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Devotional Thoughts

 Devotional Thoughts
 The Spiritual Side of Our Website

This part of the site features monthly devotional thoughts by the Association's Chaplain, with the goal of encouraging Signal Corps OCS Graduates to be exceptional in their lives and to live life at a higher level. Our current Chaplain is of the Christian faith, so naturally, his devotionals are fashioned around his Christian beliefs. Your comments and suggestions are welcome and can be offered directly to the Chaplain by eMail at:

by LTC (R) Max Holt, Class 02-67

December 2013


At least the MYTHs obscure the REAL reality.

LTC (R) Max Holt - TodayLTC (R) Max Holt

You’ve all heard the Christmas Story many times and seen it acted out over and over in many different church and media venues. You have seen Mary and Joseph on that cold December night in a cozy little stable with baby Jesus snuggled in a little bassinet-type manger, all wrapped in a white baby blanket. Then, you see the shepherds, fresh from keeping watch over their flocks in the field by night, kneeling before the manger. Finally, the Three Wise Men arrive on their camels, bearing their three fancy gifts and kneel down to present them to baby Jesus. The story is beautiful, BUT, it is full of myths, outside of Biblical reality.             

First of all, Jesus was not born in December; the sheep and shepherds were NOT out in the fields in winter. In that part of the world the sheep weren’t put out to pasture until lambing time, usually in the spring, maybe April or May. For the first three centuries Christians refused to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, stating that celebrating deities’ birthdays was a pagan ritual, was reserved for false gods. The few who insisted on celebrating it lumped it in with the Catholic Epiphany, on January 6. Even the Puritans who came to America in the 1600s forbade the celebration. No records of Jesus’ birth existed showing the actual date or time of year. In the 300s a move to celebrate His birth gained strength, with speculation about the date being March 25th, April 18th or 19th, May 20th or 28th. Other dates were speculated as well. The eventual choice of December 25 reflects a convergence of the concern about pagan gods and the church's identification of God's son with the celestial sun. December 25 already hosted two other related festivals: natalis solis invicti (the Roman "birth of the unconquered sun"), and the birthday of Mithras, the Iranian "Sun of Righteousness" whose worship was popular with Roman soldiers. The winter solstice, another celebration of the sun, fell just a few days earlier. Seeing that pagans were already exalting deities with some parallels to the true deity, church leaders decided to commandeer the date and introduce a new festival. However, Western Christians didn’t start celebrating Christmas on December 25 until 336, after Emperor Constantine had declared Christianity the empire's favored religion. Some of the pagan celebrations included gift-giving and decorating with greenery and lights (candles).            

The Magi (Wise Men) never went to the manger (they visited Jesus in a house) because they didn’t even get to Bethlehem until two years after they first saw the star appear in the sky, when Jesus was born. You can see that information recorded in Matthew Chapter 2, verses 1-16. The Bible does NOT say there were THREE of them; it just highlights the three expensive gifts they gave to Jesus.  Magi were scientists, of sorts, and usually traveled in large groups for safety reasons…probably ten or more plus a hundred or so assistants, servants, etc. No doubt, those expensive gifts provided the money Mary and Joseph needed to escape to Egypt to protect Jesus from King Herod.

So, the myths reign supreme and it would be fruitless to try to change the whole world to eliminate them. My point here is that tradition is certainly not always truth.

 Common Sense Application

Christians should continue celebrating Christmas as you have been. However, understand that the important thing is the significance of Jesus’ birth…not the details purported to be facts. 

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All Praise To You Eternal Lord, by Susan K. Hawthorne

Prior Month Devotionals
May '11 Jun '11 Jul '11 Aug '11 Sep '11 Oct '11 Nov '11 Dec '11 Jan '12 Feb '12 Mar '12 Apr '12
May '12 Jun '12 Jul '12 Aug '12 Sep '12 Oct '12 Nov '12 Dec '12 Jan '13 Feb '13 Mar '13 Apr '13
May '13 Jun '13 Jul '13 Aug '13 Sep '13 Oct '13 Nov '13 Dec '13 Jan 14 Feb 14 May 14 Apr 14

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