There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true. —Soren Kierkegaard. "…truth is true even if nobody believes it, and falsehood is false even if everybody believes it. That is why truth does not yield to opinion, fashion, numbers, office, or sincerity–it is simply true and that is the end of it" – Os Guinness, Time for Truth, pg.39. “He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” – Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard
The sudden death of Aaron’s sons doubtless served as sufficient warning to the Israelites to be exact and punctilious in following the religious ceremonials laid down for them. There are in the Bible many chapters of directions concerning these; and all are planned with forethought and justice. Thus, for instance, one important principle was that the value of an offering should be proportioned to the wealth of the individual who presented it.
This is illustrated in the present picture. One of the laws was that a mother, after her child was born, should come with an offering of purification, when she returned to the tabernacle to give thanks to the Lord. The chief offering was to be lamb; but if the woman was poor, two turtle doves or two young pigeons would suffice instead. We are shown here a young mother approaching with her modest gift, eager to proclaim her gratitude to the giver of all.
2:12 The sign would enable them to find the Baby and it would prove to them the truth of what the angel said.
2:12lying in a manger Mangers—though quite familiar to the shepherds—were unusual beds for babies (v. 7). This oddity would serve as a sign to the shepherds that they had found the Messiah.
2:12. The angel gives the shepherds an identifying sign. They would find “a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” The angelic messenger thus provides a striking contrast between the loftiness of the titles borne by the Child and the uncommonly humble scenario in which they would find Him.
2:12 How would the shepherds recognize Him? The angels gave them a twofold sign. First the Baby would be wrapped in swaddling cloths. They had seen babies in swaddling cloths before. But the angels had just announced that this Baby was the Lord. No one had ever seen the Lord as a little Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths. The second part of the sign was that He would be lying in a manger. It is doubtful that the shepherds had ever seen a baby in such an unlikely place. This indignity was reserved for the Lord of life and glory when He came into our world. It makes our minds dizzy to think of the Creator and Sustainer of the universe entering human history not as a conquering military hero, but as a little Babe. Yet this is the truth of the Incarnation.
2:12 “This will be a sign for you” One wonders if this was an intentional allusion to Isa. 7. Zacharias and Mary had to believe without immediate confirmation, but these shepherds are given immediate confirmation. I wonder if they followed Jesus’ life and ministry, if they were in the crowds that followed Him. I am surprised we do not hear more about their eyewitness testimony.
“in a manger” There was nothing unusual about His clothing, but there was something unusual about the Messiah lying in an animal feeding trough!
Ver. 12. And this shall be a sign unto you.—What the angels said to the shepherds was, “This shall be the sign unto you; ye shall find a babe,” a babe like any other, “wrapped in swaddling clothes,” differing from other babes only in the lowliness of His birth, “lying in a manger.” The absence of any adventitious source of interest, anything awe-inspiring in the circumstances of the birth of Christ, was no mere casual incident; it was eminently significant, characteristic of His life, a symbol of His sway. The identification of “signs” with “wonders” was the common error of the Jews. All Israel was expectant of the Messiah. The reason why they received Him not was that they could not recognize the Divine in the ordinary. A babe was born in Bethlehem: only by those who shared the mother’s prophetic insight was the mystery of God’s interposition seen in His birth. Angels sang of His advent; their song was mute save to the listening ear of a few shepherds. And this is the common error of us all. “He that receiveth a prophet,” says Christ, “in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet’s reward.” Yes, we respond, that is well; we all shall know a prophet when we see him. But Christ also says, “Whoso shall receive a little child in My name receiveth Me.” He who is blind to the Christ in the little child may also fail to see the prophet when he comes. Such as Christ was manifested here, such did He ever continue. He would steal into the life of humanity as a babe twines round a mother’s heart. He would draw men to Him by the charm and sweetness of humna sanctity; and to those who were thus attracted to Him and abode in His fellowship, there came at length the revelation that this was the Divine. The cross lay hidden in the manger of Bethlehem. He was already bearing the only cross a babe can bear, poverty and man’s contempt; sweetened by a mother’s care, the symbol of that affection of pious hearts which never failed Him throughout His vexed and troubled history; and hallowed by the Father’s approval of the well-beloved Son, in whom, now as ever, He was well pleased. The sacrificial purpose and saving energy of His life already appeared. “Though He was rich, yet for our sakes,” &c. The mother of Jesus and the adoring shepherds must have been struck by the contrast between the honour of His annunciation and the meanness of His birth; between the splendours of the angelic host, and the manger where He lay. Eighteen centuries of Christian history have taught us that herein is no contrast, but profound consistency. What honour could the world have rendered the Son of God which would not have more sharply contrasted with His character and mission than poverty and the world’s neglect? There is nothing in common between Christ and the luxury of wealth, the ostentation of a palace, the statecraft of a Court. The manger of Bethlehem is the sign of the Messiah; the lowly, self-accepted lot of Jesus is the seal of His divinity. Men soar, God stoops; ambition is human, condescension is Divine. When God reveals Himself for man’s salvation it can only be by sacrifice; and the more complete the sacrifice, the fuller is the revelation. (A. Mackennal, D.D.)
The sign of Jesus Christ:—What a wonderful contrast between this verse and that which follows! What greatness on the one side, what humility on the other! That humility is the sign of the greatness. I. The sign of humility by which the entrance of Jesus into the world was announced, is found throughout the whole course of His history. II. The same contrast is found in the institutions which Jesus has left to preserve in His Church the remembrance of His benefits. III. There is, again, this same contrast of grandeur and humility to mark, with a Divine seal, the Church of Jesus Christ. 1. In its origin, composed of obscure persons from lowest ranks of a small unknown people. 2. As it exists to-day wherever the true Church is to be found. IV. The same sign of humility will enable us to recognize the worship with which God is pleased. V. The sign of humility which is constantly found in Christ, and in all that springs from Christ, must be found also among His disciples. (Horace Monod.)
Lessons of the holy manger:—At the cradle of Christianity, we may observe something of the predestined form both of Christian doctrine and Christian life. In the bud we trace the probable shape and colour of the coming flower. When standing at the source of a river we can determine at least the general direction of its course. In the Sacred Infancy, too, we may discern, without risk of indulgence in over-fanciful analogies, a typical portraiture of the Christian creed, and a precious lesson for good Christian living. To the theologian and the practical Christian, the sign of the manger and of the swaddling clothes is at least as full of meaning now as it was of old to the shepherds of Bethlehem.
I. Look then at the creed of the Church. It has two sides, two aspects. It is one thing to sight, another to faith. To sight, it is wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. To faith, it is revealed from heaven as supernatural and Divine.
II. Consider the moral import of the manger-bed of the infant Jesus. The world-wide principle of spiritual death needed to be expelled by a stronger and not less universal principle. It demanded a regenerating force, resting not on theory but on fact, a principle human in its form and action, but Divine in its strength and origin. Such a privilege we find in the Babe, wrapped, &c. This was indeed the Divine Word, engrafted on human nature, and able to save the souls of men. The Incarnation was the source of a moral revolution. By saving man it was destined to save human society. It confronted sensuality by endurance and mortification. It confronted covetousness by putting honour upon poverty. It taught men that a man’s highest life consisteth not in the abundance of the things that he possesseth. But its great lesson was a lesson of humility. In the humiliation of the Highest, the nations read the truth which the incarnate Lord taught in words:—“Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.” For us men humility is the law of progress, because it is the admission of truth. At Christ’s manger may we learn the blessed temper which makes faith, repentance, perseverance, easy, and to which are promised the crowns of glory, worn by the blessed around His throne. (Canon Liddon.) The babe: A Christmastide meditation:—The Incarnation was the great event in the world’s history. Nothing can rival in interest to us the coming of God in our mortal flesh; the shadowing of Deity in a human form, so that we might see Him; the manifestation of Deity in a saving love, so that we might be drawn to Him; the shinings in our humanity of a Divine purity; which should at once reveal to us our sins; and deliver us from their power.
I. Our Saviour was a real man. All are alike at birth—babes. Christ came as we came. He passed through the entire experience of human life, starting from the cradle, right up to and beyond the tomb.
II. Our Saviour was simply a man. “Ye shall find the babe”: just a babe, no more. No accident of birth limited Jesus to any part of the community; there were none of those things about Him on which men pride themselves. He belongs to all, however humble, obscure, poor, simple, needy.
III. He was a loving man. A babe is the emblem of the mightiest thing on earth—love—the sunshine of the Divine radience.
IV. He was, for the most part, a rejected man. There never seemed to be any room for Him, from His birth onwards.
V. He is all in all to those who receive Him. 1. To find this Babe will be the beginning of truest peace to our own hearts. 2. To find this Babe will be the beginning for us of a better, nobler life. 3. To find this Babe will give to us the true spirit of brotherhood and charity. (R. Tuck, B. A.)
The sign of the manger:—Let us think what is the connection here. A sign—a signal: how so? In what sense did the mode and circumstance of the birth make it typical of the thing which Christ comes to do? What is that thing which Christ comes to do? He has come to be the God-man, the Redeemer, the Emmanuel, and the Saviour—the God for us, and God with us, and God in us—of the fallen, the sinful, the erring and straying man. Now, to be this, He must first incorporate Himself with men, take the flesh and blood, the nature and body and spirit of the race which He comes to save. He must first of all incorporate Himself—not with a man, or a few men, but with humanity—with man as man, and not with certain privileged specimens and choice individuals of the race. He has come to undo the fall. He has come to bear the sins, to wipe away the tears, to take the sting out of the death of the Adam race as a whole; therefore He must not only take flesh and blood—become one of us and live our very life: that is not enough. He must go down to the very rock from which we are hewn, and He must put on our nature—not in its ornamental but in its bare form—not as it may deck itself in the embellishment of rank or wealth, of social distinction or philosophical culture, but as it is in itself and in the commonest experiences of its humblest children. If the Divine Saviour had appeared in any other form than this, He would have misled men as to the thing which He came to do, and as to the relation in which He desired to stand as to the lower and the lowest portions of the human family. The sign of the helpless babe and the manger cradle was no capricious or accidental idea; for, inasmuch as it is Christ the Lord, therefore ye shall find Him not in the miraculous strength of an instantaneous maturity, and not in the guest-chambers of a king’s palace, but as a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. There was a connection and a congruity between the sign and the reality; for thus it was that Christ became, not the faith of a few, but the Saviour of all. None are poorer, none are humbler, none are less learned, none are less noble after the flesh, than He. None can say now, “His is the religion of the educated—of the philosophical—of kings and princes—His is the religion which admits or which favours a position of comfort or respectability, and I am none of these, so Christ is not for me.” And when, at this Christmas season, wealth surrounds itself with all its luxuries of mind and body, and thinks it much if, for a moment and in the most perfunctory way, it remembers the poor, we feel how slight must be the hold of these self-indulgers upon the faith which they profess to honour. If we would know the mystery of Christmas; if we would read the riddle of the angel; if we would know why he said, “The Saviour is born, and the sign is the manger,” we should turn our steps to some poor man’s chamber with its highbacked chair and its open Bible. We shall hear that man say, “Oh, I love both to be abased and to abound. I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, for Christ the Lord was born this day for our salvation, and His first earthly resting place was a yard and a manger.” (Dean Vaughan.)
