The Humble Mother of a Christmas Savior

The Humble Mother of a Christmas Savior cover

Welcome to Part Two of a three-part Special Edition of Everything Christmas Blogs. As Christians, it is important to know about Jesus. For example, how many details do you actually know about His family? Though most information is minimal, try to use your imagination, along with the details and facts of the Bible, to understand this holy dynasty. Today, we will learn of Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus Christ. Enjoy!

Enjoy this gorgeous Christmas song, “Mary, Did You Know?” sung by Clay Aiken:

 

Nothing is more glorious or miraculous than giving birth to a child. Who will the baby resemble and what will they become in adulthood? But, can you ever imagine going to sleep a virgin and waking up to discover a baby growing in your womb? And then, to compound the mystery, you are told the child will be a Savior to all mankind! What?? How does this happen? God’s power over man is astounding, if not scary. It proves we, ultimately, have no control over our lives. His miraculous deeds exceed earthly desires, so let us praise His name!

This is the true account of Jesus’s mother, Mary, a poor Jewish girl who lived in Nazareth. Her honorable family was descendants of King David, but they were not any different from others who struggled to live daily in the thriving, small town. Mary’s parents raised her with strong convictions and a deep love for the Lord. She was carefully trained in the Scriptures and so highly favored by God to be the mother of His Son.

Mary’s story begins in the Bible at the tender age of twelve to fourteen where she lived with her parents but betrothed to Joseph. (This is young to be engaged but the lifespan of the generations in biblical days were short.) One day, the angel, Gabriel, came to visit her and said:

Luke 1:28-33

“….Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

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Put yourself in Mary’s place. What would your reaction be to such a claim? I think it would terrify me, as it did Mary, for she was still a virgin. Though she didn’t understand, she humbled herself before the Lord. Her faith and trust in God would see her through the explanation to Joseph and the birth of the child. What a remarkable young girl!

Mary paid a visit to her older cousin, Elizabeth and her husband, Zechariah in a small town of Judea. Would they believe her story? They were preparing for the delivery of their first child. As the Bible tells, when Mary arrived, Elizabeth dropped to her knees and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!” God used Elizabeth to confirm to Mary that she would be the mother of the Son of God. She knew nothing was impossible for God. But, Elizabeth understood, too, an unmarried mother in their culture could be stoned or put to death. It would place shame on the tribe in their township. So, she let Mary stay with her until their son, John the Baptist, was born three months later.

The Humble Mother of a Christmas Savior Pic 2

 

Upon Mary’s return trip home, many thoughts afflicted her. How would she explain her pregnancy to Joseph and her parents? They would accuse her of something she did not do. This young woman of such character was about to be put to the ultimate test.

When Mary relayed her story to Joseph, he appeared extremely upset and hurt. She knew he didn’t believe her. What would she do now, and where would she go to stay safe in Nazareth? The Bible does not detail her parent’s reaction, but one can only imagine. Mary’s stress level must have been unbearable.

The next day, Joseph arrived at Mary’s home to pick her up and take her to his house. He loved her! A visit from an angel to him the night before confirmed her pregnancy. (Read Joseph’s history in the first part of this Special Edition – www.danabicksauthor.com/blog/a-real-father-christmas). He protected her and her character, and still wanted to marry even though the townspeople gossiped and shadowed her reputation. Is being a servant of God ever easy?

Near the end of Mary’s pregnancy, she and Joseph trudged an eighty-mile path to Bethlehem. Caesar required the citizens to enroll in a tax census but there was a hidden agenda. He knew a child was to be born who held the name “Savior.” The only way to find out who was carrying the miracle was to demand all citizens report to him in person. So, not only was Mary very pregnant, tired, and concerned of Caesar’s request, she endured a trip which must have been physically painful. Little to eat and little to drink, Joseph, and Mary climbed the many mountains, probably making many short stops along the way for her to rest.

