TIS THE SEASON
OK, EVERYONE GATHER AROUND UNCLE RUBEN, AS YOU WILL HEAR A STORY ABOUT THE REAL SAINT NICHOLAS.
OK, EVERYONE GATHER AROUND UNCLE RUBEN, AS YOU WILL HEAR A STORY ABOUT THE REAL SAINT NICHOLAS.
Now since this is December, and every one has an opinion I wanted to be the first to point out some facts about this man that is both loved and hated. Everything I will write regarding this matter, did not come from any religious books, commentaries or Christian history books but regular Encyclopedias (The World Book Encyclopedia, New Encyclopedia Britannica, Academic American Encyclopedia and such.) So without further ado…..
Nicholas parents died when he was a young child, leaving him well off and to be raised by the catholic church. He devoted his inheritance to charity as he was ordained into the priesthood at age 19. Later he became a bishop of Myra (Turkey) at a young age in the 4th century, which is why modern ‘Santa’ is dressed in red suit trimmed with white, with red hooded hat as this originated from the Bishops miter and cope worn.
He spent time in prison during the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians and later released by Constantine. He was known to spend his days fasting and nights doing devotions. He was known to travel to Palestine and Egypt.
There was a story, where a poor man who had 3 girls and was ready to sell one as slave or turn one over to prostitution and he could not marry them because he had no dowry. The story is that St. Nick heard of this and went to their home at night, climbed up the wall and tossed a bag of gold into a window. The bag flew into one of the socks that was drying next to the fireplace, hence the tradition of hanging stocking to be filled with gifts. Nicholas did this three times and was caught by the father who thanked him and was asked not to tell anyone.
He was at war with the pagan traditions of Greece and Rome around Myra as he removed pagan temples like Artemis in Myra and ripped apart the temple of Diana with his hands; “he destroyed it, angrily, down to it’s very foundation, which he tore out of the ground.” Wonder what he would do to a local catholic church today?
Once before a hearing with Constantine, he did not like what his opponent was saying so he got off his chair and slapped him in the face. He was chained up and jailed for that outburst.
And of course the catholic church has made of idol out of him as they have Mary the mother of Jesus, that most non-catholics do not even speak/teach/preach on these individuals. I think most active Christians would have much in common with this man Nicholas and IF he were alive today the very church that sets him up as an icon would have considered him an outcast today. Not to mention, he would preach against the ‘Santa’ guy, if not be in jail for ripping apart those jolly faced pictures or slapping ‘Santa’ face at a mall.
There is no other saint represented by artists more than Nicholas except for the virgin Mary. As he is know to the catholics as the ‘Fighting Saint.’
He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in a cathedral.
The transformation of Nicholas to a Christmas icon started in Germany where the reformed churches were in the majority.
Until the 1800’s most people pictured St. Nick as a tall, thin man that smoked on a horse
In the Netherlands and Belgium St. Nick visits December 5 th, where he leaves gifts in shoes next to the fireplace and has been known to have a side kick named ‘Black Pete’ who carries a birchwood rod to whip naughity children.
In 1809 “Knicker bocker’s History of New York” published a new version of the saint as author Washington Irving described Nicholas as a stout, jolly man with a board brim hat.
On December 23 1823 a poem entitled ‘An Account of a visit from St. Nicholas’ appears in the Troy Sentinel. The poem begins with the familiar line ‘Twas the night before Christmas.’ Nicholas appears a fat jolly man with a twinkling eyes and a red nose, wearing a red suit trimmed with white fur, riding a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer.
In 1863-1886 adds in ‘Harpers weekly magazine’ put the white beard on him, walking with a skip and reindeer pulling a sleigh and in 1931, magazine ads for Coca-Cola pictured Saint Nicholas into what we commonly picture as Santa Claus today, who say advertisements don’t work?
There is a city in southern Indiana named ‘Santa Claus.’
