Christmas Wishes

 

I try to be a regular person.  I try and worry about the mundane things in life; when I’m going to find time to decorate for Christmas, what stores have the best deals, which recipe for sweet potatoes will taste the best.  Nothing wrong with thinking about those things, it’s what keeps life running smoothly, especially when you’re trying to manage a family.

 However, in the midst of day-to-day thinking, I seem to have a constant barrage of news stories following me.  It’s my fault. I don’t find myself extraordinary; but I do feel like I need to know what’s going on and attempt to tie it all together.  It’s been this way for years now.  Some stories in the news are as old as time; murder, theft.  Some stories seem to be getting progressively worse.

 Which leads me to what has been nagging at me lately; stories that seem to tie things of a spiritual nature together in a sad sort of way.  Let me lay out some of them for you and we can see what we find together.

 Economic times weighing on Christmas shoppers

About 45 percent of Americans would prefer to skip Christmas because of financial pressures.  “When Christmas is so seemingly widespread and it appears that everyone is participating, it makes ‘opting out’ rather difficult,” Brown said.

 I’ve known for a long time that Christmas is less about Jesus and more about shopping, but the idea of skipping Christmas because you can’t afford it completely loses sight of what’s important.  And isn’t ‘opting out’ an interesting concept.  Perhaps you can opt out of the commercial part, but what about the spiritual part?  But before we tackle that, what is the ‘normal’ financial cost of Christmas?

 Average Cost Of An American Christmas

According to a study performed by the American Research Group, Inc., Americans will be spending more money on gifts in 2012 than they did last year. In 2011, the average American spent $646 on holiday gifts. In 2012, it is expected that the average American will be spending $854 in gifts for friends and loved ones. It should come as no surprise that the average cost of gifts is so high. With advertisements for big sales everywhere, there is a greater chance for impulse buys and overspending.

“With advertisements for big sales everywhere, there is a greater chance for impulse buys and overspending.”  Interesting statement.  So if Jesus Christ was advertised everywhere in relation to Christmas, would He be irresistible as well?  Well, on an antidotal note, when I was in school we all said Merry Christmas and no one ever acted offended.  Try that today.

 Well, how is our spiritual health doing?  What are the media and other outlets telling our society about Jesus Christ and how critical He is to our lives and our eternity?  Warning.  It’s not pretty.

 Actor Jamie Foxx Tells Crowd to Give Honor to ‘Our Lord and Savior Barack Obama’

Foxx began to quip that the atmosphere of the awards show reminded him of a church service.  “It’s like church over here,” he said. “It’s like church in here.”  But then, as Foxx began to mimic what might take place in a church service, he switched out the name of Jesus Christ with another.  “First of all, give honor to God,” Foxx declared, and then added after a slight pause, “and our Lord and Savior Barack Obama!”

 I cannot believe that the audience clapped at this statement.  But I should believe it, because there’s more.

 Poster at DNC convention calls Barack Obama ‘prophesy fulfilled’

Barak was destined to be a good and handsome man that would rise like a flash of lightning to win victory in a battle against overwhelming odds,” the poster adds.

 Florida professor: Obama an ‘apostle’ sent to create ‘heaven here on earth’

“I felt God’s (His) Spirit beckoning me in my dreams at night. Listening, cautiously, I learned that Jesus walked the earth to create a more civilized society…, Apostle Barack, the name he was called in my dreams, would walk the earth to create a more equalized society, for the middle class and working poor,” she added.

 Bunker Hill Community College displays controversial painting depicting Obama as Jesus

The painting, called “Truth,” shows the president with a crown of thorns on his head and his arms outstretched in a pose that recalls the crucifixion of Christ.

  Finally, we have the yearly fights and protests about any sort of Christian themed display in any public square.  Except every year they seem to take it a bit farther.

 Atheists Display ‘Secular’ Nativity Scene Calling Religion ‘Myth and Superstition’

Dan Barker, FFRF co-president, added that “Christians tend to think they own the month of December. We don’t agree. No month is free from pagan reverie! In celebrating the Winter Solstice, we celebrate reality.”

Santa Monica forced to CANCEL Christmas after atheist campaigner launches protest against town’s holiday decorations

‘It’s a sad, sad commentary on the attitudes of the day that a nearly 60-year-old Christmas tradition is now having to hunt for a home, something like our savior had to hunt for a place to be born because the world was not interested,’

There are more stories if you want to find them.  I prefer not to, as the protesting groups get enough attention from other sources. 

