Sunday, December 21, 2014

Misconceptions About the Magi. Christmas Trees. Exodus: Gods and Kings. Conversion Miracles.

 

For "Scripture Sunday":

This all begs the question: Just when was Jesus born?

"Jesus was born in the autumn of the year.

We find important clues about the real time of His birth in what the Bible tells us about His cousin, John the Baptist.

Maybe you've read the Gospel of Luke and thought it was strange that the book begins not with the story of the conception of Jesus, but with the story of the conception of John the Baptist. There's a very good reason Luke was sure to tell us in very specific detail when John was conceived and born.

Luke tells us that John's mother Elizabeth was six months pregnant when Jesus was conceived: "In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to . . . a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary . . ." (Luke:1:24-36).

Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were cousins. From this passage we know that John was six months older than Jesus. So we can discover the approximate time of year Jesus was born if we know when John was born.

Let's look at what the Bible says about the time of John's birth.

John's father Zacharias was a priest serving in the temple at Jerusalem in "the division of Abijah" (Luke:1:5). At this time, the temple priests in Jerusalem were divided into different "divisions" or "courses"—groups of priests that would take turns performing temple service during the year. This formed a yearly schedule for those serving at the temple.

Historians calculate that the course of Abijah, during which Zacharias served, was on duty around early to mid-June (see The Companion Bible, 1974, Appendix 179, p. 200). 

During Zechariah's temple service, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and announced that he and his wife Elizabeth would have a child (Luke:1:8-13). After he completed his service and traveled home, Elizabeth conceived the cousin of Jesus—the child who would later become known as John the Baptist (Luke:1:23-24).

Considering that John's conception likely took place later in June, when Zechariah returned home after completing his service in the division of Abijah, adding nine months brings us to around late March as the most likely time for John's birth.

Adding another six months—the difference in ages between John and Jesus (Luke:1:35-36)—brings us to about late September as the likely time of Jesus' birth."  Complete article at: http://www.ucg.org/christmas/when-was-jesus-born/

Comment by Martin1

"As you quote the Companion Bible you will also know that it claims that Christ was born at the Feast of Tabernacles (FOT) and that John the Baptist was born six months before at Unleavened Bread (ULB)and it provides compelling evidence to support these statements.
You state that there is no command to keep Christ’s birthday. Yet if Christ was born at the FOT there would not be any need for any special directive in the Bible to commemorate Christ’s birth, as his birth would have already been during the existing festival.

 
For first century Christians, and for us today, to celebrate Christ’s birth at this time would simply add to the meaning of these days and ULB also.
By noting Christ’s birth at the FOT the Church today could also provide a real alternative to Xmas celebrations, yet there would be no need to categorically state Christ must have been born at the FOT, but that such would be a reasonable assumption- certainly more so than 25th December.
Reiterating Christ’s birth at the FOT would also provide an opportunity for talking about the events surrounding, which rarely happens at all due to there simply not being an occasion to do so in the UCG spiritual calendar."

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Misconceptions About the Magi

Matthew 2:11: And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

"Often nativity scenes will show three wise men along with the shepherds coming to see the newborn Christ in an animal’s manger. However, the biblical account describes things differently. First, it mentions that the wise men came “into the house.” This was apparently some time after Jesus’ birth, since Herod assumed the baby could be up to 2 years old (Matthew 2:16). By this time the family was living in a house.

Also, though the account mentions three types of gifts, it does not mention the number of wise men who came to worship the Messiah, the “King of the Jews” who will eventually rule all nations in the Kingdom of God. The gifts were given as homage to a king, not birthday gifts. “Bringing gifts was particularly important in the ancient East when approaching a superior (cf. Ge 43:11; 1 Sa 9:7-8; 1 Ki 10:2)” (Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary).

For more about Jesus Christ’s birth and how it is misrepresented in the traditional nativity scenes and customs of Christmas, see our article “Christmas: Should Christians Celebrate It?”"   From: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/blog/misconceptions-about-the-magi/

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Is there any connection between the tree mentioned in Jeremiah 10 and the Christmas tree?

image "Jeremiah 10:3-4 describes a custom involving cutting a tree from the forest; carving and then decorating it with silver and gold. Is this decorated tree connected to the modern day Christmas tree? What should we as Christians learn from these verses in Jeremiah about our relationship with God and the use of idols?

