Recently my wife and I were enjoying an early morning breakfast. We were on vacation at Walt Disney World’s Kidani Village where animals roam the resort. This was our first visit and everything was new and marvelous. Our breakfast table was next to a window and we watched different animals outside. We saw giraffes, zebras (two kinds), okapis, ankoles, ostriches, impalas, and many kinds of birds. Suddenly, a Grey Crowned Crane sauntered right up to our window and I snapped its picture.
One of my early Christmas memories as a child is our family Nativity Set. The Stable was a hand-made, wooden stable with a built-in manger. It had a single, mounted Christmas light for a Star. The nativity set included an Angel, Joseph, Mary, Jesus, Three Magi with gifts, and Shepherds with a collection of farm animals. The family set it up every Christmas through Ephiphany, the Twelve Days of Christmas. Very inspiring.
About that time, I was 7 or 8 years old. I still believed there was a Santa Claus. But I also told my parents I wanted a gift that was advertised on TV. We had a Philco TV model black and white television set. We got an absolutely incredible three channels when using “rabbit ears” antenna. At the time it was amazing technology.
Since I had my first hearing aid, I was able to watch and understand Saturday morning cartoons and commercials. Including about Christmas toys. It was during the “Cold War” years with the Soviet Union, and a popular toy was a “Mobile Rocket Launcher with Searchlight”. The searchlight could light up a target display on a wall and you tried hitting it with the rubber-tipped dart launcher. It was a lot of fun until it broke within a week of play. It was a toy I wanted that year, but now I remember it mostly because it broke so soon. As a toy and thing it was very temporary. Continue reading
The Bible tells the story of Jesus’ birth in different gospels. Matthew 1:18-25 and 2:1-18. Luke 1:26-38 and 2:1-21. For this devotional, I am using only Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 1:26-38 and these verses are found below. These verses tell stories from Mary’s and Joseph’s perspective. I found four, amazing similarities between their stories:
- Both Mary and Joseph are visited by angels. An angel appears to Mary. An angel came to Joseph in a dream. Communication with angels was extremely rare.
- Both Mary and Joseph were told by the angels, “Do not be afraid.” They were to be married and found out that Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. These were unusual circumstances to say the least.
- Both Mary and Joseph accepted what the angel had told them. What faith!
- Both were told to name the baby Jesus. He will save his people from their sins.
Matthew 1:21. “She will give birth to a son, You will name him Jesus. Give him that name because He will save his people from their sins.” (ERV)
Jesus is our hope. Named by angels, He was born for us, for you, for me. We can come to know Jesus as our Savior. Jesus comes into our hearts and saves us from our sins. We do not have to be afraid. God is with us. Amen. Continue reading
I was wondering how Thanksgiving in America got started and when it became a Holiday. Just a Brief history lesson!
Thanksgiving began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. In 1621 the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony set aside a day of Thanksgiving to God. It was a harvest festival.
Thanksgiving proclamations were made mostly by church leaders up until 1682, and then by church and state leaders until the American Revolution, according to Wikipedia. Thus Thanksgiving has historical roots in both religious and cultural traditions.
Through the years after the Revolution, Presidents from George Washington to Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving proclamations with Lincoln, in 1864, turning it into a Federal holiday on the last Thursday of November. Finally, Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to the fourth Thursday of November to make more time for Christmas shopping. Continue reading
Today is the day before our national Thanksgiving holiday. The day has a long history starting with the early Pilgrims who braved dangerous seas to arrive in a new land. They came to escape the religious persecutions of their home in England. In coming to what is now known as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, they realized they had made a mistake for they were really bound for Virginia. It was too late in the Fall season to doing anything else but try to survive the coming Winter where they landed. Over the years, the Pilgrims survived brutal Winters and ongoing war with the native people called Wampanoag. After being nearly wiped out by Western diseases and war with European immigrants, these native people are back in the news. Why? It’s Thanksgiving Season and descendants of the Wampanoags are bringing back their own language by teaching it in schools. Continue reading
Walking under trees in the park during that hot Summer helped clear my mind about the world around me. I came to realize it was all a part of God’s Creation. Science could explain how it was made and how it works, but science has yet to actually create anything brand new. We’re good at taking what God made and changing it into something else. Like little boys, we break things or knock them down and then try to make something else of the pieces. Sometimes for bad, sometimes for good. But, we still do not make anything brand new under the Sun. Continue reading
My life was turned upside down by God when He used my then future wife to witness to me. At the time I was living as an atheist, minding my own business and working hard. I was physically active with tennis and ping pong, and I played chess. I was not actively dating anyone, but at my work place, the wife of a match-making couple “pestered” me about meeting a nice girl her husband knew at his work place. She said the girl was hearing-impaired like myself, loved cats, not a “religious fanatic”, and lived in a mobile home. Meanwhile, her husband told my future date that I was hearing impaired like herself, played tennis and chess. The reminders finally got to the point where I gave up all resistance and took the nice girl’s phone number. I was to call and make a date. Continue reading