Citizen Sentinels Newsletter – Christmas Edition – 12/24/2020
From Our Founder…
Today is Christmas Eve, and from all of the CSN writers, editorial staff, and those who are helping one way or another, we wish our readers a very Merry Christmas!
It has been a long and tumultuous year. We are taking a break (somewhat) from the realms of politics for the Christmas holiday, just to have a breather from the toxicity of the divisive political environment. Many Leftist politicians advocate for clean air and clean water, etc., but readily pollute the environment with the poison of propaganda. So, the “weary world” needs a brief respite in the war for the soul of America, to refresh our souls. We are focusing on “Christmas stuff” in today’s edition and is more like our Sunday edition than our regular Thursday news edition.
Today, we start off with a poem that was in our very first edition of the Messages of Light that was the inauguration of the David Project. This day is our second year anniversary of the initiation of the Messages of Light, and in honor of that genuine feat of survival, we are re-posting the poem from that first set of messages. It is called “One Solitary Life.” It had grown in popularity since its own inception in 1926. It has been sung by several singers since that time as well. Often mis-attributed to Rev. Phillips Brooks, he was not the author. A Baptist pastor named James Allen Francis wrote the message while serving as pastor of First Baptist Church of Los Angeles. It is reported that the original version was part of a sermon he preached, but now there are several versions in circulation. President Ronald Reagan read it to a group of children gathered at the White House in 1982. It was one of his favorites, and he explained once, “I think it describes the meaning of Christmas.” Me too.
The second message is from Dr. Robert Owens, entitled “What is Christmas Without Christ?” that he just posted on his site (see below the article for link) on December 21.
The title of the article reveals the deeper content, but one will not know the deeper part of the message until they read it. It is that way sometimes with the legislation Congress passes. They may pass the bills without knowing what is in them because they didn’t have time, or take time to read the legislation, as in the latest “COVID relief package.” But, we will not go in that direction on Christmas Eve.
The third message is another poem that was sent in by one of our readers from an amateur writer named Jami B. Boggs, who posted a very relevant poem about America entitled, “Christmas Bells.” We found it very appropriate and do encourage Ms. Boggs to keep writing.
My article is not focused upon politics either, but in honor of the holiday, I offer an article of a spiritual nature — dealing with a journey of faith and about the “Christmas Star” and the Magi. It is titled, “Christmas is Still A “Conjunction” of Light and Faith” and has not been posted anywhere, so it is my humble exclusive to our readers this Christmas.
Today we also have three articles in our “Recommended Reading” section. This is the only place where you will find anything political for all those who need their minimum daily requirement of news and views. The first is an article from A. Dru Kristenev who posted her article in Canada Free Press today. It is a view of Christmas in “Realville” and there is no sugar coating or candy cane wrapping.
The second article complements my article which is about the Christmas Star, the one in our skies recently, and the hope it seems to bring this Christmas. It is an article that was posted in early December from Hope Bolinger, who is an editor at Crosswalk.com, a faith-based site.
The third article, in case you missed it on Tuesday, is an article tying this Christmas to the Christmas of 1776 with George Washington’s troops and the battle they fought to foster the birth of the United States of America. We also offer a video of that time in our Video Views section.
We are heavy on videos today with ten videos for today! – two of them were featured last Sunday as we carried them forward into Christmas. One is “O Holy Night” from the group GENTRI. And the second is the performance of “They stood silent in prayer” by Charley Pride. May he rest in peace.
The first video features a video rendition of “A Nativity Story” from ComeUntoChrist.org.
The second video is from young Kaylee Rodgers who sings “Hallelujah.”
The third video is a Flash Mob performance at a busy shopping mall singing “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee and other Christmas Carols. It is a reminder from 2012 what a pre-COVID world was like.
The other videos are intended to brighten one’s Christmas. They represent some of my own favorites. Watch them all! – especially the “Soldier’s Christmas Poem.” The last one is more of a documentary regarding that Christmas in 1776. We think we have it bad in 2020. Our founders were real men and women who were willing to give their lives for freedom. Please watch “The 10 Days That Changed The World, Washington’s Crossing the Delaware.” It is one hour, so get some popcorn and hot chocolate!
