What Do Jews Think About Christmas Celebrations?

God's Love

Nearly all Americans (93%) celebrate Christmas. Only an extremely tiny minority would object to the greeting, “Merry Christmas,” a cherry greeting roughly equivalent to, “I love you,” Yet, political correctness, championed by the liberal/progressive movement, has effectively eliminated the Merry Christmas greeting from public life as well as nativity scenes and other symbols of Christmas. In contrast, consider what three nationally-known Jewish leaders have to say about Christmas celebrations:

Burt Prelutsky, a Jewish columnist for a number of national publications, declares:

I never thought I’d live to see the day that Christmas would become a dirty word. . . . How is it, one well might ask, that in a Christian nation this is happening? . . . Speaking as a member of a minority group – and one of the smaller ones at that – I say it behooves those of us who don’t accept Jesus Christ as our savior to show some gratitude to those who do, and to start respecting the values and traditions of the overwhelming majority of our fellow citizens, just as we keep insisting that they respect ours. Merry Christmas, my friends!

Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Daniel Lapin agrees:

Secular fundamentalism has successfully injected into American culture the notion that the word “Christmas” is deeply offensive. . . . Anti-Christianism is unhealthy for all Americans; but I warn my brethren that it will prove particularly destructive for Jews. . . . Let us all go out of our way to wish our many wonderful Christian friends – a very merry Christmas. Just remember, America’s Bible belt is our safety belt.

Orthodox Jewish radio host and creator of PragerUniversity.com Dennis Prager writes:

As a Jew, and a religious one at that, I want to wish my fellow Americans a Merry Christmas. Not “Happy Holidays.” Merry Christmas…

It doesn’t matter with which religion or ethnic group you identify; Christmas in America is as American as the proverbial apple pie. That is why some of the most famous and beloved Christmas songs were written by guess who? Jews.

  • White Christmas—Irving Berlin
  • Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer—Johnny Marks
  • Let It Snow! Let It snow! Let It Snow!—July Styne/Sammy Cahn
  • Silver Bells—Jay Livingston/Ray Evans
  • The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting on an Open Fire—Mel Torme/Robert Wells
  • Sleigh ride-–Mitchell Parish

and many others.

The notion that non-Christians are excluded is absurd.

It never occurred to my Orthodox Jewish family not to enjoy this season. It was a tradition in our home to watch the Christmas Mass from the Vatican every Christmas Eve…Had you visited our home, you would have seen my mother—and my father, my brother and I all wearing our kippot (Jewish skull-caps)—watching Catholics celebrate Christmas…

So when and why did this pernicious nonsense of non-Christians being “excluded” by public celebration of Christmas develop?

It is nothing more than another destructive product of the 1960s and 1970s, when the left came to dominate much of the culture.

There you have it! Say “Merry Christmas” everywhere; say it again and again and again. Say Merry Christmas with love every time. Saying it mechanically, without love betrays the greeting and the Lord.

So—Spread the Deliberate Joy; spread the merriment. After all, love is contagious. And—don’t forget the reason for the season!

Blogging YOU the warmest and merriest Christmas ever!

The first two quotes were abstracted from http://www.wallbuilders.com. The third quote is from wnd.com magazine, Whistleblower, “Of Messiahs False and True,” December 2014.

The Birth of the Light of the World!

The Nativity scene.

The Christmas season reminds us of some curious lyrics about love and light, in the most enduring Christmas carols. A closer look reveals that the curious lyrics are rooted in Scripture. Consider two examples:

  • Silent Night, Holy Night-3rd verse

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

  • Hark the Herald Angels Sing-3rd verse

Light and life to all He brings…”

There is a linkage between love and light and something very special about the linkage. Light has fascinated mankind since Creation; artists and scientists have had a complementary interest in studying light. But the highest source of information is Scripture. A look at what Scripture reveals about love and light may save artists and scientists considerable time and effort. We can do that right now:

  • “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” [1 John 1:5 NIV]—All electromagnetic energy that we perceive as light comes from the Sun. Since the light that illuminates the eyes was created by God, He is the physical light. God is also the spiritual light that illumines the soul.
  • “…God is love…” [1 John 4:16 KJV] and “…love comes from God.” [1 John 4:7 KJV]—Love is spiritual energy that comes from God, illuminates the soul, and fuels all interpersonal relationships. All love comes from God, whether the one loving gives God credit or not. Our greatest responsibility is to pass it on.

The visible earthly expression of God’s love is in and through the Son (Jesus, Y’shua). He provided “…a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” [Luke 2:32 NIV] “In him was life, and that life was the light of men…The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.” [John 1:4 & 9 NIV]

After forgiving the adulteress, Jesus (Y’shua) confirmed “…’I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness. But will have the light of life.” [John 8:12 NIV]

Albert Einstein was famous for thought experiments. As a young man, he imagined riding a beam of light. Of course, Jesus could not ride a beam of light; he is the light. Instead, he chose to arrive in a stable through the humble darkness of a virgin’s womb. He was laid in an animal’s feeding trough called a manger. For 33 years, the “King of the Jews” lived a humble life serving others, ultimately exiting this life in the humblest way possible, dying virtually naked on the excruciatingly painful Roman cross.

King Jesus (Y’shua) came as a humble servant to model the life God intended for us to live and to pay the penalty for Adam’s first sin and all the sins in your life and mine. One day, the King will return as the conquering Messiah.

Don’t be afraid of any form of darkness; God is the light! Don’t fear any form of threat; God is love!

As for me, “The Lord is my light and my salvation…” [Psalm 27:1 NIV]

Won’t you join me?

Happy Independence Day!

Declaration of Independence Close Up

Two Powerful Founders’ Quotes Connect Patriotism and Biblical Faith

July 3, 1776 “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.

