The day after Christmas - 17 December 2014

Neville Turley

 

Do for others what you want them to do for you: this is the meaning of the Law of Moses and of the teachings of the prophets.  Matthew 7:12 (GNT)

In all Christian and some secular countries, the day after Christmas is a public holiday. In many Commonwealth countries it is known as Boxing day. There are differing explanations for the origin of that name.

Some believe it dates back to the time of Queen Victoria.  In those days it was customary for servants in households to work on Christmas day and be given the next day off.  The leftovers from the Christmas feasting would be placed in boxes and be given to them to share with their families. Tradesmen would also call at their clients households the day after Christmas and be given gifts in appreciation for the services they had rendered during the year.

Others believe that the tradition stems back to when spectators at the Roman games put money in boxes to show their appreciation of the athletes. The money would then be shared out among the athletes.

The Romans introduced the custom of collection boxes when they invaded Britain. The clergy there, took up the idea and placed boxes in Churches to collect money for the poor in the parish. These boxes were opened the day after Christmas and distributed to the needy. 

Christian boxes, Roman boxes and poor boxes all had one thing in common.  They were tokens of gratitude, expressed by persons of good will towards others.  However, acts of appreciation do not have to be expressed in monetary terms. 

In 1994 the name of our public holiday was changed from Boxing Day to the Day of Goodwill. Maybe it’s time to live up to the new name.

Our Lord Jesus Christ taught us how to do so.  “Do for others what you want them to do for you: this is the meaning of the Law of Moses and of the teachings of the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

That is the golden rule our Lord Jesus Christ gave us to live by.  It’s a teaching that has not tarnished over 2 000 years and it never will.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, enable me to reflect the golden rule in my conduct towards others. For Jesus sake.  Amen

The message of Christmas - 15 December 2014

Neville Turley

Lord, you are my God; I will honour you and praise your name.  You have done amazing things; you have faithfully carried out the plans you made long ago. Isaiah 25:1 (GNT)

Blessed with hindsight, we can look back to when Christ was born and echo the words of Isaiah 25:1.

God’s plan for the restoration of the creation through the promised Christ was coming to fruition. (Genesis 3:15)  A new era was dawning.  Heaven and earth resounded with joy and delight when Christ was born.  Ahead for the baby Jesus loomed his mission and the shadow of the cross, as foretold by the prophets but his birth was a time for celebration.

Joseph and Mary took the baby Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to God as Jewish law demanded. (Exodus 13:2)  There at the temple they were met by a devout God-fearing man, named Simeon, who had been assured by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the promised Messiah.  All his long life he had waited for that promise to be fulfilled.  When Jesus parents carried him into the temple, Simeon, led by the Spirit took Jesus into his arms and gave thanks to God.  “Now, Lord, you have kept your promise, and you may let your servant go in peace. With my own eyes I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples: A light to reveal your will to the Gentiles and bring glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32)

Meeting the Messiah was the highlight of Simeon’s life.  His long wait was over and he was at peace.

Meeting Jesus is the highlight of any person’s life.  It is a time of decision.  If Jesus calls you, and you led by the Holy Spirit, to respond to Him, he will save you, and you will have peace in your soul.  That is the reason why believers celebrate Christmas with such joy.

Prayer: Almighty God, thank you for your word.  I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide me in applying the teachings of your word to my life so that I may glorify you through the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

Die dag na Kersfees - 17 Desember 2014

Neville Turley

Alles wat julle wil hê dat die mense aan julle moet doen, moet julle ook aan hulle doen. Dit is tog waarop dit neerkom in die wet en die profete. Matteus 7:12

In alle Christelike lande en in sommige sekulêre lande is die dag na Kersfees 'n openbare vakansiedag. In baie Engelssprekende lande staand dit bekend as "Boxing day". Daar is verskillende menings oor waar die naam vandaan kom.

Sommige mense glo dit dateer uit die Viktoriaanse tyd. In daardie tyd was dit die gebruik dat bediendes in die groot huishoudings op Kersdag gewerk het en dan het hulle die dag daarna 'n dag afgekry.  Die oorskietkos van die vorige dag is dan in bokse geplaas en aan hulle gegee om met hulle gesinne te deel. Vakmanne het ook die dag na Kersfees by hulle kliënte se huise besoek afgelê waar hulle 'n geskenk ontvang het uit dankbaarheid vir die dienste wat hulle gedurende die jaar gelewer het.

