Greg takes a look at Bible verses commonly taken out of context:
2 Chronicles 7:14 "Then the LORD appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, 'I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.'"
A friend sent me a picture of his Christmas Starbucks cup. This is what it said:
WE invite YOU to LISTEN to your DESIRES and to RENEW your HOPE. To SEE the world not as it is, but as it COULD be. Go ahead, WISH. It's what makes the holidays the holidays.
Luckily for us, this is the exact opposite of the message of Christmas. Are we left to hope and wish for something, for a redemption that may never come to pass? Are we left to ourselves to drum up hope from within, inspired from within? Thank God the answer is no.
Instead, I invite you this Christmas to see the world exactly as it is—a world drowning in sin that can't save itself no matter how hard it tries. Then I invite you not to wish harder than ever for something that doesn't yet exist—an empty promise that may disappoint forever, but to celebrate the coming of Christ into the world—something that is done, completed. Something that changed everything. The rock-solid historical event that was accomplished for us by God Himself. In this, we can rest and rejoice forever. This is what makes the holidays the holidays.
[A]rcheologists on Monday unveiled what they said were the remains of the first dwelling in Nazareth that can be dated back to the time of Jesus — a find that could shed new light on what the hamlet was like during the period the New Testament says Jesus lived there as a boy.
The discoveries so far indicate a humble town consistent with the Biblical descriptions.
O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse) Isaiah 11:1-16 / Romans 15:8-13 / Revelation 5:1-5 O Radix Jesse,
qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem Gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.
O Root of Jesse, standing as an ensign before the peoples, before whom all kings are mute, to whom the nations will do homage; Come quickly to deliver us.
The central fact of Christmas is one of the most unique characteristics of Christianity that distinguishes it from virtually every other religion: the incarnation. God humbled Himself to become a man to live with us and die for us so that He could abide in us. The good news of Christianity is that God comes to us in a very personal way to save us and to live in us.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him "Immanuel"—which means, "God with us." - Matthew 1:20-23