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Merry Christmas 2017!

ChristmaGreetings from 

The Forgiveness Foundation 

Christian Ministries

 

Christmas Day 2017 is here! Christians throughout the World are celebrating the birth of the Messiah - Jesus The Christ - their Lord and Savior! Christians assemble to worship Jesus through song, prayer, and word. Christmas is the time of year when families gather to share their time, gifts, and renew their love for one another. Some Christians celebrate Christmas through sharing their talent, gifts, and love with others less fortunate. Christmas is a time of joy! Christmas is a time of renewal! Christmas is a time of worship! Christmas is a time of thanksgiving! 

 

Our greeting would not be complete without a Christmas message. Today’s Bible passage is not a conventional Christmas passage but it expresses the “Spirit of Christmas” quite well. 

 

One of the religion scholars came up (to Jesus). Hearing the lively exchange of question and answer and seeing how sharp Jesus was in his answers, he put in his question: “Which is most important of all the commandments?” Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second; Love others as well as love yourself.’  There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”  (Mark 12:28-31, MSG*) 

 

In just seven days a new year begins, let’s resolve today, let’s begin today, to live the words expressed by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ seeking Him and His will for our livers with every fiber of our being while loving our neighbors as we love ourselves and Jesus loves us.                                                                                          

 

We at The Forgiveness Foundation Christian Ministries take this time to wish you and yours a very Blessed Christmas.  

 

Godspeace!

 

*MSG is short for The Message Bible.  The Message is translated directly from Greek, not other English translations, however, it includes many common phrases, rhythms, and idioms found in the English language today as a way to help the readers better connect and understand The Message written.

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Christmas Thoughts from The Forgiveness Foundation Christian Ministries

The tree is decorated in lights and ornaments made and collected over the years from school projects and various places the family had visited.  Stockings hang over the fireplace.  A nativity scene is on display across from the tree.  Pieces of holly and branches from an evergreen tree are spread throughout the house.  Christmas cards from family and friends decorate the mantel.  A child slowly walks through the house, taking one last look at the tree, and the lack of presents under the tree, before going to bed with a small grin on his face.  He is excited for morning.  What will it bring?

 

As he awakens, he realizes it is Christmas!!  He jumps out of bed and, still in his pajamas, runs to look under the tree.  Are the presents there?  How many?  How big are they?

 

What would your child’s reaction be if he ran out to the tree and saw that there were no presents?  What would your reaction be?

 

On December 21, 2000, Robert Rega and three friends were concerned over their lack of funds to purchase Christmas gifts for their children.  Together, they concocted a plan to rob a local motel.  They recruited a fifth individual to join them.  No one was to be harmed.  Several hours later, one man was dead.  A security guard, performing his job.  Instead of providing a happy Christmas for their children, Robert and his friends ruined Christmas for their families and the family of the security guard.  Was it worth it?  Are Christmas presents worth losing a lifetime with your children?  

 

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6, ESV)

 

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The History of Christmas

The Christmas season is full of traditions.  Some traditions are universal, some are regional, and some are just among family.  Each tradition was established at some point in history, be it thousands of years ago or a generation ago.  We have already shared with you the origins of the Christmas Tree, but what about Christmas itself?  How did Christmas become Christmas?  

 

Christmas became a formal holiday under Roman Emperor Justinian, around AD 529, but the origins of Christmas go back much farther, even before Christ was born.  Today we know Christmas as a holiday to celebrate the birth of Christ, however, it started as a pagan holiday.  Ancient Rome held a harvest festival to mark the winter solstice and to honor Saturn, the god of sowing, for the upcoming plowing and planting season.  Other ancient civilizations, such as Egypt, also held festivals around the time of the winter solstice to gain the gods' favor for the upcoming planting season.  

 

After Jesus’ ascension into Heaven, Christians began celebrating Christ’s birth, “as a means of replacing worship of the sun, with worship of the Son.”  Although we celebrate Jesus’ birth on December 25, he was born earlier in the year.  Why then, would Christians use a pagan holiday to celebrate?  Because being a Christian was illegal and could result in death.  

 

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