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 Post subject: Merry Christmas
PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2008 1:29 am 
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“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”- Isaiah 9:6


Luke 2
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“ Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Merry Christmas
8-)

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 Post subject: Old Christmas
PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2008 8:49 am 
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My parents talked about Old Christmas and how their parents would celebrate it.




Until the time of Julius Caesar the Roman year was organized round the phases of the moon. For many reasons this was hopelessly inaccurate so, on the advice of his astronomers, Julius instituted a calendar centred round the sun. It was decreed that one year was to consist of three hundred and sixty-five and a quarter days, divided into twelve months; the month of Quirinus was renamed 'July' to commemorate the Julian reform. Unfortunately, despite the introduction of leap years, the Julian calendar overestimated the length of the year by eleven minutes fifteen seconds, which comes to one day every on hundred and twenty-eight years. By the sixteenth century the calendar was ten days out. In 1582 reforms instituted by Pope Gregory XIII lopped the eleven minutes fifteen seconds off the length of a year and deleted the spare ten days. This new Gregorian calendar was adopted throughout Catholic Europe.

Protestant Europe was not going to be told what day it was by the Pope, so it kept to the old Julian calendar. This meant that London was a full ten days ahead of Paris. By the time England came round to adopting the Gregorian calendar, in the middle of the eighteenth century, England was eleven days ahead of the Continent.

A Calendar Act was passed in 1751 which stated that in order to bring England into line, the day following the 2nd of September 1752 was to be called the 14th, rather than the 3rd of September. Unfortunately, many people were not able to understand this simple manoeuvre and thought that the government had stolen eleven days of their lives. In some parts there were riots and shouts of 'give us back our eleven days!'

Before the calendar was reformed, England celebrated Christmas on the equivalent of the 6th of January by our modern, Gregorian reckoning. That is why in some parts of Great Britain people still call the 6th of January, Old Christmas Day.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2008 9:31 pm 
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B.A. Robinson wrote:
Luke 1:5 states that Jesus was born when Herod was King of Judea. Luke 2:2 states that Jesus was born when Cyrenius (a.k.a. Quirinius) was also governor of Syria. Unfortunately, this appears to be an impossibility. The historical record shows that Herod was king from 37 until his death in 4 BCE. (A few scholars say 5 BCE). Quirinius was not governor of Syria at any time during this period. He came to power in 6 CE, a decade after Herod died. Some biblical literalists have suggested that the two Gospels can be harmonized if Quirinius was governor during two separate intervals. There is no historical evidence to support this; however, it is often taught as truth.

The month and day of Jesus' birthday is also unknown. However, we can be fairly certain that it was not DEC-25.

* THE SHEPHERDS: Luke 2:8 mentions that shepherds were living in their fields keeping watch over their flocks during the nighttime (and, one would assume, also during the daytime.) This is a good indication that Jesus' birth did not happen in December when the flocks would have already have been moved from the fields into pens. They were only in the fields during the warmer months. There is a remark in the Talmud that flocks were put out to grass in March and brought in during the beginning of November. During the Jewish month of Heshvan (our October/November) the fall rains hit and the animals are penned up. At best, the passage narrows down the birth month to one of 7 months in the late spring, summer, or early fall.
* The month of Jesus birth can actually be calculated with reference to the conception of John the Baptist:
o Luke 1:5 says that John's father, Zacharias, was "a member of the Abijah division of the Temple service corps." (Living Bible)
o 1 Chronicles 24:15 assigned the priests of the Abijah division to begin temple service at the start of the 9th week of the year. But at the end of the week, Pentecost had begun, so he would have remained on duty until the end of the 10th week.
o Luke 1:23-24 records that Zacharias returned immediately to his home, and that John was conceived shortly thereafter - probably during the last half of Sivan, the 3rd month in the Jewish calendar.
o Allowing for a normal 9 months pregnancy, John would have been born in the springtime.
o Luke 1:36 records that the angel came to Mary when John's mother Elizabeth was 6 months pregnant.
o Luke 1:31 reports that Mary conceived very shortly after the angel's visit.

Assuming a normal, 9 month pregnancy, Jesus would have been born about 6 months after John - sometime in the fall of the year.



Kelly Wittmann wrote:
No one knows what day Jesus Christ was born on. From the biblical description, most historians believe that his birth probably occurred in September, approximately six months after Passover. One thing they agree on is that it is very unlikely that Jesus was born in December, since the bible records shepherds tending their sheep in the fields on that night. This is quite unlikely to have happened during a cold Judean winter. So why do we celebrate Christ’s birthday as Christmas, on December the 25th?

The answer lies in the pagan origins of Christmas. In ancient Babylon, the feast of the Son of Isis (Goddess of Nature) was celebrated on December 25. Raucous partying, gluttonous eating and drinking, and gift-giving were traditions of this feast.

In Rome, the Winter Solstice was celebrated many years before the birth of Christ. The Romans called their winter holiday Saturnalia, honoring Saturn, the God of Agriculture. In January, they observed the Kalends of January, which represented the triumph of life over death. This whole season was called Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun. The festival season was marked by much merrymaking. It is in ancient Rome that the tradition of the Mummers was born. The Mummers were groups of costumed singers and dancers who traveled from house to house entertaining their neighbors. From this, the Christmas tradition of caroling was born.

In northern Europe, many other traditions that we now consider part of Christian worship were begun long before the participants had ever heard of Christ. The pagans of northern Europe celebrated the their own winter solstice, known as Yule. Yule was symbolic of the pagan Sun God, Mithras, being born, and was observed on the shortest day of the year. As the Sun God grew and matured, the days became longer and warmer. It was customary to light a candle to encourage Mithras, and the sun, to reappear next year.

