Showing posts from December, 2017

A New Year, A New You

New starts can be very powerful. There’s something about starting a new year: it’s motivating, inspiring, and easier to commit to needed changes. In Leviticus 25 we learn how the ancient Israelites experienced a brand new start every fifty years, when debts were forgiven and land was regained. They sounded this radical new start with the loud burst of the ram’s horn, hence the name given to this merciful event: the Year of the Ram (or Ram’s Horn = יוֹבֵל, yovel). Most translations give it the euphemistic name of The Year of Jubilee, probably since that’s what the sound of the ram’s horn likely invoked in the people.
Do you need a new start in 2018?
I’ve been praying and reflecting much lately on a very difficult topic: surrender. One dictionary says that surrender means “to cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority.” Of one thing we can be certain: Jesus demanded and expected utter surrender. For example, he told the crowds: “If anyone wants to become my fol…

Some thoughts on when Jesus was born

“Keep the Christ in Christmas.” “Remember the reason for the season.” How much do you really know about the celebration of Jesus’s birth? The term, “Christmas,” is an Old English expression for “Mass of Christ” (Cristes Maesse). The Western and Eastern Churches disagree over the exact time of Christmas. In the Western Church, Christmas time (or “Christmastide”) begins on December 25 and ends on January 6 (the Day of Epiphany). Hence, this is the origin of the “Twelve Days of Christmas.”     No one knows the precise date of Jesus’s birth because for the first few centuries of the Church, no one seemed to care when it happened. Before 525, there was no official date adopted by the Western church. The first reference to the birth of Jesus on Dec 25th might come from Theophilus of Antioch (171-183). Some ancient authors agreed; others disagreed.       It was not uncommon for ancient authors to date Jesus’s birth in association with the vernal equinox (or some other association with the Sun)…