December 31

1229 – James I, King of Aragon enters Palma, Spain, completing the retaking of Majorca island during the Reconquista.

1775 – During the Revolutionary War, British forces repulse an attack on Quebec by the Continental Army forces under General Richard Montgomery.

1796 – Baltimore, Maryland is incorporated.

1862 – President Lincoln signs an act enabling the admission of West Virginia as a state in the Union, dividing Virginia.

1878 – Karl Benz, in Mannheim, Germany, files a patent on his 2 stroke internal combustion engine

1879 – Thomas Edison demonstrates incandescent lighting to the public in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

1907 – The first New Year’s Eve celebration is held in Times Square,  Manhattan.

1946 – President Harry S. Truman officially proclaims the end of hostilities in World War II.

1959 – AK Church is born somewhere in eastern Oklahoma.

1983 – The federal consent decree for divestiture into regional independent companies of the AT&T Bell System comes into effect.

1991 – All official Soviet institutions cease operations in former Soviet Union

1992 – Czechoslovakia is dissolved into the Czech and the Slovak Republics.

1999 –  Under terms of the 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaty, the U.S. cedes control of the Panama Canal and Canal Zone to Panama.

2010 –  A total of 36 tornadoes touch down in Arkansas, Illinois, and Oklahoma, killing 9 people and causing $113 million in damages.

2019 – The World Health Organization is informed of cases of pneumonia with an unknown cause, detected in Wuhan, China.

December 30

534 – The second and final edition of the Code of Justinian comes into effect in the Byzantine Empire

1066 –  A moslem mob storms the royal palace in Granada, crucifies Jewish vizier Joseph ibn Naghrela and massacres most of the Jewish population of the city.

1813 – British soldiers burn Buffalo, New York  during the War of 1812

1816 – The Treaty of St. Louis between the United States and the united Ottawa, Ojibwa, and Potawatomi Indian tribes is ratified, ceding land between Lake Michigan and the Illinois river.

1825 – The Treaty of St. Louis between the United States and the Shawnee Nation is ratified, ceding land around Cape Girardeau Missouri

1853 – The United States completes the Gadsden Purchase, buying land from Mexico to facilitate railroad building in the Southwest.

1890 – Following the Wounded Knee Massacre, the United States Army and Lakota warriors face off in the Drexel Mission Fight.

1903 – A fire at the Iroquois Theater in Chicago, Illinois kills at least 605 people.

1922 – The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is formed.

1972 – The United States halts mission Linebacker II, the heavy bombing of North Vietnam when Hanoi agrees to return to peace negotiations

1990 – Chief Warrant 4, Gene E, Barner, Missouri National Guard dies, age 51, at home, of cancer.

2006 – Former President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein is executed by hanging

2009 – A suicide bomber kills 9 people at Forward Operating Base Chapman, in Afghanistan.

December 29

1170 – Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, is assassinated inside Canterbury Cathedral by followers of King Henry II

1812 – The USS Constitution, under the command of Captain William Bainbridge, captures HMS Java off the coast of Brazil

1835 – The Treaty of New Echota is signed, ceding all the lands of the Cherokee tribe east of the Mississippi River to the United States.

1845 – In accordance with International Boundary Delimitation, the United States annexes the Republic of Texas, following the manifest destiny doctrine and is admitted as the 28th state.

1890 – On the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, in South Dakota, 300 Lakota and 51 U.S. Army soldiers are killed in battle near the Wounded Knee creek .

1934 – Japan renounces the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and the London Naval Treaty of 1930 which limited construction of warships and begins to rearm.

1949 – KC2XAK of Bridgeport, Connecticut becomes the first Ultra High Frequency television station to operate a daily schedule on UHF channel 24.

1972 – Eastern Air Lines Flight 401, a Lockheed L-1011 TriStar, crashes in the Florida Everglades on approach to Miami International Airport, Florida, killing 101 of the 176 passengers and crew aboard.

1975 – A bomb placed by unknown terrorists explodes at LaGuardia Airport in New York City, killing 11 people and injuring 74.

December 28

1832 – After being elected Senator from South Carolina, John C. Calhoun becomes the 1st Vice President of the United States to resign.