Divine things veiled under earthly forms:—This shall be your sign: not the march of a conqueror, not the splendour of a king, but the Babe wrapped in swaddling bands and lying in a manger! Wherever God is, the presence is secret. What, for example, is the Book of God—the Bible—but an example of this sanctity in commonness: a heap of leaves, marked with ink and hand, stamped with signs for sounds, multiplied by printing-press and steam-engine, conveyed hither and thither by railways, bought and sold in shops, tossed from hand to hand in schools and homes, lost and dissipated by vulgar wear and tear? But go back to its composition. What was the Bible as it came forth originally, book by book, and chapter by chapter, from the mind which thought, and from the hand which wrote it? Was it not written, after all, both in composition and in dictation, like any other work of poetry or philosophy, of history or fiction—by the brain and nerve power of common human beings? Was it not given forth line by line from the lips of a Paul sitting at the tent-making, or some other evangelist alternating between preaching and handicraft—by the utterance of sounds in an imperfect human language to some obscure Persis or other amanuensis reporting? Yet in that Book of books, thus material, thus earthly, thus human in its circumstances, there lies concealed the very breath and spirit of God Himself, mighty to stir hearts, and mighty to regenerate souls. The swathing bands of sense and time enclose the living and moving power which is of eternity, which is Divine. Nay, the sign of the true Deity is the fact that the form is human. Take another example of this from another of God’s instruments of communication. What is that vessel for holding common water, which is the appendage of every Christian place of worship? Is there anything in that laver—that font—but what is of the earth, and of the very commonest of all earth’s gifts for refreshing and purifying? “What can be the use,” some might inquire, “of bringing that earthly water into the House of God’s worship, as though we had forgotten our Master’s own words, ‘God is a Spirit’? What significance can there be—certainly what virtue—in sprinkling those few drops of common water upon the forehead of a child, with or without a particular form of sacred words accompanying? What, again, can be less intelligible than that sight of that little frugal table of common bread and common wine, standing there in front of the congregation? How can eating and drinking in God’s house affect, in any degree, for good the soul of the worshipper?” We can but answer that Christ our Master commanded the one sacrament as the appointed way of dedicating a new life to His service, and that He appointed the other sacrament as commemorative of His own death and passion—as instrumental, also, in nourishing the soul that in it feeds upon Him by faith. And though it would be presumptuous, indeed, to attach any value to a form of man’s invention, we feel that the presumption would be all the other way if we neglected an ordinance of Jesus Christ, because it was either too mysterious for us, or too carnal. Nay, we can almost read in the very simplicity a signal of His working, who, when He came on earth came as a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and made it a sign of His presence that He was lying in a manger. But the same thing which is true of the Bible and of the sacraments, is true also of the Church and of the Christian. Where is it, we ask, that God in Christ dwells most certainly, most personally, on this earth? It is no word of man’s invention which answers, to the Church—“Ye, collectively, are the temple of God,” and, to the Christian—“your body is the shrine of the Holy Ghost, which is in you.” Yet if we look at the men and the women and the children thus spoken to, we see nothing but human beings, frail and fallen, occupied for a large part of their life in the employments and the relaxations, in the talk and in the seeking, which are common alike to the righteous and the wicked, and which would equally be theirs if they had neither faith nor heaven. The treasure of the Divine light is always held in earthen vessels; not until the pitcher is broken at the fountain shall the full radiance shine out so as to be read of all men. Meanwhile the sign of God is the commonness. Christ came not to take men out of the world, but to consecrate and keep them in it. Coming to redeem earth, He takes earth as it is: not the ideal, but the real; and makes this the very token of His being amongst us—that we find a helpless babe and a manger cradle. (Ibid.)
The practice of swathing infants:—When the Gospels were translated in our venerable version, it did not occur to any of the translators that the word “swaddling clothes” would ever be an obsolete word, needing to be illustrated by a description of ancient or foreign customs. And yet so it is at this day. The usage which is alluded to in this word is to us entirely strange. Few things among the old world customs, I venture to say, strike some of us as more outlandish—more pitiable even—more entirely removed from our notions of good care and right training—than the swaddling of little helpless babies, as it is practised, for instance, in Germany. I do not believe an American mother can generally pass one of those poor little Wickelkinder, strapped down on its back to a pillow by spiral after spiral of convoluted bandages, without longing to apply the scissors and let the little prisoner go free. And yet it is only a few generations since this way of treating new-born children prevailed, with variations and aggravations, in all nations, even the most civilized. We owe our own emancipation, in this land and century, from this and other artificial traditions, to no other single influence so much as to a remarkable book published in the middle of the last century by a citizen of Geneva—the “Emile” of Jean Jacques Rousseau. It speaks thus of the universally prevalent treatment of an infant child as it had continued to his day: “Scarcely does the child begin to enjoy the liberty of moving and stretching its limbs, when it is placed anew in confinement. It is wound in swaddling clothes, and laid down with its head fixed, its legs extended, its arms at its sides. It is surrounded with clothes and bandages of all sorts that prevent it from changing its position. It is a good thing if they do not even draw the bands so tight as to hinder respiration, and if they have the foresight to lay it on its side to avoid the danger of strangulation.… The inaction and constraint in which the child’s limbs are confined must necessarily disturb the circulation, hinder the child from gaining strength, and affect its constitution.… Is it possible that such cruel constraint can fail to affect the character of the child, as well as its physical temperament? Its first conscious feeling is a feeling of pain and suffering. It finds nothing but hindrances to the motions which it craves. More wretched than a criminal in irons, it frets and cries. The first gifts it receives are fetters; the first treatment it experiences is torture.” Such was the practice of a hundred years ago in the highest families of the most civilized country in the world. In many lands, partly owing to this very protest, the practice is better now. But in the slow-going East the common practice of the nursery is no better, and it is probably no worse than it was nineteen hundred years ago. But it is worse than anything we ever see or hear of in this part of the world. In fact, it comes nearer to the binding of an Indian papoose to a board, than to anything that we are accustomed to see in the families of Christendom. Once wound around with these swathing-bands, sometimes with an addition of fresh earth against the skin, and packed in their cradles like a little mummy in its coffin, the poor little babies are expected to stay there, all cries and complaints notwithstanding; they are not removed by their mothers even for such necessary occasions as to be fed. I have heard pitiful stories told by missionaries’ wives, and by missionary physicians, in the East, of the sufferings of little infants in consequence of the obstinate persistence of parents in a usage which we clearly see to be so unreasonable and unnatural. (Leonard W. Bacon.)
The sign of the swaddling clothes:—Is it not strange, you will ask, that when the shepherds were given a sign by which they should know their new-born Saviour, they should be told, not of something distinguishing Him from all children beside, but of something common to all the infants that were born that night in all Judea? “Ye shall find wrapped in swaddling clothes.” Why not say, according to the instincts of heathen mythology, Ye shall know Him by the bees that gather to suck the honey of His lips, or the strangled serpents that lie about His cradle? Why not say, according to the suggestions of Christian legend and art, Ye shall know Him by the aspect of supernatural majesty, which it shall be the dream and the disappointment of all the world’s artists to attempt to portray? Or, Ye shall know Him by the halo of celestial light beaming from His brow, as in the “Holy Night” of Correggio, and filling the rude stall with an unearthly brightness? Or, Ye shall know Him by some accessories worthy of so royal a birth, by gifts of gold and myrrh and frankincense that strew the humble shed? The very question brings its answer: You are to know Him from all these natural dreams of a fond imagination, from the hopeful prognostications of Hebrew mothers, or the impatient fancies of fanatics, or the artful fictions of impostors taking advantage of the general expectation with which the very atmosphere of Palestine was saturated, to set forth some feigned Messiah—you are to know Him from all these by the fact that He is just the opposite of all such imaginings—that He is to all appearance just a helpless human infant, the most helpless thing in the whole creation, bound and bandaged in swaddling clothes. And if you would know how to distinguish Him from other such, it is not by His grandeur but by His poverty. There is no room in the inn for such as He; and they have laid Him in the manger, among the cattle.… The sign given to the shepherds is a sign also to us—that we find the Holy Child wrapped in swaddling clothes. Illustrious men have sometimes had an honest pride in inscribing upon their escutchon, beneath a noble crest, the symbol of the humble mechanic rank in which they had their origin. So the Church of Christ, beneath the diadem of supreme royalty, quarters upon its shield, beside the cross and the thongs, the manger and the swaddling bands, and invites the world to read the blazon. That family group which the painters of every later age have been essaying to depict—the carpenter with his simple, uninquisitive faith obedient to heavenly visions, the pure Virgin with her unskilled maiden tenderness pondering strange memories in her heart, both leaning over the Wonderful, but understanding not the saying which He speaks to them—these speak over again to us the language of that prophet who first called his child “Immanuel,” “Behold we and the Child whom the Lord hath given us are for signs and for wonders from the Lord of hosts.” (Ibid.)
Naturalness of the truly great:—To illustrate the use of such a sign as was given to the shepherds, let me suppose some traveller accustomed to the splendour and reserve of royal courts visiting the city of Washington, and asking, on his way to the White House, how he should find the President. We should tell him, “You may know him by this sign. He is a plain man, plainly dressed in a black suit, and you will find him in the centre of the thickest crowd, and everybody coming up to shake hands with him. First, he is not distinguished in the way you expect him to be; and, secondly, he is unmistakably distinguished in just the opposite way.” But for some such “sign” as this our traveller might naturally mistake for the President some attaché of a South American Embassy standing apart in a halo of dignity and a light blaze of gold lace. This “wrapped in swaddling-clothes and lying in a manger” was just the sign the shepherds needed. And we do well if, looking for the Christ, we take heed to it ourselves. We are not yet safe from the error of them of old time, who thought to find the Lord clothed in soft raiment and dwelling in king’s palaces. (Ibid.)
Christ’s humility:—In His nativity, and in His temptation (Mark 1:13), Christ was among beasts. Believers, ambitious of high place, forget their Master’s cradle. A manger is here honoured above a thousand glittering thrones. It is an ornament of His royalty, a throne of His glory. He comes in humility; He reigns in humility; He leads by humility. The manger and the cross are stumbling-blocks to many. His infancy and death are still rocks, wrecking human pride. (Van Doren.)
The sign of the Incarnation:—Christmas is full of surprises. It brings in, as no other event ever did, the element of mystery, of wonder. Its testimony is, God became manifest in the flesh. The Eternal Word was joined with a perfect human nature. The miracle of the Incarnation transcends every other that has been and will be wrought. It is in itself a wonder so great that all the accompaniments of the birth of Jesus sink into comparative insignificance. We are, I fear, inclined to forget the majesty of the fact in the strangeness of its surroundings. We count it a wonderful thing that He should have been born in the stable of a country inn, whereas the real wonder is that such a birth should take place anywhere, and so I ask you to contemplate one of the signs by which the shepherds of Bethlehem were to find and know the incarnate God—“Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes.”
I. It reminds us, by way of analogy, of a fact which constitutes the most trying element in the mystery of the Incarnation, namely, that God thereby came within certain limitations. How an uncreated and omnipresent, that is, a boundless, Infinite Being could be contracted within the circumference of a human life is the most puzzling problem of revelation. The impossibility of our understanding this is a temptation, not perhaps to deny, but to forget the deeper meaning of the Christmas feast. Remember, then, that within these swathing bands which encircled the infant form of Jesus there was bound the nature of a Being more than human, even God Himself. Men may call this an unreasonable tax upon our faith. It is rather a sign of God’s condescension to human weakness. The whole secret of the history of idolatry among the Jews and the Gentiles was a longing for some visible manifestation of Him whom they felt they must worship. Man instinctively longs for some incarnate form, some Word of his Maker manifest in the flesh, some finite manifestation of the Infinite Father. And the birth of Jesus, the enshrining of God within a human form, the swathing of that power, which otherwise knows no bounds, was but an answer to man’s desire.
II. The sign holds good, not only of the nature of Christ, but likewise of the life which, from first to last, He lived. That also was like every purely human life, hemmed in. It unfolded according to the ordinary laws of growth. His babyhood was as real as His manhood. He increased in wisdom as well as stature. He learned gradually the wisdom which all the world now confesses. The common idea which people have of Jesus is that, being Divine, He was exempt from the ordinary conditions of common men; that He never knew constraint; that there were no barriers opposing Him, no bands fettering the free exercise of that Divine power which lay hidden within Him. Yet duty was sometimes hard for Him. He longed to do things which He might not attempt, because the higher and more spiritual dictates of His conscience forbade it. The kingdoms of this world and their glory looked as fair and tempting to His soul as they do to ours. But the law of righteousness, the swathing-bands of duty, the rules of obedience which God throws around us, likewise constrained Him.
III. The manner of the Incarnation shows God’s estimate of human nature. If you are ever tempted to despise human nature because you see it now and then wearing disagreeable phases, or to think ill of, nay, to slight, your friends, remember God’s estimate of them. He does not thus stoop and toil to save the worthless. From being a King He descended to the lowest form of human life, entered the world in utter helplessness, was wrapped in swaddling clothes, and during all His development here on earth never rose above that form of a servant which He had taken. And He did all this, because even fallen man was dearer to His heart than the world of lost angels. (E. E. Johnson, M.A.)
