The Most Holy Dynasty: A Prelude to Christ

Welcome back to the final part of a three-part Special Edition of Everything Christmas Blogs. If you missed the first two parts of this special story, you may want to read them first by clicking on the following links:

www.danabicksauthor.com/blog/a-real-father-christmas

www.danabicksauthor.com/blog/the-humble-mother-of-a-christmas-savior

As Christians, it is important to know about Jesus and His family. Today, we will discover, as written in the Bible, the enthralling nativity story and birth of Jesus. Though some information is minimal, try to use your imagination, along with the details and facts to substantiate the most holy dynasty. It is truly a moving story!

I’ll never forget hearing these words from a “Christian” radio announcer who interviewed me, “So what if  Jesus was born by a virgin? Why is that important?” What a question for a true Christian to ask for God prophesied His son’s birth! Matthew 1:22-23 is definite proof Jesus is the Messiah and born of the Virgin Mary!

This was just one of many prophecies God gave us in the Old Testament. He wanted believers to know, beyond any doubt, who the real Messiah was when His son’s miraculous birth occurred on that wondrous night. In the biblical days of Joseph and Mary, everyone knew of God’s predictions. The wandering eyes of many who lived in Bethlehem and Nazareth waited for the great announcement. But, who would be the newborn King’s mother and father? Unbeknownst, it was a very young woman, a virgin, and she resided amongst them! 

You must understand how God performs miracles. He uses individuals and situations least suspected by others. Here, Mary was betrothed to Joseph, not yet wed, so she became the least dubious choice. Pregnant women in those times were married, not single, for they would have been stoned to death. It could place no worse of a stigma on Jews than to be born out of wedlock, so a virgin was necessary to carry out God’s goal. Shrouding Mary’s conception of the Messiah in mystery was of the utmost importance. Joseph had difficulty understanding her circumstance until a visiting angel described God’s plan. Divine intervention was the only way people would see this birth as God’s miracle and proof of His existence. Joseph’s testimony would help convince others along with one other woman…

Mary Visits Relatives

After Mary’s immaculate conception, she visited her cousin to share her pregnancy news. As God’s plans are always well thought out, He performed another miracle, but for a special reason. Elizabeth and her husband, Zechariah, were expecting their first baby, a boy, in three months. This elderly couple could not conceive so God blessed them with an infant who would one day become His ordained messenger. The angel, Gabriel, told Zechariah their son, John the Baptist, would soon introduce Jesus, as the Messiah.

Once again, God would use Elizabeth and Zechariah to prove He was the Almighty Savior of life on earth.

What Will Joseph Do Now?

After Joseph learned of Mary’s impending birth, he was very tormented and shocked. But, God sent an angel (unnamed in the Bible) to him to clarify the self-fulfilling prophecy. 

To protect Mary’s safety and obey God’s command, Joseph lovingly married her. He moved her into his home in Nazareth to prepare for her childbirth. But, several months later, Augustus Caesar organized a compulsory census and general taxation in Judea. For those who didn’t want to lose their property and possessions, it was imperative every citizen (which included Nazareth and Bethlehem) appear in person to register. There was much chatter a Savior was soon be delivered, and speculation arose. Some believed Caesar contrived the census so he might determine who was pregnant. He also instructed the Three Wise Men to search for the child who claimed to be the Messiah.


Augustus Caesar Census

Joseph worried about the health and welfare of Mary should they embark on the long trip (approximately eighty miles) to Bethlehem. But, since they were both descendants of King David, it was mandatory they make the trudge, cautiously south. I’m sure they faced many perils because of Mary’s limitations of being nine months pregnant. It does not indicate in the bible what mode of transportation they used, but Joseph was not a poor man. Therefore, a donkey may have been used to give her a some comfort.

The Journey to Bethlehem

They may have only voyaged ten miles a day, realistically, over the mountains and Judean desert. They probably also traveled with trade caravans as protection from bandits. The freezing weather was an obstacle too. Snow and rain would have drenched their long wool robes and socks. I cannot imagine such a horrific trip! But, God protected their every move for this was His ultimate plan.

As Joseph and Mary entered Bethlehem, it surprised them how many people were in the area. Maybe they were in Bethlehem for the census as well or because of the season of the year. So, Joseph walked from inn to inn trying to finding a warm, protected space for Mary. He finally convinced someone to allow them to stay on their property but, it was an area where animals slept and ate from troughs. Making the best of a bad situation, Joseph made Mary a bed of straw, and she rested in the old, run-down structure. You see, God felt it was important for Jesus to be born in the most humbling of circumstances. It would be less conspicuous to authorities because they wouldn’t suspect a Messiah to be born in a stable. This was a private time and not one to share with strangers.

