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Jesus is the True Reason for Christmas

It is a Wonderful Time, But Please Remember the Real Focus

For many, the Christmas season is a special, almost magical, time. It’s exactly as countless people perennially sing in the old carol, “… the most wonderful time of the year.” Houses boast beautiful Christmas trees among a multitude of decorations, with a backdrop of white, fluffy snow falling outside their windows. Families traditionally sing carols together, while wrapping presents and baking delicious Christmas cookies. Kids (and parents, too!) enjoy reveling in tales of the characters associated with Christmas, such as Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman.

But somewhere along the way, many have forgotten, or even willfully abandoned, the real reason for Christmas: “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.” So reads the first verse of the second chapter of Luke’s Gospel in the Bible, and so begins the story of the first Christmas, the arrival of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

At its true core, Christmas is the celebration of the coming of the promised Messiah from God. Jesus was “made flesh and dwelt among us,” as the Bible also says in John 1:14. So as Christmas arrives once again this year, make Jesus Christ a priority in your celebrations and, most importantly, in your entire life.

But what exactly happened on that first Christmas?

Prophecy Proclaimed

Well, like any great story, we have to go back to the beginning … in this case, the very beginning of the world. The Bible says in Genesis 1:1 that “in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” At creation’s crescendo, after making the sun, the moon, the trees and plants, and animals, God spoke humans into existence, created in His image. Adam and Eve were the first man and woman, but they disobeyed God. Through that disobedience, sin entered into the world and separated Adam and Eve – and their offspring – from the Heavenly Father. But even as God pronounced judgment on man and nature, He also promised a coming Savior, a provision to pay the price for that sin and redeem mankind. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)

Throughout ensuing history, God continued to remind people in many ways that a Redeemer would come. He spoke through prophets for thousands of years. These Old Testament preachers would ask people to turn back to God and to watch for the coming Messiah. The Bible says in Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

God even told man where the Messiah would be born and the very circumstances of His birth. The Bible says in Micah 5:2, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” And in Isaiah 7:14, the Bible says: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

There are hundreds of other prophecies throughout the Old Testament all pointing to the coming Redeemer, building to the very event. It was the centerpiece of all history, but it actually arrived with very little fanfare and celebration.

Prophecy Fulfilled

That day may have begun as any other day. A woman named Mary was working around her house. She was a young virgin anticipating her coming marriage to a young man named Joseph. But something much more special was about to happen to her. An angel visited her and gave her a message from God: “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favor with God. And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.” (Luke 1:30-31) The angel also visited Joseph to give him God’s good news, too, that Mary was pregnant with the promised Messiah.

She was ready to give birth when that taxation decree we mentioned above came from Rome. The couple had to travel to Joseph’s hometown of Bethlehem to participate in this census. When they arrived, however, every inn throughout town was full. But one of the innkeepers allowed Joseph and Mary to stay in his stable with the animals. That night, the Bible says in Luke 2:6-7, “…the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”

The Messiah came, but it wasn’t in a palace or a grand hotel. It was in a simple stable, in a trough full of hay for the sheep, goats, and cows. And while the angels celebrated in the skies over Bethlehem, humanity’s only other witnesses to the birth of the Savior were some simple shepherds who came and worshiped the promised Redeemer.

He Came to Die on the Cross

That baby, born long ago, was fully God and fully man, and He had one purpose in coming: To redeem all of mankind from our sins. You see, our sin has a price, and that price is death. It is not only physical death, but also spiritual death, which means separation from God for all of eternity. But Jesus Christ came to take our place in punishment as our substitute. He died on the cross to pay that price and rose again from the dead to give us victory over death. Think about it: God loved you so much that He sent His Son to die for you. The Bible says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Jesus isn’t just a good man who only told people to love each other. He is the perfect Son of God, and he shed His blood and died for you. He provides everlasting life to anyone who trusts Him and asks Him in prayer to save them. That’s the Christmas story: The Son of God loved you so much that He came as a man to take your punishment for your sins and give you eternal life. That’s a reason for celebrating!

So as you celebrate this Christmas, with your tree, your Christmas cookies, your carols, and your presents, please don’t lose sight of the real “reason for the season”: Jesus Christ.

We wish everyone a very blessed and merry Christmas! The R.O.C.K. Club in Radford, VA, offers outstanding and compassionate Christian child care and tutoring. For more information, or to find out how you can have a real relationship with God through Jesus Christ, call us today at (540) 267-3000.

What Does Thanksgiving Truly Mean?

God Wants Us To Have a Thankful Heart All of the Time

It’s now November, and with its arrival comes thoughts of Thanksgiving. To many people, that means a big turkey dinner, family and friends gathered around a table, and maybe, just maybe, some fleeting memories about seemingly ancient pictures of some pilgrims in big hats, some Native Americans, and a cornucopia.