The symbolism of Jeremiah 10 is briefly explained in this excerpt from our Bible study aid Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe? :

Article at: http://www.ucg.org/bible-faq/there-any-connection-between-tree-mentioned-jeremiah-10-and-christmas-tree

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Vertical News: New Film Takes On the Exodus Story

"A new generation of Biblical epics is taking shape and the latest offering, “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” just recently reached theaters. How do we approach this or any semi-biblically based film?

image of the mountains of Sinai

Source: freeimages.com/getye1

"As the new film adaptation of the story of Moses, Exodus: Gods and Kings , reached theaters on December 12, we once again have a chance to measure where the leaders of the entertainment industry of our society are in their approach to Biblical subjects. Will they tell a literal tale drawn only from the words of Scripture? Will they lavishly embellish and distort the tale, akin to a recent film about the story of Noah? Should we see these films or not?

In a recent interview by The Times of Israel , the consulting rabbi to Exodus, Rabbi David Baron made this statement, “And when you go to the film, you know you’re getting one man’s perspective on it. You’re not getting the be-all and end-all…” In his assessment of the subject matter of the film, he said, “...the endgame for me, is that young people from all religious backgrounds see this eternal story of freedom taking new light. And maybe they’ll go back to the Bible and reread it, compare notes,” (Jordan Hoffman, “Ridley Scott Trades Out God for Nature’s Fury In Scientific ‘Exodus,’” The Times of Israel at TimesofIsrael.com, December 9, 2014).

According to other reviews and reports the film diverges from the biblical story of the Exodus and seeks to account for the miraculous nature of the 10 plagues with scientific postulations: tsunamis, insect infestations, etc. It should come as no shock to us that a Hollywood epic diverges from the biblical record. We live in a distinctly disbelieving world, and the entertainment industry has a two-fold goal: to entertain and make money doing it. Strict, faithful renditions of religious texts are not their thing.

So, the crux: should we see the film? This is a personal question with a personal answer. Some people will see it in order to consider what it has to offer and where it leaves the biblical story behind. Others won’t choose to see it because they don’t want the distorting images in their head, or because of the violence, or for other reasons.

If you do choose to view this or any other upcoming (or past) biblically-related epics, the advice of the consulting rabbi was useful, use it as a jumping off point to actually read the biblical narrative. Go back to the source, the Bible, and see what God says. Ultimately, we must believe Him and trust that what He preserved for us in the Bible is the accurate explanation of the actual events surrounding the miraculous Israelite departure from Egypt under the leadership of Moses.

If you want to dig even deeper into the truth of the Bible, do some research about recent biblical archaeological finds. For more on this subject check out these resources; Is the Bible True? , The Bible and Archaeology Part 1 , and The Bible and Archaeology Part 2 ."  From: http://www.ucg.org/youth/vertical-news-new-film-takes-exodus-story/

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Conversion Miracles

An Amazing Fact: "Plastic is one of the most versatile materials in the world. Plastics can be made as hard as stone, strong as steel, transparent as glass, and elastic as rubber. Plastics are also lightweight, waterproof, resistant to chemicals and bacteria, and can be produced in a rainbow of colors. At night many of us sleep on mattresses and under blankets made of plastic materials. In the morning, we step out of bed onto polyester and nylon carpets. Plastics are used in the computers we use, the utensils we cook with, the toys we play with, the buildings we work in, and the cars we drive.


For example, the average car contains over 300 pounds of plastics—approximately eight percent of the vehicle’s overall weight! Telephones, textiles, paints, boats, furniture, and thousands of other products are made of plastic. In fact, by 1979 the volume of plastics produced in the United States surpassed the volume of steel produced.
Where does all this plastic come from? Most plastic is chemically fabricated from fossil fuels, such as oil and natural gas. And where did all that gas and oil come from? Our earth’s great reserves of fossil fuel were formed from organic matter that lived before Noah’s flood. As the tremendous forests of the antediluvian world, lush with plants and teeming with animal life—including dinosaurs—were destroyed by the flood, the wind and currents pushed their debris into immense heaps. These deposits were buried under deep layers of mud and silt, which gradually hardened into rock. After 4,000 years of heat and pressure, these enormous pockets of compost were compressed and transformed into great fields of coal, oil, and natural gas. That’s right—the car you drive is not running on horsepower but dino-power! And your computer is made of ancient ferns! It’s amazing to consider that so many of our modern plastic products are made from ancient plants and animals.

