Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Well Merry Christmas. I know we can't be accurate about the date of our Saviors birth, but at least we have a day we come together and make a big deal about it. It shouldn't be the only day we celebrate His coming though, because He came to seek and to save the lost. So, Merry Christmas to all of you and I hope you have a blessed holiday season. And Happy Birthday Jesus. And in regards to when His birthday might be, I copied the following out of one of my study books. Enjoy.

7. When was Jesus born?
a. What year was Christ born?
1) Jesus was born in 4 or 5 BC.
Why is this a BC date?
2) Our modern calendar was not established until centuries after the time of Christ. Dionysius the Monk who first prepared it for Pope John I (525 AD) simply miscalculated.
3) How do we know Christ was born this early? Herod the Great, who tried to murder the baby Jesus, did between March 29 and April 11 of 4 BC.
b. What Day was Jesus born?
1) In answering this question, any dogmatic positions must be rejected, such as:
a) The dogmatic position that Jesus was born on December 25th (the traditional date of the Western Church).
b) The dogmatic position that Jesus was born on January 6th (the traditional date of the Eastern Church).
c) Any dogmatic position regarding an Exact date. We simply cannot know with total certainty and must hold our opinions somewhat tentatively.
d) The dogmatic position that Jesus could not have been born on December 25. The evidence against this date is not nearly as strong as some propose.
2) While no dogmatic position can be accepted with absolute certainty, we do have indications that give us some general idea concerning the date of Christ’s birth.
a) The date of the death of Herod the Great.
1] Herod died between March 29 and April 11, 4 BC
2] The Gospel narrative necessitates that Christ’s birth occurred at least 2 months before Herod’s death.
3] This makes January of 4 BC the latest possible date for Jesus’ birth.
b) The Angelic Announcement to Zacharias concerning the birth of John.
1] Zacharias was of the priestly course of Abia. (Lk 1:5)
2] We cannot know with absolute certainty the date of the priestly courses. However two historical sources mention which course was on duty when the temple was destroyed by the Romans on August 5, 70 AD.
3] Calculating backwards through time and the priestly courses, we arrive at the date of October 2-9 for the course of Abia the year before Christ’s birth.
4] Adding 6 months of Elisabeth’s pregnancy before Mary conceived and the 9 months of Mary’s pregnancy, we arrive at the end of December of 5 BC for the birth of Christ.
c) The earliest traditions indicate a mid-winter birth.
d) The earliest mention of a specific date of Christ’s birth is by Hippolytus (165-235 AD) who gives December 25 as the date.
e) John Chrysostom stated in 386 AD that December 25 was the correct date and this tradition has dominated ever since.
f) As was noted earlier, arguments against a mid-winter birth from the shepherds abiding in the field are not valid.
g) An early Jewish source notes December 25 as a fast day celebrating an unknown event. Many believe that the event was Christ’s birth.
h) December 25 was also the date of a perverse pagan fertility ritual, the feast of Saturnalia, associated with the religion of “Mystery Babylon” (Babel), Nimrod, Tammuz, and Semerimus.
1] This was supposedly the time of the birth of Tammuz. The fact that December 25 coincides with this pagan holiday is the chief reason for questioning the date as the actual time of Christ’s birth.
2] Many of the traditions associated with our modern Christmas observances arose from this pagan festival.
i) In conclusion, we note:
1] We know that Christ’s birth almost certainly occurred in late December of 5 BC or early Jan of 4 BC. The only 2 specific dates ever proposed which have ever gained real acceptance fall within these time limits.
2] There is actually more evidence for the December 25 date than any other.
3] WE cannot be dogmatic about the true date of the first “Christmas”.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Wesley Harty's Miracle

"Wesley is a complete Miracle from God. Christmas Day will be four months to the day since his accident. God has healed him so has been amazing to see his improvement from day to day. It has been a hard road to travel, but we knew God was there carrying us through every step of the way. We are so thankful for the best Christmas gift God could ever give us; besides the gift of Jesus Christ, our son's miraculouus recovery is one to treasure for a lifetime! Thank you Darrel for this blog site & spreading God's wonderous works!" Angelia Harty.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Do You Know?

I have carried this poem around in my billfold for years. From time to time I will see it and read it. It always reminds me of how I should treat others. It also reminds me that others are looking for Hope, and I reflect the Hope that is within me and that is Jesus Christ.

Do You Know

Do you know
do you understand
that you represent
Jesus to me?

Do you know
do you understand
that when you treat me with gentleness,
it raises the question in my mind
that maybe He is gentle, too.
Maybe He isn’t someone
who laughs when I am hurt.

Do you know
do you understand
that when you listen to my questions
and you don’t laugh,
I think, “What if Jesus is interested in me, too?”

Do you know
do you understand
that when I hear you talk about arguments
and conflict and scars from your past,
I think, “Maybe I am just a regular person
instead of a bad, no-good little girl
who deserves abuse.”

If you care,
I think maybe He cares—
and then there’s this flame of hope
that burns inside of me
and for a while
I am afraid to breathe
because it might go out.

Do you know
do you understand
that your words are His words?
Your face, His face
to someone like me?

Please, be who you say you are.
Please, God, don’t let this be another trick.
Please let this be real.

Do you know
do you understand
that you represent
Jesus to me?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Christmas Story Begins

There had been 400 years of silence from God, between the Old and New Testament. It was like the quiet before something big was about to happen. In Luke 1:5-25 we see a couple Zacharias and Elizabeth who were on up in years and childless. On a certain day Zacharias entered the temple to do his duties, which he may have only done once in his lifetime. He was to take the prayers of the people before the Lord and come back out and tell them whether their prayers had been accepted while they waited, bowed low outside. On this particular day though while he was in the Temple alone, he sensed a presence and was startled to see a figure since he was supposed to be the only one there. It was an angel, Gabriel, who told him there prayers had been heard and they would have a child. He was to name the child John. He would be the forerunner of the Messiah. Zacharias couldn't believe what he was being told and wanted a sign. The sign was that he would not be able to talk until after the birth of John. When he came out, he could not speak. Upon the birth of his son he was able to speak and name the child. This child grew up to be John the Baptist. And so the Christmas Story begins.
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Born again at 40 in 2001, though I practiced Christianity since I was 13.