“You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory I can see that the end is worth more than all the means; that posterity will triumph in that day’s transaction, even though we [may regret] it, which I trust in God we shall not.” Founder John Adams

July 4, 1837 “Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day. Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the Progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Saviour and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets 600 years before.”

“I speak as a man of the world to men of the world; and I say to you, Search the Scriptures! The Bible is the book of all others, to be read at all ages, and in all conditions of human life; not to be read in small portions of one or two chapters every day, and never to be intermitted, unless by some overruling necessity.”

“Posterity–you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.” Sixth President John Quincy Adams

What’s All the Hullabaloo about St. Patrick?

St Patrick's Day Puppy

Today is the day many people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, marked by the conspicuous wearing of green and for some an overindulgence of green beer. But what started it all?

For six years, beginning as a teenager in the sixth century A.D., Patrick served as a slave to Irish Druids. These fine folks practiced human sacrifice. Patrick eventually escaped. In a dream, 20 years later, Patrick reported, “I thought I heard the voice…call out: ‘Please, holy boy, come and walk among us again.’”

The cry was so compelling that Patrick returned to Ireland, using the three-leaf clover to explain the Trinity to the Druids and Chieftains. He devoted the rest of his life to baptizing 120,000 and founding 300 churches. He wrote:

“Patrick the sinner, an unlearned man to be sure. None should ever say that it was my ignorance that accomplished any small thing, it was the gift of God.”

From American Minute, William J. Federer

What does it take to wake up the body of believers?

What does it take to wake up the clergy?

 

The Birth of the Light of the World

The Christmas season reminds us of some curious lyrics about love and light, in the most enduring Christmas carols. A closer look reveals that the curious lyrics are rooted in Scripture. Consider two examples:

The Nativity scene.

  • Silent Night, Holy Night-3rd verse

Silent night, holy night Son of God, love’s pure light Radiant beams from Thy holy face With the dawn of redeeming grace Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

  • Hark the Herald Angels Sing-3rd verse

Light and life to all He brings…”

There is a linkage between love and light and something very special about the linkage. Light has fascinated mankind since Creation; artists and scientists have had a complementary interest in studying light. But the highest source of information is Scripture. A look at what Scripture reveals about love and light may save artists and scientists considerable time and effort. We can do that right now:

  • “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” [1 John 1:5 NIV]—All electromagnetic energy that we perceive as light comes from the Sun. Since the light that illuminates the eyes was created by God, He is the physical light. God is also the spiritual light that illumines the soul.
  • “…God is love…” [1 John 4:16 KJV] and “…love comes from God.” [1 John 4:7 KJV]—Love is spiritual energy that comes from God, illuminates the soul, and fuels all interpersonal relationships. All love comes from God, whether the one loving gives God credit or not. Our greatest responsibility is to pass it on.

The visible earthly expression of God’s love is in and through the Son (Jesus, Y’shua). He provided “…a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” [Luke 2:32 NIV] “In him was life, and that life was the light of men…The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.” [John 1:4 & 9 NIV]

After forgiving the adulteress, Jesus (Y’shua) confirmed “…’I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness. But will have the light of life.” [John 8:12 NIV]

Albert Einstein was famous for thought experiments. As a young man, he imagined riding a beam of light. Of course, Jesus could not ride a beam of light; he is the light. Instead, he chose to arrive in a stable through the humble darkness of a virgin’s womb. He was laid in an animal’s feeding trough called a manger. For 33 years, the “King of the Jews” lived a humble life serving others, ultimately exiting this life in the humblest way possible, dying virtually naked on the excruciatingly painful Roman cross.

King Jesus (Y’shua) came as a humble servant to model the life God intended for us to live and to pay the penalty for Adam’s first sin and all the sins in your life and mine. One day, the King will return as the conquering Messiah.

Don’t be afraid of any form of darkness; God is the light! Don’t fear any form of threat; God is love!

As for me, “The Lord is my light and my salvation…” [Psalm 27:1 NIV]

Won’t you join me?

Merry Christmas Everyone!

This is for EVERYONE tonight!

The great passion and extravagant love Jesus had, drove Him straight to the cross to face death. Think about that. He not only spoke about love, He followed it with action. People called Him crazy, God called Him perfect, now we call Him Savior. Having outstanding passion and love for God and others will at some point, put you in the position of being persecuted and misunderstood, BUT…take heart. God loves nothing more than a humble and obedient spirit, ready and willing, AT ANY COST, to carry out His will. Did you catch that? Yes, I said AT – ANY – COST. See, that’s where the dividing line is drawn. That’s the “cross-road” many reach and decide this isn’t what they signed up for. The Cross IS the “cross-road”. It provokes a decision without compromise. It offers you “hot or cold” but never lukewarm.

Yet here’s the amazing thing: Never will you hear God tell you at the end of your life that you loved Him too much, or that you were “too obsessed” with His heart…you were too obsessed in spending time with Him. So you know what that tells me? GO ALL OUT! Doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. I say, it’s better to be known as the “radical one” who loved Jesus “too much” rather than someone whom never professed their love at all.

Philippians 1:20 – As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with all boldness now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.

Amy Basel

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What Do Jews Think About Christmas Celebrations?

God's Love

Nearly all Americans (93%) celebrate Christmas. Only an extremely tiny minority would object to the greeting, “Merry Christmas,” a cherry greeting roughly equivalent to, “I love you,” Yet, political correctness, championed by the liberal/progressive movement, has effectively eliminated the Merry Christmas greeting from public life as well as nativity scenes and other symbols of Christmas. In contrast, consider what three nationally-known Jewish leaders have to say about Christmas celebrations:

Burt Prelutsky, a Jewish columnist for a number of national publications, declares:

I never thought I’d live to see the day that Christmas would become a dirty word. . . . How is it, one well might ask, that in a Christian nation this is happening? . . . Speaking as a member of a minority group – and one of the smaller ones at that – I say it behooves those of us who don’t accept Jesus Christ as our savior to show some gratitude to those who do, and to start respecting the values and traditions of the overwhelming majority of our fellow citizens, just as we keep insisting that they respect ours. Merry Christmas, my friends!

Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Daniel Lapin agrees:

Secular fundamentalism has successfully injected into American culture the notion that the word “Christmas” is deeply offensive. . . . Anti-Christianism is unhealthy for all Americans; but I warn my brethren that it will prove particularly destructive for Jews. . . . Let us all go out of our way to wish our many wonderful Christian friends – a very merry Christmas. Just remember, America’s Bible belt is our safety belt.

Orthodox Jewish radio host and creator of PragerUniversity.com Dennis Prager writes:

As a Jew, and a religious one at that, I want to wish my fellow Americans a Merry Christmas. Not “Happy Holidays.” Merry Christmas…

It doesn’t matter with which religion or ethnic group you identify; Christmas in America is as American as the proverbial apple pie. That is why some of the most famous and beloved Christmas songs were written by guess who? Jews.

  • White Christmas—Irving Berlin
  • Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer—Johnny Marks
  • Let It Snow! Let It snow! Let It Snow!—July Styne/Sammy Cahn
  • Silver Bells—Jay Livingston/Ray Evans
  • The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting on an Open Fire—Mel Torme/Robert Wells
  • Sleigh ride-–Mitchell Parish

and many others.

The notion that non-Christians are excluded is absurd.

It never occurred to my Orthodox Jewish family not to enjoy this season. It was a tradition in our home to watch the Christmas Mass from the Vatican every Christmas Eve…Had you visited our home, you would have seen my mother—and my father, my brother and I all wearing our kippot (Jewish skull-caps)—watching Catholics celebrate Christmas…

So when and why did this pernicious nonsense of non-Christians being “excluded” by public celebration of Christmas develop?

It is nothing more than another destructive product of the 1960s and 1970s, when the left came to dominate much of the culture.

There you have it! Say “Merry Christmas” everywhere; say it again and again and again. Say Merry Christmas with love every time. Saying it mechanically, without love betrays the greeting and the Lord.

So—Spread the Deliberate Joy; spread the merriment. After all, love is contagious. And—don’t forget the reason for the season!

Blogging YOU the warmest and merriest Christmas ever!

The first two quotes were abstracted from http://www.wallbuilders.com. The third quote is from wnd.com magazine, Whistleblower, “Of Messiahs False and True,” December 2014.

Christmas Gift Suggestions!

Christmas gift suggestions:

To your enemy, forgiveness.

To an opponent, tolerance.

To a friend, your heart.

To a customer, service.

To all, charity. To every child, a good example.

To yourself, respect.”
Oren Arnold

Three Miracle Births—Virgin Birth is One + Two

Young Pregnant Mary with Manger

At this time of year, there is no shortage of people proclaiming skepticism or even scoffing at the idea of the virgin birth of Jesus. It was necessary, because the virgin birth was the only way Jesus could live a sinless life free of the sinful nature of pride that is the root of all sins. Nevertheless, the scoffers abound. They seem to catch media attention more often than believers.

The birth of Jesus is one of at least three miracle births in Scripture. God did the “impossible” in the lives of Abraham and Sarah, Zachariah and Elizabeth, and Joseph and Mary—three highly improbable births.

The birth of a child to a virgin is a one-time miracle. Mary became pregnant when she was “overshadowed,” by the Holy Spirit of God [Luke 1:35]. Since she was a healthy young woman, the rest of the gestation and birth process proceeded normally. For the God who created the universe, the Earth we call home, and all the plant, animal, and human life that makes up our environment, enabling a virgin to give birth is no obstacle.

A child born to an old woman is an even greater miracle than the virgin birth. At the birth of Isaac, Abraham was 100-years old and Sarah was 90-years of age [Genesis 17:17]. Scripture also tells us that at the birth of John-the-Baptist, his father Zechariah was an “old man” and his mother, Elizabeth, is variously described—depending on the translation—as “old as well,” “advanced in years,” or “beyond child bearing years.” [Luke 1:18] Having never previously given birth, both Sarah and Elizabeth were described as “barren.” The combination of old age and barrenness reduces that chances of pregnancy to virtually zero, apart from the intervention of God.

The birth of a child to an old woman can be viewed as a long-term continuous miracle or long series of miracles. The conception itself is two miracles. The reproductive systems of both the father and mother must be miraculously restored to youthful vigor. The conception must overcome the lifetime of barrenness, which confirms the miracle of the actual conception.

The mother’s womb must be effectively resurrected from the deadening effects of old age to harbor the baby and enable the formation of the umbilical cord through which she feeds and nourishes the baby. Her hormonal system must be quickened to support a growing baby and all the necessary changes to allow her body to carry the baby for nine months and eventually give birth. Prior to the actual birth, the mother’s hormonal system and the flesh and muscles, required for birth, must be rejuvenated to enable them to perform harmoniously at the time of birth.

Prior to the birth, the mothers’ breasts, that have never before nursed a baby, must be restored to youthful vitality to function and feed the newborn baby for a prolonged period of time. Today, the supermarket shelves are stocked with an array of infant formulas and baby foods. No such products were available in ancient Israel. A baby’s survival largely depended upon milk from the mother. Few alternatives were available, except perhaps goat’s milk.

The births-in-old-age enjoyed by Abraham/Sarah and Zechariah/Elizabeth were 2 – 3 year long continuous miracles or two amazing series of miracles from conception until weaning. Compare those long series of miracles with the one-time miracle of conception that occurred within the virgin called, “Mary,” who gave birth to Jesus.