Ander glo weer dat die tradisie sover teruggaan is die Romeinse tyd toe toeskouers by Romeinse Spele geld in bokse geplaas het om hulle waardering vir die atlete te bewys. Die geld is dan onder die atlete verdeel.

Toe die Romeine Brittanje ingeval het, het hulle die gebruik van die kollektebokse saamgebring.  Die predikante in Brittanje het die gebruik oorgeneem en bokse is in kerke geplaas om geld in te samel vir die armes in die gemeente. Die dag na Kersfees is die bokse oopgemaak en die inhoud onder die behoeftiges verdeel.

Of dit nou Viktoriaanse bokse, Romeinse bokse of bokse vir die armes was, almal het een ding in gemeen gehad. Almal was tekens van dankbaarheid wat mense aan ander wou bewys.

Tekens van dankbaarheid hoef ook nie altyd uit geld te bestaan nie. In 1994 is die naam van die openbare vakansiedag op 26 Desember in Suid-Afrika verander na Welwillendheidsdag.  Miskien is dit tyd om vas te stel hoe ons die nuwe naam van die dag gestand doen.

Ons Here Jesus Christus het ons geleer hoe om dit te doen. "Alles wat julle wil hê dat die mense aan julle moet doen, moet julle ook aan hulle doen. Dit is tog waarop dit neerkom in die wet en die profete." (Matteus 7:12)

Jesus het ons geleer om volgens hierdie goue reël te leef. Na meer as 2 000 jaar het hierdie reël nog nie sy waarde verloor nie, en dit sal nooit nie meer geld nie.

Gebed: Hemelse Vader help my om hierdie goue reël in my gedrag teenoor ander uit te leef. Ek vra dit in die Naam van Jesus. Amen

Die boodskap van Kersfees - 15 Desember 2014

Neville Turley

Here, U is my God! Ek wil U prys en u Naam loof! U het wonders gedoen; dinge wat U lankal besluit het, het U volgens plan uitgevoer.   Jesaja 25:1

Met die voordeel van nakennis kan ons terugkyk op die geboorte van Christus en God loof in die woorde van Jesaja 25:1.

God se plan om die skepping te herstel deur die Christus wat sou kom, het waar geword. (Genesis 3:15) 'n Nuwe tydperk het aangebreek. Hemel en aarde was gevul met blydskap toe Christus gebore is. Sy sending hier op aarde en die lyding waaroor die profete geprofeteer het, het op Hom gewag, maar sy geboorte was 'n tyd van blydskap.

Josef en Maria het, soos die Joodse wette verlang, Jesus na die tempel in Jerusalem geneem om Hom aan God te wy. (Eksodus 13:2) Daar by die tempel het hulle 'n godvresende man, Simeon, ontmoet. Simeon is deur die Heilige Gees verseker dat hy nie sal sterf voordat hy die Messias gesien het nie. Regdeur sy lang lewe het hy gewag vir hierdie belofte om vervul te word. Toe Jesus se ouers Hom die tempel indra het Simeon, gelei deur die Gees, die kindjie Jesus in sy armes geneem en God gedank: “Here, laat u dienaar nou in vrede gaan volgens u woord, omdat my oë u verlossing gesien het wat U gereed gemaak het voor die oë van al die volke: 'n lig tot verligting van die nasies en tot eer van u volk Israel.”  (Lukas 2:29-32)

Sy ontmoeting met die Messias was die hoogtepunt van Simeon sel lewe. Sy lang wag was verby en hy het vrede gehad.

'n Ontmoeting met Jesus is die hoogtepunt van enige mense se lewe. Dit is 'n geleentheid wanneer jy 'n besluit moet neem.  Wanneer Jesus jou roep en jy, gelei deur die Heilige Gees, besluit om Hom te volg, sal Hy jou red en jy sal vrede in jou siel hê. Dit is die rede hoekom Christene Kersfees met soveel blydskap kan vier.

Gebed: Almagtige God, dankie vir u woord. Gee dat die Heilige Gees my sal lei om die leringe van u woord in my lewe toe te pas sodat ek U deur Jesus Christus kan verheerlik. Amen

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