Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Greeting!

Today (Dec 20) leaves only 5 days until Christmas Day!

I love this time of year. The lights, the music, the gifts too I will admit. But the best reason of all is that it reminds us that God broke through the spiritual realm to our physical realm and became a human being in Jesus. Emmanuel - God with us. So cool! 

If you haven't watched it yet, I would recommend watching "The Nativity Story" and that will help set the tone for Christmas. This BLOG won't be long today, but I just wanted to take time and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas filled with Jesus and a bright and prosperous New Year!

As Tiny Tim said, "God bless us, everyone!"

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The 12 Days of Christmas - the REAL meaning?

We're all familiar with the Christmas song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" right? 

To most it's a simple rhyme set to music. But some believe it had a quite a serious purpose when it was written. 

"Apparently Catholics in England during the period 1558 to 1829, when Parliament finally emancipated Catholics in England, were prohibited from ANY practice of their faith by law - private OR public. It was a crime to BE a Catholic. 

"The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written in England as one of the "catechism songs" to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith - a memory aid, when to be caught with anything in writing indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could not only get you imprisoned, it could get you hanged, or shortened by a head - or hanged, drawn and quartered, a rather peculiar and ghastly punishment I'm not aware was ever practiced anywhere else. Hanging, drawing and quartering involved hanging a person by the neck until they had almost, but not quite, suffocated to death; then the party was taken down from the gallows, and disembowelled while still alive; and while the entrails were still lying on the street, where the executioners stomped all over them, the victim was tied to four large farm horses, and literally torn into five parts - one to each limb and the remaining torso. 

Many believe the songs' gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith. The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person... Here's the meanings...

1 The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, much in memory of the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so..." I have also heard this referred to as being a symbol of Jesus on the cross.

The other symbols mean the following: 

2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments 
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues 
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists 
5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives 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, the seven sacraments 
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes 
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit 
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments 
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles 
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed" 

Now is it true? Snopes who is famous for revealing truth doesn't believe so. There is some proof for the meanings as described above. I guess what it boils down to is that whoever considers the meanings "to be "beautiful" and "inspirational" (despite its obviously dubious truthfulness) should consider its underlying message: That one group of Jesus' followers had to hide their beliefs in order to avoid being tortured and killed by another group of Jesus' followers. Of all the aspects of Christianity to celebrate at Christmastime, that doesn't sound like a particularly good one to emphasize." (Snopes) 

Good advice. As long as we remember Jesus in our hearts at this time of year, does it matter if the song really was a secret message for the church or not? I don't think so. I think it's a nice way to share the gospel personally. I even have a tie that has the 12 days on it given to me by a youth group a number of years back now... 

Like it?

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Twas the news before Christmas...

With a title like that you're wondering what news? Well, the news is not fun news. The position I got hired for this school year as an Educational Assistant was suddenly cut in half and made a new p/t permanent position which is still waiting for internal applicants to apply to first before I get a crack at it. I found this our almost 4 weeks ago. Yes this is the speed of the school board, 4 weeks and still no news an what my future will be. Will I be able to apply to the position I'm working in and then have to find part time work to go with it? Or will I end up right back on the supply list for the year? Just when you think life is set, everything changes. Other personal matters have happened during this time too and it makes a believer ask, "Okay, what's going on God?" You pray for direction and it seems to be silence. What do you do?

My wife and I have been praying for the future, and I have been applying for positions, but really, by Christmas who knows? I could be back to being just a supply person. Nice huh? That combined with my other personal things? Merry Christmas right? It's easy to fall into the pity party trap and get depressed, it would be easy to blame God, it would be easy to give up. But as believers we don't do that. We cling to out faith in God and that's what my family and I are doing right now. I thank God I am still with LIFE 100.3 doing Ask The Pastor and Saturdays and importing teaching shows. As for the pastorate? Who knows? Everything is up in the air. God knows what's going on... and yes I'll admit I wish He'd let me in on it! But this falls back to trust. Do we trust God when the rug's been pulled out from underneath you? I have quoted Job on more than one occasion during all this, Job 1:21 - 2220 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    and naked I will depart.[c]
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
    may the name of the Lord be praised.” (or blessed be the name of the Lord  and blessed be Your name as translations and the songs say)

22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

I want to be known that through my trials I did not charge God with wrongdoing. As I said the temptation is hard to do that when going through it. I know we go through these things to minister to others in their hour of need. So I would ask for your prayers as I walk through this with my family. I know God will provide as He promises to provide for His own. I hope being this open helps others. God bless.