Christmas, A Day Of Pagan Celebration? Let’s Talk About It

Basic Marine Graduation Ceremony

It was early in the morning hours of May 24,1968, that I, and forty other newly enlisted men of the United States Air Force, were greeted by the words of our “TI,” to “GIT UP!” We were at Amarillo Air Force Base in Texas. A TI in the Air Force is a “training instructor,” like a drill instructor of the other branches of the military. We were “yelled at,” with choice words that an adult had never “spoken to me,” lol. We were quickly ushered through the following: uniforms, olive-green fatigues; haircuts (all of it gone); shots (oooh! that air gun was not user-friendly!), and we were also given a booklet to memorize, which contained the “Code Of Conduct,” as is shown by the link below. The purpose of Basic Military Training is to create in its graduates from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, a unified force that may be called upon to be involved in a variety of missions. Some of our military members have been killed in action (KIA). Others have been taken captive by our enemies and held under horrible conditions as prisoners of war (POW). And, others were, and still are, missing in action (MIA).

Code of Conduct for the Armed Forces of the United States

Click to access ruhl.pdf

*By Executive Order signed on November 3, 1977, President Carter amended the original statement in the Code which read, “bound to give only name, rank, service number, and date of birth.” (He made the code less stringent).

The opening video of this article is that of a U.S. Marine Basic Military Training Graduation Ceremony. I love the beat of the drum as the Marines march in perfect step, with their left heel striking the ground, at the beat of the drum, at the same time. Notice the correctness of the salutes. Whenever I watch such a video, I think to myself, “I’m proud to be an American. So, you may ask, “what does military basic training have to do with the subject of Christmas? Please let me continue.

The subject of Christmas and Paganism is one that has been a topic of discussion for many years, and will probably continue to be considered for many years to come. My previous articles that have led up to Christmas of this year have shown the exposure to much of the world, of the birth of Christ, that is heavily present in many circles each year during the month of December. It is an easy observation to make, that media Christmas programs would find no space for such broadcasts during any other month of the year, outside of December.

Through media programming of Christmas programs, the subject of the birth of Christ is aired around the world, in areas that would not necessarily be open to anything positive that deals with Christ, our Lord and Savior. The Great Commission of Christ (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:18-20) is greatly enhanced by the media through radio and tv programming, even though many of those same broadcasting companies in today’s unbelieving world have no interest at all in Christ. Still, the message of Christ goes out all over the world, through satellite each December, when the emphasis on the birth of Christ is at its greatest. Without a doubt, Christmas Day, is the “one day” of the year that much of the world comes to a halt, especially in Europe, the Americas, New Zealand, and Australia. The reason for such a halt is the celebrated “birth of Christ.” From an evangelistic perspective, Christmas is a day of witness to unbelievers, whom find themselves humming “Silent Night,” and other carols, as they walk though stores and malls listening to the soft music of the season coming through the speakers in the ceiling. We, whom have been born again and know Christ as our Lord and Savior, take that same time to reflect on the fact that our Savior came into the world as, “God with us,” (Isaiah 7:14/742 B.C./Matthew 1:23-25/4 B.C.); and, “The Almighty God,” (Isa 9:6/740 B.C.) (dates from the Scofield Study Bible).

The pagan world needs the message of “Christ, and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2), which is the message of the New Testament. The message of the Old Testament is the coming of the Messiah, “God with us.” The identity of a pagan is easy to discern; anyone whom does not know the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Matthew 22:32) is a pagan. Genesis 1:1 (Elohim is the first Name in the Bible of God, and comes from the Hebrew root meaning “strength” or “power”,.) Other Names of God in the Bible are: El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty); El Elyon (The Most High God); Adonai (Lord, Master); Yahweh (Lord: Yahweh refers to “the self-existent, eternal God” the name God revealed to Moses:); El Olam (The Everlasting God); Theos (God); Kurios (Lord); Despotes (Master or Lord); Abba (Father or Dearest Father).

Let’s consider Christmas in the Bible; this is an easy one. Christmas is not mentioned, or addressed, in any form, anywhere in the Bible. Some have suggested that Jeremiah discusses Christmas. But, the prophet is speaking to Israel, in the year 600 B.C., (600 years prior to the birth of Christ) definitely not about “the baby Jesus” or Christmas trees, but about idol worship. In essence, the Jewish prophets spoke to Jews about Jewish things. See the following verses of scripture.

Jeremiah 10:1-4 New English Translation (NET Bible) (The Lord, not Idols, is the Only Worthy Object of Worship)

1 You people of Israel, listen to what the Lord has to say to you. 2 The Lord says, “Do not start following pagan religious practices. Do not be in awe of signs that occur in the sky even though the nations hold them in awe. 3 For the religion of these people is worthless. They cut down a tree in the forest, and a craftsman makes it into an idol with his tools. 4 He decorates it with overlays of silver and gold. He uses hammer and nails to fasten it together so that it will not fall over.

Let’s consider whether Christians celebrating Christmas are honoring a pagan holiday. The world is full of pagans, and of pagan rituals. I don’t know of any believers in Christ that worship pagan idols on Christmas Day, or on any other day of the year.

Let’s go back to the beginning of this article, and bring the military into the discussion.

Pow (1945) Pathe cameraman Terry Ashwood and BBC war correspondent Edward Ward, who was POW for over three years, seated in Pathe studio. He was captured at Sidi Rezegh in November 1941 and released a week before filming this item.

POW Christmas 1944 – Consider the way that American soldiers celebrated Christmas. Consider the American POWs being transported in box cars to places of POW camps, where they did not if they would be tortured or executed. Look at the many American POWs that are pictured.

Silent Night – Jeff Raymond Published on Dec 26, 2008 – soldiers, airmen, marines, seamen sing silent night to our lord on Christmas eve in the Al Faw Palace Rotunda, Baghdad, Iraq

In the above videos we have learned about Christians in the military being held in POW camps, under brutal conditions. We have also learned about other POWs being moved about the Nazi empire, in horrendous conditions, not knowing if they will be tortured or executed, singing “Silent Night” on Christmas Eve. The last videos shows members of the military singing “Silent Night,” in Iraq on Christmas Eve.

Without a doubt, December in Germany can be brutally cold. When I was overseas, and spent Decembers in the Philippines and Thailand, I found a very pleasant climate, even on Christmas Eve.

Weather information was important to me while I was in the Air Force. My units controlled airplanes, so weather related data was essential to the safe control of fighter jets, and other types of aircraft. Wind direction and speed; temperature, Fahrenheit and Centigrade, from ground level to 60,000 feet mean sea level, to determine contrail altitudes (a trail of condensed water from an aircraft or rocket at high altitude, seen as a white streak against the sky) so we would know at which altitudes aircraft could be seen by other aircraft, whether “friend or foe.”

So, what do altitudes have to do with this discussion on Christmas and pagan days of celebration? As we can see in the comparison of Tucson, AZ, USA and Bethlehem, Israel, Tucson is actually further north of the equator than is Bethlehem.

Tucson, AZ USA latitude and longitude. 32.22155° N, -110.9698° E, 2390 feet above sea level.

