—Following "A Christmas to Remember"
(After Christmas Dinner & everyone recounting their most memorable Christmases:)
1. PTL! LET'S THANK THE LORD FOR ALL CHRISTMASES, & ESPECIALLY THE FIRST CHRISTMAS! PYL! Hallelujah! TYL! Thank You Lord for Christmas! TYJ! And I'll bring this one last sobering thought to us all as we're having prayer. As I was thinking back over past happy Christmases & memorable Christmases‚ Christmases to remember, I also was taking a little time trip into the future wondering what our next Christmas would be like‚ or if there would be a next Christmas, or if we would be even able to have a Christmas celebration of any kind next Christmas. We don't know what's going to happen. We don't even know if we'll all still be here, we don't even know if we'll all still be together. So it's possible the next Christmas you'll be looking back & thinking, "That was our last Christmas together like that."
2. NONE OF OUR CHRISTMASES HAVE EVER BEEN THE SAME, HAVE THEY? There have always been changes, some people gone, some people still here, new people here & often new places. But I think next Christmas is probably the most uncertain of all, the most endangered of all. If the Comet really comes & signifies the rise of the Antichrist System, which is already here‚ & if the Crash also comes, who knows how much Christmas we can even have next Christmas.
3. BUT WE USED TO SING AN OLD SONG:
"THE WAY YOU WEAR YOUR HAIR,
THE WAY YOU LOOK AT ME, DA-DA-DA-DA-DA-DA,
OH NO, THEY CAN'T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME!"
No matter what happens by next Christmas, you'll still always have these Christmases with you to remember, amen? You'll still have your memories of past Christmases & happy times & Family life together, they can't take those away from you.
4. I REMEMBER WURMBRANDT SAID ONE THING THAT KEPT HIM FROM LOSING HIS MIND WHEN HE WAS IN A COMMUNIST PRISON WAS REMEMBERING THINGS, remembering past happy times & living in his memories. Sometimes when even his memory was poor he would try to play chess on the ceiling. Remember that? He'd quote Scriptures, he'd sing songs, but when he ran out of everything else to do to try to keep his mind thinking so he wouldn't go crazy, he would lie there on his bunk & look at the ceiling & imagine a chess board & where the pieces were & play chess on the ceiling. Think of that!
5. SO A MEMORY IS A WONDERFUL THING TO HAVE & IT'S WONDERFUL TO REMEMBER THINGS & HAVE BEAUTIFUL PAST MEMORIES. And there's one wonderful thing about your memory—have you ever noticed the Lord has made you so that you remember mostly the good things of the past? The Lord helps you forget the bad things & mostly you just remember the good things & the happy memories. The bad ones, you might happen to remember a few‚ but they're much fewer than your good memories. One reason is that you've probably got more good things to remember than bad, especially since you've been in the Family & known the Lord.
6. SO A MEMORY IS A WONDERFUL THING TO HAVE, TO BE ABLE TO REMEMBER THESE PAST WONDERFUL CHRISTMASES & many other very happy memories. And there may come a time when you will look back & those may seem to be the only happy memories you have. Things may get to where there's not too much to be happy about‚ except the Lord & knowing His coming's very near. Even the Lord Himself in His Word said, "Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh‚ when thou shalt say‚ I have no pleasure in them." (Ecc.12:1)
7. IN OTHER WORDS‚ ENJOY YOUR HAPPY MEMORIES WHILE YOU HAVE THEM‚ before the evil days that are coming when perhaps you won't have too much that's happy to remember about some of those days. But I really believe we're still going to have happy memories then. It may not be as happy as now in some ways, it may not be as easy, it may not be as pleasurable, we may not be having just as much fun & peace & plenty, but perhaps we'll have even greater really deep genuine joys & gratitude for every little mercy that God gives us‚ every moment of time that we still survive, & every opportunity He still gives us to do any witnessing or soul-winning or preaching the Gospel of any kind!
8. THE TIME IS COMING WHEN YOU MAY APPRECIATE THESE THINGS EVEN MORE, NOT ONLY YOUR MEMORIES, BUT THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO THESE THINGS. When do you appreciate health the most? (Fam: When you're sick.) When do you appreciate money the most? (Fam: When you don't have it, when you're poor.)—When you were very poor, right? When do you appreciate lights the most?—When they go out! So who knows, when these things are scarce & you don't have as much freedom & liberty & you're not blessed with quite as much pleasure & fun & easy times & good times, you will treasure these memories even more.
