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What If Pearl Harbor Had Not Been Attacked?

Pearl Harbor
U.S.S. Arizona in flames after being bombed

December 7, 2018, was the commemoration of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which occurred 77 years ago. That event propelled America into World War II in 1941 changing the course of world history.

The events leading to the attack reveal that Pearl Harbor Co-Commanders Admiral Kimmel and General Short ignored significant warnings from their superiors prior to the fateful Sunday. Moreover, other ignored warnings and mistakes in communication on the morning of December 7 increased the devastation.

What If It Never Happened?

What might have been the consequences if Pearl Harbor had never happened? For example, what if the warning given on November 27, 1941, had been taken more seriously,

The notice of November 27, to Kimmel, began, “This dispatch is to be considered a war warning,” went on to say that “negotiations have ceased,” and directed the admiral to “execute an appropriate defensive deployment.” Kimmel also was ordered to “undertake such reconnaissance and other measures as you deem necessary.” The communication of the same day to Short declared that “hostile action is possible at any moment” and, like its naval counterpart, urged “measures of reconnaissance.”

Perhaps the attack would have been called off if the Japanese saw the increased defensive preparation of the U.S. Navy 10 days before December 7. If that had been the case, the United States probably wouldn’t have entered WWII until later, possibly not for a long time.

Without the timely entry of America into the conflict, it is unlikely the Axis forces could have been defeated. At the very least, a victory would have cost far more in time, lives and destruction.

What Was Meant for Evil…

 

Pearl HarborLet us make no mistake. The attack on Pearl Harbor was an evil act.

The bombing was a surprise attack resulting in a decisive victory for Japan. The American casualty toll was enormous, while Japan’s was very small.

2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded. … Japanese losses were light… 64 servicemen killed. One Japanese sailor, Kazuo Sakamaki, was captured.

Moreover, the intent was evil as well. It was meant to destroy the American fleet and allow the Empire of Japan free reign to perhaps conquer China and all of southeast Asia.

However, what was obviously meant for evil turned out to be critical to stopping the global evil of the Axis powers. Perhaps, what man meant for evil purposes was used by God for the triumph of good over evil.

Pearl HarborToward the end of the book of Genesis in the Old Testament, we find the story of Joseph, one of Jacob/Israel’s sons. As a young man, Joseph is sold into slavery in Egypt by his own brothers. He serves faithfully and ends up in prison falsely accused of sexual crimes against his master’s wife.

Later, Joseph is released from prison by Pharoah himself in order to interpret some ominous dreams Pharoah has been having. Joseph is rewarded by being elevated to second-in-command of all of Egypt.

A few years pass and Joseph’s brothers are forced to look for food in Egypt because of a severe famine. Joseph meets them and at first, he is not recognized by his kin.

However, he reveals himself to his brothers and they respond with fear. They remember the harsh treatment they inflicted upon Joseph and fear now he will punish them from his new chair of authority.

Here is the account from chapter 50 of Genesis:

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50:15-20

War Cannot Be Sanitized

The day of December 8, 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress for a declaration of war against Japan, and it was granted.

Almost four years later, WWII ended with the unconditional surrender of Japan after the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945. The horror of a nuclear catastrophe became a real possibility from that moment.

A-Bomb Terror.inset.3.12.8.2018
Atomic cloud bursting over Hiroshima, 2 minutes after the explosion, at 8:17AM

Over seven decades have passed since then. Though the threat of nuclear war remains in this world, no use of these horrific weapons has as yet been employed.

In fact, once fearsome enemy Japan has now become one of America’s strongest allies in Asia. That is unquestionably a good thing for international relations and peace.

There are at least two great lessons to be garnered from Pearl Harbor and WWII. The first is that war cannot be a sanitized event.

Attempts to make war less destructive, while somewhat laudable, are also short-sighted. Attempting to prevent war is better than trying to make war more palatable once it is upon you.

A good illustration comes from the classic sci-fi series “Star Trek.” In an episode from season one of the original series, two planets are involved in a war by computer.

