Archive for the ‘Current Post’ Category

The Greatest ‘Gift’

24 December 17

What ‘images’ does the mention of “Christmas” conjure up in you? Festive parties, decorated trees, seasonal carols, wrapped presents, an extended time off from work or school, and getting together with family and friends? Many say that it’s “the most wonderful time of the year.”

For most, gift giving/receiving is the ‘focus’ of the holiday. People try to get that ‘special something’ for the recipient—who will be surprised by it, and will treasure it for a long time to come.

For 34 years now, the PNC Financial Services Group has estimated the total cost of one of the most recognizable songs about gift giving, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” and for 2017, it inched up just 0.7% from last year. The TOTAL cost represented by the cumulative cost of all of the 364 gifts—when you count each repetition in the song—is an estimated $157,558.00!

[ Click on this link for all the details for this year, and a trend chart of the “index” since 1984:
https://www.pncchristmaspriceindex.com/ ].

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7cSZD1GPuU

 

Well, this year, just like every year, millions of people, both children and adults, will open millions of gifts. Some won’t fit. Some will be the wrong color. Many will be returned or exchanged. But there’s one ‘GIFT’ that meets everyone’s need, that never wears out, will never break, or need repairing. It’s a ‘gift’ that is appropriate for a small child, a teenager, or an adult—boy or girl, man or woman, it makes no difference. The gift we all need—the most valuable gift of all—is the ‘true’ meaning of Christmas.

The best gift ever given was not wrapped with beautiful paper and frilly bows, but is what Linus said to help Charlie Brown with his frustration with all the “commercialism” he saw around him and in his friends. Linus ended his ‘answer’ with, “…And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger’. And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men’…That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_EQR8gO32U

 

Christmas is the “birthday” of a very special ‘Baby’—Jesus—the reason why this whole season originated.

I’m sure most of you have experienced, somehow, the change a baby makes in a household. The families’ schedule is rearranged—what was routine is now a distant memory. Baby rooms were prepared—living areas ‘baby-proofed’. Parents, though happy inside, are ‘zombies’ on the outside. Life is now unalterably different. Nothing changes life like a baby.

QUESTION: Has your life noticeably different because of the ‘Baby’ Jesus? Has this Baby affected your work, your schedule, your home, or your life? Has this Baby influenced your attitude, your love, your giving, or your service to others?

A story might illustrate my point. Long ago, there ruled in Persia a wise and good king. He loved his people. He wanted to know how they lived. He wanted to know about their hardships. Often he dressed in the clothes of a working man or a beggar, and went to the homes of the poor. No one whom he visited thought that he was their ruler. One of these times he visited a very poor man who lived in a cellar. He ate the coarse food the poor man ate. He spoke cheerful, kind words to him. Then he left. Later he visited the poor man again and disclosed his identity by saying, “I am your king!” The king thought the man would surely ask for some gift or favor, but he didn’t. Instead he said, “You left your palace and your glory to visit me in this dark, dreary place. You ate the course food I ate. You have brought gladness to my heart! To others you have given your rich gifts. To me you have given yourself!”
Jesus Christ has given Himself to you and me. The Bible calls Him, “the unspeakable gift!”—the implications are enormous for all of us to consider.

[ For more details about this “unspeakable gift” click on the following link:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/thanks-for-giving-v225/ ].

 

However, for many people, Christmas is just a heartwarming ‘story’ about a babe lying in a manger while Mary and Joseph, angels, and assorted animals look on. But Christmas is far more than just a Child’s birth—or even the Savior’s birth. It’s about the “INCARNATION”—God Himself, Creator of heaven and earth, invading planet Earth, becoming flesh and dwelling among us.

It’s a staggering thought. Think of it: the Creator of everything becoming a mere man—and that He was not born of an earthly king and queen, but of a virgin of a backwater village named Nazareth. But, it’s through the ‘Incarnation’ God sets His grand plan in motion.

Do we get this? I’m afraid most of us are so preoccupied and distracted by last-minute Christmas shopping and consumerism, we fail to see God’s cosmic plan of redemption in which we, as ‘fallen creatures’, are directly involved. Maybe a story that radio personality Paul Harvey told will give you a better understanding:

“He said one raw winter night a man heard an irregular thumping against the kitchen storm door. He went to a window and he watched as tiny shivering sparrows attracted to the evident warmth inside were flying into the window, thinking that they could come inside. They would hit the window and they would fall down.

The farmer was very compassionate person and he was touched. So, he decided to help these helpless birds. He bundled up and trudged through the fresh snow to open the barn for the struggling birds. He turned on the lights, tossed some hay in a corner, and sprinkled a trail of saltine crackers to where the birds were. But the sparrows, who had scattered in all directions when he emerged from the house, hid in the darkness and didn’t come to the barn.

So he tried some other things. He circled behind where the birds were and tried to drive them into the barn. He threw cracker crumbs in the air toward them, retreating to his house to see if they’d flutter into the barn on their own. Nothing worked—because he was a huge alien creature and he had terrified these birds. The birds could not understand that he actually wanted to help them. So he withdrew to his house and watched the doomed sparrows through a window.

As he stared, a thought hit him like lightning from a clear blue sky. If only I could become a bird. If only he could be one of them just for a moment, then he wouldn’t frighten them so much. He could show them the way to warmth and safety.

At the same moment, another thought dawned on him. He had just grasped the entire principle of the “Incarnation”—a man becoming a bird is nothing compared to God becoming a man. The concept of a Sovereign Being as big as the universe, confining Himself to a human body was and is too much for us to understand.”

 

But that’s what really happened He came down to be one of us. The Godhead was ‘poured’ into human flesh so that He could lead us out of the ‘darkness’ and into the ‘light’. Christmas is about God loving me so much that He came down here to be just like me, so that one day I could be just like Him.

 

Now, to ‘RECEIVE’ this true Christmas ‘GIFT’, you have to admit you’re a sinner, you need to be saved by grace, and you need to give up control of your life!

That usually descends lower than any of us really wants to go. Yet, Jesus Christ’s greatness is seen in how far down He came to love us. Your spiritual regeneration and eventual greatness will be achieved by going down the same path. He descended into greatness, and the Bible says it’s only through repentance that you come into His light. Author C. S. Lewis puts it very well in his book, “Miracles”:

“The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation. They say that God became Man. Every other miracle prepares for this, or exhibits this, or results from this. Just as every natural event is the manifestation at a particular place and moment of Nature’s total character, so every particular Christian miracle manifests at a particular place and moment the character and significance of the Incarnation….We catch sight of a new key principle—the power of the Higher, just in so far as it is truly Higher, to come down, the power of the greater to include the less…Everywhere the great enters the little—its power to do so is almost the test of its greatness. In the Christian story God…comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity; down further still, if embryologists are right, to recapitulate in the womb ancient and pre-human phases of life…down to the very roots and seabed of the Nature He has created. But He goes down to come up again and bring the whole ruined world up with Him…Or one may think of a diver, first reducing himself to nakedness, then glancing in mid-air, then gone with a splash, vanished, rushing down through green and warm water into black and cold water, down through increasing pressure into the death-like region of ooze and slime and old decay; then up again, back to color and light, his lungs almost bursting, till suddenly he breaks surface again, holding in his hand the dripping, precious thing that he went down to recover.”

 

Whatever is going on in your world this Christmas, there is no better gift you can give yourself than to receive the One who came to earth and died on your behalf. He offers you complete forgiveness and the ability to know him on a personal level resulting in a more fulfilling life. He is God and He asks us to place our lives under His direction. As long as we rely on our own good life and ourselves we distance ourselves from Him and we remain separated from Him by our sin. He asks us to empty our hands of our efforts and instead receive His gift of forgiveness and a relationship with Him.

 

What were your expectations of Christmas this year? What kind of ‘images’ did you have about it? Christmas itself cannot deliver all your heart’s desires…but the Bible says that Jesus can.