1835 – Osceola leads the Seminoles into the 2nd Seminole War against the United States.

1846 – Iowa is admitted as the 29th U.S. state.

1895 – Wilhelm Röntgen publishes a paper in the journal of the Würzburg Physical Medical Society, about his discovery in November of a new type of radiation. Since it was of a type unknown to him, he refers to it as X radiation, which radiated X-rays.

1948 – The Airborne Transport Airlines DC-3 NC16002 en route from Sn Juan, Puerto Rico to Miami, Florida, disappears after the pilot’s last radio contact, some 50 mi south of Miami within the ‘Bermuda Triangle’.

1973 – The United States Endangered Species Act is signed into law by President Nixon.

December 27

537 – The construction of the Hagia Sophia Church in Constantinople is completed.

1512 – The Spanish Crown issues the Laws of Burgos, governing the conduct of settlers with regard to native Indians in the New World.

1845 – Ether anesthetic is used for childbirth for the first time by Dr. Crawford Long in Jefferson, Georgia.

1845 – Journalist John L. O’Sullivan, writing in his newspaper the New York Morning News, argues that the United States had the right to claim the entire Oregon Country “by the right of our manifest destiny”.

1929 – Soviet General Secretary Stalin orders the “liquidation of the kulaks as a class”, beginning the ‘Holodomor’.

1968 – Apollo 8 splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, ending the first orbital manned mission to the Moon.

1979 – The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan.

1985 – Moslem terrorists kill 18 people inside the airports of Rome, Italy, and Vienna, Austria.

2004 – Radiation from an explosion on the magnetar neutron star SGR 1806-20 in the constellation of Sagittarius, reaches Earth. It is the brightest extrasolar event known to have been witnessed on the planet.

2012 – General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. dies, age 78, at Tampa, Florida.

December 26

1489 – During the Reconquista, the forces of the dual monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, take back Almería from the moslem ruler of Granada, Muhammad XIII.

1776 – Successfully crossing the Delaware river under cover of darkness during the previous night, troops pf the Continental Army under General Washington attack and defeat a garrison of Hessian forces at Trenton, New Jersey.

1799 – Representative Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee III’s eulogy to George Washington in Congress Assembled declares him as “first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen

1811 – A theater fire in Richmond, Virginia kills the Governor of Virginia George William Smith and the president of the First National Bank of Virginia Abraham B. Venable.

1862 – Four nuns serving as volunteer nurses on board USS Red Rover are the first female nurses on a U.S. Navy hospital ship.

1898 – Marie and Pierre Curie announce the isolation of radium.

1941 – President Roosevelt signs a bill establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day in the United States.

1944 – The U.S. 3rd Army’s 4th Armored Division, under General George Patton breaks the encirclement of surrounded U.S. forces at Bastogne, Belgium.

1972 – During Operation Linebacker II, 120 American B-52 Stratofortress bombers attack Hanoi, including 78 launched from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, the largest single combat launch in Strategic Air Command history.

1989 – United Express Flight 2415, a BAe Jetstream 31, crashes on approach to the Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco, Washington, killing all 6 passengers and crew on board.

1991 – The Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union meets and formally dissolves the Soviet Union

1994 – Four armed moslem hijackers seize control of Air France Flight 8969. When the plane lands at Marseille, a French Gendarmerie assault team boards the aircraft and kills them.

1996 – JonBenét Ramsey is found murdered in the basement of her home in Boulder Colorado.

No, Jesus Was Not a Refugee and He Was Not Homeless

Every Christmas, we hear the same tired refrain from the same charlatans. Jesus, they claim, was a refugee. The implication is that if you are a Christian that you are obligated to welcome refugees because they are pretty much like Jesus.

The latest edition comes from Pete Buttigieg. Buttigieg is one of those people who, despite living an immoral and dissolute lifestyle explicitly condemned by Scripture (that would be the proscription on homosexual acts) and in direct disobedience to the words of Christ (see Matthew 19:4-6), takes it upon himself to lecture everyone else about what it means to be a Christian.

This is patent nonsense.