Like with many religious, they honor those that lived holy but while alive hated them, persecuted them or put them to death. Well hath our Lord said;
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”
….and for the record…..
I do not believe that December 25th was the date nor the month that Jesus was born, but I do acknowledge a nation giving honor to the birth of the son of God, be it in December, July or mid October. I understand the roots for that date and most of what we have in America is based of paganism, as such the days of the week used. All named after pagan gods, rather than the Biblical terminology, of day 1, day 2, day 3……..Sabbath Day. Every dollar bill we have in our pocket is filled with pagan icons, yet we work for it, save it and spend it and no one makes an issue. As an open air preacher I do take advantage of preaching Luke chapter 2 this whole month, at events, streets, malls and parades, what a great time to remind our world of the that birth in a manger.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”
What a great time to publicly promote such a verse………..
Days before the birth of Jesus is celebrated headlines as these were everywhere; “Rowdy shoppers eager to get the latest Air Jordans clash with police” as shoppers waited in line for hours busted doors and pushed and shoved and even fought their neighbor to get a new pair on ‘Air Jordans.’ And can someone tell me what this has to do with the birth of Jesus from a virgin in a manger? These same people will stand in line for hours, for shoes and come late to Church on Sunday. These same people will fight and argue for shoes and never contend for the faith. These same people will fight and push for their shoes only to have someone rob them and shot them on the street for those same shoes.
THIS IS NOT A WHITE CHRISTMAS
In Pineville NC dozens of police officers had to break up fights and restore order at a local mall while shoppers were waiting for an overnight sale of a popular basketball shoe. The disturbance started inside Carolina Place Mall just after 5am. Witnesses said as mall officials opened the mall doors, as crowds of people pushed their way in and jumped over those that fell on the floor. Mall security said "They almost took the door off the hinges," one shopper who didn't want to be identified said, "there were women with babies in their hands and they on their backs." More than a two dozen officers from Pineville Police and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police were stationed inside the mall as the stores continued to make their sales sending 40 officers to the scene. One person was arrested and charged with resisting arrest.
At a metro Atlanta mall these limited edition sneakers turned into a fist fights as several people were arrested, including one woman who left two young children in her car as she waited in line for those shoes. Hundreds of people began lining up just after midnight hours to get their hands on a pair of Nike's new $200 Michael Jordan sneakers. They were being sold at four different stores in the mall. Apparently, some people could not wait until the mall opened its doors at 8 a.m. Police were called to the scene after a crowd of people apparently pried open the mall doors and rushed in. Police escorted most of the people back outside. At least four people were arrested in that incident
In Louisville Kentucky, Metro Police had to break up a fight early today at Jefferson Mall over the release of a new style of sneakers, they received a report of 75-100 people in a fight over pairs of the new Air Jordan Eleven Retro Concords. One security guard was trampled by the crowd waiting for several shoe stores to open early and when they opened he went down. One customer bragged that he bought two pair of the shoes and sold one pair to another person in line for more money. Another customer said; "Man it's crazy in there, people getting run over and security guards getting trampled and stuff," he added. "They almost tried to arrest us!” he was asked “Fighting over shoes was it worth it” his reply “yeah.”
In northern California someone fired shots at the Hilltop Mall in Richmond, where around 3,000 were people were waiting in line for the latest Air Jordan 11 Retro Concords. This was done to try and spook the crowd but they didn’t move from line. In Redondo Beach CA. the line turned into a crowd and a mob as police were called to control the shoppers who were being pressed against the doors waiting for those shoes. In Indianapolis shoppers ripped the door of its hinges and trampled others to enter a mall early and get those shoes. In Seattle police used pepper spray to keep crowds at bay.
At a Detroit mall a crowd became unruly and began forcing their way inside the Taylor’s Southland Mall. The shoe mob forced open a pair of doors almost three hours before the 8 a.m. opening and stormed inside. Security called for Taylor police, who then summoned assistance from Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Southgate and Brownstown Township to restore order. Once inside, police say there was some minor interior damage to decorations and benches that were toppled over during the scuffle. A 21-year-old Detroit man was arrested for inciting a riot.
