December 25, 2017

On this day in history, time changed. Huh? What? Time just keeps going and going, one day after another, year after year we have birthdays counting how old we get. But yet, our historical calendar changed from counting the years to counting down to zero, and then counting up again. Wow, something must have happened. Alien space ships landing?

Have historians messed with our minds? A typist error not caught by Hallmark? Hollywood? The Media? The schools? This should be the year 8017 or something similar, right, as all calendars start at number one, at the beginning of life.

The difference points to one event recorded in history sometime over two thousand years ago pointing to a new boy being born to a couple who had not yet walked down the aisle. Boys and girls are born everyday to those who have made their vows and to those who have not and the kings, the magistrates, the historians over time don’t change the calendar just for them. What happened? Why was this kid so important?

Got to be something really special, outstanding of great importance to the entire world, for all cultures to change their calendars to the year one and start counting up again.

Yes, folks, you know the event. We’re celebrating it today.

The Supreme, Almighty God, creator of this Universe determined something must be done to change the attitude, the behavior of this part of living creation. Got to show these people a new beginning, a new hope, a new eternal salvation by sending one spiritual part to become a physical being like us, to be born like one of us, the mother experiencing the same pain and effort and then rejoicing and loving this new baby. The angels sang. The shepherds came.

Yes, history has changed. Jesus the Christ Savior was born.

Kris Kringle is coming to town

Ho, Ho. Ho, it’s time for Santa Claus to slide down the chimney neatly placing the last-minute gifts under the tree for the kiddies to excitedly tear into early Monday morning. Your sleep may be disturbed as the reindeer come to an abrupt stop on the roof. You’ve left gluten-free cookies and a can of Diet Pepsi for his nourishment of the long night travels from the north pole and around the world. Or, as it’s very cold and snowy outside, you may have left a shot of rum and a tub of hot chocolate.

Oh, but where did this traditional spirit of the holiday come from? And why?

This tradition had its start way back to what is now Turkey in the year 270, when a young man became rich from his father’s estate, who gave much of that to the homeless living on the street corners, to the poor children and to anyone in need which elevating him to fame. He secretly gave of his wealth wanting nothing in return ever conscious of the needs of others earning him the honor of a Saint of the Church. He was Bishop Nicholas.  During the council of Nicaea the church leaders were debating the nature of the trinity, when Nicholas slapped the face of another bishop who taught that Jesus was not equal with God the Father. The Roman ruler Constantine stripped Nicholas of his position and had him thrown in jail for such a breach of decorum.

As a bishop, Nicholas, servant of God, was first and foremost a shepherd of the people, caring for their needs. His active pursuit of justice for his people was demonstrated when he secured grain in time of famine, saved the lives of three men wrongly condemned, and secured lower taxes for Myra. He taught the Gospel simply, so ordinary people understood, and he lived out his faith and devotion to God in helping the poor and all in need. [1]

Another story of the life of Saint Nicholas goes like this:

There was a poor man who had three daughters. The man was so poor that he did not have enough money for a dowry, so his daughters could not marry. One night, Nicholas secretly dropped a bag of gold down the chimney and into the house. The bag fell into a stocking that had been hung by the fire to dry. [2]

For several hundred years, circa 1200 to 1500, St. Nicholas was the unchallenged bringer of gifts and the toast of celebrations centered around his day, December 6. The strict saint took on some aspects of earlier European deities, like the Roman Saturn or the Norse Odin, who appeared as white-bearded men and had magical powers like flight. He also ensured that kids toed the line by saying their prayers and practicing good behavior.” But after the Protestant Reformation, saints like Nicholas fell out of favor across much of northern Europe.

In early America German and Austrian immigrants to America brought the name Kris Kringle (Christ King) to be the giver of gifts. [2]

Later on, some Dutch families gathered together on December 5th 1773,.to honor the anniversary of the death of “Sinter Klass”, their nickname for Saint Nicholas. [3]

In 1822 Clement Clarke Moore wrote “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” also known as “The Night Before Christmas.”

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danc’d in their heads,

. . . . .

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight-
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

And on and on the legend grows over the years, adapts to new additions and traditions, to what we now have without a whimper: a grandfatherly figure with full beard dressed in red that’s trimmed in white fur, calf length black boots and wearing a red cap trimmed in white, now ringing the bell in front of stores from Thanksgiving on. Other Santa’s are at the mall having children sit on his lap whispering what they want for Christmas.

