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Christmas – Truth & Myth

BY Jackie Alnor – Apostasy Alert On Rapture Ready

The new billboards that have gone up showing the magi following the star with the caption, “You Know It’s a Myth,” is partly accurate. The atheists hope their message will turn people away from the truth of the incarnation of God in the Lord Jesus Christ, but they will only convince fellow atheists. Christians, on the other hand, need to face the facts that there are myths associated with Christ/mas – a mixture of truth and myth. “Christ” represents the truth; “mas” represents the myth.

It is a well-known fact that Christmas and the Advent season is a Roman Catholic invention that blended the truth of the story of the Incarnation with the pagan celebration of the winter’s solstice.

Finish article HERE

 

Every Christmas season we sing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”

But is this correct? Did the angels sing? Let’s look.

Luke 2:13-14

“And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” 

Next please read this fine article from Guarding His Flock

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The Night of Nights

by Pastor Larry for Christmas

As reenacted in nativity scenes and Christmas pageants down through the history of western civilization, in various ways this story, whether in part or whole, is told:

God promised Israel a coming Messiah. God chose a teenage virgin to be the mother of Israel’s promised Messiah. The virgin was engaged to a young and moral carpenter. A crisis pregnancy occurred. An angel of the Lord alerted Joseph that Mary’s child was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Angels announced Messiah’s birth to shepherds on a night vigil near a little Judean town of Bethlehem. Magi from the East visited the infant. To preserve the rights of his royal family to reign, paranoid King Herod ordered infanticide.

On the very night of our Savior’s birth, Luke, a physician turned historian, records that, “there were some shepherds out in the fields keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8). Possessing gnarled and scared hands and countenancing weather-beaten faces, these ordinary men worked the grave-yard shift protecting their sheep, some of which were probably marked to be eventually sacrificed at the temple six miles distant. With slings, crooked staffs, and studded clubs, these men risked their lives to protect their sheep from predatory animals and criminal rustlers. Unbeknownst to them, one particular night was a holy night. The sheep were resting comfortably. The only sound that penetrated the quiet night was an occasional “baaaa!” of a sheep. Whether standing or sitting, these nameless shepherds breathed in the crisp night air as they fought off sleep’s beckoning call. It was a night like many others until . . . .

The night sky suddenly exploded with the light of God’s glory, a bright light that revealed the menacing form of an angel standing nearby. The sight of the angel terrorized these veteran guardians of the night. Had the angel of death come for them? This season, Hallmark will design, print, distribute and sell millions of Christmas cards. Many of these cards will bear images of cuddly, winged, and romantic looking angels. I doubt that any will bear the intimidating visage of “an angel from the Lord” who frightened to death those veteran shepherd-warriors, and who therefore uttered to them, “Do not be afraid” (Luke 2:9-10).

In contrast to the warm and fuzzy feelings people experience during this time of year, it might strike a disconcerting note to even the casual reader of the gospels that fear was a pervasive emotion of the first Christmas. Matthew records that, “[A]n angel of the Lord appeared to [Joseph] in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife’” (Matthew 1:20). When he saw an angel of the Lord, Luke records that, “And Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear gripped him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias’” (Luke 1:12-13). The angel also told Mary, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30). Contact with the supernatural angel from the Lord was unnerving. Maybe we have come to feel too cozy with the Christmas story. Perhaps we ought to be a bit more unnerved when we hear the recounting of when God visited this planet in the form of an infant who upon reaching mature manhood, would be crucified for the sins of His people.

The shepherds were ordinary men God allowed to experience an extraordinary visitation that night. James S. Stewart asks, “And is there not a world of meaning in the fact that it was very ordinary people, busy about ordinary tasks, whose eyes first saw the coming of the Lord?” Then he answers,

It means, first, that the place of duty, however humble, is the place of vision. And it means, second, that it is men who have kept to the deep, simple pieties of life and have not lost the child heart to whom the gates of the Kingdom most readily open.

To these herdsmen, God first entrusted the Good News that a baby had been born nearby during their night vigil, an infant “Savior who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). That Baby lying in an animal feeding trough signaled to them the birth of God’s only Messiah (See Romans 10:9-10.).

To these shepherds God first entrusted the gospel message, and it was their vocation that would provide the intimate and pastoral illustration of Jesus’ relationship with His followers. He is the Good Shepherd who calls and cares for those sheep who “hear his voice” (John 10:1-14). And for reason of His care for us, we need not fear either.

source

http://guardinghisflock.com/?p=657

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Okay….does it really say in the Bible that Jonah was swallowed by a whale?

