These Special Days
PRAISE ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever.
My friends, shortly before us we will enjoy some of our favorite seasons of the year, Fall and Winter. At this time we will celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, two of our favorite holidays, with our families and friends. As we look forward to another year I’d like to talk to you about these special days. How holidays don’t seem to mean as much to us now in our country, as they did in the past. But by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ we can return to a better way of life.
Thanksgiving, Yesterday and Today
I remember as I grew up on a little tenant farm in Robeson County, as Thanksgiving drew near, we could hear my mother and dad talking about how good the fresh meat would be once a hog was killed for that special day. With most families that was the way it was. Hog killing day was hard, but it was something that most families did back then. I can still see my mom, her hands red from the cold, as she diligently worked for her family. Still, she always sang and thanked the Lord while she worked, that He provided something for her family. Mom also liked to share some with the pastor, who was invited over from time to time.
I remember so well coming home from school to find mom and dad making cracklings in the old black iron wash pot. We children would find a piece of fresh meat mom had cooked, and boy was it good! Yes, we were going to have a ham for Thanksgiving and my mother was so happy.
Besides the fresh meat, mom would cook pumpkin and sweet potato pies, candy, and a coconut and chocolate cake. How she did all this I never knew, since she had been out in the cotton field with us all day picking cotton. And, if we still had tobacco in the pack house that had not been sent to the market, she would help with that too. I do know she was the last one in bed each night, and the first one up again, in the morning.
I think if we look back all the way to when the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock we could find that kind of spirit in our country again. But I’m not so sure about it now. Thanksgiving today, is considered a holiday when people get time off from work with pay, and for many, it is just a time of intense eating and partying. But the real spirit of thanking the great Creator God, seems to me, to be vitally missing. I believe people’s spirit really began to change in the early sixties when our congressmen voted prayer out of our public educational system. Then, a few years later, it was the Bible that was prohibited from being read in our schools. It was changes like this that brought about a decrease of any blessing we may have received from our Lord, and as we all know things have deteriorated since that time. As a country we have done nothing short of telling God we don’t want him anymore, and this has only caused trouble for man.
There is also a large segment of our society who hate even the idea of our Christian beliefs. The gays, the abortionists, liquor industry, the atheists and many others get nasty when there is any mention of God, the Bible, and especially the name of Jesus Christ. Yet, it was these very things that built our country into the great nation that it is. Now that the Bible, prayer, and any tolerance for Christian values has diminished in the country, we can clearly see how our nation is falling apart. And, I am afraid our problems are going to get more serious. Everyday we can see warning signs of things to come. Read what the Lord God told Solomon. I think it is just as relevant today as it was then;
And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:12-14
I realize it must be difficult for people who are controlled by Satan and don’t know it, to see the destruction that is headed for our country. But all we need to do is look at Israel’s past history to see how God deals with a sinful nation. God kept telling the Jews, his ancient people, unless they repented of their sins he was going to bring the army of their enemy against them. But the false prophets, and corrupt leaders did not believe that God would do such a thing to them. I believe people think this same way today, that God would not let our enemies destroy us. However, by checking history you will find that God did just that! Even to this day many of the Jewish people are out of their country simply because of the deportation that happened over twenty five hundred years ago, because of sin and unbelief in what God says He will do.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.
Folks, the days I once knew, and our country once knew, have long past. The present generation of people know nothing about the kind of life when people were close to one another, depended on one another, and remained humble before God.
Birth of God’s Son: CHRISTMAS
Following Thanksgiving is another wonderful day we celebrate, and that is Christmas. But it too is losing its importance. It is being reduced to Santa Claus, reindeers, frosty the snow man, and elves. Christmas now is so commercialized it seems only a few know the importance of this day. As a reminder, it is when Christians celebrate the birth of God’s only son. A day recognized as the birthday for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. A day when God sent his only Son into the world to save all mankind from their sin. To some in this twenty first century I know this may sound strange, but man is a sinful creature and in desperate need of cleansing, forgiveness, and a new life in Christ. Look at the world today with all of its problems and they can all be traced back to man. Man is the problem on this planet. At the end of six days when God finished creating the world, he said it was very good. It was not until Adam and Eve sinned that trouble began for this world. Sin brought a curse upon man and the creation of God. Folks, all you need to do is just pay attention to the things going on in the world, and you will see that this curse continues in our society today.
And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Genesis 1:31
The Real Meaning of Christmas
Throughout the world the excitement of the festivities, and the giving and receiving of gifts overshadows the real meaning of Christmas. I am afraid that very few understand the desperate need the human family has inside their soul for God. Or how through the birth of His Son, it was planned that He would eventually go to the Cross where He would suffer and die for the sins of the whole world in order to give all of us real life. How many people do you think even understand that at birth we are all born into Satan’s kingdom and he is our master, unless, or until, we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. Satan’s kingdom is a kingdom of darkness. It is a kingdom that is evil and is in rebellion against the Creator of all things. Way back in the Garden of Eden Satan promised Eve that they would know good and evil, and that is one truth Satan said.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. Genesis 3:4-5
Let me ask you a question. How did Eve get to know evil? Or her oldest son? How did Cain become a murderer, killing his own younger brother? It was SIN! Think of how Eve must have felt when she knew it was because she wanted to know good and evil, that this would be the downfall of one of her own sons. But it was too late. Neither she nor Adam could undo the sin they had committed. So because of this original sin, our society is still under a curse today. My friends, they needed a Savior, and so do you and I!
So, let’s realize this; that the real meaning of Christmas is all about A SAVIOR WAS BORN!
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, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11
The savior was for all people, and he has already been born. Though, that was the second step. First, he was conceived in the womb of a Jewish virgin as prophesied that he would be. Next, he would grow up into manhood and conduct a three and one half year ministry before being betrayed and hung upon a cross to pay for the sins of the whole world.
So Christmas is about God’s love, so great, that he gave us his only son to pay for our sins we were unable to pay for. Not his sins, but ours! Jesus came to die in our place and pay our debt so that we might live forever in an eternal paradise with God the Father. Now isn’t that awesome?
Are You Saved
Friends, even after all our dear Lord did for us, there still is a problem. How many people do you know who think their sin condemns them? Do you really know anyone like that? What about you? Are you saved? If so, you must have thought that your sins condemned you, right? But look at our society today. Do you see, or hear of anyone who is concerned about their sin, or afraid they might die and go to hell? There might be some, but I sure don’t see any indication of it myself. It seems to me most people live as they please, disregarding the Bible, or going to church. Thinking the Bible is no longer important, and they certainly do not want to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
I recently saw on televison what some men thought hell might be like. They had recorded all kinds of scenes depicting men and women falling naked into some make believe flames with scary faces of demons there to torture them. Let me just say, no person anywhere can describe how awful hell is going to be. Yes, I believe there is fire in hell, and I think all those there will be naked, but the demons will be tortured too, and everyone there will be in indescribable misery, FOREVER! I have also heard people joke about being in hell. But folks, this really is ignorant because there will not be any jokes in Hell, or anything else to ease the suffering of all those there in the flames. To keep people out of this place of the damned, God provided us a savior. Hell is God’s trash dump and that is exactly where he is going to cast anyone who doesn’t believe that Jesus is the savior by rejecting his son. May I say my friend, if you have not accepted Jesus as your savior, DO IT RIGHT NOW and you will avoid eternity in Hell.
Christmas Is About a Savior
Let’s remember this Christmas, that God loves everyone and he has proved it by allowing his son to die that horrible death on Calvary’s Cross for mankind. Even so, some still reject God’s offer of forgiveness through his son, and this can only bring eternal destruction upon the soul of anyone who fails to believe in Christ as their own personal savior.
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28
People today love Christmas, the way the world displays it. The lights and sounds of the Christmas season is quite appealing. And let me say, the Lord really does want us to celebrate and have a good time eating and fellowshiping together. He really does. But only when we are celebrating the savior and the salvation he provided for us who have trusted him. There is nothing wrong with being happy in the Lord. All of us who have been saved should properly celebrate the birth of the Son of God, who is JESUS, our LORD AND SAVIOR.
Through scripture, we learn about the extreme joy Mary had when the Holy Ghost was concieved in her womb, and she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth. We see how even after His birth, and even in the role of Jesus’ mother, she properly celebrated him as Lord.
And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
We also should magnify the Lord, but not only during the holidays, but everyday.
It is our prayer as we enter into this time of the year that all of our friends will enjoy a most wonderful Thanksgiving and a blessed Christmas. We would ask all our Christian friends to pray, that together we may reach more people for Christ than ever before in the days ahead the Lord is gracious enough to give us.
Our Father in Heaven, I thank you for the salvation you have provided in your Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for Christmas and its true meaning. May this year many more people come to know the real meaning, and experience the reality of Christ in their hearts, I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen, Preacher.