On the eve of Christmas, Santa is sitting in a sleigh pulled by Rudolf along with Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer, and Vixen, On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Dunder and Blixem; To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!” and across the skies he goes bringing gifts to the well-behaved children because he knows who’s naughty or nice.

We do like our traditions.

So, what’s does all this have to do with the real reason of the season that’s buried under our beloved traditions?  God sent His Only Son to be born to the virgin Mary, in a manger because there was no room in the Inn. Since our lives are limited to this physical world, the creator Almighty God came to us: a human just like the rest of us, one who we could physically see, feel, hear, touch and smell. God’s act of redemption to all of humanity has begun with that Immaculate Conception of Jesus.

History has recorded it for us all.

Another scene we prepare for are the extended family gatherings, a time of refreshing memories, of good will to others, of blessing others with gifts, of the admiration of sparkling lights, of sending cards of Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. When that time of sitting at the dinner table comes, read together Luke 2:1-20.

 

[1] http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/bishop-of-myra/

[2] https://www.whychristmas.com/customs/fatherchristmas.shtml

[3] http://www.history.com/topics/christmas/santa-claus

[4] https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/12/131219-santa-claus-origin-history-        christmas-facts-st-nicholas/

Male and Female created He them.

You know the story. One human meets another human and through time they begin to love each other. The one proposes. The other accepts, and the date is set. Off they go for the union celebration and later a new human is brought unto them, who is nurtured, instructed and eventually leaves the first two, and the process starts again.  It’s been called multiplying the earth. After a period, the first two die leaving behind two generations related to the first.

Consider that the first two had 10 children and each of those had ten each, how many would be left after the first two died?  My math tells me there would 120 left in the family. Oh, how quickly the earth gets populated, and that’s just including the grandchildren of the first, perhaps just a 50-year period. Take it to the next generation.

God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply the earth.  And they did. Back in those days, many of the patriarchs lived a very long time according to our standards. Adam lived to be 930. Wow, how big did that family reunion become? All we are told is that after the birth of Seth, Adam was 130 years old and then Eve had sons and daughters. How many could that have been? 1 every 7 years. Only guess work. Say we cut him off at 800 years; 633 years left after Seth. Could have been 90. And then the possibility of twins in there somewhere. Just guess work since they did not leave a family album.

After Noah, the life spans of humans declined as this chart illustrates.

Life chart from Noah

Why the decline?

Well my hypothesis is that because of the disruption of the perfect garden, diseases slowly entered the genetics of humans altering the aging process.

And now, parents in the USA average 1.77 children.  China has been known to legally limit the number of children to just 1 per the female spouse. Will the process of multiplying the earth continue?

After the grandparents die, who and how many will be left to watch over and care for the next generation of grandparents? And the next? Many leaders and watchdogs promote the idea that the earth is over-populated causing a disruption in the eco-system because of the devastation these humans are causing the system, resulting in more deaths from hazardous chemicals and/or lack of sustaining chemicals. Therefore, you must limit the number of children being exposed to these changing environments even if it means destroying a fetus before it takes that first breath of air.

Do it, for the sake of the children.

But, if all limited the birth rate, then slowly there would be no one left to perform surgeries, to stock the shelves, to entertain, to educate, to tell us what happened yesterday, no one left to shovel the snow in the driveway, and on and on it goes, nothing left but dead battery robots.

Augustine and The City of God.

Somehow, a few months ago I was inspired to purchase the abridged (one volume of 549 pp) version of this historical Christian classic written over a three-year period in the early part of the 5th century.

Yes, I’ve been paging through and skipping some of this age-old classic along with some biographical information about Saint Augustine, when this hit me: “History was a neglected discipline in the later Roman Empire; the great historians of the past, Tacitus and Herodotus, were neglected, their writings used only as quarries for illustrations by the rhetoricians. The philosophy of the age was anti-historical, as if the end of history had arrived.” [1]

In this age of technology dominating our lives 24/7 who has time to read history. We look at the past as irrelevant to us because daily, we accomplish much more, so much easier, and traveling through the clouds, than having to work hard each day to put food on the table, to hunt and gather it, to keep the tent aired out, to find wood to burn to heat the coffee beans. As a student in our public-school system, all I remember of studying history was dates and names of the kings, rulers, tyrants defeating other kings, rulers, and tyrants in wars costing the lives of millions of other peasants, barbarians, subjects and soldiers.

We really haven’t changed much at all then.

