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December 24, 2017

Nativity scene by potter, Gerard Mosser, at Soufflenheim, Alsace, Author Claude Truong-Ngoc (CC by SA 3.0 Unported)

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.  So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2: 4-7).

Every day 2715 children are born into poverty in America alone [1].  And every day 22,000 children across the globe die from poverty-related illnesses and deprivation [2].

We are surrounded by mangers. Surrounded, yet 2000 years after that first Christmas we still decline to see.  Why spoil this festive season?  Isn’t there another sale, another party somewhere?  Pile those gifts high!  We need no encouragement to put Saturn back in Saturnalia.  We can manage that all on our own.

If pressed on the point, many of us would echo Scrooge’s sentiment:  “Are there no prisons?  Are there no workhouses?”  Who brought all these children into the world anyhow?  Why should we be saddled with their upkeep?  Who gave them the right to impose on our comfortable lives?

“…[W]ho made lame beggars walk, and blind men see[?]” to use Tiny Tim’s words.  As Christians we ought to know the answer to that.  We ought to live the answer to that everyday.  If we did, no billboards would be necessary urging that we put Christ back in Christmas.  He would already be there.
[1]  Children’s Defense Fund, Research Library, “Each Day in America,”
[2]  Global Issues, “Poverty Facts and Stats,”

Originally posted 12/22/13


  1. And if Jesus came back today those very same chest-beating Christians wouldn’t even recognize Him. They’d just treat him like scum.

    • You’re absolutely right. Not all those using the name “Christian”, however, qualify. Christ, Himself, said of counterfeit Christians, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that [last] day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ ” (Matt. 7: 21-23).

      • My favorite is the one with the Pharisee praying. Forgive me if I’m muddling my facts here. And I couldn’t agree more with what you said. Shame on them really, but those who should often don’t take any notice.

      • You’re referring, I think, to the parable Jesus told at Luke 18 about the Pharisee and the tax collector. The Pharisee boldly thanked God for being superior to extortioners, adulterers, and a tax collector praying at the back of the temple. The tax collector prayed only, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Yet it was the tax collector’s sins that were forgiven. Very apt. We can all take a lesson from that.

      • Yes! That was the one. Thank you. Been up all night writing. So cognitive function is a little off.

      • Happens to me all the time (LOL).

      • Here’s another question though that’s semi-related. And I’ve been wondering about this for a while now. How can evil entities and the devil give the impression that they are benign? I’ve met people I swear are demons, or at the very least channel dark forces, and at first they gave the impression of being good-hearted and kind. I know it says the devil will fool and tempt you, but how does he do it?

      • I’m sorry it’s taken me awhile to get back to you. You pose an important question. Paul talks about this very issue:

        For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their actions” (2 Cor. 11: 13-15).

        Lies and deception have been Satan’s primary tools since time immemorial. Satan has nothing of real value to offer. His goal, after all, is our destruction. So to lure us away from God and the things of God, Satan dresses up evil as good. He attempted even to tempt Christ in the wilderness by twisting Scripture.

        Think of cult leaders like Charles Manson and Jim Jones. Their initial message seemed benign: peace and love. Along the way, that message was twisted beyond recognition. Manson promised his followers the “family” they had never had. Jones did not inform new recruits they would be committing suicide.

        Like Paul, the Apostle Matthew warned:

        Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7: 15-16).

        The actions of such men ultimately reveal the truth. Tragically, for many that may be too late.

        Which raises the question: How do we distinguish good from evil before falling into the trap? I know of only the following ways:

        1) To ask God for discernment. “So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil” (1 Kings 3: 9).
        2) To study the Bible diligently. “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained their sensibilities to distinguish good from evil” (Heb. 5: 14).
        3) To observe whether those who profess to be godly leaders actually obey the Commandments and love others. “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother“(1 John 3: 10).
        4) To observe whether those who profess to be godly leaders truly know Christ. This must be clearly distinguished from the false claims such leaders may make to being Christ. “…Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Chris has come in the flesh is not of God” (1 John 4; 2-3).

        I hope this is of some help to you.


      • Manson et al are precisely the ones I was thinking of. Along with some people I met. Thing is, I know the devil will tempt you and disguise evil as good, etc. I want to know how exactly those demons do it. How do they present themselves as good? We know they do it to tempt / lure / get to you, impress you even. How can they turn evil into good? It’s not real obviously, but it’s there, the illusion. With Manson you’d need a whole psychological profile alongside a psychiatric evaluation, and we already know he’s a sociopath with delusions of grandeur. The only obvious answer is he took what good was left in his followers and let them project their own good back into themselves not realizing it was their own energy.

        Best example I can give is scammers on dating profiles. I’ve never used a dating site, so
        I don’t know how much of the other person’s profile you see, but it would be hard to truly get an idea of how they follow the 10 Commandments. Though observation never hurts. Thank you for answering.

      • That’s a very perceptive statement: getting followers to project their own good back on themselves.

        And, of course, you’re right. At the outset, the evil individual’s actions (whether disobedience of the Commandments or whatever else) are not on display, so not available for review. What often happens is that the person under Satanic influence will gradually ask his/her friends/lovers/followers to stray from the Commandments, themselves, to make a few “small” exceptions.

        Former Rev. Tom Bird is an illustration. Tom had an affair w/ a troubled member of his congregation, Lorna Anderson. Bird was later convicted of the murder of his wife, and criminal solicitation along with Lorna in the murder of her husband, Marty. Lorna maintains that Tom convinced her it was less evil to kill their spouses than divorce them.

        All we can do is remain on our guard.

      • But those are the obvious factors. Granted, they sneak up on you, like you pointed out very accurately. The ones I mean are more subtle. They don’t tell you to stray. They make you want to. Demonology on a whole different level.

        And yes, remain on our guard.

  2. A powerful article.

  3. We must look beyond gifts under the tree, and see the great counterfeiter, Satan at his best work. Thank you Anna for reminding us to look at the mangers that abound around us and make efforts to put Christ back in Christmas. It is an enduring struggle and as long as there is Christmas, we must remind ourselves about what Jesus would rather have us do. Thanks for sharing.

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