Dec 25, 2013

Hallelujah Light Has Come

Merry Christmas to all, and rejoice!  For our Savior has come for "whosoever" that will believe on Him as the Son of God, come to save the world of it's sins.  Rejoice, for our Savior is now at the right hand of God the Father patiently awaiting His return, to deliver His people and judge the world.  He is coming soon, very soon.  This is good news indeed!

Scenes from the movie "The Nativity Story" put to music. This video was edited to be shown at my church during a live performance of Hallelujah Light Has Come. Between scenes, the audience was watching the choir.

The reason "Silent Night" was created: How the world's most famous Christmas carol came to be written and set to music


While we were serving as missionaries in Europe we visited a small little church in Austria. That church was the birthplace of "Silent Night." Here's the story how this most famous of Christmas carols came to be written:

     In 1818, a roving band of actors was performing in towns throughout the Austrian Alps. On December 23 they arrived at Oberndorf, a village near Salzburg where they were to re-enact the story of Christ's birth in the small Church of St. Nicholas.

      Unfortunately, the St. Nicholas' church organ wasn't working and would not be repaired before Christmas. (Note: some versions of the story point to mice as the problem; others say rust was the culprit) Because the church organ was out of commission, the actors presented their Christmas drama in a private home. That Christmas presentation of the events in the first chapters of Matthew and Luke put assistant pastor Josef Mohr in a meditative mood. Instead of walking straight to his house that night, Mohr took a longer way home. The longer path took him up over a hill overlooking the village.

      From that hilltop, Mohr looked down on the peaceful snow-covered village. Reveling in majestic silence of the wintry night, Mohr gazed down at the glowing Christmas-card like scene. His thoughts about the Christmas play he had just seen made him remember a poem he had written a couple of years before. That poem was about the night when angels announced the birth of the long-awaited Messiah to shepherds on a hillside.

      Mohr decided those words might make a good carol for his congregation the following evening at their Christmas eve service. The one problem was that he didn't have any music to which that poem could be sung. So, the next day Mohr went to see the church organist, Franz Xaver Gruber. Gruber only had a few hours to come up with a melody which could be sung with a guitar. However, by that evening, Gruber had managed to compose a musical setting for the poem. It no longer mattered to Mohr and Gruber that their church organ was inoperable. They now had a Christmas carol that could be sung without that organ.

      On Christmas Eve, the little Oberndorf congregation heard Gruber and Mohr sing their new composition to the accompaniment of Gruber's guitar.

      Weeks later, well-known organ builder Karl Mauracher arrived in Oberndorf to fix the organ in St. Nicholas church. When Mauracher finished, he stepped back to let Gruber test the instrument. When Gruber sat down, his fingers began playing the simple melody he had written for Mohr's Christmas poem. Deeply impressed, Mauracher took copies of the music and words of "Silent Night" back to his own Alpine village, Kapfing. There, two well-known families of singers — the Rainers and the Strassers — heard it. Captivated by "Silent Night," both groups put the new song into their Christmas season repertoire.
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.
     The Strasser sisters spread the carol across northern Europe. In 1834, they performed "Silent Night" for King Frederick William IV of Prussia, and he then ordered his cathedral choir to sing it every Christmas eve.

      Twenty years after "Silent Night" was written, the Rainers brought the song to the United States, singing it (in German) at the Alexander Hamilton Monument located outside New York City's Trinity Church.

      In 1863, nearly fifty years after being first sung in German, "Silent Night" was translated into English (by either Jane Campbell or John Young). Eight years later, that English version made its way into print in Charles Hutchins' Sunday School Hymnal. Today the words of "Silent Night" are sung in more than 300 different languages around the world.

Selah - Light of the Stable

Christmas song from the "Rose of Bethlehem" TV special

A record 2 million Christians visited Bethlehem in 2013. Why do the ancient prophecies say this “little town” is so important?


In Uncategorized on December 24, 2013 at 2:34 pm
Christmas tree in Bethlehem. (photo credit: Dana Friedlander, courtesy Ministry of Tourism)
Christmas tree in Bethlehem. (photo credit: Dana Friedlander, courtesy Ministry of Tourism)
An estimated 75,000 Christian pilgrims are now in Israel to celebrate Christmas and many will visit Bethlehem, especially tonight on Christmas Eve. By the time the Christmas season is over, ”about two million people will have visited Bethlehem in 2013,” which Israeli tourism officials note is “almost double the 2012 figure of 1.18 million” people.

The “little town of Bethlehem” is beloved, read about and sung about by Christians the world over. But why do the ancient prophecies say it is so important?

The reason is simple: the Hebrew prophet Micah told the Jewish people the Messiah would one day come from “Bethlehem Ephratah.”

In fact, Micah made it clear that the Messiah would not come from the ancient town of Bethlehem that was in northern Israel, near the Sea of Galilee. Rather, the Anointed One had to come from the Bethlehem in Judea, just down the road from Jerusalem.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor bears a son, and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.” (Micah 5:2-4)

Why did this matter? Because the Scriptures indicate that the Messiah is to come from the line of King David, and be a “Son of David.” David’s family, of course, was from Bethlehem of Judea. Thus, the Messiah had to be born in David’s hometown in order to eventually emerge as the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

The Gospel account of Matthew indicates that Jesus fulfilled this prophecy.

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’ When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written:  “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”‘ Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.’ After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.” (Matthew 2:1-12)

This is why Bethlehem has become such an important destination for Christians eager to visit the Holy Land. Over the years interest has continued to grow, now reaching record numbers of visitors. I first visited when I was in college, during the Christmas season of 1987. I’ve been back several times, and developed friendships with some of the Palestinian Christians that live and serve there today.
Bethlehem — with a current population of about 25,000 – is no longer governed by the State of Israel, but rather by the Palestinian Authority (PA).  However, Israel keeps statistics of how many tourists pass through ”Rachel’s Crossing” between Israel and the PA into Bethlehem. As of the end of October, some 1.85 million tourists had already crossed into the town of Jesus’ birth.
Last month I met at the Knesset with Uzi Landau, the Israeli Tourism Minister. Among other things, we discussed the importance of continuing more Christians around the world to visit the Holy Land, walk where Jesus walked, and see the Bible come to life in living color. Landau noted that it is a very important priority for the Israeli government to reach out to both Protestant and Catholic Christians and make them feel welcome.

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The Birth of a Classic: Handel’s Messiah

Posted by Jerry Newcombe

I have heard that the opening lines of the “Hallelujah” Chorus are the most recognizable piece of music the world over.

