Many people have asked me, "How do you find so much time to study?" The truth is that I have to be creative about how I use my time, and I definitely don't watch a lot of TV. Typically, I wake up an hour before my kids to read the Bible and pray. As tempting as it can be to pick up whatever other book I'm deeply involved in, that particular reading time is set apart for only God's Word, and I treasure it.
But let's be honest. It doesn't always happen. I'm a busy mom with two kids and a husband who travels for a living, so sometimes sleep wins. However, I do try to make sure that the first thing I read each day is the Bible. All other books come second.
If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to have my weekly blog posts delivered directly to your inbox.
In a previous post, I offered quick answers to 5 apologetics questions that I think every Christian should be familiar with. With many misconceptions and misunderstandings about Christmas, here are 5 Christmas-themed questions with "barebones" quick answers that can easily be committed to memory.
1. Was Jesus born on December 25th, AD 1?
Although we celebrate His birth on December 25th, there is no biblical evidence that this is the actual date He was born. "AD" is an abbreviation for anno domini, which means "in the year of our Lord" in Latin. When scholars came up with the BC/AD system, they intended to divide world history based on the birth of Christ. However, they miscalculated the year of His birth, and it wasn't recognized until later that Jesus was actually born somewhere between 6-4 BC. (1) Matthew 2:1 records that Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great. History tells us that Herod died in 4 BC, so Jesus would have been at least 4 years old by AD 1.
For the last few years at Christmastime, I inevitably see a slew of memes asserting that if anyone has even a slightly nuanced view of the refugee crisis they must hate refugees, and are therefore hypocrites when they celebrate Christmas. Why? Because Mary and Joseph (and Jesus by default) were refugees in Bethlehem, of course!
For the record, I'm grateful for and supportive of the fact that my church has been actively involved in helping refugees from the Middle East for years. I also think there is an important conversation to be had about how we can protect the safety of our citizens while doing so. However, we live in an age where a carefully constructed and well-researched viewpoint can be shut down with nothing more than a snarky meme. Think I'm exaggerating? Just google "Mary and Joseph refugee meme." I pulled this one from a comment thread on Facebook just a couple of weeks ago:
And then there was this popular tweet last year:
Let's untangle this giant ball of fallacious yarn.
"It doesn't really matter if Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit or by Joseph's seed.
What matters is that Jesus came to earth, died, and was resurrected."
This is more or less what was said in a conversation I had several years ago with a now self-proclaimed progressive Christian. At the time, he was trying to work out his theology. Today, his words ring with expectancy to be answered. Was Jesus born of a virgin? Does it matter in regard to our faith if He was ?
The virgin birth of Jesus Christ has always been considered a non-negotiable core doctrine of Christianity and is mentioned in the earliest creeds. Among Christians, this doctrine wasn't broadly questioned until a period of history referred to as "the Enlightenment". Sometimes called "the Age of Reason," the Enlightenment was an intellectual movement that took place primarily in the 18th century. It has had an incalculable impact on Western culture, profoundly affecting the way people think about philosophy, politics, religion, and science.