Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What does Christmas mean to you?

I received this from a friend and thougth it was well worth reading.

I sat in utter disbelief as I watched this year’s news coverage of “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving devoted to promotions and sales. All across our nation there were reports of old ladies getting into fist fights, store employees being trampled to death, and other violence and mischief that makes you wonder if anyone knows what this season is about anymore. I’ve been considering a name change for this holiday we celebrate in late December: SELFmas.

Yes, we should all wish one another a very “Merry Selfmas!” After all, isn’t self what this season is about? It isn’t? May I give you a challenge? It is a challenge that I, too, must complete. Take a moment and look around you. Look around your house, and your neighborhood. Look around your school or place of work. Simply based upon what you are seeing, what would the average “Joe on the street” think was the center of your holiday? What have you done to put Christ into this season?

The Bible says that every good and perfect gift comes from Santa Clause. Oh, wait, my bad. It all comes from God. A very loving God. A God who desires a relationship with you so much that He gave the ultimate gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, to make a way for us to have intimacy with Him.

Let us commit this season to make Christ the focus. And all year long to make it clear to those around us—our families, neighbors, co-workers, and even perfect strangers—exactly who our lives are centered around.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The True meaning of Christmas

Just a week before Christmas I had a visitor. This is how it happened. I just finished the household chores for the night and was preparing to go to bed, when I heard a noise in the front of the house. I opened the door to the front room and to my surprise, Santa himself stepped out next to the fireplace.

"What are you doing?" I started to ask. The words choked up in my throat and I saw he had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner was gone. Gone was the eager, boisterous soul we all know. He then answered me with a simple statement . . ."TEACH THE CHILDREN!" I was puzzled. What did he mean? He anticipated my question and with one quick movement brought forth a miniature toy bag from behind the tree. As I stood bewildered, Santa said, "Teach the children!Teach them the old meaning of Christmas. The meaning that now-a-days Christmas has forgotten. "Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a FIR TREE and placed it before the mantle.”Teach the children that the pure green color of the stately fir tree remains green all year round, depicting the everlasting hope of mankind, all the needles point heavenward, making it a symbol of man's thoughts turning toward heaven."

He again reached into his bag and pulled out a brilliant STAR. "Teach the children that the star was the heavenly sign of promises long ago. God promised a Savior for the world and the star was the sign of fulfillment of His promise."

He then reached into his bag and pulled out a CANDLE. "Teach the children that the candle symbolizes that Christ is the light of the world, and when we see this great light we are reminded of He who displaces the darkness."

Once again he reached into his bag and removed a WREATH and placed it on the tree. "Teach the children that the wreath symbolizes the real nature of love. Real love never ceases. Love is one continuous round of affection."

He then pulled from his bag an ORNAMENT of himself. "Teach the children that I, Santa Claus, symbolize the generosity and good will we feel during the month of December."

He then brought out a HOLLY LEAF. "Teach the children that the holly plant represents immortality. It represents the crown of thorns worn by our Savior. The red holly berries represent the blood shed by Him.

Next he pulled from his bag a GIFT and said, "Teach the children that God so loved the world that he gave his begotten son." Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.

Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a CANDY CANE and hung it on the tree. "Teach the children that the candy cane represents the shepherds' crook. The crook on the staff helps to bring back strayed sheep to the flock. The candy cane is the symbol that we are our brother's keeper."

He reached in again and pulled out an ANGEL. "Teach the children that it was the angels that heralded in the glorious news of the Savior's birth. The angels sang Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good will toward men."

Suddenly I heard a soft twinkling sound, and from his bag he pulled out a BELL. "Teach the children that as the lost sheep are found by the sound of the bell, it should ring mankind to the fold. The bell symbolizes guidance and return.

Santa looked back and was pleased. He looked back at me and I saw that the twinkle was back in his eyes. He said, "Remember, teach the children the true meaning of Christmas and do not put me in the center, for I am but a humble servant of the One that is, and I bow down to worship him, our LORD, our GOD."

Ron & Becky Yahr