Quite simply, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” [Matthew 19:26 NIV]

Of course the real miracle of Christmas is not just that a virgin gave birth. The greater miracle is that Mary gave birth to the Messiah who came to save mankind from the ravages and ultimate death penalty of sin.

Merry Christmas to All!

The Thanksgiving Miracle of Five Kernels of Corn!

Bible and Holiday Dinner

Most of us learned about Thanksgiving in school. You know the drill. In 1620, the Pilgrims crossed the ocean blue and experienced a devastatingly harsh winter along the Massachusetts coast. About half of them perished. Spring finally arrived and a friendly Indian named Squanto helped the Pilgrims learn how to obtain food by stomping eels out of the mud and fertilizing corn with dead fish. The following fall, they celebrated an abundant harvest with a feast that became known as the first Thanksgiving. But there is more, much more. The string of miracles is nearly endless:

  • Many years before, the Separatists, later known as the Pilgrims, reached the breaking point of frustration and disappointment after enduring severe persecution by the Church of England. They “removed” to Leyden, Holland. After nearly a dozen years of severe adversity and personal toughening, it was time to leave. They came to believe the America was their “promised land.” They found their way back to England on the ship, Speedwell, prepared to join the Mayflower for the long difficult voyage to America. At Southhampton, their sponsors forcibly required them to accommodate 80 “strangers” who would later strain the best of interpersonal relationships. The Pilgrims numbers were reduced due to limited capacity on the ships. In July, 1620, they sailed west. In barely three days they had to return to England, because of structural problems with the masts on the Speedwell. Again, their numbers were reduced to stay within the carrying capacity of the Mayflower. God had sifted their numbers repeatedly. Only the hardiest of the hardy remained on the Mayflower for the epic journey.
  • Crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the Pilgrims endured “seven weeks of the hell of an ill-lighted, rolling, pitching, stinking inferno” as well as tormenting by the crew. All manner of sins were brought to the surface, confessed, and forgiven. By the time they reached land, they were a spiritually cleansed and extremely close-knit group. Adversity does that.
  • Mid-way across the Atlantic, they experienced a life-threatening emergency. The immense cross-beam supporting the main mast was failing. They would likely be lost at sea. After intense prayer, William Brewster had a eureka moment. He recommended using the giant iron printing press screw to support the breaking beam. It worked! Even the skeptical sailors praised God along with the Pilgrims.
  • Just before landing at Plymouth in Massachusetts, they realized they were under no legal jurisdiction. To maintain order, they wrote and everyone signed the Mayflower Compact. The miracle and genius of the document is that it included many of the same principles later embodied in our founding documents.
  • Their landing site was protected by Cape Cod. The site was flat, cleared, and had four freshwater streams and even a cache of corn. How could that happen? The area was previously cleared and inhabited by the Patuxet Indians, one of the few tribes known to be extremely hostile. Years before the Pilgrims’ arrival, the tribe was wiped out by a plague. Other tribes avoided the area, fearing presence of evil spirits. It was a miracle site for the Pilgrims.
  • They finally set foot on land in mid-November, 1620.The first winter was extremely harsh and food was scarce. In January, the thatched roof of the Common House caught fire, a life-threatening emergency, due to their utter dependence on that building. Adversity inspired even more prayer and bound them together even tighter. By Spring, they had lost about half their number. Still the mortality rate was not nearly as high as in Jamestown, Virginia. The miracle was that half did survive.
  • In their most desperate hour into their camp walked a Christian, English-speaking Indian, a Patuxet no less. Yes, you read it right. He was the Squanto of our school days lessons. He was the only survivor of the plague that killed the rest of his tribe, because he was not there. In 1605, Squanto was one of four Indians taken captive and shipped to England, where they were taught English so they could be questioned. Squanto spent nine years in England. In 1614, he was returned to America by Captain John Smith (Yes, it is the same one you remember from the Pocohontas story hundreds of miles to the South.). But Squanto was quickly captured again, taken to Spain and sold as a slave. He was bought and feed by local friars who taught him the Christian faith. Upon his second return to America, Squanto was devastated to find that his entire tribe had succumbed to a plague. Alone and wandering through the woods, Squanto was discovered by Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoags. The wise chief recognized that the Pilgrims had a desperate need and the Squanto desperately needed to be needed. Massasoit sent Squanto, the Christian, English-speaking Indian to the Pilgrims. William Brewster would later call Squanto, “a special instrument sent of God for their good, beyond their expectation.” Squanto effectively became an earthly savior. He taught the Pilgrims how to survive in a harsh, rugged, untamed wilderness.
  • Following a bountiful harvest, they and about ninety Indians celebrated the feast that became known as the First Thanksgiving. The three-day celebration and the new arrivals from England consumed much of the provisions for the second winter.
  • By Spring, the food ration for each individual was down to an unimaginable five kernels of corn per day. Nevertheless, they survived again and enjoyed a bountiful harvest after the second summer.
  • When everyone approached the table for the Second Thanksgiving feast, they found a plate with just five kernels of corn as a reminder of God’s limitless grace even under the harshest of conditions.

Here is a challenge for you. Set this year’s Thanksgiving table with just five kernels of corn on each plate. Before enjoying the rest of the feast, share this story with your family and guests. God’s grace is truly wonderful! Tell everyone, about it, beginning with your family.

Much of this story was abstracted from The Light and the Glory, by Peter Marshall and David Manuel (1977), Fleming H. Revell Company; Old Tappan, New Jersey.

George Washington Proclaims Thanksgving Holiday!

George Washington, the republic’s first president, proclaimed Nov. 26, 1789, as a day for thanking God for bringing America through its trials.