Of course, the “Hallelujah” Chorus comes from “Messiah,” an oratorio (a sacred opera) by George Frederick Handel. The whole work is heavenly, and its highlight is the “Hallelujah” Chorus. (Sometimes, I view “Messiah” as the zenith of Western civilization.)

 I remember when the millennium change-over first hit on January 1, 2000 (although geeks like to say technically the first day of the millennium was January 1, 2001). In one far eastern country’s time zone after another, people the world over were celebrating the new year, the new century, the new millennium.

As I recall watching television of the celebration, the one song that I heard more than any other on that day, from various countries, was the “Hallelujah” Chorus. It is universally loved.

Within months of the Berlin Wall coming down, Pepsi had a beautiful TV commercial celebrating the historic event. The piece they chose for that spot was the “Hallelujah” Chorus. It worked perfectly.

  There’s something deeply touching about that piece of music.

In his book, Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers, Patrick Kavanaugh tells how Handel barely ate during the 24 days he wrote “Messiah.” At one point, the composer had tears in his eyes and cried out to his servant, “I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself.” He had just finished writing the “Hallelujah” Chorus.

 Amazingly, “Messiah” came at a time in his life when the 56-year-old Handel was facing bankruptcy and complete failure. He also had serious health problems. Also, some Church of England authorities were apparently critical of him and his work.

He seemed all washed up—with his future behind him. But writing “Messiah” proved to be the positive turning point in his life.

Handel was born in Germany. His father wanted him to study law, but George Frederick had an aptitude for music, which was clear early on. His mother bought him a harpsichord, which they kept up in the attic, secret from his father.

By the time he was twelve, Handel wrote his first work.

Later, after his father’s death, he tried to study law, but he had no interest. So he studied music at the University of Halle.

In 1712, Handel moved to England and never returned to Germany.

While he experienced various successes through various compositions, including operas and sacred operas (oratorios, based on biblical themes), Kavanaugh notes that his failures threatened to overwhelm Handel: “His occasional commercial successes soon met with financial disaster… He drove himself relentlessly to recover from one failure after another, and finally his health began to fail. By 1741 he was swimming in debt. It seemed certain he would land in debtor’s prison.”

But 1741 proved to be the turning point. On the one hand, he gave what he feared was his farewell concert. On the other hand, a friend of his, Charles Jennens, gave him a libretto (a text) for a sacred work. It was essentially 73 Bible verses, focused on the Messiah, both from the Hebrew and the Christian Bible. Furthermore, a charity in Dublin paid him money to write something for a charity performance.

“Messiah” was the result, and it was very successful.  

It’s interesting to note in this year, 2011, the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible, that Handel’s work was impacted by that literary masterpiece. Every word of “Messiah” comes from that book.

 Oxford professor Alister E. McGrath wrote, “Without the King James Bible, there would have been no Paradise Lost, no Pilgrim’s Progress, no Handel’s 'Messiah,' no Negro spirituals, and no Gettysburg Address. These, and innumerable other works were inspired by the language of this Bible.”

Charles Jennens’ role in this masterpiece is often lost, even on fans of “Messiah.” He is the one who carefully gleaned through the King James Bible and assembled the verses about the Christ that Handel so brilliantly set to music.

 I count that 42 of the verses come from the Old Testament, including many passages from the Psalms and Isaiah. Thirty-one come from the New Testament.

“Messiah” was first performed in Dublin in 1742. It was a benefit concert for charity. According to one source, proceeds freed 142 men from debtors’ prison.

A year later, King George II was present at the first performance of “Messiah” in London. Is it said that the monarch fell asleep, and at the opening of the “Hallelujah” Chorus, he rose to his feet, thinking it was his cue. Whatever the reason, he stood, and that has been the custom ever since—to stand during the “Hallelujah” Chorus.

About 100 years later, even the aged Queen Victoria, who sat in her wheelchair as the chorus began, struggled to her feet as the choir sang, “King of kings and Lord of lords.” She said, “No way will I sit in the presence of the King of kings.”

So out of one genius’s pain and low point in his life came a work of beauty that continues to uplift millions of people the world over. Kavanaugh notes the secret of Handel’s success, “He was a relentless optimist whose faith in God sustained him through every difficulty.”

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Dec 24, 2013

Messiahmas? On the Birth Date of Jesus of Nazareth


by Uri Marcus

Most Gentile Christians wouldn't bother to speculate about the time when Yeshua (Jesus) was born. They celebrate it on December 25th even though they may suspect that there is no Biblical basis for choosing that date. However, there are many Messianic Believers who, from a Jewish perspective, are convinced that the time of year when Yeshua was really born was at the Succot (the Feast of Tabernacles). Taking into account certain Jewish customs and traditions, and applying them to the biblical birth narrative, it's not difficult to calculate and arrive at this season, known as "the season of our Joy."

While there is quite a wide consensus of opinion that Yeshua was born at some time during the High Holy Days of Rosh Hoshanna (New Year), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), or Succot (Tabernacles), the timing can be narrowed down to Succot, in the opinion of this author, because of the abundance of historical and traditional associations which surround it. It should be noted that all of these festivals normally occur in the Autumn, or during the September or October time-frame, but it varies from year to year because the Jewish calendar is based on the cycles of the moon and doesn't track with the Gregorian calendar.

The calculation of the time of Yeshua's birth begins with Z'chariyahu (Zechariah), the father of Yochanan (John) the Baptist. According to Luke 1:5 he was a priest of the order of Aviyah. He was performing his duties, burning incense in the Beit HaMikdash (Temple), when an angel appeared and said his wife Eli-Sheva would conceive and bear a son, and he would be called Yochanan (John).
The order in which the priestly families performed their duties is given in 1 Chronicles 24:7-18. According to the Mishnah, the cycle begins on the first Shabbat (Sabbath) of Nisan, and each family of priests would minister in turn for one week. Since there are 24 families, each family would minister about twice a year. The cycle would be delayed slightly because all priests, regardless of their families, were required to be at the Beit HaMikdash (Temple) for the three festivals of Pesach (Passover), Shavu'ot (Pentecost) and Succot (Tabernacles).

The family of Aviyah was eighth in line, so Z'chariyahu would have had his first period of duty during the Jewish month of Sivan (about June) and his second period during the month of Kislev about six months later. There is no way of knowing for sure which period of duty is referred to in Luke's Gospel, but if it is surmised that it is the first period we get some very interesting results.
Z'chariyahu finished his first period of duty about the middle of Sivan. Because of his unbelief, G-d struck him dumb. Nevertheless, he went home to his wife and she became pregnant. Count off 40 weeks, the usual period of gestation, and we get to the month of Nisan the following year. Beginning on the 14th of Nisan, and lasting for eight days, we have the festivals of Pesach (Passover), Matzot (unleavened bread) and Bikurim (First Fruits), which are all occur in the spring. This raises the distinct possibility that Yochanan the Baptist was born at Pesach, which coincides with the Jewish expectation that Eliyahu (Elijah) would come at Pesach. It has always been our custom to put an extra cup of wine on the table at Pesach, in the hope that Eliyahu will come and drink it.