Huge Yule logs were burned in honor of the sun. The word Yule itself means “wheel,” the wheel being a pagan symbol for the sun. Mistletoe was considered a sacred plant, and the custom of kissing under the mistletoe began as a fertility ritual. Hollyberries were thought to be a food of the gods.

The tree is the one symbol that unites almost all the northern European winter solstices. Live evergreen trees were often brought into homes during the harsh winters as a reminder to inhabitants that soon their crops would grow again. Evergreen boughs were sometimes carried as totems of good luck and were often present at weddings, representing fertility. The Druids used the tree as a religious symbol, holding their sacred ceremonies while surrounding and worshipping huge trees.

In 350, Pope Julius I declared that Christ’s birth would be celebrated on December 25. There is little doubt that he was trying to make it as painless as possible for pagan Romans (who remained a majority at that time) to convert to Christianity. The new religion went down a bit easier, knowing that their feasts would not be taken away from them.

Christmas (Christ-Mass) as we know it today, most historians agree, began in Germany, though Catholics and Lutherans still disagree about which church celebrated it first. The earliest record of an evergreen being decorated in a Christian celebration was in 1521 in the Alsace region of Germany. A prominent Lutheran minister of the day cried blasphemy: “Better that they should look to the true tree of life, Christ.”


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2008 10:42 pm 
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Rick Reinckens wrote:

The authors were not concerned with getting the sequence of events entirely accurate, since they never intended to write chronological accounts!

The Four Gospels were actually constructed mainly of pericopes. A pericope is a short anecdote. Each of the Four Gospels is mainly a "string of pearls." The author collected a number of anecdotes, sorted them by concept (baptism, miracles, teachings about heaven, the Passion (Crucifixion)), and arranged them in a sequence that is a mixture of chronological and topical. In other words, parts of each Gospel are chronological and parts are by subject.

This is the same format used throughout the Bible -- historical parts are put in chronological sequence, but other parts, such as the Minor Prophets (Zechariah, Zephaniah, Joel, Amos, etc.) are grouped together. Contrary to common belief, Paul's epistles were written before the Four Gospels (except possibly Mark), not after. In the accepted biblical order, Paul's epistles are basically ordered by length, not topic or chronology.


We must view the works through the authors' eyes.

A common mistake in interpreting any literature is to try to understand the work by viewing it through the reader's cultural values. If we viewed the Bible by modern American values, we would have to say "The Old Testament is about a bunch of guys who were bigamists and had mistresses. This is totally immoral literature."

To determine the validity of the gospel messages we must put ourselves in the authors' position:

If you wanted to write a book telling the world there is a God, that God became a man in order to save mankind, that death is simply a transformation and that God will judge each man after death, and you were poor, traveling around, risking persecution to death and had only fragmentary information to work with, would you mainly be interested in the theology or the chronology?


We must examine the works with the authors' purposes in view.

Let's say you go to a McDonalds with a friend for lunch. He says "How much money do you have on you?" You respond "Twenty dollars." Does it really matter that you have twenty-one dollars and sixteen cents? The purpose of his question is to get an idea whether you have enough for lunch, and your approximate answer is fine.

The purpose of the gospels was to explain about the Messiah to people who were mainly illiterate Those people really didn't care about minutia such as the exact sequence of events.


We must consider what source materials were available to the authors.

Luke is the only author who says Luke 1:3 "I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning ...." Remember: the Four Gospels were not written until about 66 A.D. to 96 A.D., i.e., the earliest of the Four Gospels was written about thirty-six years after Jesus' death. (Due to errors in how calendars used to be calculated, Jesus was actually born around 4 B.C. and crucified around 30 A.D.) At that point, think of what would be needed to write a chronology of events.

Imagine being an American writer in Tennessee around 1870 trying to put together a magazine article about a murder by several prominent families that had occurred in 1820 and had largely been "hushed up." You could probably find a few people who had some recollections about it, and maybe several people would have some diary entries or notes. But the chances are nobody would have a completely accurate chronology of the events. Also, because of persecution by the families, you would not be able to travel freely and ask questions freely.


If all the Four Gospels agreed on all details, none of them could be considered trustworthy.

Consider the information available to the writers of the Four Gospels and the persecution that existed when they were writing. If the Four Gospels did completely agree it would make all of them highly suspect! It would be impossible to have four accounts completely agree without massive collusion. If there were massive collusion, it would be difficult to accept any account as true -- if news of the Messiah was considered so important, why would four separate authors take the considerable time, effort and expense to obtain and review each other's works and make sure their accounts matched exactly?


All the Gospels were written to tell man the Good News about salvation, not to be dissected.

The Gospels were written to let the world know the Good News that Jesus Christ, God, took on a flesh body, died for our sins, and made salvation available to all mankind. Jesus specifically criticized the Pharisees who dissected the Old Testament scriptures, complaining that they had gotten so involved in the details that they had completely lost sight of the message.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2008 10:54 pm 
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Hey X, where did you find this quote? Give me a link or a book title. Good stuff!

Also, thanks to Kevin for his history lesson which serves as a corrective. We should cling more to Christ and less to pagan traditions. You see, you're serving God and you didn't know it:)

A blessed Christmas to all!


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2008 1:07 pm 
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cwbjr67 wrote:
Hey X, where did you find this quote? Give me a link or a book title. Good stuff!

Also, thanks to Kevin for his history lesson which serves as a corrective. We should cling more to Christ and less to pagan traditions. You see, you're serving God and you didn't know it:)

A blessed Christmas to all!


A little no frills website

http://www.godonthe.net

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