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Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Second Sunday of Epiphany-Jan 16

11 Jan

The second Sunday of Epiphany and the rest of the season, the color is green symbolizing nature and life. Green reminds us that all nature reveals the glory of God. Though liberals say nature shows arbitrary selection, nature reveals the order and wisdom of God’s creation. Nature shows God’s handiwork, just as the stars revealed Christ’s birth. Science reveals more and more a complex universe that could not have happened by accident, it could only have been created by God. Epiphany is also a time when we remember that Christ brought us a new life. Through Christ, God revealed the Truth that set us free from the dominion of sin and death. One of the marks of the love of Christ is love for our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Church. Unbelievers saw how the early Christians loved one another and they wanted that love. Today many churches are torn by strife and many Christians are fighting among themselves. Unbelievers see the fighting and are not interested in getting in the middle of that. They are turned off by the way Christians treat each other. Does your church show a love among brothers and sisters in Christ that would draw people to it?

 
 

Epiphany-Jan.7th

07 Jan

The Power of the Light-The story of the Wise Men reminds us that not everyone was glad to see Jesus come. We often think of the Wise Men coming to see the baby in the manger, but the Bible says that the Wise men went to the house where Jesus was. Since Herod ordered the soldiers to kill all male babies two years and younger, Jesus was probably a year or more old by the time the Wise men arrived. We like to think that the coming of a great king who would bring peace, would be a great thing and everyone would be glad, however the story of Herod reminds us of how jealously man without God seeks to maintain his power. They love the darkness because their deeds are evil. When the Jews forgot God and returned to their selfish ways, while still maintaining an appearance of worshiping God, God sent the prophets to remind them how to walk with God. However, they tortured and killed the prophets. Jesus came to bring Light into the darkness, but Herod tried to destroy Jesus by killing all the baby boys in Bethlehem. When the Catholic Church forgot God and sought to build up its power, God sent the reformers to restore the church, but church leaders tortured and killed many of them, rather than give up their power. Since then, men of power have feared those who preach the true Word of God because they know that men who know God will not bow down to them or serve them. We see today what lengths those in power will go to silence the church and those who serve God because they know that they can never totally control the world as long as there are Christians.

 

New Year’s Day

31 Dec

Not Christian-While New Year’s Day is not a Christian holiday; many Christians will celebrate it somewhere, where better than in church. Many unbelievers will be out drinking and dancing to erase the memories of the past year and celebrate the coming of the new year. New Year’s Eve is a good time for the church to gather in preparation for the new year. Some churches begin with a dinner, than a worship service, then games and fellowship as they wait for the New Year. Others begin with a dinner, than play games and fellowship until almost time for the New Year when they have a worship service to usher in the New  Year with praise for His blessings in the past year and prayer for guidance and direction in the new year. Whatever you do, let it be a time of joy and anticipation, recognizing that God forgives the past sins of those who seek Him, is our present help, and our future hope. It is a time to remember past blessings and pray for the future for we do not know what the future holds.

 
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Christmas Day-Dec 25

20 Dec

Share the Joy Many will not share the joy of Christmas because they have no one who cares for them or they may live in poverty and cannot afford special gifts. Either way, we should seek those around us who will not know the joy of Christmas unless we share it with them. By visiting those who are lonely, we remind them that we have not forgotten them and God has not forgotten them either. If you know someone who will be alone this Christmas, invite them to share Christmas with your family. A growing number of Christians are deciding that instead of giving each other gifts they don’t need, they will put that money into buying gifts for those that might not otherwise receive gifts. They are supporting Christmas programs by organizations in their local area like The Salvation Army, and organizations abroad like Samaritan’s Purse or simply giving gifts to neighbors they know who might not otherwise know the joy of Christmas. Christmas is a great time to teach your kids the value of giving and the greatest gift they can give is themselves. Volunteer as a family to help a local church, social service agency, day care, hospital, or nursing home. Many have special programs at Christmas that need volunteers. Besides, people, especially children, like to be part of a celebration. If there is no good celebration, they will be drawn towards bad celebrations.

 

Advent-D

28 Nov

While churches often have special activities at Christmas and Easter, most of the other holidays like Pentecost, are not even mentioned and many Christians aren’t even aware of them. In addition, there is rarely any celebrations in the home. Celebrations are special times when the family can gather and share things together. In addition, it helps both parents and children remember them. It also helps the family remember that God is not only in church but is a part of all that we do, both in church and at home. Jewish celebrations were mainly in the home, not in church, and the youngest child would stand and ask why they were doing it. The father would then tell the story of what God had done for His people. It is also good to include the promise of God in the celebration to remind everyone of what God is going to do. For more information on the holidays, see “Understanding the Path We Walk” copyright 2015, in the chapter “Before Our Eyes”.

 

 
 

Advent-C

28 Nov

The Jews did not receive Christ when He came because, while they still observed the Passover, they forgot what it meant. They went through the motions of sacrificing the lamb in the temple, but their hearts were not in it. They even had someone recite the story of what God did when He delivered them from Egypt during the Passover meal, but they forgot that God had promised to send the Lamb of God to deliver them from sin and death and did not realize that Jesus, the Lamb that was slain for our sins, had come and offered Himself up as a sacrifice for them. Many Christians today do not even celebrate the holidays and have forgotten God’s promises. Celebrations are a way of remembering special times and if we do not celebrate them, we forget them.

