Monthly Archives: December 2010

The Perfect Christmas Gift

— by Michelle Avery, Editorial Assistant, Herald and Banner Press

Have you ever found the perfect gift for someone? You know it is just the thing to make your friend’s eyes light up on Christmas morning? That is a wonderful feeling. Giving the gift becomes more fun than waiting for your own gifts. Every time you think of the result of the gift, you get excited. Christmas cannot come soon enough!

I imagine this is just how God felt when He created the universe. He put Adam and Eve in the perfect garden there they would enjoy the most delicious foods, unsurpassable living accommodations, and peaceful cohabitation with a complete menagerie.

Yet, as is too often the case with humanity, God’s gift did not seem to be enough. It cost God a lot. Far more than most of us have ever given.

Still, He paid it. He made the down payment on Christmas. The final installment did not come for more than three decades, but He knew the debt was being paid. While His universe celebrated on that first Christmas, He saw the cost.

And He saw the result of the Gift. Christmas came right on time.

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Get Active This Christmas

— by Jim Purtle, Harmony Hill Youth Council member, youth pastor at El Dorado Springs Church of God (Holiness), from his article in the December Banner.

A few ideas for things your church can do to reach out to your community:

Check with the local school nurse or counselor to see if there is a family (or families) who are particularly needing some things provided for Christmas. Make a list with the nurse’s or counselor’s help and team up with your church to provide those needs.

Plan ahead to get together on a day when schools are dismissed for a snow day, and team up to shovel walks and driveways.

Team up with folks from your church or Sunday school class or small-group Bible study. Print address labels with your church’s address and phone number (you can also make them by hand, but a word-processor-savvy teen in your church can probably help you with printing them quickly if you do not know how). Stick them on some disposable coffee cups and use a rubber stamp (there are lots available with things like the Star of Bethlehem, a sprig of holly, snowflakes, crosses, etc.) to add some color. Make a huge pot of hot chocolate. Go to Wal-Mart (or Pamida, if you are from a small town like ours) and give away hot chocolate on a Saturday morning until it is gone! (Get permission from the store management first.)

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Christmas Is All About the Gifts

— by Michelle Avery, Editorial Assistant, Herald and Banner Press, from her December Banner article.

It is finally here! Time for lovely gifts, light-lined houses, carol singing, and general feelings of good cheer to all. We spend weeks getting ready. We have shopping to do, practices to attend, greetings to send, goodies to bake, and miles to travel, yet the day is really all about the gifts.

Gifts we often pair with our special resolutions made on New Year’s Day when we celebrate the coming of new opportunities . . .

Which young couples often take advantage of a few weeks later. Simple chocolates and outings take on special meaning on Valentine’s Day . . .

When we revel in love in some of the same ways the people in Jerusalem rejoiced on Palm Sunday . . .

Whose merriment we share before the still mixed feelings of Good Friday’s triumphant tragedy . . .

On a day which is perhaps best understood by the Mothers whom we honor on their own special day . . .

Shortly before June when we give tribute to our Fathers, their counterparts . . .

Whose predecessors fought for our Independence to enjoy all these days . . .

Which we do particularly on the day off work to celebrate Labor . . .

Which we do a great deal of leading up to Thanksgiving when we express our gratitude for the blessings God has bestowed . . .

The greatest of which being the gifts we received on that first Christmas when love, forgiveness, and adoption into God’s family came wrapped in a tiny bundle.

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From a Board Member

— by Steve Kelso, Publications Board Member, from his article in the December Banner.

As a young boy, I remember The Church Herald and Holiness Banner coming into our home in Pittsburg, Kansas. After our wedding, my wife and I subscribed to The Banner. We found it to be theologically sound and a number one source to gain information on what is happening within the churches and the work of the Church of God (Holiness) in general.

The church paper is filled with news on our World Mission Department, Home Mission Department, Kansas City College and Bible School, and Harmony Hill Youth Camp. We also learn about various ministries and events within the local churches.

The printed page of The Church Herald and Holiness Banner was, and is a powerful tool used to change lives. Make The Banner part of your life.

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The Gift of Praise

Here is a gift idea for the kindest Recipient you will ever find. Give praise to God for all He has done. He does not need your gift, but He does deserve it. He has loved you with an everlasting love. He has blessed you in countless ways, but take a day this Christmas season to try counting them. Then present that list as praise to a Father who has everything and wants to share with you.

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Thirty-Three, Three-and-a-Half, and Three

— by Mark Avery, General Manager and Editor, Herald and Banner Press, from his article in the December Banner.

Thirty-three years. Nearly half of a thirty-three year life span today gets one old enough to qualify for a driver’s license in most states. Often the balance of those thirty-three years involves finishing high school and college, marriage and the beginning of a family, and getting started in a career.

Three and a half years is not very long. Church leaders say that a pastors most effective years begin after his sixth year in a given location. Jesus did not have time to waste. Nor would any of us consider His three and a half years of ministry in vain. Traveling from town to town, teaching in the streets, synagogues, and open places, He got His message across. Healing was an important ministry. He touched the sick, the blind, and the lame and they were healed. The dead rose to life; lepers were made whole; the demon-possessed were freed.

Then Jesus died. His body was placed in a grave. Roman soldiers guarded the sealed tomb so the disciples who had already run away could not steal His body. It was over. The teacher, healer, supposed Messiah was dead.

It was over.

It was over for three days, that is. The story is too long to tell here, but you know it. You can read it again in the Gospels. Sunday morning after He was crucified, Jesus was no longer in the grave. He met some of the ladies who visited the garden tomb. In turn, they told others who told others.

That is what Christmas is about. The same message comes through in the Easter story. The gospel message, focused in the person of Jesus Christ, is still the powerful, life-changing force Jesus designed it to be. It will change you. If you share this message with others, it will change them, too.

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The Most Wonderful Prayer of the Year

This is such a wonderful time of year! We celebrate everywhere — church, school, work, and home. We work hard to make sure everyone remembers why we can be so happy at Christmas. We teach the children songs and stories, we read articles and devotionals, we display nativities and evergreens. We remember well.

Have you taken advantage of what you remember? The Baby did not come to be sung or read about. He came “to seek and to save.” Why? Because God wants us in His family, and the only way to sign the adoption papers was with the blood of His Son. Have you been adopted? Have you talked to your Father lately?

Christmas might be the most wonderful time of the year for prayer, too.

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— by Mark Avery, General Manager and Editor, Herald and Banner Press, from his December editorial.

Christmas! The word rings with excitement and anticipation. Celebrations are planned and families gather. Churches present cantatas, dramas, and programs to highlight the great event of Jesus’ birth.

Many of our celebration activities reflect the celebration of the first Christmas. The emphasis on angels, the singing of carols, and gift-giving remind us of the day Jesus was born.

Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem just in time, yet precisely on time. No rooms available did not present a problem or even a surprise to the Almighty. The birth, the angels, the shepherds were only the beginning. The infant grew. He ministered. He did not forget His purpose. The Son of man, who was also the Son of God, came to seek and to save the lost.

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