Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve

One of our ministers wrote the following for the church bulletin this week:
"Every year something makes us mad about what is happening to Christmas. We fight some things, but like it or not, we live in a fallen world. Here's a story about one Christmas 'hijack'.

A church in Sydney decided to get out in the community in the weeks leading up to Christmas and ran a stall at the local markets each Saturday morning (good idea!). They gave away free coffee, bibles and literature that explained Christmas. Some of the other stall-holders - especially the ones selling coffee and running book stalls - complained to the chamber of commerce, who ran the markets.

The following week the church got a letter from the chamber of commerce saying that they had withdrawn permission to run a stall at the markets. And, wait for it, in their view: 'Christmas was a most inappropriate time to be giving things away.'

Now there's a twist on Christmas that you may not have heard of!

Our response? We could get mad and write to the paper, get even and attack the 'enemy', or get real. Get real about the blindness that Satan has inflicted on the eyes of the unbelievers, who are like sheep without a shepherd. Society is much like a child who doesn't know any better.

Jesus' response? He did attack the self-righteous religious hierarchy; but for the lost souls of the masses, he had compassion upon them (Matt 9:36). The same sort of compassion that led his Father to send his Son into a world that desperately needed a Saviour. A salvation that was free - a free gift for us, though so costly for him.

Have a merry and a giving Christmas."

May all the peace and joy of Christmas be with you, now and always.

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The Last Quarter Moon is Saturday December 24. Venus dominates the western twilight sky. Venus is spectacularly large for a planet, larger even than Jupiter at its closest, and should be readily visible as a crescent in good binoculars (but look in the early twilight before Venus is too bright).

Venus is close to the horizon at twilight. Mars is in the northern evening sky in the company of the beautiful Hyades and Pleiades clusters. Saturn is now visible near midnight in the northeastern sky, near the Beehive cluster. Jupiter can be seen in the dawn sky, above the eastern horizon.

On December 27 Saturn is just below the crescent Moon. Mercury is just below Jupiter, but you will need a level horizon to see it, so that rules out most of Tasmania.

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