The Humble Mother of a Christmas Savior Pic 3

As they approached Bethlehem, Mary began the early stages of labor. The city was full of people, and no place was available for them to stay the night. Joseph found a stall for animals and made a bed of straw for her to lie upon and be comfortable. In a strange town, with no relatives to help, a young Mary gives birth to her first child. She must have been terrified, and perhaps, even a little sad she could not share their joy with family members. But God’s celebration of His son was her drive to remain strong and steadfast. What an extraordinary, uncomplaining mother!

The Humble Mother of a Christmas Savior Pic 4

 

Mary, the humble mother of our Savior, Jesus Christ, was an incredible girl. She served God at any cost and was an obedient follower. How many women, today, can hold a candle to her? She was a nurturer, entirely devoted to her son’s health and spiritual well-being. But, as like all servants of the Lord, there’s great suffering too, especially being the mother of a Messiah. She was a holy woman of rare strength, confirming the human nature of Jesus Christ.

I think it’s proper to remember Mary on Christmas. She taught us to reach out and take a gift, accept God’s blessings, with a faithful and sincere heart. This is the reason for the season, my friends.

www.danabicksauthor.com

Please join us for the final part of this three-part Special Edition of “Everything Christmas Blogs” on Sunday, December 9th.


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Slow Down and Light the Candles

Slow Down and Light the Candles cover

My childhood and young adult years were informative times in the Lutheran church. But, as strong as my family’s practice was in this religious conviction, I cannot remember a time we celebrated Advent. Christmas always revolved around being good for Santa or decorating a tree and our home, or other festive activities. Never once did we slow down and light the candles of an Advent wreath. Perhaps this concept is foreign to you, too, but the German Lutherans started the holy season of Advent in the 4th century. This was my family’s background! I cannot understand why my early years at church did not create a celebration for this special time of the year.

As I researched for this blog, I discovered Advent traditions are usually a personal choice for each church to decide, if or when it is celebrated at all. Well, now I understand why I didn’t learn about it as a child. This serious time of fasting, reading of scriptures and hearing a sermon related to Jesus’s birth just wasn’t critical enough to exploit to a listening parish. Gulp! As a non-Lutheran, Christian informative, I want to impart upon you today, the meaning of Advent because it is so essential to our beliefs.

Let’s listen to this beautiful Advent tune, “Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel” sung by Enya:

Christians should embrace the four Sundays, or four weeks leading up to Christmas Day. It’s a time to prepare our hearts; the second coming of Christ and Jesus’s birth. The beginning of this liturgical year includes Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. When candles are lit, and twinkling lights appear this time of the year, it reminds us Jesus overcame darkness for our salvation. He is the reason for the season!

Slow Down and Light the Candles pic 1

 

Hundreds of years ago, the Advent evergreen wreath became a tradition in many churches and homes. Each week, one of five candles is lit to symbolize our preparation of the coming of the Lord. Today, in fact, marks the first Sunday of Advent. A burning purple candle (other colors may be used too) is representing the expectation of God’s return as He so promised us. Next Sunday, a second candle will symbolize hope; the third Sunday’s candle is for the joy of our Savior’s impending birth and God’s love; and the fourth Sunday’s candle, burning on Christmas Day, signifies the purity of Jesus’s birth. The large Christ candle in the middle of the wreath will be lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day reminding us Jesus is the light of the world.

Many symbols of Advent exist today, but the most common are:
• The Chrismon tree decorated in white and gold ornaments, indicative of Christ’s majesty and purity, is used in many churches at Christmas.

Slow Down and Light the Candles pic 2
Chrismon tree

• The Jesse tree or Advent tree is decorated each week with handmade ornaments or objects representing Old Testament events from creation to the Birth of Jesus. It was named after the bible scripture Isaiah 11:1: “A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots.”

Slow Down and Light the Candles pic 3

Advent Calendars which typically begin on December 1st and go through December 24th. Most calendars have little paper doors over each date. When opened, there may be an image, Bible verse, or even a piece of chocolate. This custom dates back to the mid-19th century when German Protestants made chalk marks on doors to count the days leading up to Christmas.

