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Archive for December, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday, Tripp Palin!

Posted by Dr. Fay on December 27, 2012

Closeup of Tripp with brown knit cap on

Click on photo to view slideshow.

Today is Tripp Palin’s fourth birthday!  It’s hard to believe it’s been four years since we first saw him on Greta van Susteren’s show as he was introduced to America.  Since then, we’ve seen him on Sarah Palin’s Alaska, Bristol’s reality show, and most recently, in the audience at DWTS All Stars.  For one so young, Tripp has had a lot of memorable experiences.   We’ve watched him grow from a beautiful baby into a tall, handsome child and look forward to more glimpses of him as he grows up.

On behalf of the authors at SPIB, I want to wish Tripp a very happy birthday today and many more to come.  May all your birthdays be happy, and may God bestow all his best blessings on you.   As you grow older, may you reach all your goals in life, and may all your dreams come true.

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Celebrating the Birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas Day

Posted by Dr. Fay on December 25, 2012

The celebration of Jesus’s birth as a holiday began about 300 years after His death and resurrection when Pope Julius I declared December 25 as the date for the Feast of the Nativity.   We don’t know the exact date of Jesus’s birth – some believe it was in the spring because shepherds were in the fields with their sheep at the time of His birth in Bethlehem.  What is important about Christmas is that it is a time to remember and celebrate the day that the Light of the world came to Earth in human form.

It is always inspiring to compare the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah with the account of Jesus’s birth in the New Testament.  Over 300 prophecies were fulfilled during the life of Jesus.  Here are some of those that relate to his birth.  See here, here, and here for more.

Isaiah 9:6-7

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Isaiah 7:14

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign:  The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Luke 1:30-35

30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

Micah 5:2

“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.”

Luke 2:1-12

The Birth of Jesus

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So 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. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Saviorhas been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Psalm 72:10-11

10 May the kings of Tarshish and of distant shores bring tribute to him. May the kings of Sheba and Seba present him gifts.  11 May all kings bow down to him and all nations serve him.

Matthew 2:1-12

The Magi Visit the Messiah

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem  2 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. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 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.12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

What an awesome night it must have been for Joseph and Mary and for the shepherds to whom the angels announced the birth of the Savior of the world!   The wise men (magi) from the East would arrive sometime later, but that night they too were marveling at the star that announced the Lord’s birth and that led them to Him to give gifts and worship.

Today as we celebrate the birth of Christ and its significance, let us remember that starry night two thousand years ago and what it must have been like to be present at such a miraculous event. Shepherds and wise men alike were invited to celebrate Christ’s birth.  And today we get the opportunity to do so once again.

Merry Christmas, everyone!  Have a blessed and wonderful day!

Also see:

The Birth of Jesus Christ

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Pamela Geller: Sarah Palin was (is) the perfect candidate

Posted by Dr. Fay on December 23, 2012

Eric Dondero at Libertarian Republican  reports on a speech given recently by patriot Pamela Geller:

Ayn Rand individualist Pamela Geller, from a speech to an Ayn Rand, Tea Party group at a downtown Manhattan bar Dec. 17:

I mean who could have been a more perfect candidate than Sarah Palin. Don’t get me started. But I mean really puuuuurfect! She wasn’t part of the Bush dynasty. She wasn’t part of the Clinton dynasty. She came up the hard way. She was a mother. She was PTA. She was city council. She was mayor. She was governor. She came up the hard way. They loved her. She loved her husband. He loved her. She walked the walk. She talked the talk. She was going to have a child with a disability. I mean this woman was perfect. More perfect.

They destroyed her. They destroyed her. And we let them destroy her. What was McCain thinking when he threw her to the wolves of the affable Eva Braun. Katie Couric. And the rest of the jackals in the media.

Read more here.

I totally agree with Ms. Geller’s assessment of Gov. Palin as a candidate (past and future).  However, I disagree that the media “destroyed” her.  They certainly attempted to.  But if you watch Gov. Palin’s keynote speech at CPAC 2012, almost four years later, you won’t see one ounce of defeat in this amazing woman.

At that point in time, she was seriously considering a run for the Presidency.  Why she decided to wait, we may never know, but one thing is certain.  As her Dad said during the Our Sarah book tour,  “She’ll be back!”