Great things from small beginnings:—Not, Ye shall find the angel in the heavens, the king on his throne, the young prince in a palace, the commander at the head of his armies, but “the babe in a manger.” How strange are God’s ways of working out His strange plans! It is not by might, nor by power, that His agencies accomplish their vast work. The least things are often the greatest in His providence (1 Cor. 1:27–29). It may be the shepherd boy with his sling who gains victory over the mailed giant in whose presence the whole army of Israel stands trembling; it may be the tinker in Bedford Jail who writes a masterpiece in religious literature, to be honoured for centuries for its work and its worth; it may be the unschooled clerk from a Boston shoe-store who proclaims the gospel with a fervency and power which the best-cultured divines of all Christendom have not attained to; or it may be in the most unprepossessing child of your school or class that the grandest possibilities for the kingdom of Christ to-day lie hid. (H. C. Trumbull.)
The fitness of the sign:—“This shall be the sign,” saith the angel. “Shall be”; but should it be this? No; how should it be? Let us see. Why, this shall be the sign; ye shall find the Child, not in these clouts or cratch, but in a crimson mantle, in a cradle of ivory. That, lo, were somewhat Saviour-like I But in vain take we upon us to teach the angel; we would have—we know not what. We forget St. Augustine’s distingue tempora; as the time is the angel is right, and a fitter sign could not be assigned. Would we have had Him come in power and great glory? and so He will come, but not now. He that cometh here in clouts will one day come in the clouds. But now His coming was for another end, and so to be in another manner. His coming now was “to visit us in great humility,” and so His sign to be according. Nay, then, I say, first go to the nature of a sign; if Christ had come in His excellency, that had been no sign, no more than the sun in the firmament shining in his full strength. Contrary to the course of nature it must be, else it is no sign. The sun eclipsed, the sun in sackcloth; that is signum in sole, “the sign indeed” (Luke 21:25). And that is the sign here: the Sun of Righteousness entering into His eclipse begins to be darkened in His first point, the point of His nativity. This is the sign, say I, and that had been none. (Bishop Lancelot Andrewes.)
The sign nothing; the treasure all:—Make of the sign what ye will; it skills not what it be, never so mean. In the nature of a sign there is nothing, but it may be such; all is in the thing signified. So it carry us to a rich signatum, and worth the finding, what matter how mean the sign be? We are sent to a crib, not to an empty crib; Christ is in it. Be the sign never so simple, the signatum it carries us to makes amends. Any sign with such a signatum. And I know not the man so squeamish, but if, in his stable and under his manger, there were a treasure hid, and he were sure of it, but thither he would, and pluck up the planks, and dig and rake for it, and be never a whit offended with the homeliness of the place. If, then, Christ be a treasure, as in Him are “all the treasures of the wisdom and bounty of God,” what skills it what be His sign. With this, with any other, Christ is worth the finding. He is not worthy of Christ who will not go anywhither to find Christ. (Ibid.)
Christ born in a manger:—At midnight from one of the galleries of the sky a chant broke forth. To an ordinary observer there was no reason for such a celestial demonstration. If there had been such brilliant and mighty recognition at an advent in the House of Pharaoh, or at an advent in the House of Cæsar, or the House of Hapsburg, or the House of Stuart, we would not so much have wondered; but a barn seems too poor a centre for such delicate and archangelic circumference. The stage seems too small for so great an act, the music too grand for such unappreciative auditors, the windows of the stable too rude to be serenaded by other worlds.
I. That night in the Bethlehem manger was born encouragement for all the poorly started. He had only two friends—they His parents. No satin-lined cradle, no delicate attentions, but straw and the cattle, and the coarse joke and banter of the camel drivers. From the depths of that poverty He rose, until to-day He is honoured in all Christendom, and sits on the imperial throne in heaven. Do you know that the vast majority of the world’s deliverers had barnlike birthplaces? Luther, the emancipator of religion, born among the mines. Shakespeare, the emancipator of literature, born in a humble home at Stratford-on-Avon. Columbus, the discoverer of a world, born in poverty at Genoa. Hogarth, the discoverer of how to make art accumulative and administrative of virtue, born in a humble home at Westminster. Kitto and Prideaux, whose keys unlocked new apartments in the Holy Scriptures which had never been entered, born in want. Yea, I have to tell you that nine out of ten of the world’s deliverers were born in want. I stir your holy ambitions to-day, and I want to tell you, although the whole world may be opposed to you, and inside and outside of your occupations or professions there may be those who would hinder your ascent, on your side and enlisted in your behalf are the sympathetic heart and the almighty arm of One who, one Christmas night about eighteen hundred and eighty years ago, was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. Oh, what magnificent encouragement for the poorly started!
II. Again, I have to tell you that in that village barn that night was born goodwill to men, whether you call it kindness, or forbearance, or forgiveness, or geniality, or affection, or love. It says, “Sheathe your swords, dismount your guns, dismantle your batteries, turn the warship Constellation, that carried shot and shell, into a grain ship to take food to famishing Ireland, hook your cavalry horses to the plough, use your deadly gunpowder in blasting rocks and in patriotic celebration, stop your lawsuits, quit writing anonymous letters, extract the sting from your sarcasm, let your wit coruscate but never burn, drop all the harsh words out of your vocabulary—Goodwill to men.”
III. Again, I remark that born that Christmas night in the village barn was sympathetic union with other worlds. Move that supernatural grouping of the cloud banks over Bethlehem, and from the special trains that ran down to the scene I find that our world is beautifully and gloriously and magnificently surrounded. The meteors are with us, for one of them ran to point down to the birthplace. The heavens are with us, because at the thought of our redemption they roll hosannas out of the midnight sky.
IV. Again, I remark that that night born in that village barn was the offender’s hope. Some sermonizers may say I ought to have projected this thought at the beginning of the sermon. Oh, no! I wanted you to rise toward it. I wanted you to examine the cornelians and the jaspers and the emeralds and the sardonyx before I showed you the Kohinoor—the crown jewel of the ages. Oh, that jewel had a very poor setting! The cub of the bear is born amid the grand old pillars of the forest, the whelp of a lion takes its first step from the jungle of luxuriant leaf and wild flower, the kid of the goat is born in cavern chandeliered with stalactite and pillared with stalagmite. Christ was born in a bare barn. Yet that nativity was the offender’s hope. Over the door of heaven are written these words, “None but the sinless may enter here.” “Oh, horror,” you say, “that shuts us out!” No. Christ came to the world in one door, and He departed through another door. He came through the door of the manger, and He departed through the door of the sepulchre; and His one business was so to wash away our sin that after we are dead there will be no more sin about us than about the eternal God. I know that is putting it strongly, but that is what I understand by full remission. All erased, all washed away, all scoured out, all gone. Oh! now I see what the manger was. Not so high the gilded and jewelled and embroidered cradle of the Henrys of England, or the Louis of France, or the Fredericks of Prussia. Now I find out that that Bethlehem crib fed not so much the oxen of the stall as the white horses of Apocalyptic vision. Now I find the swaddling clothes enlarging and emblazing into an imperial robe for a conqueror. (Dr. Talmage.)
The Child in the manger:—
I. Learn from this story of the birth of Jesus, in the first place, that indigence is not always significant of degradation. When princes are born, heralds proclaim it, and flags wave it, and cannon thunder it, and illuminations set cities on fire with the tidings; but when Christ was born there was no demonstration of earthly honour or homage. Poor, and, if possible, getting poorer, and yet the recognition of the angel host proves the truth of the proposition that indigence is no sign of degradation. In all ages of the world there have been great hearts throbbing under rags, gentle spirits under rough exterior, gold in the quartz, Parian marble in the quarry, and in the very stables of poverty wonders of excellence that have been the joy of the heavenly host. Poetry, and science, and law, and constitutions, and commerce, like Christ, were born in a manger. Great thoughts that seem to have been the axle-tree on which the centuries turned, started in some obscure corner, and had Herods who tried to slay them, and Iscariots who betrayed them, and Pilates who unjustly condemned them, and rabbles who crucified them, and sepulchres which confined them until they broke forth again in glorious resurrection. Men are, like wheat, worth all the more for being flailed. Strong character, like the rhododendron, is an alpine plant which grows best in the tempest. There are a great many men who are now standing in the front rank of the Church of God who would have been utterly useless had they not been ground and hammered in the foundries of disaster.
II. Again, I learn from the text that it is when we are engaged in our lawful occupations that we have Divine manifestations made to us. If these shepherds had gone that night into the village, and risked their flocks among the wolves, they would not have heard the song of the angels. In other words, he sees most of God and heaven who minds his own business! We are all shepherds, and we have large flocks of cares, and we must tend them. I know there are a great many busy men who say, “Oh, if I had only time, I would be good. If I had the days and the months and the years to devote to the subject of religion, I should be one of the best of Christians.” A great mistake are you making. The busiest men are generally the best men. There is no point from which you can get clearer views of duty than at the merchant’s counter, or the accountant’s table, or on the mason’s wall.
III. Again, the story of the text strikes at the popular fallacy that the religion of Christ is dolorous and grief-infusing. The music that broke through that famous birth-night was not a dirge, but an anthem. It shook joy over the midnight hills. It not only dropped among the shepherds, but it sprang upward among the thrones. The robe of righteousness is not black. The religious life is not all weeping and sighing, and cross-bearing and warfare. Christianity does not frown on amusements and recreations. It quenches no light. It defaces no heart. Among the happy it is the happiest. Heaven itself is only a warmer love and a brighter joy.
IV. Again, I learn from this subject, what glorious endings come from small and insignificant beginnings. The New Testament Church was on a small scale. The fishermen watched it. Small beginnings, but glorious endings. A throne linked to a manger. Mansions of light at God’s right hand associated with stables of poverty.
V. I learn, finally, from this story of the birth of Christ, the glorious result of a Saviour’s mission. Have you ever thought how strangely this song of peace must have sounded to the Roman Empire? Why, that Roman Empire gloried in its arms, and boasted of the number of men it had slain, and with triumph looked at conquered provinces. Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Macedonia, Egypt, had bowed to her sword, and crouched at the cry of her war eagles. Their highest honours had been bestowed upon Fabius and Scipio and Cæsar. It was men of blood and carnage that they honoured. With what contempt they must have looked upon a kingdom the chief principle of which was to be goodwill to men, and upon the unarmed, penniless Christ, who, in Nazarene garb, was about to start out for the conquest of the nations. If all the blood which has been shed in battle were gathered together in one great lake, it would bear up a navy. The blow that struck Abel into the dust has had its echo in the carnage of all the centuries. If we could take our stand on some high mountain of earth, and have all the armies of other ages pass along, what a spectacle! There go the hosts of the Israelites through scores of Red Seas, one of them of water, the rest of blood. There go the armies of Cyrus, lifting their infuriate yell over prostrate Babylon. There goes Alexander, with his innumerable host, conquering all but himself, and making the earth to reel under the battle gash of Persepolis and Chæronia. There goes the great Frenchman, down through Egypt like one of its own plagues, and up through Russia like one of its own ice-blasts. Host after host. Tramp, tramp, tramp. Coming down to our day, I appeal to the grave-trench under the shadow of Sebastopol, and turning to India I show you fallen Delhi, and Allahabad, and the inhuman Sepoys, and the regiments of Havelock avenging the insulted flag of Great Britain. On this, the day before Christmas, I bring you good tidings of great joy. A Saviour for the lost. Medicine for the sick. Light for the blind. Harbour for the bestormed. Eternal life for the dead. (Ibid.)
12. And this shall be a sign to you. The angel meets the prejudice which might naturally hinder the faith of the shepherds; for what a mockery is it, that he, whom God has sent to be the King, and the only Saviour, is seen lying in a manger! That the mean and despicable condition in which Christ was might not deter the shepherds from believing in Christ, the angel tells them beforehand what they would see. This method of proceeding, which might appear, to the view of men, absurd and almost ridiculous, the Lord pursues toward us every day. Sending down to us from heaven the word of the Gospel, he enjoins us to embrace Christ crucified, and holds out to us signs in earthly and fading elements, which raise us to the glory of a blessed immortality. Having promised to us spiritual righteousness, he places before our eyes a little water: by a small portion of bread and wine, he seals the eternal life of the soul.2 But if the stable gave no offence whatever to the shepherds, so as to prevent them from going to Christ to obtain salvation, or from yielding to his authority, while he was yet a child; no sign, however mean in itself, ought to hide his glory from our view, or prevent us from offering to him lowly adoration, now that he has ascended to heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father.