It does not describe Mary’s birthing of Jesus in scriptures but allow me to reveal some interesting facts about childbirth in biblical days. Men were not allowed in a room when a woman was having a baby. Undernormal circumstances, village women stayed for the entire birth, and they announced the arrival of a newborn after the mother was comfortable. If no one were present for a delivery, it raised many suspicions. So, my curiosity peaks as to perhaps there were other people with Mary during the birth of Jesus. It’s hard to say, but it’s a fascinating thought.

The Importance of a Virgin Birth

So, let’s return to the significance of our Lord being born to a virgin. God created Adam and Eve sinless. They were to be the beginning of His perfect world. However, upon eating the forbidden fruit, sin stayed forever in the veins of mankind. As the centuries passed, God’s attempt to prove to the world He was the ruler of humanity failed many times. His greatest miracle and the only way to convince others of His existence, was to anoint a virgin woman to bear His Son. She would be fully dedicated to God. Jesus was born to replace Satan’s ruling on earth. For Him to be born without original sin and stay sinless, He could not inherit sin through man’s seed of sexual contact. It needed to be an immaculate conception.

Jesus is truly divine. He is the third part of the Holy Trinity who humbled Himself to become a poor man, born in the worst of conditions, to erase sin from this world. Yet today, mankind continues to devalue His words and even His existence. Is it any wonder God will not let humankind enter His gates of heaven except through His Son, Jesus Christ?

As Christians, this season is the time to celebrate God’s entrance into the world as a man. He is our forgiving and Almighty Savior. He wants us to have an everlasting life with Him by merely accepting Jesus into your life. We have but one chance to make this decision. Will it be yours or will you remain where evil lurks?

What can Joseph and Mary’s story teach us today? FAITH and OBEDIENCE! Amide fear and perils we each face in life, it is critical we carry our faith in Jesus Christ. He will guide us down a path designed perfectly for you. Sometimes it may not make sense, but allow Him to open doors. His ways always go beyond man’s comprehension, challenging both us and society, but you will not regret being obedient to His word.

May your Christmas be filled with the spirit and miracles of our Lord!

Thank you friends and followers for allowing us to share this special family’s story with you this week. The regular “Everything Christmas Blogs” will continue on Tuesday, December 11th. Hope to see you then!

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The Humble Mother of a Christmas Savior

The Humble Mother of a Christmas Savior cover

Welcome to Part Two of a three-part Special Edition of Everything Christmas Blogs. As Christians, it is important to know about Jesus. For example, how many details do you actually know about His family? Though most information is minimal, try to use your imagination, along with the details and facts of the Bible, to understand this holy dynasty. Today, we will learn of Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus Christ. Enjoy!

Enjoy this gorgeous Christmas song, “Mary, Did You Know?” sung by Clay Aiken:

 

Nothing is more glorious or miraculous than giving birth to a child. Who will the baby resemble and what will they become in adulthood? But, can you ever imagine going to sleep a virgin and waking up to discover a baby growing in your womb? And then, to compound the mystery, you are told the child will be a Savior to all mankind! What?? How does this happen? God’s power over man is astounding, if not scary. It proves we, ultimately, have no control over our lives. His miraculous deeds exceed earthly desires, so let us praise His name!

This is the true account of Jesus’s mother, Mary, a poor Jewish girl who lived in Nazareth. Her honorable family was descendants of King David, but they were not any different from others who struggled to live daily in the thriving, small town. Mary’s parents raised her with strong convictions and a deep love for the Lord. She was carefully trained in the Scriptures and so highly favored by God to be the mother of His Son.

Mary’s story begins in the Bible at the tender age of twelve to fourteen where she lived with her parents but betrothed to Joseph. (This is young to be engaged but the lifespan of the generations in biblical days were short.) One day, the angel, Gabriel, came to visit her and said:

Luke 1:28-33

“….Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

the-humble-mother-of-a-christmas-savior-pic-1.jpg

 

Put yourself in Mary’s place. What would your reaction be to such a claim? I think it would terrify me, as it did Mary, for she was still a virgin. Though she didn’t understand, she humbled herself before the Lord. Her faith and trust in God would see her through the explanation to Joseph and the birth of the child. What a remarkable young girl!

