Some of my Favorite Christmas Characters: Mary and Nicholas

Fun KillerI wrote this post last year, but it’s timeless message will still be true in a hundred years (if the Lord tarries)….

I was reading a post by someone on Christmas and whether Jesus’ followers should celebrate it and saw a comment asking if they “[had] a bee in [their] bonnet.” Well, that is sort of true, but mostly because there are some of Jesus’ followers who have very large “bees” in their bonnets!

Last month I passed on something about Santa Claus on facebook and a lady was offended at me for not equating him with the great accuser, Satan. To my knowledge she’s not visited my page since then.

As a newly wed participating in a missions conference, a church asked us for our favorite Bible characters. When it was my turn, I shared how much I respect and admire Mary. The stillness that filled the room could almost be felt.

Who are these people who get under people’s skins so badly?

English: Council of Nicea

Council of Nicea

Santa Claus wasn’t always just a popular replacement for Jesus as the centerpiece of the holiday. He was a real man that we will get to know in Heaven. He lived in Turkey and Greece 1700 years ago and loved Jesus very much. Although he is best known for his secret generosity, he was also important in making sure the western church didn’t fall for lies about the true nature of Jesus as both God and Man.

I did find one article that isn’t from a saint-worshiping tradition; they aren’t so sure that Nicholas was really at the Council of Nicea. This was where church leaders hammered out what the Bible actually says about who Jesus is. Their records don’t say anything about Nicholas being there, but later people said he was not only there, but lost his temper and slapped the guy who claimed Jesus wasn’t really God (causing Nicholas to lose his church position).

English: Byzantine fresco representing the fir...Whether Nicholas was there or not, we know there was a real battle for the hearts and minds of believers then. Today, the same battle is still raging; many of us struggle with the truth of Genesis and the nature of Jesus as Creator and Witness.

Anyway, my kids know Nicholas doesn’t have anything to do putting the presents under the tree, and probably never saw a reindeer. But, we like reading his story and remembering how following Jesus means helping others in every way, from secret presents to taking uncomfortable stands for truth.

c. 1437-1446People don’t usually have quite as big a problem with Mary, but she has her share as well. I agree there are people who go far beyond the Bible and turn her into a kind of goddess. The Bible tells us she was nothing of the sort as she herself testifies:

 Then Mary said,

“I praise the Lord with all my heart.
     I am very happy because God is my Savior.
 I am not important,
    but he has shown his care for me, his lowly servant.
From now until the end of time,
    people will remember how much God blessed me. Luke 1:46-48 Easy-to-read Version

Mary needed her Kinsman Redeemer just as much as you and I do, but she set a wonderful example to follow. She was enough of a scientist to know that God wasn’t going to just give her a baby son without something extra happening. When the angel told her the plan, Mary was willing to cooperate even with the miraculous. Her words of acceptance and submission are a guide to all of us when we are given extraordinary tasks:

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. Luke 1:38

If we throw away everything and everyone that has been used in a corrupted manner, we won’t have anything left. From the rainbow to God Himself someone has used them for selfish, sinful purposes. As for me, I’m going to keep the memories of some of Jesus’ fellow servants dear in my heart and look forward to the day Mary, Nicholas and I stand before the throne and worship the Lamb together!

For lots more on the controversies of Christmas, check out:

Answers in Genesis: Feedback: Christians Celebrating Christmas at Christmas Town

Biblical Archaeology: Why Dec 25th?

PS My kids and I have a set of books on Nicholas, Valentine, and Patrick from the Voice of the Martyrs. They are beautifully done and treat these men as honorable heroes. I highly recommend them.

You can find some interesting legends and lots of activities about Nicholas at the St. Nicholas Center: For Kids section. We’ll probably be checking it out tomorrow afternoon!

Shopping for our Children’s Souls, 2013

Stack Of BooksI’ve been ignoring all the pre-“black friday” sales reminders on facebook and in my inbox. But, today it’s time to pass on the wealth of resources we have for training up our kids to recognize their Creator God!

From what I can see, pretty much everyone listed on my Resources Page is having oodles of sales right now. Just following the links should help you see the deals they’re offering right now.

Master Books (the biggest Creation publisher by far) is having a sale through Saturday only. If you have a chance, they’ve got some great stuff. For example, I’ve only read one of their Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers, but was very impressed by the quality of apologetics offered on a 5-7 year old’s level.

Creation Today is having two sales, one for right now, and one for Cyber Monday. They’ve got some fun toys as well as great selections of educational stuff.

This week, our family is taking advantage of Christian Book Distributor’s FREE shipping on $35 or more, since they offer practically all the Creation related resources* plus Bible studies, games (I’ve been wanting Bible Apples to Apples), Bible covers, and lots more at one discounted spot.

*Except those produced by a specific organization, like Creation Ministries International.

There’s one book I’d like to get soon and tell you more about it from Creation Ministries International. Their book Exploring Geology with Mr Hibb looks amazing and the testimonies I’ve heard about it sound like it’s worth the investment.
CMI also has more than just a USA web store, so you might be able to purchase from them using your own currency!

English: Gift ideas for men - wrapping paper e...

If you aren’t sure what to invest in, I’ve written about a handful of books and DVDs. You can scroll through my Reviews category to find something that suits your family. For kids who’d rather watch anything educational than hear the same things from a book (like mine), the DVDs I’ve reviewed are all worth while:

Last year, I recommended getting some kind of sand/water art to let your kids see how quickly layers can form. We did buy one for our kids. It was beautiful and got played with regularly by all of us. That is, right up to the day it got left on the edge of the table and broke. So, if you have careful/older kids I still recommend getting one of them!

No, Christmas isn’t about stuff. But there are times when investing in the right “stuff” can be a huge blessing. What better way to celebrate Jesus’ incarnation than by helping the next generation recognize Him as Creator?

We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he has done. Psalm 78:4 

Lacy Ferns

Creation and Christmas

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jesus said, And to the angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Laodicea write: These -are the words of the Amen, the trusty and faithful and true Witness, the Origin and Beginning and Author of God’s creation: Revelation 3:14 Amplified Bible

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.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Luke 1:30-33

the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:8b

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
That was the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:1-5,9-14

September Free Resources plus Shopping Discounts

Free place to sleep

Answers in Genesis facebook page has a shopping special up through the 11th- $25 off of $100 or more.  You could even get ahead on some of your Christmas shopping, parents!  Or, you could just get that cool stuff you’ve wanted for yourself. 😀

This week’s e-mail from John Mackay’s Australian Creation group mentioned that they have some new podcasts up for FREE downloads.  I’ve got them on my computer, but haven’t put them on my iPod yet, but I’m assuming they’re really good (everything else from them is!).

As my long time  followers know, I really enjoy the Creation Today show.  This comes out about once a week and is always very interesting. You can watch it as a video or just the audio (like I do with my old machine).  If your new to this show, I recommend watching ALL their archives.  It’s way better than TV. 😀

Then, Creation Conversations has finally updated their FREE resources page (it used to be monthly).   It was worth the wait!  There’s a whole book to download free this month called, Flood Legends: Global Clues of a Common Event.  They also have a couple of book trailers and some introductory pages to some yet-to-be-released books.

I’m already figuring out how I can get my hands on one of those books titled “Genius of Ancient Man.”  Be still my beating heart!  I just hope they document their statements well (like the Evolution Impossible guy does).

Have fun and a blessed Lord’s Day!

But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.  Jeremiah 9:24