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  • Writer's pictureFrank Paul

Christmas Edition Newsletter 2023


DECEMBER 2023

        

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!


    

             

Quotes of the month


Christmas means so much because of one special child, and that many of us believe in the divinity of the child born in Bethlehem, that He was and is the promised Prince of Peace.

 

Ronald Reagan

 

How many observe Christ’s birthday.  How few, His precepts.

 

Benjamin Franklin

 

Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.

 

Steve Maraboli

 

The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn’t for any religious reasons. They just couldn’t find three wise men.

 

Jay Leno

 

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

 

My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that.

 

Bob Hope

 

Christmas can be celebrated in the school room with pine trees, tinsel, and reindeer, but there must be no mention of the man whose birthday is being celebrated. One wonders how a teacher would answer if a student asked why it was called Christmas.

 

Ronald Reagan

 

I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending.

 

Revelation 1:8

 

 

Excellent Gift Idea

 

Wealth among traditional people is measured by having enough to give away.

 

Good Medicine Society

 

So you don’t know what to get someone for a Christmas gift; do they really need anything, or are you just going through the motions. Here’s a meaningful idea instead.

Make a donation to a needy organization in their name. Take the receipt, put it in a Christmas card and give or send it to them; and explain to them that their gift will help feed someone less fortunate, clothe someone, distribute a free Bible to someone, et cetera. They will understand that when it really comes down to it, others could use a gift more than they could. And if for some reason they don’t understand or they feel as if you slighted them, have your gift recipient re-read, or perhaps read for the first time, Matthew 6:1-4, Matthew 6:19-21, Luke 11:13, Acts 20:35, and 1 John 3:16-18, just to name a few.  Let them know that giving is to glorify God, and that giving is truly better than receiving.

Here are some suggestions:

Greater Cleveland Food Bank,

Salvation Army,

American Bible Society,

Boys Town,

The Navigators,

West Side Catholic Charities,  

Prison Fellowship,

Pacific Garden Mission, or any of the myriad of organizations that could use some help. You and your gift recipient will warm up your hearts with this generous act.

 

Healthy and Holy

 

by Pastor James Merritt

 

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:20.


Glorify: to praise, extol, magnify, and celebrate; to render something excellent.; to make renowned; to cause the dignity and worth of some person or thing to become manifest and acknowledged.

Your body was created for one purpose – to glorify its Creator. Wherever you take it, however you treat it, whatever you put in it, and whatever you do with it, should always be to glorify God. As Christians, how we live our lives should praise, magnify, and celebrate the greatness of our God. How we choose to live should cause others to recognize the dignity and worth of God Almighty.

God’s own son modeled this for us in His earthly life. In John 17:4 Jesus prayed, “I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.”

Jesus went on to say that He manifested God’s name to the people God brought to Him out of the world (verse 6). Everything Christ did was to glorify God…to make Him known. In all four gospels, it is written that Jesus retreated away to rest, or to fast, or to pray. He shared meals with friends, and He took time away from the crowds to refuel. Jesus rose early to spend time with His Father. Jesus knew that in order to accomplish His God-given purpose He had to take care of the body He was living in until the appointed time of His ultimate sacrifice of that body for our sins.

If it is true that our bodies were created to glorify God, then there must be implications concerning how we care for our bodies. Ask yourself this question: How would my physical habits change if I began to see my body as a temple that belongs to God? Healthy living is a wise spiritual choice. Physical health is important – not just in order to live longer – but also so that we can give God our very best.

 

Christmas Fun Tidbits

 

December 25th was well known for its pagan religious celebrations long before Jesus was born.

The first Christmas happened in 336 B.C. in Rome.

The word Christmas comes from the old English phrase cristes maesse, which means Christ’s mass in 1038.

 The Christmas celebration was never mentioned in the Bible. All the associated customs and symbols with Christmas stemmed from pagan festival and Winter solstice rituals.

President Ulysses S. Grant signed the bill that made Christmas a national or a federal holiday on June 26, 1870. Christmas was still celebrated before then, of course. Christmas was very much celebrated in a traditional way. For example, one of Thomas Jefferson’s letters he wrote in 1813 showed that Christmas was celebrated with family, friends, and festivities.

December 25th was first identified as the date of Jesus’ birth by Sextus Julius Africanua in 221 and later became the universally accepted date.

None of the contemporary Christmas customs have their origin in theological or liturgical affirmations, and most are of fairly recent date.

Towards the end of the 18th century the practice of giving gifts to family members became well established. Theologically, the feast day reminded Christians of God’s gift of Jesus to humankind even as the coming of the Wise Men, or Magi, to Bethlehem suggested that Christmas was somehow related to giving gifts.

By holding Christmas at the same time as traditional Winter Solstice festivals, church leaders increased the chances that Christmas would be popularly embraced, but gave up the ability to dictate how it was celebrated. By the Middle Ages, Christianity had, for the most part, replaced pagan religion.

The Salvation Army has been sending Santa Claus-clad donation collectors into the streets since the 1890s.

Rudolph, the most famous reindeer of all, was the product of Robert L. May’s imagination in 1939. The copywriter wrote a poem about the reindeer to help lure customers into the Montgomery Ward department store.

Construction workers started the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree tradition in 1931.

Poinsettia plants are named after Joel R. Poinsett, an American minister to Mexico, who brought the red and green plant from Mexico to America in 1828.