Computer attacks were launched and the results recorded how many casualties from each planet there would be. In accordance with a 500-year-old agreement, those numbers of people, randomly selected, were to be killed in disintegration chambers.

Captain Kirk destroys the war computer of one planet because his crew is selected as casualties. The horror of the Planet Council to this action is countered by Captain Kirk’s reasoning.

He tells the head of the Council that they have made war so clean that they have no reason to end it. It has resulted in 500 years of war the two planets had little real motivation to actually come to peace.

Death, destruction, disease, horror. That’s what war is all about. That’s what makes it a thing to be avoided! You’ve made it neat and painless. So painless, you’ve seen no reason to stop it. Since its the only way I can save my crew, I’m going to end it for you; one way or another.

Real war, once begun, must be ended as decisively as possible by victory as quickly as possible. The horror of the cost of such a victory should always give us pause.

Evil Didn’t Get The Last Word

A second great lesson from Pearl Harbor is that evil didn’t get the last word. No matter how hopeless it seems and horrible the situation is, God is still in control in ways beyond our fathoming.

The United States was ill-prepared for war with Japan, let alone Germany and Italy on December 7, 1941. I am convinced that somehow, God had a hand in the near-miraculous turn about in less than a year.

Pearl Harbor
U.S.S. Yorktown during the Battle of Midway

In fact, less than six months later, June 4, 1942, the Battle of Midway was a stunning victory of America over the Japanese Fleet.

 

 

 

During the four-day sea-and-air battle, the outnumbered U.S. Pacific Fleet succeeded in destroying four Japanese aircraft carriers while losing only one of its own, the Yorktown, to the previously invincible Japanese navy.

Man may intend much for evil, including world war. But with courage and faith in God, the evil can be defeated, as Pearl Harbor reminds us.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. Proverbs 19:21 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Paul Walsh’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of DVIDSHUB’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of shehan peruma’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of United Nations Photo’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of Cassowary Colorizations’ Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published at TIL Journal

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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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Give the gift of something special!

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.


A KOBO Best Seller!

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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!


Give the gift of a miracle!

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A Change

Your lips curl up
You are thinking
Your nails are bitten down
You are nervous
This world comes at a cost
A great one indeed

You came from a loving family
And were raised with a silver spoon
You were always healthy
But you were sad
People tried to help
But they could never fill your need

Then one day you broke down
And lost everything
Your health
Your family
Your riches
You cried out for God to lead

You found God in your room
He touched your soul
Restored everything
But mostly that emptiness inside
He told you He loved you
And from that bondage you are freed

(C) Carly Wiggins 2018

God’s silent voice

The Lord is speaking to you
At this moment;
Listen to His golden voice;
You will hear him
Whispering to your heart;
Like a passing breeze;
That is God’s silent voice;
He is the king of the universe;
Sweeter than the angels
He sounds;
Telling you things
That are important to hear;
Answering your cry;
All your prayers he hears;
If you listen to him
And pay attention to
What he tells you;
And obey his commands;
He will hear your cry;
And answer your prayer;
Obedience is what he wants.
It is the key that opens
God’s heart.

The Lord is always there for me

The Lord is always there
For me;
I shall not ask,
Where shall I get food
To eat?
The Lord is always there
To provide:
I shall not ask,
Who shall protect me
From my enemies?
The Lord is always there
To protect me;
I shall not ask,
Who shall show me light
When darkness comes?
The Lord is always there
My ever present light.
I shall not ask
Who shall wipe my tears
When I mourn?
The Lord is always
There for me.
To wipe my tears
Yes, you are always there
For me O Lord.
You are always present;
And available,
When I need you.

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!


Give the gift which keeps on giving!

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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!

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

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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.

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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!

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Give the gift that keeps on giving!

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Reason to turn to him

I have reason to turn to him;
I have reason to trust him;
I have reason to believe him;
I have reason to love him;
I have reason to praise him;
I have reason to adore him;
I have reason to worship him;
I have reason to honor him;

He is so reliable to me;
He is so kind to me;
He is so loving to me;
He is so caring to me;
He is so good to me;
He never fails
Or abandons me;
And anyone who puts
Their trust in him;
And believes in his mighty power.