Merry Christmas!

Let us never forget the true reason behind Christmas:

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.
4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
(Luke 2:1-14 NIV)

I’d like to take this moment to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and may the true reason behind this celebration live eternally in your hearts.

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  1. william bishop’s avatar

    Not to be a wet blanket, but census is not, nor has been, taken by making you return to your hometown. Census is based on your current location, which gives numbers to figure taxation (which would not have applied to joseph unless he owned property–which begs the question of why he is without and requires a stable). There are numerous other factual errors present in the lukan story, but that has got to be the most annoying logical errors I’ve come to see on a daily basis. We won’t even get into the whole issue with the fact that the census applied to Roman citizens, which Joseph was not. Not to mention that there is no mention of such a disruptive event as this census, and since Romans were one of the best sources of records due to their bureaucratic nature…..one wonders where this leads. A decent exposition on the topic can be found in dozens of books, or you can try some of the more readily available online articles, such as http://www.class.uidaho.edu/ngier/census.htm (Gier is one of my favourites).

    Again, sorry about the wet blanket, I know it tends to annoy the cherry pickers….but religion is my hobby.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours. Hope you got everything you wanted.

  2. slowe’s avatar

    Interesting information, William. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. Eric Gray’s avatar

    Merry Christmas to you, Scott.

  4. slowe’s avatar

    Thanks, Eric! I hope you had a great Christmas and I wish you a very happy New Year! Keep up the good work on your site!

  5. william bishop’s avatar

    Not really interesting, it’s just a pet annoyance, that and the elohi/eloh’m thing…..Did you get anything good?

  6. slowe’s avatar

    Yes, I was quite blessed this year with gifts. I’m a gadget kind of guy, so my major gifts–a 400 disc DVD/CD changer and a Logitech Harmony One advanced universal remote–are well suited for me.

    I hope that you were equally blessed, not just with gifts but also with a pleasant holiday and enjoyable times with your family and loved ones.

  7. william bishop’s avatar

    I’m not much of a gift person, but I love to watch my wife and kids open presents, so I generally go all out. And of course we did our best to give christmas to a needy family and it worked out well this year (we were worried, because the kids were older than ours and we didn’t know exactly what to get them–fortunately, we hear they loved the presents). So, all in all, a wonderful holiday, everyone was pleased with what they got.

    400 disc changer? Wow.

  8. slowe’s avatar

    I much prefer giving gifts instead of receiving them, so I was pleased that all my kids and my wife were happy with their gifts.

  9. william bishop’s avatar

    I’m sure you treated them well, which is what counts. I have to ask though bro….400 disc changer? What in the world are you doing with it?

  10. slowe’s avatar

    The kids have a bad habit of scratching discs by putting them into and taking them out of our older DVD player/changer. This way, I put them all in the 400 disc changer, enter the titles via keyboard, and then they can easily choose which disc they want to watch. No more putting them in or taking them out. There’s method to my madness!

  11. ron’s avatar

    Too funny I’m stuck in the car driving for the next 2 1/2 hours with my two little ones, and I just finished doing the 180 passenger seat shuffle to get the disc out and try to clean it. Merry Christmas Scott may the Lord bring many blessings to you and your family.

    Ron

  12. slowe’s avatar

    Thanks, Ron! I hope that you and your family have a great holiday season and that you are richly blessed in the New Year.

  13. I Know how to read’s avatar

    Scott,

    I trust that your tech advise is more accurate than you religious comments. As you are in NC, try reading anything from Bart D Ehrman, the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    Enjoy the winter solstice!

  14. slowe’s avatar

    To “I Know How to Read,”

    If you don’t like the religious or personal posts, don’t read them. This post was simply a Christian’s expression of faith regarding the Christmas holiday, not a discourse on the truth of the Gospel as recorded by Luke.

    At least others who post here, such as Mr. Bishop, have the common courtesy not to insult me simply because of a difference in religious beliefs.

