For “Scripture Sunday”:
A survey says many would like to skip the Christmas holiday? Should you?
[Steve Myers] “Can you imagine skipping Christmas?
I ran across an interesting survey that just came out from Think Finance and surveying many people, do you know what percentage of those that were surveyed said they'd prefer to skip Christmas altogether? It was 45% of those surveyed said they'd just as soon skip Christmas. Now their reason was because it brought so much financial pressure. They'd rather just jump right over that holiday. In fact, 50% of those that were surveyed said because of the holiday expenses, their stress level was high or extremely high.
The holidays can put so much pressure on people, mainly because they haven't set enough money aside to pay for the gifts, to pay for all those holiday expenses. And so it becomes a very difficult thing.
Now, that's just talking about the physical side of things.
If you were to actually get down to the spiritual side of Christmas, we come to a whole other set of problems.
Maybe those financial difficulties should cause us to think a little bit more deeply why we're doing the things that we do. I know many people would be surprised to find that Christmas isn't even mentioned in the Bible as a holiday to celebrate. Christ Himself said something very interesting that those that celebrate Christmas should take note of. It's found over in Mark 7:9And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
See All.... Here's what He says, "All too well you reject the commandment of God that you may keep your traditions."
Has Christmas become just a tradition for you? What is the real purpose behind Christmas? Why was it celebrated? Why do we celebrate it today? Is it a celebration that God endorses?
Well, no, it isn't. I hope you'll take this opportunity not just to feel the stress and the strain from financial constraints that come about because of this time of the year, but that it could cause you to look more deeply into what God ordains as festivals to be celebrated . Christmas isn't one of them.
So, get out your Bible. Dig into it and look at what God would want you to do and what truly would honor Him. Don't put up with the financial stresses. Look to the Bible and look to what days God wants you to celebrate.” From: http://www.ucg.org/beyond-today-daily/holidays-and-holy-days/skip-christmas
When was Jesus Christ born? Was Jesus born on December 25 - Christmas Day?
“History shows that December 25 was popularized as the date for Christmas, not because Christ was born on that day, but because it was already popular in pagan religious celebrations as the birthday of the sun. But could December 25 be the date of Christ's birth?”
"Lacking any scriptural pointers to Jesus's birthday, early Christian teachers suggested dates all over the calendar. Clement...picked November 18. Hippolytus...figured Christ must have been born on a Wednesday...An anonymous document[,] believed to have been written in North Africa around A.D. 243, placed Jesus's birth on March 28" (Joseph L. Sheler, U.S. News & World Report, "In Search of Christmas," Dec. 23, 1996, p. 58).
A careful analysis of Scripture, however, clearly indicates that December 25 couldn't be the date for Christ's birth. Here are two primary reasons:
First, we know that shepherds were in the fields watching their flocks at the time of Jesus' birth (Luke 2:7-8  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
See All...). Shepherds were not in the fields during December. According to Celebrations: The Complete Book of American Holidays, Luke's account "suggests that Jesus may have been born in summer or early fall. Since December is cold and rainy in Judea, it is likely the shepherds would have sought shelter for their flocks at night" (p. 309).
Similarly, The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary says this passage argues "against the birth [of Christ] occurring on Dec. 25 since the weather would not have permitted" shepherds watching over their flocks in the fields at night.
Second, Jesus' parents came to Bethlehem to register in a Roman census (Luke 2:1-4  And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)  And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) See All...).
Such censuses were not taken in winter, when temperatures often dropped below freezing and roads were in poor condition. Taking a census under such conditions would have been self-defeating.
Given the difficulties and the desire to bring pagans into Christianity, "the important fact then which I have asked you to get clearly into your head is that the fixing of the date as December 25th was a compromise with paganism" (William Walsh, The Story of Santa Klaus, 1970, p. 62).
If Jesus Christ wasn't born on December 25, does the Bible indicate when He was born? The biblical accounts point to the fall of the year as the most likely time of Jesus' birth, based on the conception and birth of John the Baptist.
Since Elizabeth (John's mother) was in her sixth month of pregnancy when Jesus was conceived (Luke 1:24-36 See All...), we can determine the approximate time of year Jesus was born if we know when John was born. John's father, Zacharias, was a priest serving in the Jerusalem temple during the course of Abijah (Luke 1:5 See All...). Historical calculations indicate this course of service corresponded to June 13-19 in that year (The Companion Bible, 1974, Appendix 179, p. 200).
It was during this time of temple service that Zacharias learned that he and his wife, Elizabeth, would have a child (Luke 1:8-13 See All...). After he completed his service and traveled home, Elizabeth conceived (verses 23-24). Assuming John's conception took place near the end of June, adding nine months brings us to the end of March as the most likely time for John's birth. Adding another six months (the difference in ages between John and Jesus) brings us to the end of September as the likely time of Jesus' birth.
