Hi Five Oakers, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you're having a great day. And I hope to see you this weekend as we launch our new Christmas series.
What's the matter with this story?
“It’s about 2000 years ago, the evening of December 25. Mary rides into Bethlehem on a donkey, urgently needing to deliver her baby. Although it’s an emergency, all the innkeepers turn them away. So they deliver baby Jesus in a stable. Then angels sing to the shepherds. Afterwards, they all join three kings with camels in worshipping the quiet, newborn.”
What's the matter with it?
- Jesus wasn't born December 25.
- There is no mention of a donkey.
- Mary and Joseph likely arrived in Bethlehem weeks before the baby was due.
- There is no innkeeper in the story.
- There is no inn in the story.
- There is no stable in the story.
- There is no mention of singing angels.
- There are no kings in the story.
- The story doesn't mention the number of wise men.
- No camels are mentioned in the story.
- By the time the wise men arrive, Jesus is not a newborn.
Carl Laverton, in a little book he wrote called Christmas Uncut, says the real Christmas story is gritty, but we have turned it into a children's play.
All that said, this series isn't about spoiling Christmas for you or demanding a rewrite of Christmas pageants worldwide. It's simply about looking at the real story. The real story of Christmas is filled with scandal and mystery and controversy. But it is in the grit that it's true greatness and glory lie.
Come on the weekend and invite a friend.
Morgan Lee on "Pope Francis Learns What Rick Warren, Russell Moore, N. T. Wright Think about Marriage: Warren turns Vatican conference into 'revivalist meeting,' while Moore explains why marriage crosses theological boundaries"
"It is a myth that we must give up biblical truth on sexuality and marriage in order to evangelize," said Warren in his conclusion, which noted how Saddleback recently baptized its 40,000th adult convert. "In the end we must be merciful to the fallen, show grace to struggling, and be patient with the doubting. But when God’s Word is clear we must not—and we cannot—back up, back off, back down, back out, or backslide from the truth."
One More Thing
Mark Batterson on giving thanks:
You take approximately 23,000 breaths every day, but when was the last time you thanked God for one of them? The process of inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide is a complicated respiratory task that requires physiological precision. We tend to thank God for the things that take our breath away. And that's fine. But maybe we should thank him for every other breath too!