 
 

Thanksgiving Day-B

24 Nov

When I was a child, Thanksgiving was when my grandparents gathered their three daughters and their families and we shared Thanksgiving together as a family. Few do that anymore with families so scattered. During Thanksgiving, we celebrate all the blessings God has given us but there are many who will not have much to be thankful for. Some may have lost loved ones, been divorced, or separated, or suffered a financial crisis. They may not have relatives living nearby to share Thanksgiving with. Do you know someone who will not have someone to share Thanksgiving with or have anything to celebrate it with? Invite them to share your table and your family for Thanksgiving, or your church or community can hold a Thanksgiving feast and invite those who have no one to share Thanksgiving with. It is good to remind ourselves and our children why we celebrate the holiday. After we pray before the meal, the head of the family could add a comment such as “Today we celebrate the end of the harvest season when the last of the crops have been gathered in, to remind us of the First Thanksgiving when the pilgrims who survived the first year in America, gathered with the Indians to thank God for their harvest. It also reminds us that one day God will complete the harvest of souls and call His people home to Him in heaven. Then all who believe in Christ will be gathered in heaven, before the throne of God, for the marriage feast of the Lamb of God.”

 
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Thanksgiving Day-A

24 Nov

In the 1500’s, Europe had become a closed society where many were tied to the land and opportunities for bettering yourself were almost non-existent. Many came to America because it was a land of plenty and a land of opportunity where even the poorest person could become rich through hard work and determination, yet it wasn’t easy in the beginning. America was an untamed wilderness, far different from what they knew in Europe, and there were few resources to fall back on. Many of the early colonists faced starvation and without food and training in growing the strange American crops by the Indians, many more would have perished. The colonists that survived and saw the first harvest gave thanks to God for preserving them by throwing a big feast. Our harvest is later than in Israel so we celebrate Thanksgiving later but is still a time of remembering when our ancestors had to depend on God to preserve them in the wilderness. In the prosperity today, it is hard for many to understand what it means to be completely dependent on God so Thanksgiving is a time when we remember how they had to rely on God.

 
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Christ the King Sunday-B

24 Nov

It is proper that it be celebrated before Thanksgiving, since God has ordained that one day He will come to earth again to take his followers home and then He will hold a marriage supper to celebrate His marriage to His bride (the Church). Though many argue whether Christ will return before the tribulation, during the tribulation, or after the tribulation, God has spelled out the sequence of the last days. (The coming of Christ (Rosh Hosanna)followed by the time of tribulation, and finally the final judgment (Yom Kippur) and the end of the age, followed by the marriage Supper of the Lamb (Succoth) which we shall celebrate in heaven. Succoth, (the Feast of Booths), celebrates the completion of the final harvest, just as Thanksgiving celebrates the completion of final harvest. One day we will sit with Jesus in the marriage feast of the Lamb (symbolized by Succoth) celebrating the completion of the harvest of believers and the marriage of the Church with Christ. That will be one great Thanksgiving feast with all the saints gathered before Christ. Succoth (the Feast of Booths) remembers the days they wandered in the wilderness, just as we celebrate Thanksgiving to remind us how God preserved the early colonists through great tribulation, but one day we will celebrate in heaven how God preserved the saints through their tribulation and the fact that His harvest of souls is complete. Since God fulfilled the Passover and Pentecost exactly as He ordained them, I have no doubt that He will do the same with Rosh Hosanna. Christ the King Sunday is the last Sunday of the Christian calendar and celebrates what will one day begin the last days of the human race, when Christ ushers in the new heaven and the new earth which He and His followers shall rule and from which Satan and all who follow him will be forever banished.

 
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Christ the King Sunday-Nov 21-A

24 Nov

While Thanksgiving is not a universal Christian holiday, it is a good opportunity to remind ourselves and teach our kids about the Second Coming. Christ the King Sunday follows the final Sunday of Kingdomtide. While the third and final holiday, which God commanded the Jews to observe occurs in late September or early October on our calendar, our harvest season is later and occurs in November. As a result, we celebrate it in connection with our harvest as Christ the King Day, the celebration of the Second coming of Christ. It is celebrated the last Sunday before Advent and so usually occurs the Sunday before Thanksgiving, though it occasionally occurs the Sunday after due to a distortion in the Roman calendar.  Most Christians no longer celebrate it and take little thought of Christ’s return. The Bible states that the trumpet will sound, and true believers will be caught up in the air with Christ. Since we don’t know when Christ will come again, it is important for us to be ready, or we will be left behind. Non-believers however, will remain on earth and go through the days of tribulation where they will have a final chance to repent. At the end of the days of tribulation, the final harvest will be complete, and God will close the books forever. (See “Before Your Eyes” in “Understanding the Path We Walk” for more on the holidays)

 
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