If Yochanan the Baptist was born at Pesach, Yeshua must have been born during the fall feasts, and most probably at Succot. In Luke 1:26 and 36 we are told that Yeshua was six months younger than Yochanan.

When the decree went out for everyone to go to their home town to be registered, Yosef and Miriam set off for Beit Lechem (Bethlehem). They would have set out in good time, before Miriam was fully 40 weeks pregnant, because she wouldn't want to be jogged into childbirth while riding on a donkey. Besides, they would have wanted to complete the journey before Rosh Hoshanna, which is two weeks before Succot.

We are given a clue about the time of the birth by the angel who appeared to the shepherds and said "Fear not. For, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.". (Luke 2:10). There are actually two clues here. Succot is known as "The Season of our Joy", and it is also known as the "Festival of the Nations (or Gentiles)". The angel was actually giving them a greeting for the Festival of Succot. This is the only festival where the nations are positively encouraged to participate with negative results if they do not. (Z'chariyahu 14:16-19). In addition, the narrative indicates that it was shepherds to whom the angels delivered their message, which is interesting in that for thousands of years Jewish literature ascribes a tradition known as "Ushpizin", only to Succot, and it is practiced even to this day.

After entering the Succah, and reciting certain prayers, the ceremony of Ushpizin bids us to partake in the privilege of inviting and welcoming the "Sh'kinah" ) G-d's Presence) and the seven "faithful shepherds" who enter the succah with us as exalted guests. These guests come to observe how their descendants FULFILL the mitzvah (commandment) of the Succah, in which they dwell under G-d's protection, in accordance with what G-d had promised in the Torah. These seven faithful shepherds of Israel are: Avraham, Yitzchak, Ya'acov, Yosef, Moshe, Aharon, and Melech (King) David. Back in the Luke narrative, though the text does not specify "seven" shepherds who went to visit Meriam, there seems to be a hint, when one reads between the lines. Moreover, the purpose of their visit is recorded to be very similar with that of the Ushpizin, in which the text states that it was to "see this thing that had happened, which the Lord has told us about." (Luke 2:15).

Likewise, during Succot, Jewish families today in Israel construct a flimsy shelter called a "Succah", made of loosely assembled walls and a leafy overhead covering. In the Succah, we eat or sleep. This is a reminder to us that we were completely dependent on G-d as we wandered for forty years in the desert after departing from Egypt and were led by "a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night." Because of this experience, we recall that "G-d is with us" (Emmanu-El).

In this same narrative in Luke 2 regarding the Shepherds to whom an angel of the Lord appears, note that the text says that they were "watching over their flocks, AT NIGHT." The angel brings them a message that their Messiah was born in the town of David, during that day which had just passed to night. This message was accompanied by the appearance of a great heavenly host, praising G-d. When we consider the seasons in Israel, and the weather patterns, one might ask "What is the latest time of year in which shepherds would still be outside with their flocks in the Judean hills, AT NIGHT?" November through February are far to cold in Israel to be doing this kind of activity. The answer of course points to the end of October, at the latest, for temperature reasons alone. Depending of the Hebrew calendar in any given year, as mentioned above, Succot always falls in the September-October time frame, when the weather is still warm and pleasant outside, especially AT NIGHT. For these reasons, and many others not documented here, we think Yeshua is very likely to have been born at Succot.

And so, the birth of Yeshua at Succot fulfills another prophecy: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanu-El - which means, "G-d is with us". (Matt. 1:23, quoting from Yishaiyahu (Isaiah) 7:14).

If this is not enough, we also have to consider the type of dwelling in which Yeshua was born. Had it not been for the inconvenience caused by the census, he would have been born in a house like all other children. But he wasn't, he was born in a type of Succah where servants of a household slept, or where they kept sheep and cattle. Luke uses the Greek word for "manger" but because Yeshua was Jewish, and it was most likely the festival of Succot, the text probably describes a Succah. This would make sense since we know that Yeshua would fulfill every aspect of Torah from his birth until his death. The link here is directly to commandment in VaYikrah (Leviticus) Chapter 23, verse 42, "Live in Succot for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in Succot so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in Succot when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the LORD your G-d."

Yochanan, in his Gospel narrative of Yeshua's birth, confirms this truth when he indicates that G-d had come to earth to dwell with (and serve) humanity. We read in Yochanan (John) 1:14 about how "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling (Tabernacled) among us," which is a clear and obvious reference to Succot.

Eight days later, according to Luke 2:21, Yeshua was circumcised. Miriam would still have been ceremonially unclean for 33 days after the Yeshua's birth, in accordance with ViYikrah (Leviticus) 12. Owing to her requirement to present a purification offering at the Beit HaMikdash (Holy Temple) in Yerushali'im (Jerusalem) after this period, she would most likely have remained in Beit Lechem, just a short distance from Yerushali'im.

If the day of Yeshua's birth was the first day of Succot, then the day of his circumcision would be the eighth day after Succot which, in accordance with Torah is also day of sacred assembly. (ViYikrah [Leviticus] 23:39). On this day, called "Shemini Atzeret," or "the Eighth day of Solemn Assembly" and later called "Simchat Torah" or "Rejoicing in Torah," we complete our annual cycle of Torah readings and start again from Bereshit (Genesis). It is considered to be a time of "fulfillment" of the Torah and also a new beginning for it, in our lives, since Torah is never abandoned. This indeed would seem to be a fitting holiday for Yeshua's circumcision and dedication before G-d, since He came to set the Torah on a firm foundation by correctly interpreting it and fulfilling it (i.e., becoming the goal to which the Law and the Prophets pointed), thereby making a way to renew the Torah in our lives. (Matt. 5:17-19).

When the days of Miriam's purification were over, they would have then returned back to Natzeret (Nazareth) in the Galil (Luke 2:39). But each year, and in accordance with the required pilgrimage commandments in Torah, Yosef and Meriam went up to Yerushali'im for Pesach. (Luke 2:41).

During one of these visits, probably when Yeshua was about two years old, they went to Beit Lechem and stayed, not in a succah or stable this time, but in a house. (Matt. 2:11). They were visited there by the Magi, and then had to flee to Egypt to escape from Herod because he was killing all the male children two years old and under.

