Not Omit the True Source of this Joy

1 Timothy 2:5 ESV

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

Christian keep Jesus Christ in Christmas season; share the meaning of his birth; offer the Gospel to whomever and wherever you find yourself. Pass this post on.

John 3:16 ESV

Nativity – images from pixabay.com

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

NEXT WEEK: Christmas Trees

ESV: English Standard Version – Crossway

Join a Church, Bible Study . . .  read the whole Bible in order to learn the full meaning of GOD’s Word.

Not Just During the Christmas Season

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Enjoy Your Christmas Blessings . . .

Christmas Feasting: Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “The top of the season to you from two “Chaps”” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed December 12, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-5a10-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
.  .  . and share with the poor also: This is good for you and them.
Salvation Army Share – Via Google Images
Food to Warm – images from pixabay.com

The needy have been around a long time.

Vagrants: Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “New York City : Early Morning At A Police Station — Turning Out The Vagrant Lodgers.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed December 12, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-273f-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

Yes it is Good to Help Needy People During Christmas Holidays but what About the Rest of the Year?
Lodging Cellar for the Poor: Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “A Five Points Lodging Cellar.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed December 12, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-d7e8-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

Part of my childhood was affected by the absence of my father which created hardship for my Mother and two brothers.  In those days people we knew seemed less understanding and sometimes cold. What support and help we did get was meager and sometimes perfunctory. Ironically just a decade beyond the Holocaust the Jewish neighbors (some death camp survivors I learned later) helped us more than our fellow Christians – some from our own family. Those who did continue to help surely took the Biblical teaching that the poor should be helped; not just during “The Holidays”.

Proverbs 19:17 ESV 

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

God gave that instruction before Christians even existed . . . and this one when “The Church” began:

Acts 20:35 ESV 

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Having much to share is a blessing, not just because it is the material wealth that you can enjoy but, that you may share and store treasure for yourself in heaven.

Burned Out – images from pixabay.com

 

Remember not only the underprivileged but those who suffer loss as well.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 ESV 

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

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Hijacked Holidays Still Matter

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Stonehenge – images from pixabay.com

Some people get compulsive about the origin and meaning of a celebrated holiday so much so that they miss the value of the celebration.

Merry Christmas 1 – image from pixabay.com

Does it really matter what exact day Jesus was born? In my opinion no. What really matters is who He was, why He came and what He accomplished.

John 1:14 ESV

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

Jesus is central – image from pixabay.com

So if someone says Christmas is just one of many holidays observed on or near  The Winter Solstice they probably miss the true meaning for humanity of The Christmas Holiday that Christians celebrate.

John 3:16 ESV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

TRADITIONAL celebrations can meld into new meanings or acquire entirely new meanings

Take the story of ST Nicholas and how this became a story about how the Santa Claus tradition began.

Fra Angelico – The Story of St Nicholas: Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Nicholas

People are social entities and observing an event, a commemoration, or a remembrance corporately, is one way to fill the need to be united or connected.

Taylor Afternoon Winter Panorama – Google
Nicholas of Myra – images from pixabay.com
The Story of ST Nicholas and Black Peter – images from pixabay.com

We need uplifting and joyful celebrations . . .

. . . so we celebrate the Fourth of July in the USA ; many other countries celebrate special days that their citizens consider important; this also includes many holidays connected with the religions of the world. As a Christian? Christmas and Resurrection Sunday (Easter) top my list.

It helps to face winter’s dark and cold nights to have eternal hope in GOD because of the accomplishments of Jesus Christ.
Merligen – images from pixabay.com
TO KNOW ABOUT GOD AND GOD’S WAYS THE BIBLE SHOULD BE STUDIED AS A SINGLE UNIT; UNITED IN CONCEPT AND CONSISTENT WHEN CONTEXT IS UNDERSTOOD. 
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Relationships Between Men and Women

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Ah Ha! I suppose you thought I was going to join in on the sexual harassment news of the day: NO

Nativity – images from pixabay.com

I am going to highlight the relationship of Joseph and Mary when she was found to be carrying baby Jesus.

Nativity 2 – images from pixabay.com

In the Jewish culture of the their time a betrothed couple were already in a binding contract almost as secure as marriage itself. What was expected was much: the man must prepare a home secure and sufficient for a family and the woman must make all the necessary preparations for her becoming a wife and a mother.  Both were expected to remain pure: no sexual relations between them and, most definitely not with another person.

Proverbs 18:22 ESV

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.

So when Joseph learned of Mary’s pregnancy he had every right to break the engagement (equal to a divorce) or quietly vacate the betrothal.  He did not.
Marriage Bond is Global – images from pixabay.com

Mark 10:9 ESV 

What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Human Bonds in Marriage – images from pixabay.com

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ESV

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Wedding – images from pixabay.com

 

Bride and Groom – images from pixabay.com
Human Bonds in Marriage – images from pixabay.com
Wedding 2 – images from pixabay.com
TO KNOW ABOUT GOD AND GOD’S WAYS THE BIBLE SHOULD BE STUDIED AS A SINGLE UNIT; UNITED IN CONCEPT AND CONSISTENT WHEN CONTEXT IS UNDERSTOOD. 
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Is Honesty the Best Policy

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Honesty – image from pixabay.com

Is it possible to be honest all the time?