 
God is a master at converting matter. He turned water to wine and sticks to snakes. God even turned a woman into salt! But God’s most amazing conversions are the ones He works on human hearts--He turned a greedy tax collector into a generous giver, and a demon-possessed maniac into a missionary. Does your heart need a conversion today? All God needs is your permission."

KEY BIBLE TEXTS:  A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. - Ezekiel 36:26

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Update:

A bit more work was done to the greenhouse addition of the storeroom, we have the front wall up and the door installed.  Now we are working on putting in the ceiling, which will add a few more square feet to the attic over the guesthouse.

A lot of time has been spent blowing and raking.  A big wind came up before a rainstorm and carpeted everywhere with leaves and pine needles.  Jay went up on the roofs and blew a lot more down, too.  We had two burn piles to burn on the calm day.  The man across the street can't stand even one pine needle on his grass, so he has really been at it, too!

Ray and I went to church, and enjoyed the service which had Bible readings Gen.41:1-44:17 about how Joseph interpreted the Pharaoh's dream, and 1 Kings 3:15-4:1 about Solomon and the dividing of the child.  The Teaching was on the same theme, about Solomon and how he could have asked God for anything, but asked for wisdom.  He was known as the most wise king.

I hadn't been able to spend much time in the kitchen the afternoon before, as we were working on putting in a fancy new light in the pass-through between the kitchen and dining area, so all I could throw together was a sweet potato and pineapple dish for the potluck.  But, as nearly everyone takes something, there was plenty to go around.

It was supposed to warm up to 63°, but only went to 50°, so it was a cloudy, cold day.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

When Was Jesus Born? Who Started It? Update.

 

For "Scripture Sunday":

Beyond Today -- When Was Jesus Born?

image "Did His birth occur on December 25th? Can we even know when Christ was born? And, should we really be celebrating His birth?

Watch this video: http://youtu.be/XiVgLInIRJ4  
or read the transcript and request the Bible study aid "Jesus Christ: The Real Story" at:  http://www.ucg.org/beyond-today-program/jesus-christ/when-was-jesus-born

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Who Started It?

"Who started Yuletide worship of sun, mother and child?

Who Started It?

Source: Scott Brady

"She was beautiful, powerful, and devious – a perfect foil for the ancient serpent’s deceptions. Her husband Nimrod had made himself king over the migrants who came into the new land of Sumeria, a very rich alluvial plain in which things grew quickly, but wild beasts also multiplied and became a constant menace. The people had no weapons and they needed protection. Nimrod invited them to live together in one place and built a wall all around it to protect them. (The points expressed about the background to Nimrod and Semiramis are found in Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews.)

He became their king, a warrior king who built an army and taught men to make and use weapons, and he led them on profitable hunts to provide meat. Business was good, so he built other cities as populations increased, but he had a problem.

People still worshipped the One true God and looked to Shem, the son of Noah, as the man of God and leader of their faith. Faith was a powerful thing and Nimrod wanted that power, but how would he turn the people’s faith toward himself? His beautiful, scheming wife Semiramis provided the answer. She began to laud her husband Nimrod as their great provider and protector. We don't know exact details, but there are abundant examples in history from which we can draw such conclusions. (Bible verses about Semiramis; Bible Tools.org)

The Devil, that most subtle of deceivers (Genesis:3:1) and god of this world (2 Corinthians:4:4, Ephesians:6:10-12) is most likely the ancient source that inspired them (many people are tempted of themselves (James:1:14). This gave Satan an in and he cunningly inspired them to worship him as the Sun god, the source of knowledge and of life for all things on Earth. He backed up this idea by performing signs and wonders as people were converted to this new faith. It effectively turned people’s hearts to pleasure and to worshipping their god as they pleased. It was heady stuff and men and women of all kinds responded in droves.

It all made Shem very anxious for the people. He was very angry with the man who had brought about this growing apostasy and he acted at once to execute the self-proclaimed king and high priest of the Sun god. Ultimately, he had Nimrod's body cut in pieces to be distributed to the various civic centers as a dire warning of what would happen to others who had been deceived into forsaking the Creator by worshipping idols and demon spirits. (See Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews ).