Bethlehem, Israel latitude and longitude. 31.70424° N, 35.20629° E, 2543 feet above sea level.

Tucson’s average December temperature is 66 F, with the record high being 85 F. The record low is 21 F.

Bethlehem’s average December temperature is 59 F, with the record high being 83 F. The record low is 16 F.

Once on, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I spent that time in Tucson. I found the temperature to be very mild, in the lower 80s.

Let’s consider another comparison, with that being of north Florida and South Georgia, in the USA. Consider the following articles.

http://jesus-reasonforseason.com/pc_myths/shepherds_tending_their_flocks_in_december.php
http://jesus-reasonforseason.com/pc_myths/average_december_temperature_in_Bethlehem.php
The December temperature in Jerusalem is two degrees cooler than Lake City Florida; 42 vs. 44 degrees. The same is true for Jacksonville, Florida. However the average low temperature for Valdosta, Georgia and Albany, Georgia are a degree or two cooler than Jerusalem. So the average December low temperature in Jerusalem (at the top of the mount) is the equivalent of extreme south Georgia or extreme north Florida. Not exactly Arctic conditions so to speak.
http://jesus-reasonforseason.com/pc_myths/fox_news_december_24_2013.php#

The following link provides interesting information on the subject of Christmas being a pagan holiday.
MYTH: December 25 Based Upon Roman Pagan Holidays
http://jesus-reasonforseason.com/myth_pagan_holiday/christmas_based_upon_pagan_holidays.php

Either/Or; Neither/Nor.

John 3:3 New International Version (NIV)

3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

It is very clear from John 3:3 that if we have not been spiritually born from above (a spiritual new birth), that we can not enter the time of the Kingdom Age, also known as the millennium, and the 1000 year reign of Christ, and neither can we expect to enter the eternal state of the new heaven, new earth, new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:1-2), which immediately will follow the Kingdom Age. So, either we have been spiritually born again, or we haven’t been born again. And, if we have not been again, neither will we enter the Kingdom Age, nor will we enter the eternal state; there is no fence straddling.

Let’s bring the military back into the discussion, where we will close this discussion. Are we to say that prisoners of war, if they sing “Silent Night” on December 24th or December 25th, are celebrating a pagan holiday? Are we also to say that POWs on trains to death camps were celebrating a pagan holiday if they sang “Silent Night” on December 24th or December 25th? And, consider the people of the military in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, or any other place around the world. Are they also celebrating a pagan holiday if they sing “Silent Night” on December 24th or December 25th? Would it be more acceptable for these groups of believers in Christ to sing “Silent Night” a week earlier, or a week later, than December 24th of December 25th? Consider “either/or,” and “neither/nor.” Either those in the videos were celebrating a pagan holiday, or they were not. Neither, should they be free of that “stigma,” if they are found to be “guilty” of celebrating a pagan holiday. So, if soldiers can sing “Silent Night” on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, can we not, those of us whom are located all around the world, also do the same thing, and not be found guilty of celebrating a pagan holiday? Are we allowed to read about the birth of Christ, as is found in Luke 2:1-20, on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, and not be found guilty of celebrating a pagan holiday? (I could go on).

From me, to you: “Merry Christmas!”

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Christmas, And Other Memories, Of My Past

Do You Hear What I Hear? Bing Crosby

Matthew 1:23-25 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” 24 And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, 25 but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

Christmas Of Simpler Times.

These thoughts of mine were posted last December. Even though a year has passed, the memories that are so special to me cling to my soul. But, these are my memories; what about yours? Let your mind roll back, “so many years,” and let it collect some of the special times that are so special to you. You might even want to share them as a comment on this blog.

The year was 1959. The month was September. I had just started sixth grade in Gretna, Louisiana. I would spend the next three years at the same “Grammar School.” My life was common to those of my school mates. I lived in a small house that was located only about three hundred feet from my school. At lunch time, I could go home, or go to a nearby grocery store and buy a “po boy” sandwich (French or Italian bread with ham, turkey, shrimp, or oysters, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato slices). I could also have my lunch at school where we would have tasty red beans and rice, with links of smoked sausage, every Monday. I would arrive at school every day early enough that I could play basketball or jacks. I might also shoot marbles or try to sharpen my yo-yo skills. When we started our school day, we would say the pledge to the flag, and the Lord’s Prayer. We had real Christmas holidays, and real Christmas programs at school. We would sing Christmas carols, which included biblical songs. The school would give the children song sheets that showed the words of those biblical songs. Teachers were free to talk to their classes about their church lives. Most of my friends watched the same television programs. We didn’t have cable tv or dish types, so our selection was limited to traditional network programming. The programs were family oriented and were not restricted to “church and state” limitations. The Beaver Cleaver family went to church and Sunday School. Andy, Barney, Aunt Bea, Opie, and Gomer were shown in church, even when Gomer might fall asleep and snore during the “Reverend’s” sermons. When Christmas Eve would finally arrive, my family would sit around the tree; my younger brother and sister and I would wonder about what we would find there in the morning. As a much younger child, “I could have sworn” that sometime during the night, “I had heard reindeer sounds in the yard!” Seriously! The Christmas programs that were produced and shown by ABC, NBC, and CBS did not hide the fact that “Jesus was the reason for the season.” Television hosts did not omit “Jesus” from their discussions when they were talking about Christmas. Jesus was truly “God with us” in the tv programs of those Christmas seasons. Please take time to play the videos that I have selected, and see that there was truly a much simpler time of Christmas in our nation’s not too distant history. You will notice three mainstays of television entertainment, Bing Crosby, Perry Como and Andy Williams. Neither of those men were hesitant to say the name of Christ, our Lord. Christmas programs were telecast during the month of December each year. No other month of the year would have had the audience viewership at such a level as to make the Christmas programs effective for the cause of telling of the birth of Christ. Please enjoy the videos and have a very Merry Christmas. May God bless you, and may God bless the USA!

The Bells Of St. Mary’s
Bing Crosby

O Sanctissima
Bing Crosby

Silent Night
Bing Crosby

Ave Maria
Perry Como

O Holy Night
Andy Williams

The Lord’s Prayer
Perry Como Live

White Christmas
Bing Crosby

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London Christmas Hallelujahs

Andre Rieu – Hallelujah

So, what is the meaning of Hallelujah? Strong’s Lexicon has the following information.

hallelujah, Ἁλληλουϊά´(Greek) 239 (Strong’s numeric identifier)

239 (allēlouia) alleluia (an adoring exclamation) – of Hebrew origin, imper. of halal, Yah

239 allēlouia – literally, “praise Yahweh, transliterated hallelujah”

Christmas in London! Amazing! The video, written by a Jew about the birth of the Christ Child, the Messiah, “even more amazing.” Leonard Cohen may have never even considered the significance that his song would have in the lives of people whom would be attending Christmas concerts, such as the one that this article is showing.” Consider the people that may be present in the large crowd, not having a relationship with Christ, being drawn to saving faith in Christ through Cohen’s song, in the month of December. The most amazing thing! A “God thing!”

