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Merry CHRISTmas
#1
Which is which?

As a Yehud who grew up in a "evangelical family" i used to celebrate Christmas with the tradition stuff like Santa Claus and stuff, lights and food every Christmas midnight celebration and all that. But i noticed that as my life progressed Christmas seems to have gone into a celebration of family, food, gifts and all that and we have lose sight of the reason why we celebrate Christmas and the first syllable of that word. We tend to overdo our celebration with the so called good stuff of the celebration and not the celebrator who is Yashuah ha Mashiak, His reason for coming  and our responsibility to obey what he'd been telling us that to love our neighbors as we love ourselves and ironically every Christmas we only celebrate it with our family extravagantly but not noticing the decoration that we have in our houses of the holy family in a manger not with their family but with strange poor shepherds as well as rich wise men.  True Christmas is a celebration of giving, loving and caring for the needy people which is why Yashuah gave up his rich abode to be with the poor and not just salvation he brought along with him but as well as the knowledge on how to express our love towards other mankind. Merry CHRISTMAS and PEACE GOODwill towards all!!!
#2
Hi Jewpoet,
Thanks for the thoughts.
In our family, we love Christmas and all that goes with it.  You are right that we who know the indescribable blessings bestowed by God through Christ Jesus should always be aware of the needs of others.

Early Christmas morning, my husband and I, and 3 of our college-aged children went to staff the breakfast/morning 'shift' at the local emergency homeless shelter (run by area congregations).
It was by far the most meaningful part of our day.  We knew it would not be a "joyous" time whatsoever, considering the desperate plight of those needing such services (mostly women and children, & a few dads).  The little children just clung to our kids, who were giving them piggy back rides, playing with new Christmas toys w/ them, etc.  The experience broke my heart all over again - seeing the effects of sin on this world.  Thanks be to God that He has reached down into our world with the balm, with the comfort, the remedy to man's suffering.

If we Christians were more responsive to the needs of those around us - as representatives of the Father, and the One who gave His life for us - this world would truly be transformed.
  
Thanks again for the excellent observations.

#3
Here's what I would like to know and sometimes it really gets me frustrated.  Why is it that Christmas seems to be the ONLY time of year the hungry get fed?  The cold get clothed?  The homeless have a warm place to sleep?  Little children who don't have squat finally see someone who gives a darn?   Shouldn't ALL YEAR be a time to offer our services to the soup kitchens, be ministers to the incarcerated?  Be blankets for those who are cold?  Hunger knows no holiday.  It's there ALL the time.  So if we all would reach out all year long; talk about a difference!  I'm not saying that you don't.  I'm just speaking about as a "general society."  Blessings for what you both do though; some people don't do anything at all.
#4
Hi ShalomInMessiah,

1)  I agree, we need to always be continually aware of the needs of those around us.  (not just the needy)

2) There are many who do participate in these efforts year round, not just at Christmas.
In our city, congregations work together to feed and house the homeless year round (this is the program we were involved with on Christmas day).  It's basically a short term, emergency program.  No more than 60 - 90 days, ideally, with the goal being some type of permanent housing by then.

This is how it works:  congregations volunteer to provide physical shelter and food for one week at a time.   Each weekday, case managers assist those in the program in ways geared to help them to get back on their feet.

The church we went to on Christmas Day built their fellowship hall with this program in mind.  That is, it had a commercial-style kitchen, separate men's and women's bathrooms with showers, and very efficient, sturdy dividers stored in the walls which pull out to form separate living areas (for privacy).  I think what they've committed their resources to is terrific!

The down side might be that those in the program have to move each week - but on the other hand, there is no need for the program to maintain, pay taxes on, etc. a facility to house everyone.  (They do have a centralized building for services associated with the program.)

3) Jesus teaches us to love radically, and such love is absolutely transforming, both to the recipient and to the giver.  Kids are very receptive to this kind of radical Christianity when they see it modeled. Our kids have been involved in hands-on caring for many years as foster brothers and sisters, including changing diapers as needed, toting around fussy kids, etc.  Smile

Yesterday, early afternoon, two of our sons were buzzing around, on their cell phones ....  I could tell they were getting ready to do something or go somewhere.  Turns out, they were going to take food to the homeless in a city park.   Nothing to do with us (mom and dad) - but rather with some other friends who have a heart for the hurting.

cont'd

#5
cont'd

They got together, (with members of another church)  made dozens of sack lunches and went down and spent time talking to these folks.

That led to some good discussions later around the dinner table - about helping the homeless, the mentally ill, the addicted, some who prefer to live on the streets, etc.  Very interesting discussion.  (with no definitive conclusions or solutions, obviously.)  A very difficult issue.

I am thankful that they love God, and have developed caring hearts.  Hopefully we (collectively) are raising the next generation of radical Christians who will address the needs of the world with even clearer focus.

Anyway, I know this was long, but I wanted to share some thoughts, especially about this cooperative program in our city which has been serving the hurting since the 1980s.  A great model, in my opinion.  
#6
Thank you, rebecca01.  You should be very proud of your sons as well as the job you did raising them.  Believe me.  I wasn't speaking of you on this.  I was speaking of those "annual givers."  :-)   I appreciate what you shared.  May G-d continue to bless you and those around you!  Praise G-d!
#7
ShalominMessiah, Shalom! to you that is why Lord Yashuah was born to set an example to care for the needy and to look after thier welfare and that is the true Christmas not on Decemder but everyday...Shalom!
#8
I agree with you, Jewpoet.  EVERYDAY should be "Christmas" for the needy!  G-D bless you!
#9
In the spirit of "every day, all year long", I offer these to my friends and brothers here. SHALOM!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of ADONAI.

Enjoy these:

Linus on Christmas

One of my favorite songs:
O Holy Night

Let your soul feel it's worth!
Fall on your knees! SHEMA! HEAR the angel voices!
Praise His glorious name!

and another of my favorites:
O Come, O Come Emmanuel (full version with lyrics)

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
He is knocking on the door of your heart even now:
Here, I'm standing at the door, knocking. If someone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he will eat with me. Rev. 3:20 CJB

We wait for your return most blessed LORD, Yeshua HaMashiach, Light of the World, Jesus Christ our Savior!


#10
Thank you for posting your thoughts, Ripleys.
Beautiful.   Smile



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