Thanksgiving 2

“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly implore His protection and favor; and whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

“Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the twenty-six of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that Great and Glorious Being, who is the Beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country, previous to their becoming a nation; for the single manifold mercies, and the favorable interposition’s of His providence, in the courage and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish Constitutions of Government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

“And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the Great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private institutions, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discretely and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us) and to bless them with good governments, peace and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science, among them and us; and generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.”

President George Washington

Oct. 3, 1789

Patriots Day Parade in Lexington, MA

The Fourth of July (Independence Day) , “…will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.”

Founder John Adams

Freedom is a Gift from God not a Grant from Government!

The Declaration of Independence firmly embedded God’s gift of freedom in the souls of all Americans, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men…are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

American religious freedom showing Bible and Declaration of Independence.

All civilizations begin in a condition of chaos and anarchy with no external control by government or any other authority. Consider what might happen if you went down in a commercial airliner crash and became part of 100 survivors stranded on a remote uncharted island with no means of communication and little chance of rescue. You and the other survivors initially work together for survival determining how to meet the immediate needs for food and shelter. Soon, however, disagreements break out, tending to escalate with time. At some point, a council of volunteers or elected members forms to draft guidelines for assuring more harmonious living among the survivors. The guidelines prohibit certain actions and mandate others. But the voluntary guidelines are only partially effective and conflict continues. A mechanism is designed and designated people are given the authority to monitor compliance with the guidelines, seek violators, and punish them in a predetermined fashion. The guidelines have now become the beginnings of enforceable law.

Whoa! What just happened? All freedom…that’s right, all freedom comes from God as the incredible gift of free will, bounded only by certain moral limitations that He applies for harmonious living and to protect you and others from physical, emotional, and spiritual harm. Any form of government can only can only limit or deny any particular freedoms. Governments can only wield money and power in an impersonal way; they have no moral authority or ability.

Government continues to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people” as long as the laws passed and regulations adopted conform to or are aligned with Scriptural mandates. God-given freedom powered by His love and limited by Scriptural boundaries—primarily the prohibitions of the Ten Commandments and moral/ethical limitations on behavior—depend on voluntary restraint. The prohibitions and limitations were given for the benefit of mankind to assure the richness of the human experience.

“…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” [2 Corinthians 3:17 KJV ]

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” [Galatians 5:1 KJV ]

“From the day of the Declaration…they [the American people] were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledged as the rules of their conduct” John Quincy Adams

Freedom is provided by God (“endowed by our Creator”) as the awesome gift of free will. Freedom, enshrined in the Declaration of Independence as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” can only be curtailed or restricted by a government that exceeds the moral limits defined by God. Government can only become the source of freedom after the government has seized total control of every aspect of life, then doles out a sort of pseudo-freedom in bits and pieces as incentives to control the people. That is not freedom.

The constitutional form of the United States government was designed to protect the God-given freedom, which was won by great sacrifice in the Revolutionary War and preserved by great sacrifices in all later wars. The Constitution provided for the military to protect American citizens from foreign intervention and a network of separation of powers as well as limiting checks and balances to protect the citizens from progressive government intrusion.

It has been the Great American Experiment in self-rule, “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” The military protects the freedom in America from external invasion. However, freedom will decay from within unless our culture is constantly nourished with a spiritual and emotional passion for freedom and the people defend it vigorously.

“God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.”Daniel Webster

“Though, when a people shall have become incapable of governing themselves and fit for a master, it is of little consequence from what quarter he comes.” George Washington

America’s Traditional Enemies Readily Understand the Source of America’s Greatness—Many Americans Cannot! Why?

The People’s Republic of China is officially atheist and communist. Yet their Academy of Social Sciences recently testified:

We were asked to look into what accounted for the preeminence of the West all over the world. At first we thought it was because you had more powerful guns then we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past 20 years we have realized the heart of your culture is your religion, Christianity. That is why the West has been so powerful. The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to Democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this. The Christian Post May 22, 2015

Upraised hand holding a bible in front of a flag

In a recent speech, critical of the United States, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin asserted that there can be no benefit to society when good and evil are treated equally.

What is going on here? Russian and Chinese leaders have come to actually admire the source of America’s strength, which of course comes from God. Our traditional enemies have admired the cultural strengths that far too many American have learned to ridicule. America is increasingly championing evil.

Many of our uncommonly wise Founders anticipated the current condition. Founder and early President John Adams expressed the concern clearly and forcefully:

“Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely standThe only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure, than they have it now, they may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty. June 21, 1776

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” October 11, 1798 (Address to the military)

Founder and first President George Washington issued a prophetic proclamation during his first Inaugural Address:

“…there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” April 30, 1789

Seventy years later, President Abraham Lincoln sternly warned of the consequences of forgetting or abandoning God:

“We have been recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven.  We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity.  We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown; but we have forgotten GodWe have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.” March 30, 1863

In our time, the situation has become far more serious. Freedom is incredibly fragile and can be lost at any time. President Ronald Reagan proclaimed:

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” Annual meeting of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce (30 March 1961)

This time of year, we often hear the slogan Freedom is not free. It’s been paid for in blood. The blood of Jesus (Y’shua) was shed to give us spiritual freedom from the curse of sin. Throughout many wars, hundreds of thousands of our military warriors have shed their blood and given their lives to protect our freedom from outside encroachment by the armies of other nations.

But it is up to us to fight for and protect freedom from internal decay and collapse. Freedom is not a natural condition. The Garden of Eden was the only place where freedom was natural. Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, pride has caused men or groups of men to seek power at the expense of the personal freedom of others.

