Saturday, December 23, 2006

The early life of Jesus

About 2000 years ago a man named Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in the land of Israel. He was unique. He was fully God and yet fully human. God had allowed himself to be born as a man so that he could live and suffer among us, to serve as the perfect atonement for sin, and to offer forgiveness and salvation to anyone who believes.

His birth, mission, death and resurrection were foretold by the prophets of the Old Testament of the Bible and revealed to us by the writers of the New Testament.

Jesus lived among his fellow Jews during a time when the boundaries of the Roman Empire included the land of Israel. He preached and performed miracles for three-and-a-half years until he was crucified by the Romans. He died on a wooden cross and was buried in a tomb.

But his life did not end in death. Jesus Christ was resurrected. And because he was perfect, he is able to open the doors to the Kingdom of God. And because he was sinless, he is able to forgive us our sins so that we too can be accepted into the Kingdom of God.

Jesus explains this in a passage of the Bible called John 3:16, when he said:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

The following is an overview of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

The virgin Mary is told she'll give birth to Jesus(see Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:18-25)

Mary was engaged to a man named Joseph but not yet married. The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced that she would have a son who would be named Jesus and who would be called the Son of God. Here is the NIV translation of Luke 1:27-35:
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 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, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"

The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon 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." - Luke 1:27-35 (NIV).
This event was foreshadowed centuries earlier when the prophet Isaiah (see Isaiah 7:14) spoke of a sign from God in which an "almah," meaning a young maiden, would give birth to a son who would be called "Immanuel," which is a Hebrew phrase that means "God with us." Because Jesus was God incarnate as a man, who lived among us, he literally was "God with us."

An interesting feature of the prophecy is that it speaks of a birth by a young maiden as a sign from God. Young maidens of that era were strongly expected to be chaste prior to marriage. Given the cultural expectation, and the fact that Isaiah speaks of the birth in the context of a sign from God, this prophecy is viewed by Christians as referring to a virgin birth.

Jesus is born in the town of Bethlehem(see Luke 2:1-7)

Shortly before Jesus was born, the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus decided that a census be taken throughout the Roman Empire, including the land of Israel. People were required to return to their ancestral homes for registration. For Joseph and Mary, that meant leaving Nazareth, which is a town in the northern district of Galilee, and traveling to Bethlehem, which is in the southern region called Judah or Judea.
After they arrived in Bethlehem, Mary was ready to give birth to Jesus. So Joseph and Mary went to a manger because they could not find other lodging. It was a manger, where animals are kept, that served as the humble place of birth for Jesus.

Bethlehem is a very important city for Messianic prophecy. King David, who ruled over Israel about 1,000 years before the time of Jesus, was born in Bethlehem. And the prophet Micah, who lived about 700 years before Jesus, announced that Bethlehem would be the birthplace for the Messiah:
"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." - Micah 5:2 (NIV translation).

Town of Bethleham where Jesus was born- picture shown is of the current time.

Ephrathah is the ancient name for the town of Bethlehem in Judah.
Star of Bethlehem appears(see Matthew 2:1-2) When Jesus was born, a star appeared over Bethlehem. Scholars today speculate whether the star was a meteor, a supernatural phenomenon, an alignment of celestial bodies, or a literal star. Many scholars believe that Jesus was born sometime around 4 BC to 8 BC. It is interesting to note that ancient Chinese astronomy records indicate that there was a star-like object hovering somewhere over the Middle East for several days in the year 5 BC, about 2000 years ago.

King Herod tries to kill the new-born King (Jesus)(see Matthew 2:3-12) The Star of Bethlehem attracted visitors from the East. These visitors believed that the star marked the birth of a new king. Perhaps the visitors were familiar with the Bible's prophecies and understood that a Messiah King would be born in Israel and that he would have an impact on the entire world.
But, Israel already had a ruler, King Herod the Great. He was not a true king but had been appointed by the Romans to govern the Jews in the land of Israel. Herod was described by Josephus, a Jewish historian who ived during the first century, as a murderous man who ordered the deaths of many of his own family members. When Herod found out that the visitors were hoping to find and worship the newborn king, Herod ordered the deaths of every infant in Bethlehem, in the hopes of killing the king that the visitors spoke of.

The infant Jesus and his parents escape to Egypt(see Matthew 2:13-15) An angel warned Joseph of Herod's plans to murder the young children of Bethlehem. So Joseph and Mary took the baby Jesus to Egypt and they lived there until Herod died. In ancient times the people of Israel sometimes sought refuge in Egypt. During the days of Jacob and his 12 sons, for example, the Israelites traveled to Egypt because there was a great famine in the land of Israel. The book of Matthew shows that many events in Jewish history are similar to events in the life of Jesus, reinforcing his role as the Messiah.

Jesus is taken back to Israel, to the town of Nazareth(see Matthew 2:19-23) After the death of King Herod, Joseph, Mary and Jesus returned to the land of Israel. Joseph was afraid to return to Bethlehem because the town is near Jerusalem, where Herod Archelaus, the son of Herod, now reigned as king. So Joseph took his family to the northern district of Galilee, to a small town called Nazareth. This obscure town became the hometown of Jesus, where he grew up and became an adult.

Jesus as a young child visits the Lord's Temple(see Luke 2:41-52) When Jesus was 12 years of age, he and his mother Mary and stepfather Joseph traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate the annual Feast of the Passover. When the feast had ended, Mary and Joseph became separated from Jesus and they searched for him. Jesus had gone to the Lord's Temple and conversed with the people there. The people were amazed by his depth of understanding and by his knowledge. When Mary found Jesus at the Temple, Jesus said to her: "Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" (Luke 2:49).

Bible prophecies - Fulfilled by Jesus

These 10 Old Testament passages were written hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus. They foreshadowed and foretold many events of the life of Jesus, including that He would be born in Bethlehem and that he would bring salvation to people throughout the world.

1. God's salvation would reach the ends of the earth Bible passage: Isaiah 49:6 Written: perhaps between 701-681 BC Fulfilled: About 32 AD In Isaiah 49:6, the prophet speaks of a servant of God who would be a light to Gentiles (non-Jews) so that God's salvation could reach the ends of the earth. Christians believe that Jesus is the fulfillment of this promise. The followers of Jesus helped spread Christianity about 2000 years ago. Christianity is unique in that it is among the first evangelical religions in history, and the first to be taken to people all over the world. Christians believe that salvation, forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven are available to anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their savior: "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." - Romans 10:9-10 (NIV translation).Isaiah 49:6"It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."

2. God promised another prophet like Moses Bible passage: Deuteronomy 18:15-18 Written: perhaps 1400 BCFulfilled: about 5 BC to 30 AD In Deuteronomy 18:15-18, Moses told the Jews that God would raise up another prophet like Moses. After Moses, there was a succession of prophets, including Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and finally Jesus Christ. Jesus was very much like Moses: Both were delivered from death as infants. Both were prophets. Both performed miracles. Both were leaders. And both were intermediaries between God and man. No other prophet is as much like Moses than Jesus. Moses led the Jews out of the bonds of slavery in Egypt into the Promised Land of Israel. Moses died shortly before the Jews entered Israel. Jesus leads people - anyone who accepts Jesus as their Savior - out of the bonds of sin and into the Promised Land of Heaven. Moses offered to die, if necessary, if God would forgive the sins of the people that Moses was leading (see Exodus 32:30-33). Jesus did die for our sins, so that people could enter the Kingdom of Heaven.Deuteronomy 18:15-18The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me (Moses) from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. … The Lord said to me … "I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him."

3. Isaiah foreshadowed the virgin birth of Jesus Bible passage: Isaiah 7:14 Written: perhaps between 701-681 BC Fulfilled: 5 BC In Isaiah 7:14, the prophet delivers what many Christians consider to be a dual prophecy, one that was fulfilled symbolically 2700 years ago, and one that was fulfilled literally with the birth of Jesus about 2000 years ago. The symbolic part of the prophecy correctly stated that a political alliance that threatened Jewish sovereignty about 2700 years ago would fail in a short amount of time. That amount of time was defined as the amount of time that it takes for a child to learn right from wrong. But, Christians believe that this prophecy has a second meaning, that there would be someone born of a virgin, who would be referred to as "Immanuel," which means, "God with us." According to the New Testament, Jesus was born of the virgin Mary and is the Son of God. Because He is the Son of God, Jesus literally can be referred to as "God with us." Non-Christian scholars have challenged this interpretation. They say that the Hebrew word "almah," which is the word that Christian Bibles often translate as "virgin," actually means "young woman." It is true that "almah" means "young woman," however, the Bible never uses the word to refer specifically to a married woman. And the Bible makes it clear that unmarried women are to be virgins.Isaiah 7:14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and [*] will call him Immanuel. * either "he" or "they" .

4. The Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah Bible passage: Genesis 49:10 Written: perhaps 1400 BC Fulfilled: 5 BC In Genesis 49:10, Jacob is blessing his 12 sons. This blessing was also a prophecy. Jacob told his son Judah that his descendants will be rulers and that one of his descendants will be an ultimate ruler. According to the NIV translation: "The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his." Christians believe that this is a reference to Jesus Christ who will establish an everlasting kingdom in the future. Jesus was born about 2000 years after Jacob died. Jesus' ancestry is traced back to Jacob's son, Judah, in Luke 3:23-34 and in Matthew 1:1-16. Today, some estimates claim that there are as many as 2 billion Christians worldwide follow the teachings of Jesus Genesis 49:10The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.

5. The Messiah would be born in BethlehemBible passage: Micah 5:2Written: sometime between 750-686 BCFulfilled: 5 BC The following is from the About
In Micah 5:2, there is a prophecy that reveals that Bethlehem would be the birthplace of the Messiah.
For Christians, the prophecy is very powerful in a very simple way. It eliminates all other cities and towns throughout the world as a place in which the Messiah could be born. It narrows the possibilities to one tiny village just south of Jerusalem.
And throughout the span of the past 27 centuries, from the days of the prophet Micah up through the present time, Bethlehem is credited as being the birthplace for only one person who is widely known throughout the world. And that person is Jesus Christ.
The New Testament books of Matthew and Luke list Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus. Matthew 2:1-6 describes the birth of Jesus as the fulfillment of Micah's prophecy.
In recent years, however, some non-believers have attempted to discredit Matthew's interpretation of Micah 5:2 by claiming that the prophecy refers to a person named Bethlehem, not a town name Bethlehem. This claim has been widely circulated on the Internet by a college professor who describes himself as a former Christian minister.
The first problem with this claim appears in Micah 5:1. In that verse, the prophet establishes that he is speaking of Bethlehem the town, not Bethlehem the person, by setting up a context in which he contrasts the city of Jerusalem with the town of Bethlehem.
A second problem with the claim is that there is also evidence outside of the Bible that shows that Micah 5:2 was regarded as a Messianic prophecy involving the town of Bethlehem. Here is an excerpt from the Jerusalem Talmud, which is a collection of Jewish scholarly writings completed about 1600 years ago:
"The King Messiah... from where does he come forth? From the royal city of Bethlehem in Judah." - Jerusalem Talmud, Berakoth .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."

6. The Messiah would be preceded by a messengerBible passage: Isaiah 40:3Written: perhaps between 701-681 BCFulfilled: About 27 AD In Isaiah 40:3, the prophet writes about a person in the desert who prepares the way for the Lord. This prophecy foreshadowed the life of John the Baptist, who played an important role in preparing the groundwork for the ministry of Jesus Christ. Jesus was born shortly after John the Baptist about 2000 years ago. The book of Matthew records many events of the life of Jesus and of John the Baptist. In Matthew 3:1-2, it says: "In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea, and saying, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

Isaiah 40:3A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken."

7. Daniel predicted when an anointed one would be rejected Bible passage: Daniel 9:24-26Written: about 530 BCFulfilled: About 33 AD The prophet Daniel was a Jew who lived during the time of the Babylonian Captivity, about 500 years before the birth of Jesus. During Daniel's lifetime, the Babylonians had destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple and had taken many Jews as captives to Babylon. Daniel, while in Babylon, delivered a prophecy of what would happen during the centuries that followed. Here is our summary of Daniel 9:24-26:

1. There would be a decree to rebuild Jerusalem.2. Jerusalem and the Temple would be rebuilt.3. Then an anointed one (messiah) would be "cut off" (an idiom for "rejected" or "killed").4. Then Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed again.
All of these events later happened, in the same order in which they are described in Daniel 9:24-26:
1. After the Medo-Persians had conquered the neo-Babylonian empire about 2500 years ago, they ruled a vast empire that included the land of Israel. About 2400 years ago (about 445 BC), Persian king Artaxerxes gave permission to the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem, which was still in ruins after having been destroyed earlier by the Babylonians.2. The Jews rebuilt the Temple and the city of Jerusalem.3. Then, about 2000 years ago, Jesus entered Jerusalem as the Messiah who had been promised by Old Testament prophets. But, many people rejected Jesus as the Messiah and He was crucified by the Romans.4. About 40 years after Jesus was crucified, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. (The Temple has not been rebuilt since then).Daniel 9:24-26"Seventy `sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven `sevens,' and sixty-two `sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two `sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.
Click here for more details about Daniel 9:24-27.

8. The Messiah would enter Jerusalem while riding on a donkeyBible passage: Zechariah 9:9Written: between 520 and 518 BCFulfilled: About 32 AD In Zechariah 9:9, the prophet speaks of a future king presenting himself to Jerusalem while riding on a humble donkey. This foreshadowed something that happened about 500 years later: As explained in Luke 19:35-37, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and presented Himself as the Messiah, the King. Alfred Edersheim, a Christian Jew who lived during the 1800s, studied ancient Rabbinical writings, and said that Zechariah 9:9 was often interpreted as being about a Messiah. In the book, "The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah," Edersheim wrote: "The Messianic application of this verse in all its parts has already been repeatedly indicated. We may here add that there are many traditions about this donkey on which the Messiah is to ride; and so firm was the belief in it, that, according to the Talmud, `if anyone saw a donkey in his dreams, he will see salvation' (Ber 56 b)."
The name "Jesus," means "salvation" in Hebrew.Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

9. Jesus was betrayed by a friendBible passage: Psalm 41:9Written: about 1000 BCFulfilled: About 32 AD In Psalm 41:9, King David wrote a prayer asking for mercy in his last days. In this prayer, which Jews and Christians believe was inspired by God, David wrote about a betrayal at the hand of a close friend with whom he had shared bread. This foreshadowed something that happened years later with Jesus. As explained in Matthew 26:47-50, Jesus was betrayed by Judas, one of the 12 apostles, shortly after Jesus and the apostles had shared bread during the Last Supper. Jesus was crucified by the Romans a short time later.Psalm 41:9Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.

10. Zechariah foreshadowed the betrayal of Jesus for 30 pieces of silverBible passage: Zechariah 11:12-13Written: between 520 and 518 BCFulfilled: About 32 AD In Zechariah 11:12-13, the prophet spoke of a person being paid 30 pieces of silver to betray someone. This foreshadowed something that happened to Jesus about 500 years later. As explained in Matthew 26:15, Judas was paid 30 silver coins for his betrayal of Jesus. Judas told the Romans when and where they could arrest Jesus without being surrounded by a large crowd of Jesus' followers. But, as explained in Matthew 27:5-7, Judas later tossed the money into the Temple (the house of the Lord) and the money was used to buy a potter's field as a burial place for foreigners.Zechariah 11:12-13I told them, "If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it." So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, "Throw it to the potter"--the handsome price at which they priced me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord to the potter.
From :

Birth Of Jesus

Matthew 1:18:
The Birth of Jesus Christ
18This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 1:21:21
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,because he will save his people from their sins."
Matthew 1:21 Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua, which means the LORD saves

Luke 1:26:
The Birth of Jesus Foretold 26In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,
Luke 1:31:31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.

Luke 11:27:
27As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you."

Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:46-55). Praised Jesus
"My soul magnifies the Lord."My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior."
She gave her reasons for this:He that is mighty has done great things and holy is His name.
God regarded her low estate; exalted them of low degree. He has filled the hungry with good things. He helped his servant Israel, in mercy. All generations will call her blessed. His mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He shewed strength with his arm. He scattered the proud in the imaginations of their heart. He put down the mighty from their seats. He sent the rich away empty.


Why is Jesus better than Santa Claus?

Why is Jesus better than Santa Claus?