These words are being freely offered and are being sent to you as part of the “David Project.” Please receive this message as a gift from those who care. They are only words that are being offered, freely, but some contain a deep message of faith, or a deeper expression of heart that readers can hopefully receive into their hearts. As it was written: “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Proverbs 29:18 – KJV
May we humble ourselves, seek His face in prayer, but not just His face – His Mind and Heart and Will! Once we can connect, no matter how difficult it is, and truly repent for our feeble efforts in seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and honestly turn away from our wicked ways – we may even inspire the secular realm to help us in transforming our nation.
For those who can receive — We wish you all a Merry Christmas!
One Solitary Life
By Dr James Allan Francis in “The Real Jesus and Other Sermons” © 1926.
He was born in an obscure village
The child of a peasant woman
He grew up in another obscure village
Where he worked in a carpenter shop
Until he was thirty
He never wrote a book
He never held an office
He never went to college
He never visited a big city
He never travelled more than two hundred miles
From the place where he was born
He did none of the things
Usually associated with greatness
He had no credentials but himself
He was only thirty three
His friends ran away
One of them denied him
He was turned over to his enemies
And went through the mockery of a trial
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves
While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing
The only property he had on earth
When he was dead
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend
Nineteen centuries have come and gone
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of mankind’s progress
All the armies that have ever marched
All the navies that have ever sailed
All the parliaments that have ever sat
All the kings that ever reigned put together
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
As powerfully as that one solitary life.
By Dr. Robert Owens
What have Frosty the Snowman, roasting chestnuts, hippos, hula hoops, and barking dogs got to do with Christmas?
They may bring warmth to our hearts. They may bring a smile to our lips. Or they may make us groan. Whatever they do to each of us what they all have in common is that they’re glued to Christmas like barnacles to the hull of the good ship lollipop. They’re the accumulated cultural baggage that increasingly obscures the real meaning of a revolutionary blessed event under the camouflage of a socially acceptable winter break.
The ABCCBSNBCCNNMSNBCPBSNPR Cartel tells us constantly that we now live in a post-Christian America. They exalt in proclaiming the end of Christ’s dominant influence on Western Civilization. As a result we’ve descended from a city on a hill to a modern Sodom and Gomorrah. Our elites call evil good and good evil.
Ever since the nine black-robed masters of America decreed back in 1962 that God was expelled from school we’ve witnessed the steady degradation of our society. The coarseness and vulgarity we’re deluged with on a daily basis was unknown in earlier days. What we call prime time entertainment was once known as pornography. What were abominations and generally accepted as perversions have become the norm while believing them to be against God’s Word is now considered some type of mental disorder. The cabal of self-appointed paragons of pomposity that masquerade as educators, politicians, and journalists cap their war against God when they glory in the right of self-interest to sacrifice the lives of the innocent and demand that the government not only endorse it but subsidize it.
As a natural outgrowth of the city of man’s war against God that defines America’s progressive culture comes the war against Christmas.
Back in the dream time we used to go to Christmas programs at our children’s schools and listen to the little darlings sing The First Noel, Oh Little Town of Bethlehem, and O Come O Come Emmanuel. Now we listen to them sing songs in foreign languages or do beautiful arrangements of sounds that don’t even have a meaning intermixed with a few songs about winter, snow, or maybe animals. It may all be PC but it sure doesn’t have anything to do with the reason for the season.
Just in case all the tinsel and the twinkling lights have blinded us to what that reason is let me elaborate.
Christmas is all about Jesus the Christ born as a human so that he could bear the sins of the world, die a substitutionary death in our place, rise triumphantly from the grave and ascend into heaven so that we who believe can live in and through Him. That’s what it’s all about. Christmas must be linked to Easter to have any meaning. I’ve met people who never realized that the Jesus in the manger on Christmas was the same Jesus who hung on the cross on Good Friday. I did not meet them in the jungles of some remote island but in America with a church on every corner. This is a clear case of Santa with a coke in his hand winning the advertising debate over the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. It may all be PC but it sure doesn’t have anything to do with the reason for the season.
What is Christmas without Christ? It’s a worldly hedonistic overly commercialized gift giving/receiving orgasm perpetrated by humanity’s enemy to keep us from knowing that Christ came to set us free, to reconcile us to God, and to make a way for us to live as a new creation in a new creation.
Not to be Grinch, let me wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Let’s enjoy our family and friends. Let’s celebrate our traditions as we remember Jesus is the reason for the season.