Semiramis knew better than to openly defy Shem, but developed a mystery religion with herself as high priestess. Her followers used secret signs and symbols so as not to let on. She led them in worship of the god of love and fertility and took many lovers in her conquest of men. She then became pregnant and when she gave birth to Tammuz (meaning ‘son of life’). Semiramis daringly presented him at the Winter solstice as the son of Baal, the long expected Seed of the woman forecast in the Garden of Eden. Most likely everyone on Earth at that time knew the prophecy given to Adam, Eve and the Serpent before they were cast out of Paradise, because Noah and his family spread the gospel after the Flood. Satan used this knowledge to help thwart the coming truth that was to come.

Semiramis also had caused Nimrod to be venerated as a god after his death. She said he was made one with the "Sun in Heaven". She said that her son Tammuz had been supernaturally conceived in her womb by him, thus claiming to be "that" woman. Her child then represented new birth and the possibility of resurrection for all who believed. As the sun regained strength and rose up after the Winter solstice, so would mankind experience rebirth after death. After Tammuz died by being nailed or bound to an evergreen tree, she wailed for him until he was restored to her. Women of many nations thereafter wept for Tammuz, even in Israel. (Ezekiel:8:14) So began the worship of mother and child.

Meanwhile, the men of Babel were busy building a huge tower to reach high into the sky and make them famous and their city the foremost in the world. They planned to stay there in that place and not spread out and replenish and fill the whole earth as God had commanded. The Lord came down to see for Himself what they were up to and saw that they were of one evil mind and working together they would invent and create things far too quickly. People had corrupted themselves before and managed to pollute everything in the old world. They shared only one language, so God miraculously confused their ability to communicate, which forced them to move out in groups, each group bound by a different language and so they went about establishing separate lands of their own.

The small families scattered from Babel and became fully fledged nations, but unfortunately took with them the pagan worship of mother and child as they had learned from Semiramis. Thus began many counterfeit faiths spread around the world and even today cause so much confusion.

Whatever else we might say about the devil, he is industrious and clever in his opposition to God and the only church founded by Jesus Christ. This article simply illustrates some of the basic truths of Revelation 17, especially with regard to mother and child and the whole pantheon of gods and false worship.

Semiramis appears to be the source that started it all in human history, inspired by the devil who backed her up with visions and mirages. It all began more than 2000 years before Jesus Christ was born of Mary and it is no wonder that there are so many pagan parallels with modern Christianity. The counterfeit religion is that of the great deceiver and god of this world who actively blinds mankind to the truth, (2 Corinthians:4:4) but we are not ignorant of his designs (2 Corinthians:2:11). Satan has convinced so many that they are righteous in their false code of beliefs as they worship God.

History says Nimrod was the first mighty one ‘deified’ after the Flood. He was represented by a winged bull and called the ‘father of the gods’. His wife Semiramis became the ‘mother of the gods’ and Queen of heaven. The characteristics of that initial Chaldean mystery religion which she founded were: rejection of our Creator God, denial of His commandments, refusal to acknowledge Him as the source of all life, and a paranoid desire for self-exaltation – the making of God in man’s image! ‘You shall be as gods’ the Serpent told Eve, but in effect he became their god, the one whom they obeyed. (Romans:6:16). Little have men in all history realized that the devil could deceive them into worshipping him and his counterfeit churches.

For more information on what God truly wants us to celebrate, request the free study aids, Holidays or Holy Days: Does it Matter What We Observe? and God's Holy Day Plan: The Promise for all Mankind .

From: http://www.ucg.org/doctrinal-beliefs/who-started-it/       article by George Carter

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Update:

Last week's propane saga didn't end by going back to the propane place where I had bought the new pigtail, as they were closed two days in a row, and no one even answered their phone. 

Our local hardware store tested the pigtail for me, and it was good.  But they said that sometimes the gaskets in the gas bottles go bad, so that is probably why mine was leaking.   I took an empty gas bottle to Krogers and exchanged it, as I knew it would have had it's gasket checked.  It costs more to get an exchange bottle because you don't get as much propane as getting one filled, so that is why I don't usually do it.  Jay and I hooked it up, doused it with soapy water, saw no bubbles, so I am using it.   I'll have to get the other bottle's gasket looked at.

