MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! wow! Christmas sure went faster than it came. They say, Christmas is a magical time of year. I believe it. At about 6p.m. on Christmas Day, everything Christmas magically disappears. Most all of the Christmas stuff is gone from the stores. The radio stations that have been playing Christmas music since Halloween have magically stopped. It's a shame really. Because the TRUE Christmas has just begun. Someone in my family asked me why we haven't sung any Christmas carols at church yet. I said, "because it's not Christmas yet!" I'm kinda old school when it comes to that.

But anyway, by the time you get this we will be in the midst of Christmas in the church. So that brings me to another point. Were you naughty or nice this year? That seemed to be the big question all around. What did you get??? oh... you must have been very good!!!! It seems that being good is the key to getting what we want. Some think that is the way it is with our salvation. Recently I heard of a study that was done by a prominent Christian university. They asked over 3000 people if being good would get you into heaven. Amazingly, over 75% said yes. Over three fourths thought that being good was what it took to get into heaven. The sad part, to me, was that a large portion of the 75% was evangelical Christians. That is to say, Lutherans, Baptists, Presbyterian, etc. This is terrible. To me, this tells me our pastors, our Sunday school teachers, our parents, any one who teaches us about our salvation, is not doing a very good job. And there are going to be a lot of disappointed people when they get to the gates of heaven. The Bible clearly states it. Paul clearly preached it. Jesus clearly proclaimed it. No one, I repeat, NO ONE goes to heaven unless they believe in Jesus Christ and confess Him as their Lord and Savior. Period.

But according to this survey, many believe they can get to heaven just by being good. Now, don't misunderstand, I'm not saying just run out and do bad things just because you believe. That's not what Jesus taught us. If we believe in God and Jesus Christ we will WANT to do good. Jesus said the greatest commandment is love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. Don't just SAY you love your neighbor, show him. But, Jesus also told us, no one is good except the Father. So Jesus knows we will be bad. We can't help it. We are human. And for those that think better of themselves because they think they have only little sins. It doesn't matter to God. Sin is sin. All sins are the same size to God. So as you look back over the past year, and look forward to the next, remember this. You probably weren't as "nice" as you could have been. And you certainly weren't as "good" as you thought you were. And I hope and pray that you are in the 25 % of that survey that said no, I don't think being good will get me to heaven. 


My thanks and praise to all the choirs for the wonderful Christmas cantata. I hope your new year is filled with blessing of joy and prosperity. Always remember to give thanks to God for what you have, and especially thank Him even when times are tough. It could always be worse.

SOLEO DEO GLORIA
TO GOD ALONE THE GLORY
MICHAEL J. KOTISH