Christmas or Easter?

Non-Christians probably prefer Christmas to Easter. After all, don’t most people like to give and receive gifts? Gifts that often have more value–probably even more lasting value–than chocolate (or real) bunnies and various other candies.

Too many people–through no fault of their own–lack an adequate and correct understanding of the significance of both of those holidays.

Yes, Christmas is a time of giving. No wonder. The Christmas story in the Bible mentions the gifts brought by the so-called wise men: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Very precious and expensive gifts. But those gifts were brought to the Christ child, not to Mary and Joseph, and gifts were not given to the wise men in return.

No matter how valuable the wise men’s gifts were, they pale in comparison to God’s giving up part of Himself by uniting with a human woman to create a baby who was both human and divine.

His was a gift of the greatest love imaginable.

God had had established a system of sacrifices based for the atonement of sins–that is, to provide forgiveness and to make things right between the ancient Jews and God. The sacrificial system involved the killing of a Passover lamb.

That lamb had to be perfect. Spotless. No blemishes. As perfect as it could possibly be. If an imperfection was discovered at the last minute, that lamb couldn’t be used. It wouldn’t be acceptable.

That sacrificial system didn’t really accomplish everything God had wanted it to do. So, in giving part of Himself through the birth of Jesus, God Himself became the most perfect sacrificial lamb possible. Perfect because Jesus never committed even the least sin.

If He had sinned, even once, He wouldn’t have been good enough to be sacrificed for the sake of mankind.

Yet if He hadn’t been part human, He wouldn’t have been subject to the temptations that plague each of us daily. If He hadn’t been tempted and had to rely on His Heavenly Father for the strength to resist each and every temptation, His sacrifice would’ve been meaningless. Because God is fully righteous, the only acceptable sacrifice had to be sin-free.

The sacrifice of the Passover lamb necessitated that it be killed. Without the spilling of blood, its death would’ve been worthless.

And so it was with Jesus. If He hadn’t been killed on a Roman cross–His blood was spilled in the process–His sacrifice wouldn’t have been acceptable to God the Father.

But Jesus was the perfect sacrificial lamb, and His death paid the price for the sins each of us is born with simply because we’re descendants of Adam and Eve–not only the first human beings, but the first sinners.

The fact that God brought Jesus back to life and then, after a period of days, brought Him back to Heaven gives Easter a whole new perspective. God forgives our sinful natures because of Jesus’s death, but–without a relationship with God through faith in Jesus–God would not consider any of us righteous or worthy of both eternal life in Heaven and a more meaningful life here on earth.

Christmas or Easter? What do you think?

If Jesus hadn’t been born a true miracle baby, Easter would have no significance. So Christmas is definitely something to celebrate.

But Christmas was just the necessary beginning of the story. Easter is the rest of the story.

Your comments are welcome.

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

P.S. Pictured below is my latest novel. The Kindle version is free today only at Amazon. Go here to get your copy.

Roger's newest novel

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Chocolate and Sweet Frog vs. Cold Stone

 

 

coldstone 

NOTE: I’ve updated this post to correct what I said about the stone work table at Cold Stone.

Kathleen and I both love sweets, but I’m the one who could live on a diet of chocolate if I could.

When a local businessman in Richmond started opening Sweet Frog frozen yogurt stores all over the area–and then to many other places in the country–we thought it was pretty neat. What drew us there initially was the creativeness of “Frog” being an acronym for “Fully relying on God.” Yep, a Christian-owned business that wasn’t afraid to identify itself that way.

I’d never tried frozen yogurt before, but I quickly fell in love with the small number of flavors I was actually fond of. That meant mixing chocolate and Irish mint.  Although the Irish mint turned out not to be a permanent flavor, I was able to make do mixing my chocolate with something else.

And the fixings bar was out of sight. I can’t begin to tell you everything they had, but suffice it to say a lot of it was chocolate. Even pieces of waffle cone that had chocolate coating. Yum!

We became friends with the manager and took advantage of our Sweet Frog cards to get one cup free with every ten bought. And I did a book signing there.

But alas! they quit having chocolate as a frozen yogurt option and have soft-serve chocolate ice cream instead. And I don’t like it! Yuck!

Hmm. If we’d ever been to the local Cold Stone ice cream place, I couldn’t remember it. But we decided to give it a try. Decidedly pricier, but oh, what ice cream!

Kathleen is good at Cold Stone, but not me. I get a small mint mint chocolate chocolate chip dish. I tried it once with a fully chocolate coated waffle dish, but it was too much even for me. But what a way to go.

If you’re unfamiliar with Cold Stone Creamery, each store makes its own ice cream the night before. When the customer places his order, the employee scoops the proper amount of ice cream for the desired flavor and dumps it on a specially cooled metal work table that keeps the ice cream properly cold while the employee smushes it  up and mixes in the other ingredients. My choice includes both chocolate chips, fudge syrup, and a brownie.

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They keep smushing and mixing until it’s all properly mixed. Then it’s placed in the desired cup or cone.

I’ve never had better ice cream. Treating ourselves to Cold Stone costs probably just under twice what Sweet Frog cost, and it’s a lot less healthy.

I occasionally feel guilty about deserting Sweet Frog (or should I say desserting?)–we do go back occasionally, but I’ve been disappointed each time–but it’s our money and we deserve to get what we like.

Have you eaten at a Sweet Frog or a Cold Stone? Do you have some other favorite ice cream or frozen yogurt place? How about leaving a comment?

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger