All posts filed under: Christmas

Poll: 1 in 8 state they won’t give Christmas presents due to arguments over COVID

One thing that COVID has done is divide people. According to a recent poll by CoinStar, one in eight people stated that they will not be buying Christmas presents to friends and even family who disagree with their position on COVID.

Seven modern misconceptions about the original Christmas story

When we listen to Christmas carols and read our Christmas cards we sometime 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 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. God with a purpose to bring peace and salvation through an intimate relationship with …

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 …

Morris home with its 200,000 Christmas tree lights Credit: Youtube capture/Fox News

Hide your faith?

In our rapidly changing culture, some are now demanding that Christians hide their faith in public. Recently, First Liberty, a non-profit legal organization defending religious freedoms in America, sent a letter to a school district in Texas that allegedly forced students wanting to pray at lunch time to hide behind a curtain. According to First Liberty the problem started when a group of students from Honey Grove Middle School in Honey Grove, Texas met during lunch hour to pray for a former student who had been injured in an accident. When the school principal saw them praying he ordered them to stop. When the students met the next day to try praying again, the principal said that they needed to either go behind the curtains in the cafeteria or into the gym or even outside if they wanted to pray. At the bequest of student Hannah Allen and her mother, First Liberty sent a letter to the school district telling them that under the US Constitution the school had no business infringing on student’s right …

The Magi visiting Jesus by Flemish painter Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678)

The promise of a ‘King’ born to a virgin?

In the Christmas story recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, the Apostle does a very odd thing. He connects the virgin birth of Jesus with a prophecy given by Isaiah to Ahaz, the king of Judah, 700 years earlier: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23 NASV based on Isaiah 7:14) For many it has been a controversial connection. But it makes sense when we understand what was happening when Isaiah gave this prophecy with what Matthew emphasized in his account of the birth of Christ. In Isaiah 7, the prophet was dealing with a situation that was taking place in Judah. By this time, Israel and Judah had been ripped apart. Israel had fallen into abject idolatry, and Judah was the last remnant of God’s kingdom. In the first two verses, we read that back-slidden Israel and Syria had joined to rage war against Judah intending to remove Ahaz and set up a new …

Notice the star as part of street Christmas decorations in Lillehammer, Norway. Credit: Peta Chow/Flickr/Creative Commons

Islamization of Christmas in Norway?

A strange story posted by Norwegian blogger, Hanne Tolg, which she describes as “pretty bizarre” is that a Christmas program being performed by an elementary school in Skien, Norway, will now include verses from the Koran, Islam’s main religious text. Though Europe is very liberal in its beliefs and traditions, and most do not attend church, Christmas is still a huge celebration and acknowledged as a Christian holiday. Homes and streets are typically decorated with Christmas themes and it is traditionally one of the big celebrations of the year. According to Bruce Bawer of Gatestone Institute who helped break this story in the English-speaking world, other national holidays in Norway also coincide with Christian celebrations such as Pentecost and Ascension Day. But it appears that efforts are now underway to add an Islamic element to the Christian, Christmas celebration in Norway. According to Tolg, this year’s program at Stigeråsen School will include two verses from the Koran. Christmas is certainly not a holy day for Islam, so why would any school, as Tolg explains, want …

Feast of Saint Nicholas being celebrated in Firbourg, Switzerland on December 6, 2009 Credit: Chlempi/Wikipedia

Have archaeologists found the grave of Santa Claus?

A recent statement by Turkish archaeologists may throw a damper on this year’s Christmas celebration. They are claiming to have found the last remains of Santa Claus. While working on an old church in Demre located in Southern Turkey, an electronic survey revealed an opening in the ground beneath the church that probably holds the remains of Saint Nicholas. He is a fourth century bishop on which our modern Santa Claus is based. An initial look beneath the church floor revealed an undamaged shrine. Saint Nicholas was the Bishop of Mrya. The name of the city was later changed to Demre. According to tradition, he would secretly give gifts to children often by putting money in their shoes. Bishop Nicholas was imprisoned and tortured during the reign of Diocletian but lived long enough to see the Christian emperor Constantine come to power and was then released. When Saint Nicholas died on December 6, 343 AD (December 19 on the Julian calendar) he was buried at his church. Demre even has a museum dedicated to this saint. …

10-year-old autistic girl sings Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ with a Christmas twist