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Christmas or Communion?
Here in America, Christmas seems to be a much bigger affair than I am accustomed to in South Africa. Many houses are beautifully decorated, almost every one sports at least some form of Christmas decoration, even if just a wreath on the door or a tree in the window. Millions of Dollars are spent on food, gifts, cards and other paraphernalia that relates to Christmas and even the gasoline stations join in by hiking the price of fuel. So it is not unexpected that I have been thinking long and hard about the holiday, it’s meaning and the reasons why people love to celebrate it so lavishly.
It is clear that it is not a Christian celebration since more unbelievers than true believers celebrate the day. So what is it about the season that people, even unbelievers, find so attractive? It seems to have little to do with Jesus and the message of the Gospel and much to do about money, greed and commercialism. Recently a newspaper headline suggested that we should rather call it “techmas”, referring to the emphasis on technology and technological toys and gifts. Even children seem to agree by pulling their noses up at any gift that does not require batteries.
I can not find a single reference in the whole Bible where the Disciples or the early church celebrated His birth. Come to think of it, there is not a single reference to Jesus ever celebrating His own birthday! There is also no instruction in the whole of the Bible to celebrate the birth of the Savior. Unlike His birth, His death is to be celebrated and to be remembered. Jesus instituted the memorial the night before He was crucified (Matthew 26:26). He instructs the disciples to celebrate it (Luke 22:19) and Paul instructs us to remember the Lord (1Corinthians 11). Yet the vast majority of Westerners will celebrate His birth while ignoring His death! Why?
One of the possible reasons lies in the fact that “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” is a lot more user-friendly and manageable than a bloody Savior on a cross. A baby Jesus in a crib, all cute and cuddly sells product much better than One at whose Name every knee shall bow, and the romance of an “illegitimate” child, born in a stable in an obscure village, and Who rose to greatness is far more appealing than the truth that our sin nailed Him to that tree. A helpless baby who makes no demands, other than for food is much more appealing than a risen, glorified Lord who demands our total love, obedience and devotion.
Thus many people prefer to “freeze” the moment and the Child for ever. That way, He is much less threatening and more manageable. We too like think of God in terms of gifts, giving and presents and not as One Who makes just and holy demands. Above all, men like to confine God to a shape and form in which they can manage and control Him. Is this not one of the ways in which we change the glory of the incorruptible God? (Romans 1:23).
Yes, the Almighty Word became flesh and limited Himself to the body of a baby that was helpless and totally dependant upon His parents for everything. But, He is no longer a helpless, cute baby or even a young man. He is the risen, glorious King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is the One who will soon come to judge the world, destroy His enemies and establish His eternal Kingdom. Every knee shall bow before Him and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord (Philippians 2:10).
His birth was incidental to God’s wonderful plan of salvation. He had to be born in human form in order to relate to us and to be a faithful High Priest but, He did not come to be born: He came to die! It is not His birth that saves us, but His death and resurrection. Many people like to emphasize Jesus’ life as an example, rather than see Him as the One Who died and rose again. They willingly forget that the message of the Gospel is not His life and death, but rather, His death and life. Yes, we like to see Him as the Lamb of God, but forget that He is no longer dumb before those who slaughtered Him. He now has seven horns which represent his Divine power and authority (Revelation 5:6) and when He speaks, the heavens and earth quake. No longer is there no room for Him in the inn, but heaven is His throne and the earth His footstool (Acts 7:49). No longer is He wrapped in swaddling clothes, but now He is “clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance like the sun shining in its strength.” (Revelation 1:13-16).
Is it wrong for us to celebrate His birth? Yes, I think it is wrong if we do not give far more importance to remembering His death than His birth. Here’s the catch: How many of us look forward to the Lord’s Table and put as much time into preparing for Communion as we do for Christmas. Most Christians will miss the Lord’s Table for the slightest excuse, yet they will travel thousands of miles to be present at a Christmas celebration. And don’t tell me it’s not about Christmas but that it is time to be with family. So is the Lord’s Supper not a time to be with family? And the excuse that it is a holiday also does not work – every Sunday is a holiday.
You can celebrate Christmas as long as at least twelve times a year (preferably 52 times) you will look forward to, and put as much time into preparing your heart and mind for the Lord’s table as you do for Christmas and if you will spend as much money on giving to the Lord each week as you give to others at Christmas. Isn’t it strange that amid all the emphasis on gifts and giving around Christmas, that this is the month when giving to the church is the lowest of the year! Something has to be wrong with this picture.
For too long the church has allowed the world to shape it’s traditions and values. It should be the other way around. It is time for us to get back to the priorities and principles of the Bible and not of the world. Enjoy your celebrations but determine to give more importance to the Lord’s table than Christmas – that’s the way it should be.

written 12/25/2006

source: found HERE

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