Santa lives at the North Pole ... JESUS is everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh ... JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year ... JESUS is an ever present help.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies ... JESUS supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited ... JESUS stands at your door and knocks, and then enters your heart when invited.

You have to wait in line to see Santa ... JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap ... JESUS lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is "Hi little boy or girl, what's your name?" ...JESUS knew our name before we were born...Not only does He know our name,He knows our address too.He knows our history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.
Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly ...JESUS has a heart full of love

All Santa can offer is HO HO HO ...JESUS offers health, help and hope.

Santa says "You better not cry" ...JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you."

Santa's little helpers make toys ...JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts,repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa may make you chuckle but ...JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree ...JESUS became our gift and died on a tree....The cross.

Put Christ Back In Christmas...Jesus Is Still The Reason For The Season!

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Punjab Board College Exam - Paper

Click on the Image to read the contents...

Fun Reading for the Holidays

1. A FOOLish man tells a woman to STOP talking, but a WISE man tells
her that she looks extremely BEAUTIFUL when her LIPS are CLOSED.

2. One GOOD way to REDUCE Alcohol consumption :
Before Marriage - Drink whenever you are SAD
After Marriage - Drink whenever you are HAPPY

3. Three FASTEST means of Communication :
1. Tele-Phone
2. Tele-Vision
3. Tell to Woman
Need still FASTER - Tell her NOT to tell ANY ONE.

4. Love your friends not their sisters. Love your sisters not their

5. A man got 2 wishes from GOD. He asked for the Best wine and Best
Next moment, he had the Best Wine and Mother Teresa next to him.

6. What is a BEST and WORST news you can hear at the SAME time ?
It is when your Girl Friend says YOU are the BEST KISSER among all your

7. Let us be generous like this : Four Ants are moving through a
They see an ELEPHANT coming towards them. Ant 1 says : we should KILL
Ant 2 says : No, Let us break his Leg alone. Ant 3 says : No, we will
just throw him away from our path. Ant 4 says : No, we will LEAVE him
because he is ALONE and we are FOUR.

8. If you do NOT have a Girl Friend - You are missing SOME thing in
your life. If you HAVE a Girl Friend - You are missing EVERY thing in
your life.

9. Question : When do you CONGRATULATE someone for their MISTAKE.
Answer : On their MARRIAGE.

10. When your LIFE is in DARKNESS, PRAY GOD and ask him to free you
from Darkness. Even after you pray, if U R still in Darkness - Please

11. Why Government do NOT allow a Man to MARRY 2 Women. Because per
Constitution, you can NOT PUNISH TWICE for the same Mistake.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Commercialization of Christmas

The commercialization of Christmas is terrible, right?

As George Bernard Shaw put it a century ago:

"Christmas is forced upon a reluctant and disgusted nation by the shopkeepers and the press; on its own merits it would wither and shrivel in the fiery breath of universal hatred."

A quick Internet search reveals that there's even a movement--"Buy Nothing Christmas"--with a catchy slogan: "Now you can do your Christmas shopping in no time at all."
I don't buy this. There's nothing wrong with Santa hawking wares. Seeing department stores adorned in Christmas decorations and filled with people taking advantage of the season sales only warms my heart. The average American will spend $769 on gifts this year, according to Gallup. That's only slightly down from a few years ago, when the economy was booming.
Yet it's not just socialists who complain about the commercialization of Christmas. Many Americans caution us against being consumed by greed.

And after all, Jesus said it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than it would be for a rich man to enter heaven. And, of course, he was angered by merchants selling animals inside a temple--he grabbed a whip, drove their animals out of the building, overturned their tables and poured their money onto the floor.
Yet Christianity is far from hostile towards business. Jesus simply found the place the merchants set up shop offensive. And the eye of the needle, some scholars say, is a reference to a particular small gate. Others argue Jesus was referring to those who were consumed by greed, not necessarily someone who had a lot of money.
Indeed, Christian thought helps an economy thrive. Markets depend on truth and moral behavior. Wall Street is suffering now in part because analysts have lost investors' trust. To thrive, a business must also serve people, providing them with the things they need and want. Bill Gates is a rich man, but he became so only by enriching all of us.