And so, by starting from Z'chariyahu, the father of Yochanan the Baptist, and his first period of duty in the Temple, and doing a few simple calculations, we discover that the Jewishness of the Gospel becomes profoundly evident, giving new import to many passages of Scripture previously misunderstood.

What then should we do now? Should Christians continue observing Christmas on December 25th (which incidentally is entirely pagan in its origins), or are we going to begin recognizing our Hebraic roots and understanding the purpose of the feasts which the Father in His wisdom has bestowed. He has given us an inheritance, that in them we might be in rehearsal for the day our King returns, for then, we shall all celebrate the feasts together with Him.

Some may belief that it does not matter when we celebrate the birth of the Mashiach; it can be any of the twelve months of the year! What is important is to celebrate His birth.

But this defeats the importance of Messianic prophecy and fulfillment! The birth of Yeshua at the Festival of Succot was for prophetic reasons foreshadowing the Torah, the goal to which it pointed, the seventh millennium and the kingship of Mashiach from Yerushalayim. These are important pictures to treasure in our hearts! If it is important enough to G-d that He would cause Yeshua's birth AND coronation as King to takes place at an appointed season (mo'ed z'manim) on the Jewish Calendar, then it should be important to us, regardless of the world's traditions. Therefore, we should heed the words of Rabbi Sha'ul (Paul) who quoting the Father, urged the Church at Corinth to:

..."come out from them and be separate," says the Lord. "Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters," says the Lord Almighty.
If we do this (and we don't have to become Jewish to do it) we will be creating the conditions in which Z'chariyahu 14:16-19 can be fulfilled. People will say "Since we are celebrating the birth of Yeshua at Succot, why not do it in Yerushali'im?". Why not indeed?

Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the G-d of Ya'acov. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Tzion, the word of the LORD from Yerushali'im. -- Yishaiyahu (Isaiah 2:3)

In Israel it's impossible to miss these festivals, but for the benefit of those in the Diaspora, the 1999 dates are:
Rosh HaShana (Festival of Trumpets) Fri Eve 10 September

Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) Sun Eve 19 September

1st Day of Succot (Feast of Tabernacles) Fri Eve 24 September 8th

Day of Assembly (Shemini Atzeret) and

Simchat Torah (Rejoicing in the Torah) Fri Eve 01 October
The Jewish day begins at sunset which means, for example, Rosh Hoshanna begins at sunset on Friday Eve, 10 September and continues until evening on the 11th of September.
Uri Marcus
Adapted from various sources, including my brother's book "Signs In the Heavens" (by Avi Ben-Mordechai), available from him by calling 1-800-880-2656. Revised November 19, 1998.
Uri Marcus (former member)
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The Story Behind "O Little Town of Bethlehem"


It was the sight of Bethlehem itself, one feels very sure, that gave Phillips Brooks the impulse to write this hymn. He was then rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity, in Philadelphia, and had spent a year’s vacation traveling in Europe and the East. “After an early dinner, we took our horses and rode to Bethlehem,” so he wrote home in Christmas week of 1865. “It was only about two hours when we came to the town, situated on an eastern ridge of a range of hills, surrounded by its terraced gardens. It is a good-looking town, better built than any other we have seen in Palestine. . . . Before dark, we rode out of town to the field where they say the shepherds saw the star. It is a fenced piece of ground with a cave in it (all the Holy Places are caves here), in which, strangely enough, they put the shepherds. The story is absurd, but somewhere in those fields we rode through the shepherds must have been. . . . As we passed, the shepherds were still “keeping watch over their flocks or leading them home to fold.” Mr. Brooks returned in September, 1866, and it must have been while meditating at home over what he had seen that the carol took shape in his mind. The late Dr. Arthur Brooks assured the writer that it was not written until 1868.
In the programme of the Christmas service of the Sunday-school of the Church of the Holy Trinity in that year the carol was first printed, and it was sung to the music written for it by Mr. Lewis H. Redner.
Its history as a hymn begins then, and a considerable share of the credit for its popularity must be given to Mr. Redner, at that time organist of the church, superintendent of its mission, and teacher in the church school. The place of the carol in the books is now established, and new tunes have been and will be written for it. But it is safe to say that Mr. Redner’s music was what carried the carol into notice and popularity. If the tune to which it was sung at that service had been unsuccessful, it is unlikely that the carol would have been reprinted or heard again, at least during Bishop Brooks’s life.
With this view of the case it seemed to the present writer well worth while that an account, as circumstantial as possible, of the genesis of hymn and tune should be secured from the one man living who knows it. And standing over Mr. Redner in his Walnut Street office in Philadelphia one winter afternoon, waving aside the modest protests and gently prodding the reluctance of that genial composer, he was happy in obtaining the following written statement of the circumstances: “As Christmas of i868 approached, Mr. Brooks told me that he had written a simple little carol for the Christmas Sunday-school service, and he asked me to write the tune to it. The simple music was written in great haste and under great pressure. We were to practice it on the following Sunday. Mr. Brooks came to me on Friday, and said, ‘Redner, have you ground out that music yet to “O Little Town of Bethlehem”?’ I replied, ‘No,’ but that he should have it by Sunday. On the Saturday night previous my brain was all confused about the tune. I thought more about my Sunday-school lesson than I did about the music. But I was roused from sleep late in the night hearing an angel-strain whispering in my ear, and seizing a piece of music paper I jotted down the treble of the tune as we now have it, and on Sunday morning before going to church I filled in the harmony. Neither Mr. Brooks nor I ever thought the carol or the music to it would live beyond that Christmas of 1868.
My recollection is that Richard McCauley, who then had a bookstore on Chestnut Street west of Thirteenth Street, printed it on leaflets for sale. Rev. Dr. Huntington, rector of All Saints’ Church, Worcester, Mass., asked permission to print it in his Sunday-school hymn and tune book, called The Church Porch, and it was he who christened the music ‘Saint Louis.’”
The date of Dr. Huntington’s book, 1874, does not imply a very prompt recognition of the merits of the carol even as available for use in the Sunday-school. Nor does its appearance in that book imply that the carol passed at that date into general use in Sunday-schools. But gradually it became familiar in those connected with the Protestant Episcopal Church. By the year 1890 it had begun to make its appearance in hymnals intended for use in church worship. In 1892 (some twenty-four years after its first appearance) Bishop Brooks’s carol was given a place as a church hymn in the official hymnal of his own denomination. This occasioned the composition of new tunes to its words for rival musical editions of that book, and also drew attention afresh to the earlier tune of Mr. Redner. It seems, too, to have settled the status of the hymn, recent editors being as reluctant to omit the hymn as their predecessors had been to recognize it.
There is, however, nothing unusual or surprising in this delay in admitting the carol into the church hymnals. Almost all hymns undergo such a period of probation before they attain recognition; and it is for the best interests of hymnody that they should. In this particular case there was an especial reason for delay. There had to be a certain change in the standards by which hymns are judged before a carol such as this could be esteemed suitable for church use. In 1868, it is likely, not even its author would have seriously considered it in such a connection.
Phillips Brooks was born in Boston, December 13th, 1835. He came of a long line of Puritan ancestors, many of whom had been Congregational clergymen. His parents became connected with the Episcopal Church, and he was reared in the strict ways of the Evangelical wing of that Church. He had the typical Boston education, the Latin School and then Harvard, from which he was graduated in 1855. He was then for a few months a teacher in the Latin School, but there he had the humiliating experience of complete failure. He soon decided to enter the ministry, and studied at Alexandria Seminary, in Virginia. In 1859 he became rector of a small church in Philadelphia. Here his sermons attracted much attention, and in 1861 he was called to be rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity, in the same city.
In that position he remained until 1869, when his own leanings toward his native town and the urgency of repeated calls from there led him to accept the rectorship of Trinity Church, Boston. The congregation built for him the great church in the Back Bay, and there he exercised that wonderful ministry with which we all are familiar. In 1891 he was elected bishop of his Church in Massachusetts, and after some controversy, occasioned by his broad views in church matters, his election was confirmed and he was consecrated. But this position he was not to fill for long. The strain of the great work he had been doing had undermined even his giant strength, and after a short sickness he passed away on January 23rd, 1893.
Bishop Brooks was the most famous preacher and the most widely-loved clergyman of his time. The shock of his death was felt in every branch of the Church throughout the land, for while many disagreed with his opinions, none who knew him in his work could withhold their admiration. The word that seems best to describe him is “great.” - He was great in his physical proportions, great in the endowments of genius, great in the power to work, extraordinarily great in his personal influence over men, greatest of all in the moral elevation of his character and his ever-deepening spirit of consecration to Christ’s service.
The connection of one so great with hymnody as the writer of a few simple carols intended for children seems at first a little incongruous. But after reading his biography, and understanding the man’s nature, one feels rather that nothing he ever did was more characteristic of him. It now appears that verse-writing was even a regular habit with him, probably as a relief to feelings his intensely reserved nature could express in no other way. And he not only loved children dearly, but liked to be their comrade and to get down on the nursery floor and romp with them. His own heart was like a child’s, and he wrote Christmas and Easter carols because he entered into those festivals with a child’s enthusiasm and joy.
But there is another point of connection between Bishop Brooks and hymnody which must not be passed over. Its disclosure was to many one of the surprises of that wonderful biography of his friend by Dr. Allen. And that connection is in the fact that his own mind and heart were stored with hymns, to such an extent and in such a way that they were one of the real influences of his life.
In one of the letters “the father regrets that Phillips “could not have been with the family on the last Sunday evening when the boys recited hymns. This was a beautiful custom, which called from each one of the children the learning of a new hymn every Sunday, and its recital before the assembled family. In a little book, carefully kept by the father, there was a record of the hymns each child had learned, beginning with William, who had the advantage of age, and had learned the greatest number, followed by Phillips, who came next, and the record tapering down until John is reached, with a comparatively small number at his disposal. Most of them were from the old edition of the Prayer Book, then bound up with a metrical selection of Psalms and a collection of two hundred and twelve hymns.” “But there were others. When Phillips went to college there were some two hundred that he could repeat. They constituted part of his religious furniture, or the soil whence grew much that cannot now be traced. He never forgot them.” Again his biographer remarks: “These hymns Phillips carried in his mind as so much mental and spiritual furniture, or as germs of thought; they often reappeared in his sermons, as he became aware of some deeper meaning in the old familiar lines.” Once more the biographer recurs to the subject; this time to speak of “the language of sacred hymns learned in childhood and forever ringing in his ears,” as one of the channels through which “he had felt the touch of Christ.”

