A Christmas Message
I received this email a few years back and it is pretty clever. It might be a good way to explain to children the difference between Jesus and Santa Claus!! Very young children (and even some adults) often picture God as a kind, bearded old man.......sound like Santa?? And it is confusing to children as to what Christmas is REALLY all about, so here goes:
Jesus is Better than Santa!
Santa lives at the North Pole. Jesus is everywhere!
Santa rides in a sleigh. Jesus walked among everyone and even walked in water.
Santa comes only once a year. Jesus is our helper every moment of our lives.
Santa fills our stockings with goodies; Jesus gives us all that we need.
Santa comes down our chimney uninvited! Jesus stands at our "door" and knocks. That door is our heart.
You have to stand in line to see Santa. Jesus is as close as the mention of His name.
Santa lets you sit on his lap. Jesus lets you rest in his arms.
Santa greets us with, "Hi, little boy or girl! What's your name?" Jesus knows our name, our history and our future.
Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly!! Jesus has a heart full of love.
Santa says, "You better not cry!" Jesus says, "Give me all your worries for I care for you."
Santa's little helpers make toys. Jesus makes new life and mends broken hearts and homes
Santa may make you laugh but Jesus gives you joy that is your strength.
While Santa puts gifts under our tree, Jesus BECAME our GIFT and died on a tree.
Jesus is still the reason for the season. Have a blessed Christmas.
Fun Thanksgiving Facts
Perhaps as you sit around your Thanksgiving table this year, you might share these points about the REAL Pilgrim dinner so long ago!! It might even be fun to have kids "act" it out as you share info., having them mime or ad lib as you go!!
-did you know the Pilgrims called themselves "Saints"? But on the ship, the Mayflower, there were only 44 Saints and the other 66 on board were non-Pilgrims (known as Strangers!).
-the Saints were simple farmers and tradesmen. So how do you think they paid for their journey from England to America?? The Pilgrims didn't own the Mayflower, but merely hired it for the journey. A company of investors called the Merchant Adventurers paid for the passage and supplies. In return, all profits the Pilgrims made in America for the next 7 years went back to the company. They hoped to find gold, furs and other valuable products in America.
-the voyage took 2 months!! What would you do to occupy your time on the voyage??
-when they arrived, at first the Strangers wanted to build their own settlement but the Pilgrims convinced them to stay together for unity and survival. They wrote a formal document called the Mayflower Compact in which they agreed to work together.
-after arriving in Plymouth in 1620, the Mayflower and its' crew stayed in the harbor for a year before returning to England. How many of you would go back on the ship and how many of you will stay in America?? (In reality, NO Pilgrims returned to England. they were all determined to make the colony work! )They hired a soldier, Captain Miles Standish, to help protect them from the Native Americans.
-how do you think the Pilgrims and the Natives talked to each other??? The Native Americans spoke English!! They had learned the language from English fishermen who had worked off the coast for many years. The chief of the Wampanoags, Massasoit, spoke fluent English!! And they remained friends and peaceful for 50 years!!
-Later that year the Pilgrims decided to hold a feast of Thanksgiving as gratitude for a good harvest. What do you think that first Thanksgiving was like??? Well, it lasted 3 days!!! And they had races, wrestling matches, singing and dancing with the natives!! Everyone brought food so that first Thanksgiving was a potluck. The Native Americans killed and brought 5 deer.
May we remember this incredible adventure in settling a new colony and the bravery they showed! May God bless each one of us as we are so thankful for our many blessings! Happy Thanksgiving! Linda Stoker
What Serves the Common Good?At a recent Lenexa Chamber of Commerce luncheon, a writer for the Kansas City Star, challenged those of us living in the Metro area, on both sides of the state line, to think more earnestly about what would serve the common good. My ears were alert because long ago the Apostle Paul challenged the church at Corinth to use their spiritual gifts for the common good. Public opinion regarding congress is at an all time low, largely because preferences, personal success, and ideologies have undermined efforts to work together for the common good. It is significant that the needs of unemployed veterans has provided a hopeful sign. How might this be a lesson to Christians both inside and outside the church?
Occupy Wall Street Movement
Throughout history populist movements rise up to advocate for concerns within the government, or the church, that those in the movement feel are not being heard or reflected by their elected governing bodies. The women's suffrage movement, those who advocated for the ordination of women, the civil rights movement, Tea Party, or Occupy Wall Street efforts are all grassroots movements that either once sought or are currently seeking to make their witness.
It is always tempting to dismiss these movements either because they challenge the status quo, or because we feel their concerns would do more harm than good. Before we dismiss the concerns of persons who call for change, would it not be better to understand what has led to these movements? History will judge their concerns as either valid or invalid. In the mean time, loving God with our minds, as well as hearts, would suggest we better understand these movements before setting them aside. Below is an article that could be useful to a Sunday School class or other small group seeking to learn more about the Occupy Wall Street Movement.
How Will Christians Vote in 2012?The political arena will continue to warm up as the 2012 elections approach. Partisan politics where pastors and congregations endorse candidates is not appropriate, in my judgement. However, Christians should be advocates for issues that are consistent with the life and teachings of Jesus. Christians can also model how people who hold diverse opinions and beliefs can practice civil discourse and value one another even when they disagree. The article below speaks to both points. Jim Wallis and Richard Land hold diverse views, but share a common desire to raise the banner for faith within the political arena. How might we learn from their witness?
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