Christmas in October is unbiblical!
by J. Randal Matheny, editor
Many prayers, among them ours, are going up for those in the northeastern US. We pray for no loss of life and for opportunities for the gospel. Many of us have friends there. We know good brethren in Virginia, New York, New Jersey (Brazilians!), Connecticut, and other states as well. We pray for their safety.
• While the US struggles with water and snow, our region is feeling record-high temperatures. The city of Ribeirão Preto, on the other side of the state from us, felt an all-time record of 110ºF. Coincidentally, I sent 40 hymnals to the church in that city today.
• When a church meets together, certain principles should guide its activities. Here are five of them:
- the twin principles of worship “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24);
- exclusivity—worship God only (Matthew 4:8-10);
- mutual edification—do everything to build others up (1 Corinthians 14:1-3, 12, 26);
- impartiality—treat everyone with love and respect (James 2:1-13);
- necessity—meeting together is not optional (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Wouldn’t it be strange for the church, whose basic meaning is “assembly,” not to assemble? You might find these principles useful for a class or sermon, besides applying them to your own life.
• Any day of the week is a good day for meeting together with the saints; the first day is a required day for the church’s assembly. That’s why the New Testament talks about the day and the table of the Lord. We’ve narrowed many of our meetings down to a thrice-weekly slot. Seems a shame, don’t you think?
• Our sister news site, BrotherhoodNews.com, has a slew of recent news, from Alabama and Arkansas, to Indiana and West Virginia and Michigan, from Brazil to India to Central America. Be sure to check out its offerings and sign up to get the email notifications, so you can stay up to date with the news. Surprise us with some news from your own congregation to share as well.
• Here in Brazil, Christmas decorations are already appearing in stores. We don’t have a Thanksgiving Day to hold back the vendors. (Brazil has adopted the horrid Halloween celebration, but not Thanksgiving, which is quintessentially American.) I think I’ve figured out why people of good sense hate to see Christmas paraphernalia encroach upon us earlier in the year. It’s a biblical principle, from Ecclesiastes 3:1: “For everything there is an appointed time, and an appropriate time for every activity on earth” (NET). Would you agree?
• From Bible class this past Sunday, two thoughts occurred to me (an especially fruitful moment, to have two thoughts), which I leave with you. One. Even the one-talent man was given a fortune. (This from Matthew 25:14-30). Two. For Jesus, a man is worth more than 2,000 pigs. Take that, environmentalists! (From Mark 5:1-20). And what are your thoughts?