Bethlehem Conjunction of Earth Venus Jupiter & Crazy Fireball Anomaly

Some interesting discussion (Thornewstyle) of the possible conjunction of Venus and Jupiter 2,000 years ago that may have set the wise men off on their journey, where another more mobile star led them to Messiah Jesus.  Interesting stuff for sure.  Be sure to notice the problems he mentions with getting accurate info, or maybe we should just call it the truth, from NASA.... We've got a beautiful and cool looking conjunction between Jupiter Earth and Venus, a bizarre fireball anomaly on's all sky network and a Space Invader spaceship in the Sun.
Be cool.
God bless everyone,
Stay Cool,
No crime is perfect, MSM. duh.
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Extreme Weather Caused By Prophetic Earth wobble

He's using Is. 24 here, which is an end-times prophecy.  I encourage you to read the passage Is. 24-28 and decide for yourself...

Isaiah 24 prophetic warning is coming to pass as the extreme weather hits the earth also also also also

Celebrating The Birth


by Dr. Chuck Missler

Each year at Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, which should remind us that the entire Western World reckons its calendar from the birth of the One who changed the world more than any other before or since.
There is another aspect to keep in mind this Christmas season. As we recall the prophecy in Micah that prescribes that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, notice the entire verse:
But thou, Bethlehem ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
— Micah 5:2

Also, as we recall that other familiar prophecy in Isaiah, note again the whole verse:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the Throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.
— Isaiah 9:6–7
The “Throne of David” is not just an Old Testament concept. Remember the Angel Gabriel’s promise to Mary:
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
— Luke 1:31–33
But did Jesus ever actually sit on David’s throne? He couldn’t have. It didn’t exist at that time. Jeconaiah was the last of David’s line to sit on the throne. (Remember, the blood curse on his line.) Herod, appointed by the Romans, was an Edomite (“Idumean”). He wasn’t even Jewish.
At the moment, Jesus is sitting on His Father’s Throne. The question is, will He ever sit on David’s throne? Will the promise that Gabriel announced to Mary also be fulfilled? Of course. (And it may be sooner than we think.)

Keeping Christ in Christmas

Christians today tend to fight the ongoing secularization of their holidays. Some have rejected anything to do with them, saying they are not Biblically ordained. Others have tried to go back to keeping the Jewish feasts instead. It should be pointed out that the New Testament doesn’t really ordain anything other than the Lord’s Supper. But it does not prohibit it either, and under grace Christians are free to honor different days if they wish.
Those families who want to keep Christ as the center of Christmas may find it easier to do by understanding the various symbols that have been used to celebrate Christ’s birth through the ages and using them to retain the uniqueness inherent in the mystery of the incarnation: the birth of the Son of God. For instance, at Christmas we remember the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh presented by the Magi. These prophetic gifts celebrated his deity, priesthood, and death. When He returns to establish His Kingdom, He will be presented only with gold and frankincense. There will be no myrrh: His death is now behind Him.
Let’s make this season a real celebration. What are you giving Him this Christmas? Is there something in your life He would like to see you part with?