Slow Down and Light the Candles pic 4

Trumpets were used by God throughout the Bible. They symbolize the truths God would have us learn and were used in biblical days to indicate to Israel the advent of seasons of worship.

• A six-pointed star, known as the Star of David, is hung on the second Saturday of Advent. Though a Jewish symbol, many churches use it during Christmas because it serves as a reminder Jesus was born Jewish and is a descendant of King David, whose kingdom was to be eternal.

Slow Down and Light the Candles pic 5
The Star of David

• The fleur-de-lis represents purity as in the Virgin Mary. Its three points, also symbolize the Trinity and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Slow Down and Light the Candles pic 6

 

My Christian friends, if you have not introduced Advent into your home, it’s a great time to do so. Christmas isn’t just about Santa Claus and gifts. Slow down and light the candles for Jesus! Remember the reason for the season – Jesus Christ taking on human flesh. God bless each and every one of you!   www.danabicksauthor.com

Slow Down and Light the Candles verse

Next week will be a SPECIAL EDITION of Everything Christmas Blogs! You will not want to miss these incredible stories! We will see you on Tuesday!


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Breaking Bread

Breaking Bread cover

It was early morning, and I smelled the aroma of pumpkin and turkey as I walked into the kitchen. Loaves of bread were cooling on the counter. The beginning of the holy season was here. It was a time to give thanks to all those who made the year a little easier for us; dear friends and family, and most of all, for the multitude of blessings from our Lord.

Enjoy this beautiful Thanksgiving rendition of “What I’m Thankful For”:

Shorts and T-shirts changed to football and wrapping gifts. Trees lost their summer foliage, and the wet, black bark stood somberly, against shades of gray. Embers in the fireplace were still aglow from the prior night. The house shifted into a winter wonderland.

We started the day off right – sipping coffee in bed along with the morning news, and then the Thanksgiving parades. Later, my wife scurried about the kitchen donning an old-fashioned apron. The family will be here soon – my favorite time of the year!
The bread rose, moist and golden brown; perfect for a holiday tradition. I lovingly watched her focus on perfection. Cradling the loaves onto an empty shelf, she closed the refrigerator door and spun to her right. A smile flashed across her face. “Jesus is in our kitchen!”

Gasping in His glory, my wife turned to the counter and reached for the last loaf. She handed it to Him gently and then pulled out a chair. He smiled and reclined, gesturing me to do the same. Breaking bread and sipping the wine from our crystal goblets, we spoke of our blessings for this communion of three!

Breaking Bread verse

Jesus appeared on this holiday with never a word. He was the brightest of bright shining at our table – the sacrament of life. And as He arrived, so He left; only a broken twig laid upon the dinner table where we broke bread. Tears streamed down my wife’s face as she took His napkin and wiped her cheek. I’m sure He is in heaven smiling and preparing a special place for her.

Breaking Bread pic 2

We set the table in silver and gold and plugged in the charger plates. A centerpiece of memories – holly, and pinecones adorned the table. I lit the candles as the doorbell rang; the holidays were in full swing! My wife, smiling ear to ear, carried out an extra chair for us from the bedroom. She greeted the kids with a great big smile and a huge hug as well! We celebrated that joyous Thanksgiving with love in hearts for each other and our wondrous Father, Jesus Christ.

Will you invite Him to your Thanksgiving meal this year? May you and your family have a blessed holiday and spread the cheer!

Please join us again on Sunday, November 25th for another “Everything Christmas Blog”!


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Losing Sight of Christmas

Losing Sight of Christmas cover

Enjoy “The Christmas Shoes” by Newsong 2000!


The muddy slush piles up against curbs and trampled footprints scatter about on the snow-covered sidewalks. Storefronts capitalize on impending Christmas shopping with festive, decorated windows. Full of alluring ideas that tax the mind where wallets won’t permit, it’s hard to swallow. But, love consumes our hearts, so we become obsessed with not wanting to forget a single person. We shop online and by foot comparing prices, then wait in long lines. Frustrations mount as, sometimes, we end up paying for overnight delivery because we ran out of time.

