Bulletin Articles 12/14/08

Mom and Dad:
The Memory Makers

Memories – What a treasured gift, provided they are  good and happy memories; what a sad and sorry lot they are if they are not.

Memories are a part of our heritage. They help define who we are – both the good ones and the bad. We pass the memories of our heritage down to our children while at the same time adding new ones of our own to be included in the chronicles of their lives.

Memories, heritage, values – are all inseparably related. The values of genuine love for each other, loyalty, honesty, and plain, simple hard work determine our heritage, and heritage produces the memories – all those marvelous stories we love telling and retelling. That puts Mom and Dad squarely on center stage when it comes to memory making.

So folks, make your memories worth remembering. Pass on to your children the values that produce a happy, healthy, and honorable heritage. Time is short. We only have each other for a little while. Make that while, worthwhile. When it comes time to say good-by, though eyes are full of tears and hearts are heavy, believe me, you want laughter and not regret. You want the precious gift of wonderful memories.

– Bill

What Is Christmas To You?

It’s impossible to ignore the festivities of the winter holiday season. A drive down any street in any neighborhood in town reminds us of the great emphasis most people place upon this time of year. In fact, a favorite evening pastime in late December is to drive through the neighborhoods to see the colorful decorations.

Christmas is many things to many people. One of its greatest appeals is nostalgia, a word derived from a Greek term implying “a longing to return home.” Strong feelings flood our minds this time of the year as we remember pleasant events of the past and relationships with loved ones who are gone, whom we miss and whose memory we cherish. So Christmas is a happy time spent with family and friends and fond memories.

Some lament the non-religious intent of the season. Merchants can hardly wait – just only so many more “shopping days ‘til Christmas!” The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is traditionally the busiest shopping time of the year.

Now stop and think about that. How is it that the Lord, who had nothing, who constantly warned His disciples about the deceitfulness of riches and of placing great emphasis on perishable, material things, who taught His hearers to exercise discipline and self-control, is honored by lavish spending, overindulgence, and debt which takes most of the next year to repay?

The real appeal of the season concerns the home, the family, and friends. It provides an occasion for all segments of society to come together and cooperate. The government, military, schools, colleges, industry, and commerce all let their people go home; if not literally, they at least allow them the time and season to fondly remember the past.

The good memories of bygone years mellow our thoughts. Good will, concern and compassion for others overpower the bad in our lives. That there is a particular time of the year when these feelings are stronger is merely the result of our cultural, natural, and personal traditions. There is nothing inherently wrong in that.

The best memories – the really good ones – are those which come from a day-to-day living faith and a relationship we share with our heavenly Father and with each other in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. Those are the memories that will stand the test of time and eternity.

– Bill

This Week in the WordReading the Bible together in 2008

Back to Basics – 1, 2, and 3 John
Toward the end of the first century, some Christians began drifting away from the truth about Christ. They were losing touch with those who had known Jesus in the flesh as the founders of the church began to die off. They were also beginning to be seduced by competing doctrines, especially early forms of gnosticism. As a result, second and third generation Christians began to grow cold in their love for each other and lukewarm in their commitment to the truth. They had, as the Lord put it to the Ephesians, “left their first love” (Revelation 2.4).

One response to this trend was the writing of 1, 2, and 3 John. These letters call Christians back to the basics – the truth about Christ and the love of Christ. For that reason, they are crucial for Christians today.