All posts filed under: Christmas

The COVID facts vs the COVID hysteria

With the pandemic starting to wind down, maybe people will have a chance to take a rational look at what really happened over the last two years during the COVID outbreak.

Hundreds lift their cellphones, signifying they received Christ during church’s Christmas programs

There were shocking responses to invitations to receive Christ during Champion Forest Baptist Church’s Christmas services this year. The Baptist Press reports that for five days, Dec 8 – Dec 12, 2021, the Houston church held its Christmas program, with one nightly from Wednesday through Friday and two on Saturday and also Sunday. It’s estimated that 30,000 people attended services during the five-day event. At the end of each program, the church’s senior pastor, Jarrett Stephens, gave a Gospel presentation, after which he invited those who believed in Jesus for their salvation to turn on their cell phones’ flashlight in the darkened auditorium. Everyone, including the congregation, was stunned by the responses as dozens of people held their cellphones high in the air at the end of each service, flooding the auditorium with light. Photographs taken over the five-day event revealed that 1,114 people had made a decision to believe in Jesus. Calling the response unprecedented, Stephens told the Baptist Press: “God is moving, and to Him be the glory. It is all about Him. …

Comparing the deaths of North Korea’s Kim Jong-il & King Herod

North Korea’s delusional, communist dictator, Kim Jong-un, has ordered citizens not to laugh or drink alcohol for 11 days to mourn the death of Jong-un’s equally delusional father, Kim Jong-il, who was president of North Korea from 1994 to 2011. Radio Free Asia reports that this period of mourning is intended to mark the tenth anniversary of Kim Jong-il’s death, who died of a heart attack on Dec. 17, 2011, at the age of 69. One North Korean told Radio Free Asia: “During the mourning period, we must not drink alcohol, laugh or engage in leisure activities.“ “In the past many people who were caught drinking or being intoxicated during the mourning period were arrested and treated as ideological criminals. They were taken away and never seen again.  “Even if your family member dies during the mourning period, you are not allowed to cry out loud and the body must be taken out after it’s over. People cannot even celebrate their own birthdays if they fall within the mourning period.’”   READ: North Koreans forced to …

Find someone who thinks differently than you, and demand an explanation!

We can’t blame a virus for our behaviour, but my impression is that our global health crisis has generated a lot of arrogance. COVID taught us some things that are not good. We are getting skilled at dividing and rejecting. Have you noticed that some people are correct and approved, and others rejected because they don’t think like the official majority? I have read news articles about ‘those people’ who are usually on the wrong side of an argument, like vaccination or some political division. The official position seems to be, if we find someone who thinks differently, we demand an explanation. We want to know how they could be so wrong when we told them how to think. Division and rejection seem to be our new path to the truth. If you don’t agree with me, don’t lose your temper. That would just prove my point. We should all know, that a disagreement about an idea can easily become a rejection of people. READ: Mass protests and mayhem continue into a sixth night; thousands …

Was Jesus born in a cave?

Many might be surprised by the notion that Jesus was born in a cave, but essentially that is the claim being made by the Church of the Nativity, located in Bethlehem, that is built over the site of where it believes Mary gave birth to Jesus. The Lord’s actual birthplace was in a cave located below the church’s main altar, that can be accessed by two staircases on either side. In fact, the grotto where it claims Jesus was born is part of a larger network of caves that can be accessed from neighbouring buildings, but is now blocked by gates. But not everyone agrees that Christ was born in a cave. One common argument against it, is that Luke, who provided the most extensive narrative of the events surrounding Christ’s birth (Luke 2:1-21), does not mention a cave. Why didn’t he do this? It’s argued that Luke would have mentioned the cave if it was unusual. What was unusual to Luke, is that because there was no room in the inn, Joseph and Mary …

Seven modern misconceptions about the original Christmas story

When we listen to Christmas carols and read our Christmas cards, we sometimes get the wrong impression about what really took place on the day Jesus was born. The following are seven modern misconceptions about the events surrounding the birth of Christ. None of these take away from the miracle that took place that day. 1. Jesus was not born on December 25th Look there is nothing wrong with celebrating the birth of Christ on December 25. As we read the Biblical account, the Lord’s birth was obviously a significant event and was very much celebrated. But it did not take place on December 25th. The fact that shepherds were in their fields when Jesus was born, suggests that Christ was probably born during spring lambing. So how did we end up with Dec. 25? Well, that was the result of the compounding of an earlier mistake. One of the first festivals initiated by the Roman Catholic Church was the Assumption of Mary, that celebrated her conception by the Holy Spirit. They set that date …

Did Balaam prophesy about the Star of Bethlehem?

