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Greetings in Jesus Joy. Again we are approaching the 'festive season'.

But what does the 'festive season' means to you. My understanding is people don't think about Christmas as the celebration of Christ birthday but instead as a time to relax, party etc.

What are your thoughts?

I think is a time off praise and worshipping God, and God alone


-- Anonymous, November 25, 2002


Jerome - I know it's a cliche' but the expression, 'Jesus is the reason for the season' best captures the spirit and letter of the Christmans Season. QED

-- Anonymous, November 25, 2002

While it is correct that there would be no celebration of Christmas without Jesus, the cliché, "Jesus Is The Reason For the Season." is worn out and it is also somewhat inaccurate.

On last Saturday, I just did a Lay Workshop on Thanksgiving in which I challenged the popular notion of "Those Left Behind" or Pre- Tribulation Rapture. What I said also ties in with this cliché. This is a lengthy explanation but as a teacher and a Lay Director; I feel it is my calling to teach.

The gist of what I said is as follows:

Our founding fathers constantly reminded us to "Forsake not the singing of the hymn." Although we seem today to have forgotten what they said, the reason that they gave this admonition was that hymns have throughout history been closely linked with the highest form of the worship (worthship - to ascribe worth) and praise (from the French to set a prize or set a price) of God.

When the Children of Israel came out of the Red Sea they sang a hymn using the following words, "I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea." -- Exodus 15:1. Following the Last Supper we read that Jesus and the Apostles sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives (Matthew 26:30).

Secondly, they gave us this admonition because hymns, being soundly based and rooted in scripture, are one of the greatest tools we know for teaching scripture and passing to others our faith.

Thus Hymn #574, "Come Ye Thankful People Come" is directly linked to the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares --Matthew 13:24-30. So verse three of this hymn reminds us that Jesus said both the wheat and the tares would remain till the Final Harvest at which time the tares would be gathered first and cast into the fire. Then the wheat-- "Those Lest Behind" --- Would be gathered in His Garner EVERMORE.

When my mother was eight years old she had a playmate named, Harold Bearden. Harold Bearden grew up to become a bishop in our church and Harold Bearden was a dynamic preacher as well. Harold Bearden used to say, "One day I shall be required to face God the Judges. And God the Judge will read all the charges of the evil I have done. When He does he shall stamp on each one, GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY AS CHARGED. Then God the Son will come forth and plead my case. And when He comes He will bring with Him one drop of His Precious Blood. Then God the Judge will take my charges and stamp on every one, PAID, PAID, PAID IN FULL."

In summary I said, in the Book of Romans it says if you confess with your lips and believe in your heart---You will be saved. There is no other criterion save this alone. For no matter how hard I may try I can never be good enough. But I have met the criteria herein set forth and thus I trust in the saving grace and blood of Jesus alone.

So one day, in the Final Harvest, as this hymn states and as Jesus said in the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, I will be "Left Behind." And I trust, so will you. For He will give His angels charge to gather first the tares and cast them in the fires. Then He will gather us, "the fruitul ears to stor, in His garner EVERMORE". This then should give us great cause for giving thanks indeed.

Following this same thought, an old hymn of the church "Seeking For Me" says, "Jesus my Savior to Bethlehem came, seeking for me." Another great hymn states, "Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy Kingly crown when Thou camest to earth for me."

Finally, in this lengthy discourse, let me use the words of a hymn, which is a based on Psalm 23.

The King of love my shepherd is, whose goodness faileth never; I nothing lack if I am his, and he is mine for ever.

Where streams of living water flow, my ransomed soul he leadeth, and where the verdant pastures grow, with food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish oft I strayed, but yet in love He sought me, and on his shoulder gently laid, and home, rejoicing, brought me.

In death's dark vale I fear no ill with thee, dear Lord, beside me; thy rod and staff my comfort still, thy cross before to guide me.

Thou spread'st a table in my sight; thy unction grace bestoweth; and O what transport of delight from thy pure chalice floweth!

And so through all the length of days thy goodness faileth never: Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise within thy house for ever

Jesus, my Savior to Bethlehem came seeking for me. He came not for himself but FOR ME. On Christmas he gave up all that He had in Glory and for me He died. On Easter He took it all back and said, Ï am He who was dead but am alive FOREVERMORE.

I know not how that Bethlehem's Babe could in the Godhead be; I only know the manger Child has brought God's life to me.

I know not how that Calvary's cross a world from sin could free; I only know its matchless love has brought God's love to me.

I know not how that Joseph's tomb could solve death's mystery; I only know a living Christ, our immortality.

I AM THE REASON FOR THE SEASON, and so are you. And that should give us great cause for celebration indeed!!!

-- Anonymous, November 25, 2002

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