Traditions and Christmas

As you savor a candy cane this CHRISTMAS, say :donke schon” to Germans, for that confectionery treat was first created in Cologne. As you admire your poinsettia, say “gracias” to Mexico, where the plant originated. Say “merci beaucoup” to French for the term Noel, and give a “cheers” to the English for your mistletoe.

But as we enjoy our traditions and festivities of the CHRISTMAS Season – customs that have been collected from around the world – let’s save most sincere and heartfelt “Thank You” for our good, merciful, and loving GOD. From Him came the reason for our CHRISTMAS celebration: the baby born in that Judean manger more than 2000 years ago. An angel announced the arrival of this Gift to mankind by saying, “I bring you good news that will cause great joy . . . a Savior has been born to you” (Luke 2:10-11).

This CHRISTMAS, even in the light of the sparkling CHRISTMAS tree and surrounded by newly opened presents, the true excitement comes when we turn our attention to the baby named JESUS, who came to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). His birth transcends tradition: It is our central focus as we send praises to GOD for this INDESCRIBABLE CHRISTMAS GIFT.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you Trust in HIM (Romans 15:13).


I haven’t made any NEW YEAR’s resolutions for many years. I haven’t needed any new ones – I’m still working on old ones like these: Write at least a short note in my journal everyday (which I started, then I stopped); organize my time; try to make an immaculately clean suite which is a bit smaller than our former home.

This year, however, I am adding a NEW Resolution that I found in Paul’s letter to the Romans. “Let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, “not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way” (Romans 14:13). Although this Resolution is old (about 2000 years) it is one that should renew annually. Like believer in Rome centuries ago, believers today sometimes make up rules for others to follow and insist on adherence to certain behaviors and belief that the BIBLE says little or nothing about. These “stumbling blocks” make it difficult for followers of JESUS to continue in the Way of Faith that E came to show us – that Salvation is by GRACE, not works (Galatians 2:16). It requires only that we trust HIS death and Resurrection for forgiveness.

We can celebrate this Good News of CHRIST in the coming year by Resolving not to set up hurdles that cause people to stumble.

FAITH is the HAND that receives GOD’s Gift, then FAITH is the FEET that walk with GOD.