  15. I Know how to read’s avatar

    Most of the time your IT related posts contain sound technical content, but it appears that you have been ignoring the technical points around the history of the religion you subscribe to.

    I find this behavior perplexing.

    Why is your personal belief as to the reason for the season OK to profess as a fact, while my comments regarding your belief system are deemed offensive?

    By being able to proclaim your beliefs and to cry foul over any criticism of your public declarations, I believe you are asking to have it both ways. Why must we accept your statements?

    Maybe you could have two separate blogs, so those of us bound to secular reality don’t have to be bombarded by the silly proclamations of a proselytizer?

    It’s just a thought… or maybe I should find another blog to read.

    Take care, and best wishes

  16. slowe’s avatar

    A few clarifications:

    1. I was not proclaiming what I believe as “fact”; as I said earlier, my post was simply a declaration of my beliefs.

    2. At no point did I say that you “must accept” my statements. If you don’t believe in my statements, or if you disagree with my statements, that’s fine. You are welcome to believe what you want, just as I am.

    3. Your comment wasn’t about my belief system, it was about me. Perhaps you didn’t understand how your words would come across, but questioning someone’s professional ability because of a difference in religious beliefs hardly seems like the courteous way to handle the situation.

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt in that you didn’t understand how your comment would come across, and that your intent was really just to point out some additional resources that you find pertinent in supporting your beliefs. if that is the case, then I appreciate you sharing your information.

    If, on the other hand, your intent was to imply that because I believe in God and in the Bible that my technical skill or savvy are somehow questionable, then I’ll kindly ask you to refrain from making personal comments such as that in the future.

    In either case, I don’t plan to censor my religious statements here, and if that means that I lose a reader as a result, then so be it. I’m sorry that you couldn’t see past the religious differences.

  17. william bishop’s avatar

    Dude, lay off. I mentioned a correction or two to the knowledgebase, he read and remarked it. He did not jump up and down, have a fit, or go off into an apologist frenzy because I pointed to contradictions in his religion. I only mentioned it in passing, which was all it deserved. It is not the main focus of Scott’s site, and should not be separated, because 99% of the content is technical.

    Scott’s right, if you don’t like something, or disagree, mention it, but don’t be rude about it. It’s religion, there’s room for discussion without getting your knickers in a twist. He’s just trying to be polite and offer well wishes, I’m just trying to tweak his hair a bit, and we move on, courteous and content with the way the world is around us.

    Take a chill pill, and relax. It’s his, and billions of other people’s choices what they believe or don’t believe in. Most people know I’m an atheist, but I’m not militant. Militant behaviour is for the nutjobs who go around killing themselves and others…is that what you want to be a part of? Look up the definition of manners. Now, let’s keep up our christmas cheer (not a dirty word), raise a pint to my friend scott, and everyone else on the planet and hope that this year brings in more empathy and concern for everyone. I’ll see your solstice and raise you a happy saturnalia, as would yeshua ha nostri if he were here! Peace on earth, and a cheer with beer!

  18. william bishop’s avatar

    BTW, that comment was aimed at “I know how to read”, not at scott. There are some people who know how to read, but in fact do not do so, and so they go off half-cocked, and end up shooting themselves in the buttocks in a fit of apoplexy.

  19. Adam Gross’s avatar

    Just ran across your blog and I wanted to say that it’s cool to see a Christian who’s out there in the tech community representing his beliefs. Of course there will always be people out there who want to trash your beliefs, but that’s more their problem than yours. And I’m not sure if you want to waste your time with Bart Ehrman’s stuff, like the other guy suggested. We used some of his books as our “textbooks” at religion classes at the University of Michigan and although it was interesting as a case study in what some influential people believe, it certainly was horribly slanted and at various times completely off base.

  20. william bishop’s avatar

    Agreed, I’ve found that the bible itself is the best source for creating agnostics and atheists…. ;-)

    BTW, I’m yanking your beard now Adam. Hopefully you will take it as the good natured joshing it is (though I do hope of course that enlightenment will always add to it’s members–but I hold no ill will towards the followers of any religion, they are all equally interesting to me.)

