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

How to Defend the Christian Position On Abortion and Marriage

How to Defend the Christian Position On Abortion and Marriage

By Larry Plachno

Larry-150x1 blueAt a recent pro-life gathering it became obvious that while there are a good many people strongly supportive of the Christian position on abortion and marriage, they are not ready and willing to speak up and defend that position. Some are simply afraid to say anything for fear of confrontation or what others will say. Those willing to speak up often admit that they do not know what to say or do.

This is not the time for people to sit on the sidelines and observe. We need everyone out there working to support what we believe in. Sister Lucia dos Santos, the last Fatima seer, sent a letter to Cardinal Carlo Caffarra. In it she said: “The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid.” she added, “because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be contended and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue.” Continue reading

Life’s Agonies And Love’s Triumphs

Life’s Agonies And Love’s Triumphs

ProLifeCorner-   9-25-2017 – We’re sure most of our readers are familiar with the wonderful articles submitted by Mark Pickup.  We’re showing you a special article today with a speech delivered by his wife, LaRee at a prayer breakfast in Baltimore, MD some time ago.  If anyone has had a loved one who has or is still suffering, this will give you strength and courage to continue fighting the battle with that loved one.

The opening paragraph is by Mark and is on his home page most of the time.  We feel it shows the need for all Christians to work and pray together to bring our world back to Jesus.

Following his article is the speech given by LaRee, with comments by Mark.

LaRee and Mark are, indeed, a wonderful example of faith, hope, and love.  May God bless them abundantly for all they do to serve Him. Continue reading

Pentecost, The Holy Spirit, and Confession

Pentecost, The Holy Spirit, and Confession

“Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

A true story told by writer Auburn Sandstrom at The Moth, the acclaimed organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytell­ing:

In 1992, Auburn was 29, the mother of a three-year-old son, trapped in an abusive marriage — and a drug addict. One night she hit bottom. She was curled up on a filthy carpet in a cluttered apartment, in horrible withdrawal from a drug she had been addicted to for several years. In her hand was a little piece of paper. For hours, she kept folding and crumbling it. It was the phone number for a Christian counsellor her mother had given her in one of their rare moments of contact. Finally, the desper­ate young mother punched the numbers on her phone. It rang. A man answered.

Hi, I got this number from my mother. Uh, do you think you could talk to me?,” pleaded Auburn.

Auburn heard some shuffling at the other end of the line. A little radio in the background was snapped off and the man who answered became very present. “Yes, yes, yes. What’s going on?”

For the first time, Auburn poured out her story. She told him that she wasn’t feeling good, that things had gotten pretty bad in her marriage, that she had a drug problem, and that she was real scared. Continue reading

Rights, Responsibilities and Population Density

Rights, Responsibilities and Population Density

Are we missing the basics?

   By Larry Plachno

There is an increasing concern among some demographers and researchers that conservatives, Christians and pro-life supporters may be winning a battle but losing the war. Many do not understand the real issues and reasons behind how social problems, actions and decisions are interconnected.

We live in interesting times. People in the past based decisions on traditions and the practices of previous generations. Today, we are lucky to have the advantage of decades of research into social problems as well as computer-generated statistics. In many cases this data is not only endorsing many of the old traditions but also giving us the reasons behind those decisions. If you give me a few minutes of your time I can walk you through the basics.

Our Polarized Society

       While overly simplistic, it is not difficult to split our society into two groups based on a simple question. When faced with an action or decision that could impact others we have two alternatives. We can do what is best for other people and society or we can do what we want regardless of whom we hurt. One side is conservative while the other side is liberal. One side believes in responsibilities while the other side believes in rights. And, ultimately, and to a large extent, one side tends to match with red states and the other side tends to match with blue states. Continue reading

Tired, But Putting Others Needs’ First

Tired, but putting others needs’ first

“Jesus, tired from His journey, sat down there at the well… A woman of Samaria came to draw water.”