Balaam was an interesting Old Testament character. He was some type of diviner, perhaps soothsayer or sorcerer, whom King Balak of Moab hired to curse Israel before an upcoming battle. During the several prophecies that Balaam delivered, there was one that many believe referred to the star that showed up announcing Christ’s birth. Now obviously Balaam had a reputation as a seer, for Balak to be willing to purchase his services. And Balaam’s international fame was confirmed by Dutch archaeologists who found a text written about Balaam on a plastered wall dated to around 1200 BC in the ancient town of Deir Alla located in Jordan. The text was actually written by the Canaanites and spoke Balaam, son of Beor three times in the first four lines, exactly as the Bible describes him (Numbers 22:5). In this inscription, Balaam is referred to as a seer of the gods indicating he was well known and revered among the gentiles. The text also provides several of Balaam’s curses that suggests this was his specialty and apparently, these …

Have a Glutton Free Christmas

What if Christmas wasn’t just an excuse for gluttony? In Canada and the United States, we celebrate through over-indulgence. Anniversaries, weddings, holidays, and birthdays are celebrated with cakes, suppers, alcohol, gifts, and parties. I love to celebrate so this is not an attack on celebrations. But I wonder what it would be like if we celebrated differently. What if instead of feasting and self-absorption we lowered our party expectations and dimmed the noise just enough to hear and see something different this Christmas? This year, many of us are forced to celebrate at a different pace than in previous years. There are few office or work parties. Personally, we are not allowed to have our wonderfully large North Central Lighthouse Christmas lunch and giveaway this year. Things are very different. For many, this is depressing and has dampened their Christmas spirit. I understand this. I miss our Lighthouse Christmas gathering and the Christmas teas and other events of the season. But they are not the cake of Christmas. They are just the icing on the …

BLM protestors disrupt Christmas cancer fundraiser

According to reports, members of Black Lives Matter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin decided to protest a Christmas fundraising event that raises money for a local cancer center. It is uncertain why the group known as The People’s Revolution (TPR) chose to demonstrate at an event largely attended by families with children. Even people who typically support BLM are calling it a “trash move.”

Modern Shepherds

Christmas is that bizarre time of the year when people who don’t have anything to do with Jesus suddenly start praising His name. Celebrity singers whose lifestyle and beliefs do not include any room for Jesus have wonderfully sincere sounding songs about the birth of Christ. I am not going to name who these are, but think about how they are, and the irony becomes clear. Singers who support things opposed to the word of God are calling us to come and worship baby Jesus. Maybe they find the baby less threatening than the grown-up Jesus, who confronted evil and certainly condemned much of what modern culture calls good.  No room in their hearts for Jesus, they relegate him to the back rooms of their lives, setting him up in the stables around back. Maybe someone needs to tell them that Jesus never stayed in the stable for long. That sweet baby in the feeding trough is God in the flesh with a purpose to bring peace and salvation through an intimate relationship with Him. …

The Vatican’s nightmare before Christmas

Roman Catholics around the world are outraged by the Nativity scene set up at the Vatican this year with people describing it as hideous, cold, satanic, disgusting, disturbing, demonic, repulsive, gross, creepy, sickening, disgraceful, a scene from Alien, ugly, nightmarish, an abomination and others suggested the Vatican’s choice perfectly sums up 2020 (I don’t think that was a complement.) LifeSiteNews, a Catholic news agency, provides the details of Pope Francis’ choice for this year: VATICAN CITY, December 11, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican nativity scene, unveiled during an evening ceremony today in St. Peter’s Square, has been roundly ridiculed and scorned as a modernist insult to the Incarnation and the Holy Family. “This year, more than ever, the staging of the traditional space dedicated to Christmas in St. Peter’s Square is meant to be a sign of hope and trust for the whole world,” a Vatican statement about the scene had promised earlier. […] “So the Vatican presepe has been unveiled….turns out 2020 could get worse,” tweeted art historian Elizabeth Lev. “It has nothing uplifting …

A Christmas letter from the perpetually offended

I love how they pretend their concern is that someone else will be offended, when we know it is them who is offended. Kim Hunt, a front line nurse in St. Anthony, Minnesota, received an anonymous letter from a neighbour complaining about Hunt’s very modest set of Christmas lights on her home. And, according to reports, three other people in the neighbourhood received a similar letter.

