2019-01-09 / Religion

Pastor's Viewpoint

By Charles Buddy Whatley

There really are 12 days of Christmas; it begins on December 25th and ends on January 5th. And there really is a Santa Claus; it’s a long story including a reconstructed face by Caroline Wilkinson, a facial anthropologist at the University of Manchester in England! (National Geographic, December 20, 2013)

Saint Nicholas was born in Greece and became the bishop of Myra in modern-day Turkey. Two stories from his life made him the patron saint of children and gift giving. The first story has the bishop anonymously giving three bags of gold to an indebted father as a dowry for his three daughters, saving them from a life of prostitution. The second story has three boys being murdered and “buried” in barrels in a basement. The bishop discovered the crime and resurrected the three boys.

For several hundred years, St. Nicholas’ life was celebrated with a feast day on December 6th, later moved to December 25th. When his burial place was repaired in the 1950’s, his remains were carefully documented using x-rays and measurements. Those records were used by Caroline Wilkinson to re-create his face, including a broken nose suffered during the persecution of Christians by the Roman Emperor Diocletian.

And there really is a God! The two small churches in my “circuit” have read through the Bible during the past year using the Daily Walk Bible. From Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, we’ve read the story of a God who created, then lost, and then reached out to his creation to bring them back into his kingdom. Now, during the new year, we’ll go back through the Bible and talk about the “absolute basics of the Christian faith.”

“[1] In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. [2] Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. [3] And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. [4] God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. [5] God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning---the first day.” (Genesis 1:1-5)

It was July of 1961 and 38 members of the Green Bay Packers football team were gathered together for the first day of training camp. Legendary coach Vince Lombardi stood up; “Gentlemen,” he said, holding a football in his right hand, “this is a football.”

Maybe you noticed, the Bible simply states the obvious, “In the beginning God!” Nowhere in the Bible does anyone try to prove God’s existence. It’s a given, as though the authors cannot comprehend how anyone could question God’s existence. The psalmist said, “How clearly the sky reveals God’s glory! How plainly it shows what he has done!” (Psalm 19)

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