Jesus can ‘deliver’ a holiday to your home that never fades away! One that doesn’t get boxed up and stored away for another year—but rather, one that applies to your life directly on a daily basis.

Would you like to have something to ‘celebrate’ every day, instead of just one day a year? Then, receive the true and most wonderful ‘gift’ of love you can ever receive by repenting of your sins and placing your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior!

There is no greater joy or no more fulfilling gift, than entering into a personal ‘relationship’ with Jesus. You then could look forward to next Christmas, not dependent on how your family acts or on what gifts you receive, but by having the peace and joy that comes from having a relationship with God.

(For more details about life’s most important ‘gift’, visit the following link:
http://www.TheSearchForMeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q9_d5_1of10.html )

 

Christmas is not about the endless search for the best gift to be opened on Christmas morning. In fact, the true gift of Christmas is not a material thing at all. The true gift of Christmas is not about those gifts that we give to each other—all of those things will be gone one day. Rather, it is a reminder of the incredible ‘GIFT’ that God has offered to each one of us. It is the only ‘gift’ that truly keeps on giving!

 

I pray that you will ‘OPEN’ the greatest ‘GIFT’ this Christmas—Jesus!

 

[ Excerpts from: Matthew Rogers; Josh McDowell; Tom Maines; Gary Jensen; Chuck Colson; David Jeremiah; Greg Laurie; Tim Keller ]

 

‘PRAYER’ OF REPENTANCE
In the Bible, there is a parable that Jesus told about a Pharisee and a tax collector praying the the Temple. He notes that the tax collector didn’t even dare to lift his eyes toward Heaven as he prayed. Instead he “beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner’”—and Jesus said that the tax collector “went home justified,” he had been “born again” and ‘reconciled’ by God. (Luke 18:9-14).

If you are ‘sensing’ something like that right now, let me strongly encourage you to HUMBLE YOURSELF, CRY OUT to God, and PLEAD for Him to mercifully ‘SAVE’ YOU! None of us have a ‘claim’ on our salvation, nor do we have any ‘works’ that would cause us to deserve it or earn it—it is purely a gift of Divine grace—and all any of us can do is ask. So, CONFESS YOUR SINS and acknowledge to God that you have no hope for Heaven apart from what He provides through Jesus.

There is no ‘formula’ or certain words for this. So just talk to God, in your own words—He knows your ‘heart’. If you are genuinely sincere, and God does respond to your plea, one will usually have a sense of joy and peace.

Jesus said, “He that comes to Me, I will not cast out” [ John 6:37 ].

[ NOTE: If you have ‘tasted the kindness of the Lord’, please e-mail me—I would love to CELEBRATE with you, and help you get started on your ‘journey’ with Jesus! ].

 

*****************************
*****************************

RESOURCES:

—————-
The Miracle Of Christmas
By: John MacArthur

John MacArthur’s The Miracle of Christmas goes to the heart of what Christmas is really about: ‘The birth of Jesus — Immanuel, God with us, the promised Messiah — who came to save His people from their sins.’ ‘It may be the biggest and most popular of all our holidays, but Christmas is in jeopardy just the same. A subtle but sure erosion is eating away the season’s true significance.’ MacArthur offers this book ‘as an antidote to two prevailing philosophies that are stealing Christmas’ -an effort to mythologize the Christmas story – and a tendency to secularize it — With reverence and a contagious sense of wonder, John MacArthur details every biblical fact known about the birth of Jesus, stressing that ‘Christmas should be a time of real joy and gladness, as opposed to the manufactured sentiment and wild revelry that characterize the way the world observes Christmas.’ The simple fact is: ‘That baby in the manger is God. That’s the heart and soul of the Christmas message.’

https://www.amazon.com/Miracle-Christmas-John-F-MacArthur/dp/0310385806

—————-
Windows on Christmas
By: Bill Crowder

A different perspective can revolutionize our appreciation of the familiar. This is what Bill Crowder does as he examines the familiar story of the birth of Christ in the gospel of Luke. By looking through the windows provided by those who were there–Mary and Joseph, the angels and the shepherds, Simeon and Anna–we see and feel what they saw and felt, and learn from their responses. As we enter into the nativity events that altered the world forever and as we join the humble worshipers who welcomed Christ at His birth, we get what we need most–fresh perspective.

—————-
The Christmas Code
By: O. S. Hawkins

Grow close to the Lord this Advent season with 25 insightful and meaningful devotions from The Christmas Code by bestselling author O. S. Hawkins. Trace the birth of Jesus from its roots in the Old Testament to the ultimate gift of God: salvation. With a short reading each day leading up to Christmas, this devotional will be the perfect way to keep daily focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Code-Booklet-S-Hawkins/dp/1400309247

—————-
Grace: Accepting God’s Gift to You
By: Constantine Campbell

Ephesians 2 uses the phrase “dead in your sins.” But what does that really mean? Dead means lifeless, powerless, inanimate. It means we were incapable of doing anything to change our situation. But God is loving and merciful, and He chose to give us new life. That’s the beauty of His grace—we’ve done nothing to deserve it. He simply gives it to us. And once we’re alive in Him, He gives us the privilege of walking in this new life and serving Him.

[ Discovery Series – RBC Ministries ]

https://discoveryseries.org/courses/grace-accepting-gods-gift-to-you/

—————-
Christmas: A Gift for Every Heart
By: Charles Stanley

In his first ever Christmas book, beloved pastor Dr. Charles Stanley takes us back to our truest and best reason for celebration—the birth of the Christ child. By revisiting the people and events of that first Christmas, Dr. Stanley reveals the unique lessons that long ago starry night offers to each of us still today. Such timeless truths as . . .

– True peace and joy are found only in Christ, not in the things of this world;
– Christmas itself is undeniable evidence that God always keeps His promises;
– The Lord God not only lives and reigns, but He is intimately involved in every circumstance of our lives; and
– The perfect gift for us to give Jesus is the gift of our own heart.

Filled with Scriptures, insights, and Dr. Stanley’s own personal thoughts and memories, Christmas: A Gift for Every Heart is a treasure you’ll want to open again and again.

https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Every-Heart-Charles-Stanley/dp/0718042174

—————-
Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ
By: Timothy Keller

From pastor and New York Times bestselling author Timothy Keller comes the perfect gift for the Christmas holiday—a profoundly moving and intellectually provocative examination of the nativity story

Even people who are not practicing Christians think they are familiar with the story of the nativity. Every Christmas displays of Baby Jesus resting in a manger decorate lawns and churchyards, and songs about shepherds and angels fill the air. Yet despite the abundance of these Christian references in popular culture, how many of us have examined the hard edges of this biblical story?

In his new book Timothy Keller takes readers on an illuminating journey into the surprising background of the nativity. By understanding the message of hope and salvation within the Bible’s account of Jesus’ birth, readers will experience the redeeming power of God’s grace in a deeper and more meaningful way.

—————-
God’s Gift of Christmas
By: John MacArthur

Christmas is about more than the birth of a baby. It’s about God becoming human so He could fulfill His promise to redeem us. God’s Gift of Christmas takes readers deep into the heart of that promise. The book’s tone is warm but authoritative. Chapter topics include:

The Incarnation
The Names (Jesus, Immanuel, Prince of Peace, Mighty God, etc.)
God, Mary, and Joseph (Jesus’ dual nature as man and God)
The Truth of the Nativity
The Fullness of Time
The Purpose (God’s Redemptive Plan)

https://www.gty.org/store/books/451157/gods-gift-of-christmas

—————-
The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas
By: Ann Voskamp

Hundreds of thousands of readers have already fallen in love with Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, and this Christmas, Ann invites readers into the rich and meaningful celebration of Christmas we all long for — a celebration of the complete love story that’s been coming for you since the very beginning.

In what is certain to become an instant holiday classic, Voskamp reaches back into the pages of the Old Testament to explore the lineage of Jesus — the greatest gift — through the majestic advent tradition of “The Jesse Tree,” each day featuring its own exquisite ornament highlighting the Biblical story (free download of each of the 25 ornaments available from Voskamp’s website, annvoskamp.com ).