Mary paid a visit to her older cousin, Elizabeth and her husband, Zechariah in a small town of Judea. Would they believe her story? They were preparing for the delivery of their first child. As the Bible tells, when Mary arrived, Elizabeth dropped to her knees and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!” God used Elizabeth to confirm to Mary that she would be the mother of the Son of God. She knew nothing was impossible for God. But, Elizabeth understood, too, an unmarried mother in their culture could be stoned or put to death. It would place shame on the tribe in their township. So, she let Mary stay with her until their son, John the Baptist, was born three months later.

The Humble Mother of a Christmas Savior Pic 2

 

Upon Mary’s return trip home, many thoughts afflicted her. How would she explain her pregnancy to Joseph and her parents? They would accuse her of something she did not do. This young woman of such character was about to be put to the ultimate test.

When Mary relayed her story to Joseph, he appeared extremely upset and hurt. She knew he didn’t believe her. What would she do now, and where would she go to stay safe in Nazareth? The Bible does not detail her parent’s reaction, but one can only imagine. Mary’s stress level must have been unbearable.

The next day, Joseph arrived at Mary’s home to pick her up and take her to his house. He loved her! A visit from an angel to him the night before confirmed her pregnancy. (Read Joseph’s history in the first part of this Special Edition – www.danabicksauthor.com/blog/a-real-father-christmas). He protected her and her character, and still wanted to marry even though the townspeople gossiped and shadowed her reputation. Is being a servant of God ever easy?

Near the end of Mary’s pregnancy, she and Joseph trudged an eighty-mile path to Bethlehem. Caesar required the citizens to enroll in a tax census but there was a hidden agenda. He knew a child was to be born who held the name “Savior.” The only way to find out who was carrying the miracle was to demand all citizens report to him in person. So, not only was Mary very pregnant, tired, and concerned of Caesar’s request, she endured a trip which must have been physically painful. Little to eat and little to drink, Joseph, and Mary climbed the many mountains, probably making many short stops along the way for her to rest.

The Humble Mother of a Christmas Savior Pic 3

As they approached Bethlehem, Mary began the early stages of labor. The city was full of people, and no place was available for them to stay the night. Joseph found a stall for animals and made a bed of straw for her to lie upon and be comfortable. In a strange town, with no relatives to help, a young Mary gives birth to her first child. She must have been terrified, and perhaps, even a little sad she could not share their joy with family members. But God’s celebration of His son was her drive to remain strong and steadfast. What an extraordinary, uncomplaining mother!

The Humble Mother of a Christmas Savior Pic 4

 

Mary, the humble mother of our Savior, Jesus Christ, was an incredible girl. She served God at any cost and was an obedient follower. How many women, today, can hold a candle to her? She was a nurturer, entirely devoted to her son’s health and spiritual well-being. But, as like all servants of the Lord, there’s great suffering too, especially being the mother of a Messiah. She was a holy woman of rare strength, confirming the human nature of Jesus Christ.

I think it’s proper to remember Mary on Christmas. She taught us to reach out and take a gift, accept God’s blessings, with a faithful and sincere heart. This is the reason for the season, my friends.

www.danabicksauthor.com

Please join us for the final part of this three-part Special Edition of “Everything Christmas Blogs” on Sunday, December 9th.


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A Real, Father Christmas

A Real, Father Christmas cover

This is part one of a three-part Special Edition of Everything Christmas Blogs. As Christians, it is important to know about Jesus. For example, how many details do you actually know about His family? Though most information is minimal, try to use your imagination, along with the details and facts of the Bible, to understand this holy dynasty. Today, we will learn of Joseph, the carpenter, legal father of Jesus Christ. Enjoy!

 

Jesus’s father, Joseph, was a real father Christmas – he personified a great example of fatherhood. A direct descendant of King David, his birthdate is circa 1782 BC, according to the Gregorian calendar method. In the book of Matthew, Joseph was one of eleven children, but only one of two natural-born children to Jacob and Rachel. Rachel could not conceive until late in life. Joseph was her first child and the most favored by Jacob.

Joseph lived in Nazareth, a tiny town of 400 residents, just twelve miles southwest of the Sea of Galilee. The meager, peasant families, all of whom were Jewish, barely survived farming the rocky, hilly terrain. But he became a skilled carpenter and later a well-respected contractor. He passed his family’s inherited talents on to his son, Jesus.