But how did someone acquire so much knowledge and wisdom back in the days of riding camels, horses and trudging by sandals of leather, reading in the evening under the light of candles and sleeping on the ground inside a tent under sheep skins? Huh? How? Amazing isn’t it. The Bible itself did not become wide spread until the Gutenberg press was invented a thousand years after Augustine read the Latin papyrus scroll Old Testament and the Greek version of the New on parchment animal skin codex, and then becoming convinced that Christianity is real, is true, that the reality of all things is we are all descendants of Adam and Eve through Noah and his wife, that the Creator of all things insists that He alone be worshiped.

And now our hundreds of protestant denominations and the Roman Catholics argue about just that: how should we worship the creator of all things? What does it mean to worship? Do I have to give up something to worship, or is reading one of the current translations of the Bible for ten minutes each day enough? Is the Ten Commandments for us today or were they nailed to the cross and we’re free to do our own thing just so long as we treat others the same way we want to be treated?

The end of history has arrived, so relax as we’ll be out of here soon.

But now excuse me as I step on some toes, mine included.

Just like Adam and Eve, we desire the fruit of the garden of plenty by being glued to the Smart TV, posting an update on FB, a new message on the Smart Phone and catch up on the latest scores, political shenanigans and tomorrows weather on the computer.

“The attraction of leisure ought not to be empty-headed inactivity, but in the quest or discovery of truth, both for his own progress and for the purpose of sharing ungrudgingly with others. Nor should the man of action love worldly position or power (for all is vanity under the sun) . . . but . . .  of contributing to the eternal salvation of those committed to one’s care.”  P 461 City of God.

The tools we use is all that has changed, as now we are able to access all this history comfortably seated in a warm house by pressing carefully selected keys on a plastic keyboard.

 

  1. https://banneroftruth.org/us/resources/articles/2015/augustine-and-the-city-of-god/

Merry X-mas

Yes, that was the headlines the media besieged us with not that long ago.

Now it’s Happy Holidays.

The schools do not instruct the students that their coming time away from the classroom has something to do with the birth of the Savior, Jesus the Christ becoming one of us. No, that’s left up to the parents. We walk the malls and see tinsel, wreaths and green artificial trees decorated with balls of holly, and perhaps a store just might have a nativity set in the display window as we quickly pass by, or another may have boxes of miniature or large outdoor nativity sets for sale. Hallmark cards may have scenes of the nativity, may have Merry Christmas on the front with best wishes for the Holiday Season inside. The gift giving spirit has been dominating since Thanksgiving. We’ve purchased our live evergreen tree and carefully hung the hundreds of ornaments, wreaths and strings of lights blinking to one of a dozen patterns, and finally a star has been placed on top. We check the water daily. It’s ready for the presents, some held back for the kids to open the morning of the 25th.

xmastree-times-square-nyny
Times Square

Christmas themed movies appear throughout the cable guide devoted to an actor/actress achievement of their Santa wish: a long-ago love coming back into their life, the wish for the family reconciliation, a wish for this or that, one you secretly gave to the department store Santa years ago. All heartwarming stories that touch us. Some that are humorous. Clean wholesome movies the family can enjoy together.

Santa Claus is everywhere; ringing the bell in front of the grocery store, at the center of the department store, as another Santa in the center of the mall has children lined up ready to sit on his lap. Santa is selling cars, furniture, and cell-phones on TV.

Neighborhood homes have lights strung around the roofs, artificial snow and a full-sized snowman or Santa on a sleigh on the front lawn, some nativity sets here and there. On a roof is Rudolf leading the Santa sled with piles of presents. Churches have the nativity sets and a few here and there may have actors dressed as Joseph and Mary around the nativity scene. To attract the kiddies some may have Santa with a backpack filled with presents. This year the date falls on a Monday, so the churches will be full on Sunday enjoying the choir singing, the band may play Silent Night, and the pastor reads the story of the reason for the season. All is well, Jesus was born as a child in Bethlehem.

Yes, this is the Christmas season society has developed for us over the years.

In America, we have that freedom. Other places penalize Christmas displays of any kind.

Our creator God looked down upon this marvelous creation over the years interacting with various humans throughout our natural history for a way to redeem His most important part of creation. God saved Noah and his family from the wrath of the flood to start over desiring that they act according to the original idea of honoring the Creator and worshiping Him alone in spirit and truth. History records that we humans failed to obey those commandments again. So, the time has come, God declares one last act of compassionate mercy by sending a part of Himself to inhabit a human body, to live and grow up among other humans sharing in their lives, to teach and to demonstrate the majestic creative and sustaining powers to the likes of us all.

Since we are limited in our vision to this physical world, God became one of us.

