Why do we say Merry Christmas?

The earliest known use of the term “Merry
Christmas,” dates back to 1535 when Bishop John Fisher used it in a letter to
Thomas Cromwell, King Henry VIII’s chief minister. Not long after that the English
song, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” was written, and the older term, “Happy
Christmas,” was all but forgotten, except by the British Royal Family. But the reason “merry” was likely used
by Bishop Fisher, and why it has become so popular, is because being merry has
to do with one’s attitude, not merely a state of being. Being merry denotes a
sense of merriment and festivity. By remembering the true meaning of
Christmas we should be joyful, which is another word for merry.

Lo and behold!

This somewhat archaic expression has a meaning like ‘Look! That is astonishing!’ It first appeared in English between the 8th
and 11th centuries in the  
anonymous epic poem, Beowulf,
at the beginning of Chapter XXIV:

      “BEOWULF, SON OF Ecgtheow, then spoke: ‘Lo and behold!’”

But both of these words were used in conjunction in the Holy
Scriptures. A similar context is found in the 1611 King James Version of the Old
Testament scripture text of Genesis
15:3, attributed to Moses about 3000 BC in words quoted as being spoken by
the patriarch Abraham even earlier. “And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine

mighty workings of God are truly something to behold! All we need to do to see
the presence of the Almighty is to look at all he has created and how complex
it is.

Have a date with destiny

This is a cliché for an inevitable future event or encounter
which will likely prove to be of momentous importance or significance. The
earliest known printed citation is found on page 84 of Forensic of Pi Kappa Delta, March 1939, in an article by Rhodes
Scholar Jack Heires, Yankton, South Dakota:

“Whether or not we have a “date with destiny” we know that it will
require the mobilization of all of the facilities to cope with the problems of
this perplexed world into which we shall graduate.”

Note the quotes, signifying that it had been in use
previously, at least in speech. It was famously used by highly respected United Methodist
pastor, Rev. Ralph W. Stockman, in his 1943 address given before the American
Association to Promote Teaching of Speech to the Deaf which was titled “Our
Date with Destiny.” A book titled Date
with Destiny: A Preamble to Christian Culture, The Forbidden Lectures was
published in January 1944. After this,
use of the phrase spread to all facets of American society. All of humanity has a date with destiny at the close of this

Hope against hope

This old adage means to remain optimistic about something
when all the odds are against it. It is based on the New Testament letter of
the Apostle Paul to the Romans, 4:18:

all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations…”

In one of the first known printed examples, Robert Hall, MA,
used it in an address to Rev. Eustace Carey on January 19, 1914 ‘on his
designation as a Christian Missionary to India.’ It is found on page 15:

“Hence the absolute necessity of a
vigorous faith in the promises of God, respecting the future renovation of
mankind, which will support you amidst the greatest discouragements, prompt you
to hope against hope…”

 Beginning in the
1840s it became very popular and was used in scores of sermons, books, poems,
etc. Trusting
God means that we have faith in Him no matter what is happening around us. Being members of this Holy Order means that we have likeminded brothers and
sisters who are here for us and will remember us in prayer. nnDnn,

Stan St.

A fool and his money are soon parted

This is a
principle that Christians should be well aware of. This speaks of
the folly of putting one’s entire hope and effort into obtaining money and the
things it will buy, while leaving out love of family and faith in God, as
outlined in the Bible stories of rich men who demanded more and more and died,
taking nothing with them. A proverb from
the ‘wisdom of the ancients,’ this thought was well known by the late 16th
century when it was brought to light in poetry by Thomas Tusser in Five Hundreth Pointes of Good Husbandrie
in 1573. “A foole
and his money,                                                                                        
             be soone at debate:                                                                                            
             which after with sorrow                                                                                
                  repents him to late.”

This exact
wording of the saying is dated at 1587 in Dr. John Bridges’ Defence of the Government of the Church of
England. “If
they pay a penie of two pence more for the reddinesse of them… let them look to
that, a foole and his money are soone

I pray that we
will all realize that only God can bring us true peace of mind.

Move heaven and earth

This hyperbolic idiom means to do everything in one’s power to make something happen. A major online dictionary states that this term was ‘first recorded in 1792.’ Actually they are almost 150 years late. The earliest citation in print is in The History of the Government of France: Under the Administration of the Great Armand Du Plesis, Cardinal and Duke of Richlieu and Chief Minister of State of that Kingdome, 1657:                                                                                                                                            “…we are come to wonder at the blindneffe of Grandees, who turmoil themfelves in extremity, who move heaven and earth by their broils, and all for thofe things, which death, and the inconftancy of humane affairs caufe to vanifh in a moment.”

As soldiers in
the army of the King of Kings, we know that God is the only one able to move
heaven and earth. We also know that as his earthly band of brothers, He has
given us the power to call upon Him to do so. “Prayer is the key to heaven and
faith unlocks the door.”

Each day we have
new opportunities to put on the whole armor of God and use the Sword of the
Spirit to move mountains for others.

Money can’t buy happiness

In this world so
much emphasis has been put on monetary wealth that a person’s worth and success
is often gauged by how much money and possessions they have accumulated. Even
some religious groups have claimed that this is a sign of God’s blessings. No truer proverb
has ever been coined than “Money can’t buy happiness.” Genuine contentment and
peace of mind must come from spiritual means. The root came from Rousseau’s Discours in Spain in 1750.     
“Money buys everything, except morality and citizens.”

The Bible makes
it clear that our hearts must not be set on riches, and that a rich man can’t
enter into the kingdom of God.

The battle is not yours, but God’s

In my newly released
book, Turning Point at Gettysburg, based on the true story of my
great-great grandfather who was severely wounded and captured in Pickett’s
Charge, the most highly proclaimed conflict of the American Civil War, the main
character was captivated and influenced by a sermon he heard while AWOL to see
his newly born son who was ill. It was from II Chronicles 20:15 “…for the
battle is not yours, but God’s.”

That verse stuck with
him through all of his suffering and incarceration in a prisoner-of-war camp. It helped him to see the sovereignty of God, and realize that he and our nation
must heal, and that he could be a part of the solution. We are in a similar
position right now in our politically divided nation. Our loyalty must be to
God and our faith must be in Him to bring us through to ultimate victory.