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!
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/
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?
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.
What's the real meaning behind Christmas?
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….."
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.
The 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.