Beginning with Jesse, the father of David, The Greatest Gift retraces the epic pageantry of mankind, from Adam to the Messiah, with each day’s profound reading pointing to the coming promise of Christ, so that come Christmas morning you find that the season hasn’t blurred past you but your heart’s fully unwrapped the greatest gift you’ve always yearned for.

Sure to become a holiday staple in every Christian home, The Greatest Gift, a New York Times bestseller, is the perfect gift for the holidays and a timeless invitation into the richness of the true meaning of Christmas.

https://www.amazon.com/Unwrapping-Greatest-Gift-Celebration-Christmas/dp/1414397542

https://www.amazon.com/Wonder-Greatest-Gift-Interactive-Celebration/dp/1496427998

—————-
Operation Christmas Child: A Story of Simple Gifts
By: Franklin Graham

It was a simple idea that became the worldwide ministry of Operation Christmas Child—to minister to children in war-torn and famine-stricken countries. In just two decades it has inspired everyday people to provide more than 100 million gift-filled shoeboxes to needy children in 130 countries. This beautiful book weaves the moving, God-saturated story of the ministry’s beginning with the soul-stirring, Christ exalting stories of lives that have been forever changed by a simple shoebox.

Operation Christmas Child is filled with full-color photos of children whose smiles help tell what is a thoroughly hopeful story. Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham provides insight as the incredible stories of life transformation are told.

Proceeds from Operation Christmas Child go to support the ministry it seeks to celebrate and honor.

—————-
The Gift of Christmas
By: R. Kent Hughes

It is a story of singular beauty and wonder-a story worth telling with the best of our creative gifts. It is the story of salvation.

This is the purpose of The Gift of Christmas: to retell the timeless story of Christ’s birth in a way that will speak today with unique power. To that end, the book combines fine art with thoughtful meditations on the biblical story by R. Kent Hughes.

It begins when the angel Gabriel appears to an old, childless man and tells him that his aged wife will bear a son who will prepare the way for the coming of the Savior.

It tells how the angel again appears to an astonished young Jewish girl, telling her that she, as a virgin, will conceive and bear the long-awaited Savior of the world.

It recounts the joy of Elizabeth and the magnificent song of Mary celebrating the salvation of the Lord.

And when The Gift of Christmas turns to the birth of Christ, the familiar, ageless story comes to life, revealing the true meaning of the Incarnation in an unforgettable way.

This is the gift of Christmas-the very Son of God-offered to all who will take the time to understand and accept what God has done to save us from our sin. With masterful art and writing, The Gift of Christmas celebrates God’s perfect gift, retelling the story of eternity with freshness and vigor.

https://www.amazon.com/Gift-Christmas-R-Kent-Hughes/dp/1581345305

 

*****************************
*****************************

“FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDES” WEB SITE
(The ATTITUDES of Jesus that produce the CHARACTER of Jesus)

CLICK ON THE LINK to view:
http://fruitsofthebeatitudes.org/

FACEBOOK PAGE:
https://www.facebook.com/FruitsOfTheBeatitudes/

[ Mark Besh ]

*****************************
*****************************

 

[ P.S.: If you would like to investigate further about life’s most important ‘gift’,” visit the following link:
http://www.TheSearchForMeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q9_d5_1of10.html ].

 

*****************************
*****************************

 

ARTICLES:

*****************************
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you “Be of good cheer”
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
It’s the hap-happiest season of all
With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings
When friends come to call
It’s the hap- happiest season of all

There’ll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow
There’ll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
There’ll be much mistltoeing
And hearts will be glowing
When love ones are near
It’s the most wonderful time of the year

There’ll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow
There’ll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
There’ll be much mistltoeing
And hearts will be glowing
When love ones are near
It’s the most wonderful time
It’s the most wonderful time
It’s the most wonderful time
It’s the most wonderful time of the year

[ Andy Williams ]

*****************************
Christmas Synonyms
Translate the following statements back into ‘recognizable’ English—
each one is a common Christmas saying or song (Answers at the end of the newsletter—NO PEEKING!)

1. Move hither ward the entire assembly of those who are loyal in their belief
2. Listen, the celestial messengers produce harmonious sounds
3. Nocturnal time span of unbroken quietness
4. An emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good given to the terrestrial sphere
5. Embellish the interior passageways
6. Exalted heavenly beings to whom harkened
7. Twelve o’clock on a clement night witnessed its arrival
8. The Christmas preceding all others
9. Small municipality in Judea southeast of Jerusalem
10. Diminutive masculine master of skin-covered percussionistic cylinders
11. Omnipotent supreme being who elicits respite to ecstatic distinguished males
12. Tranquillity upon the terrestrial sphere
13. Obese personification fabricated of compressed mounds of minute crystals
14. Expectation of arrival to populated area by mythical, masculine perennial gift-giver
15. Natal Celebration devoid of color, rather albino, as a hallucinatory phenomenon for me
16. In awe of the nocturnal time span characterized by religiosity
17. Geographic state of fantasy during the season of mother nature’s dormancy
18. The first person nominative plural of a triumvirate of far eastern heads of state
19. Tintinnabulation of vacillating pendulums in inverted, metallic, resonant cups
20. In a distant location the existence of an improvised until of newborn children’s slumber furniture
21. Proceed forth declaring upon a specific geological alpine formation
22. Jovial Yuletide desired for the second person singular or plural by us

[ NOTE: Answers at the end of this newsletter ]

*****************************
Name That Christmas Carol
(Answers at the end of this newsletter—No cheating!)

1. Bleached Yule
2. Castaneous-colored Seed Vesicated in a Conflagration
3. Singular Yearning for the Twin Anterior Incisors
4. Righteous Darkness
5. Arrival Time 2400 hrs – Weather Cloudless
6. Loyal Followers Advance
7. Far Off in a Feeder
8. Array the Corridor
9. Bantam Male Percussionist
10. Monarchial Triad
11. Nocturnal Noiselessness
12. Jehovah Deactivate Blithe Chevaliers
13. Red Man En Route to Borough
14. Frozen Precipitation Commence
15. Proceed and Enlighten on the Pinnacle
16. The Quadruped with the Vermillion Probiscis
17. Query Regarding Identity of Descendant
18. Delight for this Planet
19. Give Attention to the Melodious Celestial Beings
20. The Dozen Festive 24 Hour Intervals

*****************************
Christmas “Daffynitions

– A time for exchanging a lot of things you can’t afford for a lot of things you don’t want.
– A widely observed holiday on which neither the past nor the future is of so much interest as the present.
– The season when we get the children something for their father to play with.
– When the radios keep you awake till three in the morning playing “Silent Night”.
– That time of the year when mother has to separate the man from the toys.
– That time of the year when both trees and husbands get trimmed, and sometimes get lit up, too.
– A season of anticipation, preparation, recreation, relation, prostration and recuperation.
– A warm, cheery two-month festival that celebrates the joy of retail merchandise.
– A time when we must get the children something for their father to play with.
– Yulebesorry.

*****************************
The 12 Days of Christmas

The New Oxford Book of Carols cites French roots of “The 12 Days of Christmas” song. It is based on a game that children would play on the Twelfth Night, the eve of Epiphany. In the game, each child would have to try to remember and recite the objects that were said by a previous child. If successful, the child would add another object to the list for the next contestant to recite. If not, the child dropped out. The game would continue until there was a winner.

It has also been suggested that the meanings of the song’s gifts were intended to help children remember lessons of their faith. The “true love” mentioned in the song refers to God. The “me” who receives the presents symbolizes every baptized person. The “Partridge in a pear tree” is Jesus Christ. In the song, Jesus is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless chicks.