Will the ‘star’ of Bethlehem appear on Dec. 21, 2020?

According to Matthew, a star appeared telling the Magi of the East that a new King of the Jews had been born (Matthew 2:1-2). After they arrived in Jerusalem, a star then led the group to Bethlehem where they were able to bring gifts and worship the newly born Jesus (Matthew 2:9-11). Some suggest, we may be witnessing the same celestial phenomena that the magi saw on Dec. 20-21, 2020, when the planet Jupiter will align in front of Saturn producing a significantly brighter light in the night sky.

The battle for the true meaning of Christmas continues

The American Nativity Scene (ANS) is an organization in the U.S. dedicated to having a nativity scene set up in every state legislature in America. The goal of ANS is to help keep Christ at the center of the Christmas season and it believes this is ultimately a fight for religious freedom. This year ANS announced that another four more states have agreed to displaying Nativity scenes on their legislative grounds bringing the total to 31. The new additions include: Idaho; Oklahoma; Nevada; West Virginia; and Possibly more will be added. Contrary, to what many people believe, it is not unconstitutional for a privately funded nativity scene to be set up on public property for the Christmas season. The Thomas More Society that provides free legal representation for ANS states that it is a first amendment religious freedom right and fundamentally an issue of Free Speech. In 2019, ANS reported that an additional eight capitols agreed to allow a Nativity scene bringing the total to 27, with 21 of the Nativity Scenes being provided by …

Did the ‘Revealer of secrets’, expose Jeopardy’s botched attempt to cut a question?

The popular TV quiz, show, Jeopardy, was first created in 1964 by Mel Griffin and has gone through several renditions and the current format being broadcast today, currently hosted by Alex Trebek, was created by Sony in 1984. Its unique format provides answers and then requires competing contestants to phrase the question. However, its episode that ran on Friday, January 10, 2020, caused quite a controversy. Under a category called “Where is the church?,” the contestants were then posed with the answer: “Built in the 300s A.D., the Church of the Nativity.” The Church of Nativity claims to be on the very site that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Show host Alex Trebek specifically noted the contestants had to give the current country. In response to this answer, one of the Jeopardy contestants quickly answered “What is Palestine?” When Trebek revealed that answer was incorrect, another contestant quickly answered “What is Israel?” and was awarded the right answer. But the answer and resulting question was hugely controversial. Though it is not a country, Palestine does …

Palestinian leader claims Jesus is first Islamic martyr

According to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), the day before Christmas, one of Palestine’s senior leaders, Tawfiq Tirawi, who is also a member of the Fatah Central Committee, made an interesting comment on Facebook. He referred to Jesus as the first Islamic martyr: “This is blessed Christmas, The birthday of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, the first Palestinian and the first Shahid (Islamic Martyr).” Tawfiq Tirawi Facebook page, Dec 24, 2019 The word “shahid” refers to a person who has died for his Islamic beliefs and as a reward will receive 72 virgins in heaven. Of course the Quran was not written until six centuries after Christ died when an angel gave it to Muhammad between 609 AD and 632 AD. Nevertheless, Islam retroactively claims Jesus as their own Islamic prophet and teacher. Islam also claims the Old Testament Jewish prophets, such as Moses and Isaiah, were Islamic. As demonstrated by Tirawi’s tweet, some Muslims have even taken to celebrating Christmas. In fact, Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas declared Christmas as a Palestinian holiday, and it is even …

37 | The other Christmas story

A few days before Christmas, and my wife and I were out doing my most favorite past-time at Christmas, returning an item we had bought a few days earlier when we saw a brightly decorated yard that not only included an inflatable Santa and reindeer but also a six-foot inflatable red and green dragon. When did dragons become a Christmas decoration? Well believe it or not there is a dragon in one of the Christmas stories recorded in the Bible. It is just not a story we often recite a Christmas.

Who were the Magi?