Losing Sight of Christmas pic 1

Are we losing sight of Christmas? We join together bearing gifts for one another to commemorate Jesus’s birthday on the 25th day of December. But where did the idea of excessive gift-giving come from, anyway? It’s not how this holiday began because there was a time when celebrating this day was a taboo.

 

Origin of the Christmas Holiday
Jesus’s birth was categorized as a pagan holiday. It is their belief He never existed as a man, only as a spiritual entity. Then, in the 1600s, Rome became the birthplace of Christmas as we know it; so, it’s a fairly new celebration. But, as history reveals, Protestants (the Puritans) in America hated this holiday and banned it in 1644. They believed it was an insult to God to honor a day associated with ancient paganism. The Puritans also considered Christmas trees and decorations unholy rituals as well as traditional foods such as mincemeat pies and pudding.

Losing Sight of Christmas Pic 2
Pagan Christmas image courtesy of Huffington Post

 

Commercialism of Christmas
So, how did Christmas ever come to the point of being the ultimate gift-giving experience instead of the rejoicing of a holy birth? Perhaps the commercialization of Santa Claus bearing bags of gifts started the dreaded Christmas creep. New York City’s annual American International Toy Fair is held in February, and the stores purchase and scheme for the following holiday. Isn’t that a little much?

Losing Sight of Christmas Pic 3

Do you know a whopping 18% of gifts given to others are never used by the recipient? To make matters worse, we spend the next six months paying off the debt we incurred because it was ‘the thought that mattered.’ Scroogenomics author, Joel Waldfogel, summed it up well – “if the spending we engage in doesn’t produce any satisfaction, then it’s hardly a measure of well-being.” Why are we allowing the commercialism of Christmas to affect our purses and create greediness?

 

Make Your Christmas Count!
I think this Christmas we should, instead, get involved with our communities. Spend money, if you must, giving to those less fortunate. There are orphanages, Senior Citizen centers, hospitals, and homeless people who would appreciate your gift. Take your children with you and let them feel the happiness of another person smiling over an unexpected present. After all, as a Christian, God expects us to help others in need.

Losing Sight of Christmas Pic 4
Image courtesy of YouTube

Overloading our own kids and others with presents is not the reason for the season! Limit your immediate family gifts to three and make them count. The birth of Jesus should be our celebration. Attend a local church service and enjoy the sensations of the joyous season. Jesus was born to save us – let that be enough for you this year.
God bless and Merry Christmas!

Losing Sight of Christmas Pic 5

Please join us on Thursday, November 22nd for another “Everything Christmas Blog”!


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Are you wise or foolish?

A wise person believes in God;
A foolish person does not
A wise person loves God;
A foolish person does not;
A wise person fears God,
A foolish person does not;
A wise person has time for God;
A foolish person does not;
A wise person worships God;
A foolish person does not;
A wise person talks often to God;
A foolish person does not;
A wise person listens to God;
A foolish person does not;
A wise person is a friend to God;
A foolish person is not.
A wise person tries to please God;
A foolish person does not.
Are you wise or foolish?

Lavish praise on God

I just had an amazing day;

A day that many things went well;

And as the day closed its eyes,
To turn in for the day,
It was gratitude to God
That gripped my heart.
The blessings that come to us
Must not be taken for granted;
As it’s not everyday they come;
And not to everyone they come.
Thus, reason enough, I have,
To lavish praise to God;
Who, in his mercy, so kind to me;
Join me then to sing praise
To him;
To raise our voices in praise
Of Him the most high.

Kindness: The Graceful Virtue

Kindness and grace

Number five in a seven-part series on virtue

The virtue of kindness can be a confusing concept to understand because it can be defined in many ways. Perhaps the best way to understand kindness is to examine other words associated with kindness.

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary uses two important words in defining kindness. Those words are affection and favor.