The other symbols’ meanings are:
2 Turtle Doves – the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens – Faith, Hope and Charity
4 Calling Birds – the Four Gospels
5 Golden Rings – the first five books of the Old Testament, which give the history of man’s fall from grace.
6 Geese a-laying – the six days of Creation
7 Swans a-swimming – the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit
8 Maids a-milking – the eight Beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing – nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords a-leaping – the Ten Commandments
11 Pipers Piping – the eleven faithful Disciples
12 Drummers Drumming – twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed

The first printed version of the song is said to be in the children’s book “Mirth Without Mischief” published in 1780 and that describes the song in similar terms as the Oxford Book of Carols.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Twelve_Days_of_Christmas_(song)

*****************************
The 12 Days of Christmas
[ A classic updated for the age of e-mail ]

——————————————————-
From: Lydia Zeltow lydia@zeltownet.com
December 14
My dearest darling John:
Where on earth did you find a real partridge in a pear tree? Thank you a hundred times!
All my love forever,
Lydia
——————————————————-
From: Lydia Zeltow lydia@zeltownet.com
December 15
Dearest John:
I received your sweet gift. Imagine: two turtle doves! They’re adorable. Thanks again!
Love always,
Lydia
——————————————————-
From: Lydia Zeltow lydia@zeltownet.com
December 16
Dear John:
Aren’t you the extravagant one. I don’t deserve such generosity, three French hens!
Love,
Lydia
——————————————————-
From: Lydia Zeltow lydia@zeltownet.com
December 17
Dear John:
Today I got the four calling birds. Now really, they’re beautiful, but isn’t that a bit too romantic?
Affectionately,
Lydia
——————————————————-
From: Lydia Zeltow lydia@zeltownet.com
December 18
Dearest John:
What a surprise. Today the UPS delivered five golden rings, one for every finger. Just in time, as those birds squawking were starting to get on my nerves, and I was beginning to wonder about you!
Love,
Lydia
——————————————————-
From: Lydia Zeltow lydia@zeltownet.com
December 19
Dear John:
When I opened the door today there were six geese laying on my front steps. So you’re back to the birds again? These geese are huge. Where will I ever keep them? The neighbors are complaining. Please stop.
Cordially,
Lydia
——————————————————-
From: Lydia Zeltow lydia@zeltownet.com
December 20
John:
What’s with you and freaking birds??? Seven swans a swimming. What kind of joke is this? There’s bird poop everywhere. I can’t sleep at night and I’m a nervous wreck. It’s not funny.
So stop!
Lydia
——————————————————-
From: Lydia Zeltow lydia@zeltownet.com
December 21
O.K. Buster:
What the hell am I going to do with 8 maids a milking? It’s not enough with all those birds—they had to bring their cows! There’s manure everywhere and I can’t move in my own house. Just lay off, smartass.
Lydia
——————————————————-
From: Lydia Zeltow lydia@zeltownet.com
December 22
Hey Bonehead:
What are you…some kind of sadist? Now there’s nine pipers playing—and I mean playing! They haven’t stopped chasing those maids since they got here. The cows are upset and they’re stepping all over those screeching birds. What am I going to do? The neighbors want me evicted. What were you thinking?!
——————————————————-
From: Lydia Zeltow lydia@zeltownet.com
December 23
You rotten jerk:
Now there’s ten ladies dancing. I don’t know why I say “ladies.” They’ve been fooling around with those pipers all night long. Now the cows can’t sleep and they’ve got diarrhea. The Commissioner of Buildings has subpoenaed me to give cause why the building shouldn’t be condemned. I’m calling the police on you.
——————————————————-
Lydia Zeltow lydia@zeltownet.com
December 24
Listen you “#$%&*^#”
Great—now there’s eleven lords a leaping on those maid and ladies. All twenty-three of the birds have been trampled to death in the orgy. The pipers have even started getting the cows into the action. I hope you’re satisfied, you rotten vicious swine!!!
Your sworn enemy
——————————————————-
Harrison Burnsley, Esq.hburnsley@burnsleyhodgkins.com
December 25
Dear Sir:
This is to acknowledge your latest gift of twelve fiddlers fiddling which you have seen fit to inflict on our client, Ms. Lydia Zeltow. The destruction of her property and peace of mind was, of course, total. All correspondence should come to our attention. Should you attempt to locate or contact Ms. Zeltow at the sanitarium where she now resides, the attendants have been instructed to have you arrested on sight.

[ Kenneth A. Larson ]

http://www.kenlarson.net/code/humor_xmas.shtml

*****************************
The 12 Days of Christmas – A Tale of Avian Misery

A brilliant animation that offers a literal interpretation of the classic Christmas song. From the narrator’s (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) hilarious viewpoint, the gifts offered by one’s true love comes across as absolutely mad.

*****************************
The Gift

“For to us a child is born, for to us a son is given” (Isaiah 9:6). This is a Christmas typography to remind us all of the greatest gift from God, Jesus Christ.

[ Newsong Church Hawaii ]

*****************************
The Meaning of Christmas

Poem written, filmed & edited by Kristy Bell

*****************************
What Exactly is Christmas All About?

Most people think that Christmas is about Santa Claus, Christmas trees, Christmas cake, and Christmas carols.
Yes, these are all fun things that we do at Christmas….
… but the real meaning and essence of Christmas is something very different – it is actually much more profound and exciting and life-changing! Watch this video to find out!

*****************************
The Best Gifts To Give

The best gifts to give:
To your friend, loyalty;
To your enemy, forgiveness;
To your boss, service;
To a child, a good example;
To your parents, gratitude and devotion;
To your mate, love and faithfulness;
To all men and women, charity;
and To God, your life.

*****************************
The First Christmas Gift

As I ran downstairs one Christmas morn,
to open my gifts in a house so warm.
My mother was there, smiling at me,
She said, “Son let’s talk before you look under the tree.”

She told of a baby born long ago,
in Bethlehem, three wise men did go.
Momma told of His life, and to never forget,
the love of our God, and the first Christmas gift.

The first Christmas gift was Jesus,
He was sent down from Heaven above
to show us the way the truth and the life.
He was God’s Christmas gift to us.

I opened my presents with tears in my eyes,
for what my mother told me made a change in my life.
Now as a man, I think back of then,
of childhood days, and that first Christmas gift.

The first Christmas gift was Messiah,
He was sent down from Heaven above
to show us the way the truth and the life.
He was God’s Christmas treasure to us.
He was God’s Christmas gift to us.

[ Mike McAdoo ]

*****************************
The First Christmas

He was just a baby
The only son of man
They all came to see Him
Three wise men to Bethlehem

Baring gifts that could not compare
To the gift of eternal life
That our Savior gave to us
That first Christmas night

Don’t you know the angels were singing
‘Cause they knew all the joy that He was bringing?
Oh, I wish I could have been to there
To witness the birth of Christ
And feel what they felt on that
First Christmas night

It must have been a wonderful thrill
To watch Him take His first breathe
And to see His mother Mary hold Him
Close to her chest

How she looked, she looked in His eyes
What it must have been a sight
Wish I felt the love she felt on that
First Christmas night

Don’t you know the angels were singing
‘Cause they knew all the joy that He was bringing?
Oh, I wish I could have been to there
To witness the birth of Christ
And feel what they felt on that
First Christmas night

Oh, why can’t I feel what they felt
On that First Christmas night?

[ Doug Stone ]

******************************
The First Christmas Gift

The first Christmas gift, came from above.
Wrapped in starlight, tied with love
Given with joy, a sweet baby boy
A gift for you and me.

Jesus was born,
when the world needed love.
Someone to show the way
So God gave us all His only Son,
On that first Christmas day.

Only a few, really knew.
This child so helpless and small,
Would one day be for you and me,
The greatest gift of all.

[ Lon Gary ]

******************************
The Nativity Scene

A 7-year old child was drawing a picture of the Nativity. The picture was very good, including Mary, Joseph and, of course, baby Jesus.

However, there was a fat man standing in the corner of the stable, that just did not seem to fit in. When the child was asked about it, she replied, “Oh, That’s Round John Virgin.”