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Gov. Palin calls on Obama to Help American Citizen and Pastor Jailed in Iran for His Christian Faith

Posted by Dr. Fay on December 21, 2012

Governor Palin posted these tweets last night:

Sarah Palin@SarahPalinUSA

President @BarackObama, please help the American Pastor jailed in Iran for his#Christian faith! http://aclj.us/7sud  via @ACLJ

Sarah Palin@SarahPalinUSA

Iran Imprisons and Abuses an American Citizen and Pastor http://aclj.us/7sud  via @ACLJ(RT to help raise awareness!)

This is the posting on the ACLJ website that she linked to:

Iran Imprisons and Abuses an American Pastor

By
David FrenchFiled in:
IRAN10:53 AMDec. 19, 2012

This morning Fox News broke the story of Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen and Christian convert from Islam who has been seized by the Revolutionary Guard and held in Iran’s “notoriously brutal” Evin Prison, where guards and inmates have beaten him repeatedly. Pastor Saeed is formerly a leader of Iran’s small but growing house-church movement, but was in the country continuing a long-term humanitarian project (building an orphanage).

It’s tough to imagine the courage it takes to not only convert from Islam but to then lead an evangelistic house-church effort within Iran itself. Then, when confronted by the Revolutionary Guard and forced to cease evangelism, Pastor Saeed didn’t abandon Iran but continued a humanitarian effort apart from his evangelism.

Iran targets Christians because they present perhaps the greatest threat to the regime — the threat of a different, and radically better, belief system than the fundamentalist, Islamist theocracy that currently dominates the country. As history has proven again and again, it is the better idea that ultimately triumphs over totalitarianism. In this case, Iran is demonstrating that it will target Christians even when they are American citizens, and even when they comply with the regime’s demands. Not even charitable efforts are safe.

At the American Center for Law and Justice, we are representing Pastor Saeed’s family and are calling for the same kind of international diplomatic and public relations offensive that ultimately freed Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian pastor sentenced to death for apostasy. Suprisingly enough, a regime that can barely count itself a member of the international community can and will respond to intense pressure, properly applied.

Simply put, Iran cannot be permitted to imprison and abuse American citizens.

This article is crossposted at National Review Online.

AFA sent this action alert out last night also with a link to send an e-mail to Hillary Clinton:

U.S. pastor arrested, held in Iranian jail

He is in a prison cell. He’s been beaten and tortured. His family in Iran is under house arrest.

December 20, 2012

Dear ##FirstName[AFA Supporter]##,

A 32-year-old Iranian Christian pastor who is a U.S. citizen has been imprisoned without notice of any formal charges while visiting his family in Iran.

Saeed Abedini and his wife converted to Christianity from Islam and immigrated to the United States, according to OneNewsNow. He has made frequent trips to his homeland to visit with family who are also Christian converts. According to Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law & Justice, Abedini had been imprisoned before.

Sekulow said, “He has had a dust-up before there and agreed to stop his house church movement, which had hundreds of churches around Iran, but Saeed Abedini has been in prison now in Iran since September.” Abedini’s wife and two children remain in the U.S.

“He is in a prison cell. He’s been beaten and tortured. His family in Iran is under house arrest,” he describes. “He was placed in a cell with individuals who are saying they are al-Qaeda, and they’re in jail in Iran for being extremists there and they’re beating him because they found out he was a convert [and] a pastor.”

TAKE ACTION

Send an email to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and your Representative and Senators, asking them to request the Iranian government release Pastor Abedini and allow him to return home to the United States.

Take Action Now Send an email to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and your Representative and Senators now!

It is very important that you forward this alert to your friends and family members.

Sincerely,TimTim Wildmon, President
American Family Association

Jay Sekulow, director of the ACLJ, sent this information out by e-mail this morning, along with a link to a petition to sign in support of Pastor Abedini:

Iran has imprisoned and is abusing an American Christian pastor because of his faith.

Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen, is in one of Iran’s most notoriously abusive prisons, separated from his wife and two young children this Christmas, simply because he is a Christian.

His wife told our radio audience yesterday that their six-year-old daughter was crying because she couldn’t remember her daddy’s voice.