Dec 23, 2013

The First Noel

The First Noel
Words and Music: Anonymous--17th century traditional English carol

Have you ever wondered where the word "noel" comes from? Some scholars claim "noel" is of French origin, meaning "a shout of joy" at the birth of Jesus. Others say that it stems from the medieval Latin word "natalis," meaning "birth," which explains why some people refer to Christmas as "His natal day." There is yet another Latin word that some claim as the accurate source of "noel," the word "novella," which means "news," which relates the idea that the news of Jesus' birth causes the shouts of joy associated with Christmas time.

However, other scholars say that the original is of English spelling, "nowell," rather than the French "noël." This could be another example of how the English language has changed down through the centuries.

For example, the English people took the parting phrase with which they bade one another "Fare thee well," and made it into one word, "Farewell." They also took the phrase "God be with you," and shortened the four words into one, the word "goodbye."

In the same way, if the word "nowell" was first a phrase instead of a word, perhaps it was something like "Now all is well!" The English forefathers greeted each other every Christmas morning with the cry "Now all is well," since God had regarded those who had walked in darkness by giving them a great Light--Jesus! Soon, "Now all is well" became merely "Now well," and was later further shortened to "Nowell."

If so, when the unknown poet who wrote "The First Noel" sat down to compose his story poem about the birth of Jesus sometime during the 17th century, perhaps he decided that the message of the angels to the shepherds, "Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people" (Luke 2:10), was a message to remind us that "now all is well," for Christ is born in Bethlehem.

"The First Noel" has been a popular carol for almost three centuries, and is about the oldest familiar carol in the English language. It is noted for its simplicity and sincerity. After having been handed down by word of mouth for many generations, "The First Noel" was finally copied down with the stanzas properly polished, the tune correctly harmonized, and printed for the first time in a collection of Christmas carols published in 1833.

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The Incarnation

...and the Word became Flesh

The Incarnation

The Incarnation is the mystery of the Word made Flesh. ln this technical sense the word incarnation was adopted from the Latin incarnatio. The Church calls "Incarnation" the fact that the Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, "Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, Lo, I have come to do your will, O God." ( Hebrews 10:5 and Psalm 40:7). Belief in the true Incarnation of the Son of God is the distinctive sign of Christian faith. And according to John 3:16: "God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting." Therefore it was necessary for man's salvation that God should become incarnate. The Latin Fathers, from the fourth century, make common use of the word (Saints Jerome, Ambrose, Hippolytus, Hilary and others). I. The Fact of the Incarnation The Incarnation implies three facts: (1) The Divine Person of Jesus Christ; (2) The Human Nature of Jesus Christ; (3) The Hypostatic Union of the Human with the Divine Nature in the Divine Person of Jesus Christ. (1) The Divine Person of Jesus Christ He was a real person of history; the Messiahship of Jesus; the historical worth and authenticity of the Gospels and Acts; the Divine ambassadorship of Jesus Christ established thereby; the establishment of an infallible and never failing teaching body to have and to keep the deposit of revealed truth entrusted to it by the Divine ambassador, Jesus Christ; the handing down of all this deposit by tradition and of part thereof by Holy Writ; the canon and inspiration of the Sacred Scriptures A. Old Testament Proofs Assuming then, that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah promised in the Old Testament, from the terms of the promise it is certain that the One promised is God, is a Divine Person in the strictest sense of the word, the texts from the Old Testament have weight by themselves; taken together with their fulfilment in the New Testament, to make up a cumulative argument in favour of the Divinity of Jesus Christ that is overwhelming in its force. The Old Testament proofs we draw from the Psalms, the Sapiential Books and the Prophets. They are far too numerous to mention them all here. (For Example: Psalm 2:7. "The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee. and "I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son" from II Kings 7: 14. It is to be noted that in the pre-sapiential books of the Old Testament, the uncreated Logos, or hrema, is the active and creative principle of Yahweh (see Ps. 32: 4, 6; 115: 89; 102: 20; Isaiah 40: 8; 60: 11). Later the logos became sophia, the uncreated Word became uncreated Wisdom. To Wisdom were attributed all the works of creation and Divine Providence (see Job 28: 12: Prov. 8 and 9 Ecclus. 1:1; 24: 5-12; Wis.6: 21; 9: 9). In Wis.9: 1-2 we have a remarkable instance of the attribution of God's activity to both the Logos and Wisdom. In 9: 6, Isaiah calls the Messiah God: "A child is born to us . . . his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, God the Strong One, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace." Catholics explain that the very same child is called God the Strong One (Isaiah 9: 6) and Emmanuel (Isaiah 7: 14); the conception of the child is prophesied in the latter verse, the birth of the very same child is prophesied in the former verse.)
B. New Testament Proofs The argument from the New Testament has a cumulative weight that is overwhelming in its effectiveness, once the inspiration of the New Testament and the Divine ambassadorship of Jesus are proved. The Divinity of the Messiah as fulfilled in Matt.1: 23; 2: 6: Mark 1: 2: Mark 3: 12: Luke 7: 27, and many others. Also, Jesus Himself clearly assumed the title. He constantly spoke of God as "My Father" (Matt.7: 21; 10: 32; 11: 27; 15: 13; 16: 17, etc.). Jesus also said "he that sees me sees the Father" (John 14: 9). C. Witness of Tradition The two main sources wherefrom we draw our information as to tradition, or the unwritten Word of God, are the Fathers of the Church, certain pagan historians, and the general councils. The Fathers are practically unanimous in explicitly teaching the Divinity of Jesus Christ, among them are St. Clement of Rome (A.D. 93-95), St. Ignatius of Antioch (A.D. 110-117), Saint Justin Martyr (A.D. 150), St. Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150) and others too numerous to mention here. To the witness of these Fathers of the Apostolic and apologetic age, there are witnesses from the pagan writers of tht era such as: Pliny (A.D. 107), Emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117), and Aristides (A.D. 138-161). The first general council of the Church was called to define the Divinity of Jesus Christ and to condemn Arius and his errors. The Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. defined the Divinity of Christ in the clearest terms: "We believe . . . in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, God of God, Light of Light, True God of True God, begotten not made, the same in nature with the Father by Whom all things were made". (2) The Human Nature of Jesus Christ The title that is characteristic of Jesus in the New Testament is Son of Man; it occurs some eighty times in the Gospels; it was His Own accustomed title for Himself. The phrase is Aramaic, and would seem to be an idiomatic way of saying "man". The life and death and resurrection of Christ would all be a lie were He not a man, and our Faith would be vain. (I Cor.15: 14). "For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (I Tim.2: 5). Why, Christ even enumerates the parts of His Body. "See my hands and feet, that it is I myself; touch and see: for a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see me to have" (Luke 24: 39). St. Augustine says, in this matter: "If the Body of Christ was a fancy, then Christ erred; and if Christ erred, then He is not the Truth. But Christ is the Truth; hence His Body was not a fancy'. In regard to the human soul of Christ, the Scripture is equally clear. Only a human soul could have been sad and troubled. Christ says: "My soul is sorrowful even unto death" (Matt. 26: 38). "Now is my soul troubled" (John 12: 27). His obedience to the heavenly Father and to Mary and Joseph supposes a human soul (John 4: 34; 5: 30; 6: 38; Luke 22: 42). Finally Jesus was really born of Mary (Matt. 1: 16), made of a woman (Gal. 4: 4), after the angel had promised that He should be conceived of Mary (Luke 1: 31); this woman is called the mother of Jesus (Matt. 1: 18; 2: 11; Luke 1: 43; John 2: 3); Christ is said to be really the seed of Abraham (Gal. 3: 16), the son of David (Matt. 1: 1). (3) The Hypostatic Union We all know about this one. But to be clear about it we speak here of no moral union, no union in a figurative sense of the word; but a union that is physical, a union of two substances or natures so as to make One Person, a union which means that God is Man and Man is God in the Person of Jesus Christ.
A. The Witness of the Scriptures John says: "The Word was made flesh" (1: 14), that is, He Who was God in the Beginning (1: 2), and by Whom all things were created (1: 3), became Man. According to the testimony of St. Paul, the very same Person, Jesus Christ, "being in the form of God emptied himself, taking the form of a servant" (Phil. 2: 6, 7). It is always one and the same Person, Jesus Christ, Who is said to be God and Man, or is given predicates that denote Divine and human nature. The author of life (God) is said to have been killed by the Jews (Acts 3: 15); but He could not have been killed were He not Man. B. Witness of Tradition The early forms of the creed all make profession of faith, not in one Jesus Who is the Son of God and in another Jesus Who is Man and was crucified, but "in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God, Who became Man for us and was crucified". The forms vary, but the substance of each creed invariably attributes to one and the same Jesus Christ the essence of the Godhead and of man. II. The Nature of the Incarnation Now we deal with the question of the nature of this fact, the manner of this tremendous miracle, the way of uniting the Divine with the human nature in one and the same Person. First I will point out several heresies that pertain to the nature of the Incarnation and how the Church dealt with them.

