Sunday, December 21, 2014


It's only a few days before Christmas and I haven't yet gotten around to decorating for the holiday!  No, I'm not a Scrooge or Grinch and I certainly love this time of year... I just haven't felt like dragging all the boxes from the basement!

The grandkids will be over tomorrow and I'm counting on them to give me the extra boost to get it done.  Still, they're in for a surprise if they're looking for a tree with ornaments.  I haven't put up one for years! Instead I've opted for the classic Nativity scene beautifully molded and painted with all the central characters of the bible under a wooden creche displayed in a couple of places in my home.

The largest one lights up with a warm glow and that really puts me in the Christmas mood but it also reminds me how wrong the manufacturers got the bible story!  You may have too!
So let me tell you five things you need to know about the Christmas story from the New Testament gospels:
  • Although the song goes We Three Kings...there were probably more who came to visit Christ. They brought three kinds of gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh and that's why I guess they limit the number of carriers to three.  The Wise men  visited the Christ Child not in a stable but in a house when He was nearly two years old (Matt. 2:11).  I imagine it would get pretty crowded in that stable with the shepherds, wise men, angels, and animals in one small space.  But isn't that what most Nativity scenes show us?
  • We sing Hark the Herald, Angels Sing....but does the bible say that they were singing? When they appeared before the shepherds they spoke, they praised (which we know could mean in a way other than in song) glory shone all around them (Luke 2: 8-14). In fact there's only three places in scripture were angels are singing --Job 38:7, Isaiah 14:12, and Rev. 5:8-10.   Here's a side note though...did you know that God sings???  Read Zephaniah 3:17.
  • We celebrate Christmas, Christ's birthday during the winter....December 25, but we don't actually know the season Christ was born.  Shepherds certainly wouldn't have been tending their flocks in the middle of winter! Like many Christian observances, Christmas has it roots in paganism. It comes from the the Roman holiday Saturnalia, the birthday of  the unconquered sun.  It was observed with feasting, parades, special music, gift giving and green trees and candles and lasted for seven days.(sounds like now doesn't it?)  In 336 Emperor Constantine christianized the celebration and declared Christ's birthday an official Roman holiday.  We've been celebrating on December 25th every since.
  • Christmas is typically known as a time of extreme emotional stress, strain, and greater acts of crime and violence.  Some would describe it as a season of bedlam, meaning noise and confusion akin to that symbolized in an insane asylum.  How ironic that this word has the same etymological root as Bethlehem, the place of Christ's birth. This certainly describes the scene in the shopping mall doesn't it? Still, it's a comfort to know that the Hebrew word for Bethlehem, is House of Bread.  Jesus the Bread of Life was born in the House of Bread!
  • Christ's birth split time in half!  Yes His birth was so significant that all the world chronicles time periods according to it.  B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (anno domini, in the year of our Lord.  However, I must say that in recent years the world is trying very, very hard to erase that from the minds of latter generations.  More and more you see modern history books referring to B.C.E. (Before common era) and C.E. (common era) giving recognition to historians that may not be Christians!
So there you have it, five things not commonly known about this time of year!  Do me a favor, pull this up and read it while you're stuck in those long check-out lines or waiting for that ham to come out of the oven.  Maybe take a break  and steal away Christmas day for a moment of quiet from the bedlam of noisy children playing with toys or the incessant chatter from relatives you wish would go home after Christmas dinner!  Hey, there's always a good time to learn more about our Savior.  

Merry Christmas, I hope I gave you something to think about!


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