Our legal team is representing his family, fighting aggressively for his release. Hundreds of thousands of you mobilized to free Pastor Youcef. Now we need your voice urging our government to take action on this American pastor’s behalf.

Sign the petition demanding American Pastor Saeed’s freedom.

Jay Sekulow
ACLJ Chief Counsel

P.S. Please forward this message on Facebook and through email to urge everyone you know to join this critical fight for this American pastor’s freedom.

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Palin: Obama sees the Constitution as a charter of negatives

Posted by Dr. Fay on December 20, 2012

Video retrieved from sarahnettoo

From the On The Record transcript:

[VAN SUSTEREN}:  What does Governor Sarah Palin think? She joins us. Good evening, Governor. And your thought tonight about the report on the State Department internal report?

SARAH PALIN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR/FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Well, as someone said today, quite ironic that there’s an admittance of mistakes being made but nobody made them? Nobody’s really taking responsibility for the mistakes we made.

I look forward to hearing Secretary Clinton when she does have opportunity to testify because there are so many unanswered questions. And kudos to Fox News for being the news outlet that stayed on top of this story. Americans deserve these answers.

VAN SUSTEREN: I must say, with some level of pride — I mean, all the sort of heat we took from people, saying that it wasn’t a story, and indeed, today, even you have Senator Dick Durbin saying mistakes were made — I mean, there was a lot of resistance.

My colleagues, for instance, were kept from a State Department conference call when everybody in the media was briefed. Then the CIA had a briefing and they didn’t include FOX News. And then there was a security — the DNI released a report and everybody got it but FOX News. So there’s been a lot of resistance to my national security colleagues getting this information. So I do take some pride with them.

The fact that three resigned today, what does that mean?

[...]

PALIN: … significant. OK. That’s significant. But still, Greta, I think the bottom line that is so frustrating to Americans is we were deceived. We were led in a season of electioneering and campaigning — led to believe something that was other than true. Americans were lied to.

And yes, some heads are rolling now. But again, so many questions that are — have not been answered, and it just really illustrates that lack of transparency in the Obama administration.

For the president even to get out there on a national stage and tell Americans untruths about this situation in Benghazi really begs you to ask the question, what else does he say and do that would be deceptive? I believe it’s many, many things that he would say and do being deceptive.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it certainly is curious. There were two letters sent by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last night, late last night to the chairman of the two Foreign Relations Committees in the House and the Senate, and she talks about how immediately, their eyes were on al Qaeda. And if their eyes were on al Qaeda, the suspicion — what in the world — where did this video stuff come up with? And they kept pushing it, the president, of course, Ambassador Rice did, the president did on Letterman, on “The View” — you know, I mean, that still is so unanswered, like, what in the world were they trying to do with that video business?

PALIN: Well, bottom line is during the campaign in those final days, Barack Obama wanted to keep that false narrative alive that he, Mr. Nobel Peace Prize-winning president of ours — he pretty much squashed the terrorists’ activities, if you will, of some of these Islamic countries that he was able to reach out and kind of stem the tide of that hatred and the violence coming from some of these countries as it pertained to relationships with Americans. And that’s not true.

I mean, they even told Americans that al Qaeda was on the run, and that is not true. Maybe they’re on the run, but it’s towards America, not away from America. And that played out in Benghazi.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, that’s certainly peculiar that he said say that because my colleague, Catherine Herridge, saw an August 16th classified cable in which there were complaints that there were 10 al Qaeda training camps in the area of Benghazi. So it’s a little bit hard to say that al Qaeda is on the run at that point.

But let me ask you about something else, Governor. Time magazine announcing its Person of the Year. Once again, it’s President Obama. Now, Time magazine says it is for the time (ph) the president’s success in, quote, “forging a new majority to create a more perfect union.”

Governor Palin, your thoughts on that?

PALIN: Oh, the path towards a more perfect union is our Constitution. And I think that we have seen examples of our president not necessarily following the Constitution, in fact, wanting to change the Constitution because he sees it as a charter of negatives.

And he’s made statements in the past about his view of our Constitution, and that’s — you know, following it is a blueprint towards a more perfect union.