Throughout history and in all cultures power has always tended to concentrate. The U.S. Constitution was the founder’s air tight box designed to contain the Federal government. Today, both major political parties are increasingly ignoring the Constitution; the U.S. Supreme Court long ago abandoned its primary obligation as the guarantor of the Constitution. The results have been tragic.

Listen to the stern, uncompromising admonition, of the great orator, Senator Daniel Webster (late nineteenth century):

“There is no nation on earth powerful enough to accomplish our overthrow. Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence. I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men and become the instruments of their own undoing.

Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster, and what has happened once in 6000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.

If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instruction and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity.”

Freedom is a gift from God; it is not a grant from government. It is not natural and must be protected or it will dissipate and the fire of freedom, which George Washington called a “sacred fire,” will be extinguished. The trickle of lost freedom that began over 50 years ago has become a raging torrent today. Founder Samuel Adams, cousin of John Adams, had little patience with people unwilling to fight for freedom:

“If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our country men.”

A generation later, Senator Daniel Webster added, “God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.” Ultimately,

  • only Judeo-Christian believers can understand that freedom is a gift from God;
  • only believers can learn to treasure that gift.
  • Only believers can understand that freedom not jealously guarded and aggressively protected will be lost.

In view of the tragic collapse of the American culture, the obvious question becomes, “Where are all the believers?

Believers have always had a cultural impact far beyond their actual numbers. Regretfully, many believers today don’t fully understand the concept of freedom. To varying degrees, believers have bought in to the ungodly cultural compromises.

The second, equally obvious question becomes, “Where are all the pastors, rabbis, and church/synagogue leaders who must embed the concept of God-given freedom in the souls of believers?

What do YOU think? What should be changed or pursued differently within the body of believers?

Mothers are Awesome!

Young mother and daughter doing yoga exercise in fitness studio with big windows on background

“Mothers constitute the only universal agent of civilization. Nature has placed in her hands both infancy and youth. The vital interest of America hang largely upon the influence of mothers. The queen that sits upon the throne of home, crowned and sceptered as none other ever can be, is—mother. Her enthronement is complete, her reign unrivaled, and the moral issues of her empire are eternal. ‘Her children rise up, and call her blessed.’ Rebellious at times, as the subjects of her government may be, she rules them with marvelous patience, winning tenderness and undying love. She so presents and exemplifies divine truth, that it reproduces itself in the happiest development of childhood—character and life…An ounce of mother is worth more than a pound of clergy.” [Shannon]

The Power of the Breast

The breasts of a woman illustrate that her power and her freedom are greater when she is satisfying the needs of her family than anywhere else. For a moment, set aside all the breast jokes you have ever heard and consider a much more profound discussion.

When she is pregnant, she is bonding with the baby for nine months. It is reasonable to recognize that “fetus” is a scientific term acceptable for use in a laboratory and for scientific research. But any woman who has ever been pregnant knows that she is carrying her baby. Her unique bonding with the baby continues during and following birth, as long as she is using her breasts to nurse the baby. The bond grows throughout the child’s growing years as she devotes special individual attention to the child’s needs.

The breasts have another vital function as part of reproductive or recreational intimacy with her husband, activities that contribute to the growing and sustaining the marriage bond. Of course the breasts of a woman are the outward physical representation of a much more holistic bond with the baby (intellectual, emotional, and spiritual) and a much more holistic bond with her husband (intellectual, emotional, and spiritual).

As the ultimate bonding connection between the woman and her child and between the woman and her husband, her breasts represent the indispensable totality and power of her role as the heart of the home. The powerful bond with her husband is her link with the present and the past; her powerful bond with the children is her link with the future. When she leaves the home for a career, she becomes the missing link. Love leaves the home like air out of a flat tire. Her involved presence is vital to the continuity and cohesiveness of the family and the sustainability of the culture.

Mothers are indispensable!

Mothers are Awesome!

Mothers are one of God’s greatest miracles!

Happiness in the New Year Depends on Virtuous Living!

This time of year “Happy New Year” is everywhere. The greeting is repeated so often, it almost seems as if it is on autopilot. The New Year is celebrated with parties, prayers, parades, and football games. But how can we assure happiness in the New Year?

2015 Fireworks party - New Year Display!

Happiness is often equated with momentary or short-term excitement. “My favorite team won the Super Bowl!” “I got an ‘A’ in chemistry!” “She said ‘YES!’” There is no doubt about it; everyone enjoys that type of feel-good excitement. But it is based on emotion; it does not last. No one can live on a perpetually emotional high.

In contrast, a lifetime of long-term happiness has deeper spiritual roots that provide the support to withstand life’s challenges and hardships as well as celebrate the victories. That dimension of happiness reflects an inner joy anchored in a robust faith in God. Ever since Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden of Eden for disobeying God, every life has experienced occasional or sometimes long-term suffering. But a robust faith provides a clear vision of the light at the end of the tunnel and an appreciation of the character building opportunities associated with the hardships. The inner joy may be severely challenged but remains secure despite the pain.

Although my late wife never suffered any real physical pain, she did endure the progressive loss of physical mobility and mental capacity. Did her suffering have a purpose? Absolutely! Her experience dramatically and permanently changed my life and has had a rapidly expanding rippling effect on everyone with whom I come in contact. I explained to a rather large crowd at her memorial service that she and God gave me one of the greatest gifts I have ever received—the wonderful and glorious gift of tears. As a man, an engineer trained in logic, and the product of a rather stoic family, where there was not much room for a manly expression of tears. But the wonderful and glorious gift of tears stirred by seven years of accommodating her progressive loss opened up to me whole new realms of life experience both emotionally and spiritually that were not previously available. I became much more sensitive to the needs of disabled people and virtually everyone else as well. Her experience also contributed greatly to the motivation to write a book.

