Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

“…Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”

Luke 2:14 (NIV UK)

Queen Elizabeth II, Head of State of the United Kingdom, was born on 21st April 1926. However, her birthday is not officially observed on that day. Instead, she has an “official birthday” that is usually observed in June.

There is no particular ceremony on the Queen’s actual birthday, although those in the vicinity of Hyde Park or the Tower of London would hear the 41 and 62 gun salutes that are discharged on that day.

All of the major events and ceremonies take place on the official birthday date that is set by the government to the most convenient time in the summer.

No one knows the exact date of Jesus’ birthday. Some have tried to establish a likely date in the autumn of the year, using indications from the Bible. Others think that a December date is quite possible. Some astronomers have recently announced that Jesus was born in June. There is no generally accepted date for Jesus’ birth.

If we want to honour and celebrate this greatest of events, the Incarnation of God, we will have to do as is done for the Queen, and celebrate an “official” birthday. This year, as it has been for many hundreds of years, Jesus’ official birthday is on December 25.

We can celebrate this official birthday, not with firing artillery, but with honouring and praising God for giving us His Son to be God with us. We can share the wonderful gospel message with our fellow human beings, sharing the love that God has given us.

Jesus’ birth is good news that causes great joy for everyone, even if they don’t know it yet. Even more good news is that Jesus is coming again in glory to restore all things. What great events we have to celebrate.

Almighty God, Father of our Lord, we give you worship and thanks for your overwhelming love. Help us to celebrate the coming of Christ, and look forward to his return. We praise you in his name.

Author: Jim Robertson is an elder in the Shetland Islands congregation of the Worldwide Church of God. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the blog or its owners

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As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide us with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods—— merchandise that has been produced at the expense of South African labour. This year will be different. This year South Africans will give the gift of genuine concern for other South Africans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by South African hands. Yes, there is plenty.

It’s time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?

Everyone — yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local hair salon or barber?  Gym membership? It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.  Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car valet’d? Small, South African owned car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down the cash on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway fixed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or roof waterproofed and painted.There are a Gazillion owner-run restaurants — all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn’t the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn’t about big National chains — this is about supporting your home town South African with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorbike, done at a shop run by a South African working guy? Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.My computer could do with an upgrade, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running. OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people are great. They make jewellery, pottery, knitted stuff, Teddy Bears, paintings and home preserves etc. Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your home town theatre. Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand  Xmas lights for the house?

Think of the power they consume !   When you buy a R50 string of lights, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mail man, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip. You see, Christmas is no longer about draining South African pockets so that China can build another glittering city or fancy building in Maputo /Mozambique and then plunder their marine and other resources.

Christmas is now about caring about us, encouraging small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other South Africans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine. THIS should be the new South African Christmas tradition.

Editors note: This is a guest post. It is written from a South African perspective but you can use the hints no matter which country you are from. The principles remain the same worldwide.

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