Now We Matter

Merry Christmas and a Blessed 2018 New Year! 

Now We Matter

“For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.”

It’s roughly 100 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem. According to Google Maps, it would take about 34 hours to travel the dis­tance on foot, not counting stops for rest — nor does it consider marauding bandits, flash floods, washed away roads, and a full-term pregnancy.

But this is the journey that St. Joseph, the foster father of the Son of God, and the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, this is the journey they make.

The journey is not their choice. Caesar Augustus has spoken, and, like it or not, impending birth notwithstanding, they make the exhausting 100-mile trek to fill out some government forms. St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary are, like poor and defenseless people of every place and time, at the whim of whatever Caesar or compassion-less bureaucracy directs. Continue reading

Why Do We Celebrate Christmas on December 25?

Why Do We Celebrate Christmas on December 25?

By Larry Plachno

Larry-150x1 blueNon-Christians frequently bring up the question of why Christmas is celebrated on December 25. It is a known fact that Jesus Christ was probably born in the summer and they suggest that Christians took advantage of existing harvest festivals, the date of the winter solstice, or the date honoring the sun god of the ancients. However, there is strong evidence that the day the “star” stood still over Bethlehem and the visit of the Magi with their gifts took place on December 25. Hence, there is ample justification for the celebration of Christmas and the exchange of gifts on December 25. If you give me a few minutes of your time I will try to provide the background on all of this and give you some interesting history as well as information on stars.

Today, when we talk about stars most people think about movie stars or rock stars. It was not always this way. When Christ was born people spent more time looking at the stars in the heavens. There was less pollution in the cities to block the view and the people did not have television, newspapers and cell phones to divert their interest. In those days prior to air conditioning it was not uncommon for people to sleep on their rooftops to get some fresh air and fall asleep watching the stars. Hence, it is not unexpected that stars are mentioned so prominently in the Bible.

Early work on tracking the movement of the stars was done by Tycho Brahe, a Danish astronomer, who is memorialized by having a crater on the moon named after him. His successor was Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), a German who became the Imperial Mathematician and Astronomer in Prague. By the early 1600s he had developed the laws of Planetary Motion that we still use today. Kepler did try to recreate the sky at the time of the birth of Christ but was not successful. One reason was he was looking at the wrong dates due to mistaken ideas on the dates for the birth of Christ and the death of King Herod. A second reason was that figuring out the mathematics of planetary motion had to be done manually at that time and was very time consuming.

It was Dionysius Exiguus (470-544), a monk from the area we now call Romania and Bulgaria, who had originally developed the method of numbering years that we still use today. He is remembered for doing substantial translations from Greek to Latin and he also wrote on elementary mathematics. In those days, there was not a calendar in every kitchen and numbering years was very informal. Some countries based years on dynasties or when a leader came to power. The only serious system used by some scholars was called AUC or Ab Urbe Condita (from the founding of the city), based on the founding year of Rome. But, since the Roman civilization was in decline while Christianity was on the rise, Dionysius Exiguus figured out how to start dating years with the birth of Christ. He was not that far off. Continue reading

The Star of Bethlehem

The Star of Bethlehem

Have You Looked at the Amazing Coincidences Surrounding the Star of Bethlehem?

ProLifeCorner-   By Larry Plachno

None of this information is new. There are people doing presentations on this in Larry-150x1[1]the United States and in foreign countries. However, you will probably not find this in the main stream media because acknowledging these coincidences would tend to suggest the divinity of Jesus Christ. That would support his love of God and love of neighbor admonishments over their own selfishness and choice.

With Christmas quickly approaching, this would be a very appropriate time to ask whether you have looked at the coincidences surrounding the Star of Bethlehem. We sing about the star at Christmas, it is obviously mentioned in the scriptures, and many illustrations showing the birth of baby Jesus have a star in the sky. But, have you taken the time to learn about the Star of Bethlehem and the amazing coincidences surrounding it? Continue reading

Epiphany,The Three Wise Men

These men are not to be confused with the wise guys. There is nothing foolish about them and it would be safe to say that there would be no bad jokes in their repertoire. Rather, they took special note of a star and followed it wherever it went. It is reminiscent of the Israelites wandering in the desert, following the pillar of cloud in the day and pillar of fire at night in Egypt. This is a very serious commitment. They could have traveled up to two years to see this child. They left their home, and safety to literally God knows where. Continue reading

Blessing Your Christmas Tree

The use of the Christmas tree is relatively modern. Its origins are found in the medieval mystery plays that depicted the tree of para­dise and the Christmas light or candle that sym­bolized Christ, the Light of the world. According to custom, the Christmas tree is set up just before Christmas and may remain in place until the Solemnity of Epiphany. The lights of the tree are illuminated after the prayer of blessing. Continue reading