Here’s the deal: Ultimately, happiness is the result of living a virtuous life. How boring is that? Actually, a virtuous life is not boring at all; it is very rich, satisfying, and happy. During George Washington’s First Inaugural Address, he emphasized, “…there is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exists…an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness…” To President Washington, the link between “goodness and happiness” was plain and inescapable.” Further, Noah Webster found that, “If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad man to make and administer the laws.” A life based on virtues anchored deeply in the soul produces goodness of choices and actions that ignite a happy and joyful spirit within an individual and ultimately across cultures.

Happy New Year to YOU!

The Birth of the Light of the World

The Christmas season reminds us of some curious lyrics about love and light, in the most enduring Christmas carols. A closer look reveals that the curious lyrics are rooted in Scripture. Consider two examples:

  • Silent Night, Holy Night-3rd verse

Silent night, holy night Son of God, love’s pure light Radiant beams from Thy holy face With the dawn of redeeming grace Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

  • Hark the Herald Angels Sing-3rd verse

Light and life to all He brings…”

There is a linkage between love and light and something very special about the linkage. Light has fascinated mankind since Creation; artists and scientists have had a complementary interest in studying light. But the highest source of information is Scripture. A look at what Scripture reveals about love and light may save artists and scientists considerable time and effort. We can do that right now:

  • “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” [1 John 1:5 NIV]—All electromagnetic energy that we perceive as light comes from the Sun. Since the light that illuminates the eyes was created by God, He is the physical light. God is also the spiritual light that illumines the soul.
  • “…God is love…” [1 John 4:16 KJV] and “…love comes from God.” [1 John 4:7 KJV]—Love is spiritual energy that comes from God, illuminates the soul, and fuels all interpersonal relationships. All love comes from God, whether the one loving gives God credit or not. Our greatest responsibility is to pass it on.

The Nativity scene.

The visible earthly expression of God’s love is in and through the Son (Jesus, Y’shua). He provided “…a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” [Luke 2:32 NIV] “In him was life, and that life was the light of men…The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.” [John 1:4 & 9 NIV]

After forgiving the adulteress, Jesus (Y’shua) confirmed “…’I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness. But will have the light of life.” [John 8:12 NIV]

Albert Einstein was famous for thought experiments. As a young man, he imagined riding a beam of light. Of course, Jesus could not ride a beam of light; he is the light. Instead, he chose to arrive in a stable through the humble darkness of a virgin’s womb. He was laid in an animal’s feeding trough called a manger. For 33 years, the “King of the Jews” lived a humble life serving others, ultimately exiting this life in the humblest way possible, dying virtually naked on the excruciatingly painful Roman cross.

King Jesus (Y’shua) came as a humble servant to model the life God intended for us to live and to pay the penalty for Adam’s first sin and all the sins in your life and mine. One day, the King will return as the conquering Messiah.

Don’t be afraid of any form of darkness; God is the light! Don’t fear any form of threat; God is love!

As for me, “The Lord is my light and my salvation…” [Psalm 27:1 NIV]

Won’t you join me?

What Do Jews Think About Christmas Celebrations?

Nearly all Americans (93%) celebrate Christmas. Only an extremely tiny minority would object to the greeting, “Merry Christmas,” a cherry greeting roughly equivalent to, “I love you,” Yet, political correctness, championed by the liberal/progressive movement, has effectively eliminated the Merry Christmas greeting from public life as well as nativity scenes and other symbols of Christmas.

God's Love

In contrast, consider what three nationally-known Jewish leaders have to say about Christmas celebrations:

Burt Prelutsky, a Jewish columnist for a number of national publications, declares:

I never thought I’d live to see the day that Christmas would become a dirty word. . . . How is it, one well might ask, that in a Christian nation this is happening? . . . Speaking as a member of a minority group – and one of the smaller ones at that – I say it behooves those of us who don’t accept Jesus Christ as our savior to show some gratitude to those who do, and to start respecting the values and traditions of the overwhelming majority of our fellow citizens, just as we keep insisting that they respect ours. Merry Christmas, my friends!

Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Daniel Lapin agrees:

Secular fundamentalism has successfully injected into American culture the notion that the word “Christmas” is deeply offensive. . . . Anti-Christianism is unhealthy for all Americans; but I warn my brethren that it will prove particularly destructive for Jews. . . . Let us all go out of our way to wish our many wonderful Christian friends – a very merry Christmas. Just remember, America’s Bible belt is our safety belt.

Orthodox Jewish radio host and creator of PragerUniversity.com Dennis Prager writes:

As a Jew, and a religious one at that, I want to wish my fellow Americans a Merry Christmas. Not “Happy Holidays.” Merry Christmas…

It doesn’t matter with which religion or ethnic group you identify; Christmas in America is as American as the proverbial apple pie. That is why some of the most famous and beloved Christmas songs were written by guess who? Jews.

  • White Christmas—Irving Berlin
  • Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer—Johnny Marks
  • Let It Snow! Let It snow! Let It Snow!—July Styne/Sammy Cahn
  • Silver Bells—Jay Livingston/Ray Evans
  • The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting on an Open Fire—Mel Torme/Robert Wells
  • Sleigh ride-–Mitchell Parish

and many others.

The notion that non-Christians are excluded is absurd.

It never occurred to my Orthodox Jewish family not to enjoy this season. It was a tradition in our home to watch the Christmas Mass from the Vatican every Christmas Eve…Had you visited our home, you would have seen my mother—and my father, my brother and I all wearing our kippot (Jewish skull-caps)—watching Catholics celebrate Christmas…

So when and why did this pernicious nonsense of non-Christians being “excluded” by public celebration of Christmas develop?

It is nothing more than another destructive product of the 1960s and 1970s, when the left came to dominate much of the culture.