 The whole point of this is that people want to cancel Christmas because they don’t have any idea why we celebrate this holiday or they have forgotten why it’s so important. 

 The message of the birth of Jesus gets lost in shouts of ‘pagan holiday’ and ‘freedom from religion,’ that are shouted like ‘FIRE” in a crowded theater.  Combine that with the clamor of commerce to buy, buy, buy and confusing president Obama as our savior and you have the perfect combination of elements to make Jesus take a back seat, if He gets a seat at all.

 Sure, we can wear our ‘Keep Christ in Christmas’ buttons and ‘Jesus is the reason for the Season’ car magnets, but if we don’t focus on what’s truly important, none of this is worth it.

 So, this holiday season, focus on these things:

 -Making sure your children really understand what this holiday means.

-Do something for someone in need.

-Completely resist the clarion call to make this holiday about stuff.

-Combat the world’s attempt to make human beings the Savior.

 Remember that it’s at home where the world’s messages can be dulled and the true messages of Jesus and Christmas can be told.  However, never forget that our children and our friends and family face a constant barrage of Christmas fallacies that we need to tend to.  As aliens in this world, we should be prepared to face the onslaught with discernment and wisdom.  Remember to stay vigilant and on guard to what is going on outside our doors.

 And let me know if you have a good recipe for sweet potatoes.

 

why we give thanks

 

                           

“Isn’t it peculiar how some traditions just seem to fade away?” – Lucy

 As my family watched A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, I couldn’t help but wax nostalgic for the way things were when I was growing up.  The Thanksgiving special and ‘This is America Charlie Brown’ that was on television tonight reminded me of when this country celebrated its founding and wasn’t so darn afraid of the tolerance police.

  When I was a child we would make the handprint turkeys, learn about the Mayflower and hear stories about the first Thanksgiving.

 Now, more and more people seem to want to turn Thanksgiving into a genocidal holiday; some taken to calling it the Day of Mourning. 

 Should We Rename Thanksgiving “National Ethnic Cleansing Day”?  The real origin of turkey day is a tale we’d rather not hear.

In this blog posting, the author writes about the second actual Thanksgiving as being a Puritanical celebration after committing a massacre on some of the native population.  I guess he was hoping we didn’t click on the link he provided, but when I did, I found that the ‘massacre’ was a conflict with a ‘war-like tribe’ and fought with Indian allies.  Sounds like a war that was instigated by both sides, rather than what the author of this story would like you to believe

 Last fall, the principal of KennedySchool in Somerville, Mass., banned the observance of all fall holidays.  “When we were young, we might have been able to claim ignorance of the atrocities that Christopher Columbus committed against the indigenous peoples. We can no longer do so,” Foley wrote to teachers.

 This next story even managed to surprise me, and I don’t get easily surprised anymore.

 What Should America’s Children Be Taught About Thanksgiving? These People’s Answers Might Shock You

“…another woman said we should teach kindergarteners that Thanksgiving is “totally meaningless” and “we massacred millions and millions of Native Americans.” Ouch. That’s quite a heavy kindergarten lesson.”

 Even animal groups want to destroy the tradition of turkey.  The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ plan to fight against the meal’s headliner by placing billboards near schools in several Western cities, asking, “KIDS: If you wouldn’t eat your dog, why eat a turkey?”

 The truth is, Pilgrims feasted for three days in November 1621, celebrating their first successful harvest after landing at present-day Plymouth on the Mayflower in late 1620. On hand for the feast were 53 Pilgrims and 90 members of the Wampanoag tribe.

Read The History Channel’s story about Thanksgiving here:  http://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving

 In 1789, George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving Proclamation by the national government of the United States.  In it he said,

 “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

 He also said,

 “…to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.”

 Perhaps that is why certain elements are trying to besmirch Thanksgiving.  Because certain people do not want our government or our nation to be wise and just.  They do not want us to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations.  They want us to stop being a Superpower, to stop thinking that we’re different from other nations; to stop being the United States in all of our arrogance.