9. AND EVEN IF THE NEXT CHRISTMAS MAY NOT SEEM TO BE AS GOOD AS THIS ONE, YOU MAY TREASURE THIS CHRISTMAS & PAST CHRISTMASES EVEN MORE IN THE FUTURE. So that's one way of looking at it. I think as you get older life gets harder, although in my life it seems to be just the other way around!—I had my hardest days when I was young & these are now my happiest days in my old age! It sounds like in the Bible you expect to be unhappy in your old age, "Before the evil days come & thou hast no pleasure in them." Of course, that was Solomon speaking & that was certainly true of his life! But I'm enjoying the happiest days I ever had!
10. I'D SAY THIS IS MY HAPPIEST CHRISTMAS, REALLY! I never was so happy as I am this Christmas with you & Mama & our whole great Worldwide Family all prospering & flourishing & fruitful & protected & provided for & getting out millions of these Posters & thousands of tapes & winning millions of souls! How could we have a bigger Christmas than this?
11. BUT REMEMBER, EVEN WHEN THE EVIL DAYS COME‚ EVEN IF YOU DON'T SEEM TO HAVE AS MUCH PLEASURE IN THEM ANY MORE, ONE THING THEY CAN'T TAKE AWAY FROM YOU IS YOUR HAPPY MEMORIES! You're not to live in the past in that sense, you're to forget the things that are behind & press on to the things that are before (Phil.3:13), but that is one of the comforting things that the Lord does give you to keep forever, the happy memories of the past, & I think He expects you to enjoy those. You can look back & remember happy times of the past.
12. I'M GLAD YOU FEEL LIKE THIS IS ONE OF THE HAPPIEST BECAUSE IT MAY BE ONE OF THE LAST HAPPIEST FOR ALL WE KNOW, but we can be thankful. We can always be thankful for something, right? Even if we're suffering today we can be thankful for the days when we weren't suffering & appreciate them even more, past Christmases, past happiness.
13. BUT EVEN BETTER THAN THAT, UNLIKE THE WORLD & UNLIKE A LOT OF OTHER PEOPLE, WE HAVE EVEN HAPPIER DAYS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE FUTURE! Even over the Valley of Death, so to speak, we can see the mountains of beauty, the Mountain of the Lord's House & the Future! That's why we've been trying to emphasize the positive & accentuate the positive, the good things of the Future, looking over past the Tribulation into the Heavenly World, to remind you how beautiful & wonderful things are going to be.
14. AND IN THE HEAVENLY STORIES WE'RE TRYING TO REMIND YOU HOW WONDERFUL THINGS CAN STILL BE EVEN DURING THE TRIBULATION, & IN SOME WAYS EVEN MORE SO!—Because I believe we're going to be even greater & more powerful witnesses! God is going to do many more mighty miracles for us to preserve us & provision for us & take care of us & protect us, I really believe it! Although it will be our time of greatest trial & testings in some ways, "to purge & purify us & make us white," He says, that will be one of the blessings of it, that we will get rid of a lot of our sometimes foolishness & we will really get down to business with the Lord & appreciate & value the things that are most important of all, & appreciate even small blessings. Amen?—Even little blessings.
15. I CAN REMEMBER WHEN I WAS A BOY & WE WERE VERY POOR & IT WAS THE DEPRESSION, WE WERE SO THANKFUL WHEN WE HAD ENOUGH MONEY TO BUY A POUND OF OLEO, even though you had to mix the yellow colouring in yourself—at least I had to, that was my job. We were so thankful when we had small blessings, a loaf of bread, a quart of milk, a gallon of gas, a 25–pound block of ice‚ little things. I mean they were almost next to nothing, but you appreciated them all the more even though you had so little. You really were thankful & gave thanks for what little you had.
16. SO WE'VE LOOKED BACK OVER OUR CHRISTMASES OF PLEASURE & AFFLUENCE & HAPPY TIMES, BUT WE MAY APPRECIATE THEM EVEN MORE IN THE FUTURE, & we will probably appreciate even more what little we may have‚ or if we have any Christmas at all. I believe we will. In the Christmases of the future we may not have as much‚ we may not be as free‚ we may not have as much pleasure & fun, but I believe what little we have‚ whatever it is, we're even going to be more thankful for it.