*****************************
His Birth and Our New Birth

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” —Matthew 1:23

His Birth in History. “…that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35). Jesus Christ was born into this world, not from it. He did not emerge out of history; He came into history from the outside. Jesus Christ is not the best human being the human race can boast of— He is a Being for whom the human race can take no credit at all. He is not man becoming God, but God Incarnate— God coming into human flesh from outside it. His life is the highest and the holiest entering through the most humble of doors. Our Lord’s birth was an advent— the appearance of God in human form.

His Birth in Me. “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you…” (Galatians 4:19). Just as our Lord came into human history from outside it, He must also come into me from outside. Have I allowed my personal human life to become a “Bethlehem” for the Son of God? I cannot enter the realm of the kingdom of God unless I am born again from above by a birth totally unlike physical birth. “You must be born again” (John 3:7). This is not a command, but a fact based on the authority of God. The evidence of the new birth is that I yield myself so completely to God that “Christ is formed” in me. And once “Christ is formed” in me, His nature immediately begins to work through me.

God Evident in the Flesh. This is what is made so profoundly possible for you and for me through the redemption of man by Jesus Christ.

[ Oswald Chambers – December 25th Devotional ]

https://utmost.org/his-birth-and-our-new-birth/

*****************************
Few things last forever, especially in the new condition that they are given. The day after Christmas, pieces are missing, batteries are worn out, things are showing signs of wear.

We shop and shop and shop ‘til we drop, but sometimes we buy things that are the wrong size, off-color, or unwanted by the recipient. Once in a while we even forget to buy for someone on our list.

The stores are crowded, playing tinny music; things are picked over, twice-dropped. People are crabby, overspent, tired, and singing “Joy to the World”.
I thought about all of this and wondered why we bother. Nothing I can give can top the gift that God gave to me; the day that He created the world, stepped off His throne and formed Adam with His hands, He knew that He would have to step out of Heaven once again and use His hands to give life to the whole world.

His gift is the right size, right color, always in style, fresh every day and no one is forgotten. It’s from His heart, not out of duty or obligation. He loves each one of us so very much. We don’t deserve Him, but He gives us His presence to dwell within us forever and forever.

So, sit down, put your feet up, open a Good Book and discover for Yourself that the best gift was already given.

[ Author unknown ]

*****************************
The Truth About…Christmas

Would you be surprised to learn that the Bible does not even mention Christmas? Would you further be surprised to learn that the story of Jesus’ birth, as commonly told, is very different from the inspired text? What is a Christian’s responsibility at this time of the year? In this video, Don Blackwell examines the story of the birth of Jesus, exposing the myths and explaining what the Bible really says about Christmas.

*****************************
The Meaning of Christmas

Rushing out to get the gifts wrapping as they go
Seeing sales and discounted prices chaos don’t you know
The people spend their money it happens once a year
To get the perfect gift for that someone, they know Christmas is near

But what is Christmas really about some folks may say
Is it about presents and gifts and spending money in this way? Is it about the Christmas feast or the tree made from pine?
Or is about Santa Claus and his reindeers, he has one plus nine.

Is it about families and friends sharing a laugh or two? Reminiscing about the times of cheer and the times of blue They play silly games and sing a choral of the time
And drink glasses of eggnog and a few bottles of wine

Some folks think it’s the birth of the Emanuel
When the star shone bright in the sky as the night fell
The shepherds gathered with their flock during the night And Joseph and Mary in the stable with smiles so very bright

But what is Christmas, What is Christmas to me
There are so many meanings which one does it have to be
I think the meaning is showing love and saying that you care And being with families and friends, smiles we will share

But I also know that on this day a savior was born In a stable in a manger, a baby we adorn
He came on this earth to guide us from day to day And show us the meaning of life in the proper way

So you see Christmas has so many meanings by far Depending how old and who you really are
The people of this world will celebrate on Christmas day They see this time of celebration in their own special way.

[ Author unknown ]

*****************************
Once an artist was painting a winter scene. As he began to paint, the scene that unfolded on the canvass was of snow covered ground and pine trees. The artist’s hand brought the day to a close and night fell on the canvas, and the entire scene was covered with semi-darkness. A grim log cabin was barely visible in the shadows. Then the artist dipped his brush in the yellow paint of his pallet, and with a few strokes placed in one of the cabin windows the warm glow of a lamp. As he finished the painting the gold rays of the lamp reflected happily on the fresh snow. The lonely light totally changed the tone of the picture, replacing the gloomy chilled night with a warm and secure homestead. What happened on that canvas happened two thousand years ago on the world’s canvas. When a tiny baby came into a grim and dark world, shining light across the barren landscape and offering all the hope of eternal warmth and security.

[ Daily Bread – RBC Ministries ]

*****************************
The Christmas Message

[ John MacArthur ]

*****************************
The Theology of Christmas

To put it mildly, Christmas is a little bit confusing to the watching world, I’m pretty sure. I never really get over that. Year after year I’m struck by the paradoxes of Christmas, the strange juxtaposition of Christianity and a kind of carnival mentality, the humility and poverty of the stable confused with the wealth and indulgence of selfishness and gift giving, the quietness of Bethlehem with the din of the shopping mall, the seriousness of the incarnation with the silliness of the party spirit and party attitude, the blinking colored lights juxtaposed with the star of heaven. Just a confusion designed certainly by the enemy of men’s souls, cheap plastic toys mixed with the true gift of the wise men, angels confused with flying reindeer, an ox and an ass in a stable confused with a red nosed reindeer, of all things, the filth of the stable confused with the whiteness of fresh snow. And so it goes and you’re familiar with all of that. Mary and Joseph and North Pole elves…kind of hard to look through this and see the reality. [ More… ]

More Resources:
https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/80-354

*****************************
A Christmas Question

[ Charles Spurgeon ]

*****************************
The Real Gift of Christmas

The Christmas scene is anything but ordinary. “What happened at the manger wasn’t designed to put me in ‘the holiday mood,’” writes Dan Schaeffer. “It was intended to shake me to the roots of my soul.” In this excerpt from his book In Search of the Real Spirit of Christmas, Dan Schaeffer helps us see beyond the holiday traditions to embrace Jesus—the gift God sent into the trouble and difficulty of our lives to bring us true peace.

[ Dan Schaeffer – Discovery Series, RBC Ministries ]

https://discoveryseries.org/courses/the-real-gift-of-christmas/

*****************************
The Meaning of Bethlehem” (Sermon Jam)

Bethlehem means justification by faith. The selection of Bethlehem – the unlikely, the unworthy, the little – means God neither chooses His cities nor His saints in terms of what they can offer to Him of merit. He sets His favor on them in His freedom and in His mercy and exalts His name, so that no man can boast, but only bow and say “praise the Lord for His mercy and freedom”.

[ John Piper ]

*****************************
10 Reasons To Believe God Offers The Perfect Gift

1 – GOD LOVES TO GIVE GIFTS.
Long before we took our first breath, our Creator showed Himself to be a great giver of everything a man or woman could ask for. Today, He still wants to give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4). As the Father of heaven, He is behind “every good gift and every perfect gift” (James 1:17). When we say that “the best things in life are free,” it’s a way of acknowledging that when God gives life, and friendship, and laughter, He is showing that no one can give a better gift than He can. Yet His best offer is so priceless and so perfectly suited to our needs and happiness, many think it’s too good to be true.

2 – IT’S DESCRIBED IN THE BIBLE.
The most quoted of all books describes a wonderfully mysterious gift that goes far beyond anything we have ever received. When unwrapped, it includes peace of mind, acceptance, forgiveness, adoption into the family of heaven, and everlasting life. But does God offer to give us the desires of our heart as a reward for good living? Not according to the Bible. It refers to this spiritual package as salvation and calls it “the gift of God” (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9).

3 – IT CANNOT BE EARNED.
In most areas of life we work hard to earn respect and the right to be trusted and promoted. But God’s perfect gift of salvation is different. It comes not by merit but by mercy, not by trying but by trusting, and not by working but by resting. In the words of the apostle Paul, “By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). In another of his New Testament letters, Paul added, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5).