A Real, Father Christmas pic 1
Biblical Nazareth

A faithful and devout man to Judaism, Joseph raised his family under the same practices and beliefs. As the story of Mary and Joseph unravels in Matthew 1:1-18, this compelling man was of middle age when he met Mary. In biblical days, the parents of young girls arranged marriages. Because the age span of humans was short (35-45 years), girls wed at twelve to fourteen years old. It is unclear in the Bible if a marriage arrangement was the situation with Joseph and Mary because their story began when they were betrothed.

So, to describe Joseph’s personality and strength of character, let me set the scene of events. He was an honorable man who loved his soon-to-be-wife, Mary, very much. One day, Mary solemnly approached him and told him she was pregnant. His first instinct could have been anger and rejection. An acceptable response, in those days, would be to send her off to be stoned and ridiculed by the masses because she was pregnant with another’s child. Instead, his faith in God led him to believe her story of an immaculate conception.

A Real, Father Christmas pic 2

Joseph lovingly took her under his wing, setting aside his own needs for Mary’s protection. Men in this culture were not inclined to bend to a woman’s needs, but he set the bar very high. He traveled many miles with Mary until he found a safe and quiet place for her to give birth. But his starring role was about to begin.

Mary gave birth to our Savior, and Joseph was overcome with emotion. He named the baby Jesus (meaning Savior). Biologically, Joseph was not the father, but in every way, this man was a proud, surrogate patriarch. He raised Jesus in the Jewish religion and taught him a spiritual life. His role as a protective father ensured the survival of the child. This was evident when a second angel relayed another message:

A Real, Father Christmas verse

 

Again, Joseph traveled by night with Mary and Jesus, from Egypt back to Nazareth. He humbly and quietly saved Jesus’s life and established a residence for his family. Joseph certainly proved his willingness to be obedient to God’s direction and guidance.

A Real, Father Christmas pic 3

Though an exact date of Joseph’s death is not available, we can surmise it occurred sometime between the beginning of Jesus’s ministry and His crucifixion; Jesus made arrangements for John the Baptist to take care of His mother after His death. This was indicative Joseph was not alive.

What a silent hero Joseph was and a real role model for Christians today! He took his son, God Almighty, and taught him to pray and how to work. This is a man who was forced to live, initially, a life of purity within his marriage to Mary. Sacrificing the ability to have any kind of normal life came with many struggles and much criticism, but Joseph overcame them all. Few examples of these godly traits were seen in biblical days and even less so in today’s generations. Is it any wonder Jesus was a sinless man with such endearing and loving qualities?

Joseph was a gentle and wonderful man. Thank you, to this real, Father Christmas for living and teaching us the example of true love.

Enjoy this video called, “Joseph’s Hands”:

 

To be continued…. please join us on Thursday for Part Two of Everything Christmas Blogs!


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Slow Down and Light the Candles

Slow Down and Light the Candles cover

My childhood and young adult years were informative times in the Lutheran church. But, as strong as my family’s practice was in this religious conviction, I cannot remember a time we celebrated Advent. Christmas always revolved around being good for Santa or decorating a tree and our home, or other festive activities. Never once did we slow down and light the candles of an Advent wreath. Perhaps this concept is foreign to you, too, but the German Lutherans started the holy season of Advent in the 4th century. This was my family’s background! I cannot understand why my early years at church did not create a celebration for this special time of the year.

As I researched for this blog, I discovered Advent traditions are usually a personal choice for each church to decide, if or when it is celebrated at all. Well, now I understand why I didn’t learn about it as a child. This serious time of fasting, reading of scriptures and hearing a sermon related to Jesus’s birth just wasn’t critical enough to exploit to a listening parish. Gulp! As a non-Lutheran, Christian informative, I want to impart upon you today, the meaning of Advent because it is so essential to our beliefs.

Let’s listen to this beautiful Advent tune, “Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel” sung by Enya:

Christians should embrace the four Sundays, or four weeks leading up to Christmas Day. It’s a time to prepare our hearts; the second coming of Christ and Jesus’s birth. The beginning of this liturgical year includes Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. When candles are lit, and twinkling lights appear this time of the year, it reminds us Jesus overcame darkness for our salvation. He is the reason for the season!

