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Newsletter

Contents:

1. Pastors Message

2. This edition's Bible quiz question

3. Inspiration. This month: Thankfullness.

4. October is Halloween

5. November is Thanksgiving

6. December is Christmas Day

7. Why do we... Give Testimony.

Check our online Calendar for up-to-date happenings!

Pastors Message

 Why Christmas?

Traditions and Seasons that birth hidden conflict in the Church, division has no place in Gods house...

 

What was man's intentions...?

Christmas
  • The Church 100+ years ago did not put on Large pageants

  • The department stores were the driving force behind pageants.

  • The early Church did not teach gift giving

  • Christmas was not the Big Holiday, it was and is Easter; "The Center of Christianity"

  • The catholic Church would hold a Mass in honor of the Christ child

  • The Romans’ did not celebrate birthdays, now the Church having a Mass for the Christ Child was a major change in the culture…

  • Christmas originated in the 4th century as a Christian substitute for pagan celebrations of the winter solstice. (Before the introduction of Christmas, each year beginning on December 17 Romans honored Saturn, the ancient god of agriculture, in a festival called Saturnalia)

 

  • Although the Gospels describe Jesus’ birth in detail, they never mention the date, so historians do not know on what date he was born. The Roman Catholic Church chose December 25 as the day for the Feast of the Nativity in order to give Christian meaning in opposition to existing pagan rituals.

 

  • For example, the Church replaced festivities honoring the birth of Mithra, the god of light, with festivities to commemorate the birth of Jesus, whom the Bible calls the light of the world.  The Catholic Church hoped to draw pagans into its religion by allowing them to continue their revelry while simultaneously honoring the birthday of Jesus.

 

  • The Eastern Orthodox Church took a slightly different course. By the end of the 4th century the Eastern Church in Constantinople had also begun to acknowledge December 25 as Jesus’ birthday, but it emphasized the celebration of Christ’s baptism on January 6 as the more important holiday.

 

  • Christmas was made a what we see today by the combination of two calibrations

  • The Catholic Mass, and Saint Nicolas Day

  • Christmas Eve became Saint Nicolas part, Christmas was the Christ Child part.

Saint Nicolas

Nicolas was a orphan of wealthy parents that died in a plague, and after coming of age he traveled to the Holy Land and returned a changed man. He became the Bishop of Greece He used part of his wealth to help the poor and needy.

  • He would place three coins in a small sack and place them in the window, if it were known you were good.

    • Tradition of gold wrapped chocolate / Gold coins

    • A orange / Gold balls

  •  The most famous of legends: A poor man with three daughters and had no dowry, and would result in no marriage, and certain slavery.  Saint Nicolas heard of this need and dropped three bags of coins in the window; the belief was they fell into the stockings that were hung up to dry. This 4th century practice began St. Nicolas Day December 6th He would come on the eve, and if you were good…

  • As Christmas evolved in the United States, new customs were adopted and many old ones were reworked.  The legend of Santa Claus, for example, had origins in Europe and was brought by Dutch settlers to New York in the early 18th century. Traditionally, Santa Claus—from the Dutch Sinterklaas

  • After the Reformation anything that had Saint in the name was revoked by the Puritans, The 17th century Church made it illegal to celebrate Christmas!

    • If you were heard saying Saint, or singing any Christmas songs, you would be turned in and fined 5 shillings.

  • The tradition of giving was so popular it was kept by moving Saint Nicolas to December 25 from the 6th in order to avoid persecution from the Church.

  • The Germans before coming to America dropped Santa Claus was waiting on Chris Kindle—“Christ Child” (where Chris Cringle came from) to Come and drop the coins off.

  • The British called him Father Christmas.

  

The Tree 
  • Evergreen trees were associated with eternal life because they don’t die.

  • The Germans believed that spirits lived in trees, example the “Oak of Thor” and would sacrifice slaves on it.

  • Missionary Boniface had them stop this act, and chopped the tree down. The people said Thor would strike him dead, but this did not happen…

  • Boniface gave them a new symbol “The Fur Tree” The Shape pointed to God, and the three points represented Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This was a missionary tool used in Germany to spread the Gospel.  

  • Initially the trees were hung from the ceilings or rafters… 

 

Poinsettia
  • The plant's association with Christmas began in 16th-century Mexico, where legend tells of a girl, commonly called Pepita or Maria, who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus' birthday and was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar.

  • Crimson blossoms sprouted from the weeds and became beautiful poinsettias.

  • From the 17th century, Franciscan friars in Mexico included the plants in their Christmas celebrations.

  • The star-shaped leaf pattern is said to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem, and the red color represents the blood sacrifice through the crucifixion of Jesus.