Christmas is Still A “Conjunction” of Light and Faith
By Dennis Jamison – 12/21/2020
Unusually, preceding the Christmas holiday this year there was a rare “conjunction” or alignment of the planets Jupter and Saturn. In a most unusual year, such a conjunction, or an aligning of the planets, is unusual. Conjunctions only occur rarely, but according to astronomer Patrick Hartigan at Rice University, the last time these two planets aligned so they would appear as an incredibly bright double planet in the night sky was back on March 4, 1226! Yet, the alignments of planets will occur approximately every 20 years. However, the rarity is related to the appearance of the closeness of the planets from earth, and the light that is produced creates the sense that the heavenly bodies are actually one brighter object.
This phenomenon provides the scientific speculation about the possibility of such an occurrence at the time of the birth of Jesus, and a possible scientific explanation of the “Christmas Star” or “Star of Bethlehem.” Actually, many theories exist regarding the Star of Bethlehem, and it still captivates the attention of many believers and non-believers. However, despite the disbelief of the non-religious, Christian astronomers have calculated how such an event might have occurred. The possibilities provide a framework of logic to what many skeptics have debunked in recent times.
The intersection of faith and reality has become one more miracle of the Christmas Star.
To Christians, the Christmas Star, or the Star of Bethlehem, is a most significant part of the events surrounding Jesus’ birth. According to Dr. Raymond G. Bohlin, a scientist and Vice President of Vision Outreach for Probe Ministries in Plano, Texas, there are several possible ways that God created this sign announcing the birth of Christ. Many ways of explaining the Christmas Star can be found today, whether a conjunction of planets or comets or supernovas or miraculous lights, but “experts” do not definitively know. However, scientists can narrow the mystery down.
In considering the possibility of the planets or conjunctions of planets, astronomers have come closer to identifying significant astronomical events that fit with the Bible story. It is possible for scientists to rule out ordinary stars as well as meteors and comets. While providing spectacular light shows, meteors are a brief flash, not the constant light of the star of the Wise Men, or Magi. Comets provide a show as they move across the night sky. However, historical records reveal sightings of only two comets, both appearing many years before Jesus’ birth. Also ruled out are novae (brightening stars) or supernovae. No historical records indicate such occurrences at the time.
Some scientists are attempting to provide a better understanding with coordinated studies with historical records and contemporary computer simulations. In 2008, Dave Reneke, one of Australia’s most well known and respected amateur astronomers, used historical records and contemporary computer simulations to identify a unique series of planetary conjunctions during the years of 3 B.C and 2 B.C. Reneke’s sky – mapping software program could simulate planetary movements of 2,000 years ago, and he observed that there were several types of conjunctions of planets that involved Jupiter and Venus as well as Regulus, one of the brightest stars in our solar system. In that time, he claimed to have figured out the “Christmas Star” and promoted the idea that Jesus was more likely to have been born in June and not on December 25th.
Reneke found in his data that the most dramatic historical event was when the two brightest planets, Jupiter and Venus, appeared to collide on June 17th in 2 B.C. They came so close together, they would have appeared as one spectacular light in the night sky. Then, on August 27th, there was the grand conjunction of planets with Jupiter and Mars very close together and Venus and Mercury being very close in the eastern sky at dawn. Later, Jupiter moved westward. If the Magi, from the book of Matthew, observed this phenomenon, they would have followed the “star.”
After six weeks, they would have seen Jupiter in the pre-dawn sky on the Meridian due south of Jerusalem appearing directly over Bethlehem just above the southern horizon. Reaching its farthest western point in its orbit around the sun, it would have appeared to stop and stay above Bethlem in continuing its orbit around the other side of the sun. It is important to keep in mind that 2,000 years ago people on earth considered anything in the night sky as a star. There was no knowledge of planets — no study of astronomy as we know it today.
Science today, however, can be utilized to look into the past in many ways, and those contemporary astronomers who are motivated, can view such dramatic events fitting the biblical account in Matthew. Nevertheless, despite Reneke’s dramatic theory, based on his multiple levels of study, as well as its implications, there is not much follow-up to it, or any recent information on Reneke’s website. It is possible that traditional Christians did not like his scientific data showing Jesus being born in June. Yet, somehow the light from the “Star” served as an ancient navigational system – a GPS – for the Magi, who were stargazers from the “East.” Yet, they did not just stumble upon this Star and decide to follow it to see where it would lead.