Commercializing Christmas didn't make all of these things happen, of course--though it has helped the economy grow.
Christmas is much bigger than all of this. It is a celebration of the birth of Christ. This is worth celebrating even for those of different faiths, or no faith at all. Jesus preached a universal message of peace, tolerance and forgiveness. You needn't be a Christian to believe in these virtues.
Buying gifts for others is a perfectly appropriate way to celebrate. Jesus' birth was a gift to mankind. At the first Christmas, three kings arrived with their own gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh.
There's nothing crass about the search for that perfect gift. Gift giving, after all, is a subtle form of communication. That new sweater or those diamond earrings tell the person receiving the gift a little bit about how much you value your relationship with him. You care enough to pay attention to his tastes, dreams and desires.
Even small gifts can be important. Stuffing that stocking with fruit, candy or knickknacks that special someone likes is a nice touch. Pinning it to the mantle, so it can be opened beside a blazing fire, makes the experience that much warmer and inviting.
A good gift also tells of personal connections between two people. It's that vacation you've wanted to take together or a little something from the city where you first met. It appeals to the best of you--tickets to the opera the two of you talked about seeing, but never found the time.
Bad gifts tells us how little the gift giver cares for us as a person. That's why institutionalized, corporate gifts are so often a joke--the same desk calendar everybody got. And why "regifters," to borrow a Seinfeld term, are shunned.
Commercializing the process doesn't detract from it. It helps us save money and find the stores with the goods we want. It also points the incentives in the right direction. It would be a bleak world if Christmas disappeared. Thankfully, as long as its profitable it never will.

PS:It's not the commercialization that is unseemly. It's the gaudy Christmas that makes most of us cringe, and it is the unprofitable one we should deplore.

Spending more isn't celebrating better

Taking an environmental stance on the commercialization of Christmas

Centuries ago, Christians co-opted a pagan celebration of the winter solstice to commemorate the birth of Jesus, despite the uncertainty of the time of that event. During the last century, a different group of ambitious crusaders co-opted this now-holy day for their own ends. Where the early Christians acted for piety, the new crusaders — advertisers — acted merely for avarice.

Welcome to Christmas in the 21st century, where Americans routinely spend nearly $1,000 on gifts for friends and family. This mass consumption does not come without costs — and I don't mean purchase costs. The World Wildlife Fund's Living Planet Report 2000 calculated that human impact on the environment, which has increased by 50 percent during the last 30 years, is now 30 percent more than the planet can sustainably handle. This massive "ecological footprint" is largely driven by personal possessions. Material goods — the things of which Christmas presents are made — require energy and materials in production, transportation and disposal.

What's the purpose of Christmas, anyway?
Is it a time for sharing warm, joyous times with our friends and family, and expressing love and appreciation? Or is it an opportunity for acquisition? If it's the former, there must be better ways of achieving this — ways that don't exact such a high price on our precious environment.

If Christmas is about accumulating desired possessions, it would seem more effective to buy our own things rather than hope others will stumble upon that perfect gift.
However, the idea that those who seek material gain from Christmas are better served by eschewing gift giving altogether ignores the importance of asymmetry in purchasing power. Those who can afford to give more (parents) often develop strong psychological compulsions — they feel guilty about neglecting their children while working to support their families. It's not novel to suggest that different people see different things in the holiday — kids like it for the stuff, while parents love it for the opportunity to assuage their guilt. By the time they have grown up enough to see the emptiness of materialism, we often have kids of our own, and desperately want to please them — at any cost. And thus the ploy of commercial advertising succeeds brilliantly.

No longer children and not yet parents, we are in the perfect position to short-circuit this vicious cycle. We are educated enough to understand the costly ramifications of materialism, old enough to know what we want and young enough to be free of the guilt that parents inevitably feel while Christmas shopping. Let's take advantage of this opportunity to make our holiday traditions more meaningful and more environmentally benign.

But how to achieve this desirable end?
We could suggest that instead of store-bought goods, everyone in our gift-giving circle give favors, plan special events or make homemade gifts. These ideas require more creativity, but might help seasonal shoppers avoid the environmental burden of material goods and could potentially inspire them to spend more meaningful time with loved ones. But given everyone's childhood memories of commercial Christmases past, it will be difficult to maintain the holiday cheer without cutting down trees, erecting them in our living rooms and piling new gifts beneath the soon-to-be sagging branches. Perhaps we should recognize that we can "team up" with others if the "perfect" gift is too expensive, or better still, we could suggest less expensive, more thoughtful gift ideas.

