A Taboo Celebration – Are You Kidding??

I give God the glory and celebrate a commemorative birth. Countdown to Christmas Blog!

A Taboo Celebration 2

 


ENJOY THIS BEAUTIFUL VERSION OF “OH COME ALL YE FAITHFUL”, SUNG BY CELINE DION

 


The muddy slush piles up against the curb and trampled footprints scatter about as the sidewalks are covered in our first snow. Storefronts capitalize on impending Christmas shopping; windows are thoroughly decorated by professionals. Full of alluring ideas that tax the mind where wallets won’t permit, it’s hard to swallow at times. Comparing prices, we shop online, frustrated, then wait in lines. Is it really worth it? Paying for overnight delivery, we have ran out of time….

 

Though our hearts are consumed with love, we are obsessed with not wanting to forget a single person. So, checking our list, we seem to lose sight of what this holiday represents. It’s sad that the birth of Jesus may be categorized as a pagan (non-Christian) taboo holiday. We come together bearing gifts to commemorate what Christ stands for on the 25th day of December, even though there is no specific date given in the Bible for his birth. But there was a time when celebrating Jesus’ birthday was taboo. For hundreds of years, He went unnoticed and today I sit and wonder, is Christmas really blasphemous? Is decorating your church really sacrilegious?

 

In regards to paganism, Christmas isn’t religious. It is their belief that Jesus had never existed as a man, only as a sort of spiritual entity. (And by the way it was thought to celebrate any birthday was paganism as well. Let that soak in while you wrap yourself around the holiday season.)

 

Giving credit in the 1600s, Rome was the birthplace of Christmas as we know it; so, it’s a fairly new celebration! Stephen Nissenbaum, author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist for “The Battle for Christmas” (Vintage, 1997) stated, “If you want to show that Jesus was a real human being just like every other human being, not just somebody who appeared like a hologram, then what better way to think of him being born in a normal, humble human way than to celebrate his birth?”

 

Protestants (the Puritans) hated this holiday and actually banned it in 1644. They believed it was an insult to God to honor a day associated with ancient paganism. Christmas trees and decorations were considered to be unholy rituals, and they also banned traditional Christmas foods such as mince meat pies and pudding. Puritan laws required that stores and businesses remained open all day on Christmas. The ban on the holiday was ultimately lifted in 1660, when Charles II took over the throne.

 

A Taboo Celebration

 

Churches may worship differently but they still hang wreathes on their doors and maybe mistletoe in the hallways. Due to a lack of timekeeping in biblical times, Christmas became a commemoration of the birth of Jesus. This is what Christians celebrate today. To call Christmas blasphemous or churches sacrilegious? Are you kidding?

 

Starting out on the virgin snow, the foliage dons a winter coat and a pristine aroma filters in the pains. Alone in my thinking, I give God the glory and celebrate a commemorative birth. It should be celebrated every day and not just in December!

 

I thank God for all of my friends and followers – each and every one of you. My heart is a Christmas card spreading good cheer! May your Yule tidings comfort you in the oncoming year. Feeling so blessed, God rest ye all this time of year. Merry Christmas!!!

The Original Tree Of Life

Countdown to Christmas! The Evergreen Fir and the Biblical Significance of Christmas Decorations –

The Original Tree of Life


ENJOY “OH CHRISTMAS TREE” SUNG BY BONEY M.!

 


This Christmas, let us be reminded of the fact God has provided us with the original tree of life through our Lord Jesus Christ. With God’s tree comes the imperishable, eternal, and unbelievable gifts of God’s grace. It symbolizes the love, hope and eternal life in Christ.

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The evergreen fir became the initial Christmas tree of Christianity by Saint Boniface in 722. He was the first person responsible when he left England to convert the Germans to Christianity. A story states that he is said to have come across a group of pagans about to sacrifice a young boy while worshipping an oak tree. In anger, and to stop the sacrifice, St. Boniface is said to have cut down the oak tree and, to his amazement, a young fir tree sprang up from the roots of the oak tree. He took this as a sign of the Christian faith and his followers decorated the tree with candles so that St. Boniface could preach to the pagans at night.

 

In the 16th century, Martin Luther brought a tree indoor and decorated it with candles and apples in honor of Christ’s birth. There is a story told that prior to Christmas, he walked through a forest and witnessed the stars shining through the tree branches. It was so beautiful, that he went home and told his children that it reminded him of Jesus, who left the stars of heaven to come to earth at Christmas.