We failed all in the past, so now this is the final gift, the last hope, a final way for His family of man to accept the loving merciful forgiveness of our sins of disobedience being redeemed and the gift of a new spiritual life to honor, worship and obey.

Merry Christmas.

Tearing up biology.

Ah, the world is turning and has been rotating since its creation. Can’t undo that. In this world of ours there are rules that man cannot change: the physical dynamics of creation, the biology of creation. Mankind has been given an innate curiosity about the surrounding nature of things which has led to the development of phenomial technological achievements.   So, here we are in the 21st century able to talk to and see others on the other side of the rotating earth through some sort of electronic signals as the world turns. This curiosity is also contemplating changing our nature as assigned at birth. Some don’t like it. Some rebel against it. And unfortunately, rebellion is also a part of our nature.

There are some who claim that an element in their birth got mixed up, and they would like to change that. Some are confused. Some desire to be a boy instead of a girl. Some boys like being a girl.  And these are demanding that a fact of biology can be changed. Operations have been done altering and/or removing a physical element. The claim is that society is sexist because it has certain unwritten rules that determines what type of clothes one must wear, what toys kids should play with, who must use which rest room, what kind of a job, what sports, what, what, and around it goes so noone should be happy because I’m not happy.

Anyway, you get the picture.

OK, let’s go along with the scenario. Society burns all the clothing and we all wrapped our bodies with drapery. No barbers anywhere and our hair grows and grows. Oops, some people started growing mustaches and beards. Oops, some people had an unusual growth under the chin. Oops, some noticeably had higher voice range when speaking and singing. Oops, some had unusal lumps on their chest. Oops, some seem to have larger feet and got physically stronger than others. Oops, some had some sort of bleeding each month. Oops, some would and some would not, and on and on it goes.

Ah, come on, it’s all in the placement of the 1’s and 0’s in each bite of programming, change a gene here or there, and that can be changed by one of our AI programmers.

Nope, in the beginning God created a male and a female saying to them: “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. . . . ”

 

The Commandments Part 6

As I wrote in the first part, the owner, the creator of a company has certain rights over the workers employed under his rule. The workers are pleased to have been selected. They wish to please the owner, so they diligently pursue their assigned tasks wanting to impress and be considered for a promotion. To achieve that, they know the rules should be followed, must be followed, or a dismissal of being fired.

 

The owner of this venture called for a meeting this afternoon after the storm had passed over the mountain top.

“Moses, it’s good to see you. I see you’ve brought a couple big pieces of stone with you.”

“Yes sir, just as you requested.”

“Thanks, now I’ll carve these rules in stone so they can’t be set ablaze as they could be if put on papyrus.”

Moses holds the tablets tight against his chest, as the finger of the creator starts carving. the tip of the finger burning hot engraving each letter a half inch into the granite. Finishing the first eight, the owner stops.

“When these are finished, I desire that you place them at the court hall to be viewed by all.

supreme-court-10-commandments-photo-by-oldironsides-the-silentmajor

“Now before I finish this project, I need to explain these last two rules. This is our last physical meeting together until the son has his designated time among you reconciling all things unto himself, providing a way of redemption for all. The faithful will meet again in different surroundings.  These last two rules should cover it. No more except the round-up conclusion. Here they are:

  • Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
  • Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s house, thy neighbor’s wife nor his manservant, nor his ox, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.

“In case questions arise, I will explain further.  They are both lies, deceits. When one bears a false testimony, he’s stealing by denying the truth. But the truth cannot be killed. It can only be covered up by lies and deceit.

And oh how dishonorable it is to want something so bad you’ll do anything to get it, even lying to yourself. These two last rules state the relationship to stealing, murder and committing adultery.  When one covets something he does not have, the focus is changed to gratify the physical possession, which necessitates a change in the process of achievement.

“How far will you go to get what your neighbor has?  His wife is his partner unto death, not yours. Don’t even think about it. You’ll be killing three friendships, plus the trust they have put in you. He’s got people doing his gardening and repairing the dwelling. He’s got a state of the art set of wheels. He’s got goats and sheep in that big barn of his. He plays games riding his camel. He comes near shouting in your face: ‘wow, what fun’, while you sit on that rocker and watch, wishing and desiring those things. Day after day they are paraded before you.

“Get to work and all these can be added to you.”

“Your forefather was deceived in the same way. Don’t let that happen to you.”

“These words as etched in stone convey the laws.”

“Moses, now you must post the stone tablets where everyone will see.”

ten commandments 3

“You can easily explain all of these 10 commandments with this easy to remember saying that the son will expound on further when he visits summarized by this:”

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets”.