First, at no point in Scripture, or, if you are Catholic, in Sacred Tradition is there any intimation that Jesus was born in poverty. Tradition holds that Saint Joseph was a carpenter. Lately there has been a debate among lefty theologians over his occupation, rendered by Matthew as “tektori,” and whether than meant “carpenter.” Tektori can mean any skilled artisan. There is a hint, based on the procedures laid out for a census in 1st Century Egypt, that Joseph might have had some property interest in Bethlehem that would have required him to register for the census there. The upshot is that Joseph was a skilled craftsman and while probably not affluent, he most likely provided a home for his family that was a bit above the poverty line for Judea in the 1st Century AD.

Jesus was not homeless. He was born in a manger because his parents arrived in a Bethlehem in the midst of an influx of people there to register for the census. There were no rooms to be had. It was the manager or nothing. The Holy Family had a home in Nazareth.

Finally, Jesus was not a refugee.

Joseph and Mary and Jesus were citizens of a province of the Roman Empire. When the Massacre of Innocents took place, they fled to Egypt and stayed, we think, in the rather sizable Jewish community there. Egypt was also part of the Roman Empire. The odious Reverend James Martin claims that Jesus was a refugee based on the UN High Commissioner on Refugees definition

refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.

Martin, by the way, is probably the most dishonest non-televangelist pastor/priest in any denomination. There is literally no lie he will not tell to warp Scripture to fit his personal goal of mainstreaming homosexuality. Here is the central lie in his argument:

The Holy Family, as Matthew recounts the story, was fleeing because of a “well-founded fear of persecution” because of their “membership in a particular social group,” in this case people with young children living in Bethlehem. I am not sure how you could get any clearer than that.

This is [also, ed.] patent nonsense. A birth cohort is not “membership in a particular social group.” The Holy Family were refugees in exactly the same way that anyone today on the run from state authorities would be called a refugee. The move from one region of the Roman Empire to another is not even remotely similar to that of a modern refugee. At a stretch, He could be classed as an internally displaced person, with an emphasis on the singular form of “person” because there were no others similarly situated. The period of time in which the Holy Family was away from Nazareth was fairly short. Herod the Great died no more than a year or two after the birth of Christ and then the family returned home. By age 12, we know the Holy Family was traveling openly to Jerusalem for Passover pilgrimage (again, not a mark of a family in poverty).

The truth here is very simple. Christ is not a metaphor for whatever political cause you are flogging. The Nativity is not a primarily a reminder of illegal immigrants or the poor or the social justice cause you are pushing. The Nativity is the a demonstration of God’s love for the world and his desire that we all be saved…………

The Authenticity of the Virgin Birth

F. F. Bruce is one of those scholars I have had to spend a lot of time reading in seminary. He researched and wrote some of the best material on the history of the Bible and its accuracy. In studying the ancient texts that we have, Bruce has noted that there are only around nine or 10 manuscripts of Caesar’s Gallic War, which was composed between 58 and 50 B.C. The oldest manuscript we have originates from 900 years later.

Bruce writes: “The History of Thucydides (c. 460-400 BC) is known to us from eight (manuscripts), the earliest belonging to circa A.D. 900, and a few papyrus scraps, belonging to about the beginning of the Christian era. The same is true of the History of Herodotus (c. 488-428 BC). Yet no classical scholar would listen to an argument that the authenticity of Herodotus or Thucydides is in doubt because the earliest (manuscripts) of their works which are of any use to us are over 1,300 years later than the originals.”

Take, as well, something like Homer’s Iliad, which people passed to one other over the centuries by oration, until it was finally written down. Until the 19th century, most people presumed Troy a myth. Then, archeologists found it. The “rage of Achilles” was probably true. In the centuries before the printing press — even before monks and script — people preserved their histories through accurate recitation over generations. Apply this all to scripture.

Regarding the Old Testament, it is perhaps the most accurately reproduced ancient text in the entire world. Scribes took great care because they were writing God’s word. We know the accuracy of the text has been beyond reproach for at least 2,500 years. The discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls confirms this.