17. I'VE FOUND THAT THAT'S THE WAY IT IS: WHEN YOU MISS THINGS THAT YOU ONCE HAD, YOU REALLY APPRECIATE WHAT YOU'VE STILL GOT A WHOLE LOT MORE & you'll be much more thankful & grateful for even small favours & small blessings & thank the Lord for what little you do have! You'll be thankful that you have anything, that you even have bread & water to eat, that you even have any kind of shelter or any kind of clothing or whatever! You'll be even more thankful for what little you have then‚ than you have been, as thankful as you are, for how much you have had now & in the past.
18. SO DON'T DREAD IT, DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT, YOU'LL STILL HAVE YOUR MEMORIES, THEY CAN'T TAKE THOSE AWAY FROM YOU, & YOU'LL STILL HAVE THE BLESSINGS OF THE LORD & His safekeeping & His supply for whatever, in whatever conditions. Even if He has to finally supply you with death in order to take you out of these conditions, you'll probably even be thankful for that, I'm sure, thankful to die, because you'll know your job is over.
19. DEATH IS NOT SOMETHING TO DREAD OR FEAR, AS I'VE SAID BEFORE, BUT SOMETHING TO ACTUALLY LOOK FORWARD TO! You cannot precipitate it yourself, that would be trying to frustrate the will of God, but if you can have the patience to wait for it & then die in God's time, when His time has come for you & it's your time to go‚ that's the day you're going to be the most thankful of all, because you're going to make that trip that I made & you're going to arrive in your Heavenly Home & see that it was really worth it all! PTL! And that's going to be the happiest Christmas you ever had! PTL! TYJ! So your happiest Christmas of all is still in the Future, your first Christmas in Heaven! So shall we pray together the prayer which the Lord taught us to pray? (Prays the Lord's Prayer)
20. THANK YOU LORD FOR ALL THOSE PAST WONDERFUL CHRISTMASES & WONDERFUL YEARS OF THE PAST & BEAUTIFUL MEMORABLE MEMORIES. But we know, Lord, that even in the Future, even in the worst days, we will still have those beautiful memories & we will still treasure even more whatever we've got & thank You even more that we have anything, until finally, Lord, we spend that first Christmas with You in Heaven, our most memorable Christmas of all! TYJ!
21. BLESS EACH & EVERY ONE NOW, LORD. Keep all of us safely tonight, give us a good night's rest. Many have been very weary, we've had a baby recently and lots of people are tired. Bless & strengthen Sara & heal her completely after her good work, Lord, & hard work bringing this forever soul into Thy Kingdom for ever & ever & ever & ever, this precious little angel that You sent from Heaven. Bless this baby & make her a blessing, she's already a blessing, Lord! She's already touched many hearts & the children have so enjoyed her & it's going to be such good training for them taking care of her, Lord‚ as they train themselves to be mothers.
22. BLESS & KEEP US ALL, GIVE US A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP, LORD, & HELP US NEVER TO FORGET THIS CHRISTMAS until we have our greatest & most blessed & most wonderful Christmas of all with You, Lord‚ forever to look forward to‚ where we can forget the past & just live for the Future in Thy Kingdom, in Jesus' name! TYL! PTL! Amen, GBY all! I love you!
23. OH MY‚ IT'S AFTER 11 O'CLOCK! WELL, AT LEAST I DIDN'T PREACH A BIG LONG SERMON or have a big long class or wear you out, but I just wanted to be here with you for Christmas, that's all! I'm trying to blame it on you & say I didn't want to disappoint you‚ but the fact of the matter is I didn't want to be disappointed! Mama's been a little sick‚ so let's pray for her. Lord bless & strengthen Mama right now & give her a good night's rest so she won't miss this time & it won't have bothered her any‚ because we really did need to spend Christmas together, because we enjoy being together, Lord, on Thy birthday, to honour Thee on Thy birthday. Because You're the reason behind it all, Lord, & the reason for it all, & all of our happiness & our lives & our salvation & our future, in Jesus' name! PTL! GBY!
24. I GUESS YOU'VE GOT NOTHING BUT WATER TO CELEBRATE WITH, BUT HERE'S TO JESUS & A WONDERFUL, EVEN BETTER FUTURE THAN EVER, better Christmases to look forward to in Heaven! Who knows? We may have a few more right here! If you need a kiss from Father Christmas, you're welcome to come get one, but if you're tired, I won't feel bad if you rush off to bed! Oh my, look at the reception line, the waiting line! (Everyone kisses Dad & gets their photo taken!) Well, PTL! I think we had a good time. At least we were together & that's what's important, the fellowship! GBY! ILY!