 

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Christmas trees were originally topped with a figure of the Baby Jesus but later changed to angels because they told the shepherds about Jesus.

 

 

 

 

Whatever legend you wish to pass on, remember that Christmas is the time to celebrate the birth of Jesus! Have a blessed Christmas and let’s continue to remember what this holiday is really about…..

 


BIBLICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS:

Tinsel: Legend says a poor family wished to decorate their Christmas tree in honor of Jesus, but had nothing to do so. During the night, a spider spun webs across the tree, and the Christ Child turned those threads into silver, to honor the family’s faith.

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Bells: Represents joy of Christmas Day. In Christianity the ringing of a bell is a sacred announcement to the presence of Christ at mass.

The Original Tree of Life 4

 

Candy canes: Shaped like a shepherd’s crook, it symbolizes that Christ is the Good Shepherd; invented by Father Keller using the Keller Machine that automated the process of shaping them.

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Poinsettia flowers: Through their shape, reminds all of the Star of Bethlehem; some cultures consider it a symbol of purity.

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Wreaths: Just as a wreath is a never-ending circle, so too is the eternal love of the Lord.

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Mistletoe: It is neither shrub, nor tree and it grows suspended in the air – a powerful symbol of freedom. It’s considered a sacred plant of peace and a symbol of fertility.

The Original Tree of Life 8

 

Holly: A symbol of the crown of thorns worn by Jesus on the cross. The berries portray the blood he shed for all our sins.

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Christmas colors of red and green: The color red symbolizes the blood shed by Jesus Christ during his crucifixion; the color green symbolizes the eternal life of Christ.

 

The First Snow

….and Biblical Facts About Snow. Countdown to Christmas Blogs Sliding Along….

The First Snow 2

ENJOY THE CHRISTMAS MUSIC TOO!


It’s Christmas eve and the homes in our neighborhood are all decorated with lots of creative ideas. In the cold and dreary dark, almost on cue, a flurry falls. So together, standing with our arms around each other, a light on ready for bed, you and I watch as it begins to snow. Excited it’s our first snow, you look up at me, smile and say, “Let’s go for a walk”. Racing to get layered up, I helped you with your new suede boots with furry collars and little gold bells attached to the outside. With two pair of leggings and three different tops, I think it’s safe to say you’ll probably stay warm.

So I wrapped a scarf around my neck, stuck a knit-y on my head, grabbed my black goose down and headed out. Do you know how hard it is to hold someone’s hand with mittens on? Scuffing the snow as we walked through the neighborhood, I see we are not alone; we have company as others thought the same as us. It’s amazing how much better the decorations look covered in white. I love this time of year! We must have walked a mile, I guess, both our noses were blood red, frozen, as the snow was accumulating on our clothing.

I looked at my watch, it’s 12:03. MERRY CHRISTMAS, my love! What a wonderland worth falling in love in for in this season. Frozen to the bone, we rush inside, strip in the foyer and ran to shower in an attempt to thaw. The tree is loaded with, “I love you” gifts under it. I smell the effervescence of freshly cut pine. It’s as though we had just cut the forest.

A good night’s sleep, listening for Santa, we rose the next morning to a glimmering sunrise. It’s as though the Lord had sprinkled star dust all over the snow sometime in the middle night. With carols filling the airwaves in the living room, and the sound of shovels scraping the walks in the background, it is Christmas morning – a time to rejoice! “Wow honey,” I see you moved the angel from the top of tree. “No”, I said , “I thought you did. Well then please tell me how it got on the mantle…..??”  It’s the magic of Christmas!

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Biblical Facts About Snow:

 

The word “snow” (Hebrew sheleg, Greek chion) appears 23 times in the Bible.

 

 “Driving snow” is an analogy for God’s judgment found in Ecclesiasticus 43:13:

By his commandment he maketh the snow to fall apace, and sends swiftly the lightnings of his judgment

 

In the bible, snow generates fruitfulness, wherever it falls.  As noted in Isaiah 55:10:

“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.”

 

Snow was used in the bible as an analogy of purity and cleanness. Each time we see snow, we should be ever mindful to strive to live clean, pure and holy lives, just the same way that Christ was pure and sinless.  Psalms 51:7:

“Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow”

 

The whiteness of leprosy is compared to snow in Exodus 4:6.

Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous[a]—it had become as white as snow.

 

Snow is used to describe the color of Christ’s hair in Revelation 1:14:

 “The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.” 

 

In biblical times, snow that fell from the higher elevations, was stored deep in the mountains to be used in the summer months to cool off a drink. Proverbs 25:13:

“Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him; he refreshes the spirit of his master.”