During any slack moments, Ray has been refurbishing a chrome RV two-burner propane gas cooktop.  It had been stored for many years and had rusted. It took quite a bit of sanding to get it smooth again. The top is now white, and the underneath is done in Rustoleum's Hammered Silver spray paint.  He had repainted the house's propane cook top with white High Heat Engine spray paint, he does that every few years to freshen it up, so he used up the rest of the white engine paint on the two-burner one.

While he was at it, he sanded and repainted an RV vent-a-hood that I have for sale.  It was just done with white spray paint, high heat paint is not needed for that.

The weather has been wonderful.  No heater or AC needed.  Windows and doors open most of the time, and just a smattering of rain now and then.

We did a bit more to the greenhouse extension on the storeroom, and when we went shopping on Wednesday, we bought some 2x6's for the ceiling joists.

As my house is going to be for sale, I wanted to install the concertina sides onto the bedroom window air conditioner, to make it look neater.  That means someone, Jay, has to be on the outside to hold it up, while Ray and I installed the concertina sides.  Then Jay cut some foam board and white paneling and put them on the outside.  Now it looks a lot better inside and out.  ( I do NOT like central AC)

On Friday, which we call Preparation Day, (preparing for the Sabbath, the day of rest) I made a ground buffalo and veggie pie with a pastry top for the church potluck.  I didn't want any pastry on the bottom as that usually just turns into a soggy mess.  Also, I took some roasted zucchini.

Roger and I went to church, our favorite one on FM 1097. Jay didn't go as he said he hadn't slept all night, and didn't want to fall asleep in church. The readings were Psalm 115, 118, Gen.37:1 - 40:23 and Amos 2:6 - 3:8. 

The teaching was "When The Time's Right".  How everything is done in God's due time, because he knows best how to make us appreciative for what we get.  He delays some things to let our faith grow.  Undergoing tough times strengthens us. Such as when Abram (before he was Abraham) had to wait a long time for his promised son Isaac to be born to aged Sarai (before she was Sarah), and even took matters into his own hands and begat Ishmael through Hagar, his wife's Egyptian servant.  Gen. 16, and 17.  Abram should have waited for God's timetable. 

The potluck was great, as usual, and my dishes were quickly eaten up, even though there were several meat dishes. There are always lots of veggies, and I 'OD' on them, especially the Brussel Sprouts.

It is so mild for December that it has been a 'tank top and shorts' day.

 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Pearl Harbor. God Is Calling - Will You Answer? Why Do You Celebrate Christmas? Top 10 Reasons Not To Celebrate Christmas. Update.

 

For "Scripture Sunday":

God Is Calling - Will You Answer?

"God is calling you to a special relationship with Him like no other. Answering that call will change your life, enriching it in the present and leading you into eternity!

A young person reading a Bible.

image

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kermit Tyler's response to one telephone call changed the course of history.

A man operating a new technology called radar telephoned Tyler's workplace about a strange, massive blip on the screen. The switchboard operator told the caller that there was nothing he could do about it and that no one else was in the office on a Sunday morning. It was then, however, that the switchboard operator saw Lieutenant Tyler there, so he informed him about the radar blip.

Tyler knew there was a flight of planes due to arrive at a nearby airfield. He went to the telephone and told the radar operator, "Well, don't worry about it."

The date was Dec. 7, 1941, and the blip on the radar screen was the first wave of Japanese planes on their way to bomb the unsuspecting and unprepared U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, bringing America into World War II.

Has your answer to a call, or not answering a call, ever affected your life? Let's direct our attention to the most important call a person can receive."  More at: http://www.ucg.org/christian-living/god-calling-will-you-answer/

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Why Do You Celebrate Christmas?

"I found I could not ignore these facts: Christ never instituted Christmas, never celebrated it and never taught it. So, why was I doing it? What about you? Why do you celebrate Christmas?

At 12 years of age, I wondered what Christmas was all about. Where did it come from? Was Jesus really born on Dec. 25? Why were there so many blinking lights and brightly decorated trees if Christmas was all about a humble little baby in a manger? And why would everyone exchange gifts between themselves when wise men brought gifts for Jesus?