Kindness Is an Expression of Affection

If one demonstrates kindness to another, it expresses a level of affection toward that person. A fine example of how this is manifested in life is found toward the end of the book of Acts in the New Testament.

Kindness and grace

Paul and his companions had just survived a shipwreck and found themselves stranded on the island of Malta. Luke, Paul’s companion and chronicler, records the kind actions of the natives to their group in chapter 28.

After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta. The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold. Acts 28:1-2 [ESV]

The Greek word translated here as kindness is philathropia, the same word from which we derive the English word, philanthropy. It means a feeling of good, or fondness of humankind in general.

In other words, a kind person is one who shows an affection for other people in general. Thus kindness could be defined as an inner motivation to help others, even strangers, especially when they are in need.

As we notice in the passage, Luke was impressed by what unusual kindness these strangers showed by their actions. They welcomed them in and made a fire to shield them from the cold and rain.

Kindness Is A Demonstration of Grace

Kindness and grace

The word most often translated as “grace” in the New Testament is charis. Among the definitions of this Greek term is “favor.”

Paul the Apostle writes using this term in Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. [ESV]

Grace given by God is more than mercy for sin, though it is certainly that. Grace is also a demonstration of the favor of God.

Kindness is directly linked to grace by Paul earlier in Eph. 2:4-7

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ [ESV]

Kindness Helps Enable Grace

Kindness, as noted by Paul in the passage above, ultimately is an act of God. Moreover, it is an act whereby God displays “the riches of his grace.”

The ultimate act of kindness is given to us by God Himself. He sees the desperate need to be freed from death in our sin and ‘in kindness’ supplies grace to meet the need.

The Cross and kindness

How does God do this? Because of His ‘great love’ Jesus is executed and raised from the grave to pay the price for sin and offer the gift of grace.

The grace of God is offered because of the kindness of God. His kindness is shown to others in many ways through we who have already received His grace.

That is a key difference between faiths like Islam and Christianity. Islam demands submission through fear; Christ kindly calls to the heart in love.

Islam says to conquer and kill your enemies to advance the rule of Allah. Christianity teaches that force is to defend and rescue the helpless.

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. Psalm 82:3-4 [ESV]

The kindness that one shows to another in ways large and small provide an opportunity for the heart of another to be softened toward God’s grace. To paraphrase an old saying, “I’d rather see a sermon lived than to hear a sermon preached.”

A Modern-day Example of Kindness to Grace

I was attending a Christian music festival a few years ago and witnessed a moving testimony of kindness leading to grace. It was delivered by a young woman who identified as a lesbian.

She gave her story of how her journey into that lifestyle had come about, and I was impressed by her courage and forthrightness. More importantly, she testified of one particular church group and the kindness they showed to her regardless of her sexual preference.

Kindness and grace

She said that it began with an invitation to play on a church softball team. She was a bit wary, as she was also a gay activist who had already encountered other ‘christian’ groups that exhibited hostility to her.

However, she accepted the kind offer because she both loved sports and had a level of trust with the person who invited her. She ended up becoming pleasantly surprised with the treatment this team gave her.

She remembered that her manners were somewhat crude at that time. For example, she would often let loose with a string of profanity when she missed a play or made a mistake in the outfield.

Some of the young ladies on the team were disturbed by this and went to their coach, who also happened to be the pastor of the church. They asked him what they should do about this.

His advice was, “Just keep loving her, mistakes and all.” He knew God would work in her heart when she saw the reaction of loving kindness from His people.

That force of kindness through others did move this woman to seek God’s grace. She responded in sincere repentance and faith in Christ.

Through such kindness, God draws others to see His love and the greatest kindness of all, Jesus dying on the cross for each one. That is why kindness is the graceful virtue.