12 The “cloths” (KJV, “swaddling clothes,” from the verb sparganoō, “to swathe,” GK 5058) would constitute a “sign.” Babies were snugly wrapped in long strips of cloth, giving them warmth, protection of extremities, and a sense of security in their newborn existence. The combination of a newborn baby’s wrappings and the use of the manger for a crib would be a distinctive “sign.” Perhaps they also imply that in spite of seeming rejection, symbolized by the manger, the baby was the special object of his mother’s care. In Ezekiel 16:1–5, Jerusalem is symbolically described as a heathen child who was neglected from birth until God rescued and cared for her. She had not been given the usual postnatal care and so was not wrapped with strips of cloth (Eze 16:4). But Jesus was not so neglected. On the other hand, the “sign” might be only the strange circumstance of the newborn child’s being in the manger at all. If one moves further in the Lukan narrative, this “sign” may also point to the burial scene of Jesus, in which linen becomes yet another “sign” (cf. J. Winandy, “Le signe de la mangeoire et des langes,” NTS 43 : 140–46).
The Person of the Good News
for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. (2:11–12)
Having reassured the stunned and frightened shepherds that he came bearing good news, the angel then gave them the details of that good news. That very day, in the fullness of time (Gal. 4:4), history’s most significant birth had taken place. It had happened in the most unlikely of places—in the city of David (the tiny hamlet of Bethlehem; see the discussion of 2:4 in chap. 12 of this volume). The angel prefaced his threefold description of the newborn Child by telling the shepherds that the One of whom he spoke had been born for them. Collectively, as noted above, Jesus is the Savior of both Jews and Gentiles; individually, He is the Savior of everyone who believes in Him (John 3:16). The angel did not give the Child’s earthly name; Savior, Christ and Lord are all titles. But since the name “Jesus” means “the Lord is salvation,” its meaning is encompassed by the term Savior.
The description of Jesus as Savior is an apt one, since the reason He was born was to “save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21; cf. Luke 19:10). That obvious truth is often obscured in contemporary presentations of the gospel. Too often Jesus is presented as the One who will rescue people from unfulfillment in their marriages, families, or jobs; from a debilitating habit they cannot overcome on their own; or from a sense of purposelessness in life. But while relief in those areas may be a by-product of salvation, it is not its primary intent. Mankind’s true problem, of which those issues are only symptoms, is sin. Everyone (Rom. 3:10, 23) is guilty of breaking God’s holy law and deserves eternal punishment in hell. The true gospel message is that Jesus Christ came into the world to rescue people from sin and guilt—not psychological, artificial guilt feelings, but true, God-imposed guilt that damns to hell.
Christ is an exalted title for a baby born in such humble circumstances. The name and its Old Testament counterpart, Messiah (Dan. 9:25–26), both mean “anointed one”; one placed in a high office and worthy of exaltation and honor. Jesus was anointed first in the sense that He is God’s appointed King, the “King of kings” (Rev. 17:14; 19:16), who will sit on David’s throne and reign forever, as Gabriel told Mary (1:32–33). He was also anointed to be the great High Priest (Heb. 3:1) for His people; the mediator between them and God (1 Tim. 2:5) who makes intercession for them (Heb. 7:25). Finally, Jesus was anointed as a prophet, God’s final and greatest spokesman (Heb. 1:1–2).
Lord in a human sense is a term of respect and esteem, given to someone in a position of leadership and authority. Especially it was the title borne by slave owners; kurios (Lord) and doulos (slave) were connected. To call someone Lord was to acknowledge your subservience. In the New Testament Sarah called Abraham lord, acknowledging his authority over her as her husband (1 Peter 3:6).
But in this context Lord is no mere elevated human designation; it is a divine title. To say that this Child is Lord is to say that He is God. When used in reference to Jesus Christ, kurios (Lord) conveys all that is implied by the tetragrammaton YHWH (“Yahweh,” which the Septuagint translates kurios)—the name of God (cf. Ex. 3:14–15). The most fundamental and basic confession of Christianity is, “Jesus is Lord” (1 Cor. 12:3). No one who does not affirm Christ’s full deity and equality with God the Father can be saved for, as He warned the Jews, “Unless you believe that I am [God], you will die in your sins” (John 8:24. For a discussion of the “I am” statements in John’s gospel in reference to Christ’s deity, see John 1–11, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary [Chicago: Moody, 2006], 14, 348). Romans 10:9 declares that “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
The angel then gave the shepherds a sign by which they could recognize this remarkable Child: they would find find the baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. That the baby would be wrapped in cloths would not single out Jesus for the shepherds, since that was done to all Jewish babies (see the discussion of 2:7 in the previous chapter of this volume). To fail to properly care for a newborn baby, including wrapping it, was unthinkable (cf. Ezek. 16:1–5). But Jewish mothers did not usually put their newborn babies in a manger, so that would narrow the shepherds’ search to the Child of whom the angel spoke. The stark contrast between Jesus’ exalted status as Savior, Messiah, and God and the humble circumstances of His birth emphasizes the magnitude of His “[emptying] Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:7).
“Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.“ (Matthew 5:16).
“While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem (far from home) the time came for the baby Jesus to be born, and Mary gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2: 6, 7
Have you ever been far from home at Christmas?
Our third child was born in Nairobi, Kenya, on December 14. We named her Elizabeth Anne. I liked the name Elizabeth meaning consecrated to God. My husband added Anne saying, “Her initials will stand for East Africa.”
Nairobi hospital was a very modern hospital and we received excellent care. A week later, my husband picked me up and took me to our home on the mountains. It was strangely quiet. All the missionaries had gone away to celebrate Christmas with their friends. We were on our own.
Christmas day arrived and our little family gathered in the living room. While our two small children played with their new toys, I was nursing my baby. I glanced at the sparsely decorated tree. Because we had no electricity, there were no glowing lights. No Christmas carols on the radio. No Christmas program to attend. No noisy turkey dinner with family gathered around a festive table. Suddenly loneliness overwhelmed me. How I missed my family in Canada!
Then I thought of Mary. How must she have felt so far from home with a brand new baby? But then, Mary had angels and shepherds to make Christmas special, I thought. We have nobody.
I think God has a sense of humour, don’t you? For at that very moment there was a sharp knock on the door. There stood Pastor Benson from a near-by church. He must have sensed that we were lonely for he stayed a long time.
I’ve often thought about that Christmas in Kenya. It didn’t have any of the trimmings that we think belong to a perfect Christmas. Yet, it was the most authentic Christmas I’ve ever had. It taught me that God is present wherever we are and he meets our needs in very practical ways.
Maybe your Christmas will be full of loneliness instead of family gatherings. Perhaps some of you will be celebrating Christmas for the first time without a loved one. Maybe your children are far away and cannot come home for Christmas.
Whose Christmas angel can you be?
“Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).
The word firstborn has a special meaning here. We would already know this reality from the context; it would be obvious. The term “firstborn” highlights the special status of this Son. The birth of a firstborn child is always a special moment; it is the moment we start parenting.
There was even more to this status in Bible times. God had taught his people from the moment they left Egypt that their firstborn children belonged to Him (Luke 2:23). They had to pay a special redemption price for their firstborn sons, similar to what they had to offer the first fruits of their harvest. There was an expectation that the Messiah would be a firstborn King, made evident by prophecy (Psalm 89:26-27). The word “firstborn” here is as much a title as it is a description. It indicates that despite the poverty and shame in this scene, this Child is indeed the Chosen One.
Mary gives her Son the very best care, respect and love that she can. She is deeply impressed by these events (Luke 2:19). She was caring for the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29). He is the firstborn over all creation, the owner of everything (Colossians 1:15). He is the only firstborn that is worthy of worship (Hebrews 1:6). He is the firstborn from the dead and the ruler over the kings of the earth (Revelation 1:5). His birth would change everything. The coming of the Lord’s angels in the following verses was a sign of these truths!
Suggestion for prayer
Pray that God’s gift of His firstborn Son would once again be seen as the hope of all the earth.
Pastor Robert VanDoodewaard currently serves the Free Reformed Church in Powassan, Ontario, Canada as a minister of the gospel.
Now Nadab and Abihu, the two elder sons of Aaron, had been chosen for the priesthood apparently only because they were his sons. They were in no way specially adapted for the service. On the contrary they were negligent. Instead of studying, as Aaron did, to obey exactly the directions God had given Moses for each ceremonial, they carried censers of coals into the sanctuary, “and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not.” Instantly there flashed forth a flame from the ark, and the heedless young men fell dead.
There is one biblical verse which suggests that they may have been drunk with liquor when they approached the ark; but their crime needed not this added darkness. Those who aspire to serve God in high places must hold themselves to a more strict account than the poor and ignorant. What might be mere folly in others becomes blackest sin in the leader’s exalted post. Aaron was cautioned that he might not even mourn for his sons’ death.
(R.C. Sproul) The records of Jesus’ life and ministry cause controversy from the very start. The extraordinary narrative of the circumstances surrounding His conception and birth provokes howls of protest from the critics of supernaturalism. They must begin their work of demythologizing early, wielding scissors on the first page of the New Testament. Following Matthew’s table of genealogy, the first paragraph of the first Gospel reads as follows: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 1:18).
Though the New Testament is replete with miracles surrounding the person of Jesus, none seems more offensive to modern man than the virgin birth. If any law of science is established as immutable and unbreakable, it is that human reproduction is not possible without the conjoining of the male seed and the female egg. We may have developed sophisticated methods of artificial insemination and “test- tube” intrauterine implantations, but in some manner the reproduction process requires the contribution of both genders of the race to succeed. View article →
Christmas weather: Heatwave, storms all intensifying – and a monsoon is now brewing Western Australians are being warned that Christmas is likely to be so blistering it will be of “historic” proportions with forecasters now looking at the entire festive weekend pushing above 40C. That’s a feat not seen for 25 years. Meanwhile, in the east, storms are intensifying and the rain just keeps getting heavier. And in the north a new threat is looming with the monsoon likely to kick in over Christmas bringing absolutely torrential rain to Darwin and maybe even a tropical cyclone.
Plans move forward for 2022 Pope, Russian Patriarch meeting Plans are progressing for a possible meeting next year between Pope Francis and the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church following their historic encounter in Havana in 2016, a top Russian Orthodox official said Wednesday. Metropolitan Hilarion, foreign relations chief of the Russian Orthodox Church, met for about an hour with Francis on Wednesday morning at the Vatican.
More Than $100 Billion Was Stolen From Pandemic Relief Funds, Secret Service Says When it comes to government waste, we’ve seen some pretty big numbers of recent – including $80 billion worth of military equipment that was left behind in Afghanistan just months ago. But trumping that number, according to the Secret Service, is more than $100 billion that was stolen from pandemic relief funds. The $100 billion figure is “at a minimum,” a new report from AP says.
Amazon’s Only Warehouse In NYC Launches Plan To Unionize All Amazon Workers Everywhere Progressives like AOC already succeeded in stopping Amazon from opening one of 2 new coastal “HQs” in Queens, mostly because the company retaliated against New York politicians who backed her push to cancel billions in Amazon tax credits with blatant misinformation like claiming the company was essentially being subsidized by state tax revenues (that’s not how tax incentives work).
US, Japan Draft Plans To Set Up Attack Base In Event China Invades Taiwan Coming days after the US and Japan reached an agreement on a new cost-sharing deal for Tokyo to continue hosting around 50,000 US troops, for which Japan will pay $9.2 billion over the next five years, which is a significant cost increase compared to what Tokyo was previously paying, a joint draft plan has been revealed for an emergency response contingency in the event China threatens to invade Taiwan.
