CHRISTMAS, or Saturnalia?

The CHRIST MASS was introduced in the fourth century by the church to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and to affirm the doctrine of the incarnation, God becoming man in the womb of the Virgin Mary. It replaced the Roman Saturnalia, a celebration lasting a week, marking the return of the sun. For the week following December 17th there was an exchange of gifts, banqueting, and a cessation of commerce. With the introduction of CHRISTMAS the celebration of the Saturnalia ceased.

Or has it? Most people do not in this season honor Saturn as the harvest god. Nor do they celebrate the return of the sun, following the shortest day. But a fourth century person would find little difference from the way most people prepare for and celebrate Christmas: feasting, partying, and exchange of gifts. 

 Christmas was a good idea! That “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16), and that He “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14), and that He came “to redeem those under the law” (Gal. 4:12), and that He is named Jesus “because He will save His people from their sin” (Matt. 1:21)–that is something to celebrate with singing, worship, feasting, and the giving of gifts. Will it be for you CHRISTMAS, or Saturnalia?

Come to Peace Lutheran Church for the true Christmas celebration. Sunday Service time is 10:00 a.m. Advent service, Wed. 7:00 p.m.

The Second Coming

“Two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left” (Matthew 24:40,41). From this passage many imagine a rapture such as is described in Tim LaHaye’s LEFT BEHIND series.

Instead, our Lord is giving a description of the Second Coming, Judgment, and the end of the world. That will be like the days of Noah when Noah and his family were taken aboard the Ark, and the rest were left behind. People will all appear the same, involved in the same activities: farming, factories, ball games, etc. One lives with the joyful anticipation of the return of Christ. The other lives in unrepentance and unbelief. Outwardly they appear the same, but one is taken to be with the Lord, and the other is left to be eternally damned in hell.

This passage comes in the context of signs preceding the end of the world and Christ’s Second Coming. That there will be false Christs, wars, diseases, and natural catastrophes, is a call to repentance and a call for the Christian not to lose faith, to watch, and so to be taken “always to be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17).

Come to Peace Lutheran Church. Sunday service time, 10:00 a.m.

Lying

In a culture which ignores God and declares there are no absolutes, people lie. Now that the elections are mostly over for another two years we have a brief reprieve from the lying and slander characteristic of many political candidates. Lest all of this desensitizes us to lying, hear what God says in His Word:

“You shall not give false testimony” (One of the Ten Commandments). “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who speaks lies will not escape” (Proverbs 19:5). “You are of your father the devil….When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44). “All liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8).

Not only is lying an offense against the Holy God, lying sabotages the representative form of government. A free society depends on honesty in government. Elections become a farce when candidates deceive the people.

As lying is a common characteristic among us, this is a call to repentance, to humbly recognize this truth, “Out of the heart comes forth…lying” (Matthew 15:19), and return to God who “abundantly pardons” (Isaiah 55:7), and grants a clean heart through the ransom price paid by His Son, who embodies The Truth (John 14:6). Come to Peace Lutheran Church.

Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.