Wednesday, December 23, 2015

When Was Jesus Born? Hasty Judgment. Update.

For "Scripture Sunday";

When Was Jesus Born?

"Did His birth occur on December 25th? Can we even know when Christ was born? And, should we really be celebrating His birth?

December 25th is universally celebrated as Jesus Christ’s birthday. Around the world Christians celebrate the season and the day by giving gifts, being with family and friends. Even for those who aren’t Christian it’s a season of joyous celebration.

So when was Jesus born? Let’s find out. And join us on Beyond Today as we explore the many issues surrounding the question: "When Was Jesus Born?"

When was Jesus Christ of Nazareth born?
Every year, we hear Christmas carols all about the baby Jesus in the manger and the winter wonderland associated with His birth. If we look at our calendar, chances are, right there on December 25th, it says Christmas Day. The birth of Jesus Christ is said to be the reason behind the season. But of course every year people worry about the fact that Christ is not in the season. But was Christ actually born on Christmas Day - on December 25th? It’s not as clear and simple as our calendars would suggest.

If we look into it, we find that December 25th wasn’t always considered Jesus' birth date. Joseph L. Sheler of U.S. News & World Report , wrote in an article entitled, "In Search of Christmas":
"Lacking any scriptural pointers to Jesus' birthday, early Christian teachers suggested dates all over the calendar…Clement who was an early church father, he picked November 18th…A man named Hippolytus, another early father, he "figured Christ must have been born on a Wednesday…And then there is an anonymous document believed to have been written in North Africa around the year 243 A.D. which placed Jesus' birth on March 28th." (Joseph L. Sheler, U.S. News & World Report , "In Search of Christmas," Dec. 23, 1996, p. 58).

Although it is difficult to determine the first time anyone celebrated December 25th as Christmas Day, historians are in general agreement that it was sometime during the fourth century. Now this is an amazingly late date. Think about it! What this means is that Christmas - which most consider Jesus' birthday - wasn’t observed by the Roman church until about 300 years after Christ’s death. Christmas cannot be traced back to either the teachings or the practices of the earliest Christians. That sounds almost impossible, doesn’t it? But it’s true
So why did the Roman church adopt Christmas Day as the time to celebrate Jesus' birth? The reason His birthday is celebrated now, at that time, is because religious leaders of the day wanted to give a pagan festival a name change and to make it easier for pagans to convert over to Christianity.
Listen to this quote from the Encyclopedia Americana which makes it very clear:

 "In the fifth century, the Western Church ordered it [speaking of Christ’s birth] to be observed forever on the day of the old Roman feast of the birth of Sol [who is the sun god], as no certain knowledge of the day of Christ’s birth existed" (1944 edition, "Christmas").
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Hasty Judgment

"Judging others based upon what they look like is a common human nature trait. It's also an erroneous one. What does God base His judgments upon?

"My family and I were gathered around my mother's bedside when a young man who worked for the convalescent center entered the room. My wife tells the story far better than I could; here's what she wrote:
"As soon as he stepped into the room I formed an opinion of him. The young man had long hair pulled back in a ponytail. A large metal ring protruded from one ear. His body, though covered with a white lab coat, seemed to me thin and weakly.

I imagine you've formed an opinion of him just from this description.
Without looking in my direction he approached my mother-in-law's bedside.
"How are you today, Thelma?" he asked in a pleasant, cheerful voice that somehow didn't go with the perception I had formed of him.

Of course Thelma wasn't at all well. She had come to the convalescent center with the knowledge that her days were numbered. Her kidneys had failed and she was slowly dying. It was small wonder, then, that she had complaints. As I watched the young man listening patiently to her list of woes and trying as best he could to alleviate them my perception of him changed.

