A Couple of Old Favorites

It’s Christmastime Charlie Brown originally aired in 1965.  Charlie Brown and Rudolf are lifetime favorites, Home Alone and The Santa Clause are a little bit newer (but perhaps still old movies to some of you).  And I watch them all again every year.

Here’s a couple of oldie but goodies here on the Master’s Table that come back around every Christmas.  Prayerfully consider the scriptures and see what you think.

Rethinking the Angelic Choir:

the-angels-song-and-the-shepherds-visitWhat is the first thing the angel says to the shepherds?  Most of the time when angels appear in the Bible (unless in disguise) the first words out of their mouths are “Do not be afraid.”  There must be a reason for this.  Either the stature, or brilliance, or something we are not told about angels evokes fear in regular people.  Note the words “heavenly host.”  Anytime the Old Testament says anything about a host it is in reference to an army.  I want you to carefully consider all of this together.  An angel appears to a group of shepherds whose natural tendency is to run in fear.  The sky was then filled with the heavenly host, singing and praising God.  This was not a choir, made up of beautiful women in choir robes; it was a vast military force, an army of angels, possibly with swords drawn ready to do battle.  Is all of this baseless conjecture?  I do not think so.   READ MORE

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

magiAnd what about myrrh?  See myrrh is different.  It’s a resin similar to frankincense, but offers a bitter aroma rather than a sweet one.  In Biblical times its most common use was as an embalming agent.  Had the women found Jesus on Sunday morning after the crucifixion, they would have anointed him with myrrh among other herbs.  Gold and frankincense are obviously valuable gifts, but why offer myrrh?  READ MORE 

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Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

I’ve written before on just who the Magi were and where they might have been from.  The truth is, we don’t know how many wise men visited Jesus nor where they came from.  The traditional names Casper, Melchior and Balthazar are from the Western Church tradition; Eastern Orthodoxy and Ethiopian Christianity offer different lists of names.  Were they from Persia?  China?  Like I said, we don’t know.  They were not at the manger either, but that’s another story. Continue reading