Regarding the New Testament, we possess enough of the writings of early church leaders who wrote within about 100 years of Christ’s resurrection to be able to reproduce the gospels and letters of Paul and John. There are over 20,000 handwritten manuscripts of the New Testament from the first few centuries of Christianity, written in Coptic, Greek, Latin, Syriac, and other languages. There are 5,700 New Testament Greek manuscripts known to exist, and some of those were written within about 100 years of Christ’s resurrection.

We do not, to our knowledge, have the original New Testament texts as actually written by Luke, Paul, John and others. But we have the copies of them from very close in time to the originals. The scribes of the New Testament — sometimes working at a furious rate to outpace Roman soldiers — made occasional errors. But those errors were mostly in grammar and punctuation, not errors of substance.

Bart Ehrman is one of the scholars on whom Biblical skeptics rely. Ehrman was a fundamentalist Christian but now considers himself an agnostic atheist. He studied under Bruce Metzger, who, like F. F Bruce, is noted for his scholarship on the Biblical texts. Ehrman writes that though he has textual criticism of scripture, his criticism “does not actually stand at odds with Prof. Metzger’s position that the essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament.” When an agnostic atheist like Ehrman agrees with a highly respected Christian scholar like Metzger — who was Ehrman’s professor — that “the essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants,” you should pay attention.

One of those essential Christian beliefs is the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. It is as foundational a belief to the Christian faith as the resurrection. In fact, I suspect the very people who doubt the miracle of the virgin birth also doubt the resurrection. I believe both are true. We celebrate Christ’s birth this Christmas season in communion with more than 2 billion other Christians globally who accept the virgin birth as true. “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us, a Son is given, And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

December 25

~4BC – Forced to stay in the equivalent of a modern stable due to all the inns in the city of Bethehem being full up because of a census and taxing ordered by the Romans, Miriam, the wife of Yosef ben Yakov gives birth to a son they name Yeshua.

508 – Clovis I, King of the Franks, is baptized at Reims, France by Bishop Remigius.

597 – Augustine of Canterbury baptizes more than 10,000 Anglo Saxons at Kent, England.

800 – Charlemagne is crowned Holy Roman Emperor at Rome

1066 – William the Conqueror is crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey

1100 – Baldwin of Boulogne is crowned the first King of Jerusalem in the Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem.

1758 – Halley’s Comet is sighted by Johann Georg Palitzsch, confirming Edmund Halley’s prediction of its passage, the first passage of a comet predicted ahead of time.

1776 – George Washington, leading 2400 members of the Continental Army cross the Delaware River at night to attack Hessian mercenary forces serving Great Britain at Trenton, New Jersey, the next day.

1814 – Rev. Samuel Marsden holds the first Christian service on land in New Zealand at Rangihoua Bay.

1868 – President Andrew Johnson grants an unconditional pardon to all Confederate veterans.

1941 – Admiral Chester W. Nimitz arrives at Pearl Harbor to assume command as Commander in Chief U.S. Pacific Fleet.

1968 – Apollo 8 performs the first successful Trans Earth Injection (TEI) maneuver, sending the crew and spacecraft on a trajectory back to Earth from Lunar orbit.

1989 – Deposed Romanian President Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife, Elena, are arrested, condemned to death after a summary trial, and executed by firing squad.

1991 – Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as President of the Soviet Union.

2020 – Anthony Quinn Warner blows himself and his RV to bits in downtown Nashville, Tennessee injuring 8 more people.

On Christmas Eve, 1968 while in orbit around the Moon, the crew of Apollo 8; Jim Lovell, Frank Borman and Bill Anders, on live TV, recited the opening verses of the King James Version of the book of Genesis.
It was, and is still the most watched TV broadcast in history.


Bill Anders
We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

Jim Lovell

And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

Frank Borman

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.

This was not done on the spur of the moment, as it was decided long before launch that a Christmas message would be sent to Earth from Lunar orbit. The message was actually included in the Mission Flight Plan and is now on display at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.

December 24

1144 – The capital of the crusader County of Edessa, in modern southeastern Turkey, falls to Imad ad-Din Zengi, the atabeg of Mosul and Aleppo.

1814 – Representatives of the United Kingdom and the United States sign the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812.