One of the tough questions surrounding the story of Jesus’ birth revolves around the magi. Who were they? Well looking at the Biblical account of their arrival only recorded in Matthew, we can determine several things: First we don’t know how many there were. The plural version of this word is used in Matthew, so we know there was more than one. Though they brought three expensive gifts — gold, myrrh and frankincense — it doesn’t mean there were three of them. Some believe this involved a larger group, as many as 12. For sure, they would have been travelling in a caravan for protection. Secondly, they were important enough that King Herod eventually requested a meeting with them. Their gifts express wealth or political connections and probably both. In fact, we read that Herod and all of Jerusalem was troubled by what they had to say about the new king (Matthew 2:3). In other words, Herod respected their opinion enough to be very concerned. We know that thee magi did not arrive at the …

Joseph and Mary traveling to Egypt by Gentile da Fabriano (1370-1427) Credit: jean louis mazieres/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Jewishness of Christianity

Two recent articles speak to a divide, that exists in some parts of Christianity. The first involves the Mayor of the Norwegian town of Strand, Irene Heng Lauvsnes, who asked the Klippen Pentecostal Church to take down the star of David that was on display as part of its Christmas celebration in a local municipal park. The church has held ceremonies in the park for years and traditionally used the Star of David to symbolize the star that informed the magi of the birth of Christ. But this year, the mayor asked the church take it down because the Star of David symbolized the state of Israel and the Jews, and apparently some were offended. Writing for the Dagen Daily, editor Vebjorn Selbekk noted: “Municipal Christmas bureaucrats obviously do not want a Jewish or Israeli mark on their Christmas. Then we almost have to remind them of some key facts about why we celebrate Christmas at all. [Christmas] is marked by the fact that a Jewish boy was born to a Jewish mother in a …

Christmas truce celebration between German and British soldiers on December 24, 1914. Illustrated by A. C. Michael and published in The Illustrated London News on January 9, 2015/Wikipedia

How ‘Silent Night, Holy Night’ stopped a brutal war for nearly two days

Silent Night, Holy Night, one of the most popular Christmas hymns, turned 200 this year or 202 if you go by the year the words were written. The verses to this popular Christmas classic were written in 1816 by Joseph Franz Mohr, a Roman Catholic Priest living in Austria. However, it didn’t become the hymn we know today until 1818 when, Franz Xaver Gruber, a music teacher and good friend of Mohr wrote the music for the song. It was all sparked by a broken-down organ. The song was first performed publicly at a Christmas eve service 200 years ago today at a small church in the village of Oberndorf, near Salzburg, Austria. The organ had broken down in St Nicola church (Nicholas in English) and because of this Mohr who was serving as a priest, asked his friend to put music to the words he had written two years earlier that could be accompanied by a guitar so they could sing it that night as part of the Christmas eve service. Gruber agreed. He …

Joseph and Mary traveling to Egypt by Gentile da Fabriano (1370-1427) Credit: jean louis mazieres/Flickr/Creative Commons

The red dragon and the Christmas story

Diana Rowland from Louisiana recently caught the ire of a neighbor when she set up a Christmas display featuring large, inflatable dragons. Rowland, an author who writes on zombies and demons, has set up a similar display for several years at both Christmas and Halloween. But this year, a neighbor sent Rowland a message complaining about the dragons. When Rowland tweeted the letter, it went viral. The neighbor wrote: “It is totally inappropriate at Christmas. It makes your neighbors wonder if you are involved in a demonic cult.” The anonymous writer asked Rowland to take down the dragons and went on to say that Rowland did not understand the true meaning of Christmas which involved the birth of Christ. So what was Rowland’s response? Well, she briefly considered taking them down but then decided against it. She shared the letter with her sister who promptly donated two more dragons to the display. Rowland then added halos to a couple of the dragons and called them angels. While the neighbor complained the dragons were totally inappropriate, …

Jesus cleansing the Temple by El Greco (1541-1614)/Wikipedia

What is the division of Abijah and what does it have to do with Christ’s birth?

