Alas it is December 1st and Christmas is in 24 days! Some people I know have murmured that they just can’t seem to get in the spirit? They are looking at the long list of gifts expected by others, and they are recognizing their lack of funds! They also recognize that Christmas just does not seem the same this year because of all the problems in the world. Do you have a friend that looks despondent, shoulders shrugged, eyes down – someone who needs a good word?Do you ponder what words you could say that might uplift, or encourage someone stuck in sadness? If so, perhaps you could send them this post filled with the inspired Word of God! The Truth is that there is a residing, lasting joy that we can marvel in ourselves! The Spirit of Christinus, gives us reason to shout! Christ in us is the reason for the season, and a perfect time to pass on the GOOD NEWS! He is the real cause for all people to rejoice with GREAT JOY! The Shepherds and the Angels – the Shepherds were not welcome in the city, they had an odor, they were uneducated, and unwelcome. People within the gates of civilization mocked them and so they were not eager to go into town. You can only imagine that they walked slowly, head down hoping not to be recognized and insulted. Luke 2:8 “In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. (These lonely Shepherds were startled, astonished, terrified) 10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: (WOW a GREAT JOY for ALL people which includes even the lowly shepherds! ) 11 Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. 12 This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.” 13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: 14 Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors! (The lowly shepherds were terrified with just one angel, now an army of angels were praising God loudly – WOW now imagine the shepherds shaking in their sandals in total AWE) 15 When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” (This time because of the JOY within them, they walked swiftly into Bethlehem) 16 They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. 17 After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard, just as they had been told.(No matter what they looked like, smelled like, or how uneducated they might sound, they returned CHANGED and eager to tell about all that they saw! The shepherds RECOGNIZED BABY JESUS as the Messiah!) —– After Jesus died and defeated death —-Luke 24:13 Now that same day two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 Together they were discussing everything that had taken place. 15 And while they were discussing and arguing, Jesus Himself came near and began to walk along with them. 16 But they were prevented from recognizing Him. (Possibly because they were stuck in sadness, and unbelief of what the girls had told them about Jesus being alive) 17 Then He asked them, “What is this dispute that you’re having with each other as you are walking?” And they stopped walking and looked discouraged. (downcast, eyes lowered, shoulders drooping without joy) 18 The one named Cleopas answered Him, “Are You the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that happened there in these days?” 19 “What things?” He asked them. So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus the Nazarene, who was a Prophet powerful in action and speech before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping (hope past tense) that He was the One who was about to redeem Israel. (disappointed about their expectations) Besides all this, it’s the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women from our group astounded us. They arrived early at the tomb, 23 and when they didn’t find His body, they came and reported that they had seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they didn’t see Him.” (without seeing, eyes downcast, their unbelief kept them stuck in sadness) 25 He said to them, “How unwise and slow you are to believe in your hearts all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer these things and enter into His glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted for them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. (They still DID NOT recognize Jesus, perhaps they did not make eye contact with the Person who was walking with them?) 28 They came near the village where they were going, and He gave the impression that He was going farther. (Jesus had JOY and He was walking fast as the men stuck in sadness were walking slow) 29 But they urged Him: “Stay with us, because it’s almost evening, and now the day is almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. 30 It was as He reclined at the table with them that He took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him, but He disappeared from their sight. 32 So they said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts ablaze within us while He was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?” 33 That very hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem. (These guys had just walked a slow 7 miles and once they RECOGNIZED JESUS in their midst, they were eager to return SWIFTLY to Jerusalem.) They found the Eleven and those with them gathered together, 34 who said, “The Lord has certainly been raised, and has appeared to Simon!” Lord Jesus, help us to RECOGNIZE You in the midst of every trial, and circumstance so that we can bring You glory and be Your Light! James 1:2 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” Let us give thanks for the JOY we have been given “in the Lord.” Hallelujah! Psalm 92:4 “For You have made me rejoice, Lord, by what You have done; I will shout for joy because of the works of Your hands.” Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith. 1 Thess 1:6 “and you became imitators of us and of the Lord when, in spite of severe persecution, you welcomed the message with joy from the Holy Spirit.” Nehemiah 8:10 “Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your stronghold.” Philippians 2:2 “fulfill My joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal.” 1 Thess 2:19 “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?” 1 Peter 1:8 “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”
What does the Bible say about Christmas trees? Jeremiah 10:1-5 says the following, “Hear the word which the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says the LORD: Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them. For the customs of the peoples are futile; for one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple. They are upright, like a palm tree, and they cannot speak; they must be carried, because they cannot go by themselves. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, nor can they do any good.” — It might seem that verses 3 and 4 are referring to Christmas trees. A tree cut from the forest and decorated with gold and silver trimmings. Reading again, the entire section makes it clear that God is talking about making a carved image—or idol—from the trunk of a tree. The Word says the work of the hands of the workman. Or the shaping of the wood. In context with verse 8: “But they are altogether dull-hearted and foolish; a wooden idol is a worthless doctrine.” A false god was not made by the true God, the Creator (see verses 9-11). Verses 14 and 15 speak of worthless idols and images that are only objects of mockery. The practice of making an idol from the trunk of a tree is also referred to in Isaiah 40:19, 20 and 44:14-17. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah declare the futility and absurdity of making and worshiping idols. We are to remember Jesus at Christmas, and of course daily. The practice of decorating Christmas trees originated not by God, but by man. HISTORY of the Christmas tree. Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce. It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.