Slow Down and Light the Candles pic 1

 

Hundreds of years ago, the Advent evergreen wreath became a tradition in many churches and homes. Each week, one of five candles is lit to symbolize our preparation of the coming of the Lord. Today, in fact, marks the first Sunday of Advent. A burning purple candle (other colors may be used too) is representing the expectation of God’s return as He so promised us. Next Sunday, a second candle will symbolize hope; the third Sunday’s candle is for the joy of our Savior’s impending birth and God’s love; and the fourth Sunday’s candle, burning on Christmas Day, signifies the purity of Jesus’s birth. The large Christ candle in the middle of the wreath will be lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day reminding us Jesus is the light of the world.

Many symbols of Advent exist today, but the most common are:
• The Chrismon tree decorated in white and gold ornaments, indicative of Christ’s majesty and purity, is used in many churches at Christmas.

Slow Down and Light the Candles pic 2
Chrismon tree

• The Jesse tree or Advent tree is decorated each week with handmade ornaments or objects representing Old Testament events from creation to the Birth of Jesus. It was named after the bible scripture Isaiah 11:1: “A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots.”

Slow Down and Light the Candles pic 3

Advent Calendars which typically begin on December 1st and go through December 24th. Most calendars have little paper doors over each date. When opened, there may be an image, Bible verse, or even a piece of chocolate. This custom dates back to the mid-19th century when German Protestants made chalk marks on doors to count the days leading up to Christmas.

Slow Down and Light the Candles pic 4

Trumpets were used by God throughout the Bible. They symbolize the truths God would have us learn and were used in biblical days to indicate to Israel the advent of seasons of worship.

• A six-pointed star, known as the Star of David, is hung on the second Saturday of Advent. Though a Jewish symbol, many churches use it during Christmas because it serves as a reminder Jesus was born Jewish and is a descendant of King David, whose kingdom was to be eternal.

Slow Down and Light the Candles pic 5
The Star of David

• The fleur-de-lis represents purity as in the Virgin Mary. Its three points, also symbolize the Trinity and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Slow Down and Light the Candles pic 6

 

My Christian friends, if you have not introduced Advent into your home, it’s a great time to do so. Christmas isn’t just about Santa Claus and gifts. Slow down and light the candles for Jesus! Remember the reason for the season – Jesus Christ taking on human flesh. God bless each and every one of you!   www.danabicksauthor.com

Slow Down and Light the Candles verse

Next week will be a SPECIAL EDITION of Everything Christmas Blogs! You will not want to miss these incredible stories! We will see you on Tuesday!


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It’s A Christmas Sing-A-Long!

It's A Christmas Sing-A-Long cover

My friends, today, we are warming up the vocal chords and putting on our thinking caps. This is a challenge, of sorts, to discover how well you know Christmas music! Please listen carefully to the three songs below:

Can you label which of these tunes are a Christmas carol, a hymn or a Christmas song? Let’s try to distinguish the differences among these three styles of music and then we’ll check your answers.

 

HYMNS
Hymns, known as “chordal music” by professional musicians, are interchangeable melodies; they use different lyrics on specific tunes. But, they stand out from other music because they are religious in nature. Most of these formal poems are taken from the Book of Psalms and sung by congregations. Their words give praise, adoration or prayer addressed to God. The main focus is placed on positive and uplifting lyrics, not the music. The first Christmas hymn may be traced to 4th century Rome. It was called, “Jesus Refulsit Omnium” (“Jesus, Light of All the Nations”), written by St. Hilary of Poitier. Listen to this song below:

 

CHRISTMAS CAROLS
Carols, a French word meaning “circle dance,” is always accompanied by instruments. Their lyrics can be religious or non-religious, so some carols may also be considered a Christmas song or a hymn. (Are you second-guessing your choice above??) As a standard, Christmas carols are songs of religious topics, such as Jesus or the nativity scene, but without the sacred context. Lyrics tend to harmonize around Christmas themes or the winter season and are normally sung before the holiday. Carols will always celebrate the joy of Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ. As a result, wassailers (or Christmas carolers) select them to bring happiness to your home’s doorstep.

The oldest Christmas carol dates to Rome in the 4th century. Listen to this song named, “The Holly and the Ivy”:

For a little trivia, can you guess the most popular Christmas carol ever written? Its age goes all the way back to 1816, and it has a remarkable 733 copyrighted recordings since 1978. If you believe you know the answer, click below to see if you are correct:

 

CHRISTMAS SONGS
The most popular music of the holidays, today, is known as Christmas songs. They are not overtly religious, but instead, they express verses of personal experiences at Christmastime or related things of the holiday. The music is very upbeat and secular in nature.