The time of the year, December. The reason for the gathering of so many people, to honor the birth of the Christ Child, the Messiah, our Lord and Savior. The people whom are present, would not have assembled in such great numbers for this purpose in August, September, October, or in any other month of the year; only in December.

It was in about the year 66 A.D., that the Apostle Paul dispatched Titus from the city of Nicopolis, in southern Greece, to take the message of Christ to northern lands (2 Timothy 4:10, Titus 3:12). Titus went to Dalmatia, which became Yugoslavia, and is current day Croatia. From Dalmatia, the Gospel was spread further north. This London crowd is the result of such continued evangelism. From London, the gospel continued to be spread from the docks of England, and from other European countries, to lands around the world that had not heard the message of the Gospel of Christ..

Consider the words of the Fourfold Hallelujah

Revelation 19 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

1 After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,
“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God;

3 And a second time they said, “Hallelujah! Her smoke rises up forever and ever.”

4 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the
throne saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!”

5 And a voice came from the throne, saying, “Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.” 6 Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.

And, as Humphrey Bogart said in the 1942 movie, Casablanca, “play it again Sam!”

Original Big surprise for Bride and Groom…Chris and Leah Wedding 5 April 2014
A big surprise for newly married couple Chris and Leah O’Kane…
A Wedding in Ireland. The officiating Catholic Priest is Ray Kelly.

If you want to make a comment on this article, please place that comment in the appropriate space at the bottom of this page. If you do not want your comment to be shown, please let me know. I moderate all comments, and will not violate anybody’s trust.

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A Vietnam “Silent Night, Holy Night” Christmas

Vietnam War: Bob Hope Christmas Special 1967 – No Words

John 15:13 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends”

The Vietnam War; it was the war of my generation. World War II had ended in 1945. Those military members which had served, and had survived the war, returned to their homes and began to “spawn” babies, of which I am one, “a baby boomer.” The “boomer” generation included those which were birthed during the years of 1946 through 1964. The Korean War had also come and gone, lasting from 1950 through 1953.

My hero of the Second World War was my father. He enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps and served in the Philippines and New Guinea. While in the Philippines, my father was stationed about 60 miles north of Manila. It was during the Vietnam war that I enlisted in the United States Air Force, and served in the Philippines and in Thailand. While in the Philippines, I was stationed about 60 miles north of Manila. My heroes of the Vietnam War were personal friends, two of whom did not survive the war. Randall W., of Georgia, a fourth and fifth grade baseball team member, a Marine Infantry Corporal, died in Vietnam. Jim J., of Louisiana, a tenth and eleventh grade track and field teammate, an Army Special Forces Lieutenant, died in Cambodia.

If you have noticed in the opening video, there is no singing, only the music to “Silent Night, Holy Night.” Marines in South Vietnam are shown wearing flack jackets and helmets, holding their rifles, taking off their helmets, kneeling and worshiping. A Chaplain is seen serving communion to other Marines. It is obvious that not all of those Marines that we see in the film survived the war. Many members of the active duty forces of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard, as well as members of the Reserve and National Guard, served our country well during the Vietnam War. Not all military members were assigned to stations in Vietnam, but would have gone if they had received such assignments. During the time of the Vietnam War, military chaplains spoke freely of God, and did not hide the name of Christ, our Lord and Savior.

The Bob Hope tours of 1964-1972 took place during December of each of those years. Each show ended with the singing of “Silent Night, Holy Night,” and the words of Bob Hope, “Merry Christmas.” One of the few constants of the Vietnam War, one which was eagerly anticipated by American troops, was the annual Bob Hope Christmas Show. From 1964 to 1972, Bob Hope included South Vietnam on his annual trips to visit troops during the holiday season, a tradition that started for him during World War II. “Back in 1941, at March Field, California…I still remember fondly that first soldier audience,” Hope once said. “I looked at them, they laughed at me, and it was love at first sight.”

Consider the support that Bob Hope gave to our troops during the Vietnam War, and in other times of conflict. http://www.historynet.com/bob-hopes-vietnam-christmas-tours.htm
BY JUDITH JOHNSON 12/23/2009 • VIETNAM MAGAZINE

Bob Hope went to South Vietnam during December of each of those war years. He did not go during the months of August, September, October, or during any other month of the year, only during December. As has been stated above, each Bob Hope show ended with the singing of “Silent Night, Holy Night.” In the next video, you will notice many U.S. military troops singing “Silent Night, Holy Night.” You will also notice how the singing of that special song has such a great emotional effect on each of those war-hardened military heroes. They all sang; they all were touched by the words of the song; but, not all of them survived the Vietnam War. Decembers of the years of the Vietnam War, when Bob Hope entertained our military troops, were special months to remember for those whom survived the war. Those which did not leave Vietnam alive, may had also received special December blessings prior to their deaths. Many of the U.S. troops, which had not known Christ as their Lord and Savior, may have been drawn by God’s Holy Spirit to belief in Christ, as they sang the words to, “Silent Night, Holy Night.”

(A G.I. is a member of the armed forces, meaning “Government Issue, such as in “G.I. Bill.”)

As you see Anita Bryant singing “Silent Night, Holy Night,” consider the song; consider the troops. Notice the expressions on each face. Realize that in a war that took 58,220 American lives, that when”Silent Night, Holy Night” was sung, no one was offended. Realize also, that as you see that large audience of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, and those of the Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserves, that they didn’t all return home alive. Of those that did survive the war in Vietnam, you may know one, or some; please be sure to wish them a very Merry Christmas, and thank them for their service to our country. With the video filming having taken place fifty-three years ago, some of the G.I.s in the video may now be seniors in your family. A final note relates to members of foreign nations that also served their countries in the war on communism, along side of U.S. troops. Please express your thanks to those heroes, too. I specifically remember the names of many members of the Philippine Air Force whom served along side of me; they were wonderful people. A list of other Vietnam War foreign nations, friend and foe, is provided in the link below.

“Silent Night” (Live) by Anita Bryant with Bob Hope And Friends (1965) – Words

Where were you during the Christmas season of December 1972? Take a final look at the G.I.s, the professional entertainers and support personnel. I guarantee you, “hankies may be needed.”

Bob Hope’s Final Vietnam Christmas Tour – Notice that during each of Bob Hope’s Christmas Shows, the ending always came after Bob Hope said, “Merry Christmas, and God Bless You.” May that be our greeting this December’s Christmas season.

America Wasn’t the Only Foreign Power in the Vietnam War https://militaryhistorynow.com/2013/10/02/the-international-vietnam-war-the-other-world-powers-that-fought-in-south-east-asia/

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A Time Of Year Like No Other

A “Hallelujah” Christmas by Cloverton HD

Coffee Shop Christmas Hallelujahs

Leonard Cohen, who was a Jew, wrote the song of this video which tells of the birth of the Christ Child. As you view the video you will notice the expressions on the faces of the coffee shop customers. At no other time of the year, would there be such acceptance of, and appreciation for, this Hallelujah song.

It is amazing that the first day of Hanukkah is on Kislev 25 of the Jewish calendar. Christmas Day has the Gregorian Calendar date of December 25. If this song were to have been played in this particular coffee shop in August, September, October, or during any other month of the year other than December, it may not have created the same emotional response that we see in each face of the video’s coffee shop patrons. Such a response is to be expected in a Christian grouping, but whether a believer in Christ or not, this song very often resonates deeply in the minds of many people whom have never set foot in any type of church or congregation.

There are small restaurants and coffee shops in many cities and towns that present an unusual opportunity for witnessing. In my town there is a quaint and intimate coffee shop that has a piano which is situated near most of the tables where patrons drop in and spend an enjoyable time, consuming hot coffee and tasty muffins, and sharing intimate conversations. There have been times when I have been there enjoying the niceness of an evening that someone would make their way over to the piano and begin planing a series of songs that “just hit the needed spot.” The stresses of the day would seem to disappear from my mind and leave me desiring more of that soul-easing music. I imagine that there are similar places that have pianos, that can also be played for the pleasure of the customers.

Consider the setting that is shown in the video. A young man sits down at a piano in a coffee shop and begins playing a song that is pleasing to the mind of almost anybody, whether Christian, Jew or indifferent. I am certain that there are readers of this post who are musically inclined and talented, and who would like to take such an opportunity to share the message of Christ to people who are usually isolated, or insulated, from such a story of the love of God. Give it a listen; share the story. Consider adding a guitarist, or other musicians, and have a small combo. Always consider ways of creative witnessing (Acts 1:8).

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 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, good will toward men!” (Luke 2:8-14)

Leonard Cohen Information:

https://www.biography.com/people/leonard-cohen-9252529
Leonard Cohen Biography – Singer, Poet, Songwriter (1934–2016)

https://www.bing.com/search?q=leonard+cohen+hallelujah&qs=LS&pq=leonard+cohe&sk=LS1&sc=8-12&cvid=794CD972AFFC4BF5842ACAAE548A85A7&FORM=QBRE&sp=2
Leonard Cohen Hallelujah

Calendar Information

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_calendar
Gregorian Calendar

https://www.chabad.org/therebbe/article_cdo/aid/3315244/jewish/25-Kislev.htm
Jewish Calendar – 25 Kislev, Day 1 of Chanukah/Hanukkah

Video Information

Eddie Willing
Published on Dec 6, 2014

Cloverton is a Kansas-based band, sharing songs from a genuine place of faith and longing. Their take on Leonard Cohen’s classic 1984 hit, “Hallelujah” is the latest in over 300 covers of the song – more than any other song in history.

This may be one of the best yet, with lyrics you may not have heard before. Perfect for this Christmas.

Lyrics:

I’ve heard about this baby boy
Who’s come to earth to bring us joy
And I just want to sing this song to you
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
With every breath I’m singing Hallelujah
Hallelujah

A couple came to Bethlehem
Expecting child, they searched the inn
To find a place for You were coming soon
There was no room for them to stay
So in a manger filled with hay
God’s only Son was born, oh Hallelujah
Hallelujah

The shepherds left their flocks by night
To see this baby wrapped in light
A host of angels led them all to You
It was just as the angels said
You’ll find Him in a manger bed
Immanuel and Savior, Hallelujah
Hallelujah

A star shown bright up in the east
To Bethlehem, the wisemen three
Came many miles and journeyed long for You
And to the place at which You were
Their frankincense and gold and myrrh
They gave to You and cried out Hallelujah
Hallelujah

I know You came to rescue me
This baby boy would grow to be
A man and one day die for me and you
My sins would drive the nails in You
That rugged cross was my cross, too
Still every breath You drew was Hallelujah

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A Marriage Carol 2018

Today is the day after Thanksgiving. Earlier this evening I was driving through the center of my city. It looked very much like that which most people would expect a Christmas Eve to look like. The sky was dark, due to the time of day. Fog was beginning to settle over town. A light mist that was falling on my windshield was causing a light squeaking sound to be heard from the wipers, due to the lightness of the mist. Very few people were seen on the streets. Most of the businesses were closed. In one word, my city looked to be “dead,” or in two words, “without life.” Because it was “Black Friday,” shoppers were still taking advantage of buying the latest electronic gizmos for the people in their families. Even though many of those same families are spiritually dead, and are being held together by a thread, hundreds and thousands of hard-earned dollars were being spent in hopes that those purchases would, some how, give life to those families that appear to be DNR tagged (do not resuscitate).

This is the fourth year that I have published this article, with minor changes being made each year. Each time, I have listened to the videos without interruption, and each time they have pulled strong emotions from within me. This evening, as usual, my throat and jaw tightened. Tears would not stop finding their way onto my cheeks. The story of Jacob and Marlee is that, just a story. But, I know that their situation is one that many married couples, “are facing, have faced, or will face.” I have published this article on the 16th, 17th, and 24th of past Decembers. But, the conditions of this evening made me understand that this post needs to be distributed much sooner than in the past years.

Not all marriages are dying, or are dead, due to infidelity, but there is a high percentage of families that are dying because of affairs. A thought come into my mind while I was driving this evening, and is with me now, and relates to infidelity. That thought is very strong, and is this: “If you are in an affair, “GET OUT OF IT!” Just get out! Don’t wait! Just get out! Get your life right with God! Please understand that which I am saying, and that which I am not saying. I am saying that if you are in an affair, “GET OUT” of the affair; “JUST GET OUT!” “DON’T WAIT!” “JUST GET OUT!” “GET YOUR LIFE RIGHT WITH GOD!”

Consider a memorable story of another couple, whose initials are also “M and J.”

Luke 2:1-7 New King James Version (NKJV)

Christ Born of Mary

1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Mary and Joseph were on their way to Bethlehem, where Mary would give birth to Jesus, the Savior of the world. Consider the story of Marlee and Jacob, and their “Christmas Eve” journey; it was being made for quite a different reason. The recording of Marlee and Jacob may be difficult for some of you; I understand that. I moderate all comments to this blog. If anybody comments on this post, I will not publish that comment without gaining permission to do so.

If you are considering a Christmas Eve “divorce papers appointment” please, let me ask you to listen to the following audio recording of Marlee and Jacob, as they are on their way to sign their papers…”on Christmas Eve.” Listen very attentively. The time of the recording is fifty-four minutes. Let me ask you to set aside an uninterrupted period of time, “for fifty-four minutes.” Think about your wedding vows. Think about your marriage. Think about your children. Please! Set aside fifty-four minutes and consider what you are about to do.

After you have read, listened to, and watched everything that is in this post, please ask yourself a very personal question; you can answer to yourself. So, here it is. When you read a post on social media from a “friend” of the opposite sex, “do you get a rush, or a spark?” If your answer is “yes,” maybe social media is not something that you should have as a part of your life.

http://www.moodyradio.org/Christmas/

As you have learned from the video of Marlee and Jacob, they were married on Christmas Eve, “twenty years ago.” On this Christmas Eve, the couple are headed to an attorney’s office…to sign divorce papers. Think about Marlee, Jacob, and your marriage situation. Do you remember the words that you and your mate said to each other as you stood before God, the minister, family and friends, and the rest of the people who were watching and listening as you professed your love for one another? If you have forgotten those special words, I have written a traditional wedding vow for you to consider. Please read it now.

“To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish…’til death do us part.”