  21. Crystal’s avatar

    I personally love and respect my husband’s position and faith. Like Scott, I respect everyone’s views, even if they differ from mine. In my mind, that is what being a Christian is all about. I can love everyone, even if I disagree with their views and or their religion. Reading this string of comments on what was supposed to simply be a well wish to everyone to have a Merry Christmas, I am reminded of these lyrics by Nicole Nordeman:

    What if you’re right?
    And he was just another nice guy
    What if you’re right?
    What if it’s true?
    They say the cross will only make a fool of you
    And what if it’s true?

    What if he takes his place in history
    With all the prophets and the kings
    Who taught us love and came in peace
    But then the story ends
    What then?

    But what if you’re wrong?
    What if there’s more?
    What if there’s hope you never dreamed of hoping for?
    What if you jump?
    And just close your eyes?
    What if the arms that catch you, catch you by surprise?
    What if He’s more than enough?
    What if it’s love?

    So, I leave you with this…what harm is done if I’m wrong? I lived a life that was positive and helped others and while not perfect, I do try to be a good person that lives a pure life. Now, what if you’re wrong? Clearly, we’re not all right. I’m OK if I’m wrong.

  22. william bishop’s avatar

    Pascal’s wager: “What have I got to lose”. Also called “insurance”.
    The downside is that if you’re partially right, and one of the 3,000 extant gods is the one true god ™, then you’re in trouble because you worshipped the wrong god, which is extremely probable in the case that there actually are gods. Remember, yours is not the oldest(by far)…or the most logical. Remember, there have been over 10,000 gods in recorded history, and the abrahamic tradition is mostly cut and paste from other middle eastern gods from that era (check out zoraster and krishna). I believe people follow gods so that they have comfort in the face of the unknown, and if that’s the case, more power to you and yours, I wouldn’t deny anyone that.

    That said, I think other than 1 person, we all understood the well wishes, and we certainly hope you and Scott have a GREAT year. I’m a bit pedantic, I always point out the flaws, because that is my job. I make things work, and I do it by finding out first what doesn’t. It’s perfect for my nature, but unfortunately, it’s not conducive to cognitive dissonance, which is pretty much a necessity for religion.

  23. Crystal’s avatar

    William – I appreciate your comment, and I agree, God (my God which is Jesus Christ) is my insurance. He is much more than that but I won’t go into that as I am certain you have a very bright mind and know everything I might say (and would be happy to point out anything you consider a flaw :Grin:). I do appreciate your take on this subject. The beauty of this one specific God, the one I call God and worship, is just the thing you pointed out as a flaw. He isn’t the most logical. Still, I have seen His power so many times in my life that I can not deny His existence. Yes, there have been times when I have had my doubts, but I am always reminded when He comes through for our family right on time. I understand your position having read your previous posts, but I stand by my faith and I respect your position. We each must choose. My only point was to say that if “you” (meaning anyone that may read) is as confident in their choice as I am in mine regardless of if they are right or wrong, then what is there to fuss about? If you feel you are right and you are aren’t worried if you are wrong and I feel I am right, and I am not concerned if I am wrong then we are all making the choice that is best for us. Right? Clearly you are a great person. You are always respectful in your responses, you love your family, you work hard, and treat people right. In that, I have great respect for you and anyone that makes those choices. We simply agree to disagree about this particular subject! I can live with that :-)

  24. william bishop’s avatar

    Exactly, there really is nothing to argue about. It comes down to a difference of opinion, and we are not barbarians to dash each other’s heads in over an opinion. Discussion on the subject is fun ( I actually can argue either side of the discussion equally well, though the other position is very tenuous–and in truth impossible to defend on any rational basis, which means it’s strength is to argue from a position of “faith” and not evidence).

    Anyway, you guys have a good weekend, I’m off to the pet store to find some crickets for the kids pet lizard.

    W