Holiday Traditions

We've got a couple of holiday traditions that I thought some Christians might like to take part in, if they knew about them:

  1. George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation - sure, the pilgrims probably gave thanks, and there were various times and proclamations for a day of thanksgiving, but it was our first president that declared that a Thursday would be a day of national thanksgiving, and many presidents following did the same, and that is why it continues to be a day of thanks-giving. But what is this? Our first president commanded us to give thanks to God??? Lincoln and FDR did the same??? Yes, Washington even states that it was the providence of God that led to the forming of our nation. In the face of claims that Washington was a pure deist, and aligning cleanly with the strong statements our forefathers pitted against atheists ("infidels", they called members of this "foolishness"), this proclamation is a wonderful way to point out the faith of our forefathers in the midst of laying the foundations of our freedom with the bricks of their sacrifices and the mortar of their blood: http://www.leaderu.com/humanities/washington-thanksgiving.html
  2. Jesse Tree (or similar advent scriptural readings) - no, I don't believe that Christmas is a biblically mandated or even inspired holiday; but our church tradition is thick with countering the pagan holidays around this time of year with an earmarked celebration of our Lord. In fact, there is some evidence that Christmas began as a result of resisting and/or countering the celebration of Sol Invictus (aka Saturnalia), and this in the midst of heavy persecution. So, when in Rome, why not? I don't think it's idolatrous, unless you allow your covetousness to outweigh your zeal for a time of dedication to reading the word and other such Godly activities. That said, a Jesse Tree or similar advent-related study allows a family to focus on the end-to-end story of Jesus Christ, from creation itself and the fall of mankind to the coming of Christ and His true purpose to pay for our sins. It's a beautiful time to share that thread, to view the shadows and types of His completed covenant, and the prophecies the directly foretell of it, to the beautiful moment that He enters into a humble existence and prepares for a life of servitude and dedication. Amazing, trust me. Here's one version that we've chosen to use (the chart at the bottom contains the scriptures to be read): http://www.crivoice.org/jesse.html

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