Merry Christmas ya’ll!
from the Abella family
Oh, I know what you’re thinking…”sigh, not ANOTHER Jesus vs Santa blog post in the blogosphere!” But, I think you may be surprised. Or at least I hope so anyway.
First and foremost, here at the Abella clan, we believe in Jesus’ birthday first and foremost, that we are to celebrate His birth, for without His birth, He couldn’t have had His ministry and then go to an old rugged cross and willingly die for us, offering up Himself an atonement for the sins of you and me. No ifs, ands, or buts in this for our household.
We do live in a culture around us that adores Santa Claus and all the fantasy that comes with the big red guy. Santa has been around for hundreds of years, coming to current form thanks to the Coca-Cola company making the rosy cheeked portly man the image he is. He’s got many faces, many shapes, from the more primitive to the more modern and trendy. There’s songs all about Santa, like “Here Comes Santa Claus”, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”, etc. Our culture also loves talking snowmen (Frosty) and reindeer with stop light noses (Rudolph).
Now, we as Christians are to be in the world, but not OF it, right? Right! So what is the truth about Christmas? That is found in Scripture, in Matthew and Luke especially. We don’t have to let the fantasies of the world around us take over what we know is true. It is up to us whether or not we let Santa, Frosty, Rudolph, etc take root in our children and grow into the legends the world has made them. We can choose to lift up Jesus, from the Babe in the manger to the Savior on the cross….we can choose to make Him the center of our celebrations. After all, it is Jesus’ birthday, not Santa Claus’s, Frosty’s, etc.
Don’t get me wrong…we do allow the jolly fat guy in the house. He is allowed in via a dvd of the classic “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” with Fred Astaire narrarating. The dvd of the same era, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is a favorite as well. But, I like what is also on the dvd…”The Little Drummer Boy”. Again, another fantasy, but includes a wonderful song pointing to Jesus. We let the kids watch the dvds, but also make sure they know what the Bible says about Christ, His birth, and make sure they understand also that Santa Claus and all the other secular things are not real, and that while they’re fun, the purpose of Christmas is Christ.
This Christmas season, keep looking to Jesus, to the Lord who came to us in humble beginnings. Sure, enjoy the fun and fantasy, lights and colorful ornies, all the trappings of Christmas–just remember WHO it’s all for. 😉 How you celebrate is totally up to you and your family…enjoy the holiday!
The hymns we sing through the Christmas season have more doctrinal base in them than many people realize. Stop and read the words of “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”:
It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold!
“Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From heaven’s all gracious King!
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.
Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing.
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.
Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world hath suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love song which they bring:
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.
the days are hastening on,
By prophet bards foretold,
When, with the ever-circling years,
Shall come the Age of Gold;
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And all the world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.
Jesus came to earth as a babe in a manger, born in a way one wouldn’t expect the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He gave up all the glory of Heaven for 33 years, starting at the manger, to be the sacrificial lamb offered back to God for our sins. Angel heralded His birth, Angels attended to him in His ministry, and Angels are there with Him now.
While we right now celebrate His birth, are you prepared for when He calls His chosen back home? If you died right now, would you go to Heaven and be with Jesus?
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” We all have sin in our hearts. We all were born with sin. We were born under the power of sin’s control. – Admit that you are a sinner.
Romans 6:23a “For the wages of sin is death…” Sin has an ending. It results in death. We all face physical death, which is a result of sin. But a worse death is spiritual death that alienates us from God, and will last for all eternity. The Bible teaches that there is a place called the Lake of Fire where lost people will be in torment forever. It is the place where people who are spiritually dead will remain. – Understand that you deserve death for your sin.
Romans 6:23b “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Salvation is a free gift from God to you! You can’t earn this gift, but you must reach out and receive it. – Ask God to forgive you and save you.
Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” When Jesus died on the cross He paid sin’s penalty. He paid the price for all sin, and when He took all the sins of the world on Himself on the cross, He bought us out of slavery to sin and death! The only condition is that we believe in Him and what He has done for us, understanding that we are now joined with Him, and that He is our life. He did all this because He loved us and gave Himself for us! – Give your life to God… His love poured out in Jesus on the cross is your only hope to have forgiveness and change. His love bought you out of being a slave to sin. His love is what saves you — not religion, or church membership. God loves you!
Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” – Call out to God in the name of Jesus!