Read the rest of the study at -

Magi - The True Story of the Star of Bethlehem

It's worth the time to check this out...lots of good research went into this...good stuff!

The true story behind the Star of Bethlehem. This is a video that compellingly portrays the majesty, science,geography and history behind the story of the Star of Bethlehem and the Magi. Never before seen evidence and details. More at

The Story Behind "The Little Drummer Boy"

The song that is.  The movie used to be available for free online, but now you have to pay to watch it.  The video below is a short clip from the movie set to Bob Seger's rendition of the song, one of the best I have heard.

This was originally a Czech song which Katherine Davis translated to English in 1941. Dawn Halloran explained to us: "This song was originally published as 'Carol of the Drum,' a traditional Czech carol, by Katharine K. Davis. My father, Jack Halloran, arranged it and recorded it under the same title on his 1957 Dot album, Christmas is A-Comin'. Henry Onorati was a producer for Dot who worked on the project and took the arrangement to Harry Simeone, who had nothing to do with my father's recording. Dot was to put out the single of 'Carol of the Drum' for the Christmas '57 season, but for unknown reasons did not get it out in time. Meanwhile, Onorati took the arrangement to Simeone who hired the same singers, re-recorded it adding finger cymbols and cutting a difficult passage just before the last phrase. It was then put out as a single under the title 'Little Drummer Boy,' by Harry Simeone, Katharine K. Davis and Henry Onorati. I've seen the master recording of the song and it pre-dates Simeone's by a year. And for the record, no one else ever arranged 'for' my father. He was the arranger for other artists."

Simeone is a conductor and arranger from Newark, New Jersey. He worked on various Bing Crosby movies and was the conductor for a popular TV show called The Firestone Hour from 1952-1959. This was his first album with a chorus.

This was released around Christmas every year from 1958-1962. It made the US Top-40 all 5 years and became a holiday classic.

In the UK, this was a hit in 1959 for The Beverly Sisters as well as Michael Flanders. A version by the Pipes And Drums And Military Band Of The Royal Scots Guards was also a hit there in 1972.

The album was released as "Sing We Now Of Christmas." It was retiled "The Little Drummer Boy" in 1963.

One of the more interesting duets in musical history took place on September 11, 1977 during filming of Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas special, where he planned to sing "The Little Drummer Boy" with David Bowie. The show was recorded in London, and had a "Christmas in England" theme. Bowie, who was 30 years old to Bing's 73, was convinced to appear after producers agreed to air his "Heroes" video on the show, which Crosby introduced.

When Bowie got to the studio, he made it clear that he did not want to do the song, so the writers on the show whipped up a new arrangement with Bowie singing the words "Peace On Earth" and some additional lyrics as counterpoint to Crosby's vocals. The thought of pairing a crooner with a glam rocker proved to be more than a gimmick, with this unique version becoming a Christmas classic.

Bing Crosby died before the Christmas special aired, which drew a lot of attention to the program. Below is that performance.

Of Dr. Seuss, Satanists and Santa's Dark Helper

As I was posting the series, "Santa Claus, Pretender To The Throne" earlier this month, it occurred to me that Krampus, the Dark Helper of Santa in Northern European countries looked a lot like a character I knew from Dr. Seuss books growing up, The Grinch.  Now, if you have seen the old pics of Krampus, the leap to the Grinch is not a big one.  And looking at the facts, it's not much of a leap of logic at all.
Krampus and his buddy Ole Nick, I mean Saint Nick

Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) was the son of German immigrants, who would have been quite familiar with the Krampus/dark helper stories.  Seuss stories were also readily embraced by the self proclaimed wickedest man who ever lived, the infamous Alistair Crowley.  Crowley stated in interviews that Seuss's stories were the perfect introduction into paganism and witchcraft.  Others have noted some decidedly unfriendly messages being passed on in his books.