But Time magazine, you know, I think there’s some irrelevancy there, to tell you the truth. I mean, consider their list of the most influential people in the country and in the world, some who have made that list — yours truly! That ought to tell you something right there regarding the credence that we should give Time magazine and their list of people.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, that’s an interesting concept. But you know, it’s funny, you know, in looking at the — you know, at the president’s choice — he was chosen before because, you know, when he was first elected. But you know, the thing that strikes me is that — I can’t — you know, it’s Time magazine that says this sort of goofy stuff about, like, you know, whatever — whatever their criteria is for seeking amid great adversity to create a more perfect union — I don’t know what that means, I don’t know. But that’s Time magazine. That isn’t the president. The president didn’t pick those words. That’s Time magazine. So I put the — I put the — I point my finger at Time magazine when it gets a little silly. How about you?

PALIN: Oh, I think that those are some silly words chosen to describe Barack Obama. When I first heard that, first thing that popped into my mind was, What the heck has he done? Really, what has he done except drive us over a fiscal cliff, which we are over, and now it’s time to feel the thud at the bottom of that cliff. It’s just now a matter of degree of how hard we’re going to hit bottom.

But you know, other than that, really, what has he done to unify and make our nation a more perfect union? For the life of me, I don’t know, Greta!

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, if the standard had been successfully winning a hotly contested election, I would give him — I would give him Time magazine — I would put him on the cover for that because that certainly was — I mean, it was a hotly contested race.

But let me turn to another issue, a Christian American pastor locked up in Iran. Reverend Said Abedini was born in Iran, but he is a U.S. citizen. Now, he was arrested back in September when he was on a trip to Iran to visit his parents. Before coming to the United States, Abedini spent years as a leader in Iran’s underground Christian community, organizing churches and handing out Bibles on the streets.

And Iran has not yet formally charged him with a crime, but when the Revolutionary Guard arrested him, he was told he would have to pay for his Christian missionary work. His family, of course, is desperate to bring him home and has reached out to our State Department. No luck there, at least so far.

So Governor Palin, your thought tonight about a Christian in Iran who is now in custody?

PALIN: I do hope the State Department will get involved in this. You know, he is a U.S. citizens. And I think this illustrates, too, though, that brutality, that lack of freedom in these Islamic countries and makes you wonder why is it that we’re led to believe — Americans collectively, led to believe that perhaps it’s just a fine thing for Americans to be willing to spend and shed our own blood and treasure to usher in Sharia democracy in the Middle East, when Sharia law does call for apostates, those who would convert to Christianity — they can be put to death.

Why is that we would we advocate — especially sending our sons and daughters in conflict, they being willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, to usher in Sharia democracy in the Middle East? We really need to rethink what it is that we’re doing in some of these countries and our monetary support and military support and some of these countries that would ever support such a thing.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, it’s sort of interesting. If you look at the flip side, imagine, I mean, a Christian converting to become a Muslim. We would never — we would never, you know, stone the person or sentence a person to death or anything else. I mean, like, you know, the enormous amount of tolerance in this county, and yet so many of our — you know, so many Americans are facing just the opposite other places.

PALIN: And Greta, that is the most excellent point. Thank you for making that point. This is America! We have these freedoms. And we are willing to fight and die for our freedoms. That’s why it’s so extremely important to protect our Constitution. We are tolerant of other religions and other viewpoints. And nowhere else but America do we have such a privilege, such a blessing to be able to live as we do.

Read more.

 

 

 

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SarahPAC: Merry Christmas

Posted by Jackie Siciliano on December 19, 2012

SarahPAC emailed the following message to wish supporters a Merry Christmas:

Christmas2012

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The Only Hope

Posted by Jackie Siciliano on December 17, 2012

only_hope2012Overnight, Sarah Palin posted the following message of hope to her Facebook page:

Unspeakable evil slammed America in the beautiful little town of Newtown, Connecticut, just days ago. No words can express the collective shock and sorrow shared by Americans who know the murder of innocent children is the most horrendous crime imaginable. The Connecticut state motto, “Qui transtulit sustinet,” promises that only God can sustain us. Though still insufficient and unfulfilling for the grieving families of these beautiful babies in the Lord’s arms now, perhaps those words are all the inconsolable loved ones can hold on to at this time. May God show His sustaining love to them right now. Please Lord.

