2017 Christmas decorations at the White House

2017 Christmas decorations at the White House

Merry Christmas to all of our readers. We have much to be thankful for this Christmas. I am especially grateful to God for a Christian president and vice president. May the example they set change hearts and minds in a positive way. Our first lady is classy and traditional, and has done a magnificent job in decorating the White House. Please pray for their success and safety. And enjoy this short video.

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

We Discover “our Star” in the Ordinary Course of our Daily Lives

We Discover “our Star” in the Ordinary Course of our Daily Lives

ProLifeCorner-

“… behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He who has been born king of the Jews?  For we have seen His star in the East, and have come to worship Him.”

Perhaps you’ve seen the touching Christmas episode of The West Wing which first aired several years ago but has since been repeated.

A few days before Christmas, Toby Ziegler, the President’s sarcastic and sardonic communications director, receives a call from the Washington D.C. police asking if he knows a homeless man who had died in the cold the night before. Toby has no idea who the man is. The police find Toby’s card in the coat the man was wearing — Toby had given the coat to a shelter a long time ago. Toby discovers that the man was a decorated Vietnam veteran; his only survivor is a brother who also lives on the streets. Toby uses his Presidential connections to arrange for the man’s internment with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on Christmas Eve. Continue reading

Difficulty is Part of the Gift

Difficulty is Part of the Gift

“Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are you He who is to come, or shall we look for another?”

One Christmas a boy in a remote far away village gave his teacher an exquisite seashell as a gift. He had walked many difficult miles over treacherous terrain to find it, to a special bay, the only place such shells could be found.

The teacher was quite moved by the boy’s gift, and understood where it had come from and the difficulty involved in obtaining it: “What a beautiful shell. You must have walked many difficult and dangerous miles for it. I am deeply grateful for your gift,” the teacher said. Continue reading

Christ’s Peace vs the Government’s Peace

Christ’s Peace vs the Government’s Peace

ProLifeCorner- Homily given at midnight mass.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

            It was the great Roman boast: Ara Pacis Augustae – which means, “the era of Augustus’ peace.”

During the first and second centuries of the common era, the Roman empire, from Iberia to Greece, enjoyed a period of relative prosperity and tranquility. In one of the great propa­ganda campaigns of history, Caesar Augustus was hailed as a “god” and the “savior of the world” for the peace he enforced. Continue reading

Mary’s Dream!

Mary’s Dream!

Joseph, last night I had a dream that I don’t understand. It was about celebrating our Son’s birthday. People prepared for weeks. Everyone was busy buying many gifts and decorating their homes. Something was strange. The gifts were not for our Son. They would wrap them beautifully and put them under a tree. Its branches had colorful balls and ornaments. On top of the tree was an angel. Everything was beautiful!

Holy Family 200xEveryone seemed to be happy and excited at the gifts they gave and received. But Joseph, they gave nothing to our Son. I don’t think they even know Him. They didn’t even mention His name. Isn’t it very strange Joseph that people would put so much effort into the birthday of someone they don’t even know?

Jesus would feel like a stranger at His birthday party. Everything was beautiful and everyone was busy with the celebration. I felt like crying because our Son was ignored. How sad for Jesus not to be part of His own birthday! I’m happy that it was a dream. How terrible for everyone if it were true.

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Christmas is celebrated by over 2 billion people worldwide. It’s the greatest global celebration! Fact is, 94% of Americans celebrate Christmas, 4% celebrate Hanukkah and 2% celebrate Kwanzaa. Over 87% of Americans agree that Nativity scenes should be allowed; only 9% disagree.

Christmas is when most merchants turn a profit. They have secularized Christmas while profiting and denying Christians the real reason for the season! We do not give Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or New Years gifts’. It is Christmas and the birth of Jesus that we celebrate!

This Christmas, give a gift in someone’s name to a homeless shelter, Missionaries of the Poor, Pregnancy Center or Life-Saver Ads. Your gift will keep on giving, well beyond this Christmas season! Continue reading