1818 – The first performance of “Silent Night” takes place in the church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria.

1914 – During the first winter of World War I, the “Christmas truce” begins.

1943 – U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower is named Supreme Allied Commander for the Invasion of Normandy.

1968 – Firing the Apollo 8 Service Module main engine, the crew becomes the first humans to reach the moon and enter into Lunar orbit.

1973 – The District of Columbia Home Rule Act is passed, allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to elect their own local government.

December 23

1688 – During the ‘Glorious Revolution’, King James II of England flees from England to Paris, after being deposed in favor of his nephew, William of Orange and his daughter Mary.

1783 – After the end the War of Independence, and his victory/farewell dinner in New York, General George Washington resigns as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army at the Maryland State House in Annapolis.

1913 – The Federal Reserve Act is signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, creating the Federal Reserve System.

1936 – Colombia becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty.

1941 – After 15 days of fighting, the U.S. garrison on Wake Island are finally forced to surrender to the Japanese Army

1947 – The properties of the transistor are first demonstrated by its inventors at Bell Laboratories.

1948 – Convicted of war crimes during World War 2 by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East Akira Mutō, Hideki Tojo, Seishirō Itagaki, Heitarō Kimura, Iwane Matsui, Kenji Doihara and Kōki Hirota are executed by hanging at Sugamo Prison in Tokyo, Japan.

1954 – The first successful kidney transplant is performed by J. Hartwell Harrison and Joseph Murray between the identical twins, Ronald and Richard Herrick, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

1968 – The 82 sailors from the USS Pueblo are released after 11 months of captivity in North Korea.

1970 – The North Tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan is topped out at 1,368 feet, making it the tallest building in the world at the time.

1979 – Invading Soviet Union forces occupy the Afghanistan capital, Kabul.

1986 – Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, piloting Voyager, land at Edwards Air Force Base in California becoming the first to fly an aircraft non-stop around the world without aerial or ground refueling.

2013 – Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov, inventor of the Soviet AK-47 dies, age 94, in hospital at the Udmurtian medical facility in Izhevsk, Russia

Today in History, 22 December 1944, Bastogne Belgium

To the U.S.A. Commander of the encircled town of Bastogne.

The fortune of war is changing. This time the U.S.A. forces in and near Bastogne have been encircled by strong German armored units. More German armored units have crossed the river Our near Ortheuville, have taken Marche and reached St. Hubert by passing through Hompre-Sibret-Tillet. Libramont is in German hands.

There is only one possibility to save the encircled U.S.A. troops from total annihilation: that is the honourable surrender of the encircled town. In order to think it over a term of two hours will be granted beginning with the presentation of this note.

If this proposal should be rejected one German Artillery Corps and six heavy A. A. Battalions are ready to annihilate the U.S.A. troops in and near Bastogne. The order for firing will be given immediately after this two hours term.

All the serious civilian losses caused by this artillery fire would not correspond with the well-known American humanity.

The German Commander.

 

To the German Commander.

NUTS!

The American Commander.

December 22

1807 – Replacing the 1806 Non importation Act, the 1807 Embargo Act, forbidding trade with all foreign countries, is passed by Congress

1891 – Asteroid 323 Brucia becomes the first asteroid discovered using astrophotography by Max Wolf, at the Heidelberg University Observatory.

1937 – The Lincoln Tunnel opens to traffic in New York City.

1944 – German troops surrounding U.S. troops in and around Bastogne, Belgium, receive a one word reply to their surrender demand from the American commander, Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe : “Nuts!”
Elsewhere; Supported by the American OSS, the People’s Army of Vietnam is formed by Hồ Chí Minh and Võ Nguyên Giáp to resist Japanese occupation of Indochina.

1964 – The SR-71 Blackbird makes its first test flight at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California.

1984 – Bernhard Goetz shoots four would be muggers on an express train in Manhattan, New York.

1989 – The Brandenburg Gate reopens, ending the division of East and West Berlin.

1996 – Airborne Express Flight 827, a Douglas DC-8, crashes near Narrows, Virginia, killing all 6 passengers and crew on board.