I anticipated Christmas because it meant a gift for me, no matter how small it was. My parents didn't have a lot of money in those days, so we would draw names out of a hat and buy a gift for one of our parents or siblings. I would have to ask for the money from Dad and then buy a tie or a pair of socks or something practical. Every dime counted.

I marveled at my friends' Christmas trees, 6 feet tall and trimmed with lights, silver streamers and a star on top. Our Christmas tree was very small, placed on a lamp table, and adorned with a few streamers and perhaps topped with a small star.

Mom pointed out that Christmas was more about Jesus Christ, and Dad always took us to Christmas Eve church services. Christmas then wasn't like our modern commercialized Christmas. Still, I wondered, why did we celebrate Christmas?

 
Christmas and commercialism

In early America, the city of Boston outlawed the celebration of Christmas (1659-81). "Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings". Washington Irving's writings (1819) about a peaceful, warm-hearted Christmas holiday became life imitating art. He reinvented Christmas in America. Finally, Christmas was declared a federal holiday in 1870.

In the mid-20th century, commercialism began to dominate the Christmas season and businesses began advertising it in early December. Recognizing that early advertising worked well, U.S. retailers began to promote Christmas right after Thanksgiving. Today, businesses start advertising for Christmas in early to mid-November.

Many complain that Christmas has become too commercialized and that Christ has been crowded out. But since Christmas celebrations are not mentioned in the Bible, and it was not observed by the early New Testament Church, can we really say Christ was ever in Christmas? Christ was never in Christmas.

As I studied the history of Christmas, I found that Christmas preceded Christ and Christianity by 2,000 years. I found this pre-Christian holiday actually represents a counterfeit mother-and-child concept that comes from the ancient world (Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, 1959, pp. 97-98).

Jesus would not have celebrated Christmas because it can be traced back to an ancient heathen practice, not to His birth. He taught His disciples to follow God's commandments, not man-made customs:  "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew:15:8-9).

It's commendable that some want to put Christ back in Christmas—commendable but not scriptural. The fact is, Christ can't be put back in Christmas because He was never in Christmas in the first place.
The Christmas question

Christmas comes from Cristes maesse, a phrase that means the mass of Christ. But in my study of the Bible I found that Christ didn't tell us to commemorate His death (as the bread and wine of the mass are intended to) in winter, but at Passover in the spring (Luke:22:15-20; 1 Corinthians:5:7; 11:23-26). And He didn't tell us to celebrate His birth at all.

Most people blindly follow human customs and traditions, saying in effect, "Don't bother me with the facts; my mind's made up."

Let's face it. Most people don't really care whether Christmas is Christian or pre-Christian by a thousand or even a million years. They simply look on Christmas as a time to have fun, enjoy family togetherness (a good thing), have a few drinks, enjoy a good meal, pass out a few presents and then nervously wait for the bills to pile up in January. (When that happens, it makes you wonder—what's so happy about the New Year?)

But I found I could not ignore these facts: Christ never instituted Christmas, never celebrated it and never taught it. So, why was I doing it? What about you? Why do you celebrate Christmas?"

For more about the origins of Christmas and what the Bible says about it, see Christmas: The Untold Story from the booklet Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe? 

From: http://www.ucg.org/commentary/why-do-you-celebrate-christmas/

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The Top 10 Reasons Why I Don't Celebrate Christmas

"It’s that time of year again! You’ll soon be barraged by the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas. Shoppers will soon go into spending overdrive, and when the bills arrive, some will wonder if it’s really worth it. Here’s a perspective from one who kicked the Christmas habit.

The Top 10 Reasons Why I Don

What's the real meaning behind Christmas?

Source: Photos.com

Christmas is a hugely popular holiday celebrated by some 2 billion people worldwide. It's become such an ingrained part of modern culture that even people in nations with little or no Christian history or tradition are celebrating it in increasing numbers.

Christmas is so big that it plays a key role in the economies of many nations. In the U.S. retail industry, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday is commonly known as "Black Friday"—not because it's bad, but because this marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and stores that have been "in the red"—operating at a loss all year—suddenly see their sales shoot up so fast that they are now operating in the black (at a profit) the rest of the year. "Black Friday" is the biggest shopping day of the year due to its Christmas sales.

