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Posted By disciple

The other day I found my heart broken when a friend told me that this would not seem like Christmas to her or her family.  You see her son was hospitalized and they just didn’t know how long his recovery would take or if it would be complete.  I couldn’t help wondering how many other people are going through these emotions.  Many families loose loved ones at this time of year and find themselves at funeral services rather than Christmas celebration services.  Others are facing their first Christmas season without their loved ones and yet others will find themselves in the hospitals suffering from many different types of illnesses.  I believe that it is safe to say that in the midst of our illnesses, our grief, and our concerns we still can experience Godly joy and peace within our lives, especially during  this time of year, the Christmas season.  I believe that Christians are a paradox to the world because we can be suffering, grieving or overburdened by the strains of this world and still have peace of mind and heart because of our faith.  You might be wondering how this could be?  Simply put, because of the reason for the season, Christmas.  Orthodox Christians believe that God became flesh and dwelt among humanity (Christmas), John 1:1.  This would be the virgin birth of Jesus Christ the Son of the most High God.  You see this was God’s way of providing a Savior for all those that believe and choose Him to be their Lord and Savior.  If you think about it, the Scriptures are right on, explaining that Jesus was born to save the world not condemn it.  This was done when He sacrificed His life on the cross so many years ago.  For those that are suffering because a loved one is hospitalized or you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness or this world seems to be ripping your life apart, remember that Christ is with you and if you reach out to Him, Jesus will reach out to you.  Our Savior will never leave you or forsake you.  If you are grieving the loss of a loved one remember what Christ told us in John Chapter eleven, “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies: and whoever lives and believes in me will never die”.  In other words there will come a time when we too will be with our loved ones in the heavens above for an eternity.  Please do not take this as a Cinderella message, just a message of truth from my heart to all of yours through the blessings and the grace of our God!  Have a joyous, peaceful and blessed Christmas celebration in the midst of all that is going on in your lives this year.  Jesus is the reason for the season.

Pastor Terry  

Posted By disciple

Wedding preparations

    As the media and the secular world strive to decide the reason for the Christmas holidays and how to greet one another, I find myself immersed in the Christmas story.  The story tells us that in the sixth month of the Jewish calendar a little over two thousand years ago the angel Gabriel was sent by God to the city Nazareth.  His divine order was to find a virgin who was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. This virgin’s name was Mary.  So the Christmas story begins.  The angel Gabriel approaches Mary, a virgin, with this greeting.  “Rejoice highly favored one, the Lord God is with you”, Luke1:28!
    What kind of greeting was this anyway.  No hello, or shalom or my name is….., just a simple definitive statement, REJOICE favored one.  The greeting actually startled the young virgin and the angel went on to tell her not to be afraid that God was about to bless her with a child, not just any child, but the Christ child. 
    The drama intensifies knowing that Mary is in the Jewish betrothal process. According to their custom Mary would have been picked as Joseph’s wife by his father, and then Mary would have established a dowry for Joseph to pay.  Once this was done a covenant or marital contract was made between the two of them, and then they went through a traditional  immersion ceremony which was symbolic of a spiritual cleansing allowing them to prepare for the wedding itself. 
    Their betrothal started at this point and was to last about a year.  During this time they lived apart abstaining from any sexual contact.  Joseph was preparing a place for them to live while Mary prepared for the wedding ceremony.  They did not know the date of the wedding.  You see it was up to Joseph’s father to decide and announce when the ceremony would take place.  All of this was going on in Mary’s life when the angel appeared telling her she would conceive as a virgin. 
    God sure does work in mysterious ways doesn’t He.  Would you consider this?  Because of God’s plan to become flesh through the miraculous conception of the virgin Mary, Jesus was born.  As a result, every Christian is preparing for another divine wedding ceremony which is their very own with God.  According to Jewish custom, which was ordained and designed by God, the Lord has chosen the church to be the bride of Christ.  Think about it, Jesus has accepted the dowry for our freedom.  He paid this with His blood on that cross.  We were immersed through our baptism and the acceptance of Christ sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. Our betrothal process is under way right now and only the Father God knows the time and the date of the actual wedding ceremony. 
    Where are you in this process?  Are you a part of Jesus’ church?  Have you accepted the covenant between bride and groom.  Jesus is preparing a place for you to live eternally in the heavens above and we are to be preparing for the ceremony itself, which means to be honoring our covenant with God.  I would suggest you get out as many invitations to this wedding as possible so none of your family or loved ones miss it.  In other words introduce them to Jesus.
    With this knowledge, there should be no problem greeting anyone during this time of year. It is simply and joyfully “MERRY CHRISTMAS”.                           Pastor Terry