In the first chapter of Luke, before the story of Jesus’s conception by the power of the Holy Spirit, we have the record of John the Baptist’s miraculous birth. He was the son of Zacharias and Elizabeth. Zacharias was a priest and he and  is wife were unable to conceive. But that all changed when the Angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias, who was working in the temple, saying his wife would have a child in their old age (Luke 1:12-13). And we know Elizabeth’s pregnancy is connected to Mary’s, because we are told around the six month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy that Mary conceived Jesus (Luke 1:24-27). But the passage provides a bit of information about Zachariah’s priestly service that may hint at what month Jesus was born: 5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth ….. 8 Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service …

Fireworks in Spain Credit: Ryan/Flickr/Creative Commons

“Now That’s Worth Celebrating!”

Now that’s worth celebrating! I remember those words being said on the very rare occasion I actually did something worth celebrating. I think one time was when I was managed to convince my wife to actually say I do and not run screaming back up the aisle! Of course the ten pounds of concrete I put in her shoes helped as well but I digress. Back in the day, whatever day you pick, let’s say Saturday. Saturday December 12, 1986, the day Stella married me. I married her too but I wasn’t the pretty one! That day we celebrated! There was food, music, dancing, and fun. We celebrated other life’s milestones and achievements. Whatever the reason, we always knew why we celebrated. Now I think the art of celebration is gone. We celebrate for the sake of celebration. We even celebrate Fridays! Or cheap wing nights! We don’t save it for significant milestones or events. Like the two greatest events of all time. Christmas and Easter are the birth and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. …

Nativity scene in France Credit: (required by the license) © Guillaume Piolle / CC BY 3.0/Wikipedia

Did an ‘all-knowing’ God impregnate Mary without her consent?

Minnesota State University (MSU) professor Eric Sprankle recently received his 15 minutes of fame when he  tweeted that God impregnated, Mary, the mother of Jesus, without her consent. Similar to many provocateurs, Sprankle sent the tweet out purposefully during the Christmas season. In his tweet, Sprankle wrote: The virgin birth story is about an all-knowing, all-powerful deity impregnating a human teen. There is no definition of consent that would include that scenario. Happy Holidays. — Eric Sprankle, PsyD (@DrSprankle) December 3, 2018 Apparently, Sprankle considers himself as an expert on sexuality and leads the Sexual Health Research Team at MSU and now he claims to be an expert on theology and the Bible as well. Well, let’s take a closer look at Sprankle’s tweet. He describes God as “all-knowing,”  In theological terms, God is “omniscient” which mean He knows everything, past, present and future. So if God is all-knowing, would He know if Mary would consent to being impregnated? Obviously yes. And that is exactly what happened in the birth story found in Luke. An …

Nativity Scene, New York City Credit: Gary Wong/Flickr/Creative Commons

Christmas Without Jesus

When I was in high school, we had a Christian club called BASIC. That meant “Bothers And Sisters In Christ.” Looking back, our weekly huddle in a classroom, with our dry sandwiches, was the first time I got to be a Christian without supervision. My older generation liked to control the kids, and religion was pushed on me constantly, at home and in church. We knew how to behave, to avoid criticism and discipline, but I think most of my friends dropped out of church as soon as they grew up, and they don’t identify as Christian now. In BASIC, we made our own choices. Maturity had to start somewhere, and I learned about Christianity that was just Jesus. The members of BASIC came from different churches, and some had no family church. I remember two girls from a Plymouth Brethren group, and they seemed to detest Christmas. To them, the season was filled with pagan symbols and idols and shrines, especially those decorated trees. I struggled with their ideas, but I learned that the …

Credit: Marie Coleman/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Liberal Grinch who just about stole Christmas: She wanted ‘J’ for Jesus banned?

According to Liberty Counsel, candy canes are now in the sites of liberal wanting to wipe out any hint of Christ this Christmas season. The story of the Grinch who just about stole Christmas was reported by The Blaze. Liberty Counsel is a non-profit law firm that fights for religious liberty in the US and it recently sent a demand letter to the superintendent of Elkhorn Public Schools about the actions taken by Jennifer Sinclair the principal of of Manchester Elementary School in Omaha, Nebraska. Apparently, this is Sinclair’s first year as principal at the school and she wanted it to be a memorable one. It worked. She is getting her 15 minutes of notoriety. She sent a memo to teachers in her school telling them what their children may or may not do at school to celebrate the Christmas season. In her memo, Sinclair wrote that she “come(s) from a place that Christmas and the like are not allowed in school.” RELATED: Read Sinclair’s Memo So what is on Sinclair’s banned list? Well Candy …