4 – GOD PAID FOR IT HIMSELF.
Long before wise men brought gifts to a Bethlehem manger, our Creator gave us the gift of choice. Knowing that love must be voluntary to be meaningful, He gave us the freedom to accept or reject Him. From the beginning, however, our first parents chose to walk away from Him. Instead of leaving them in their rebellion, He revealed a plan of rescue whereby an innocent victim would die on behalf of the guilty. An elaborate system of symbolic Temple ritual anticipated what God Himself would do for us on the center page of human history. At the time of God’s own choosing and in a moment of infinite and eternal significance, He did what can only be explained by love—He sacrificed His Son to pay for our sin (John 1:29; Hebrews 10:5-10).

5 – IT COMES WITH A PROOF OF PURCHASE.
The receipt we hold for His payment is the record of history. Jewish prophets predicted a Messiah who would deliver His people from their sin (Isaiah 53; Daniel 9:26). When He arrived, the Gospel writers tell us that He healed the sick, raised the dead, and gave hope to the oppressed. Then He did what no one expected Him to do. Instead of riding to power on the shoulders of adoring crowds, He silently bore the slander of critics, and voluntarily died at the hands of Roman executioners. Three days later, He walked out of a guarded tomb (Luke 24:1-7). Eyewitnesses of the resurrected Christ died at the hands of enemies rather than deny that they had seen Him alive.

6 – IT WAS WRAPPED WITH CARE.
God packaged His perfect gift in thousands of years of fulfilled predictions, widely observed miracles, and breathtaking rescues. Then after centuries of anticipation, the Lord of heaven visited a young Jewish woman named Mary and, in the greatest of all miracles, wrapped Himself in her womb. In the years that followed, He surrounded the gift in the irony of obscurity, the affection of unlikely followers, the envy of religious leaders, and the crushing disappointment of death. When all seemed lost, God wrapped His gift in the excited reports of witnesses who announced an unexpected resurrection from the dead. For a final touch, the Creator gave His gift of salvation a colorful bow of diversity—people from every nation on earth whose hearts and lives have been changed by His love (Revelation 5:9).

7 – GOD OFFERS IT BY GRACE.
Writing to those who had accepted the offer of God’s mercy, the apostle Paul wrote, “By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Paul had once tried to earn his own way into God’s favor (Philippians 3:3-9). Now he wanted his readers to know what he himself had discovered—that it is only by the grace of God that the angels of heaven welcome fallen and broken rebels into the eternal family and presence of God. In another letter, Paul described the difference between Adam, who spread sin and death to all his descendants, and Christ, who brought grace and life to all who trust Him. So he wrote, “But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense [Adam’s sin] many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many” (Romans 5:15).

8 – IT CAN BE RECEIVED ONLY THROUGH FAITH.
Paul’s carefully chosen words to the Ephesians were, “By grace you have been saved through faith.” In this qualifying phrase, he reminds us that God comes only where He is invited. The One who wants us to share the happiness of His eternal family knocks gently at the door of our hearts, waiting for us to welcome Him into our lives (John 1:12). So the gospel says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

9 – IT’S AVAILABLE TO ANYONE WILLING TO RECEIVE IT.
Most of Jesus’ best friends were fishermen, not scholars. One was a tax collector. Some had been possessed by demons. One sold her body for a living. What they had in common was their willingness to accept the gift of God. Together they were the kind of men and women Jesus loved to bring to His Father. Even in His dying hour, while hanging on a cross between two dying criminals, Jesus gave the gift of eternal life. One of the two mocked Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” The other criminal rebuked the first and said, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” Only because salvation is a gift of grace could Jesus say to him, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:39-43).

10 – IT INSPIRES GRATITUDE.
Those who avoid asking for help often take pride in being obligated to no one. But those who are willing to admit their spiritual need discover something more meaningful than self-sufficiency. They join those grateful people who know they owe their lives to someone else. Those who have been saved from a burning car or building by a courageous firefighter or bystander know what it means to live the rest of their lives with a deep sense of gratitude. In a similar way, those who know they have been rescued by God’s grace from the fires of judgment have reason to live the rest of their lives out of the overflow of their gratefulness to God (Ephesians 2:10). Nothing puts a smile on a face or love in a heart like the overwhelming awareness that all we could ever ask for has been given to us in the perfect gift of God.

YOU’RE NOT ALONE if you are still wondering whether to open your heart to the offer of God’s gift of salvation. Many think the offer is too good to be true. Many more are afraid they’ll be obligated by an eternal debt of gratitude and love. Yet the decision to receive the gift of salvation is yours. The apostle John wrote, “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12). If you are ready to receive the greatest of all gifts, the openness of your heart is what God is looking for. You might want to use your own words, or express a prayer like this: “God of heaven, I know that I’m not the person You made me to be. I believe that Christ is Your Son and my Savior. I believe He died for my sin and rose from the dead to show that His claims were true. And now the best I know how, I want to trust Him to give me the forgiveness, spiritual life, and promise of heaven that I long for. In Jesus’ name, I thank You. Amen.” If you made this decision to accept God’s offer of the perfect gift, we would like to help you learn more about the unending implications and benefits of God’s gift to you. Let us know of your decision by letter or e-mail (rtb@rbc.org), and you will receive, without cost or obligation, devotional and Bible-study materials designed to help you understand the timeless wisdom and love of God.

[ RBC Ministries – Discovery Series ]

https://discoveryseries.org/courses/10-reasons-to-believe-god-offers-the-perfect-gift/

*****************************
A Message of Christmas HOPE

[ Ravi Zacharias ]

*****************************
The Best Gift of All

Candles glow from frosted windows
Rooms are filled with twinkling lights,
There’s a manger scene, boughs of evergreen,
Someone is singing ‘Silent Night’…
And every gift my heart remembers, of easy laugher, dear old friends
Precious faces and smiles, the dancing eyes of a child,
All remind me once again:
The Best Gift of All is JESUS
His love knows no season or place
You can see Him in the firelight
Reflected on each face…
And though we cherish the blessings of Christmas,
When his love seems especially near…
The Best Gift of All is Jesus – ALL THROUGH THE YEAR!

Christmas-time is like a window, all the world looks through once a year,

But the light they find, as they look inside,
Is shining every day we are here…
No need to wait until December, for all His promise holds in store,
Every moment we live, we’ll know the peace he can give
As we find this truth once more, that
The Best Gift of All is JESUS!
His love knows no season or place
You can see Him in the firelight,
Reflected on each face,
And though we cherish the blessings of Christmas,
When His love seems especially near…
The Best Gift of All is Jesus…
ALL THROUGH THE YEAR

[ 4Him – “Jesus, The Best Gift of All” album ]

*****************************
The Gift

This gift was the greatest gift that the world had ever known
God’s love in the form of a little child from Heaven’s throne
Such joy, such hope sent to earth from above
This gift God’s greatest gift wrapped in Heaven’s love

What can you give to someone who’s hurting? What can you share to calm a troubled heart?
In this season of hope just what can you offer to someone who’s life is torn apart?
The dreams of all eternity were wrapped in a present so small
For God cared enough to give to you the Greatest gift of all

This gift was the greatest that the world had ever known
God’s love in the form of a little child from Heaven’s throne
Such joy, such hope sent to earth from above
This gift God’s greatest gift wrapped in Heaven’s love

Yet in this world of darkness there shines a Guiding Light
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Him tonight

This gift was the greatest that the world had ever known
God’s love in the form of a little child from Heaven’s throne
Such joy, such hope sent to earth from above
This gift God’s greatest gift wrapped in Heaven’s love
wrapped in Heaven’s love

[ Point Of Grace – “The Sound of Christmas” album ]

*****************************
Christmas In A Nutshell

Admit it, you’ve given some terrible gifts. There’s someone who has never given a bad gift, though…GOD! For Christmas, however, He gave us something no one could’ve imagined. This video illustrates the miracle of Christmas in a fun and poignant way.

*****************************
He Came

A short and inspiring mini-movie about Christmas.

