Jn. 9:4 [NKJV]. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.

Beneath the name on most cemetery monuments, the engraver inscribes the date of that one’s birth and the date of the death. A simple dash separates those two dates and represents that person’s time on earth. What will you do with your dash?

In a lifetime the average American will spend six months sitting at stop-lights, eight months opening junk mail, one year looking for misplaced objects, two years unsuccessfully returning phone calls, four years doing housework, five years waiting in line, and six years eating.

Jesus stepped into time and space during the days of His flesh. Jesus walked carefully to fulfill the hour for which God sent Him.

Lk. 2:19. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

The spirit of Christmas should not be confined to a single calendar day. The Bible did not attach any significance to a single day but rather to the life-changing and day-by-day difference Jesus made to those who come to Him.

Walter A. Maier described the desire to hold on to Christmas when he wrote, “A few moments more to linger in the colorful radiance of the Christmas-tree, a few moments more to blend our hearts and voices in the cheerful Christmas melodies, a few moments more to enjoy the happiness that comes to our reunited family circles on Christmas, and this day of days from which we unwillingly release our grasp is gone and has given way to the tomorrow, in which, as men resume their wonted activities, the spell of Christmas is often broken, its luster dimmed, its message forgotten. But Christmas is too wonderfully magnificent to be confined to one solitary, fleeting day. There is rather a deathless significance in this Child of Christmas, a permanent and divinely bestowed gift of God, which brings perpetual happiness, immeasurable and unspeakable, both here and hereafter.”

Are you willing...

to stoop down and consider the needs and desires of little children;

to remember the weakness and loneliness of people growing old; to stop asking how much your friends love you, and ask yourself whether you love them enough;

to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear in their hearts; to try to understand what those who live in the same home with you really want, without waiting for them to tell you;

to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you;

to make a grave for your ugly thoughts, and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open—

Are you willing to do these things, even for a day?

Then you can keep Christmas.

Are you willing...

to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world— stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death— and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love?

Then you can keep Christmas. And if you can keep it for a day, why not always?

But you can never keep it alone.

(Keeping Christmas, Henry Van Dyke)

October 31st is Reformation Day. On the thirty-first day of October, 1517, at twelve o’clock Martin Luther nailed to the doors of the castle-church at Wittenberg, ninety-five Latin Theses. The Theses of Luther reverberated the themes of the Reformation.

Martin Luther had experienced salvation by faith not works.

Luther received the answer to life’s most important question. How can a man be just with God? Years earlier, when Luther went to Rome, he ascended on bended knees the twenty-eight steps of the famous Scala Santa (said to have been transported from the Judgment Hall of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem), thinking he might secure the indulgence attached to this religious performance, but at every step the word of the Scripture sounded in his ear: “The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17).

Luther said, “But when, by the Spirit of God, I understood these words – The just shall live by faith; The just shall live by faith! – then I felt born again like a new man; I entered through the open doors into the very Paradise of God!”

Bro. Paul