The story of the Magi and how they came to give their gifts to the baby Jesus has been briefly told in bits and pieces, in many lands, over many centuries. Even Marco Polo, in 1298, wrote of the Persian Magi in “The Travels; The Description of the World.” Some historical accounts of the Magi’s journey identify them as ancient scientists involved in studying celestial bodies from the ancient Institute of Astrology at Sippar near Babylonia (Iraq). But, the why of following the Star is even more important than the Star, as the account in Matthew did not focus on the Star of Bethlehem itself.
Yet, there were prophecies concerning the Star. The book of Numbers in the Old Testament foretold the coming of a star that would precede the arrival of a great leader of the people of Israel. Balaam, an ancient prophet of Mesopotamia, also spoke of the prophecy of the coming of a great leader. The prophecy also appears in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Historical records show the Magi were more than just ancient “stargazing” scientists. It is highly likely that the Magi were from ancient Persia and part of a priestly class of nobles who served as members of the Parthian government (all of modern Iran, Iraq and Armenia, parts of Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan).
So, 2,000 years ago, the Magi can be seen as a royal class of religious people, likely followers of Zoroaster, who were aware of the prophecies of Daniel concerning the coming of the Messiah. It is not clear when Zoroaster lived, but records indicate that some of his followers may have been students of the prophet Daniel who had once served as the rab-mag, the chief administrator of the Magi under Darius the Great, who had elevated the Magi above the state religion of Persia after some Magi proved to be experts in interpreting dreams. If Daniel had entrusted his messianic vision to some of the Magi for its eventual fulfillment, it provides greater reason for the journey of the Magi.
Additionally, the Magi played a significant role in the Parthinian government, which consisted of two councils composed of the Megistanes, the royals, whose rights and positions of power in the councils were conferred by birth or office, not by the king. One of the councils consisted of the mature males of the royal house. The other council was a type of Senate made up of both the spiritual and the political chiefs of the nation: the “Sophi” (wise men) and the “Magi” (priests). These two assemblies advised, appointed or elected, and checked the monarch. “In the fullness of time” the Magi, in their dual priestly and political office, were poised to follow the guidance of prophecy to find a newborn king.
It is a testimony to their faith that they went on their journey because it involved great risk and considerable difficulty. The journey could have been around 500 to 1,000 miles, depending upon the point of origin, which still remains a mystery. It could have started in Ur in what would be in the southern part of Iraq today. Other speculations indicate the Magi could have started from the ancient Institute of Astrology at Sippar. Regardless, the trek through the deserts and rugged terrain of the Middle East could have taken six to eight weeks, depending upon prevailing conditions along the way.
More importantly, the journey of the Magi not only had great religious significance, but it also involved great potential political peril because they may have risked their lives in making their pilgrimage. They were foreigners, and would have had to travel through enemy territory of the Roman Empire. Such a journey could have initiated a serious international confrontation if they encountered Roman military. They boldly entered Jerusalem and sought out King Herod, specifically seeking knowledge regarding the recently born King of the Jews. The rest was biblical. Why?
They came to honor the newborn king. They followed the light of the Star with great faith with the purpose to connect to the Messiah. Today, in such dark times, Christians truly need great light to shine on their pathways and tremendous faith to stay on the path that will lead them through the valley of the shadow of death to meet and make a living relationship with the Messiah. Light and faith, then are still required for each individual’s personal relationship with Christ. Merry Christmas to all in 2020!
From Canada Free Press: Covid Christmas and Communistic Government Control – 12/24/20
From Crosswalk: 3 Reasons the ‘Christmas Star’ of 2020 Is Bringing So Much Hope – 12/23/20
From Canada Free Press: Biden’s ‘Dark Winter’ Is a Time for Patriot Action – 12/22/20
From ComeUntoChrist.org: The Christ Child: A Nativity Story – 11/23/2019
Kaylee Rodgers Singing Hallelujah – Official Video – Full HD
From Flash Mob singing “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee and other Christmas Carols at a mall – 12/2/2012
From Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Christmas Canon (Official Music Video)
From ComeUntoChrist.org: Why We Need a Savior – 10/26/2009
From GENTRI: “O Holy Night” (Official Music Video) – 12/24/16
From The Piano Guys: If you’re missing someone this Christmas this song’s dedicated to you – The Piano Guys ft Craig Aven – 12/19/2017
The Soldier’s Christmas Poem – 12/23/2011
From Charley Pride (RIP) – “They Stood In Silent Prayer” – 1970
Charley Frank Pride (March 18, 1934 – December 12, 2020) was a great American singer.