December 23, 2001
Volume 11, Number 51

The Christmas Holiday

Christmas time is usually a period of music and laughter. The warmest, strongest, and most heartfelt associations are renewed and revived. There is stirred within most of us a solemn and sacred feeling and along with our feasting the spirit is raised to a state of hallowed and elevated enjoyment.

What Is Christmas?

Christmas to most of the world is a celebration of the supposed birthday of Christ. In reality it has no religious significance and came into existence because of the activities of a man named Nicholas. It is such a beautiful festival that churches have laid hold of it and tried to make it a religious day. But there is no scriptural authority for it. I was grown before I knew there was any special religious significance attached to it. To us, where I lived on a ranch in northwest Texas, it Was a community festival, at which time people blew horns, shot firecrackers, and exchanged gifts.

Christmas to many people is scarlet ribbon, sounds of music, and a green tree. Christmas to others is an oasis in a sandy desert of the commonplace. Christmas is a celebration born of instinct within the heart. Christmas is a celebration and whatever the traditions are that cluster around the day, they have significance only if they translate the intentions of the heart. Our intention should be to express faith, hope, and love. Regardless of the form the celebration takes, without these three, faith - hope - and love, the gift is bare and the celebration is but glittering tinsel and without meaning.

What shall we give for Christmas?

That which we suggest cannot be bought, sold, or battered, but can only be given away. The gifts we suggest are the wellsprings of celebration whether religious or secular. The gifts we suggest are without price and cannot be imitated. The gifts that we suggest are unique but not always easy to come by, but they are unlimited in supply and accessible to everyone. For the coming holiday, we suggest the following gifts.

We suggest first of all that we give faith. Let us encourage people to believe mightily. Faith laughs at impossibilities. Abraham's faith was adventurous when he went out. Those who are afraid of the deep will not catch many fish. Let us give courage to others to launch out. We need pioneers in faith as well as in exploring the great outer space. God told the children of Israel: "Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread upon shall be yours."

Let us give hope. No one is insensible to the music of the word hope. What bosom has not kindled under its utterance? Poetry has sung of it and music warbled it. Oratory has lavished it on its bewitching strings. The great lessons of Acts 3, where Peter met the lame man at the gate is a message of hope. Hope will light the altar-fires in the dark and be a living coal in many desolate hearts. Hope will gladden the sick chambers with visions of returning health and will be a sunbeam in the captive's cell. Hope will cause a soldier to sleep peacefully, give him comfort by his bivouac-fire and pictures of his sunny home and his joyous return.

Let us give love. Love is the medicine needed by all the morally evil. Love brought into the world the cure for sin. Love must be expressed and its very nature keeps it from forcing itself unbidden and unwelcome upon another. The stronger, the higher, the finer love is, the more it depends upon reciprocation. Love is the great Seraph and faith and hope are but the wings with which it flies.

What could we do this Christmas?

adapted from G. K. Wallace (deceased)

Beginning in January...

We will receive our first shipment of House to House / Heart to Heart in January. It will be mailed every other month into our community.

If you have a friend, neighbor or co-worker that lives in Charlotte or Sarasota Counties that you would like to have placed on the mailing list—please give us their name and address. (There are sign up sheets for the mailing list on the table in the foyer.)

A Seminar That You Will Not Want To Miss ...

You are cordially invited to attend a seminar dealing with these and other important issues. The speaker is Dr. Bert Thompson, former professor, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A & M University. He is Executive Director and co-founder of Apologetics Press. He is also the editor of Reason and Revelation, a monthly journal on Christian evidences, published by Apologetics Press since 1981. All sessions are free. In addition, handout materials accompanying each lecture will be made available free-of-charge to those in attendance. Most sessions are followed by questions and answers.


Friday, January 25, 2002
at the Venice High School Auditorium
7:00 p.m. “The Creation / Evolution Controversy

Saturday, January 26, 2002
at the Venice High School Auditorium
1:00-2:30 p.m. “Creation or Evolution … Which? Part I
2:30-3:00 p.m. Question and Answer Session
3:00-3:30 p.m. Break
3:30 p.m. “Creation or Evolution … Which? Part II

Sunday, January, 27, 2002
at the Church of Christ of Venice Building
10:00 a.m. “Scientific Evidences for the Inspiration of the Bible
11:00 a.m. “The Effect of Evolution on the Home, Church and Nation

Note: Friday and Saturday Seminar sessions will be held at the Venice High School Auditorium.

Florida School of Preaching
27th Annual Lectureship
January 21-24, 2002
“Do You Understand Worship”

Click here for more details.

Annual Bible Reading Program

This week’s Bible readings are:

Sunday, 23rd: Luke 1:1-56; Ezekiel 34; Isaiah 57
Monday, 24th: Luke 1:57-80; Ezekiel 35-36; Isaiah 58
Tuesday, 25th: Luke 2:1-20; Ezekiel 37; Isaiah 59
Wednesday, 26th: Luke 2:21-52; Ezekiel 38-39; Isaiah 60
Thursday, 27th: Luke 3:1-20; Ezekiel 40-41; Isaiah 61
Friday, 28th: Luke 3:21-38; Ezekiel 42-43; Isaiah 62
Saturday, 29th: Luke 4:1-30; Ezekiel 44-45; Isaiah 63

2 Notes: (1) The Bible Reading Schedule for 2002 schedule can be found on the table in the foyer. This can be placed in the back of your directory. (2) Beginning on January 1, 2002 - you will also be able to read it daily on the church’s web-site.

“God is more interested in making us
what He wants us to be

than giving us
what we think we ought to have.”

New Directory

If you have not picked up your directory you can pick up on in the foyer. Please - one directory per family.

Due to some technical difficulties (computer) we are still working on some pages. If your family page is missing it may be due to such a problem or we may need to take/retake your photo. If your page is missing or you have an addition/correction please see Ted.

Additions: For those of you who have already picked up a directory there are cover pages on the table in the foyer.
The 2002 Bible Reading Schedule is also ready. It is 3 pages and can be placed in the back of your directory.
New pages will be added soon.

Walt & Jeanette Thompson - Melissa Keyso - Pansy McCord
Grace Webb - Craig Collier- Richard Dolan
Bill & Jeanne Sherman - Leslie Johnson - Viola Morinier
Virginia Law - Walt & Jeanette Thompson - Mary Kaupilla

Sunday’s Lessons:

AM ... "The Surprising Birth of Jesus" (Luke 2:1-20)
PM ...
"David Reigns #2" (2 Samuel 5:1-25)


Service Opportunities


Time of Services


 Wayne Vowell




 Walt Thompson


Bible Study:

10:00 am

Morning Services



11:00 am

Bible Reading:

 Mike Weber  

Evening Worship:

6:00 pm


 Jim Treece  



 Ted Wheeler


Bible Study:

6:30 pm

Closing Prayer:

 Delbert Leavens


Evening Services



Opening Prayer:

 Larry Jenson



 Jim Treece


Our Record - Last Week


 Ted Wheeler  

Closing Prayer:

 Jim Dougan



$ 1615.00
Wayne Vowell
  Weekly Budget:
$ 1500.00
Kerry Keathley
Sean Keathley

Dick Navarre

Copyright © 2001 Church of Christ of Venice. All Rights Reserved.