 

Some proclaim a refusal to have anything to do with pagan gods, "well you might be surprised"

What does it mean to you?

January, first month of the year in the Gregorian calendar, consisting of 31 days. The name of the month is derived from Janus, the Roman god of gates and doors

 

February, second month of the year. The name was derived from the Latin word februa, signifying the festivals of purification celebrated in Ancient Rome

 

March (month), third month of the Gregorian year, according to the present calendar. March was the first month of the Roman year, named for Mars, the god of war

 

Monday, second day of the week, derived from the Anglo-Saxon monandaeg, which means “the moon's day.” Its Latin equivalent is dies lunae,”day of the moon.” For the Anglo-Saxons the second day was sacred to the goddess of the moon

 

Tuesday, third day of the week, named for the Norse god of war

 

Wednesday, fourth day of the week, named to honor Odin, or Woden, chief god in Norse mythology

 

Thursday, fifth day of the week, named for Thor, Norse god of thunder

And there are so many more...!

 

And yet...!

Deuteronomy 5:7 Thou shalt have none other gods before me.

 

Many love God for many reasons, without judgment of others just keep loving God...!


                                                                                                                     Pastor Terry Johnson

Bible Quiz

 Where was the ark of the covenant housed before Solomon brought it to the temple?

Answer at the bottom.

Insipration

Colossians 3:15

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

Acts 24:3

We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.

Psalms 100:4 

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

Romans 1:21

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

October

When we consider the history of Halloween, it may seem as if the modern holiday has gotten out of hand. After all, doesn’t Halloween glorify evil? Is it right to send our children out as devils and vampires? Should we emphasize the saints, whose nearly forgotten feast day is the reason for Halloween? Hallow is the same word for "holy" that we find in the Lord’s Prayer, and e’en is a contraction of "evening." The word Halloween itself is a shortened form of "All Hallows Eve," the day before All Saints Day. This holiday, properly understood and celebrated with all of its fun trappings, can be a way for us to deepen our understanding of faith.

Halloween has its roots in the ancient Celtic tribes of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Brittany. On October 31, the tribes would celebrate the festival of Samhain. During this festival, Celts believed the souls of the dead -- including ghosts, goblins, and witches -- returned to mingle with the living. In order to scare away the evil spirits, people would wear masks and light bonfires.

When the Romans conquered the Celts, they added their own touches to the Samhain festival, such as making centerpieces out of apples and nuts for Pomona, the Roman goddess of the orchards. The Romans also bobbed for apples and drank cider -- traditions which may sound familiar to you. But where does the Christian aspect of the holiday come into play? In 835, Pope Gregory IV moved the celebration for all the martyrs (later all saints) from May 13 to November 1. The night before became known as All Hallow’s Even or “holy evening.” Eventually the name was shortened to the current Halloween. On November 2, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates All Souls Day.

The purpose of these feasts is to remember those who have died, whether they are officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as saints or not. It is a celebration of the “communion of saints,” which reminds us that the church is not bound by space or time.

Many of the customs we now associate with Halloween are also derived from ancient celebrations.

For example, the current custom of going door-to-door to collect treats actually started in Ireland hundreds of years ago. Groups of farmers would go door-to-door collecting food and materials for a village feast and bonfire. Those who gave were promised prosperity; those who did not received threats of bad luck. When an influx of Irish Catholic immigrants came to the United States in the 1800s, the custom of trick-or-treating came with them.

Does your family carve a pumpkin to place on your porch for Halloween? If so, then you can once again thank the Irish for the tradition. Actually, the custom began with a turnip. People would hollow out the turnips and place lighted candles inside to scare off the evil spirits. When the Irish came to America, they discovered the pumpkin as a larger substitute for the turnip. And so, we now carve pumpkins instead of turnips for Halloween.

Although Halloween has become mostly a secular holiday, we need to remind our families of its Christian roots. Talk about ways that you can safely celebrate both the secular and Christian aspects of the holiday. One way might be through the costumes that your children choose. Talk about Halloween when you were a child. Did you have a favorite costume or enjoy a custom that your family celebrated?

November

“For the Christian, every day is Thanksgiving Day.” — Billy Graham

Consider the word “Thanksgiving”, and invariably images of family gatherings come to mind. Such gatherings with turkey dinners, pumpkin pies, fall decorations, football, and tryptophan grogginess are all too common in American homes. This may be what Thanksgiving has become but it is not the purpose of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving the holiday was designated by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. He sat aside the fourth Thursday of November, and described the purpose of Thanksgiving as a national day of “Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

America’s vision of Thanksgiving mimics our idea of the meal, which occurred between the Wampanoag tribe on Native Americans, and the Pilgrims. Following a difficult winter and a shortage of food, Squanto, who was residing with the Wampanoag, taught the Pilgrims how to farm more effectively in the new world. The purpose of their Thanksgiving was to dedicate themselves to God. It was a day of prayer and humility, giving thanks for God’s Providence. Giving thanks to God was a regular focus of the Pilgrims, as well as the Wampanoag people.

Giving thanks to God has taken place since the creation. There is a unique repetitive term that runs through much of the Old Testament:

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever.

Repeating such a phrase can bring joy to followers of God, through any circumstance. This quote came from 1 Chronicles 16:34, but the exact phrase is repeated in 2 Chronicles 16:41, Psalm 106:1, Psalm 107:1, Psalm 118:1, and Psalm 136:1. Giving thanks for God’s goodness and his enduring love was a theme that the Old Testament writers wanted the children of Israel to remember.

A second notable repeated phrase occurs five times in Psalm 107:

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love; And his wonderful deeds for mankind.

The phrase is found in verse 1, 8, 15, 21, and 31 in the NIV. The Voice translation helps to bring the phrase an even more basic expression: “Erupt with thanks to the Eternal, for He is good and His loyal love lasts forever.”

Bible Verses About The Purpose of Thanksgiving

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness
I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.
Psalm 7:17 

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
Psalm 100:4 

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7

God is ready to overwhelm you with more blessings than you could ever imagine so that you’ll always be taken care of in every way and you’ll have more than enough to share. Remember what is written about the One who trusts in the Lord: He scattered abroad; He gave freely to the poor; His righteousness endures throughout the ages. The same One who has put seed into the hands of the sower and brought bread to fill our stomachs will provide and multiply the resources you invest and produce an abundant harvest from your righteous actions. You will be made rich in everything so that your generosity will spill over in every direction. Through us your generosity is at work inspiring praise and thanksgiving to God. — 2 Corinthians 9:8-11

December

Christmas is one of the most significant moments in history for Christians and is celebrated around the world. It commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, the founder of the Christian church. Jesus was born in Bethlehem just outside Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. For Christians, it was the moment that God came to live among people as an ordinary person. For many Christians, the season of Christmas begins with a four-week period called Advent. This starts on Advent Sunday, the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. The word ‘Advent’ means ‘coming’ and looks forward to the second coming of Jesus. Historically during Advent Christians have refrained from eating and drinking excessively as they look forward to marking the birth of Jesus. The period of abstaining ended with feasting on Christmas Day. The celebrations lasted 12 days, finishing with the exchanging of gifts at Epiphany on 6 January.

Why do we?

Sharing your testimony with others is a must for all Christians. When giving your testimony you tell how you came to trust in Christ alone as your Lord and Savior. You tell how God opened your eyes on how you were a sinner in need of a Savior.

We are sharing with others different events leading up to our salvation and how God has worked in our lives to bring us to repentance. Testimony is a form of praise and honor to Christ.

We also use it as a way to encourage others. Know every time when you’re going through trials and sufferings in life, that’s an opportunity to share a testimony of how God worked in your life and made you stronger.

Testimony is not only the things that we say. The way we live our life is a testimony to unbelievers as well.

Here are some quotes from different people on Testimony.

“Your story is the key that can unlock someone else’s prison.”

“Only God can turn mess into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph, a victim into a victory.”

“Your testimony is the story of your encounter with God and what role He has played throughout your life.”

“What God is bringing you through at this very moment will be the testimony that will bring someone else through. No mess, no message.”

“If you give it to God, He transforms your test into a testimony, your mess into a message, and your misery into a ministry.”

“The unbelieving world should see our testimony lived out daily because it just may point them to the Savior.” Billy Graham

“Your personal testimony, however meaningful it is to you, is not the gospel.” R. C. Sproul

“Scripture will ultimately suffice for a saving knowledge of God only when its certainty is founded upon the inward persuasion of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, these human testimonies which exist to confirm it will not be vain if, as secondary aids to our feebleness, they follow that chief and highest testimony. But those who wish to prove to unbelievers that Scripture is the Word of God are acting foolishly, for only by faith can this be known.” John Calvin

“While we cannot know a person’s heart, we can see his light. Allowing sin to go unconfessed can dim God’s light and hinder the effectiveness of a life’s testimony.” Paul Chappell

“That is what it means to be saved. You declare that you belong to another system of things. People point to you and say, “Oh, yes, that is a Christian family; they belong to the Lord!” That is the salvation which the Lord desires for you, that by your public testimony you declare before God, “My world has gone; I am entering into another.” Watchman Nee

Answer

 

 

 

ZION

October/November/Decemberr Newsletter