Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

"The Nativity"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and spend time with family.  This year is the second year without my parents.  For some reason, it's been a more difficult season.

However, when I look back, I can see many reasons why it would be.  Just not one specific.  My parents, while keeping foremost the birth of Christ at Christmas always had fun with buying presents, decorating the house, surprising us with things we wanted, delicious Christmas dinners, baking chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies, giving gifts to their friends, watching Christmas TV specials like "Charlie Brown" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and plenty of music.  Since my father was a Minister of Music, there was always music around the house.

This season, my wife and I watched "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" and memories just flooded my mind.  When I was a kid, my brother and I would search the TV Guide when it arrived in Sunday's newspaper for all the Christmas specials for the following week.   When we found something, we'd circle it so it wasn't missed.

On the night of the show, the family gathered in front of the TV to watch the Christmas special with "Charlie Brown Christmas" being the favorite- at least mine.  Before the show, we gathered our snacks, we got our favorite spot in front of the TV and didn't move until the show was over.
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There were plenty of Christmases when my brother and I would wake up at the crack of early darkness and go wake our parents so we could open presents. We weren't allowed to go down until they were ready.  Never understood why until later when they said the excitement of seeing us go downstairs was special to them.

One Christmas, my father stayed up until 3 or 4 a.m. putting together bicycles for my brother and I only to be awakened within an hour to get up for Christmas.  A story he never let us forget!

With all the memories, the Birth of Christ was first and foremost.  My parents lived the Christian life they believed and served Him in a local church for as long as I can remember.

My father and I would spend hours preparing music for Christmas Sunday in celebration of the birth of Christ.  The music was hard and often frustrating so I would start practicing as early as September.  There were many Christmas Cantatas, choir specials and too many solos by my father to remember.

"For to us a child is born, 
to us a son is given; 
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace."
 - Isaiah 9:6

As you celebrate Christmas, be sure to enjoy the day, enjoy the friends and family, even the ones who drive you nuts, as it will be part of your Christmas memories to come.

Merry Christmas!
"Christmas Red Poinsettias"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sunday's Thought

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It is Christmas Sunday.  The Sunday before Christmas when churches who do not have Worship Services on Christmas Day celebrate the birth of Christ.  Many times, it will be when the music ministry will present their Christmas cantata or the children will present their musical and the Pastor will present his Christmas message. It is usually one of two very busiest and crowded worship services of the year.

I have many, to say the least, fond memories of Christmas Sunday as a church organist, my father being the Minister of Music and our working together on music and going to hear him sing a solo.  A great time of year.

The importance of Christmas is the birth of Jesus.  He came to live as a man.  To experience what man experiences.  He lived. He loved. I liked to think He got into trouble as a teenager or had an annoying boss or any of the experiences you and I may go through in this life. Then, time came for him to die for our sins.  Die so we might have eternal life.  He did it because He loves us.  We strayed from Him through sin. He wanted to redeem us to His Own.

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During the Christmas season, it is so easy to get wrapped up in the commercialism of buying gifts while spending way more money than we really should. We can't forget anyone though. What about yourself?  Have you thought about yourself?

The gift of Salvation and God's Love is a free gift from God.  You don't have to buy it, you don't have to work for it, you just accept it.  It is one of the simpliest free gifts to accept in this world. And, one that will be a blessing you will never forget.

How about giving yourself a gift this year? A gift of God's Love? The Gift of Salvation?  Following the steps is as easy as A-B-C-

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Admit
Admit that you are a sinner, just like everyone else born into this world, until we  confess to Jesus Christ and ask His forgiveness:

"[23] for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [24] and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,"
-Romans 3:23-24, [ESV Study Bible]

"[23] For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
                                               -Romans 6:23, [ESV Study Bible]
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Believe
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ:

[16] “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." -John 3:16 [ESV Study Bible]


Confess
Confess of your sins in a prayer to the Lord Jesus Christ:

[9] "because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
- Romans 10:9 [ESV Study Bible]

[13] For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”   -Romans 10:13 [ESV Study Bible]

So now what?  
If you prayed this prayer with your whole heart and believed what you did, you are now a Christian.  My suggestion is to find a local church and become involved.  Talk to the pastor about this experience and ask him to teach you where to go or what to do next.

If you are not familiar with a local church, a few excellent resources to get you started or who can follow up with you are:

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association or Peace With God, Charlotte, NC

Dr. David Jeremiah, San Diego, CA

Centreville Baptist Church, Centreville, VA

In Touch Ministries with Dr. Charles Stanley, Atlanta, GA

These resources are ones that I believe in and you'll get assistance to grow- you can contact them by visiting, writing, email or phone.