 

World War I’s Christmas Truce

 

When Fighting Paused for Christmas

 

On Christmas Eve 1914, in the dank, muddy trenches on the Western Front of the First World War, a remarkable thing happened. It came to be called the Christmas Truce. And it remains one of the most storied and strangest moments of the Great War – or of any war in

history.

British machine gunner Bruce Bairnsfather, later a prominent cartoonist, wrote about it in his memoirs. Like most of his fellow infantrymen of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, he was spending Christmas Eve shivering in the muck, trying to keep warm. He had spent a good part of the past few months fighting the Germans. And now, in a part of Belgium called Bois de Ploegsteert, he was crouched in a trench that stretched just three feet deep by three feet wide, his days and nights marked by an endless cycle of sleeplessness and fear, stale biscuits and cigarettes too wet to light.

Here I was, in this horrible clay cavity, Bairnsfather wrote, miles and miles from home. Cold, wet through, and covered with mud. There didn’t seem the slightest chance of leaving – except in an ambulance.

At about 10:00 p.m. Bairnsfather noticed a noise. I listened, he recalled. Away across the field, among the dark shadows beyond, I could hear the murmur of voices. He turned to a fellow soldier in his trench and said, do you hear the Germans kicking up that racket over there? Yes, came the reply. They’ve been at it some time.

The Germans were singing carols, as it was Christmas Eve. In the darkness, some of the British soldiers began to sing back.

 Suddenly, Bairnsfather recalled, we heard a confused shouting from the other side. We all stopped to listen. The shout came again. The voice was from an enemy soldier, speaking in English with a strong German accent. He was saying, Come over here. One of the British Sergeants answered: You come half-way. I come half-way.

What happened next would, in the years to come, stun the world and make history. Enemy soldiers began to climb nervously out of their trenches, and to meet in the barbed wire filled No Man’s Land that separated the armies. Normally, the British and Germans communicated across No Man’s Land with streaking bullets, with only occasionally gentlemanly allowance to collect the dead unmolested. But now, there were handshakes and words of kindness. The soldiers traded songs, tobacco, and wine, joining in a spontaneous holiday party in the cold night.

Bairnsfather could not believe his

eyes. Here they were, the actual, practical soldiers of the German army. There was not an atom of hate on either side.

And it wasn’t confined to that one battlefield. Starting on Christmas Eve, small pickets of French, German, Belgian, and British troops held impromptu cease fires across the Western Front, with reports of some on the Eastern Front as well. Some accounts suggest a few of

 these unofficial truces remained in effect for days.

For those who participated, it was surely a welcome break from the hell they had been enduring. When the war had begun just six months earlier, most soldiers figured it would be over quickly and they’d be home with their families in time for the holidays. Not only would the war drag on for four more years, but it would prove to be the bloodiest conflict ever up to that time. The Industrial Revolution had made it possible to mass produce new and devastating tools for killing – among them fleets of airplanes and guns that could fire hundreds of rounds per minute. And bad news on both sides had left soldiers with plummeting morale. There was the devastating Russian defeat at Tannenberg in August 1914, and the German losses in the Battle of the Marne a week later.

By the time Winter approached in 1914, and the chill set in, the Western Front stretched hundreds of miles. Countless soldiers were living in misery in the trenches on the fronts, while tens of thousands had already died.

 

Then Christmas came.

 

             - - - - -

 As a Reminder…

 

If you do not observe the Sabbath as a Sabbath, you will not see the Father.

 

Jesus speaking to His disciples in the Gospel of Thomas,

Nag Hammadi Scriptures

 

A Prayer

 

Almighty God, we give Thee thanks for the mighty yearning of the human heart for the coming of a Savior, and the constant promise of Thy Word that He was to come. In our own souls we repeat the humble sighs and panting aspirations for ancient men and ages, and own that our souls are in darkness and infirmity without faith in Him who comes to bring God to man and man to God. We bless Thee for the tribute that we can pay to Him from our very sense of need and dependence, and that our own hearts can so answer from their wilderness, the cry, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” In us the rough places are to be made smooth, the crooked straight, the mountains of pride brought low, and the valleys of despondency lifted up. O God, prepare Thou the way in us now, and may we welcome anew Thy Holy Child. Hosanna! Blessed be He who cometh in the name of the Lord. Amen.  Samuel Osgood, 1862

 

Editor’s Note

 

As we approach Christmas of 2023 and the world, once again, quite frankly, is in chaos, let us be the shining light in other people’s lives. Let us approach each person as if we were Jesus Himself chatting with that person: no judgment, no preconceived notions, only kindness and humility and love. Difficult as that may be, it will help them, and you. We need not make life more difficult than it already is by dwelling on our own problems. The reprieve from your own worries you get from helping others feels great.

I was asked once why I always try to be kinder than necessary, it’s only a drop in a bucket they said.

I remember answering, have you ever dyed Easter eggs? One drop of beautiful color in that bowl of water after a while fills the whole bowl with that beautiful color; just give it a minute.

 During this Holiday Season, let us be that beautiful colored drop of kindness in the bucket of chaos, and we’ll just give it a minute and see what happens.

 I love you. Jesus loves you.

Merry Christmas, my friends. 

 

Frank Paul



God doesn’t require us to succeed, He only requires that you try.” 

Mother Teresa

 


 






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North Olmsted, Ohio 44070

 

 

 

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copyright@TheSeedSower2023

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