JESUS – THE REASON FOR THE SEASON THE MELTING POT November/ November/December 2010 Throughout history, the influence Jesus had on the lives of people has never been “…my Isaiah 56:7: “…my house will be called a house of prayer for all surpassed. People who encounter the risen Christ stay true to their faith and they do not peoples.” peoples.” ath. death hesitate to face hardship, persecution and even death. --Inspire Inform--Inspire— Our Mission: Inform--Inspire—Involve devastated. Following Jesus' crucifixion, his disciples were devastated. But after they met the were resurrected Christ, they were radically changed. Many were tortured and killed because Church & Day Care Family Community Picnic they proclaimed Jesus was alive. Schaff: Nazareth, Historian Philip Schaff: "This Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander, Caesar, Mohammed, and Napoleon; without science...he shed more light on things human and divine than all philosophers and scholars combined; without the eloquence of schools, he spoke such words of life as were never spoken before or since, and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet; without writing a single line, he set more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art, and songs of praise than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times." first- In our own age, many skeptics have been convinced just as thoroughly their first-century counterparts. Lew Wallace, a famous general and literary genius, was a known atheist who sought information that would forever destroy Christianity. While writing a book, he found book, himself on his knees crying out to Jesus, "My Lord and my God." but Not only does the love of Christ impel Christians to face persecution and death but also Theresa, well- to work to make the world a better place. Mother Theresa, well-known for her ministry poor, among the poor, said: "Our work is only the expression of the love we have for God." ministering William and Katherine Booth, founders of the Salvation Army, believed that ministering to the poor was like ministering to Christ Himself. The movement they launched enlisted the tireless efforts of enthusiastic people who wanted to make a difference in the world around them. All of these followers of Jesus have found fulfillment and joy in following the teachings of and Jesus. They were transformed when they met Christ and yielded their lives to him. You may also wish to encounter the living God and experience His transforming power. Christ's desire is to enter your heart and give you a new life in him. CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD [Adapted from Hal N. Ostrander, Chair, Religion & Philosophy Division, Brewton- Parker College, Mt. Vernon, May 6, 2004] Africa-Christmas is celebrated by Christian communities large and small. There are approximately 350 million Christians in Africa. On Christmas day carols are sung, meats are roasted, gifts exchanged and family visits made. The Coptic Christians in Ethiopia and Egypt celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January. THE SALLY ANN CAFÉ EXPERIENCE Brazil - Brazilians are a mix of people from many parts of the world, and The experience can be summed up in six words: as a former Portuguese colony, they have many Christmas customs which ENRICHING, ENLIGHTENING, EXCITING, EXUBERATING, ELATING, ENERGISING originate from this heritage. The people of Northern Brazil, as in Mexico, enjoy a version of the folk play Los Pastores or "The Shepherds." In the food, fellowship With the Lord’s abundant blessings of spiritual food uplifting fellowshi and fun discussions Brazilian version, there are shepherdesses rather than shepherds and a around the table. gypsy who attempts to kidnap the Christ Child. Devout Catholics attend Midnight Mass or Missa do Galo (rooster). The rooster announces the coming day and the Missa do Galo finishes at 1 AM on Christmas morning! Catholics go to church, but the masses are mostly late afternoon. Decorations include fresh flowers from the garden. Part of the display is fireworks and huge Christmas "trees" of electric lights. China - Christians celebrate by lighting their houses with beautiful paper lanterns and decorating their Christmas trees or "Trees of Light," with paper chains, flowers and lanterns. Children hang muslin stockings and await a visit from Santa Claus or Dun Che Lao Ren ("Christmas Old Man”). Since the vast majority of the Chinese people are not Christian, the main winter festival is the Chinese New Year towards the end of January. Now officially called the "Spring Festival," it is a time when children receive new clothing, eat luxurious meals, receive new toys, and enjoy firecracker displays. An important aspect is the worship of ancestors. Portraits and paintings of ancestors are hung in the main room of the home. Iran (Persia) - The land where the Three Wise Men lived when Jesus was born. Christians begin fasting (“Little Fast”) from animal products on Dec 1. "Big Fast" occurs during Lent, six weeks preceding Easter. After Church service of Dec 25 they enjoy Christmas dinner which they call "Little Feast”. Gifts are not exchanged but children wear new clothes on Christmas Day. India - Christians decorate mango or banana trees and their houses with mango leaves. Small clay oil-burning lamps are used as Christmas decorations on the roofs and walls. Churches are decorated with poinsettias and lit with candles for the Christmas Evening service.