May God bless you!

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wednesday's Words

"Red Poinsettia"(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night

While Shepherds watch'd their Flocks by Night,
All seated on the Ground,
The Angel of the Lord came down,
And Glory Shone all around.

Fear not, said he, (for mighty Dread
Had seiz'd their troubled Mind)
Glad Tidings of great Joy I bring
To you and all mankind.

To you in David's Town this Day
Is born of David's Line,
A Saviour, which is Christ the Lord;
And this shall be the Sign.

The heav'nly Babe you there shall find
To human View display'd.
All meanly wrapt in swaddling Bands,
And in a Manger laid.

Thus spake the Seraph, and forthwith
Appeared a shining Throng
Of Angels praising God, and thus
Addressed their joyful Song.

All glory be to God on high,
And to the earth be Peace;
Good Will, henceforth, from Heaven to Men
Begin and never cease."

Source: N. Brady and N. Tate, A New Version of the Psalms of David, With A Supplement to the New Version of Psalms, The Whole Being A Compleat Psalmody.” Eighth Edition, Corrected. (London: J. Ilive, 1724, 1733). pp. 58-59.

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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sunday's Thought

I have to admit, I was hoping to be thinking less about my parents and how much I miss them by this Christmas season. Though, really, it is only the second one.  Maybe I am expecting too much.

Now, I'm not depressed or anything like that- I'm a very happy guy but having retired and moved close to where I grew up has brought back many fond memories, especially at Christmas.

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Christmas was always a fun time growing up.  My mother loved to find gifts for everyone on her list.  She would pay attention to what the friend or family member liked or wanted throughout the year.  As it got closer to Christmas, she would get that for them- provided it wasn't that expensive.  Many times, she and Dad would be traveling and she'd find something at a craft show which was the perfect gift for someone.

While Dad would help Mom with the gift buying and decorating, he was more into the music of the season. He prepared the church music for each week as well as the Christmas Cantata.  If he had a solo in the Cantata, you knew it, and so did the neighbors around the world, as he would practice it over and over and over.  And did I say over and over and over?
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Dad would take a few minutes from his singing and take us to the Manassas Christmas Parade.  Every year, it was a time to enjoy community and Christmas and freeze ourselves to almost hypothermia levels, or so it seemed, to watch fire trucks, ambulances, school bands and the rest got through town until finally Santa arrived. He loved taking my brother and I to this.  

To me, these were the blessings of Christmas, the simple joys my family celebrated Christmas.

One thing always stood out though and very strong.  Jesus is the reason for the season.  Jesus is Born.  His Birth.  His coming to earth to become man.  To show us He understands- He loves us- wants us to have eternal life with Him- remember that.

My parents never let all the glitter, glamour, and definitely not the "gimme" of the season be the forefront of Christmas.  We celebrated Christ's Birth.  I'll never forget the first Christmas that fell on a Sunday.  We had to go to church, then, come home and open our presents.  Know how hard that was for two little boys.  As we grew older, we understand a bit better.  Yes, we had fun decorating, surprising each other and friends with special gifts and enjoying the events of season, like the Manassas Christmas Parade.  Yet, we knew and never forgot, it was "The Birthday of a King!"  Jesus is Born.

Following Christ and following Jesus is the most important decision you will ever make.  If you would like to know more about Jesus Christ, His Love for you and Eternal Life, please visit, Peace With God.
 
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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wednesday's Words

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The Birthday of A King!

In the little village of Bethlehem,
There lay a Child one day;
And the sky was bright with a holy light
O’er the place where Jesus lay.

Refrain

Alleluia! O how the angels sang.
Alleluia! How it rang!
And the sky was bright with a holy light
’Twas the birthday of a King.

’Twas a humble birthplace, but O how much
God gave to us that day,
From the manger bed what a path has led,
What a perfect, holy way.

Refrain

Alleluia! O how the angels sang.
Alleluia! How it rang!
And the sky was bright with a holy light
’Twas the birthday of a King.

W. H. Neidlinger (William Harold), 1863-1924

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sunday's Thought

Used by permission, ChristianQuotes.info

Since no man is excluded from calling upon God the gate of salvation
 is open to all. There is nothing else to hinder us from entering,
but our own unbelief.

– John Calvin

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Wednesday's Words

Wednesday's Words is a weekly short thought created to give the Christian midweek encouragement. This week, I want to share something different.

The following video was shared with me- I've enjoyed The Piano Guys over the years and found this video to be really great- Hope you enjoy.

Angels We Have Heard on High - The Piano Guys, Peter Hollens and David A...