*****************************
O Holy Night

Based on the original poem by Placide Cappeau, this Christmas mini-movie features beautiful handmade artwork (by Joe Cavazos) coupled with a dramatic reading (by Rob Ricotta) of the words that inspired the famous carol.

[ Motion Worship ]

*****************************
Salvation Has Come

This video takes the viewers on a powerful journey — a quest for truth to discover why Christ came to earth. What purpose did it fill? What motivated God Himself to come? What does it accomplish for us? In a dazzling display of Scripture, the video points to the mind-blowing immensity of the coming of Christ, and how it completely changes everything, forever, for God’s glory.

[ Sharefaith Worship Resources ]

*****************************
Sing We Now of Christmas/Emmanuel

Sing we now of Christmas/
Sing we all Noel/
Of the Lord and Savior/
We the tidings tell/
Sing we Noel/
For Christ the King is born/
Sing we Noel/
For Christ our Lord is born/
Angels from on high/
May shepherds come and see/
He’s born in Bethlehem/
A blessed family/
Glory to God/
For Christ out King is born/
Glory to God/
For Christ our Lord is born/
Sing we now of Christmas/
Sing we all Noel/
Sing we now of Christmas/
Sing we all Noel/
Sing we all Noel/
Emmanuel, Emmanuel/
Emmanuel, Emmanuel/
Wonderful Counselor/
Lord of Life, Lord of All/
He is the prince of peace/
Mighty God, Holy One/
Emmanuel, Emmanuel

[ Michael W. Smith – “Christmastime” album ]

*****************************
The Real Meaning of Christmas

The story’s told of a little girl who’s passing out the presents to her family on Christmas morning. After finding gifts for each member of her family, she was puzzled that there wasn’t a gift for the One whose birth was being commemorated. “I guess everyone forgot about Jesus,” she said.

If you want a truly meaningful Christmas season, it stands to reason you need to grasp the true meaning of Christmas. Forget about Jesus and you’ve missed the entire, glorious point of the celebration.

John MacArthur’s study The Real Meaning of Christmas helps you think of Christmas in a whole new way—in part because it looks at Bible passages you probably don’t associate with Christmas truth. This study can set the tone for a Christmas of real worship—one like you’ve never known.

[ John MacArthur ]

https://www.gty.org/library/topical-series-library/3/the-real-meaning-of-christmas

*****************************
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Refrain:
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.

Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display Thy saving pow’r,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
Oh, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.

[ Pentatonix – “A Pentatonix Christmas” album ]

*****************************
Christmasnite
(Parody of “Kryptonite” by Three Doors Down)

I took a walk around the world to see your promise sign
I left my buddies laughin’ somewhere in the sand behind
I watched the world look to the dark light of the moon
I see another light in few….yeah
I walked the world, looked to the stars, light up the moon
After all I knew it had to be somethin’ ta do with you
I really don’t mind not havin’ my old friends
As long as you’ll meet me in Bethlehem
If I’m a crazy man
will you still call me through the sand
If I’m a wise man, well then
you prepare the gold in my hand
I’ll keep your light in sight
in my search for you
it’s like Christmasnite
You called me strongly from the east
but still Lord Jesus, I’m no king
You took this planet by surprise
whenever you came down
you stunned all them in Bethlehem
I caught your beacon to these men
I picked it up and took my map and started out
If I’m a crazy man
will you still call me through the sand
If I’m a wise man, well then
you prepare the gold in my hand
I’ll keep your light in sight
in my search for you
it’s like Christmasnite
If I’m a crazy man
will you still call me through the sand
If I’m a wise man, well then
you prepare the gold in my hand
I’ll keep your light in sight
in my search for you
it’s like Christmasnite..yeah
If I’m a crazy man
will you still call me through the sand
If I’m a wise man, well then
you prepare the gold in my hand
I’ll keep your light in sight
in my search for you
it’s like Christmasnite
Whoa, whoa, whoa.
Whoa, whoa, whoa.
Whoa, whoa, whoa.

[ ApologetiX – “Keep The Change” album ]

*****************************
Child King
(Parody of “Wild Thing” by Tone Loc)

Yeshua!

Work with all the sheep — that’s my prime source of money
So when the sheep get dumb I can go and I find where they’re runnin’
Most were sound asleep — I saw this curly sheep was jumpy
In the blink of an eye, she got mesmerized and went to discover something
Went to use my shepherd’s crook, she headed for the briars
I said, “There’s something goin’ on, baby girl” and “I’m gonna find ya”
She took a little spill and fell — she slipped, poor little thing
I went to free my sheep in her moment of need
And that led us to the Child King
Child King
Child King

Shocking as it was, looking awesome, way up high
I saw this person it was not some bird but if he had to he just might fly
He looked at me, “A child,” he said, “that God sent is born tonight”
‘Cause there’s hope for thee, I bring goodwill and peace and news of Christ
So I turned into a mouse – I think that dude could hover
I feared before but yo, here’s some more
I looked up and there were some others
I didn’t know what to say – all those angels on the wing
But they sang a tune – and I was quite moved
And I left to view the Child King
Child King
I left to view the Child King
Child King
Please, baby, baby, please

You’d possibly expect they’d bling Him out with all this hype
But when me and the crew went to his digs
He wasn’t really the rich-guy type
Saw this precious little babe cryin’, lyin’ on a bed of straw
This sweet young miss, though, gave Him a kiss
And I knew that she was His ma
She took us to their living room – it was part outside
He didn’t glow but He fit the profile
I made up my own mind
I couldn’t get Him off my thoughts
It was … a dramatic thing
But that’s what happened to a lot of us after
From viewin’ the Child King
Child King
We went to view the Child King
Please, baby, baby, please

Child King!

You know that Kid’ll grow and I mean no disrespect
But sometimes some Christians want Him to stop
So they’re spared His blood and death
They want Him to come and stay
A cute and little prince
But if He’s still a child He can’t save you later, and forgive your sins
So when there’s snow at Christmas
Let’s look at it another way
Our sins are whiter than snow because He took the toll
We weren’t prepared to pay
He was all alone when He set the tone
When they killed Him one spring
He needed to be older
To make you holy
‘Cause a babe can’t do that kind of thing
Save us?
Yo, suffering’s not for kiddies
That swaddlin’ babe?
Just wait about 30 years
Catch Him at Easter, baby

Child King!

[ ApologetiX – “Handheld Messiah” album ]

*****************************
Christ In The Stable
(Parody of “Cat’s In The Cradle“ by Harry Chapin)

Our child arrived just the other day
He came to the world as the Truth and the Way
But they were trained to catch and kill the babe
We learned to watch out and run away
But He was born before they knew it or had a clue
I said, my son will be like You, God
I know He’s gonna be like You

And the Christ’s in the stable
Cause they filled the rooms
Little boy, who are You? Man, if they knew!
When they gonna know that? I don’t know when
But we’ll get to Heaven then
You know we’ll have a good time then

Our son went to temple the other day
I said, Thanks for the boy, God — His mom just prayed
Then two people who showed up had a lot to say
And they were prophets, too, I said that’s so strange
And they walked away, but they smiled as they did, I said
My goodness, they liked Him, yeah
You know, they really seemed to like Him

And the Christ in the stable
Will fulfill them soon
Little boy, who are You? Man, if they knew!
When they gonna know that? I don’t know when
But we’ll get to Heaven then
You know we’ll have a good time then

Well, they came a-callin’ just the other day
Such nice wise men, I just had to say
Wondered how they knew and brought gifts for the child
Just look, they said, overhead, with a smile
Well, it’s really quite rad but we followed the star’s beams
To see the leader that its advent means

And the Christ in the stable
Will fulfill them soon
Little boy, who are You? Man, if they knew!
When they gonna know, Son? I don’t know when
But we’ll get to Heaven then, yeah
I know we’ll have a good time then

My lungs seem so tired, my son’s come of age
I call Him “son” for His mother’s sake
I said, I’d like to see You fulfill those signs
Except my health’s too bad
Look like it’s time to die
You see, I knew God could handle anything You’ll go through
But it’s sure nice watchin’ Him do that
It’s been sure nice adoptin’ You too

And as I run up to go into eternity
Jehovah, yes, I see
My boy looks just like Thee

And the Christ in the stable
Will be killed real soon
Little boy, who are You? Man, if they knew!
When they gonna know the Son? I don’t know when
But they’ll get to Heaven then, yeah
They’re gonna have a good time then

[ ApologetiX – “Handheld Messiah” album ]

*****************************
Mary’s Got A Son
(Parody of “Janie’s Got A Gun“ by Aerosmith)

Oh, Mary, honey, what have you got?
Most don’t know it’s the Son of my God
Oh, Mary, honey, what have you got?
Oh, my Lord, it’s Your Son!
Wow!