Once again, let’s play the trivia game! What is the best-selling Christmas/holiday song in the United States, and also the best-selling single of all time, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies worldwide? If you think you know the answer, click below:

 

Let us review the correct answers for the Christmas music heard at the beginning of this blog:

1) The Little Drummer Boy is a Christmas carol because it sings of the nativity scene with some religious undertones. It definitely celebrates the joy of Christmas and the coming birth of Jesus.

2) Oh, Come All Ye Faithful is a hymn as it gives praise and adoration to the Lord. It has uplifting and joyful verses.

3) It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas is a favorite Christmas song. It relates to all things Christmas with little alluding to religious events.

Now, since we are experts in differentiating a Christmas carol, song, and hymn, let’s turn up the volume on the radio and praise the Lord’s name to your favorite tunes. Regardless of the category the songs belong to, it is time to celebrate Christmas and the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ! Happy singing!

Please be sure to join us again on Sunday, December 2nd for another “Everything Christmas Blog”!


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The Season of Jesus

 

The Season of Jesus cover

I give you the sun that breaches through the frosted foliage.
I give you the peace of the morning light as cumulus lay resting high above and harmony wakens.
I give you the fortitude to rise, and you can thank my Father your alive, one and all.
And I give you the aptitude to know right from wrong.
I give you ME as you’re reminded every Sunday as I died for you. But I, too, celebrate the day my father called me to live and reign inside of you!
Whatever your interpretation of me, I appreciate being honored. If “giving“ is your primary reason, then I have succeeded. As I have done for you, I pray you will continue to reciprocate. Celebrate my birthday–it is a Christmas tradition! I’ll celebrate your heartfelt love as you remember Me, with your loved ones and friends, joining hands in commemoration.
~~~My love, Jesus

Enjoy the Christmas sound of “Immanuel” sung by Michael Card

Yes, “Jesus is the reason for the season”! Whether your faith finds you boggled up in religious wonders or abstaining from the hum-drum of outdated customs, Christ remains in Christmas. It’s said that we see Jesus in people we know and more this time of year than any other. I wish Christmas played a part in every heart, of every season!

The Season of Jesus Pic 1

 

Christmas – a time for peace and joy. Lay down your swords! Love your fellowman! As children of God, His light shines equally.

The Season of Jesus Pic 2

 

Christ came to save the meek, not the flamboyant. Be not discontented nor overwhelmed in money problems and material things for they, alone, will not bring you true happiness.

The Season of Jesus Pic 3

 

Because of sin, God sent his only son, Jesus, down to earth to sacrifice his very life in our place as an offering unto the Father. The is the only way you can be saved – through Jesus.

What will be your most precious gift this Christmas? Acknowledge your sin (rebellion) that keeps you on the wrong side of the bridge, confess it and turn from it. Then allow Jesus to lead you safely over the bridge to a promising relationship with God.

Yes, this is the season for us to acknowledge Jesus! Let us rejoice in His love and mercy!

The Season of Jesus Pic 4

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Paying Homage at Christmas

Paying Homage at Christmas cover

I’m not racist or blasphemous, as I’d like to believe we are all men of God. That being said, there’s a piece of history I’ve stumbled upon I want to share with you. As the war broke out over Germany, America felt compelled to help by joining forces with the UK. This is common knowledge but what I’d like to share is a little-known history, not readily available. I won’t rewrite the books on WWII, but I want to give credit where credit is due.

As Hitler ensued his killing mission during the Holocaust, Germany showed little mercy for the Jewish people. A good many Jewish community inhabitants went underground to escape his horror. A lot of them were prominent and educated. Most were musically inclined and so thankful for the Christians who fought for them. So, they composed commemorative songs. They were not just any tunes, but Christmas songs, the melodies we grew up with and know, today, by heart.

Paying Homage at Christmas Pic 1.jpg

I will uncover the truth. Jewish conductors wrote and composed the best-known Christmas carols! Let’s show them gratitude and give thanks for they hoped to write lyrics Americans would remember every holiday season. The Jewish composers found these carols uplifting and joyful, in contrast to Hanukkah hymns written in minor keys and more solemn. Christmas songs became a national celebration for all faiths.

Image of Johnny Marks

Image of Livingston and Evans

Image of Irving Berlin

Nearly 50% of our favorite lyrics, today, are the proceeds of a rejoicing Jewish people. Here’s a list of just a few of the Christmas carols and their Jewish composers:

“Winter Wonderland”
1934, composed by Felix Bernard and Richard B Smith. Made famous by Bing Cosby

“White Christmas”
1942, composed by Irving Berlin (who also wrote “God Bless America” in 1938)

“Let it Snow”
1945, composed by Jule Styne (Julias Stien) and Sammy Cahnn (Sammy Cohen)

“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”
1943, composed by Walter Kent and Jerry Vale. Made famous by Bing Cosby
Little known fact: American songwriter, Buck Ram copyrighted a song with this same title in 1942, though it’s lyrics were completely different than the Christmas song.

“The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)”
1945, composed Mel Torme and Robert “Bob” Wells
Fun Fact: This song was written in July in the middle of a desert

“The Little Drummer Boy”
1941, composed by Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone

“Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”
1939, composed by Johnny Marks

“Rockin’ Round the Christmas Tree”
1958, composed by Johnny Marks

“We Need a Little Christmas”
1966, composed by Jerry Herman

“Silver Bells”
1950, composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans

“A Holly Jolly Christmas”
1964, composed by Johnny Marks

These songs are just a small sample of how the Jews graciously contributed to the Christian’s Christmas holiday. Today, we need to give a special thanks and remember their heritage comes from a more somber background. The Jewish songwriters greatly deserves our love for the Christmas holiday. My prayers this year is to share this homage. We are all men of God, regardless of our religion.

Christ has risen if only in our hearts!

www.danabicksauthor.com

Please be sure to join us again on Tuesday, November 27th for another “Everything Christmas Blog”!


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A Personal Thanksgiving Message…

My sanctuary is barren on this tranquil day for the winter cold has taken its toll on our summer blooms. But even so, it feels good to sit outside and reflect on another year almost gone.

It’s Thanksgiving, and I can’t think of a better time than right this minute to thank God for his many blessings. My eyes water; perhaps it’s the sunlight, or is it because I’m so humbled? This is not boastful, but reverently I will admit how great my life is since I gave it to the Lord.

My wife and I fought hard last year. No one would guess how far fifteen dollars an hour stretched when two people, so in love, pulled together. But, God knew, and that’s all that mattered.

This past year has had some difficulties too. First on the agenda was finding a new home – not here in the Midwest but on the East Coast instead. It could not be just any house but the one God intended for us. Then, we needed a new car. I’m afraid both our vehicles saw better days. Once again, God stepped in and arranged a deal of a lifetime.

If that were not enough miracles, my wife and love of my life, finished nine years of my writings. She developed them into my recent book, “There In God’s Grace” and made my narratives come alive, bless her heart. How do you ever thank God for this miracle?

So, I sit in the bright sunlight this morning and count my many blessings one by one. Another year of miracles is far beyond my expectations. Rest assuredly, I will say a “Thank you” grace at dinner tonight; thanking God foremost for the gifts, he bestowed us. Oh, we so appreciate our friends and family – some new, some gone, but it’s made us stronger every day.

In the new year, I’ll count the days until I do not have to work a job anymore. I’d much rather retire and enjoy my life with my sweetheart. Thanks so much to all of our acquaintances and followers for you, too, are part of what formed my miracle. I hope, in some little way, I will continue to help you build your own bond with our Father in heaven. God bless you this holiday and keep God first! Blessings will follow, I promise!

Breaking Bread

Breaking Bread cover

It was early morning, and I smelled the aroma of pumpkin and turkey as I walked into the kitchen. Loaves of bread were cooling on the counter. The beginning of the holy season was here. It was a time to give thanks to all those who made the year a little easier for us; dear friends and family, and most of all, for the multitude of blessings from our Lord.

Enjoy this beautiful Thanksgiving rendition of “What I’m Thankful For”:

Shorts and T-shirts changed to football and wrapping gifts. Trees lost their summer foliage, and the wet, black bark stood somberly, against shades of gray. Embers in the fireplace were still aglow from the prior night. The house shifted into a winter wonderland.

We started the day off right – sipping coffee in bed along with the morning news, and then the Thanksgiving parades. Later, my wife scurried about the kitchen donning an old-fashioned apron. The family will be here soon – my favorite time of the year!
The bread rose, moist and golden brown; perfect for a holiday tradition. I lovingly watched her focus on perfection. Cradling the loaves onto an empty shelf, she closed the refrigerator door and spun to her right. A smile flashed across her face. “Jesus is in our kitchen!”