A 10-year-old autistic girl from Northern Ireland is wowing social media with her Youtube version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Leonard Cohen, a Canadian song writer and singer, died on November 7, 2016 at age 82. Kayleigh Rogers attends Killard House school in Donaghadee, Northern Ireland. The school has 200 students from ages three to 16. In the song, that has since gone viral on Facebook with over 1 million views, Kayleigh leads the school’s choir in a moving rendition of the international hit. Since it was part of the Killard House’s Christmas program, the school changed the words to tell the story of Jesus’ birth. Kayleigh started school at age 7 and not only struggles with autism but ADHD as well. Though of moderate severity, they have resulted in “learning delays” for Kayleigh. In an interview with BBC, the school’s principal Colin Miller said Kaylee is normally a very shy girl, but when she begins to sing, she shines. Miller told Belfast Live: “She may only be a child but she has an amazing tone …

Church of Nativity, Bethlehem Credit: Jordan Pickett/Flickr/Creative Commons

A 360 virtual tour of the birth place of Jesus

For those who have never visited Israel, in the video above film director Pearry Teo provides a 360 degree virtual tour of what is believed to be the birthplace of Jesus. Just move your mouse over the video for a full panoramic view. Our tour guide is Danny Herman. Located in Bethlehem which today is part of Palestine, the Church of the Nativity covers the opening to a cave or Grotto, where you walk down stair to view where it is traditionally believed Jesus was born. On the floor, you can see the spot where Mary gave birth to Jesus. A ‘silver star’ marks where the manger sat — installed in 1717, for good reason some question if this is the exact spot. They even note where the Magi stood when they came to worship the Christ. We can’t be absolutely sure the cave is the location where Jesus was born. The original version of the chapel claiming this as the place was built by Constantine in 333 AD — at the insistence of his …

The Singing Contractors: Facebook

‘The Singing Contractors’ unexpected climb to fame

Two general contractors working in and around Indianapolis, Indiana have taken social media by storm, not by displaying teaching videos on contracting techniques, but by singing. Aaron Gray, 39 and Josh Arnett, 40, have been friends since childhood. Today, they work as contractors — pounding a hammer. Living about an hour apart outside Indianapolis, they often work together on projects. Initially they started out singing together while they worked, but at one point they decided to record the songs on their phones. All their songs are ‘a cappella’ but often have a cathedral type sound as they sing in empty homes. Both Arnett and Gray come from Christian homes, but neither of them had sang professionally. The turning point came last year when pastor Paul Biggar joined them in singing “How Great Thou Art.” They sang it in three-part harmony in the basement of a home they were working on. They shared it on Facebook and within a few weeks the video was viewed 19 million times. Because of their almost instantaneous climb to fame, …

A wintry day in Sheffield, England. Credit: Wojtek Gurak/Flickr/Creative Commons

Forgiving a Christmas Eve murder

It was December 24, 2012, and organist Alan Greaves, 68, was walking to Christmas Eve midnight mass at St. Saviour’s Anglican church in Sheffield, England where he was scheduled to play. On his 10-minute journey, he ran in to two men — Jonathan Bowling, 22, and Ashley Foster, 22.  Both had left a Christmas gathering earlier that evening in a foul mood. According to court records, the two men were looking for trouble and saw Greaves as easy pickings. They attacked Greaves with a pick ax handle and hammer and he would later die in hospital from his injuries. But in a powerful testimony, Alan’s wife Maureen Greaves, 63, shared in an interview with the English newspaper, The Guardian, of her journey to forgiving the two men who murdered her husband in the unprovoked attack. Maureen, 63, currently serves as a lay minister with the Anglican church working with a group called the Church Army. Married for forty years, she and her husband have four children, two sons and two daughters. She recounted the night …

Credit: Scott Fiddelke/Flickr/Creative Commons

What should we tell our kids about Santa?

My son was about five or six years old when he motioned for me to come to our front window. It was December and our front yard was blanketed with a fresh layer of snow. We lived on the edge of the city and wild life made regular forays into our front yard. As I went to the window I saw a trail of rabbit tracks wandering through the snow. My son then explained those were the tracks of Santa’s reindeer. He must have been in our yard the night before. My wife and I had decided to tell our children that Santa was not real, with the proviso that they were not to say anything about it to the other kids. But my son saw Santa in the malls and on TV. At his Christian pre-school, many of the kids were talking about Santa and my son wanted to believe in Santa as well and now he was trying to convince me those tracks were evidence Santa existed. I told him that those were …