Early morning earthquakes detected in Kentucky, Tennessee Scientists detected two early morning earthquakes in Kentucky. The U.S. Geological Survey says a 2.3 magnitude earthquake, with an epicenter near Jackson, Kentucky, was detected around 3:30 a.m. The USGS recorded a second 2.6 magnitude quake about two hours later,
Thousands of Earthquakes Hit Iceland Days After Volcano Eruption Ends Thousands of earthquakes have hit Iceland over the past 24 hours, several days after a months-long eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano ended, local outlets write. According to various media reports, between 1,700 and 2,000 tremors have shaken the Reykjanes Peninsula as well as the capital Reykjavík.
Biden prepared to add troops near Ukraine; threatens Russia with ‘severe costs’ The U.S. is prepared to add troops near Ukraine and “impose severe costs” on Russia if it doesn’t stop its aggressive military buildup near Ukraine’s border, a senior administration official said on Thursday. “We have said we will increase support for Ukraine’s ability to defend its own territory and also to reassure our NATO partners and allies by changes in our force posture in frontline states.
A Hebrew Prophetic View On 2022 As we approach 2022, many are wondering what the year ahead may bring. While we can’t read too much into numerology, the number 22 associated with this year is a very significant prophetic number, carrying multiple layers of biblical meanings. The destruction of Jerusalem featured in the Book of Lamentations, is further linked to the number 22 through the associated annual fast days on the Jewish calendar.
Russian mercenaries deploy to eastern Ukraine – sources Russian mercenaries have deployed to separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine in recent weeks to bolster defences against Ukrainian government forces as tensions between Moscow and the West rise, four sources have told Reuters.
Former Boston College student charged over boyfriend’s suicide pleads guilty Inyoung You, 23, entered the plea in Suffolk County Superior Court in Boston after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors under outgoing District Attorney Rachael Rollins that could allow her to avoid serving any time in jail. Judge Robert Ullmann sentenced her to a 2-1/2-year suspended jail sentence and 10 years of probation and barred her from profiting from her high-profile case, prosecutors said. If she complies with her probation terms, she could avoid incarceration.
Washington committed to two-state solution, US envoy tells Abbas The Biden administration has affirmed its commitment to the two-state solution and the importance of joint action by all parties to move forward to achieve peace and stability in the region. The commitment was relayed to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
Biggest American corporations named most ‘woke’ of 2021 Major League Baseball and Disney, have made it to a pro-tolerance organization’s “Worst of the Woke” list for 2021. Other icons of modern life enumerated among the “Top 10 Most Hypocritical Institutions of the Year” included Walmart, Facebook and Twitter, …
December a ‘ridiculously active’ month for tornadoes in US There is no question that December 2021 has been a month that has featured a host of anomalous weather, including a historic tornado outbreak and record-breaking temperatures, along with the first-ever December derecho. There certainly has been no shortage of extreme weather.
Whistleblower Nurse: CDC Protocol ‘Is Killing Covid Patients’ (Video) – RAIR ..The long-time registered nurse said in part that “[T]he reactions [from the Covid vaccines] we’re seeing in the hospital with adults are terrifying and being ignored.” Some examples of “post-vaccine reactions” are “blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, encephalopathy, heart arrhythmia such as atrial fibrillation,” she explained.
Shocking Truth: More Children Dead From Vax Than COVID We live in a world where radical politicians and propagandists in the mainstream media shame Americans into getting a vaccine that’s not a vaccine that does not stop the transmission of, nor the onset of, a simple virus that has a near 99% survival rate. It’s a world where children are being forced to vax when the mortality rate from Covid-19 among kids is effectively zero.
Director General Of W.H.O. Says The Quiet Part out Loud, Boosters Used To Kill Children? I had to listen to this clip of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization since 2017, a few times to make sure I heard what I thought I heard. After that, I could have sworn that he said, “some countries are using to give boosters to kill children,’ but to be certain, I uploaded the file into some transcribing software, and it came back as Tedros saying precisely that.
Drinking the Kool-Aid For years, I and others have used the term “drinking the kool-aid.” Little did I know there is actually a more formal term that addresses this phenomena. The formal name is mass formational psychosis (MFP). Search it out, and you will find numerous articles. Not only that, but I learned just how insidious this psychosis is and how effective a tool it is for those who wish to control large numbers of people.
A “Prophetic View” on the coming year 2022Posted: 23 Dec 2021 05:05 PM PST(OPINION) As we approach 2022, many are wondering what the year ahead may bring. While we can’t read too much into numerology, the number 22 associated with this year is a very significant prophetic number, carrying multiple layers of biblical meanings.22 – Number of Completion and Fullness The Hebrew alphabet consists of 22 letters – from the first letter Aleph to the final letter Tav. The Hebrew Bible features many ‘acrostic’ passages, which are passages using all 22 letters of the alphabet in sequence, with each successive letter starting a new line.Continue reading A “Prophetic View” on the coming year 2022 at End Time Headlines.
However, the most hallowed observance for our family — that with the most deeply rooted traditions — is Christmas. It is not a commercial feeding frenzy for us, but a quiet and reverent time of rest and celebration of the birth of Christ, punctuated by extended family festivities.
Christmas Through the Generations
The Book of Luke contains the most familiar account on the Birth of Jesus:
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’ When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” (Luke 2:1-18).
Historically, the actual year of Christ’s birth is thought to be between 6 BC and 4 BC, at the end of Herod’s reign. The first mention of Christmas as a formal Nativity feast occurred in a Roman almanac dated AD 336.
The prophet Isaiah wrote of the coming Messiah 700 years before the birth of Jesus: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
The Christmas star that guided the Wise Men to Bethlehem may have been any of a number of recorded astronomical events coinciding with the likeliest dates of that first Christmas. Halley’s Comet appeared in 12 BC, and ancient Chinese texts note “exploding” stars, or novas, observed in both 4 and 5 BC. Exceptionally bright planetary conjunctions occurred in 2, 6, and 7 BC; among these, the most promising candidate for the Holy Star was the triple conjunction of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn in 6 BC.
Early Christians selected December 25th for the Nativity feast to replace the pagan festival natalis solis invicti, the birth of the sun god Mithras, at winter solstice. They proclaim that Jesus Christ was the real Light of the World, the true “Sun of Righteousness,” as well as the Messiah foretold in Jewish faith. As Jesus declared, he had not come to destroy the law and the prophets of Judaism, but to fulfill them, and so he also fulfilled the deepest human longings expressed in other traditional celebrations. And we Christians believe these aspects of our human nature are not merely enduring, but eternal — because we humans are all created in the image of Eternal God.
Our American Christmas heritage derives from the mingled Christmas traditions of immigrants from many lands, with differing religious beliefs and customs of worship and celebration. Our name for this holiday, itself a word derived from “Holy Day,” arises from the old English Cristes Maesse, or Christ’s Mass. Christmas is sometimes abbreviated as Xmas, which is derived from combining the Greek letter “chi,” denoting “Christ,” with “Mass.”
Christmas was first observed in Early America among the Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and Moravians who settled predominantly in the Middle Atlantic colonies and the South.
Influenced by Puritanism and Calvinism, the New England Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists looked askance at a celebration they deemed based on “heathenistic traditions.” New England colonial authorities outlawed Christmas from 1649 until 1658. The General Court of Massachusetts in 1659 set a fine of five shillings per offense, punishing the observance “of any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forebearing of labour, feasting, or any such way.” Contemporaneously, the Assembly of Connecticut forbade the reading of the Book of Common Prayer, the keeping of Christmas and saints days, the making of mince pies, the playing of cards, or performing on any musical instruments.
Peter Kalm wrote on Christmas Day 1749 about Philadelphia’s holiday: “Nowhere was Christmas Day celebrated with more solemnity than in the Roman Church. Three sermons were preached there, and that which contributed most to the splendor of the ceremony was the beautiful music heard to-day. … Pews and altar were decorated with branches of mountain laurel, whose leaves are green in winter time and resemble the (cherry laurel).”
Philip Fithian, of colonial Virginia, recorded in his diary entry for December 18, 1773: “When it grew to dark to dance … we conversed til half after six; Nothing is now to be heard of in conversation, but the Balls, the Fox-hunts, the fine entertainments, and the good fellowship, which are to be exhibited at the approaching Christmas.”
Fithian’s Christmas Eve 1775 diary entry from Staunton, Virginia, described other common pastimes of the holiday celebration: “The Evening I spent at Mr. Guys — I sung for an Hour, at the good Peoples Desire, Mr. Watts admirable Hymns — I myself was entertaind; I felt myself improvd; so much Love to Jesus is set forth — So much divine Exercise.” But his 1775 Christmas Day entry noted the vastly different observances of the Scots and Scots-Irish Presbyterians: “Christmas Morning — Not A Gun is heard — Not a Shout — No company or Cabal assembled — To Day is like other Days every Way calm & temperate — People go about their daily Business with the same Readiness, & apply themselves to it with the same Industry.”
The first state to declare Christmas a legal holiday was Massachusetts in 1856.
By the first battles of the War Between the States, most of our shared Christmas traditions were set, and the January 3, 1863, issue of Harper’s Weekly featured a drawing of encamped soldiers receiving Christmas gifts from home.
General Robert E. Lee wrote one wartime Christmas: “My heart is filled with gratitude to Almighty God for his unspeakable mercies with which He has blessed us in this day. For those He granted us from the beginning of life, and particularly for those He has vouchsafed us during the past year [of war]. What should have become of us without His crowning help and protection? Oh, if our people would only recognize it and cease from self-boasting and adulation, how strong would be my belief in the final success and happiness to our country! But what a cruel thing is war; to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world! I pray that on this day [Christmas] when only peace and good-will are preached to mankind, better thoughts may fill the hearts of our enemies and turn them to peace.”
Christmas became a federal holiday in 1870, and today, nearly all Americans celebrate Christmas in some way, a uniformity that belies the variance with which, as in colonial days, Americans approach this holiday.
From St. Nicholas to Santa Claus
As holiday is derived from “Holy Day,” and Christmas from “Cristes Maesse,” the name “Santa Claus,” and the roots of our modern tradition of gift-giving, is derived from St. Nicholas. Around 300 AD, he was the distinguished Bishop of Myra in present-day Turkey. Not only was he the patron saint of children, but of the oppressed and those at sea.
My colleague William Federer offered a brief history of the very real St. Nicholas, who is at the root of the modern Santa Claus.
“Greek Orthodox tradition tells of Saint Nicholas being born to a wealthy, elderly couple in Asia Minor (what is today Turkey) in the year 280 AD. When his parents died, he used the wealth he inherited to generously give to the poor.
“Upon hearing of a merchant who went bankrupt and that creditors were about to take his daughters, Saint Nicholas threw money in the window at night to provide a dowry for the daughters to get married, thus saving them from a life of prostitution. When the father discovered who gave the money, Nicholas made him promise not to tell, as he wanted the glory to go to God alone.
“This inspired the custom of secret gift-giving on the anniversary of Saint Nicholas’ death, December 6, 343 AD.
“Saint Nicholas became Bishop of Myra and was imprisoned during Emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians. He was freed by the Roman Emperor Constantine I. Saint Nicholas attended the Council of Nicea [in AD 325] where the Nicene Creed was written.
“Just like the Apostle Paul [who was also in Myra in AD 60] as described in Acts, chapter 19, Saint Nicholas preached against the fertility goddess ‘Diana’ and her immoral temple prostitutes at Ephesus — the Las Vegas of the ancient Mediterranean world. The people responded by tearing down the local temple to Diana.
“Saint Nicholas was known for courageously rescuing a soldier who was about to be executed by a corrupt governor, and for having many miraculous answers to his prayers.
“After his death, Emperor Justinian built a cathedral and named it after him. Vladimir the Great of Russia converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity and adopted Saint Nicholas as the patron saint of Russia.
“In the 11th century, Muslim Seljuk Turks invaded Asia Minor, killing Christians, turning churches into mosques and digging up the bones of Christian saints and giving them to dogs. For protection, in the year 1087, the bones of Saint Nicholas were shipped to the town of Bari in southern Italy, thus introducing Saint Nicholas and gift-giving traditions to Western Europe.
“Eventually, Dutch immigrants brought the Saint Nicholas traditions to New Amsterdam, which became New York, and they pronounced Saint Nicholas ‘Sinter Claes’ or ‘Santa Claus.’”