In 1923, the Jewish theologian Martin Buber wrote an immensely influential little book entitled I and Thou. Buber’s main point is that there are two ways of relating to other people in our lives: We can see them as objects to be used — what Buber calls an “I-it” relationship; or we can see others as having feelings, dreams and needs as real and as important as our own that can be the basis for dialogue and relationship — an “I-Thou” relationship.

In his memoirs, Buber tells the story of how he came to his theory of I-Thou and I-It. When he was a professor of philosophy at a university in Germany, a young student came to see him. The student had received his draft notice to serve in the German army in World War I. He was a pacifist by nature and afraid of being killed in battle, but, at the same time, he was a loyal and fiercely patriotic German. He asked Buber what he should do: serve his country and risk being killed or claim conscientious objector status and perhaps leave another young man to be killed in his place. Continue reading

A VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS

A VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS

ProLifeCorner – 1-21-2017 – by Rockford Pro-Life Initiative – This morning’s protest walk in Rockford, by women opposing President Donald Trump, reeks of hypocrisy.

The walk, in sync with the walk in DC, should be named the “Pro-Abortion Progressive Women’s Walk.”

A partner organization, New Wave Feminists, was barred from joining the walk because the latter group is pro-life, though left-leaning.

Now we learn that a group, “And then there were none,” “a ministry that helps abortion clinic workers leave the industry, has seen its partnership in the March rejected.” (The Blaze)

So, call it what it is, ladies:  A Pro-Abortion walk. Continue reading

Are We Living in an Era of Heaven and Hell on Earth?

Are We Living in an Era of Heaven and Hell on Earth?

ProLifeCorner- By Larry Plachno

Larry-150x1 blue     The demography coming out of the recent 2016 Presidential election is suggesting that we are living in an era of Heaven and Hell on earth. This is bringing up several questions: What is the cause of why areas are different? Is Christianity more than just a religion? And how important is traditional marriage to society?

For many years now, the demographers have been telling us that you can predict elections based on an area’s fertility rate – effectively the interest in bringing children into our world. Areas with a high fertility rate tend to elect conservative candidates and vote for conservative issues. Areas with a low fertility rate tend to elect liberal candidates and vote for liberal issues.

In recent years these differences have become increasingly polarized and more sharply defined. For decades now, families have been moving out of the inner cities and into suburban and rural areas. At the same time, singles have moved into the big cities for education, employment or activities. The differences between the two areas have become increasingly obvious. Continue reading

WE MUST DEFEND LIFE IN ROCKFORD

WE MUST DEFEND LIFE IN ROCKFORD

ProLifeCorner – 1-15- 2017 – by Rockford Pro-Life Initiative – This January is the five year anniversary of the closing of the Rockford abortion mill – and abortion supporters will be marching in Rockford.

On Saturday, January 21st, a so-called ‘Women’s March Rockford’ will take place in our city with one of its major goals being the promotion of abortion.  This march in Rockford is a coordinated event with similar marches taking place in many cities across the country.  They will be pushing a leftist political agenda, promoting abortion, and trying to protect Planned Parenthood from budget cuts. Some of the sponsoring pro-abortion organizations for these marches include: Continue reading

Abortion, Civil War and a Modest Proposal

Abortion, Civil War and a Modest Proposal

ProLifeCorner-  By Larry Plachno

Whether we accept the fact or not, the reality is that the United States is in the Larry-150x1 bluemidst of an undeclared Civil War. One side believes in good and evil and life while the other side believes in choice and abortion. Huge amounts of time, energy and money are involved as the two sides battle each other in politics, legislation and morals.

Are we heading for a bloody civil war over abortion? More than 600,000 Americans lost their lives in the American Civil War fighting over slavery and whether it was right to set aside good and evil to declare groups as inferior. While our country has been involved in other wars, none of them matches the Civil War in the number of deaths. It was easily the most deadly and bloodiest war in our nation’s history and it took place on our own soil.

Even prior to the recent Presidential election there was substantial talk about our country being polarized into two different camps with abortion as a major difference between the two. While there are differences other than abortion, the killing of unborn babies has become a key point between the two sides, much like slavery. Following the election, these differences are again in the news and the possibility of a civil war has been mentioned numerous times. Continue reading