Friday, October 20, 2017

With Spirit and Truth

A nativity scene that shows the 3 Magi and Jesus in a manger
   Filipino families celebrate Christmas with getting together, lots of food and gift giving.  It was a practical tradition to hand out peso bills in an envelope to young people.  Other than married couples or sweethearts, adults rarely expected any present from each other.  This is in keeping with the Biblical scenario of the baby Jesus’ receiving gifts from the “three wise men”.  Mary and Joseph didn’t get any. (Matt. 2:1-11).  Every nativity image in calendars, church and home ornaments showed the three Magi in a manger where Jesus was born for lack of available room at the inn.  

   However, the Bible says in Matt. 2:11 “And when they went into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and falling down, they did obeisance to him. They also opened their treasures and presented him with gifts—gold and frankincense and myrrh.”  The Magi found Jesus a “young child” in his home, not a newborn in a manger.  Filipinos just assumed that the travel in those days was as speedy as today’s mechanized transportation so the “three kings” must have reached Jesus at the manger.  In the Philippines, Three Kings' Day is celebrated on January 6 or in some countries on the Sunday after January 1.  It is amazing how people read the Bible for decades and never see the details that God had put in so meticulously. 

   "the hour is coming, and it is now, when the true worshipers will worship the Father with spirit and truth, for indeed, the Father is looking for ones like these to worship him." (John 4:23)

   The Simbáng Gabi masses are held daily from December 16 to 24 from as early as 03:00 to 05:00 in the morning.  In the Philippines that time frame is before sunrise.  The devotional nine-day series of Masses carries a promise of an answer to a prayer upon completion.  The last day mass of the Simbang Gabi, which falls on Christmas Eve, is called Misa de Gallo, Spanish for “Rooster's Mass”.  No one has an explanation for a rooster’s connection to a celebration of Jesus Christ supposed birth date.  It was one of those traditions, like Santa Claus or Easter egg and bunny that people practiced without checking the Bible for historical nor scriptural accuracy.  

   New Year's Day is part of the Christmas holiday.  Noise is made on New Year's Eve with firecrackers and horns to dispel bad luck from the coming new year.  

   "There should not be found in you anyone who ... who looks for omens, a sorcerer,... anyone ...who consults a fortune-teller" (Deutronomy 18:10-11)

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