Please understand that I have no room for spousal abuse in a marriage.

Please follow my blog: https://equippingblog.wordpress.com/

Hallelujah Chorus

Royal Choral Society: ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ from Handel’s Messiah

Revelation 11:15 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Seventh Trumpet—Christ’s Reign Foreseen

15 Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,

“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”

It is now Christmas for many of the people around the world, those of whom receive my blog posts; I wish you, and the ones which will soon experience the coming of Christmas, “a Christ-filled” Christmas Day. Let me encourage all believers in Christ to keep Christ in Christmas; He is the reason for the season.

Glory to the Holy One

Worthy is the Lamb: Glory to the Holy One Concert (Saint Andrew’s Chapel)

Revelation 5:13 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

“And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying,

“To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”

2 Corinthians 5:8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

“we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”

This is the first Christmas in Heaven of Dr. R.C. Sproul (St. Andrew’s Chapel), where he is in the Presence of Christ, his Lord and Savior. Consider his many contributions to the spreading of the love of Christ.

Dr. R.C. Sproul (1939–2017) was founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries, an international Christian education ministry located near Orlando, Fla. In addition, he was copastor of Saint Andrew’s Chapel, first president and chancellor of Reformation Bible College, and executive editor of Tabletalk magazine. Ligonier Ministries began in 1971 as the Ligonier Valley Study Center in Ligonier, Pa.

Dr. Sproul held degrees from Westminster College, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, the Free University of Amsterdam, and Whitefield Theological Seminary, and he had a distinguished academic teaching career at various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando and Jackson, Miss. He was ordained as a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.

https://www.ligonier.org/about/rc-sproul/

Emotions

André Rieu – I Will Follow Him

John 8:12 King James Version (KJV)

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

Romans 8:38-39 King James Version (KJV)

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

André Rieu – Nearer, My God, to Thee (live in Amsterdam)

André Rieu – Nearer, My God, to Thee (live in Amsterdam)

Revelation 21:1-6 King James Version (KJV)

1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

The next post will relate to emotions, and will be titled, “Emotions.” It will be a “stretch!”

Andre Rieu – Silent Night

Silent Night

Luke 2:15-20 King James Version (KJV)

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

André Rieu – O Holy Night

André Rieu – O Holy Night

Luke 2:8-14 King James Version (KJV)

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Andre Rieu Concert

Andre Rieu Mein Weihnachtstraum.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9_Rieu
André Léon Marie Nicolas Rieu (born 1 October 1949) is a Dutch violinist and conductor best known for creating the waltz-playing Johann Strauss Orchestra. Together they have turned classical and waltz music into a worldwide concert touring act, as successful as some of the biggest global pop and rock music acts

https://www.andrerieu.com/en/about-andre/my-biography
Andre Rieu “My Biograpny”

Matthew 1:18-25 King James Version (KJV)

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.

André Rieu & Mirusia – Ave Maria

André Rieu & Mirusia – Ave Maria

André Rieu
Published on Jun 18, 2013

André Rieu, Mirusia and The Johann Strauss Orchestra performing Ave Maria live in Maastricht. Taken from the DVD “André Rieu Live in Maastricht 4, A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

Luke 2:1-20 King James Version (KJV)

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Christmas – Remember When?

The Christmas Song – 1961
Nat King Cole

Matthew 1:18-23 New King James Version (NKJV)

Jesus, God With Us

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

These thoughts of mine were posted last December. Even though a year has passed, my thoughts remain the same.

The year was 1959. The month was September. I had just started sixth grade in Gretna, Louisiana. I would spend the next three years at the same “Grammar School.” My life was common to those of my school mates. I lived in a small house that was located only about three hundred feet from my school. At lunch time, I could go home, or go to a nearby grocery store and buy a “po boy” sandwich (French or Italian bread with ham, turkey, shrimp, or oysters, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato slices). I could also have my lunch at school where we would have tasty red beans and rice, with links of smoked sausage, every Monday. I would arrive at school every day early enough that I could play basketball or jacks. I might also shoot marbles or try to sharpen my yo-yo skills. When we started our school day, we would say the pledge to the flag and say a prayer. We had real Christmas holidays, and had real Christmas programs at school. We would sing Christmas carols, which included biblical songs. The school would give the children song sheets that showed the words to those biblical songs. Teachers were free to talk to their classes about their church lives. Most of my friends watched the same television programs. We didn’t have cable tv or dish types, so our selection was limited to traditional network programming. The programs were family oriented and were not restricted to “church and state” limitations. The Beaver Cleaver family went to church and Sunday School. Andy, Barney, Aunt Bea, Opie, and Gomer were shown in their church, even when Gomer might fall asleep and snore during the “Reverend’s” sermons. When Christmas Eve would finally arrive, my family would sit around the tree; my younger brother and sister and I would wonder about what we would find there in the morning. As a much younger child, “I could have sworn” that sometime during the night, “I had heard reindeer sounds in the yard!” Seriously! The Christmas programs that were produced and shown by ABC, NBC, and CBS did not hide the fact that “Jesus was the reason for the season.” Television hosts did not omit “Jesus” from their discussions when they were talking about Christmas. Jesus was truly “God with us” in the tv programs of those Christmas seasons. Please take time to play the videos that I have selected, and see that there was truly a much simpler time of Christmas in our nation’s not too distant history. Please have a very Merry Christmas, and May God bless the USA!

PERRY COMO’S AUSTRIAN CHRISTMAS
Perry Como

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
Andy Williams

The Secret Of Christmas
Bing Crosby

Silver Bells
Bob Hope And Olivia Newton John

Merry Christmas Darling
The Carpenters

The Bells Of St. Mary’s
Bing Crosby

O Sanctissima
Bing Crosby

Do You Hear What I Hear?
Bing Crosby

Ave Maria
Perry Como

Silent Night
Bing Crosby

O Holy Night
Andy Williams

White Christmas
Bing Crosby

The Lord’s Prayer – Our Father
Perry Como

The Bells Of St. Mary’s – Thoughts Of Simpler Times

Bing Crosby Sings The Bells Of St. Mary’s

This post is a remake of one that I made last year, and “the year before.” I trust that you will be blessed by memories that may “flood your soul.”

I have found myself enjoying this Christmas Eve evening by watching one of my favorite of all time movies and, I’ve got to talk to you about the movie, and the times of the movie. As I see the downtown street scenes in the movie, my mind drifts back to the days of my childhood. My step-father was usually away from home working as a merchant seaman, so my mother would take my younger brother, sister and me “downtown” on shopping excursions. My mother was very good at shopping, and provided many memorable Christmas mornings for my brother, sister and me. As with many downtown shopping areas in America “in the 50s,” we had streets that were lined with buildings where you could find stores such as Sears, Penny’s, Woolworth’s, McCrory’s, Kress’s, and, “you know the rest of them.” The streets were nicely decorated with “Christmas” markings (not Happy Holidays yet!). The store personnel would always say, “Merry Christmas,” without the fear of being fired! My family didn’t have a car, so we would travel by city bus or cab. The drivers were very friendly and would also give “Christmas greetings” to us. I can remember the long kelly green coat that my mother wore. She always had a wide black belt around her coat and wore black high heels; she had given up wearing a hat and white gloves (sort of what Mayberry’s Aunt Bea would wear!). By the way, we didn’t have a television at home. So, now, you know all about my family.