Romans 10:9,10 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” – If you know that God is knocking on your heart’s door, ask Him to come into your heart.
Revelation 3:20a “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” – Is Jesus knocking on your heart’s door?
Believe in Him.
Ask Him to come in to your heart by faith, and ask Him to reveal Himself to you.
Open the Bible to the Gospel of John and read what God says about Jesus, about you, and about being born again.
God will help you. He loves you.
You need to look for a local church where God’s word is preached. The Bible says that we are to desire God’s word like a newborn baby desires mother’s milk.
Aren’t you hungry to know the truth?
Water baptism is one of the ways you first show that you have been joined to Jesus. This is an action, and actions will not save you. However, it is an act of obedience and a symbol of commitment.
The symbolism is this:
When you go down in the water you show that You have been crucified and buried with Him, And when you come up out of the water you show that you have been raised to walk with Him in newness of life. (See Romans chapter 6)
You have been born again. (See John chapter 3)
Your body has become God’s temple. Your heart is where He lives.
Forgiveness is yours in Jesus. And you belong to Him.
You were sin’s slave. But now…
You are a child of GOD! John 1:12
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”
Romans Road found at KJV1611
Oh how I love baking! It’s a perfect season for cranking the oven up and popping in a wonderfully homemade pie, cobbler, bread, cake, cupcake….(sorry, drooling here). I love having my kitchen smell of cinnamon and nutmeg, cloves and vanilla!
In my kitchen the sounds include the banging of pots and pans, which brings hubby running to see what delicious goody he’ll be eating soon. Unfortunately the other main sound at times happens to be the smoke alarm (?!) The kids are used to it. Scary huh?
Today is cobbler day. I have awesome memories of making cobbler with mom many many (many) years ago. She taught me how to make the fruity liquid, then add in the yummy crust one spoon at a time. After all baked, we’d sit and eat our fresh baked cobbler with a glass of milk, or ice cream if we had it.
This Christmas is the first time I’ve made cobbler since I was a child. The last time I remember making this, I was 11 or 12. My how time flies!! Anyway, I wanted to make something that would stretch a limited amount of fresh fruit and come out as a delicious dessert, as well as be easy on the wallet and supplies.
So, I brought out my medium sized soup pot and added a couple cups of water. I put in approximately 1/4 cup of cornstarch as well.
Then, I added some fresh apples I’d just cut up and washed, as well as some cherry juice from a jar of marachino cherries we’d just finished. Then I put in some vanilla (didn’t measure, just poured) and milk powder. Then I searched through my cupboard and found my cloves and cinnamon and spooned in a teaspoon of both. Oh…and a pack of jello–my secret ingredient!
This all simmered for a while and thickened nicely. While the pot was sitting on a low fire (we have an old gas stove), I mixed up whole wheat flour, white flour, sugar, and baking powder in a mixing bowl and then sat it aside.
Then out comes the baking pans! YAY! I pulled out an old glass one, sprayed it down in my favorite spray (Aldi’s brand–hey, I’m frugal). Then, I turned off the stove top and poured in the apples and liquid into the pan. To make that crispy topping, I spooned the flour mix on top of the apple liquid mix, and then kinda pushed it down a little. It goes in on it’s own, but I don’t mind “helping” it along.
Then, I baked it at around 400 degrees.
And hubby ran to go get some whipped topping.
I liked how this turned out, so I tried it all over again with some sweet potatoes this time.
I washed and cut up a few sweet potatoes, and put them in a larger pot to boil. They boiled a while, and I mashed them down a bit.
Then, I added nearly the same ingredients as before, minus the cloves and cinnamon.
This made enough to make two pans of sweet potato cobbler! YUMMY!
The Lord has been very kind to us, giving my family so much even in the tightest of times. He’s given me just the right amounts of necessities to pull together homemade meals, made from scratch, and even plenty to give to others around us who could use a little extra to stretch their budget.
Won’t you give thanks to the Lord today, for all He has given to you? If you’re reading this, you have electricity and a computer, internet, more than likely a roof, a warm home, you’re breathing, and alive one more day. It is nearing the day we celebrate His birth–why not thank Him for coming to us and leaving for a while the glory of Heaven, to be here on earth for 33 years, to offer Himself a sacrifice for our sins on an old rugged cross. He was born that he should willing offer up His life an acceptable sacrifice for the sins of men.
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