“BUT NO ONE EVER LISTENS TO YOU GUYS”
How often do we hear that from people and mainly Christians that wish to water you down and become lukewarm as them? Earlier this week we were at the ‘Guns and Roses’ concert at the Forum as the concert did not start till 9PM there were bodies everywhere to hear this band that formed in Los Angeles, in 1985. I stood outside by the large forum sign as Mark stood at another entrance, with Doug preaching at the limo entrance.
Now as with any concert the people did not want to any preaching, because they have a ticket in hand and they came for their music and in this case, they wanted Axl Rose. Even claimed him to be god. Most of the people that screamed and shouted at me were women, as they had an opinion on everything and I was going to hear it. They bellowed “I am a @$%$&$3$@# Christian, you ))&(&*^&% jerk….. @$^$ hole” as they flipped me off and accused me of being unloving. I asked this one guy, while his love doll was cussing me out, “if he was thinking about marrying that girl?” He just smiled, giving me a look like, glad it’s not him she is ripping into. So I told him I’d do him a favor, ‘I will keep her busy and he should RUN away….RUN OFF….RUN hard….RUN fast and don’t look back. He can thank me later.” Well, that only added fuel to the already overheated gal.
The conversations were priceless and sobering and just before I rolled up my banner, I had this guy walk up to me a say; “Dude, I saw you right here 25 years ago, right under that very sign and holding a large sign. I can’t believe you are still around, wow you really believe this?”
Now I did not know this guy from Adam but that moment of time 25 years ago was filed in his brain and was opened that night. After 25 years of conversations, meeting people and seeing things that 25 year old memory was ajared with clarity. Now these stories have happened a number of times in a number of cities because I have preached the same venues for years and within time you will see the fruit of your presents based on your faithfulness, for all that is done for the kingdoms sake is not unproductive.
“So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it”
Do not think what you do is in vain, be it holding a sign, preaching in public or talking to someone one on one, or just someone a tract, all is not in vain.
This also sheds light that perhaps Judgment Day can happen in 2.5 seconds, as mankind will have full use of that mind the way God intended and standing before the holy presents of God, you will know every time you lied, stolen and sinned, even your very motive to brought to light. It will be you that condemns you before God, unless of course these memories are blotted out by the Blood of Jesus. And we as being eternal beings, again the way God intended will spend that eternity in His kingdom or the Lake that burns with Fire.
Another time I was at my local home depot getting some lumber cut for a home project I was doing, when the young man helping me asked this question; “have you ever been on youtube before, because there is a street preacher that looks just like you?” I replied, Yes, that’s me.
This young man almost leaped for joy, as he said that he and a few people from his Church had watched a number of youtube clips and could not believe some of the things they had witnessed and heard. We had a good time fellowshipping as this half hour trip to home depot lasted over an hour as he cut and asked questions regarding open air preaching. He had memorized things that was preached as if he had just viewed those clips that day. Even with a medium like youtube God can use to inspire viewers to boldness and most of us will never know the full impact.
I was speaking at a Church in New Orleans once and after my message I had this Christian walk up to and apologize to me. I asked for what? He told me that “20 years ago he saw me on Bourbon Street preaching with a large banner” and tossed his beer on me. Well I have had so many gallons of liquid poured on me, I can’t recall each one, but they could. He said, that it was my voice while I was speaking that he remembered and once he matched the voice with that memory, the dots were connected. After 20 years, that one deed was stored inside that mind and he regretted doing it. He pointed out that he laughed and ran off but that I never stopped nor paused preaching my message. I exhort you to preach to ears that will hear and eyes that will see and on the Great Day those same ears and eyes will not plead ignorant, because they know they rejected the truth, its filed in their mind.
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not”