It may seem, especially after Friday, the world is spinning fast and furious and out of control. Many political, economic, and societal problems attempt to weigh down our spirit so heavily that some despondently give up after being deceptively led to believe there is no real hope for anything getting better. And despite 24-hour news cycles with constant information flooding our eyes and ears with much white noise, TV’s talking heads really have nothing meaningful to offer.

So the world spins furiously, but there is a reason its literal and figurative centrifugal force tightly holds us here together for such a time as this. Until God loosens the tie that binds us to this temporal earth, we are in it together, and we are expected to do our part to make it better. So, now is the time to speak truth, however politically incorrect some may deem it, and focus on what really matters so our nation’s spirit can be lifted as we unite in the cause for a better world built on real hope. First, all truly is hopeless if your faith and hope are put in any politician or media elite. That is because the average person is more truthful and responsible than the average politician or media elite.

Those who let themselves be terribly disappointed in political leaders as they ignore real problems, aided along with a complicit media bombarding us with irrelevant distractions in order to avoid facing the reality of a fallen culture, should know those distractions are to hide from a finger pointing to the main contributors to much of our problem. To stop distracting would result in acknowledging the political and media machine’s starring roles in our failing society. So, as they too often tear down those who try to do good, while elevating and celebrating corrupt selfishness, they dumbly assume we don’t know it is they who significantly contribute to our upside down world today. We’ve learned our lesson. Don’t put your hope in Hollywood or Washington. Instead, build resolve and seek truth more aggressively than ever at such a time as this.

I only know one source of truth and real hope. I call out to this hope with only childlike faith because I am so overwhelmed by the miraculous answers to my prayers that the comforting, secure hope I cling to is too inexplicable for a simpleminded person like me. Plus, because I am not a perfect Christian – and have never met one – I dare not judge others’ “Christian quotient,” and inarticulately explaining my faith is too often interpreted wrongly, hence, my thankfulness in being allowed via the Good Book to have a childlike faith that’s good enough for God. Further, I do not wish to force my beliefs down anyone’s throat – and simple faith does not do that. Though I’ll share my faith unapologetically, I beg fellow faith-filled fallible human beings to quit pretending anyone’s effective in forcing others to see the light; please also quit pretending you are holier than thou. You are not. I am not. We’re merely fortunate enough to have been knocked to our knees at some point in life and grabbed hold of the opportunity to accept undeserved grace and forgiveness that allows a rebirth and its accompanying peace that passeth all understanding. I cling to it not because I am bitter, but because there is nothing better.

May this Christmas season give you a glimpse of the faith to which millions cling to, and are willing to live and die to self for. As you watch this video, even if you’ve never prayed before, you can ask God for revelation to what occurred 2000 years ago, what it means for today, and why we celebrate the babe born in that Bethlehem manger over 2000 years ago. And I offer this not because I have all the answers, but because many ask me from where does my hope come? How do I hang on? What do I cling to? Here is a glimpse of the foundation of my faith. May you be shown through this short clip and song that the unanswered questions, the horrible suffering, and the sacrifice of One birthed opportunity for new life and real HOPE for all of us today.

Friends, please watch this, and please don’t lose hope. We mustn’t lose hope! Look up! And put your time and effort in working so hard for your family and loved ones around you. Don’t wait for a fallen world’s politicians and pundits to do it for you. You can have within yourself the ability and opportunity to help make America strong again, and her people joyful again.

- Sarah Palin

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Palin: Let’s All Pray

Posted by Jackie Siciliano on December 14, 2012

In response to the horrific event in Newton, Connecticut, Sarah Palin posted the following to her Facebook page:

 

My heart goes out to the families of the victims of this terrible tragedy in Connecticut today. Words can’t

express the horror everyone feels in seeing such evil manifested against innocent children. Nothing could be worse than the murder of innocent children. Let’s all pray for the victims, their families, and the whole
nation.

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Chuck Heath Jr. Reminds Us That Today Begins the Second Week of Advent Before Christmas

Posted by Dr. Fay on December 9, 2012

Today Chuck Heath Jr. posted the following comments on ‘The Porch’ about the Our Sarah book signing in Anchorage and a reminder that today begins the second week of Advent.