Na na na – Na na na
Na na na – Na na na

Mary’s got a son – Joseph’s not the one
The whole world’s havin’ fun
Wond’rin’ how that was done
Babies need daddies too
What if it could be true?
They say when Mary was expectin’
They found it unbelievable
But man she hadn’t known
And if the baby’s God’s own Son
It ain’t really inconceivable

Mary’s got a son – Herod’s come undone
He don’t need anyone
To rule the country he’s tryin’ to run
They tell me that this guy’s cruel
What did King Herod do?
He killed the little bitty babies
The man has got to be insane
Oh oh oh oh
So all the males age two and under
All died and it’s a wonder
That the son she had for God escaped

Run away, run away from the king, yeah
Run away, run away from the king, yeah
Run away, run away, run from the king, yeah
LEAD

Mary’s got a son – and it’s not much fun
The ordeal’s just begun
And now the family is on the run
What should poor Mary do?
This baby can’t die on you
She had to take Him down to Egypt
And put her boy where He’d be safe
Oh oh oh oh
She said, I hope nobody sees me
The family’s got to flee
We’d be better off to leave this place!

Run away, run away from the king, yeah
Run away, run away from the king, yeah
Run away, run away, run from the king, yeah

Mary’s got a son – and He’s God’s own Son
Mary’s got a son — and everybody is gonna come (Yeahhh)
Mary’s got a son — the story’s just begun (Yeahhh)
Now everybody is gonna come (No one really knows the Father)
Because Mary’s got a son (Only Jesus Christ)
And He’s God’s own son (But His Daddy may adopt ya, but ya)
The story’s just begun (Need to see the light)
And everybody is gonna come (Yeahhh)
Mary’s got a son (Yeahhh)
Mary’s got a son (Yeahhh)
The story’s just begun (Yeahhh)

[ ApologetiX – “Handheld Messiah” album ]

*****************************
One Night In Bethlehem
(Parody of “One Night In Bangkok by Murray Head)

Bankrupt, boring little city
And the city don’t know what a gift it is getting
But crammed Bethlehem has a guest star in her
Who goes with everything at Yule dinner

I’m surprised no one seemed to visit
Since the former king and psalmist was once born in it
Saul came, don’t you know he then moved
David’s his general, you can’t fault him for that can you?
He’s fightin’ with the Philistines — why waste time — on — on this place?

One night in Bethlehem the world played hostess
The barn was simple but it sure came cheap
The Son of God would change the winter solstice
And if you’re looking at the goats and sheep
I can see an angel flying up to me

Young child, Mary was his mother
But they’ll head down over to Egypt, brother
There’s a dragnet involved, it’s really such a pity
Herod’s looking for the boy – not looking apathetic
Wait a minute
He thinks one child can politically bring him down?

Jesus, young and sweet (young, sweet)
King Herod’s fed up and things are gonna get ugly
That guy’s a tough Tyrannosaurus
Whose every move is fast and furious
I’d get my kid across the state line at crunch time

One night in Bethlehem the start was humble
Not much to see but there was history
One guy was sent to end the 12 Tribes’ troubles
So be prepared to meet your coming king
I can see the Gentiles watch expectantly

Wise men are gonna be in Guinness
As the ultimate quest to celebrate Christmas
These gifts seem more than you’d have
Brought a young ruler of the Tribe of Judah
Praise God, He’s always watching His Word, fulfilling it

I don’t see two guys raised in
The time and place Zion’s prophets placed Him
I’ll bet you lunch you couldn’t find two
But it seems these clues do not entice you

So you’d better go back to the start, and the symbols from your forefathers

One night in Bethlehem the world rejoices
The barn’s no temple, but that Boy’s a Priest
It’s time for God so raise your golden voices
He’s in the flesh, a little mystery
I can see the angels flying just to see

One night in Bethlehem the start was humble
Not much to see but there was history
The Christ was sent to end the 12 Tribes’ troubles
And with a careful look at prophecy
I can see a dreidel on your Christmas tree

[ ApologetiX – “Handheld Messiah” album ]

*****************************
Christmas SynonymsAnswers:

1. O Come All Ye Faithful

2. Hark the Herald Angels Sing

3. Silent Night

4. Joy to the World

5. Deck the Halls

6. Angels We Have Heard on High

7. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

8. The First Noel

9. O Little Town of Bethlehem

10. Little Drummer Boy

11. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

12. Peace on Earth

13. Frosty the Snowman

14. Santa Claus is Coming to Town

15. White Christmas

16. O Holy Night

17. Winter Wonderland

18. We Three Kings of Orient Are

19. Jingle Bells

20. Away in a Manger

21. Go Tell It on the Mountain

22. We Wish You a Merry Christmas

*****************************
Name That Christmas CarolAnswers:

1. White Christmas

2. Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

3. All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth
4. O Holy Night

5. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

6. O Come, All Ye Faithful

7. Away in a Manger

8. Deck the Hall

9. Little Drummer Boy

10. We Three Kings

11. Silent Night

12. God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen

13. Santa Claus is Coming to Town

14. Let it Snow

15. Go, Tell It on the Mountain

16. Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer

17. What Child is This?

18. Joy to the World

19. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

20. The Twelve Days of Christmas

*****************************
*****************************

DEEP THOUGHTS:

“Christmas began in the heart of God. It is complete only when it reaches the heart of man.”
[ Author unknown ]

“Mail your packages early so the post office can lose them in time for Christmas.”
[ Johnny Carson ]

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”
[ Hamilton Wright Mabie ]

“Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.”
[ Eric Sevareid ]

“Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.”
[ Oren Arnold ]

“Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it “white”.”
[ Bing Crosby ]

“The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing other’s loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas.”
[ W. C. Jones ]

“The only real blind person at Christmas-time is he who has not Christmas in his heart.”
[ Helen Keller ]

“He who has no Christmas in his heart will never find Christmas under a tree.”
[ Sunshine Magazine ]

“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more.”
[ The Grinch from How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss ]

“There has been only one Christmas—the rest are anniversaries.”
[ W.J. Cameron ]

“Celebrating Christmas without Christ is like celebrating George Washington’s birthday without mentioning the first president.”
[ James N. Watkins ]

“. . . for it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself.”
[ A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens ]

“This is Christmas: not the tinsel, not the giving and receiving, not even the carols, but the humble heart that receives anew the wondrous gift, the Christ.”
[ Frank McKibben ]

“When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?”
[ Gilbert Keith Chesterton ]

“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.”
[ Alexander Smith ]

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
[ Ebeneezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens ]

“The implications of the name ‘Immanuel’ are both comforting and unsettling. Comforting, because He has come to share the danger as well as the drudgery of our everyday lives. He desires to weep with us and to wipe away our tears. And what seems most bizarre, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, longs to share in and to be the source of the laughter and the joy we all too rarely know.”
[ Michael Card ]

*****************************
*****************************

Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

FOCUS VERSE:

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
[ Isaiah 7:14 ]

Mark

*****************************
*****************************
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

·.¸¸.·´¯`·.. ><((((‘>
><((((‘> ·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·..><((((‘> ·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.. ><((((‘>
·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·..><((((‘>
><((((‘> ·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.><((((‘>

Advertisements