Movies, such as “The Bells Of St. Mary’s,” and other Bing Crosby movies, tell stories of “niceness” of the human spirit. As for this particular Bing Crosby movie, it has made a special place of warmth in my soul, as have many other of his movies, such as “Going My Way.” A person doesn’t have to be Catholic to appreciate this movie, or any of the other similar Crosby movies. I trust that you will enjoy this movie, and that you will also have a very merry Christmas. Now, let’s watch the full-length movie of “The Bells Of St. Mary’s.” You may be drawn back in your mind to the 50s, or maybe even the 40s or 30s.

The Bells Of St. Mary’s

The Announcement

Click onto any highlighted word to see the vieos and text on the blog.

“Truth sprinkled with grace”

“To have and to hold.” You know the rest.

We’ve all heard those words. Many of us have spoken them.

Do we go from singing a song, to making an announcement…an announcement that no one else really wants to hear?

In about six months, there will be situations where a husband or a wife will be trying to determine the best time to shock their spouse with the unwelcome news that “their marriage will soon end.” There is always a dilemma involved. “Should I spring the news, before or after? It can’t be too soon, or too late.” After all, our families will be at our home, “with all of the presents.” There will be meals and parties and other gatherings. Also, our friends can’t find out too soon…they might try to hassle us! Really! What do those “other people” know about two people whose marriage is “just broken, and can’t be fixed?” Of course, after this “special season,” the kids will have two days to call Christmas. And…they’ll have two birthdays, and two of every other special day. Really! This will not be so bad!!! After all, it’s best for the kids, “anyway!” (or is it?)

This is the fourth year that I have published this post. Each time, I have listened to the videos without interruption, and each time they have pulled strong emotions from within me. This evening, as usual, my throat and jaw tightened. Tears would not stop finding their way onto my cheeks. The story of Jacob and Marlee is that, just a story. But, I know that their situation is one that many married couples, “are facing, have faced, or will face.”

Luke 2:1-7 New King James Version (NKJV)

Christ Born of Mary

1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Mary and Joseph were on their way to Bethlehem, where Mary would give birth to the Christ child, the Savior of the world. Consider the story of Marlee and Jacob, and their “Christmas Eve” journey; it was being made for quite a different reason.

Marlee and Jacob were married on Christmas Eve, “twenty years ago.” On this Christmas Eve, the couple are headed to an attorney’s office…to sign divorce papers. Think about Marlee, Jacob, and your marriage situation. Do you remember the words that you and your mate said to each other as you stood before God, the minister, family and friends, and the rest of the people who were watching and listening as you professed your love to one another? If you have forgotten those special words, I have written a traditional wedding vow for you to consider. Please read it now.

“To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish…’til death do us part.”

If you are also considering such a, “Christmas Eve divorce papers appointment,” please listen carefully to the audio recording of Marlee and Jacob, as they are on their way to sign their papers…on Christmas Eve. The time of the recording is fifty-four minutes. Let me ask you to set aside an uninterrupted period of time, of “fifty-four minutes,” and listen to the important story of a damaged marriage. Think about your wedding vows. Think about your marriage. Think about your children…please! Set aside fifty-four minutes, and consider your marriage.

The Moody Radio image, below, has a white arrow that is used to click onto the recording of “The Marriage Carol.” Below the Moody image is a link that can also click on the recording.

After you have read, listened to, and considered everything that is in this post, please be very honest with yourself and answer a very personal question; you can answer to yourself. So, here it is. When you read a post or message on facebook from a “friend” of the opposite sex, “do you get a spark?” If your answer is “yes,” maybe facebook is not something that you should have as a part of your life.

Consider the days that will quickly take you to Thanksgiving, and then to Christmas. Consider whether you will greet those days with an intact family…with a family that will be held together by the love of Christ, and that will survive the temptations that will try to weave their ways into your life, and into your marriage, and destroy both of them; or whether, soon, “after the holidays,” your marriage will be splintered into a million little pieces. It’s your choice; let Christ guide you to making the right one.

http://www.moodyradio.org/Christmas/

Comments related to this post.

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The Revealing Of The Christ Child To The Maji – The Epiphany

We Three Kings Of Orient Are

Click onto any blue letter or number to see the video and text on the blog.

The Epiphany – The Appearing Of The Christ Child To The Wise Men – “They All Didn’t Show Up At The Same Time.”

The revealing of Christ to the Gentiles, as in the persons of the Maji at Bethlehem; also called twelfth night. Observed on January 6th. Webster New World Dictionary Of The American Language College Edition, Copyright 1964 and 1953 to 1964. (consider the twelve days of Christmas)

The twelve days of Christmas in the song are the twelve days between the birth of Christ (Christmas, December 25) and the coming of the Magi (Epiphany, January 6) http://www.12days.com/faq.htm

Epiphany Scripture. Matthew 2:11 New King James Version (NKJV)

11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Scripture tells of the birth of Christ, the infant, with the shepherds being present. (Luke 2: 1-20). Scripture also tells of Christ, the young child, with wise men being present (Matthew 2:1-12). So, we see that, “they all didn’t show up at the same time.” Scripture also tells us that the Christ will be “God with us.” (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25), and will be “Mighty God.,” (Isaiah 9:6). The story of the Epiphany may be new to some believers but, nevertheless, it is good for all who know Jesus as Lord and Savior to be aware of the information.

Isaiah 7:14 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Immanuel Prophecy

14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Isaiah 9:1-6 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Government of the Promised Son

“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Matthew 1:18-25 New King James Version (NKJV)

Christ Born of Mary

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.

Luke 2:1-20 New King James Version (NKJV)

Christ Born of Mary

2 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Glory in the Highest

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Matthew 2:1-12 New King James Version (NKJV)

Wise Men from the East

2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:

6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”

9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.

Consider. The wise men may have traveled for a period of two years (Matthew 2:16).

Matthew 2:16 New King James Version (NKJV)

Massacre of the Innocents

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.

Consider. The wise men followed a star that led them to the Christ child (John 1:9: “That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.”).

Conside. After the wise men “came to Jesus,” they departed…another way.” (Matthew 2:12).

Question. After you were led to Christ, did you return…”another way?”

Christ was first made known to the Jews. Then, he was made known to the Gentiles. There are differences of opinion as to when those things happened. But, please! Don’t carry this battle of ideas out into the world of unbelievers; they have more serious things to think about, such as coming to belief in Christ as their Lord and Savior (John 3:18: ““He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”)

Consider the following information that has been written on Epiphany.

http://www.cute-calendar.com/event/epiphany/19352.html

Epiphany 2017

January 6, 2017 in the World

Epiphany is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. It falls on January 6 or, in many countries, on the Sunday that falls between January 2 and January 8. Since the Julian Calendar, which is followed by some Eastern Churches, is at present 13 days behind the Gregorian Calendar and the revised Julian Calendar, 6 January in that calendar corresponds at present to 19 January in what is the official civil calendar in most countries.