 Whether we like it or not, the world’s history is filled with stories of conquest.  Mexico was conquered by Spaniards, China was conquered by the Mongols, and Rome conquered just about everything at one time or another.  Our country was discovered and conquered.  Was it a pleasant takeover?  Not by any stretch of the imagination, but we don’t have to tarnish the whole idea of a country because of how it was started.  After all, I don’t hold a grudge because Spain overtook Mexico; in fact I have more Spaniard in me than anything else. 

Not only are we losing our traditions, but in an effort to conquer the holiday joy of being with family and remembering our blessings, the marketplace has staked their claim on Thanksgiving.

 Good Question: Thanksgiving Now – Will Stores Open Christmas Day Next?

Three years ago, virtually no stores were open on Thanksgiving Day. This year, Walmart, Sears, Kmart, and Toys ‘R’ Us will open at 8 p.m. Target will open an hour later at 9 p.m. 

Shopping Creep Endangering Thanksgiving Traditions

With the growing commercialization of Thanksgiving, some wonder if Americans have forgotten the basic reason for this holiday — to give thanks. A number of churches still hold services on Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving Day, but shopping seems to be overwhelming the holiday.

 I personally will continue to pray for our nation.  Thanksgiving should be a day when our nation unites in a day of thanks-giving.  We need to get together with people we love, or serve people, in an effort to unite on our similarities, rather than our differences.  I will thank my Savior for His many blessings. 

 We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving because we have it better than the rest of the world.  We celebrate because we have been blessed as a nation, and we can share that blessing with our neighbor next door or across an ocean. 

I leave you with these words from Abraham Lincoln, when he established an official day set apart for the purpose of Thanksgiving:

 The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God…

 And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

 

Vote Righteousness

 

I am a Christian:  An evangelical follower of Jesus Christ.  I wanted to state that first off, before I went anywhere else with this post. 

 I try to make the bible my fence line, my plumb line for making decisions. That does not mean that I go into decisions blindly; I make reasoned decisions, but I still measure my decisions with what God has to say about issues.  I really haven’t found a topic, or a decision, that I couldn’t make using scripture. 

 A professor in college gave the class a visual reminder of what following Christ looks like in our daily life.  He said that when farmers are forming their rows and driving their tractors, they focus on a point in the distance rather than looking down.  If they look down, they tend to veer off the path and not continue going in a straight line.  But if they fix their eyes on one particular spot, they will stay straight.  So, I fix my eyes on God and pray that my actions and decisions mostly reflect that.

 So where it comes to voting in the upcoming election, I do measure my vote in line with what God has to say about where our country is at, and where He is at in regards to respect in this nation.

  I must say that I was shocked and a bit disappointed when I read this headline tonight;

 

Evangelist Claims 1.6 Million Christians Will Write in ‘Jesus Christ’ for President on Tuesday

Apparently, Bill Keller, an internet preacher, is trying to convince Christians that voting for either presidential candidate is in essence a vote for Satan. According to Mr. Keller, “It is time for Christians, true followers of Jesus Christ, to rise up and say NO to satan this November! As I prophetically shared last November, if God allowed the upcoming election for President to be between President Obama and Mitt Romney, it would truly be satan flipping a two-headed coin with his head on both sides!”

 I have some thoughts on his opinion.  While I don’t necessarily see either candidate as Satan, I also do not see them as my Savior.  I believe it would be catastrophic as a Christian to see any political or religious leader as a substitute for Jesus.  What I would like is to see a politician do is stand for what made our country a great nation.  To be the country that helps other countries in their time of need.  A political leader that helps people develop and have the freedom to use the gifts and talents God has given to make our world a better place.  To do what the men of the Black Robed Regiment did when this nation was founded.

 The Black Robed Regiment was a group of American clergy that were vocal during the Founding Era.  The British blamed them for American Independence and historians have said, “There is not a right asserted in the Declaration of Independence which had not been discussed by the New England clergy before 1763.”

 But it was not just the British who saw the American pulpit as largely responsible for American independence and government, our own leaders agreed. For example, John Adams rejoiced that “the pulpits have thundered” and specifically identified several ministers as being among the “characters the most conspicuous, the most ardent, and influential” in the “awakening and a revival of American principles and feelings” that led to American independence. (Credit to Biblical Integrity and Teaching History)

 Take Harvard’s original motto:  ‘Truth for Christ and the Church.’  Princeton’s motto:  ‘Under God’s power she flourishes.’  Yale’s motto:  ‘Light and Truth.’  These institutions started out as Christian schools; as Harvard and Yale (originally Puritan) and Princeton (originally Presbyterian) once had rich Christian histories. Harvard was named after a Christian minister. Yale was started by clergymen, and Princeton’s first year of class was taught by Reverend Jonathan Dickinson.