As I grew from childhood into adulthood I took the instruction from my family and church seriously concerning telling the truth (even though I saw a wink from a family member now and again). Movies and television programs (especially for young people) proclaimed the merits of being honest as a way to a better life.

My Father Explained What a White Lie Was

Truth or Lie – image from pixabay.com

My mom smacked his shoulder and they both laughed when my dad began to explain to me what a “Little White Lie” was. In school, in church and on Kid’s TV I did not get an explanation so I remained puzzled.  This conundrum followed me into my teens when my idealism peaked and matters such as misused truth, deception, hypocrisy, politics and human to human manipulation troubled me a great deal. Mostly I just struggled to navigate daily life always weighing these issues trying to reconcile the ideal with the reality I found. During my time serving in the U. S. Army the contrast between the touted ideal and reality was at its greatest contrast – I will not go into details save soldiers have a history of decadent behavior when off duty for one thing.

Deception – image from pixabay.com

In College I was Immersed in Postmodernity . . .

. . . and was unaware of it for many years.  I am a lifelong learner so eventually I acquired philosophical knowledge and a keen sense of comprehensive thinking (I am a product of a liberal education in that I do question everything and attempt to make sense of what I discover). Mankind experienced great failures in science and morality and this was perplexing so a philosophical upheaval set humanity on a strange course (see the following):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_relativism

In a logic class I learned about faulty reasoning and fallacies: this gave me a great deal of understanding but did not solve the dilemma concerning “absolute honesty”.  One variable is how one defines honesty and whether it is in an ideal or in a practical sense in which we refer.  Words (languages) are powerful and can be used to a person’s advantage without too much trouble especially to the unsuspecting.  I could introduce situations where lying saved a life or lives but that may be an exception and it will do little or nothing in the quest to solve of the core issue at hand: how do we really define honesty and can we be honest all the time?.

Excuses – image from pixabay.com

Midway in my life – 35 years old – I became a Christian: “My dilemma is solved I thought”

Not so fast.  Rather than offer my analysis let us inspect what GOD has to say in The Holy Bible and thus allow you to ponder the questions about honesty for yourself. I already expect the comments will reflect whether or not, you are a follower of Jesus Christ (have The Holy Spirit as a helper), you believe in GOD at all or are a secular humanist:

Exodus 20:16 ESV 

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Proverbs 12:22 ESV 

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

Matthew 5:37 ESV 

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

Colossians 3:9 ESV 

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices

 

ESV = ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION BIBLE 

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Christmas U.S.A. (<<< click title to go to article)

Is it Borrowing or Hijacking Words and Symbols?

Chrtree

The English language is a dynamic living thing: words are taken in from other languages, new words are invented ( see: http://www.shakespeare-online.com/biography/wordsinvented.html ) and new meaning assigned to words in common use quite easily.  Words like gay, naughty, guy or even meat are examples. ( See: http://ideas.ted.com/20-words-that-once-meant-something-very-different/ for more)  Some symbols have had their meaning altered as well: The Rainbow, The Hindu Swastika or the Star of David all have had meanings altered through history.  Some changes are benign, others positive but some changes are not welcome and the new meaning a result of what those who disapprove refer to the word or symbol as being “hijacked”.

We Cannot Prevent Change

Chrs b

Hard as we may try we cannot stop the processes that alter the meanings of words or symbols.  Christmas itself originated when Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity.  Once Christian Faith was accepted and allowed it was practiced openly.  The celebrations and holidays recognized by “The Church” then were incorporated into the life of the people. Some symbols that were originally associated with other meanings (celebrations at the winter solstice for example) were adopted and today seem like they were always associated with the way we see them.  So yes, even we who may express concern of cultural morphing of some words and symbols can trace some of our traditional usage as having been “hijacked”. However I am not defending what was hijacked from our Christian culture or tradition on the contrary, I associated the Christian view of American culture and traditions as an important part of our identity as a people.

We can Share the Holiday Season to a Point 2

As Americans we value our liberty, freedom of speech and our tolerance of things different.  Yes this is part of what makes us who we are and what has made us a great nation.  Yet I do not want to lose our strong social, cultural and traditional identity and as a Christian Nation.  I will discus the issue of Church and State in The United States in a future post to my blog, this topic is not about that.  This article is intended to express the need to keep the true meaning of Christmas and the strong positive Christian influence on America vibrant and as a Nationwide observance even as we tolerate different perspectives.  I defend the absolute right for all Americans to say, “Merry Christmas” to any and everyone they choose because it is a part of the United States of America’s very foundation.

Chrs 0001c

                                       My song: “Think of Christmas Long Ago”

Think of Christmas Long Ago

What the Bible Says About the Meaning of Christmas

Luke 2:11 ESV

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Isaiah 7:14 ESV

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

 John 3:16-17 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.