On this feast, Western Christians commemorate principally the visitation of the Biblical Magi to the Baby Jesus, i.e., his manifestation to the Gentiles. Eastern Christians commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God. It is also called Theophany, especially by Eastern Christians. In both traditions, the essence of the feast is the same: the manifestation of Christ to the world (whether as an infant or in the Jordan), and the Mystery of the Incarnation.

In Christian tradition, the Magi, also referred to as the (Three) Wise Men, (Three) Kings, or Kings from the East, are a group of distinguished foreigners who are said to have visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense. They are regular figures in traditional accounts of the nativity and in celebrations of Christmas. Magi is a term derived from Greek meaning a priest of Zoroaster. (From: Wikipedia, License: CCA-SA)

Background

https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/epiphany

Epiphany is one of the oldest Christian feasts. It was celebrated since the end of the second century, before the Christmas holiday was established. It is commonly known as Twelfth Night, Twelfth Day, or the Feast of Epiphany. It means “manifestation” or “showing forth”. It is also called Theophany (“manifestation of God”), especially by Eastern Christians. Epiphany also refers to the church season that follows the day.

It commemorates the first two occasions on which Jesus’ divinity, according to Christian belief, was manifested: when the three kings visited infant Jesus in Bethlehem, and when John the Baptist baptized him in the River Jordan. The Roman Catholic and Protestant churches emphasize the visit of the Magi when they celebrate the Epiphany. The Eastern Orthodox churches focus on Jesus’ baptism.

My thought on the meaning of Epiphany. It is “the appearing” of the Christ Child to the Maji, who were Gentiles. The initial appearing of Christ, “the infant,” was to the Shepherds, who were Jews. The Maji found the Christ Child in a house. The Shepherds found “Christ, the infant,” in a cave. There were approximately two years time passage from when the Shepherds saw “Christ, the infant,” until when the Maji saw, “Christ, the child.”

My thoughts on the video. The video is very good. The story that is laid out in it shows a good chronology of events that led up to the arrival of the wise men at the “house” where Jesus and Mary (Matthew 2:11) were mentioned in scripture (Consider all of the people who may have traveled with the wise men). I think that the video clearly shows, as it relates to the Shepherds and Maji, “they all didn’t show up at the same time.” In no scenes were the shepherds and Maji present at the same time. Neither the shepherds, nor the Maji, knew where to go to find Christ, nor that they were even, “supposed to go.” They were led by God’s Holy Spirit, in every aspect of their journey. In today’s world, neither do we know the way to Christ, nor that we are even, “supposed to go.” We are led by the Spirit of God, in every aspect of our Journey. (John 1:9; John 6:44). Without the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we don’t even know that we need Christ (1 Cor 1:18; 1 Cor 2:14). Without the work of the Holy Spirit, we will not spend eternity with Christ (John 3:3; John 3:8).

Consider the definition of Epiphany, per the Merriam Webster Dictionary.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epiphany

Definition of epiphany
plural epiphanies
1
capitalized : January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of the baptism of Christ
2
: an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being
3
a (1) : a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) : an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) : an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure
b : a revealing scene or moment

“We Three Kings”, also known as “We Three Kings of Orient Are” or “The Quest of the Magi”, is a Christmas carol written by Reverend John Henry Hopkins, Jr., who wrote both the lyrics and the music as part of a Christmas pageant for the General Theological Seminary in New York City. It is suggested to have been written in 1857 but did not appear in print until his Carols, Hymns and Song in 1863. Hopkins composed the song in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, where he was a pastor at Christ Episcopal Church (which still stands at the corner of Fourth and Mulberry Streets).

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A Marriage Carol

A Marriage Carol – Chris Fabry And Gary Chapman

Click onto any blue letter or number to see the videos and text on the blog.

This is the third year that I have published this post. Each time, I have listened to the videos without interruption, and each time they have pulled strong emotions from within me. This evening, as usual, my throat and jaw tightened. Tears would not stop finding their way onto my cheeks. The story of Jacob and Marlee is that, just a story. But, I know that their situation is one that many married couples, “are facing, have faced, or will face.”

Luke 2:1-7 New King James Version (NKJV)

Christ Born of Mary

1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Mary and Joseph were on their way to Bethlehem, where Mary would give birth to the Christ child, the Savior of the world. Consider the story of Marlee and Jacob, and their “Christmas Eve” journey; it was being made for quite a different reason.

Marlee and Jacob were married on Christmas Eve, “twenty years ago.” On this Christmas Eve, the couple are headed to an attorney’s office…to sign divorce papers. Think about Marlee, Jacob, and your marriage situation. Do you remember the words that you and your mate said to each other as you stood before God, the minister, family and friends, and the rest of the people who were watching and listening as you professed your love to one another? If you have forgotten those special words, I have written a traditional wedding vow for you to consider. Please read it now.

“To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish…’til death do us part.”

If you are also considering a Christmas Eve “divorce papers appointment,” please listen carefully to the audio recording of Marlee and Jacob, as they are on their way to sign their papers…on Christmas Eve. The time of the recording is fifty-four minutes. Let me ask you to set aside an uninterrupted period of time, of “fifty-four minutes,” and listen to the important story of a damaged marriage. Think about your wedding vows. Think about your marriage…please! Set aside fifty-four minutes and consider your marriage.

The Moody Radio image (the middle of the three images on the page) has a white arrow that is used to click onto the recording of “The Marriage Carol.” Below the Moody image is a link that can also click on the recording.

After you have listened to the story of Marlee and Jacob (which may also be a story of you and your mate) please set aside another eight minutes and seventeen seconds to listen to the song and oratory that are provided by Bill and Gloria Gaither. It tells about the love and challenges that have encompassed their marriage. After you have read, listened to, and considered everything that is in this post, please be very honest with yourself and answer a very personal question; you can answer to yourself. So, here it is. When you read a post or message on facebook from a “friend” of the opposite sex, “do you get a spark?” If your answer is “yes,” maybe facebook is not something that you should have as a part of your life.

http://www.moodyradio.org/Christmas/

We Have This Moment Today
Bill And Gloria Gaither

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Andre Rieu Hallelujah

Andre Rieu – Hallelujah

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Revelation 19:1-5 Geneva Bible (GNV)

1 And after these things I heard a great voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah, salvation, and glory, and honor, and power be to the Lord our God.
2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath condemned the great whore which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants shed by her hand.
3 And again they said, Hallelujah: and that her smoke rose up for evermore.
4 And the four and twenty Elders, and the four beasts fell down, and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen, Hallelujah.
5 Then a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.

Revelation 19:1-5 King James Version (KJV)

1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:

2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.

3 And again they said, Alleluia And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.

4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.

5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.

Revelation 19:1-5 Wycliffe Bible (WYC)

1 After these things I heard as a great voice of many trumpets [of many trumps] in heaven, saying, Alleluia; praising, and glory, and virtue is to our God;
2 for true and just be the dooms of him, which deemed the great whore, that defouled the earth [that corrupted the earth] in her lechery, and venged the blood of his servants, of the hands of her.
3 And again they said, Alleluia. And the smoke of it ascendeth up, into the worlds of worlds [into worlds of worlds].
4 And the four and twenty elder men and the four beasts felled down, and worshipped God sitting on the throne, and said, Amen, Alleluia. [And the four and twenty seniors and the four beasts fell down, and worshipped God sitting on (the) throne, saying, Amen, Alleluia.]