Unfortunately, there is a perennial societal tension now associated with Christmas. If not for its dire implications for the future of Liberty, the seasonal contortions over “non-offensive greetings” would be humorous. The Left insists the word “Christmas” violates the phony “Wall of Separation” doctrine if a government employee deigns to utter it within earshot, and that it is too ethnocentric for corporate use.
Some years ago, The Patriot Post coined the greeting “Happy Christmahanakwamadan.” We did so in response to the fashionable PC crowd’s ludicrous demands for “inclusive faith-neutral” greetings. We also published our legal department disclaimer outlining the terms of acceptance for the greeting as a counterpoint to retailers vying for your business who have instituted policies discouraging or outright prohibiting any mention of “Christmas.”
We do not challenge private-sector employers’ right to dictate corporate policies on such matters. However, the ongoing campaign to censor Christmas from public forums is another matter. Ironically, it’s often these same censors who take shortcuts such as wishing folks “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Xmas.”
Despite some folks’ preoccupation with the secularization of Christmas, our Founders, the framers of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, had no such concerns about public expressions of faith, as none was warranted. Conversely, they were bold about promoting Christianity and speaking about their own faith.
Historian Peter Lillback authored *Sacred Fire*, an exhaustive scholarly treatise on George Washington, whom I hold to be our most esteemed and most indispensable president. In that treatise, Lillback notes that it is only in recent years, with the searchable digital publication of our Founders’ writings, that we get an accurate picture of their faith, and their expression of same.
Lillback writes, “Washington referred to himself frequently using the words ‘ardent,’ ‘fervent,’ ‘pious,’ and ‘devout.’ There are over one hundred different prayers composed and written by Washington in his own hand. He described himself as one of the deepest men of faith of his day when he confessed to a clergyman, ‘No Man has a more perfect Reliance on the alwise, and powerful dispensations of the Supreme Being than I have nor thinks his aid more necessary.’ Although he never once used the word ‘Deist’ in his voluminous writings, he often mentioned religion, Christianity, and the Gospel. He spoke of Christ as ‘the divine Author of our blessed religion.’ He wrote of ‘the blessed religion revealed in the Word of God.’ He encouraged seekers to learn ‘the religion of Jesus Christ.’ He even said to his soldiers, ‘To the distinguished Character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to add the more distinguished Character of Christian.’”
Here follows a small sample of how other notable Founders expressed their faith.
John Adams: “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God. … The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity.”
Samuel Adams: “I [rely] upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins. … I conceive we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world … bringing in the holy and happy period when the kingdoms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and the people willingly bow to the scepter of Him who is the Prince of Peace. … We may with one heart and voice humbly implore His gracious and free pardon through Jesus Christ, supplicating His Divine aid … [and] above all to cause the religion of Jesus Christ, in its true spirit, to spread far and wide till the whole earth shall be filled with His glory.”
John Hancock: “That the spiritual kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be continually increasing until the whole earth shall be filled with His glory.”
Patrick Henry: “Being a Christian … is a character which I prize far above all this world has or can boast. … The Bible is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed. … This is all the inheritance I can give to my dear family. The religion of Christ can give them one, which will make them rich indeed.”
John Jay: “Condescend, merciful Father! to grant as far as proper these imperfect petitions, to accept these inadequate thanksgivings, and to pardon whatever of sin hath mingled in them for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Savior; unto Whom, with Thee, and the blessed Spirit, ever one God, be rendered all honor and glory, now and forever. … The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts. … Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
Thomas Jefferson: “I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished anyone to be: sincerely attached to His doctrines in preference to all others. … I am a real Christian — that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.”
James Madison: “I have sometimes thought there could not be a stronger testimony in favor of religion or against temporal enjoyments, even the most rational and manly, than for men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ.”
And all of us should give serious consideration to these sagacious words from Benjamin Franklin: “How many observe Christ’s birth-day! How few, his precepts! O! ‘tis easier to keep Holidays than Commandments.”
“Endowed by Our Creator”
Clearly, our Founding Fathers understood that “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” could not be sustained in the absence of Light; that these rights are irrevocably endowed by our Creator, the unalienable and inherent Rights of All Men that are the gift of God.
According to George Washington, “Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. … The Hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.”
(Recall that General Washington chose Christmas night in 1776 to cross the Delaware River and launch his daring surprise attack on Britain’s Hessian mercenaries. His victory at the Battle of Trenton breathed much-needed life into the arduous and perilous task of securing our Liberty.)
John Adams wrote: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. … Statesmen may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a greater Measure than they have it now, They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty.”
Benjamin Rush proclaimed, “The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.”
Likewise, Gouverneur Morris wrote, “Religion is the only solid basis of good morals and Morals are the only possible Support of free governments. Therefore education should teach the precepts of religion and the duties of man towards God.”
Samuel Adams added, “Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness. … Religion in a Family is at once its brightest Ornament and its best Security.”
Perhaps John Jay said it best: “The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.”
My point in listing these brief pearls of wisdom from our Founders is to make the case plain that the Left’s proscription on the expression of faith, censorship that is antithetical to our Constitution and the Liberty it enshrines, will not cease until such expressions have been expelled from all public venues and forums. Then, and only then, can the rule of men fully supersede the Rule of Law.
The Light of the World
When our children were young, Ann and I would help them comprehend how great God has always been and always will be, the Alpha and Omega, by using metaphors with tangible examples that they could grasp.
We wanted them to understand that it is only the rare occasion, given the immensity of His universal scope, which affords us a perfectly clear view of God’s plan for each of us. But we also assured them of the Truth we had learned: that through faith, we always know that He will use our circumstances, however corrupted by our own free will, to guide us to where He wants us to be.
As our kids were growing older, each demonstrated a substantial interest and aptitude for science. Thus, I was captivated when one of my sons directed me to this elucidation of God’s infinite domain from Dr. William Blair, an astrophysicist and research professor at Johns Hopkins University.
Blair wrote: “Today we know that galaxies are as common as blades of grass in a meadow. The Hubble Space Telescope recently completed a particularly deep (faint) census of a tiny ‘pencil beam’ extending far out into the Universe. This survey, called the ‘Hubble Deep Field,’ was targeted on a region of the sky that was nearly devoid of known objects, so as to be (hopefully) representative of conditions in the distant Universe. The resulting images are truly amazing. Strewn across this tiny piece of the sky are perhaps 1500 or more galaxies of all shapes, sizes, and colors! Because this survey pertains to such a small piece of the sky, the implications are staggering: if the region of sky demarked by the bowl of the Big Dipper were surveyed to the same depth, it would contain about 32 million galaxies! And the estimate for the entire visible Universe is that there are upwards of 40 BILLION galaxies, each containing tens to hundreds of billions of stars!”
To put the vastness of creation into perspective, Blair uses a sheet of paper: “Imagine that the distance from the earth to the sun (93 million miles, or about 8 light minutes) is compressed to the thickness of a typical sheet of paper. On this scale, the nearest star (4.3 light years) is at a distance of 71 feet. The diameter of the Milky Way (100,000 light years) would require a 310 mile high stack of paper, while the distance to the Andromeda galaxy (at 2 million light years one of the most distant objects visible to the naked eye) would require a stack of paper more than 6,000 miles high! On this scale, the ‘edge’ of the Universe, defined as the most distant known quasars some 10 billion light years hence, is not reached until the stack of paper is 31 million miles high — a third of the way to the sun on the real scale of things!”
Pondering this vastness is a humbling experience indeed.
Knowing quite a few professional physicists who are men and women of faith, I wrote Dr. Blair and asked him, “Are you a person of faith in God as our creator?” and, “If so, what does your analogy reveal about the creator of our universe?”
As to the first question, he answered, “Yes, I am.”
As to the second, he replied, “In short, ‘God created the heavens and the earth.’ Understanding more about the ‘heavens’ and the scale of the Universe only magnifies my personal impression of what it is that God has created. Having a personal connection to that same God is a defining aspect of my faith.”
According to Blair, who at the time was in charge of NASA’s deep space project, “Some people can look at the spirals of our galaxy and not see the hand of God, but I beg to differ.”
From the emptiness of space 240,000 miles from home, Apollo 8’s crew, Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders, broadcast a report watched around the world.
Unexpectedly, they began reading the Creation account from Genesis:
William Anders: “We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you. ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good. And God divided the light from the darkness.’“
James Lovell: “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, ‘Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.’ And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.”
Frank Borman: “And God said, ‘Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas. And God saw that it was good.”
Commander Borman finished the broadcast, saying, “And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you — all of you on the good Earth.”
It can be challenging to keep the vast hand of our Creator in proper perspective. Sometimes our idolatry of self or materialism obscures the hand of God, while other times it is the trials of life that obscure His hand. Too often, we simply don’t look for God’s hand in our life and all around us.
During the winter season, our East Tennessee mountaintop is often shrouded in clouds which can persist for a week or more. And this can in turn obscure our ability to see what’s just in front of us. The absence of sun and blue sky, or crisp and clear nights under bright stars, can take its toll on the spirit. However, my spirit is lifted high when I recall with certainty that above the fog and clouds, all the heavenly bodies shine bright. Eventually the weather will break, and light will avail itself again.
More that once, I have reminded my children that bleak winter weather which obscures the sunlight is an apt metaphor for the trials in our lives, which can in turn obscure the Son’s light.
Life itself can, at times, seem shrouded in fog and darkness. That can be especially true if, like me, you bear a lifelong burden “to Support and Defend” our heritage of Liberty and extend that inheritance to the next generation. Occasionally, I forget that this burden I bear is also borne by tens of millions of my fellow Patriots across our nation. But our Creator, who irrevocably endowed us with Liberty, is always there, even if temporarily obscured by the fog of conflict.
As in times past, this is a difficult season for today’s American Patriots. We face daunting challenges from enemies foreign and domestic. But I hold close these words from George Washington written early in the first American Revolution: “We should never despair, our Situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new Exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times.”
So, on the darkest of days, how do we find our way to Him?
The answer is obvious to all who have opened their eyes — just follow the Light.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) Thus, if we want to see our Creator, we have only to turn toward the Light, and, as implicit in our motto: Veritas vos Liberabit — “The Truth will set you Free” (John 8:32).
It is the dawn of the Light and Truth that we celebrate at Christmas, the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. It is no coincidence that as the story of His birth is recounted, it is a star that guided wise men to his side.
In the Gospel of John (1:5), it is written, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
Now, a physicist will tell you that darkness doesn’t exist except for the absence of light — which is to say, We need only to seek the Light.
As for my family and me, and hundreds of millions of our brothers and sisters around the world, Jesus Christ is the Light, our personal and irrevocable connection to our Creator. He is that for anyone and everyone who turns toward His Light.
The Gospels, which attest to the life of Jesus, reveal what we most need to know about God as our Creator, and His purpose for us.
In a sermon delivered almost a century ago, Rev. James Allan Francis provided a timeless insight into the profound impact of the life of Jesus Christ, from his birth through the generations: “Here is a man who was born in an obscure village as the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another obscure village. He worked in a carpenter shop until he was 30 and then for three years was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put his foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but himself. He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of his divine manhood. While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied him. Another betrayed him. He was turned over to his enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon the cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property he had on earth while he was dying, and that was his coat. When he was dead, he was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.”
Rev. Francis concluded, “Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone, and today he is the center of the human race and the leader of the column of progress. I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that were ever built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon the earth as powerfully as has this one solitary life.”
We live in a world today that is no different from yesterday and tomorrow, in the sense that we have and will always have a deep desire to understand our Creator. Unfortunately, we tend to complicate the fulfillment of that desire by satiating it with false gods. I am no stranger to false gods, which, ironically, helps me to clearly distinguish between those idols and my authentic Creator and Savior.
President George Washington wrote, “May the Father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths.” May He indeed!
Almost 200 years later, President Ronald Reagan noted: “On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ with prayer, feasting, and great merriment. But most of all, we experience it in our hearts. For more than just a day, Christmas is a state of mind. It is found throughout the year whenever faith overcomes doubt, hope conquers despair, and love triumphs over hate. It is present when men of any creed bring love and understanding to the hearts of their fellow man.” Indeed it is!
