Power Failure

Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” —The Prophet Isaiah

If  there were a power outage on December 25th, would there still be Christmas? The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree features 30,000 light-emitting diodes along five miles of wire using, each day, 1,297 kilowatt hours, the equivalent to what an average family would use in two weeks. But, does this glorify God? If every house in your neighborhood, festooned with blinking lights and glowing Santas, went dark, if the seasonal muzak stopped playing at the local mall, if every radio and TV went silent—would we still have Christmas? Can we have the “Christmas Spirit” without the ringing of Salvation Army bells? The Magi, whom we often refer to as the “Three Wise Men,” needed only a single star to guide them. And those men, whom the Bible does not number at three, were not Christians. There were no Christians yet because Jesus had not died and been resurrected. They came only to honor the King of the Jews. Is Christmas, therefore, only for Christians?

There is no commandment in the bible that we commemorate the day of Jesus’ birth, which was arguably not December 25th. Jesus Himself never celebrated His own birthday, nor is there any record, any biblical model, of His disciples doing so. Christmas was our idea, and not a bad one, but the intent of Christmas often gets lost in all the noise. The biblical model is not our giving gifts to our children or even to each other, but of gifts given to Jesus. What are we giving Him this Christmas? Nobody wants or expects us to abandon cherished traditions this time of year. The center of our plans, however, should be to honor the Lord; to tell His story, to share Him with everyone. Don’t let the flashing lights and razzle-dazzle push Him out of His own birthday.

We wish you and yours a safe and very blessed Christmas.

Pastors Ben and Wanda Anderson
December, 2013

Reasons To Be Thankful

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues. —Cicero

Psalm 100:4 “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” —King David

G od had us in mind, also, when this Psalm was written. But it doesn’t take very long to realize that the people of Israel needed a reminder, and I am afraid that we need it, too. Has it ever occurred to you that no Americans were more underprivileged than that small handful from the Mayflower who started the custom of setting aside a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God?

Most blessings are taken for granted. If you woke up this morning with more health than illness…you are more blessed than the six million who will not survive this week. If you have never experienced the danger of battle, imprisonment, torture, or starvation…you are ahead of 500 million people in the world. If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death…you are more blessed than three billion people in the world. If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead, and a place to sleep…you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace…you are among the top 8% of the worlds’ wealthy. We have a lot to be thankful for.

Like you, I’m sure the things I would also include would be family, friends, and the nation we live in, despite all its flaws. Let’s be grateful and thankful this holiday season and not only this season but throughout the year for the many blessings God has bestowed upon us.

Pastors Ben and Wanda Anderson
November, 2013