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001
A Greek-English Lexicon of The New Testament, William F. Arndt and F. Wilber Gingrich, University of Chicago Press, 1979

Top Image courtesy of duncan c’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Art Gallery ErgsArt’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Evans E’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Evans E’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of BK’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published at TIL Journal

Circle of Eternal Life

Circle of Eternal Life cover

Several years ago, I visited Williamsburg, Virginia at Christmastime. I walked the streets of this historical town, and it amazed me how preservationists kept the buildings true to the colonial period of the 18th-century city. If you never visited America’s roots during the holidays, it should go on your bucket list.

Enjoy the music of the Galway Christmas Singers, “Deck the Halls”!

Part of the charm of Williamsburg was the authentic decorations used to recreate a true Christmas era. The most magnificent was the elaborate wreaths hanging on every door. I’m sure they are made by professional designers now, but what a site to see! Every item used to decorate them are from sources in nearby areas, such as shells from the nearby James River, coffee beans, dried native plants, drumsticks, fruit, and straw. I returned home with a camera disk filled with pictures of these beauties.

 

Williamsburg wreath 3
Williamsburg, VA Christmas wreaths

I’m always amazed at the creativeness of people! How do they come up with their ideas and what was their initial inspiration? Artistic talents seem to be evident in wreaths as far back as the Persian empire. I wonder how they figured out making a round circle of dried plants delivered a beautiful headband? It seemed to work because soon after, the Greeks, in 776 BC, constructed round wreaths of olive leaves worn by the winners of the Olympic Games. Yet others wore laurel or oak leaf headpieces to designate a person’s status and rank in society.

Circle of Eternal Life Pic 2
Olympic Games laurel headbands circa 776

Soldiers in the Roman Empire inserted the first bits of decorations into wreaths using fresh holly. They thought this plant had magical powers so using it kept evil spirits away from their homes. The trend of receiving good luck from wreaths moved forward into Europe as the wheat circles, now hanging on doors, brought good luck to their harvests. It was a sure sign of growth and accomplishment for the Europeans.

During the Renaissance period, in England, wreaths symbolized political and religious alliances. The Lutherans initially created the Advent wreath in Germany. They used evergreens, signifying everlasting life through Jesus, and large, circular shapes implying a God with no beginning and no end.

“O God, by whose Word all things are sanctified, pour forth Your blessing upon this wreath and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and may receive from You abundant graces. We ask this through Christ our Lord.”
~~St. Jerome Catholic Church~~

The country of Poland created wreaths of grain plants, fruit, and nuts for their Harvest Festival called Dozynki. When the construction of this “circle of eternal life” was complete, they walked to a church to be blessed by a priest. God now sanctified their harvest for the new season.

Circle of Eternal Life Pic 3
Poland’s Dozynki wreath celebration. Image courtesy of Polish Heritage Awareness Society.

And so, wreaths for holidays became a household inspiration and custom. Today, the wreath is used in many celebrations, but most important at Christmas. For Christians, it is the preparation of the coming of Christ. Will you hang one on your door this year?

There is always a welcome invitation at our doorstep. We believe in God and the Immaculate Conception, so we honor Him by displaying a wreath of goodwill. God bless all who take the time to read and share our posts.

Circle of Eternal Life Pic 4
We wish you all the best holiday season from the bottom of our hearts. Merry Christmas and a very blessed New Year! ~~Dana and Anne

www.danabicksauthor.com

Join us in another “Everything Christmas Blogs” on Sunday, November 18th!


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A Christmas Celestial Event

A Christmas Celestial Event cover

A perfect scene… a star like none other, sitting above a stable in the peaceful night and it’s announcing the birth of a holy Messiah. The Gospel of Matthew was the only book in the Bible which described “The Star of Bethlehem” occurrence:

A Christmas Celestial Event verse

What did the wise men witness in the sky that night? Was it real? Was it a star, a comet, or something else? The magi were skilled astrologers and scholars, so their fixation was not in the stars, but on large astronomical events which they believed would predict something happening. But why were they the only men to witness and describe a star guiding them? If they were well trained then why didn’t they understand what they saw in the sky?

