The first place to start when Christians are asked what we believe, would be at the beginning, and that is the book of Matthew, the first book of the New Testament. It starts off with a genealogy. What we’ll be looking at is a few of the unusual names in there.
First, why do these genealogies exist to begin with? I have a mother-in-law who enjoys doing genealogies and a cousin who does. Shortly after our wedding, my cousin gave me the Peters family genealogy. In there, I found information on myself and my parents of course, but then I was surprised to also find my wife was already included along with her family and her birthday. My cousin had really done his homework. Continue reading
“Glory to God in the Highest; and on earth, peace, and goodwill to those on whom His favor rests.”
After being told that peace had arrived in the form of a child in a local manger, the Jewish shepherds who received this message would have likely gone to the Migdal Eder, or ‘watchtower of the flock,’ a lookout and a place of refuge for their flocks in case of attack. They were probably overseeing a temple flock destined for sacrifice.
Shepherds brought ewes there to give birth. The priests maintained ceremonially clean stalls and carefully oversaw the birth of each lamb. This special birthing place has been suggested as teh location where Jesus, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29) was born. As the prophet Micah had noted years before, “As for you, O watchtower of the flock,(Migdal Eder)… kingship will come to the Daughter of Jerusalem” (Micah 4:8)
But their watchtower was overshadowed by another tower.
We all know the story of the Three Kings, even if only from the chorus of “We Three Kings of Orient Are.” However, Holy Scripture does not call these men kings, but rather magi, “wise men from the east” (Matthew 2:1) Their story reminds us that Christmas is a call to conversion, if we will only hear it. Continue reading
In an article from scienceblogs.com, the writer opens with this statement: “If there’s one universal trait among humans, it seems to be an unquenchable thirst for certainty.” We want to know what is provable beyond a shadow of doubt. Where would you guess that most of us think that type of certainty is found? The realm of science! How is it that Science supposes gives us this certainty we long for? Through the Scientific Method. Let’s take a look.
During the Christmas season I usually spend time contemplating what makes this time of year merry. As a Christian, my focus is on a baby born in a manger nearly 2000 years ago. What bearing does it have on merrymaking that a child was born in poverty so long ago?
One word in particular keeps coming to mind. That word is truth. John’s Gospel tells us that the child is God, the Word made flesh, who came full of grace and truth. Years later when the child grew up, he announced that the truth he proclaimed would bring freedom.
Truth brings freedom? Do we really believe this? The extent to which we lie indicates that we actually believe truth brings bondage. Why do children lie about stealing a cookie, politicians about their marital infidelity, or loved ones about taking illegal substances? We lie because we believe the truth won’t set us free. If we tell the truth things will go bad for us. We’ll lose the freedom we desire. We run from truth.
Equating belief in God with belief in Santa seems to be popular among many atheists who have grown up in religious families but later abandoned their “childish” belief in God in the same way they gave up their belief in Santa Claus. It’s so obvious that God is something you only believe in as a child but then later give up when you mature and become a rational, reasoning individual right? I mean, come on…you believe in an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good God who created the universe and interacts with human beings? That’s worse than Santa Claus! For those who are sarcastically challenged, that last bit might have had a tinge of sarcasm. On a serious note, are they the same? Are we justified in giving up belief in God the same way we give up belief in Santa Claus?