Make a Choice at Christmas!


by Pastor Jess Foglesong


It is the weekend before Christmas and all is (somewhat) well here on mother earth.  Oh, yes we do have our problems!  There seem to always be something going on at one point or another, and with instant global satellite pickup, we here in the USA can view what is happening around the world – simultaneously.  There are a number of TV and Cable News organizations from each country.  The world is an open book, with all of the new technology available.


And so, as the end of the year approaches and (for many countries) as we celebrate the Christmas Season, we can reflect on who we are, and how far we have come. 


Humanity has come a long ways, in just a few thousand years.  How primitive were we, as far back as 10 thousand years.  We had just come out of the last major Ice Age.  God had given humanity the "neshama" (the human soul, knowledge), and the realization of a Creator.  We saw the extinction of the Wooly Mammoth.  We gathered in colonies and settled in various corners of the earth. 


And as the years passed, humans have become divided into very distinct cultures and races, scattered throughout the world:  language, religion, socio-economical; we have become so diverse; different in may ways, but all in all, we are all the same – created, and made special by a loving God.


Yes, there is turmoil in certain parts of the world.  Concentrated mainly in the Middle East, where Moslem societies have been at odds with Judaism for thousands of years.   Talmudic tradition says that while Abraham’s son Isaac became the forefather of the Jewish people, the Islamic line is descended from Abraham’s other son -- Ishmael (Genesis 10 – 21). 


And this year – 2010 – is no different.  One can feel the tension coming from that region, reverberating throughout the world.  It is unfortunate that the differences are so great.  Although both sides seem to believe in the same “God” ……  Yahweh or Allah! (Although evidence is showing that does question that fact).


God – our Father in Heaven – would prefer that we as human beings (somehow) find a way to blend together in harmony.  Putting aside all of our differences.  Seeing that all is good.  We were all created in the image of a benevolent, loving, Supreme Ruler of the Universe. 


God sees us as His children.  Just as our own parents see us and want to care and protect us from evil.  And when we turn on each other, we offend Him, and in a way – anger Him.  Although His anger is not directed at us, but toward the actual and true cause of strife and despair: Satan (formerly: Lucifer) 


So, as we fight among each other, God and Satan are (behind the curtain) going at each other, as well: a battle of wills). Satan wants as many as he can to go with him.  And of course, God wants as many as possible to go with Him.


Now if you had your choice, whom would you choose?  When Satan  spoke to Adam and Eve, he said, “I will give you life, where God will only cause you to die.” Adam (as we know) chose to eat the fruit from the Tree of Good and Evil, thinking he would continue to live forever.  Instead he became like a mortal man; and eventually died of old age. 


That is our choice, as well.  Satan will promise you a heaven just like God’s Kingdom.  But it is a lie. He has deceived all.  Satan does not have the power of eternal life.  He (himself) has been convicted and the verdict has been announced: guilty.  And will be executed at the second coming of the Christ Jesus. 


And so as we look forward to the Celebration of the birth of the Baby Jesus this year, we are reminded of the importance of who God and His Son is.  And why He came down to this planet as an infant (over 2000 years ago), to blend in with the human race, to proclaim who He really is: His Character, His plan, His purpose, and His Magnificence.


We are reminded that He is With us!   And has never been absent.  And that He will soon reap the harvest of mature grapes; leaving out the immature fruits, to be eaten by the crows and animals of the fields.


We are reminded that we are called to make a choice.  And the choice is: everlasting Life; or, go with Satan.  He is going to the gates of hell, where he will be cast into the searing, hot pit of fire.


So why not choose Life!  Choose God!  He is my choice – why not yours?






Does God Approve of the Christmas Event?


by Rev. Jess Foglesong


I love Christmas, and the entire Christmas Seasonal event.  It is a wonderful time of the year.  It is a time for all to come together and share goodwill, warmth and love in celebration of the birth of the Son of God: Christ Jesus.


At least that is what it used to be.  It seems though that through the years, the meaning of Christmas has been altered.  Today you hear more: “Happy Holidays” instead of Merry Christmas.  It is a "Holiday Tree" rather than a Christmas Tree. The emphasis is more toward commercialism than spiritualism.  We have literally taken God and Jesus out of the equation.  Making it more a time for who receives the highest sales, or who receives this or that; and, what am I going to get out of it. 


When was the last time you experienced strolling carolers singing Christmas songs outside your front door? How often do you see a nativity scene on display at your town square?  It is simply not done anymore, for fear of vandalism or reprisals. Has Christmas lost its true meaning?


So what does God, the Father, think about all of this?  Has He gone south?  Or is He still with us.  Does He tolerate the fact that in many ways, we have turned our backs on Him?  Does all of this surprise Him?


Actually, our Father in heaven does understand and tolerate our indignant attitude toward the celebration of His Son’s birthday.  He understands that Satan is quietly and very subtly working to influencing the people of this planet toward his ways; transforming “Christmas” (and all that it stands for) into something negative.  He has certainly succeeded in twisting Jesus Christ into a negative – swear word; as well as God’s name: It is the colloguials: “God Damn” or for “Christ Sakes!” 


Very subtly and quietly we seem to be moving away from God.  And it really shows during Christmas.  Though this isn’t the first time.  Humanity has turned away from God many times in history.  And for some crazy reason, He keeps giving us a second chance.


And so, are we moving away from Him?  Well, doesn’t it seem like it to you? We are not allowed to pray in public.  Certainly not in school – any school!  Our government has declared that we ‘separate’ church and State.  That we must not offend those who do not believe in a God.  In fact, most politicians shy away from using God in their campaigns. Implying that if they did, it would be their downfall. 


The only place one can hear the name God is in Church or in your own home.  It is a sad commentary!  Knowing that, we were all formed on the virtues of a Moral Law; a belief in a Creator.  A belief that mankind is endowed by someone greater then themselves. 


God has a plan and has implemented it through His son, Jesus the Christ.  No matter what direction we choose, God is there to re-direct you to Him.  He knows your weaknesses; your frailties. He understands the human plight; the human need to always be first and in charge of his self … “why do I have to bow down to some all-supreme being!!?”  That is their attitude.  Unwilling to accept the fact that he himself, is a created being.  That all that he is, and all that is around him was created by a Father in heaven.


Mankind was lost (due to original sin) and could have been lost forever.  But God chose to salvage each and every one of us, through a representative, a redeemer.  It was the only way to bring us home.  An illustration would be found in the New Testament story of the prodigal son who had been lost, but found his way home, and was warmly greeted (with opened arms) by his father.  A type of who we are – humanity lost.  But through the Father’s grace and love was welcomed home again. 



Another illustration is written in the Old Testament:  The nation of Israel, lost and enslaved by the Pharaoh was freed by the Father, through a type of Savior in the name of Moses.  Who led his people into the wilderness for 40 years, then finally crossing the Jordan River into the Land of Milk and Honey (which symbolically is a type of heaven, or kingdom of God). 


God’s plan has always been to free us from Satan’s grip; his power (which He did at the cross); and now we are in the wilderness, making our way home to His open arms; to the true heaven; to mankind’s true home.


Yes, it may seem like we are distancing ourselves from our Father – God.  But in reality, we are moving, everyday, closer and closer to His loving arms and care.  Our castaway status will be no more.  We will be back in His main camp – safe and secure.  So no matter what the atheists, agnostics, or anyone else may want us to believe, they are fighting a losing battle.  God is tenacious.  He is relentless.  He is determined to bring us home – as many of us as He can persuade. 


He does see Christmas as an event for all of us to enjoy -- and reflect, on the immaculate birth of the Prince of Peace, over 2000 years ago: His Son.