But Thanksgiving is more than just filling yourself with turkey, mashed potatoes, and other delicious dishes and falling asleep on the couch. It is so much more than “Turkey Day,” and sadly, many miss its purpose and its significance by a wide margin. Throughout its rich history, the Thanksgiving celebration was set apart as a day where people solely focused on giving thanks to God for His many blessings in their lives. Simply put, Thanksgiving is about being truly thankful.

But honestly, God doesn’t set just one day aside for us to be thankful. He wants us to be thankful every day, all year long. Whether we are having a “good day” or a “bad day,” a “good year” or a “bad year,” we should always give thanks. The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

How is that possible, though? It’s very easy to be thankful when things are going good for someone, when they are healthy, when their bank account is full, and when they are happy. But how can someone give thanks when it seems that life itself is falling down around them?

Thankfulness is a Choice

Thankfulness, even in bad times, is possible because thanksgiving is a choice we make. It’s an attitude we consciously adopt every day in our lives. It’s not a feeling we have; it’s a decision we make.

To that statement, you may reply, “No. I’m just not built like that. That’s not a part of my personality. I’ve never really been like that.” That’s really not your in-born personality, though; it’s actually because you’ve made a choice to be that way. Every single day, we have a choice to be thankful or ungrateful, as we embrace either the positives or the negatives in our lives. That certainly can be a hard choice, though. Some circumstances can be extenuating, heavy, and awful, and we are definitely not minimizing emotional or mental health issues.

But even in the middle of a storm, we can all choose to be thankful. It’s all about changing your mind and deciding to be thankful, even despite the circumstances of a day or a month or a year. The Bible says in Colossians 3:15, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” There are no modifiers in that verse. Always “let the peace of God rule in your hearts” and “be ye thankful,” not only if you are having a good day, not only if the car starts, not only if your boss doesn’t yell at you. “Let” and “be,” no matter what.

What If There’s Nothing to Be Thankful For?

We’re sure some, if not many, people would ask, “What if I have nothing to be thankful for?” Some may even ask, “How can I be thankful in the middle of this pandemic, with everything going on in the United States and around the world?”

The answer to those questions is, “There is always something to be thankful for.” Did you wake up this morning? Were you able to take a breath? Do you still have your health? Do you have a roof over your head and food on your table? There are always things for which you can be grateful when you start looking.

That someone would even consider those questions reveals a speed bump in their thought process. There is an old hymn that says, “Count your blessings. Name them one by one.” How has God blessed you today? Are you dwelling on thoughts of those blessings or on the negatives of your circumstances? The Bible says in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Change your thinking.

We Can’t Consistently Be Thankful on Our Own, Though

Seems like a daunting task, right? To choose a grateful attitude every day? To be thankful, even when things are going bad? We’ll let you in on a little secret: It is daunting. In fact, it’s impossible. You will fail. But the Bible says in Mark 10:27, “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”

Once we decide that we want to be thankful, we need to rely on God for His help and His strength to have that attitude of thanksgiving. When you pray, ask God to make you grateful. It’s a basic fact of life: No matter what we choose to do, we need God’s strength to do it. And our Heavenly Father wants to give us that strength. The Bible says in Isaiah 40:30-31, “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Simply, God wants you to be thankful, and He wants to give you that attitude and the power to maintain it. You just have to choose to take the first step toward consistent thanksgiving. And as you consciously choose daily to embrace a pattern of thankful thinking through God’s strength, it will become easier and easier.

But to tap into God’s strength, you first must have a relationship with God. How can you have a relationship with Him? The Bible says in John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Jesus is the key to creating a true relationship with God. Jesus died on the cross to take the due punishment for the sins of the entire world, including yours. He rose again to conquer death, and He offers eternal life to anyone who trusts Him and calls out to Him to be saved. He opens the door to God, to Heaven, and to all the benefits of having that relationship with Him, including His strength.

Sounds like something to be very thankful for, right?

We are thankful for you! The R.O.C.K. Club in Radford, VA, offers outstanding and compassionate Christian child care and tutoring. Call us today at (540) 267-3000.

Kids and Teens Face Dangers and Pitfalls Every Day

We face many dangers, strongholds, and pitfalls in our lives every day. The Bible warns us in 1 Peter 5:8 to “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” But as much temptation and danger as we face, our kids and our teens may face even more. Not everything is good for your children. Because we care about your kids and your teens, we at the R.O.C.K. Club in Radford, VA, want to talk to you about being aware of the potential dangers in their lives. This will definitely not be a comprehensive list, but it can give you some ideas of where to look and what to look for. Continue reading “Dear Parents, Grandparents, and Guardians: Be Careful”