One-Horse Open-Sleigh

Countdown to Christmas Continues….. Jingling All The Way!

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ENJOY OUR MUSIC WHILE READING THE BLOG!  “JINGLE BELLS” SUNG BY PERRY COMO

 


“One-Horse Open-Sleigh”, later known as Jingle Bells, was written by Massachusetts resident, James Pierpont in 1850. As this story tells, Pierpont wrote it in Simpson’s Tavern, a boarding house with the only piano in town. An unproven detail is that he wrote his popular winter song for his father’s Sunday School class for Thanksgiving. It was so popular that it was sung again at Christmas time. One of Pierpont’s friends called the song, “a merry little jingle.”

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Among the earliest recorded versions of the song were on music boxes but it didn’t become popular until the phonograph record era. Among all the recordings, it was Bing Crosby with The Andrews Sisters who made the song the most popular. Their 1943 recording is the one most often heard today during the Christmas season in the United States.

Pierpont’s inspiration for this song was the annual one-horse open-sleigh races on Salem and Pleasant Streets between Medford Square and Malden Square. What were these races? In the 19th century, harness racing was extremely popular in towns. Straight, snow packed roads made for excellent racing lanes, and men would hitch their best horses for the races. Local newspapers from the 1800s and early 1900s included the latest sleigh racing reports, winner’s names and the breeding of the best horses. For many, sleigh racing was a cold-weather pastime, much like sledding and skiing. Large bells were attached to the horse’s necks to help avoid collisions at intersections (thus the inspiration for the title, Jingle Bells).

One Horse Open Sleigh 1

The sleigh described in “Jingle Bells” is known as a “cutter”—a two-person vehicle designed for a single horse in harness. A horse that could trot like the bobtailed mare referenced in the song could cover a mile in two minutes and 40 seconds. Fast one! It was not unusual for the tails of these horses to be bobbed to avoid entanglement in the tack.

As for sleigh racing, it dwindled in popularity each year after the introduction of the automobile.

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Horses are certainly one of the most fascinating creatures that God created! In the Bible, they were used as sources of transportation, symbols of army strength, royal gifts, pagan worship and symbols of wealth, character, and prophesies. To ride a horse in biblical times, usually implied war, which is why men usually rode donkeys, mules, camels and ox-driven carts. They were rarely used for agricultural purposes.

Proverbs 21:31
The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.

On a day-to-day basis, horses were imported and exported so chariot cities were built to stable them. Archaeologists have uncovered the ancient city of Megiddo, which was one of King Solomon’s chariot cities. Massive stone hitching posts still may be observed at the location.

1 Kings 10: 28-29
“Solomon’s horses were brought out of Egypt, and the king’s merchants received them in droves, each at a price. A chariot could be brought out of Egypt for 600 shekels of silver, and a horse for 150. And so to all the kings of the Hittites and of Syria they were exported by the king’s merchants.”

1 Kings 4:26
“Solomon also had 40,000 stalls for his chariots and 12,000 horsemen”.

But for all the notoriety that horses are famous for, God wants us to understand this about horses. He created them for their strength and power but not as a replacement for His power in your life. Just as horses tend to be stubborn and independent, so the Lord encourages you to lean on Him at all times, for His guidance. It can symbolize destruction or victory to you in His holy name!

Paying Homage At Christmas

Countdown to Christmas!

Paying Homage at Christmas


Enjoy the Christmas tunes written by Jewish denomination throughout this blog!


 

I’m not racist or sacrilegious, as I’d like to believe we are all men of God. That being said, I think there’s a piece of history I’ve stumbled upon, I’d like to share with everyone. As the war broke out over Germany, America felt compelled to help by joining forces with the UK. This is common knowledge, of course, but what I’d like to share is some little known history, not readily available. I won’t rewrite the history books on WWII, but I’d like to give credit where credit is due.

As Hitler ensued his mission killing during the Holocaust, little mercy was shown for the Jewish people in Germany. A good many Jewish community inhabitants went underground to escape his horror. A lot of them were prominent and educated. Some were musically inclined and some so thankful for the Christians that fought for them that they composed commemorative songs. They were not just any tunes, but Christmas songs…. melodies we grew up with and know, today, by heart.