Many astrologers of 2,000 years ago, the Chinese, Korean, and Babylonians, documented the heavens because they placed predictions based on events. The writings recorded then, are in a constant review by our astronomers today, and theories abound. But, one thing is for sure, no answer or explanation for this divine incident is clear. Here are the details I discovered, and you may come to your own conclusion.

Enjoy the beautiful song, “Star of Bethlehem”:

I know little of astronomy, but for certain, stars do not move relative to themselves. Planets continuously shift through the solar system. Based on this, how, then, did the sacred star move, leading the magi to Bethlehem? One theory suggests a heliacal rising. The planets Jupiter and Venus lapped each other while moving through the background stars. If the sun caught up to one of the planets, the planet would disappear until the sun moved far enough away from it. Then it would reappear shockingly bright in the sky, just before sunrise. Historical records show this exact occurrence on April 17 of 6 BC to December 19 of 6 BC. But, this natural alignment of planets, sun, and earth would not create a long, extended tail to the ground such as the one described by the magi.

A Christmas Celestial Event Pic 1
A heliacal rising

A second theory suggests a comet. This seems to be the most logical explanation because it can hang over a city or land mass as did Halley’s Comet on March 8, 1986. Historical astronomy records revealed a tailed comet in the timeframe of the magi’s travels, and it lasted for seventy days. However, from Jerusalem’s vantage point, the comet would have been in the southern sky with the head close to the horizon and the tail pointing upward. The magi described the “Star of Bethlehem” as one they never seen before and comets were frequent visitors in their galaxy. So, as scholarly astrologers, why couldn’t the magi tell the difference between a comet and a star? Apparently, something confused their decision.

A Christmas Celestial Event Pic 2
Image of Halley’s Comet

A final theory suggests the birth of a star, known as a nova. It certainly matched the biblical description. Once again, Chinese historical records reveal a new star was born in the northern constellation of Aquila in 4 BC. During the time the three wise men traveled from Jerusalem, the star would have lit their sky south into Bethlehem and not in the west. This explains why no one else witnessed this bright star. However, the star did not move, and it certainly didn’t stand over the city of Bethlehem; nor would it have stayed bright for the one to two years they took to find Jesus.

A Christmas Celestial Event Pic 3
Image of Supernova

Revealing all the facts described in this blog, I will stand on my own theory. The Star of Bethlehem was an incredible act of God and one created for a unique purpose. God can use natural law to carry out His will because He is not bound by the laws He created for this world. When you think of the whole miraculous event of Jesus’s birth, a special star is not beyond His scope. What do you think?

Please join us again on Tuesday, November 13th for another, Everything Christmas Blog!


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It’s A Pancake Kind-a Morning

It's A Pancake Kind-a Morning cover

I returned from another morning of pedaling mail. The chill in the air reminded me of fall’s arrival. A simmering glare ignited the ominous sky. The rains of yesterday disappeared and a patchy dew laid low to the ground. I think God reveals the loveliness of this season to help us remember life is a beautiful journey.

They predict a perfect weekend, but for now, it’s tranquil. Suddenly, I smelled something cooking. With my wife’s back to me, she was intently preparing a hot meal for her wayward stranger. It was a pile of pancakes waiting to be devoured for breakfast; the eggs and sausage shared a skillet. Breakfast was almost finished, so I hung up my jacket on the hall tree. It’s a pancake kind-a morning!

I fixed a cup of caffeine hoping to stay awake and share my morning with her. God’s got everything under control. Our home became the International House of Prayer; for even though a mess scattered about the kitchen, the fluffiness of God’s love shined ever-present.

Lighting a candle, we thanked God for my morning’s safe journey. It’s a wonderful time to be alive! We’re living the dream, her and I, together once and for all. Against all the odds, we sat at our farmhouse table with God at the head, sharing our morning meal. This is the secret to a happy marriage – He is always between you. He is the butter and flour which raises a perfect round of deliciousness. Just add the syrup and life becomes even sweeter!

Invite the Lord to your next breakfast and listen to His blessings sizzle. You will be amazed at the beauty of your pancakes!

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