Gasping in His glory, my wife turned to the counter and reached for the last loaf. She handed it to Him gently and then pulled out a chair. He smiled and reclined, gesturing me to do the same. Breaking bread and sipping the wine from our crystal goblets, we spoke of our blessings for this communion of three!

Breaking Bread verse

Jesus appeared on this holiday with never a word. He was the brightest of bright shining at our table – the sacrament of life. And as He arrived, so He left; only a broken twig laid upon the dinner table where we broke bread. Tears streamed down my wife’s face as she took His napkin and wiped her cheek. I’m sure He is in heaven smiling and preparing a special place for her.

Breaking Bread pic 2

We set the table in silver and gold and plugged in the charger plates. A centerpiece of memories – holly, and pinecones adorned the table. I lit the candles as the doorbell rang; the holidays were in full swing! My wife, smiling ear to ear, carried out an extra chair for us from the bedroom. She greeted the kids with a great big smile and a huge hug as well! We celebrated that joyous Thanksgiving with love in hearts for each other and our wondrous Father, Jesus Christ.

Will you invite Him to your Thanksgiving meal this year? May you and your family have a blessed holiday and spread the cheer!

Please join us again on Sunday, November 25th for another “Everything Christmas Blog”!


Give a gift which keeps on giving!

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Losing Sight of Christmas

Losing Sight of Christmas cover

Enjoy “The Christmas Shoes” by Newsong 2000!


The muddy slush piles up against curbs and trampled footprints scatter about on the snow-covered sidewalks. Storefronts capitalize on impending Christmas shopping with festive, decorated windows. Full of alluring ideas that tax the mind where wallets won’t permit, it’s hard to swallow. But, love consumes our hearts, so we become obsessed with not wanting to forget a single person. We shop online and by foot comparing prices, then wait in long lines. Frustrations mount as, sometimes, we end up paying for overnight delivery because we ran out of time.

Losing Sight of Christmas pic 1

Are we losing sight of Christmas? We join together bearing gifts for one another to commemorate Jesus’s birthday on the 25th day of December. But where did the idea of excessive gift-giving come from, anyway? It’s not how this holiday began because there was a time when celebrating this day was a taboo.

 

Origin of the Christmas Holiday
Jesus’s birth was categorized as a pagan holiday. It is their belief He never existed as a man, only as a spiritual entity. Then, in the 1600s, Rome became the birthplace of Christmas as we know it; so, it’s a fairly new celebration. But, as history reveals, Protestants (the Puritans) in America hated this holiday and banned it in 1644. They believed it was an insult to God to honor a day associated with ancient paganism. The Puritans also considered Christmas trees and decorations unholy rituals as well as traditional foods such as mincemeat pies and pudding.

Losing Sight of Christmas Pic 2
Pagan Christmas image courtesy of Huffington Post

 

Commercialism of Christmas
So, how did Christmas ever come to the point of being the ultimate gift-giving experience instead of the rejoicing of a holy birth? Perhaps the commercialization of Santa Claus bearing bags of gifts started the dreaded Christmas creep. New York City’s annual American International Toy Fair is held in February, and the stores purchase and scheme for the following holiday. Isn’t that a little much?

Losing Sight of Christmas Pic 3

Do you know a whopping 18% of gifts given to others are never used by the recipient? To make matters worse, we spend the next six months paying off the debt we incurred because it was ‘the thought that mattered.’ Scroogenomics author, Joel Waldfogel, summed it up well – “if the spending we engage in doesn’t produce any satisfaction, then it’s hardly a measure of well-being.” Why are we allowing the commercialism of Christmas to affect our purses and create greediness?

 

Make Your Christmas Count!
I think this Christmas we should, instead, get involved with our communities. Spend money, if you must, giving to those less fortunate. There are orphanages, Senior Citizen centers, hospitals, and homeless people who would appreciate your gift. Take your children with you and let them feel the happiness of another person smiling over an unexpected present. After all, as a Christian, God expects us to help others in need.

Losing Sight of Christmas Pic 4
Image courtesy of YouTube

Overloading our own kids and others with presents is not the reason for the season! Limit your immediate family gifts to three and make them count. The birth of Jesus should be our celebration. Attend a local church service and enjoy the sensations of the joyous season. Jesus was born to save us – let that be enough for you this year.
God bless and Merry Christmas!

Losing Sight of Christmas Pic 5

Please join us on Thursday, November 22nd for another “Everything Christmas Blog”!


Give the gift that keeps on giving! Order your book of grace, love, and understanding today!

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