Patriots, in closing, I humbly ask your prayers for our Patriot team, that our mission would seed and encourage the Spirit of Liberty in the hearts and minds of our countrymen. Please also join us in praying for God’s blessing upon our nation, and for the protection of, and provision for, our military Patriots and their families, especially on this “Soldier’s Night Before Christmas.”
It is the words of “Silent Night” which mean most to our family in this season:
“Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright, Round yon virgin mother and child. Holy infant so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.
“Silent night, holy night, Shepherds quake at the sight, Glories stream from heaven afar, Heavenly hosts sing alleluia; Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born.
Silent night, holy night, Son of God, love’s pure light, Radiant beams from thy holy face, With the dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus, Lord at thy birth, Jesus, Lord at thy birth.”
In keeping with those simple words expressing the Spirit of this holy season, it is my fervent prayer that on this Christmas Day, and every day of the coming year, we seek the Light of our Creator for wisdom, guidance, and peace. Remember that attitude is a reflection of gratitude, and that a grateful heart leads to a joyful spirit.
Happy Holy Days and Merry Christ’s Mass! May God’s light shine brightly upon you, your family and our great nation in the coming year!
On behalf of our staff and National Advisory Committee, we are humbled to stand with you among the ranks of our Patriot countrymen. We wish peace and God’s blessing upon you and your family.
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis! Pro Deo et Libertate
To our Patriot readers of faiths other than Christianity: We hope that this serves to deepen your understanding of our faith, and the faith of so many of our Founders. Permission to forward or reprint is granted.
“The Hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.” —George Washington (1778)
While it is always a pleasure to write about Christmas, this is a good year to look over holiday editions past for a few reflections.
At the turn of the millennium, we wrote about the “Star Seen Round the World” and Christian patriarchs gathered in the Holy Land who crafted a message to the world concluding that their hope was that “We, not unlike the shepherds, can go forth into the darkest of nights, glorifying and praising God who came to save human kind and to fill the earth with justice and peace.”
A year later, our nation faced the calamity of 9/11, and we wrote of “Sacrificial Gifts”: “The miracle is not that we can honor Christmas in peace and in war, but that so much of Christmas has endured into our time, celebrated still in its full glory and significance, despite its central paradoxes, so strange to our ears, of the Gift beyond reciprocation: God born in Man, Eternity captured in Time, and Light piercing the Darkness, to reveal a Truth at the heart of the Universe.”
In the years that followed, we observed: “Because Christmas claims to have brought truth to humankind, Christmas is not friendly toward our age’s millenarian smugness about tolerance and inclusion. However, neither is Christmas cavalierly assessed as part of multiculturalism’s grave error of exclusion. Consider those who came to worship at the manger of the Baby King, born among animals in the stable — lowly shepherds and wealthy men of learning and accomplishment. From the very first Christmas on, Christmas has been open to all; the holy event of the incarnation is about incorporation.”
I wrote of George Washington’s trials at Valley Forge through the Christmas of 1777. Of the near-collapse of the Continental Army, he wrote, “It was much easier to draw up remonstrances in a comfortable room by a good fire-side, than to occupy a cold bleak hill, and sleep under frost and snow, without clothes or blankets.” Just before Christmas, Washington issued general orders for “the day set apart” to “express our grateful acknowledgements to God for the manifold blessings he has granted us.”
Then there was our coinage of the politically correct and all-inclusive greeting, “Happy Christmahanukwamadanice” to encompass Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, and Solstice. That was in response, albeit ludicrously so, to the fashionable leftist crowd’s demands for a more “inclusive” greeting. Of course, such a greeting would still be far too limited and far too exclusive to satiate the “woke” mobs of today.
And there was my kids’ favorite, Charles Schulz’s 1965 classic “Charlie Brown Christmas,” which, even 40 years later at the time, touched their young hearts. Most memorable is Linus’s reading of Luke 2:8-14 and his declaration, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.” (Recall, too, that when Linus says the words “Fear Not,” he drops his ever-present security blanket.) At the time, even then, network media executives asked Schulz to drop the Scripture. Schulz responded, “If we don’t tell the true meaning of Christmas, who will?” Indeed.
I wrote another year, “For my family, Christmas is much more than a day, a season, or a collection of memories and rituals. Christmas is a lens through which we endeavor to view all things — the universe of our Creator and His purpose for us — every day.”
Earlier that year, one of our then-teenage children told me with a heavy heart that sometimes he “loses his bearing, feels disconnected from God, and that separation causes him distress.”
I acknowledged to him that, similarly, “There have been days in my life when I have felt detached from God, and in those times I also struggle with questions about meaning and purpose.” I explained: “What I have learned (at considerable personal cost) about being disconnected from God is that this division is always the result of my looking to the world for purpose rather than our Creator. Inevitably, after some consternation, I awaken to the reality that our cultural compasses are perpetually disorienting. Contemporary culture relentlessly encourages us, even seduces us, to irrevocably link our identity to its trappings — what we do, what we have, who we’re with, and the like. But all of these connections are temporal. In the end, if we take our bearings from the culture around us, we are destined to experience emptiness, which it then offers to fill with various distractions and forms of sedation.”
I told my son: “Through my life’s trials, I have learned we must look up before we look out — that we must look to God in order to understand His purpose for us in the world. Indeed, if we define our purpose in cultural terms, or worse, if we try to understand Him through the world’s lens, we are destined to remain astray.”
And I have never wavered from that maxim.
To that end, I am reminded of these words written by Reverend James Allan Francis almost a hundred years ago summarizing the profound impact of the life of Jesus Christ:
Here is a man who was born in an obscure village as the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another obscure village. He worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty and then for three years was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put his foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness.
He had no credentials but himself. He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of his divine manhood. While still a young man the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied him. Another betrayed him.
He was turned over to his enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon the cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property he had on earth while he was dying, and that was his coat. When he was dead, he was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today he is the center of the human race and the leader of the column of progress.
I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that were ever built, and all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon the earth as powerfully as has this one solitary life.
And even more true now a century later.
As the Holy Bible records, the life of Jesus began here:
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’ When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” (Luke 2:1-20)
During this Christmas season, and every day of the coming year, may God’s peace and blessings be upon you and all those around you. I invite you to read more about the history of Christmas.
“May the Father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths.” —George Washington (1790)
(A note about our Christmas message: Some of our readers are of faiths other than Christianity. We hope this message will serve to enlighten your understanding of our faith, and we wish God’s blessing and peace upon you and your families.)
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776
Here are five methods to get the gist of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s best-selling book, “The Real Anthony Fauci,” quickly:
1. The first third shows that Fauci is the leader of the largest cabal of organized crime thugs to have ever walked the face of Earth.
The middle third goes into more detail about the history of the establishment of Fauci’s criminal cabal.
The final third ties together loose ends with more details and factual history. The overriding theme is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization are all run and controlled by criminal thugs in concert with their criminal counterparts running Big Pharma.
“Under Dr. Fauci’s leadership, the allergic, autoimmune, and chronic illnesses which Congress specifically charged NIAID to investigate and prevent, have mushroomed to afflict 54 percent of children, up from 12.8 percent when he took over NIAID in 1984.
“Dr. Fauci has offered no explanation as to why allergic diseases like asthma, eczema, food allergies, allergic rhinitis, and anaphylaxis suddenly exploded beginning in 1989, five years after he came to power.
“On its website, NIAID boasts that autoimmune disease is one of the agency’s top priorities. Some 80 autoimmune diseases, including juvenile diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, Graves’ disease, and Crohn’s disease, which were practically unknown prior to 1984, suddenly became epidemic under his watch.
“Autism, which many scientists now consider an autoimmune disease, exploded from between 2/10,000 and 4/10,000 Americans when Tony Fauci joined NIAID, to one in thirty-four today.
“Neurological diseases like ADD/ADHD, speech and sleep disorders, narcolepsy, facial tics, and Tourette’s syndrome have become commonplace in American children.
“The human, health, and economic costs of chronic disease dwarf the costs of all infectious diseases in the United States. By this decade’s end, obesity, diabetes, and pre-diabetes are on track to debilitate 85 percent of America’s citizens.
“For this reason, all the drug companies and members of Congress (except Rand Paul) LOVE Fauci.”
4. Open the book to a random page and start reading. Then realize there are ~450 other pages with stories of corruption just as bad as the one you just randomly selected.
5. My review:
The book shows that Fauci is a really bad guy who has done a lot of bad stuff and he should be immediately fired.
It also shows a completely corrupt system that is allowing dangerous drugs to be approved.
We need to all stand up and oppose what is going on. The system is badly broken and corrupt and needs to be fixed ASAP.
I haven’t read the entire book, but I have read sections and everything I have read so far aligns with the facts I know.
It’s a devastating book, filled with details that few people knew about until now.
For example, I knew about Tess Lawrie’s call with Andrew Hill and knew it was recorded, but I never got a copy. So to see the line-by-line transcript … that was truly stunning. It aligned 100% with what I had heard about the call.
The book is an amazing accomplishment and I can’t figure out how Kennedy had the time to write it because he’s so busy. I’m very proud to be one of his friends.
He’s just a great guy with a heart of gold and one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met.
President Biden does not want you to read this book. That is precisely the best reason you must take the time to read as much of it as you can.
Finally, remember President Biden put RFK, Jr. on the “Disinformation Dozen” list at #2. He does not want you to read his book. And that is precisely why it is so urgent and important that you do so.
Also, your member of Congress doesn’t want you to read it either. None of them objected to putting Kennedy on the censorship list. So they support censorship of this important work.
The message from RFK, Jr. going forward is simple: DO NOT COMPLY.
* * *
And on a lighter note, it won’t be just Fauci who is angry at Jeff Bezos this Xmas. Imagine what Beijing will do when they see this…
Austria, one of the most repressive European countries during the coronavirus pandemic, has recently overtaken Sweden in terms of total covid mortality, showing that almost all government interventions have been ineffective and unjustified.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Austria has been one of the most repressive European countries, implementing several lockdowns, school closures, far-reaching mask mandates and even an N95/FFP2 mask mandate, record-setting mass PCR testing and contact tracing, as well as early “vaccine passports”. Austria was also the first Western country to impose a “lockdown for the unvaccinated” and the first Western country to announce a general “vaccine mandate”.
In contrast, Sweden has widely been regarded, or indeed criticized, as the least repressive Western country during the coronavirus pandemic, imposing no lockdowns, no elementary school closures, no mask mandates, no “vaccine passport”, and very limited testing and contact tracing compared to Austria and most other Western countries.
And yet, in December 2021, Austria overtook Sweden in terms of total covid mortality (see chart above). This comes after Austria had reached, in late November, the highest seven-day covid infection rate in the world. The European average covid mortality had already overtaken Swedish covid mortality back in March 2021.
Total covid mortality: Sweden vs. Austria (JHU/CSSE)
But can Nordic Sweden and Alpine Austria really be compared in a legitimate way? Indeed, they can. To begin with, their population size is quite similar (10.4 million in Sweden vs. 9.0 million in Austria). While the median age in Sweden is slightly lower than in Austria (41.1 vs. 44.4 years; perhaps due to more immigration), the Swedish life expectancy is actually somewhat higher than in Austria (82.4 vs. 81.6 years).
Interestingly, the population weighted density, which takes urbanization into account, is somewhat higher in Sweden than in Austria (2724 vs. 2191, see map below). Obesity rates are very similar in Sweden and in Austria (20.6% vs. 20.1%). ICU capacity is significantly higher in Austria than in Sweden (5.3 vs. 1.9 beds per 1000 people).
In fact, total covid mortality in Austria and Sweden has reached the same level precisely because the two countries are so similar in terms of demographic and health factors. In both countries, the covid population fatality rate (PFR) has reached about 0.15% and is limited primarily to people over 70 years of age (the median age of covid deaths is about 83 years in both countries).
But is it fair to call December 2021 the “judgment day”? Indeed it is, because Sweden has already crossed the “pandemic finish line” and was the first Western country to see the return of influenza, which had been displaced by the coronavirus since March of 2020. Of course, the novel coronavirus will not disappear from Sweden or from anywhere else, and Sweden will certainly see future coronavirus waves, but Sweden has achieved a high population infection rate (about 60% to 75%) and has entered the endemic phase.