Christmas is big— very big. Schools and colleges commonly take a week or longer break at this time, some businesses shut down to give their employees time off, many families plan trips and get-togethers, and some people darken the door of a church for perhaps the first time all year.

So it's not surprising that I get some pretty shocked looks when I tell people I don't celebrate Christmas. That's pretty unusual for anyone, much less someone who's been an ordained minister for 15 years and edits a Christian magazine.

So what's up with this? Why would anyone not want to celebrate Christmas like nearly everybody else? Are there valid reasons for not participating in all the holiday hoopla?

American Late Show television program host David Letterman is famous for his "top 10" lists in which he offers pointed commentary about popular culture and current events. So here I offer my top 10 reasons for not celebrating Christmas!

1. Christmas is driven by commercialism.

It's not that difficult to recognize what really drives the holiday in our age. Cal Thomas, an American syndicated columnist who often writes from a Christian perspective, acknowledged uncomfortable truths about Christmas in a December 2003 column.

"I'm not sure it's worth keeping Christmas anymore," he began, lamenting that the holiday has become a "road show of reindeer, winter scenes, elves and the God substitute, Santa Claus, who serves as a front for merchants seeking to play on the guilt some parents bear for ignoring their kids the rest of the year."…..

2. Christmas is nowhere mentioned in the Bible…..
3. Jesus wasn't born on or near Dec. 25. …..
4. The Christmas holiday is largely a recycled pagan celebration…..
5. God condemns using pagan customs to worship Him…..
6. Christmas is worshipping God in vain…..
7. You can't put Christ back into something He was never in…..
8. The Bible nowhere tells us to observe a holiday celebrating Jesus Christ's birth —but it clearly does tell us to commemorate His death…..
9. Christmas obscures God's plan for mankind…..
10. I'd rather celebrate the Holy Days Jesus Christ and the apostles observed….."

Complete article at: http://www.ucg.org/holidays-and-holy-days/top-10-reasons-why-i-dont-celebrate-christmas/

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Update:  Things have been kinda slow around here.  We put some canvas sides on the big carport canopy so that yard sale stuff could be stored in there.  The things were in the way of the greenhouse extension we are making on the storeroom.

Also, I was out of propane but when we tried to re-attach the bottle that I had filled, there was a leak. So the next day I bought a new pigtail and regulator, but it leaked, too.  So back to the LP place tomorrow.

On Tuesday, BabyGirl, my foster dog and I went to an SPCA party at Petco.  She was the star of the show, and petted by everyone.  She is so good that she can be taken anywhere.  Then yesterday, she was picked up by my neighbor foster-mom to go to Adoption Day, so BabyGirl had quite a week.

Jay had to get a new battery in his mother's truck, so he couldn't go to church.    He really wanted to go as Roger and I went to a different church yesterday, this one is on the East side of Conroe, over by DizzyDick's place.  Jay and I used to go there regularly until we found the other Seventh Day churches in Willis about a year ago.  It was great to see old friends, and I was surprised that they remembered me by name. 

This is a much larger church than the little one where we usually go.  As it was their potluck day I took a humongous crockpot of scalloped Yukon potatoes with cheese sauce and sautéed onions.  Preparing everything on Friday with just one electric hot plate was time consuming, and it took ages to circle all those sliced roasted potatoes around in that big crockpot.  The cheese sauce is added at the end.  It was all eaten in no time, so it must have been liked.

We enjoyed the service.  The Praise Team band was great, and the little gal high schooler was super on the drums.  The sermon was by a visiting elder about "Dance", from the story of the Ark of the Covenant being moved.  King David wanted to move the ark to Jerusalem.  But he had it loaded on a cart pulled by oxen. 

imageThe ark was never supposed to be moved like that, it was meant to be carried on poles through the rings on the ark. Uzzah actually touched it when he thought it was going to fall when the oxen shook it.  The Lord was angry, smote Uzzah dead, but when David danced and finished offering burnt offerings, he was forgiven. (2 Samuel 6:1-18)  The sermon was to show that we can all be forgiven our sins if we repent, go by the rules, and ask for forgiveness.

Roger said that he enjoyed going to another different church and he liked that one second best.  The one on FM 830 is third.

We were going to take a quick look at the nearby flea market, but we were so full from the pot luck that we went home and called it a day.