 

Coptic monk Cleanes a Christmas tree

 

Uncovering the truth, some of the best known Christmas carols were written and composed by Jewish conductors! Longing to give their gratitude and thanks, their desire was to write lyrics that Americans would remember. The Jewish composers found these carols uplifting and joyful, in contrast to, Hanukkah hymns which were written in minor keys and more solemn. Christmas songs became a national celebration for all faiths.

 

Nearly 50% of our favorite lyrics, today, are the proceeds of a rejoicing Jewish people. Here’s a list of just some of the Christmas carols and their Jewish composers:

“Winter Wonderland”
1934, composed by Felix Bernard and Richard B Smith. Made famous by Bing Cosby

 

“White Christmas”
1942, composed by Irving Berlin (who also wrote “God Bless America” in 1938)

 

“Let it Snow”
1945, composed by Jule Styne (Julias Stien) and Sammy Cahnn (Sammy Cohen)

 

“The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)”
1945, composed Mel Torme and Robert “Bob” Wells
Fun Fact: This song was written in July in the middle of a desert

 

“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”
1943, composed by Walter Kent and Jerry Vale. Made famous by Bing Cosby
Little known fact: American songwriter, Buck Ram copyrighted a song with this same title in 1942, though it’s lyrics were completely different than the Christmas song.

 

The Little Drummer Boy”
1941, composed by Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone

 

“Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”
1939, composed by Johnny Marks

 

These songs are just a small sample of how the Jewish have so gratefully contributed to the Christian’s Christmas holiday. Today, we need to give a special thanks and remember their heritage comes from a more somber background . Taking for granted our love for the Christmas holiday, is richly deserved from the Jewish. And my prayers this year is to share homage – regardless of what you think or believe. We are all men of God!

Christ has risen, if only in our hearts!

 

 

A Rivalry Of Christmas Harmony

Countdown to Christmas!

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Enjoy this beloved classic song, “Silent Night”, sung by Josh Groban


As Christmas approaches, I think it’s important to never forget the things we take for granted. Many stories of conjecture are written about Christmas during war time. Both World War I and II shared one common thread that is little known – a time when hell was non-existent for a brief period of time, and peace on Earth reigned.

 

World War I Rivalry
Pictures by Wikimedia Common

On an early, frosty Christmas Eve morning, in 1914, the English, French and Americans stood in frozen trenches of mud and blood. They quietly listened to the German soldiers singing, “Silent Night”. A more soothing sound was never heard than during the time of bombs and gunfire. A few hundred feet apart, the united forces read a sign scratched on a whitewashed board, “You no shoot, we no shoot you” and “Merry Christmas”. One by one, the opposing soldiers dug out of their trenches.

With weapons ceased, they all gathered together to sing Christmas carols – some in English, others in Latin, and some in German as well. Exchanging gifts and cigarettes, they prepared dinner to share their peace, in the name of Jesus, even though He was not recognized by some. The word spread and during the truce, some buried their comrades and also honored their fellow brothers who helped to bury young soldiers.

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This Christmas truce has been covered by the media for many years and the details of what actually happened on those frontlines, varies. However, one thing is for sure – it was singing about our savior that brought peace for twenty-four hours! The lesson to be learned here is the desire for peace in every single person and especially at this time of year. Perhaps God can shine a bright spot on the darkest of moments!

Please pray for our troops that serve in harm’s way during this Christmas season. A special “thank you” to our World War I and II fathers and grandfathers!  Peace and joy to all this holiday season!

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The Christmas song, “Silent Night”:

St. Nicholas Church in Austria was the first congregation to hear Silent Night played by guitar by Franz Gruber in 1818. In December 1832, the Strasser family performed it at a concert in Leipzig. It was first performed in the USA in 1839 by the Rainer family at the Alexander Hamilton Monument outside Trinity Church in New York City. During this time the tune changed to the one we know and sing today!

It was translated into English in 1863 by John Freeman Young.

Here are the original lyrics written for this song:

Silent night, holy night,
Bethlehem sleeps, yet what light,
Floats around the heavenly pair;
Songs of angels fills the air.
Strains of heavenly peace.

 

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A Silent Voice

With God’s hands lying over top of his, dyslexia has come as his greatest gift….the gift of creativity. An emotionally-charged, true story…..

Little boy learning to write alphabet on white board


He listened to the adolescents innocently frolicking beyond the school. The merry-go-round is full of petticoats and saddle shoes, as very young men in dungarees and penny loafers fair the propulsion. Life was grand back then – hide and seek, dodge ball, and tag….except for the little child who remained on the school steps writing in his loose-leaf notebook. Tear drops fell where the pages filled up with dreams – sketches of boats and homes. A little child, reserved in dialog, smiled at the others as he drew a world others had never seen.