Although it is difficult to determine the first time anyone celebrated December 25 as Christmas Day, historians are in general agreement that it was sometime during the fourth century. This is an amazingly late date. Christmas was not observed in Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire, until about 300 years after Christ's death. Its origins cannot be traced back to either the teachings or practices of the earliest Christians.”
The program on WGN this morning:
The Lost Tribes of Israel: Why They Matter
“Today's Jewish State of Israel does not comprise all the "Israel of God." Discover the amazing truth.”
On This Day:
Earthquake rocks the American wilderness, Dec 16, 1811:
“In the Mississippi River Valley near New Madrid, Missouri, the greatest series of earthquakes in U.S. history begins when a quake of an estimated 8.6 magnitude on the Richter scale slams the region. Although the earthquake greatly altered the topography of the region, the area was only sparsely inhabited at the time, and there were no known human fatalities.
The earthquake raised and lowered parts of the Mississippi Valley by as much as 15 feet and changed the course of the Mississippi River. At one point, the Mississippi momentarily reversed its direction, giving rise to Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee. A 30,000-square-mile area was affected, and tremors were felt as far away as the eastern coast of the United States, where the shock was reported to have rung church bells. Additional earthquakes and aftershocks continued throughout the winter and into the spring, and of the approximately 2,000 seismic vibrations felt during the period, five were estimated to be at an 8.0 or greater magnitude.
The New Madrid Fault system extends 120 miles southward from the area of Charleston, Missouri, to Marked Tree, Arkansas, and crosses through five states--Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas. An earthquake of about 6.0 magnitude or greater occurs about every 80 years, and the catastrophic upheavals of the type reported in the winter of 1811 to 1812 occur about every 500 or 600 years.”
Clinton orders air attack on Iraq, Dec 16, 1998:
“On this day in 1998, President Bill Clinton announces he has ordered air strikes against Iraq because it refused to cooperate with United Nations (U.N.) weapons inspectors. Clinton's decision did not have the support of key members of Congress, who accused Clinton of using the air strikes to direct attention away from ongoing impeachment proceedings against him. Just the day before, the House of Representatives had issued a report accusing Clinton of committing "high crimes and misdemeanors" related to the Monica Lewinsky scandal, in which Clinton had--and then lied about--an illicit sexual liaison with an intern in the Oval Office.
At the time of the air strikes, Iraq was continuing its attempts to build weapons of mass destruction including nuclear, chemical and biological agents. Fearful of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's belligerence, and his penchant for using those weapons against his own people, the U.N. sent in weapons inspectors in 1997. After repeatedly refusing the inspectors access to certain sites, Clinton resorted to air strikes to compel Hussein to cooperate.
Many in Congress agreed with Republican majority leader Trent Lott that the timing of the air strikes was "suspect" and "cursory." In their opinion, the air strikes were simply a ploy to direct the public's attention away from the impeachment proceedings, and would ultimately prove futile in persuading Hussein to comply with the U.N.'s demands. Lott and his cohorts considered sustained bombardment of Iraq and the direct overthrow of Hussein the only way to end Iraq's weapons program. Clinton, in a televised public address that day brushed aside the criticism, saying that the Iraqi president was wrong if he thought "...the serious debate [on impeachment] would distract Americans or weaken our resolve to face him down." He emphasized that his decision to launch air strikes was critical to America's vital interests and to the security of the world.
Ultimately, the American public's attention, and that of the press, stayed fixated on Clinton and his battle to save his presidency. Both the air strikes and the impeachment threat proved anti-climactic. Clinton was acquitted by the Senate in February 1999 and the air strikes on Iraq failed to intimidate Hussein into allowing weapons inspectors full access to Iraq's weapons facilities.”
After Wendy’s long Saturday phone call, I was getting ready for church, when Chris, the SPCA foster mom who takes my foster cat Prime to Adoption Day, called to say that she would arrive early so that Prissy could have her first vaccinations.
Prissy was a little hell-cat. She did not want Chris anywhere near her, and she didn’t want it done. I did get a few tiny puncture wounds before I wrapped her up in a thick towel, or she would have really torn into us. It was like trying to hold a snarling tigress down, but we got it done. The kittens don’t get shots any more. The solution is mixed up, and two drops are put in each eye, and the rest in their nostrils.
Then Chris told me that our SPCA boss had an animal medical emergency, so she would not be there. So I changed plans, and clothes, so that I could help with Adoption Day. I wanted to take my van, but Chris insisted and took Prime and me in her car. I hate going anywhere without my own wheels.
Two other foster moms had heard about the emergency and had come to help Chris run the adoption event, so I wasn’t really needed, but I had to stay there. When our boss arrived we found out that she had to have her late husband’s ancient dog PTS. RIP Fred.
I asked her about my Misty’s mammary tumors that she has had since I got her, and told her that one was getting bigger. She gave me some devastating news that I didn’t know. Last time Misty was at the vet they had done a test, and these tumors are malignant. The vet had decided not to operate because very often surgery just makes the malignancy spread. As she is nearly 18 years old, they decided just to let her have a good life with me until the end of her days.