As I mentioned on Facebook, thank you to everyone who attended our Anchorage book signing yesterday. I’m especially grateful to people like Ann and Jon, who braved the snowstorm and made the trip from the Valley. Also, thank you to people like Donna P who bought multiple books for Christmas presents. I know how tough money is to come by these days, so we really appreciate your support.

We had a great time visiting with you all, and we met a lot of new friends too. The store sold almost every book they had on hand so they were happy. Thanks B&N for helping us out.

One of my former students from my teaching days in Talkeetna showed up and handed me a poem I had written about him and his classmates 26 years ago. I was touched that he still had it… I hadn’t seen it since I’d written it.

It’s week two of the Advent season, the remembrance of the arrival of Jesus Christ into the world.

Read more.

Advent is a period observed by many Christians that begins on the fourth Sunday before December 25 and ends on December 24.   It is considered by those who observe it as a time of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas Day.

Chuck Jr.  also posted this week’s Advent comments by the Reverend Billy Graham and a BGEA Classic Christmas Specials video, which you can watch online here.  This video has a series of inspiring video clips, and I liked the (11th) one in which George Beverly Shea sang a short Christmas song just before his 99th Christmas.  I went to YouTube to see if I could find the clip and saw this one, in which he is singing my favorite song just before his 103rd birthday.

According to another video, ‘How Great Thou Art’ – one of the greatest Christian songs of  our time – was written by Shea and sung for the first time at a Billy Graham Crusade at Madison Square Gardens in 1957.  A YouTube  Search pulls up many of his songs from 1957 onward.

Watching Billy Graham and George Beverly Shea continue to minister as they have grown into a ripe old age is a reminder of what God can do with dedicated lives.  Remember that God’s servant Moses lived to be 120 and remained strong until the end of his life.

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Hanukkah 2012 Begins Tonight With Lighting of Menorahs Around the World

Posted by Dr. Fay on December 8, 2012

The eight-day celebration of Hanukkah begins tonight.    On behalf of the authors at SPIB, I  want to wish all of our friends and readers a happy and joyous Hanukkah celebration.

Here is a brief history of how Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights, came to be celebrated.  A more detailed history can be found here.

In 168 B.C.E. the Jewish Temple was seized by Syrian-Greek soldiers and dedicated to the worship of the god Zeus. This upset the Jewish people, but many were afraid to fight back for fear of reprisals. Then in 167 B.C.E. the Syrian-Greek emperor Antiochus made the observance of Judaism an offense punishable by death. He also ordered all Jews to worship Greek gods.

Jewish resistance began in the village of Modiin, near Jerusalem. Greek soldiers forcibly gathered the Jewish villages and told them to bow down to an idol, then eat the flesh of a pig – both practices that are forbidden to Jews. A Greek officer ordered Mattathias, a High Priest, to acquiesce to their demands, but Mattathias refused. When another villager stepped forward and offered to cooperate on Mattathias’ behalf, the High Priest became outraged. He drew his sword and killed the villager, then turned on the Greek officer and killed him too. His five sons and the other villagers then attacked the remaining soldiers, killing all of them.

Mattathias and his family went into hiding in the mountains, where other Jews wishing to fight against the Greeks joined them. Eventually they succeeded in retaking their land from the Greeks. These rebels became known as the Maccabees, or Hasmoneans.

Once the Maccabees had regained control they returned to the Temple in Jerusalem. By this time it had been spiritually defiled by being used for the worship of foreign gods and also by practices such as sacrificing swine. Jewish troops were determined to purify the Temple by burning ritual oil in the Temple’s menorah for eight days. But to their dismay, they discovered that there was only one day’s worth of oil left in the Temple. They lit the menorah anyway and to their surprise the small amount of oil lasted the full eight days.

This is the miracle of the Hanukkah oil that is celebrated every year when Jews light a special menorah known as a hanukkiyah for eight days. One candle is lit on the first night of Hanukkah, two on the second, and so on, until eight candles are lit.

HuffPo has an article by Ian Deitch with information about some of this year’s celebrations and a slideshow of photos of menorah lightings.   From the article:

JERUSALEM — Jews around the world ushered in the eight-day Hanukkah festival Saturday evening, lighting the first candles of ceremonial lamps that symbolize triumph over oppression.