Here was a young man who genuinely cared about people. He did not have a prestigious job. In fact, he probably got paid little for his labor. Yet he was putting his whole heart into what he did, trying his best to ease the discomfort of those whose lives were drawing to an end."
I had much the same first impression of this young man. My wife and I didn't realize that when we judged this young worker because of his appearance we were failing to follow God's instruction found in John:7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

We made a mistake. Yet it's a mistake we've all been guilty of at one time or another. Judging others based on what they look like is a human trait that's hard to rid ourselves of. Of course, part of the reason we make hasty judgments is because sometimes they work; sometimes a person does reflect their character in how they look. In this particular case, however, we were able to see our mistake and changed our opinion of the young worker.

How often, though, do we make lasting mistakes because of outward appearance? Such mistakes can harm relationships, and if we voice or act on our judgment, it can negatively effect how others view the person we've judged.

The Bible tells us repeatedly that God is not a respecter of persons. He shows no partiality. Yet it's so easy for us, as physical human beings, to look on the outward appearance and decide what a person is like inside. Showing partiality to some while disdaining others.

There are six direct statements in the Bible that say that God is no respecter of persons, and I'm sure there are many more indirect statements. If we are to reflect God's character doesn't it follow that we too should show no partiality?

Let's look at James:2:9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. and see just how serious God views this matter, "but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors." That's pretty serious.

In 1 Peter:1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:  we can see how God judges a person.  This scripture shows us how we should be behaving in our dealings with others
God has one set of rules for everyone. He judges without partiality. You'll find in Colossians:3:24-25[24] Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.[25]But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.  That slaves and masters receive the same reward and the same punishment. God doesn't look at human status. God judges us according to what we do, with what we have.

God looks on the heart and our willingness to serve others (1 Samuel:16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.).

If you read Galatians:3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

We know that in the world things don't usually work that way. Studies show that teachers, even female teachers, show partiality to the boys in their classes, calling on them more often than they do the girls. An attractive young woman gets faster and better service at the store than does an older person. We've come to expect that sort of treatment in the world today."

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Update:     Late again as this is Wed. 23rd. Dec. !!

I haven't been able to download 'Open Live Writer' because I am old fashioned and just have Windows XP. So my main computer is with one of the elders from the church who is going to try to install Windows 7 on it. I don't like change, but more and more I am forced into getting rid of my old familiar XP.  This is my back-up desktop, and it is better than nothing.  That is all I can say about it!!.  So I write this in Live Writer, and then copy and paste into Blogger.  Then I have to re-insert any pictures.

Jay helped me last Sunday.  One job we did was to cut a hole in the sewer line going to the main sewer so that we could put a clean-out in it.  We found out that the line still has a lot of root growing in it,  so I'll have to rent a machine again.

Jay has had me helping on the job that he is doing.  He is taking the old masonite (cardboard) T 1-11 siding off a double wide and put the new chipboard T 1-11 on it.  This means removing the windows, re-taping them with butyl putty tape and refitting them over new siding. These are very large windows, so it takes two people.  Once they are removed, one of my jobs is to clean off all the old putty tape and put on the new, then help hold and level the window so that Jay can screw it into place.

That would be OK, but he is never ready to go when he says he will be, so I have to help him by loading their dishwasher and fixing his Mom's breakfast, etc.  Then we have to load all the tools and compressor in my van.  So I spend a lot of my time working, but not at the job site.

On Saturday, the Sabbath, Jay didn't go to church again, he was hungover, so I went on my own.  The pastors wife's van was out of commission so the pastor came with one of the elders.  There was no more room in the car as that elder works out of his car, so the wife couldn't come to church.  Anyway. she still wasn't feeling so great from her bout of double pneumonia.  I was volunteered to take care of the potluck again.  I took oven-roasted yellow squash and onions, and a sweet potato salad which I had made on Thurs and Friday.    Then I cooked several other frozen veggies and warmed up an chicken enchilada dish, and some other Tex-Mex food.    We also had a ground lamb meatloaf which was very good.

Still very confusing weather for late December.  Another 80 degree day!!

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