So was the Grinch really just a poetic version of Krampus, Santa's dark helper who was known to lick bad children, and perhaps devour them?  You be the judge.  I have decided for myself that the Grinch is just way to creepy to be part of my Christmas.

Here's a video showing Krampus celebrations from Germany.  (Celebration isn't really the word I'm looking for, but this is a parade.)

This is a brief review of Krampus.  If you want to get a bit more detail, please refer to the four part series, "Santa Claus, Pretender To The Throne". 

Krampus is the dark companion of St. Nicholas, the traditional European winter gift-bringer who rewards good children each year on December 6. The kindly old Saint leaves the task of punishing bad children to a hell-bound counterpartThe Horned Devil, also known as Krampusknown by many names across the continent — Knecht Ruprecht, Certa, Perchten, Black Peter, Schmutzli, Pelznickel, Klaubauf, and Krampus. Usually seen as a classic devil with horns, cloven hooves and monstrous tongue, but can also be spotted as a sinister gentleman dressed in black or a hairy man-beast. Krampus punishes the naughty children, swatting them with switches and rusty chains before dragging them in baskets to a fiery place below.

Krampusnacht (Night of Krampus)

Krampusnacht: Night of KrampusKrampus is celebrated on Krampusnacht, which takes place on the eve of St. Nicholas’ Day. In Austria, Northern Italy and other parts of Europe, party-goers masquerade as devils, wild-men, and witches to participate in Krampuslauf (Krampus Run). Intoxicated and bearing torches, costumed devils caper and carouse through the streets terrifying child and adult alike. Krampusnacht is increasingly being celebrated in other parts of Europe such as Finland and France, as well as in many American cities.

Krampus's Ancient Origins

The European tradition of guising and mummingThe European practice of mummery during the winter solstice season can be traced back tens of thousands of years. Villagers across the continent dress up as animals, wild-men and mythic figures to parade and perform humorous plays. This ancient guising and masking tradition continues to this day as the primary source for our modern Halloween with its costumes, trick-or-treat, and pagan symbolism. Among the most common figures in these folk rituals were Old Man Winter and the horned Goat-Man — archetypes now found in the forms of Saint Nick/Santa Claus, and the Devil (‘Old Nick’), aka Krampus.

Santa the Punisher?

Santa can be very frighteningIn 19th century New York City an American St. Nick emerged in the form of Santa Claus. Although based on the Dutch Saint Nicholas, Santa incorporated more elements from pagan winter solstice customs. He relinquished his white bishop garb for a red suit, traded his horse and staff for a sleigh and reindeer, and moved his franchise to Christmas Eve.

Santa's identity crisisSanta also tried to take over the dark companion’s job of punishing the naughty, but his New World temperament was apparently unsuited for the task. As Santa neglected and abandoned his punishing duties, American kids lost all fear of Santa and his lumps of coal. Thankfully, in the 21st century, Krampus has arrived in this land of spoiled and dissatisfied children to pick up the slack.

Krampus Cards

Krampus cards expressed the spirit of holiday revelryWhile Santa Claus expanded shop and sold products in mid-1800s America, the holiday card craze exploded in Europe.Naughty Krampus postcards were all the rageIn Austria and other parts of Europe, countless season’s greeting cards featured Krampus, often emblazoned with the phrase “Grüß Vom Krampus” (Greetings from Krampus). While the lurid images are suffused with a modern sense of the comic and the surreal, they still resonant with mythic power and primordial horror. Naughty children encounter KrampusAnd with Krampus representing the naughty side of the season, the sexy subtext is hard to ignore in these often very cheeky cards. A century later, the brilliance of these magnificent works of pop art is now gaining global recognition.

Krampus in America

BLAB! Magazine curator Monte Beauchamp reintroduced Krampus cards to America nearly a century after their heyday. His art books are the definitive works showcasing Krampus and other Devil-inspired greeting cards. A collector's market for Krampus cards has grown as the figure of Krampus pops up across the cultural landscape. Krampus has been featured on Adult Swim's The Venture Bros and the CW’s Supernatural; in 2009, Krampus visited the The Colbert Report and had Stephen shaking in his Brooks Brothers’ suit. Over the last decade, Krampusnacht celebrations have sprouted up in U.S. cities such as Portland and San Francisco.

A New Spirit of Xmas?

The hunger for a darker Xmas holiday has made the evil Santa Claus character a staple of pop culture, as seen in movies such as Rare Exports, The Nightmare Before Christmas, books such as Dean Koontz's Santa's Twin and many others. A resurgence of Saturnalian rituals and animistic practices during the winter season is evident in Santarchy is storming the worldSantarchy, a flash-mob phenomenon started in 1994 on America’s west coast now enacted in many countries including Korea, Norway and Ireland. On selected days in early December, large crowds of costumed Santa Clauses descend en masse on public squares and shopping centers to confound, amuse and frighten spectators.
Krampus is back!!A new appreciation of ancient traditions that smoulder in the dark recesses of holiday revelry continues to rise around the world. Krampus, with his horns, hoove and tongue, embodies this revived spirit of the Xmas season!

Krampus Through the Ages

2000 BCEEnkidu appears in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the earliest known appearance of a 'Wild Man' in literature.

600 BCE In the book of Daniel in the Old Testament, King Nebuchadnezzar is punished by God for his pride when he is turned into a hairy beast.

217 BCE Saturnalia is introduced as a winter celebration in Rome, marked by gift giving, wild parties, and a reversal of the normal social roles of slave and master.

4th Century CEDue to Roman influence, many Germanic tribes, such as the Goths and Vandals, convert to Christianity; their pagan traditions survive in small villages in the Alps where the Church cannot penetrate.

1250 CE King's Mirror, a Norwegian text, features a Wild Man character who is described as being covered in hair.

17th Century CE 'Knecht Rupert' appears as a figure in a Nuremberg Christmas procession.

1810 CE The Brothers Grimm began publishing stories of Germanic folktales, marking a resurgence in Germanic pagan folklore.

Early 19th Century CE Holiday postcards from Austria, Germany, and other parts of Europe feature holiday greetings Krampus and other companions of St. Nicholas.

Early 19th Century CE Germanic and Dutch immigrants to the US popularize 'Pelznickel' traditions in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and as far west as Indiana.

2004 CE Blab! Magazine curator Monte Beauchamp publishes Devil In Design, a collection of vintage Krampus postcards from the turn of the 19th century. This book marks an increase in Krampus' popularity in the English speaking world.

2004 CE An Adult Swim show The Venture Brothers features Krampus during a Christmas special.

2007 CE The American television show Supernatural features an evil Krampus character.

2009 CE American satirist Stephen Colbert is visited by Krampus on his television show The Colbert Report.