Parked on the hard concrete steps, weathering-in a t-shirt, shorts and Keds, sat this little butterball of an overweight kid. Drawing his life away, believing in his brothers, “Boy’s Life” magazines, he dreamt that someday he’d find his way to those pristine places.

A door opened and a teacher kicked him from behind. “Let’s go!”, she said as she blew her whistle. “It’s time for class. Lunch and recess is over.” So as not to be stampeded, he slid to the side and grabbed ahold of a rail, hoping the herd of classmates didn’t trammel his dreams. Last in class, he pulled his chair up to the front by the teachers desk. The class unmercifully laughed him.

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But in his world, time didn’t matter – just the joy of living somewhere else other than at a dirty desk of pencils and crayons. Trying to comprehend as a little child, the shortest in class wandered off in the middle of arithmetic. He took up space until the pre-dismissal bell rang. Finally! Another day of being made fun of had come to an end! So, he walked home with Peter, his next door neighbor.

And as the night drew near, the portable black and white waved it’s tinfoil rabbit ears. It was time to stick his nose back into the books of things he couldn’t remember. His little school desk at home sat in front of the window. He stared out into the dark and tried to count the lightning bugs. His mom would blurt out, “Okay, let’s go over your spelling words.” So he bluffed his way as though he had studied but there was no use….letters were reversed. Another night. In the tub, then saying prayers by 8:30. If only his father, who didn’t live with him, was there! He prayed so hard to him.

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No one knows the artistic mind of childhood dreams, especially when many things in life are incomprehensible. Dyslexics only observe their life like a race. Their peers succeed, leaving them behind to only dream and think, “Why can’t I be as lucky as them?” But our God above knows, like a mother’s love, when one is so distraught. Where discipline was physical abuse, the frustrations would then grow as his living became more difficult.

Looking to the heavens today, where only answered prayers are sent, we see this little child again, struggling to do another mission – God’s work. We now listen to the innocence of a silent voice – one that brings home the memories of messages of long ago. For no one could ever imagine that that little child, today, would ever become an author! No one – not even him!

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You have just read an emotionally-charged, true story written and lived through the eyes of its “author”, Dana S. Bicks. Though it was very difficult for him to recall and write these early moments of his life, his message can be read loud and clear – NOTHING IS UNATTAINABLE! With God’s hands lying over top of his, dyslexia has come as his greatest gift….the gift of creativity.

Exodus 4:10-12

But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”

 

 


EDITOR’S NOTES:

I do not profess to be in this medical field so my notes, here, will not dwell into the causes of learning disabilities. Rather, I prefer to expand your knowledge about the thought processes of adults with these types of handicaps.

Your chances of knowing someone with an LD are pretty good. Do not assume that learning disabilities are always a bad thing. For many individuals, an LD gives them a distinct advantage. Consider these facts:

  • People with dyslexia tend to be broad thinkers, and intuitive. They are a sign of character and strength when tackling every day’s problems.
  • Dyslexics are often said to possess exceptional creative skills and an ability to bring together ideas from different areas of their life – an original and out of the box thinker, if you will. (Excellent story tellers and writers, you think?)
  • Many individuals have the dual diagnosis of being both gifted and LD. Therefore, everyone stands to gain from their brilliant mind.

 

Do you or someone you know, suffer, as an adult, with learning disabilities? Here is a list of suggestions to overcome LD adult fears of success:

  • Work at a job that takes advantage of your strengths.
  • Get lots of physical exercise.
  • Identify people who, “say what they mean and mean what they say” and hang out with them as much as possible.
  • Find that special thing that you do extremely well and run with it!
  • A positive attitude makes a big difference.
  • Remember that you do not have to be perfect!
  • Work in an area with few distractions so as to remain focused on the job at hand.
  • Use books-on-tape and assistive technology, such as screen readers, voice-recognition computer software, and spell check features.

Above all, pray for God to bless you with all your capabilities! He does answer prayers! God uses the disabled for His glory. He allows some people to be disabled to show His awesome love for all of creation and to help us imitate His love.

 


Learning Disabilities and the Law:

Public Law 105-17, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997, is the federal special education law. IDEA was signed into law in June 1997, with final federal regulations published in March 1999. This law replaces all earlier versions of Public Law 94-142, the Education of All Handicapped Children Act of 1975.

In 2004, there was a reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, where significant changes were made as to the identification of individuals with learning disabilities so that they can receive the needed educational services.