2001 – Aboard American Airlines Flight 63, Richard Reid attempts to destroy the airliner by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes and is ‘subdued’ by passengers when the bomb fails to go off.

2010 – The repeal of the ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell‘ policy, the 17 year old policy banning homosexuals serving openly in the United States military, enacted by President Bill Clinton, is signed into law by President Barack Hussein Obama.
Just me, but I see a connection here. Could it be demoncraps?

2018 – A tsunami caused by an eruption of Anak Krakatau, part of the remains of Krakatoa, in Indonesia kills 430 people and injures many more

December 21

1620 – William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims land on what is now known as Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

1826 – American settlers in Nacogdoches, Mexican Texas, declare their independence, starting the Fredonian Rebellion.

1861 – Public Resolution 82, containing a provision for a Navy Medal of Valor, is signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln.

1872 –  The crew of HMS Challenger sails from Portsmouth, England on their voyage of exploration, while exactly 100 years later the crew of LM Challenger explores the moon

1913 – Arthur Wynne’s “word-cross”, is the first crossword puzzle published in the New York World newspaper.

1937 – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the world’s first full length animated feature, premieres at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Hollywood.

1945 – General George S. Patton dies in Heidelberg, Germany, age 60, 12 days after being injured in an automobile accident.

1968 – Apollo 8 is launched from the Kennedy Space Center, on a lunar trajectory for the first visit to another celestial body by humans.

1970 – The first flight of Grumman F-14 Tomcat Navy fighter

1988 – A bomb placed by Libyan moslem terrorists explodes on board Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 passengers and crew aboard and 11 more on the ground.

2004 – A suicide bomber kills 14 U.S. soldiers, 4 U.S. citizen Halliburton employees, 4  allied Iraqi soldiers and wounds 72 more at Forward Operating Base Marez in Mosul, Iraq.

How God Used Roads to Pave the Way for Jesus

Holiday travel is picking back up in cities across America this year. A recent study reported that 70% of us are planning on taking a road trip as part of our holiday celebration. Roads are important to our travel plans, and they were also important to God as he planned the arrival of Jesus. According to the Apostle Paul, God timed the appearance of Jesus perfectly:

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons and daughters. (Galatians 4:4-5 NASB)

But what did Paul mean when he wrote that Jesus arrived in the “fullness of time”? As a thirty-five-year-old homicide detective and skeptic, I pondered Paul’s words the first time I read his letter to the Galatians. In fact, I began an investigation of history and examined the “fuse” leading up to the explosive appearance of Jesus. I discovered that God used roads to prepare the way.

Advancing on the Roads

Wheels appeared early in history, perhaps as soon as 5000 BC in ancient Sumer (Mesopotamia). From the same region came the first two-wheeled cart (c. 3000 BC), usually pulled by donkeys called “onagers.” Four-wheeled carts came later in history (around 2500 BC) and were used primarily for farming. By 2000 BC spoke-wheeled chariots emerged in southern Siberia and Central Asia.

These developments certainly aided the ability to move materials and wage war, but their use for “social” transportation was limited to the quality of roads in each region. Most roads were little more than cleared pathways, susceptible to weather and war. Had Jesus been born at this time in history, his message would not have traveled far from the region in which he lived.

But as road technology advanced, so did the opportunity to advance the message of Jesus.

Persians were among the first to build significant roads. Darius the Great refurbished an existing roadway and created the “Royal Road” in 500 BC, connecting regions as far apart as Susa (now the Khuzestan region of Iran) to Sardis (now the Manisa Province in western Turkey). This reduced travel from ninety days on foot to nine days on horseback.

Not Yet the Time

Surprisingly, the powerful Greek Empire contributed little to the advancement of roads, primarily because of Greece’s difficult, mountainous, and rocky terrain, their reliance on sea travel for trade, and their inability to protect travelers with official oversight. Until 400 BC, with some exceptions (like the thoroughfares between major cities and surrounding holy sites), most roads were difficult for wheeled transportation.

Had Jesus arrived at this point in history, his followers would still have faced the limits of transportation within nations in less-than-perfect road conditions. But as before, the Roman Empire provided a solution.