5 And a voice went out of the throne, and said [saying], All the servants of our God, say ye praisings to our God, and ye that dread God, small and great.

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Christmas Of Simpler Times

Christmas Of Simpler Times.

These thoughts of mine were posted last December. Even though a year has passed, my thoughts remain the same.

The Christmas Song – 1961
Nat King Cole

Please click onto any blue letter or number to see the video and text on the video.

Matthew 1:18-23 New King James Version (NKJV)

Jesus, God With Us

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

The year was 1959. The month was September. I had just started sixth grade in Gretna, Louisiana. I would spend the next three years at the same “Grammar School.” My life was common to those of my school mates. I lived in a small house that was located only about three hundred feet from my school. At lunch time, I could go home, or go to a nearby grocery store and buy a “po boy” sandwich (French or Italian bread with ham, turkey, shrimp, or oysters, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato slices). I could also have my lunch at school where we would have tasty red beans and rice, with links of smoked sausage, every Monday. I would arrive at school every day early enough that I could play basketball or jacks. I might also shoot marbles or try to sharpen my yo-yo skills. When we started our school day, we would say the pledge to the flag and say a prayer. We had real Christmas holidays, and had real Christmas programs at school. We would sing Christmas carols, which included biblical songs. The school would give the children song sheets that showed the words to those biblical songs. Teachers were free to talk to their classes about their church lives. Most of my friends watched the same television programs. We didn’t have cable tv or dish types, so our selection was limited to traditional network programming. The programs were family oriented and were not restricted to “church and state” limitations. The Beaver Cleaver family went to church and Sunday School. Andy, Barney, Aunt Bea, Opie, and Gomer were shown in their church, even when Gomer might fall asleep and snore during the “Reverend’s” sermons. When Christmas Eve would finally arrive, my family would sit around the tree; my younger brother and sister and I would wonder about what we would find there in the morning. As a much younger child, “I could have sworn” that sometime during the night, “I had heard reindeer sounds in the yard!” Seriously! The Christmas programs that were produced and shown by ABC, NBC, and CBS did not hide the fact that “Jesus was the reason for the season.” Television hosts did not omit “Jesus” from their discussions when they were talking about Christmas. Jesus was truly “God with us” in the tv programs of those Christmas seasons. Please take time to play the videos that I have selected, and see that there was truly a much simpler time of Christmas in our nation’s not too distant history. Please have a very Merry Christmas, and May God bless the USA!

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
Andy Williams

Do You Hear What I Hear?
Bing Crosby

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Frank Sinatra

The Secret Of Christmas
Bing Crosby

Silver Bells
Bob Hope And Olivia Newton John

The Bells Of St. Mary’s
Bing Crosby

O Sanctissima
Bing Crosby

Do You Hear What I Hear
Bing Crosby

Ave Maria
Perry Como

Merry Christmas Darling
The Carpenters

Silent Night
Bing Crosby

O Holy Night
Andy Williams

White Christmas
Bing Crosby

The Lord’s Prayer – Our Father
Perry Como

The Bells Of St. Mary’s – Remembering Christmas Of The 50s

The Bells Of St. Mary’s – Remembering Christmas Of The 50s

Bing Crosby Sings The Bells Of St. Mary’s

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This post is a remake of one that I made last year. I trust that you will be blessed by memories that may “flood your soul.”

I have found myself enjoying this Christmas Eve evening by watching one of my favorite of all time movies and, I’ve got to talk to you about the movie, and the times of the movie. “The Bells Of St. Mary’s” has always found a place of warmth in my soul. As I see the downtown street scenes in the movie, my mind drifts back to the days of my childhood. My step-father was usually away from home working as a merchant seaman, so my mother would take my younger brother, sister and me “downtown” on shopping excursions. My mother was very good at shopping and provided many memorable Christmas mornings for my brother, sister and me. As with many downtown shopping areas in America “in the 50s,” we had streets in my home town that were lined with buildings where you could find stores such as Sears, Penny’s, Woolworth’s, McCrory’s, Kress’s and, “you know the rest of them.” The streets were nicely decorated with “Christmas” markings (not Happy Holidays yet!). The store personnel would always say, “Merry Christmas,” without the fear of being fired! My family didn’t have a car, so we would travel by city bus or cab. The drivers were very friendly and would also give “Christmas greetings” to us. I can remember the long kelly green coat that my mother wore. She always had a wide black belt around her coat and wore black high heels; she had given up wearing a hat and white gloves (sort of what Mayberry’s Aunt Bea would wear!). By the way, we didn’t have a television at home. So, now, you know all about my family.

Movies, such as “The Bells Of St. Mary’s,” and other Bing Crosby movies, tell stories of “niceness” of the human spirit. As for this particular Bing Crosby movie, it has found a special place of warmth in my soul, as have many other of his movies, such as “Going My Way.” A person doesn’t have to be Catholic to appreciate this movie, or any of the other similar Crosby movies. I trust that you will enjoy this movie, and that you will also have a very merry Christmas. Now, let’s watch the full-length movie of “The Bells Of St. Mary’s.” You may be drawn back in your mind to the 50s, or maybe even the 40s or 30s.

The Bells Of St. Mary’s

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Wedding Song Hallelujah

Wedding Song Hallelujah
Chris And Leah O’Kane

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Genesis 2:24 New King James Version (NKJV)

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

It was at a wedding that Jesus performed His first miracle (John 2:1-11)… The song that follows was sung at a Catholic wedding. The name of the priest is Ray Kelly. The location is Ireland.

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A Coffee Shop Christmas Hallelujah

A Coffee Shop Christmas Hallelujah

A Christmas Hallelujah

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8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” (Luke 2:8-14)

There are small restaurants and coffee shops in many cities and towns that present an unusual opportunity for witnessing. In my town there is a quaint and intimate coffee shop that has a piano which is situated near most of the tables where patrons drop in and spend an enjoyable time, consuming hot coffee and tasty muffins, and sharing intimate conversations. There have been times when I have been there enjoying the niceness of an evening that someone would make their way over to the piano and begin planing a series of songs that just “hit the needed spot.” The stresses of the day would seem to disappear from my mind and leave me desiring more of that soul-easing music. I imagine that there are other similar places that have pianos, that can also be played for the pleasure of the customers. Consider the setting that is shown in the video. A young man sits down at a piano in a coffee shop and begins playing a song that is pleasing to the mind of almost anybody, whether Christian, Jew or indifferent. I am certain that there are readers of this post who are musically inclined and talented, and who would like to take such an opportunity to share the message of Christ to people who are usually isolated, or insulated, from such a story of the love of God. Give it a listen; share the story. Consider adding a guitarist, or other musicians, and have a small combo. Always consider ways of creative witnessing (Acts 1:8).

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The translation of the text is from the 21st Century King James Version.