Thus, the fact that Austria has now overtaken Sweden in terms of total covid mortality really means that almost every single government intervention in Austria – and almost everywhere else – has been entirely ineffective from an epidemiological and medical perspective, while having caused almost unprecedented social and economic harm.
In particular, it means that lockdowns, school closures, mask mandates, N95/FFP2 mask mandates, mass PCR testing and “contact tracing”, as well as “vaccine passports”, have been entirely ineffective and unjustified as interventions to “combat the pandemic”.
Of note, this is not just “post-hoc knowledge”: with the exception of school closures (which are effective against influenza), it had long been known that all of these “interventions”, including masks and contact tracing, are ineffective against respiratory virus epidemics. Concerning masks, the question is not if they are effective in theory or in some lab experiment, but if they make any difference in the real world – and the answer is no.
In fact, in terms of all-cause excess mortality, Austria had surpassed Sweden already several months ago: total pandemic excess mortality currently is 17% in Austria vs. 11% in Sweden. This is primarily because many Swedish deaths happened earlier in the pandemic (in the spring of 2020) and most covid victims were very old (median age of 83); thus, by September 2020, Sweden recorded its lowest mortality in history. (Nevertheless, claims that Sweden has no or almost no excess mortality are based on an incorrect calculation method; there is no “Swedish miracle”).
The same result has been observed in many other regions throughout the world: In Eastern Europe, Belarus has recorded an average regional excess mortality despite almost no interventions at all; in Latin America, excess mortality in Brazil has been higher than in Chile and Argentina, but lower than in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, Colombia and Paraguay; in Asia, lockdowns in India, Indonesia or the Philippines were horrific failures affecting 800 million children.
There was only one situation in which lockdowns were a rational intervention: as a preemptive measure in support of early border controls. This situation applied primarily to some islands, such as Australia, New Zealand and Iceland, and possibly to Norway, Finland, Denmark and parts of China (more on these countries below).
Critics of the Swedish approach have often argued that Sweden should only be compared to “its neighbors”. If one compares Sweden to all of its neighbors in the region – Norway, Finland, Denmark, but also Poland and the Baltic states – Sweden again shows an average covid mortality: Poland, Latvia and Lithuania are much higher, Estonia is similar, while Denmark, Finland and Norway are much lower.
But some critics of Sweden insist on comparing Sweden only to Denmark, Finland and Norway. These critics would like to imply that Sweden is a high mortality outlier, when in reality, it is Denmark, Finland and Norway which are the true outliers, having by far the lowest covid mortality rates among Western countries. But why is this?
It is not, as critics of Sweden would like to imply, because these countries had particularly strict measures. In fact, for the most part, their “stringency index” was even lower than in Sweden, and of course also lower than in repressive countries like Austria.
Instead, three explanations seem plausible.
First, Denmark, Finland and Norway imposed early border controls and could avoid a major unexpected wave in the spring of 2020. “Early” here is a relative term and always depends on when the coronavirus reaches a certain country. Due to the timing of its winter holidays, the Stockholm area unknowingly imported the coronavirus directly from early covid hotspots in Alpine skiing resorts near Italy, which was not the case in other Nordic countries or even in other regions of Sweden. (In the famous case of Uruguay in South America, the first covid wave hit not until November 2020).
Second, and in the same context, other Nordic countries imposed preemptive lockdowns in support of early border controls that really may have helped disrupt early infections. But a lockdown is ‘preemptive’ only as long as there have been either no confirmed infections at all or only a very small number of infections that can still be contained without aerosolizing the virus.
Third, and most fundamentally, Norway and Finland have by far the lowest population weighted densitiesin Europe (910 in Norway and 986 in Finland, vs. 2724 in Sweden and 6785 in Britain; see the map below), which may have slowed the spread of covid.
In fact, in Western Europe, there is a striking correlation between population weighted density – which may influence the speed of virus transmission and the amplitude of infection waves – and covid mortality per country (see map below). This correlation does not apply, however, to Denmark, which has a low covid mortality but an average population weighted density (3434).
At the global level, high population weighted density might help explain strong covid waves in Britain, Spain and Italy, Turkey, South America (including Mexico) and South Africa, but not (so far) in Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Low population weighted density could help explain the slow spread of the coronavirus in Norway, Finland, Indochina, and parts of Black Africa (see map below).
Coming back to the comparison between Sweden and Austria, one factor that worked against Austria was the failure of covid vaccines: if covid vaccines had provided strong long-term protection, Austria could have avoided the very high covid mortality in the winter of 2021/22 (see chart above). On the other hand, in the spring of 2020, even optimists hadn’t expected covid vaccines becoming available before autumn 2021.
The failure of covid vaccines is also a major problem for low-covid countries like Norway, Finland, Australia, New Zealand and China, which now are in a very uncertain position.
While all of the interventions imposed by Austria and other repressive countries failed, are there any potentially effective interventions that have not been adopted?
A few options may be mentioned.
First, research and use of repurposed early treatment drugs should have been a major priority to reduce hospitalizations (especially given the uncertainties regarding vaccine protection).
Second, dedicated covid hospital facilities should have been created to avoid widespread in-hospital transmission (in some countries, including Sweden, the UK and the US, such facilities were indeed created, but they remained largely unused).
Third, given their low covid risk, offering voluntary, medically supervised live virus infection to children and young healthy adults may have made sense to rapidly build up a natural immunity shield, protect high-risk groups (including parents), and ensure smooth education.
Fourth, while masks have been a complete failure (as was already known before the pandemic), indoor ventilation to prevent aerosol transmission might have been one of the most effective interventions (with >99% of all transmission occurring indoors). Then again, living rooms and class rooms cannot be turned into airplane cabins.
Fifth, the media should have supported the calm management of the pandemic, fostering social cohesion and mindfulness, instead of inciting panic and hysteria. The many “dashboards” and “live tickers” may well have been counterproductive.
Sixth, we may have to recognize that societies with a life expectancy of over 80 years and obesity rates of over 20% are inherently susceptible to events like the coronavirus pandemic.
Needless to say, most Western health authorities have not yet acknowledged that their entire approach to the pandemic has been a complete failure. In a typical move, the Austrian health minister in early December claimed that the most recent Austrian lockdown had been effective in breaking the winter wave, but independent analysts quickly pointed out that infections had decreased simultaneously in neighboring countries without a lockdown.
In conclusion, the comparison of Austria and Sweden conclusively shows that a calm, low-intervention, almost business-as-usual approach to the pandemic has been best. In contrast, highly irrational strategies, such as “zero covid” and “no covid”, have caused unprecedented social, political and economic damage at an almost civilizational scale.
* * *
A) Population weighted density in Western Europe (2015)
The analysis above quotes 2020 figures, while the following map shows 2015 figures.
Population weighted density in Western Europe (2015) (WorldPop)
B) Global population weighted density (2020)
Global population weighted density (2020) (WorldPop)
C) Excess mortality per country (January 2020 to December 2021)
Excess mortality per country (January 2020 to December 2021) (Economist)
D) Daily covid tests per 1000 people
Daily covid tests per 1000 people in Austria, Sweden and Britain.
From “Little Drummer Boy” to “I Farted on Santa’s Lap,” here’s where they stand.
If you are on the Internet long enough, there comes a year when you will be forced to rank something. Now it is my time. So I am taking the liberty of going through the 100 holiday songs being foisted upon us everywhere and ranking them from Most Especially Heinous to Best. This is probably a good idea, and I feel fit and confident! I bet this will be an easy, pleasant process. I’m amazed I haven’t already compiled several lists just like this! See a playlist of all 100 songs on Spotify
The former Arkansas governor discusses the president’s broken campaign promises. #FoxNews *** MIKE HUCKABEE: The RNC put out a six-page memo outlining many of the broken promises of Joe Biden. The fact is the only promise he’s really kept this year—he has united America.
The physician who invented the mRNA technology contained in COVID vaccines is urging all parents to abstain from vaccinating their children with the “irreversible” inoculation that could permanently damage their critical organs, reproductive systems and immune systems.
The public is being misled about the vaccine’s efficacy and effects, warns Dr. Robert Malone, the Chief Medical and Regulatory Officer for The Unity Project who invented messenger mRNA therapeutics in 1988.
“Parents, before you inject your child, a decision that is irreversible, I wanted to let you know the scientific facts about this genetic vaccine which is based on the mRNA vaccine technology I created,” Malone explained in a video published on Tuesday. ”
The internationally recognized physician and scientist outlines three key issues parents should consider before complying with the government coercion to vaccinate their children:
First, is that a viral gene will be injected into your children’s cells. This gene forces your child’s body to make toxic spike proteins. This protein can cause permanent damage in children’s critical organs, including their brain and nervous system, their heart and blood vessels including blood clots, their reproductive system, and this vaccine can trigger fundamental changes to their immune system.
The most alarming part about this is that these damages, once they occur are irreparable. You can’t fix lesions within their brains. You can’t repair heart tissue scarring. You can’t repair a genetically reset immune system. And this vaccine could cause reproductive damage that could infect future generations of your family.
The second thing that you need to know about this is the fact that this novel technology has not been adequately tested. We typically need at least five years of testing and research before we can really understand the risks of new medicines or vaccines.
Harms and risks from new medicines often become revealed many years later. So ask if yourself if you want your own child to be part of the most radical medical experiment in human history.
One final point. The reason they are giving you to vaccinate your child is a lie. Your children represent no danger to their parents or grandparents. It’s actually the opposite. Their immunity after getting COVID is critical to save your family if not the world from this disease.
In summary, there is no benefit for your children or your family to be vaccinating your children against the small risk of this virus given the known health risk of the vaccine that is apparent you and your children may have to live with for the rest of their lives. The risk benefit for this vaccine isn’t even close for children.
As a parent and grandparent, my recommendation to you is to protect your children and do not give them this unproven vaccine.
Despite the Malone and a multitude of doctors have sounded the alarm on the vaccine’s
Malone, who has been castigated as a “conspiracy theorist” and banned from social media after sounding the alarm on government deception surrounding the COVID vaccine, is one of eleven doctors who sit on The Unity Project’s Strategic Advisory Council.
The Unity Project, a non-profit organization composed of a coalition of concerned parents, business leaders, teachers and other professionals throughout California was founded in opposition to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s plan to impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on the state’s K-12 students.
Despite the abundance of data proving COVID vaccines are ineffective at preventing the transmission of COVID and the rising rate of vaccine-related deaths, Democrat-run cities including New York and Chicago require patrons as young as 5 years old to present proof of COVID vaccination to enter restaurants, gyms and indoor public venues.
Washington, DC will begin requiring patrons above the age of 12 to present partial vaccination proof for entry to indoor venues by Jan. 15 and fully vaccinated by Feb. 15.
TODAY’S GUEST is Russ Miller of Creation Ministries. Russ is a speaker, teacher, and author of 5 creation-oriented books, including “The COSΤ,” he has written & illustrated 2 kids coloring books, developed 16 PowerPoint seminars, a DVD Series & Study Guide, leads Grand Canyon Rim, Raft & Grand Staircase Tours, has been on hundreds of radio programs, and has spoken on college campuses, at conferences and on many Christian TV programs.
We discuss how important it is for Christians to have a solid foundation on the Word of God, especially the Book of Genesis, and that the Global Flood is the lynchpin in the War of Worldviews (Secular/Humanist view vs Biblical view). We also touch on compromised Christian views such as theistic evolution.
Dr. Stephen C. Meyer is my favorite defender of Christianity these days. His first book covered the origin of life. His second book covered the sudden origin of body plans in the fossil record. And his third book covered the origin of the universe and fine-tuning. In this post, we’ll see a recent popular-level article he wrote for The Federalist, and 6 new short videos he made for Prager University.
Here is latest article from my favorite news source – The Federalist. He explains how scientific discoveries provide evidence for a Creator of the universe:
From the first astronomical investigations about the early history of the universe, light, and other forms of radiant energy, have yielded the most important clues about cosmic origins. During the 1920s, astronomers discovered that the wavelengths of light coming from distant galaxies were stretched out, or “red-shifted,” as if the galaxies were moving away…