The Roman Solution

As the Roman Empire grew militarily, so did its need for roads. As a result, Roman roads were widespread and usually well paved. Wherever they conquered, the Romans built long, relatively straight roads to make the movement of military equipment easier. This desire to avoid curves necessitated the advanced engineering of bridges, tunnels, and viaducts to traverse mountains and valleys. Roman roads were well built and often populated by the military, making them much safer to travel than their Greek counterparts. Spanning nearly 250,000 miles, these roads became a symbol of Rome’s power, connecting diverse subcultures within the empire.

Construction of probably the most famous of Roman roads, the Appian Way, was started in 312 BC. Called the “Queen of Roads,” it set the standard for the many famous roads Romans would build leading up to the lifetime of Jesus.

The Romans weren’t the only ones contributing to the advance of transportation.

The Roads We Travel

By 130 BC, the Silk Road (also called the Silk Routes) was formally opened for travel by the Han dynasty of China. This ancient network of connected trade routes would be used to facilitate trade between the East and the West for many centuries.

As the Romans built the infrastructure of secondary roads and perfected the engineering of bridges and tunnels by 100 BC, the stage was set for the peacetime expansion of the Roman highway system that occurred as Jesus’s followers began to share his message and ministry.

At this point in history, early in the first century, the Roman Empire had unified and refurbished the road systems of conquered nations, connecting the various systems into a network of roads that spanned the empire from Britain to Syria. This network provided a new opportunity to trade and share ideas, even ideas about Jesus, including his birth, death, and resurrection.

So, this year, as you’re on the road heading toward a Christmas celebration, be sure to celebrate the way God used roads as He delivered Jesus in the “fullness of time” so we might “receive the adoption as sons and daughters.”

 

 

December 20

1192 – Richard the Lionheart of England is captured and imprisoned by Leopold V of Austria on his way home to England after the Third Crusade.

1803 – The Louisiana Purchase is completed at a ceremony in New Orleans.

1812 –  Sacagawea of the Shoshone tribe dies, age about 24, at the Fort Manuel Lisa Trading Post in North Dakota.

1860 – South Carolina – of course, Fort Sumter being in Charleston harbor – becomes the first state to secede from the United States.

1915 – The last Australian troops are evacuated from Gallipoli during World War 1

1924 – Sentenced to 5 years in prison for being convicted of Treason for the ‘Beer Hall Putsch’ in Munich, Adolf Hitler is released from Landsberg Prison, after serving only 264 days.

1941 – The American Volunteer Group, better known as the “Flying Tigers” has their first engagement against Japanese forces in Kunming, China.

1951 – The EBR-1 reactor at the Argonnne West National Laboratory site near Arco, Idaho, becomes the first nuclear power plant to generate electricity, powering four (4!) light bulbs before finally producing enough electricity to power the entire building.

1952 – A United States Air Force C-124 en route from Larson Air Force Base, near Moses Lake, Washington to Kelly Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. crashes just after takeoff killing 87 of the 115 passengers and crew aboard.

1957 – The Boeing 707 passenger jet makes its first flight.

1968 – The Zodiac Killer murders his first victims, Betty Lou Jenson and David Faraday in Vallejo, California.

1971 – The international aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières -Doctors Without Borders – is founded by Bernard Kouchner in Paris, France.

1989 – Beginning with troops of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the U.S. Army Ranger Regiment performing Combat Parachute Assaults at 01:00 hrs EST to capture the Rio Hato and Torrijos International Airports, U.S forces begin Operation Just Cause, invading Panama to depose Manuel Noriega.

1991 – A Missouri court sentences the Palestinian militant Zein Isa and his wife Maria to death for the ‘honor killing’ of their daughter Palestina but both murderous parents later die in prison before execution of sentences.

1995 – American Airlines Flight 965, a Boeing 757, crashes into a mountain 50 km north of Cali, Colombia killing 159 of the 163 passengers and crew aboard.

2019 – The United States Space Force becomes the first new branch of the United States Armed Forces since 1947.