 That was then and this is today.  Today is the constant shriek of ‘separation of church and state,’ that rings out any time a whiff of religion appears; usually a form of Judeo-Christian religion.  Kids fear speaking out in class, wearing clothing with Christian graphics, or not following the dictates of the other classmates and teachers.  Today we are told that we are evil and intolerant if we speak out on our beliefs. 

 There is an election tomorrow.  The election is for a man to lead our country.  Ultimately, I believe that God is in control of the election.  Will He give us what we want, or what we need? 

 I know I am in the minority, but I don’t care what the president’s religion is. That’s not to say that I don’t want to; I would.  But it seems to become impractical, and so, it’s as I said before, if we have a president that gives us the integrity as a nation, the encouragement and freedom to pursue our own dreams, and a man who listens to what Americans are saying, then as a Christian I can do what I want and need to do to spread the Gospel message in my little corner of the world. I want a president that upholds righteousness.  I can’t shirk my responsibility and expect future generations to bear the cost.

 As a commentator I read proclaimed, the biblical heroes would be looked upon with question today.  David was an adulterer, Moses committed murder, and the list could go on.  So that tells us that God has used people with what we would consider major flaws to do His will. 

Also, crucial to remember is there are many more people on our ballots then just the president.  There are congress choices, judges and even local government officials.  What they believe is sometimes even more crucial than the president, as they are the ones making decisions for us on a daily basis. 

 The bible tells us to appoint judges who know the laws of God.  We should be looking for politicians who uphold the value of unborn life.  Do we know how officials on the ballots we will mark feel about public declaration of God?  Have we done our due diligence?

 I think it’s important to remember that God doesn’t always give us the victory immediately.  We cannot look at one election as the measured sum of a long-term perspective.  We cannot abstain because we don’t see a candidate that measures 100%.

 What saddens me is that in an effort to placate a small percentage of the population, we went from our foundation as a nation, with people unafraid to speak truth and light, and swung as far away as we could to the other side, where nothing is tolerated in an effort to be tolerant.  The irony does not escape me. 

 To those calling for riots if the election doesn’t go in their ‘direction,’ I ask them to stop and reflect on what you are asking for.  Does this country need one more minute of divisiveness?  Do we need any segment of our population to feel alienated and shamed for their decision, or their skin color, or their belief in God? 

 We need renewal and optimism to again spread across our country.  We need to find a way to get together to work on issues that are truly important; caring for each other.  There is real pain in this country, and we just saw it increase tenfold on the East Coast, where people are starving, cold and dying.

 The country will only have leaders that reflect the values of those who voted for them.  If we want our values represented and upheld, preserved for our children, then we must go out and vote ourselves. 

 I will leave you with these thoughts from people who fought for our rights long ago-

 I apprehend no danger to our country from a foreign foe. . . . Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter – from the inattention of the people to the con­cerns of their government – from their carelessness and negligence.Daniel Webster

 To God and posterity you are accountable. . . . Let not your children have reason to curse you for giving up those rights and prostrating those institutions which your fathers deliv­ered to you. – Rev. Matthias Burnet (1803)

 Who would Jesus vote for?  I find that question almost laughable.  He wouldn’t vote for anyone.  He is already the king and He is already the Author and Creator.  And He gives us the freedom as a nation to make choices that determine our course.

 I stole the following Facebook post from a Christian radio DJ whose perspective I enjoy:

 God’s ways are not our ways.

God laughs at the plans of our “powerful” men. God accomplishes His purposes through humble hearts. Jesus showed us our idea of real power is upside-down.

He’s not subtle when making this point. When the King entered the capital, he rode a donkey, and they didn’t get it. They mocked him.

God’s ways are not our ways, and the true, enduring, graceful, good King? He’s not up for election.

 

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. PROVERBS 14:34

 

 When the righteous rule, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.  Proverbs 29:2

 

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33 ESV)