In Israel, families gathered after sundown for the lighting, eating traditional snacks of potato pancakes and doughnuts and exchanging gifts.

Local officials lit candles set up in public places, while families displayed the nine-candle lamps, called menorahs, in their windows or in special windproof glass boxes outside.

Hanukkah, also known as the festival of lights, commemorates the Jewish uprising in the second century B.C. against the Greek-Syrian kingdom, which had tried to impose its culture on Jews and adorn the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem with statues of Greek gods.

The holiday lasts eight days because according to tradition, when the Jews rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem, a single vial of oil, enough for one day, burned miraculously for eight.

For many Jewish people, the holiday symbolizes the triumph of good over evil.

Observant Jews light a candle each night to mark the holiday.

Oily foods are eaten to commemorate the oil miracle, hence the ubiquitous fried doughnuts and potato pancakes, known as latkes.

In Israel, children play with four-sided spinning tops, or dreidels, decorated with the letters that form the acronym “A great miracle happened here.” Outside of Israel, the saying is “A great miracle happened there.” Israeli students get time off from school for the holiday, when families gather each night to light the candles, eat and exchange gifts.

Hanukkah – which means dedication – is one of the most popular holidays in Israel, and has a high rate of observance.

In Ohio, the first public candle lighting on Saturday will be by Holocaust survivor Abe Weinrib, who turns 100 next week. Weinrib, who will light the first candle on a 13-foot public menorah at Easton Town Center in Columbus, said his biggest triumph was surviving the Holocaust, the Nazi campaign to eliminate Jews in Europe.

Weinrib told The Columbus Dispatch newspaper that he was arrested while working in Polish factories owned by his uncle when he was in his 20s. He spent six years imprisoned in camps, including the notorious Auschwitz.

In New York City, Jews are celebrating the holiday’s start with the ceremonial lighting of a 32-foot-tall menorah at the edge of Central Park.

Dignitaries, rabbis and a big crowd are expected Saturday evening for the ceremony. The steel menorah weighs 4,000 pounds and stands tall enough that organizers will need an electric utility crane to reach the top. It has real oil lamps, protected from the wind by glass chimneys.

A large menorah is also ready to be lit on the lawn in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The menorah is being put up by the Philadelphia Lubavitch Center, a group dedicated to Jewish education.

Read more.

Move America Forward sent this information in an e-mail this evening.  It can also be found online here.

JEWS IN US MILITARY CELEBRATE BEGINNING OF HANUKKAH

Today is the beginning of Hanukkah, eight of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar.
Hanukkah commemorates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E. It also reminds us of the great Jewish contributions that have been made to our military by extreme dedication and hard of work of many patriots over many years.

Since the birth of our country and even before, Jews have been part of our Armed Forces, making contributions to keep us safe and free. In George Washington’s Continental Army, there were Jewish patriots present, fighting for America’s freedom from the British. Lt. Col. Solomon Bush was one such famous Jew, decorated for bravery in fighting the British at the battle of Brandywine, where his brother Lewis was also gravely wounded.

Since then our military has always had Jewish troops fighting and supporting America in every armed conflict we’ve been in. Roughly 250,000 Jews fought for the United States in World War I, another 550,000 in World War II. Admiral Ben Moreel became the first jewish sailor to reach the rank of 4 star admiral and founded the famous Navy Seabees.

Today, thousands of Jews continue to serve as part of our armed forces, fighting in the war on terror. In Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, Jews have laid down their lives for the red white and blue.

A partial list of Jewish-Americans who have died in the line of duty follows and appreciation is expressed for their sacrifice.

Hanukkah and/or Christmas care packages can be sent to our troops at THIS LINK.

Other care packages to help cheer our military while they are away from home can be found here:

Kosher and Hanukkah Gift Baskets

Operation Gratitude

Hickory Farms Military Gifts

The Popcorn Factory – Hanukkah Gifts

Minimus Military Care Packages

And ideas on how to put together your own military care package:

Military Care Packages: Sending Smiles Overseas

Army Wife Network – Care Packages

Military.com – Care Packages

How to Make a Military Care Package – wikiHow

 

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