 

December 19

1606 – The ships Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery depart England carrying settlers who found Jamestown, Virginia Colony

1675 – The militia of the English settlers of the villages of Kingston and West Kingston in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations are victorious against warriors of the Narragansett tribe during King Philip’s War in New England.

1776 – Thomas Paine publishes one of a series of pamphlets in The Pennsylvania Journal entitled “The American Crisis”.

1777 – The U.S. Continental Army goes into winter quarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

1907 – 239 coal miners die in the Darr Mine Disaster in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania.

1946 – The First Indochina War between France and the Vietnamese National Army against the Việt Minh and the People’s Army of Vietnam begins

1972 – Apollo 17, the last manned Moon landing mission to date, returns to Earth, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean, 4 miles from the recovery ship, USS Ticonderoga

1974 – Nelson Rockefeller is sworn in as Vice President of the United States

1995 – Having not been included under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, Congress finally passes legislation recognizing the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi tribe in Athens Michigan.

1998 –The House of Representatives votes to impeach President Bill Clinton

2016 –Murdering the original driver, a moslem from Tunisia deliberately drives a truck  into the Christmas market next to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church at Breitscheidplatz in Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring 56 more.

December 18

1271 – Kublai Khan renames his empire of Mongolia and China “Yuan” starting the Yuan dynasty .

1787 – New Jersey becomes the 3rd state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

1865 – Secretary of State William Seward proclaims the adoption of the 13th  Amendment to the Constitution.

1917 – The resolution containing the language of the Eighteenth Amendment to enact Prohibition is passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification.

1932 – The Chicago Bears defeat the Portsmouth Spartans in the first NFL playoff game held to break a tie in the season’s final standings to win the NFL Championship at Chicago.

1958 – The U.S. launches SCORE, the world’s first communications satellite

1966 – The Saturn moon Epimetheus is discovered by astronomer Richard Walker.

1972 –  President Nixon announces that the U.S. will begin Operation Linebacker II, bombing North Vietnam after peace talks collapse.

1977 – United Airlines Cargo Flight 2860,  a Douglas DC-8,en route from San Francisco to Chicago, crashes near Kaysville, Utah, killing all three crew members on board.

1999 – NASA launches into orbit the Terra platform carrying 5 Earth Observation instruments, including ASTER, CERES, MISR, MODIS and MOPITT.

2017 – Amtrak Cascades passenger train 501 derails near DuPont, Washington, killing 6 people, and injuring 70 others.

2019 – The House of Representatives votes to impeach President Donald Trump

December 17

1777 – France formally recognizes the United States as an independent nation.

1790 – The Aztec Sun Stone calendar is discovered at El Zócalo, Mexico City during repairs to the city cathedral.

1819 – Simón Bolívar, who later dies on this date in 1830, declares the independence of Gran Colombia during the Congress of Angostura.

1835 – The second Great Fire of New York destroys 13 acres of New York City’s Financial District.

1892 – First issue of Vogue magazine is published.

1903 – Orville Wright, piloting the Wright Flyer, makes the first controlled powered flight of a heavier than air craft flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

1933 – The first NFL Championship Game is played at Wrigley Field between the New York Giants and Chicago Bears.

1935 – The Douglas DC-3 make its first flight

1938 – While working as the head of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry in Berlin, Otto Hahn discovers the nuclear fission of uranium releasing large amounts of energy.

1944 –  During the Battle of the Bulge, in areas around Malmedy, Belgium, a total of 373 known U.S. soldiers, held as Prisoners of War, are shot by Waffen-SS Kampfgruppe troops under the command of Obersturmbannführer Joachim Peiper.

1947 – The Boeing B-47 Stratojet makes its first flight

1950 – The 94th Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the U.S. Air Force 1st Fighter Wing flies its first combat sortie in Korea in F-86 Sabres.

1969 – The U.S. Air Force officially closes its Project Blue Book study of UFOs.

1981 – American Brigadier General James L. Dozier is abducted by the Red Brigades in Verona, Italy.

2003 –Mojave Aerospace Ventures’ SpaceShipOne, piloted by Brian Binnie, makes its first powered flight reaching supersonic speed.

2014 – The United States and Cuba re-establish diplomatic relations