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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Apologetics of Thanksgiving
    Our family went recently to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug at the movie theater. While watching the previews, we saw an advertisement for St. Jude Children's Hospital. It is for their Thanks and Giving fund-raising campaign.
    They have an all-star cast doing the advertisements - Jennifer Anniston, Robin Williams, Michael Strahan, and others. One statement made by Robin Williams caught my ear. "If you have healthy children, give thanks" ( The ad is also seen on TV.
    Thanksgiving. The word means "giving thanks." Look at that word - giving. It takes an indirect object. Giving to whom? How can you give anything unless you are giving to someone? The very idea of giving thanks requires a person to receive the thanks.
    So, when you are talking about children or good health or life in general and you give thanks, there has to be someone who is worthy to receive the thanks. Someone who is appropriate to receive the thanks.
    Can I really give my wife thanks for my children? She clearly had a lot to do with it but she did not create the child. She did not give neither me nor herself the child. Someone bigger and more powerful than the two of us gave us the child.
    My point is that the very idea of thanksgiving requires the existence of God. To give thanks "to the stars" is nonsensical. To give thanks to the wind is just as ludicrous.
    I do not know to whom atheists offer thanksgiving but when they do, they implicitly affirm the existence of God, to whom all thanksgiving ultimately belongs.
    "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
    The next time you hear an atheist express thanksgiving, ask him/her thanksgiving to whom?  Let us be thankful to God for big gifts and small.
--Paul Holland


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas, A time to remember


'"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to
Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of
David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to
him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the
baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him
in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in
the inn." (Luke 2)

We realize that Christmas is a holiday established by men; however it is
based on the remembrance of the birth of the Christ Child. Christmas has
always been a family celebration, which is why it has such appeal to us.

As we look at this scripture which we all know so well, we remember that in
the earliest of beginnings, Joseph heard the angel as he appeared to him in
a dream (Matthew 1:20), with a message from God. When he realized it was a
message from God he knew that he could trust Mary. They were committed to
one another as husband and wife, a family, while much of the world would
have rejected the situation.

They were also committed to the care for the baby, which God had given them.
So in reality, the Christmas is a celebration not just about God sending a
Savior, but it's about human love as well.

Did you know that the most popular American song ever written is Irving
Berlin's "White Christmas?" The tune is simple, but the message touches the
heart. Berlin wrote these words that I'm pretty sure that most of you know
by heart: "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, Just like the ones I used to
know. Where the tree tops glisten and children listen to hear the sleigh
bells in the snow." It brings memories of home and family.

Christmas is about remembering the sacrifice of God who "thought it not a
thing to be held onto" to stay in heaven, "but humbled himself and took on
the form of a man." Christmas is a time to celebrate family. A time to renew
love, celebrate with friends and family that we may not have seen since the
last Christmas.

In the celebration of Christmas we see a God who humbles Himself and a young
couple who have the most amazing experience at the birth of their son, the
king of the universe.

Let me wish each one of you a joyous Christmas and you celebrate the gift of
God and the love of family.

Russ Lawson

Thursday, December 12, 2013

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