There you have it! Say “Merry Christmas” everywhere; say it again and again and again. Say Merry Christmas with love every time. Saying it mechanically, without love betrays the greeting and the Lord.

Family at Christmas dinner

So—Spread the Deliberate Joy; spread the merriment. After all, love is contagious. And—don’t forget the reason for the season!

Blogging YOU the warmest and merriest Christmas ever!

The first two quotes were abstracted from http://www.wallbuilders.com. The third quote is from wnd.com magazine, Whistleblower, “Of Messiahs False and True,” December 2014.

The Thanksgiving Miracle of Five Kernels of Corn

Bible and Holiday Dinner

Most of us learned about Thanksgiving in school. You know the drill. In 1620, the Pilgrims crossed the ocean blue and experienced a devastatingly harsh winter along the Massachusetts coast. About half of them perished. Spring finally arrived and a friendly Indian named Squanto helped the Pilgrims learn how to obtain food by stomping eels out of the mud and fertilizing corn with dead fish. The following fall, they celebrated an abundant harvest with a feast that became known as the first Thanksgiving. But there is more, much more. The string of miracles is nearly endless:

  • Many years before, the Separatists, later known as the Pilgrims, reached the breaking point of frustration and disappointment after enduring severe persecution by the Church of England. They “removed” to Leyden, Holland. After nearly a dozen years of severe adversity and personal toughening, it was time to leave. They came to believe the America was their “promised land.” They found their way back to England on the ship, Speedwell, prepared to join the Mayflower for the long difficult voyage to America. At Southhampton, their sponsors forcibly required them to accommodate 80 “strangers” who would later strain the best of interpersonal relationships. The Pilgrims numbers were reduced due to limited capacity on the ships. In July, 1620, they sailed west. In barely three days they had to return to England, because of structural problems with the masts on the Speedwell. Again, their numbers were reduced to stay within the carrying capacity of the Mayflower. God had sifted their numbers repeatedly. Only the hardiest of the hardy remained on the Mayflower for the epic journey.
  • Crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the Pilgrims endured “seven weeks of the hell of an ill-lighted, rolling, pitching, stinking inferno” as well as tormenting by the crew. All manner of sins were brought to the surface, confessed, and forgiven. By the time they reached land, they were a spiritually cleansed and extremely close-knit group. Adversity does that.
  • Mid-way across the Atlantic, they experienced a life-threatening emergency. The immense cross-beam supporting the main mast was failing. They would likely be lost at sea. After intense prayer, William Brewster had a eureka moment. He recommended using the giant iron printing press screw to support the breaking beam. It worked! Even the skeptical sailors praised God along with the Pilgrims.
  • Just before landing at Plymouth in Massachusetts, they realized they were under no legal jurisdiction. To maintain order, they wrote and everyone signed the Mayflower Compact. The miracle and genius of the document is that it included many of the same principles later embodied in our founding documents.
  • Their landing site was protected by Cape Cod. The site was flat, cleared, and had four freshwater streams and even a cache of corn. How could that happen? The area was previously cleared and inhabited by the Patuxet Indians, one of the few tribes known to be extremely hostile. Years before the Pilgrims’ arrival, the tribe was wiped out by a plague. Other tribes avoided the area, fearing presence of evil spirits. It was a miracle site for the Pilgrims.
  • They finally set foot on land in mid-November, 1620.The first winter was extremely harsh and food was scarce. In January, the thatched roof of the Common House caught fire, a life-threatening emergency, due to their utter dependence on that building. Adversity inspired even more prayer and bound them together even tighter. By Spring, they had lost about half their number. Still the mortality rate was not nearly as high as in Jamestown, Virginia. The miracle was that half did survive.
  • In their most desperate hour into their camp walked a Christian, English-speaking Indian, a Patuxet no less. Yes, you read it right. He was the Squanto of our school days lessons. He was the only survivor of the plague that killed the rest of his tribe, because he was not there. In 1605, Squanto was one of four Indians taken captive and shipped to England, where they were taught English so they could be questioned. Squanto spent nine years in England. In 1614, he was returned to America by Captain John Smith (Yes, it is the same one you remember from the Pocohontas story hundreds of miles to the South.). But Squanto was quickly captured again, taken to Spain and sold as a slave. He was bought and feed by local friars who taught him the Christian faith. Upon his second return to America, Squanto was devastated to find that his entire tribe had succumbed to a plague. Alone and wandering through the woods, Squanto was discovered by Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoags. The wise chief recognized that the Pilgrims had a desperate need and the Squanto desperately needed to be needed. Massasoit sent Squanto, the Christian, English-speaking Indian to the Pilgrims. William Brewster would later call Squanto, “a special instrument sent of God for their good, beyond their expectation.” Squanto effectively became an earthly savior. He taught the Pilgrims how to survive in a harsh, rugged, untamed wilderness.
  • Following a bountiful harvest, they and about ninety Indians celebrated the feast that became known as the First Thanksgiving. The three-day celebration and the new arrivals from England consumed much of the provisions for the second winter.
  • By Spring, the food ration for each individual was down to an unimaginable five kernels of corn per day. Nevertheless, they survived again and enjoyed a bountiful harvest after the second summer.
  • When everyone approached the table for the Second Thanksgiving feast, they found a plate with just five kernels of corn as a reminder of God’s limitless grace even under the harshest of conditions.

Here is a challenge for you. Set this year’s Thanksgiving table with just five kernels of corn on each plate. Before enjoying the rest of the feast, share this story with your family and guests. God’s grace is truly wonderful! Tell everyone, about it, beginning with your family.

Much of this story was abstracted from The Light and the Glory, by Peter Marshall and David Manuel (1977), Fleming H. Revell Company; Old Tappan, New Jersey.