Whether we celebrate a religious Christmas, a pagan ritual or some other winter festival, our holiday memories are already priceless. There is a planet full of good reasons to strive for poor, needy and helpless.

Give and be a blessing.Buy ,but dont bury under debt.

Commercialization of Christmas

Since the late 1800's the economic importance of Christmas has lead to concerns over what is seen as the increasing commercialization of Christmas.
The 1822 poem "A Visit from Saint Nicholas" had popularized the tradition of exchanging gifts and seasonal “Christmas shopping” began to assume economic importance.
In her 1850 book "The First Christmas in New England", Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote a character who complained that the true meaning of Christmas was being lost in a shopping spree.
The importance of the economic impact of Christmas was reinforced in the 1930's when President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed moving the Thanksgiving holiday date to extend the Christmas shopping season and boost the economy during the Great Depression.
Religious leaders protested this move, with a 1931 New York Times roundup of Christmas sermons showing the most common theme as the dangers of an increasingly commercial Christmas.
In 1958 Stan Freberg and Daws Butler recorded the audio theater satire Green Chri$tma$, recasting Ebenezer Scrooge and Bob Cratchit in the rolls of advertising executives. Due to the controversial nature of the piece, it recieved no commercial airplay until 1983.

Some websites : Commercializing the christmas.

Common questions about Christmas!!!

Who is Santa Claus ?

One of my friend said recently ...Who is Santa Claus? ...Never heard about him in India, while he is such a big deal here in the states.

Who Santa Claus really was ? How did he gain more importance than the Chirst himself ? Why has the westren world so commercialized the season of Love , Peace and Joy ? Is the world trying to find joy in worldly gifts ? Stock up the stocking with wishes, needs and more & more WANTS.

Giving was for poor and needy. Where is the real essence of the festival lost ?

Does all these aggravate or bother anyone these days? If so please comment in the section provided, Or have we become so self centered that we care less for the poor and we want to bag up our gifts.

PS: Please dont forget Christ ..."He is the reason of this season."

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Fear of the Lord

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge
The fear of the LORD is to hate evil.
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever.
Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD.
The fear of the LORD prolongs days.
In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence.
Better is a little with the fear of the LORD, than great treasure with trouble.
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life.
The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility.

Season of Love !!!!

Foot Prints

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the
LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from his Life. For each scene, he noticed two sets
of Footprints in the sand; one belonged to him, and the other to the LORD.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the
sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of
footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of his
This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it. “LORD, you said that
once I decide the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I
don’t understand why when I needed you the most you would leave me”.
The LORD replied, “ My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave
you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of
footprints, it was then that I carried you”.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christmas Wreaths - The Tradition

Some people hang wreathes year round, with flower wreathes marking the coming of spring and circles of dried bittersweet ringing in the fall. But at Christmas, the wreath comes into its glory, adorning the grand entrances of great houses and the modest doors of city apartments. The tradition is centuries old, but every holiday season it renews itself.Most wreathes are circular, and the circle has long been symbolic of the unbroken span of eternity, as well as the circular nature of life itself. Used in mid December at the time of the Winter Solstice, the circle symbolizes the certainty that the endless cycle of seasons will once again bring the return of light.

Some Christians use Advent wreathes to commemorate the meaning of Christmas. These wreathes, usually made of evergreens, are placed on a table or other horizontal surface. Four candles are affixed to the greenery to represent the four weeks of Advent, the season leading up to Christmas. Each week at a specific time family members say prayers and light an additional candle until all are alight just before Christmas.
The vast majority of Christmas wreathes are hung on doors, windows or walls, indoors and out. Traditional wreath greens include various types of fir, pine, holly, boxwood and even magnolia leaves. Modern wreathes may be made of a variety of materials for contrasts in color, texture and fragrance.Whatever the decorations, wreathes are the perfect symbol of the personal, spiritual, traditional, contemporary and, above all, festive spirit of the holidays.

The Symbols and Traditions of Christmas

Mistletoe and Holly
Two hundred years before the birth of Christ, the Druids used mistletoe to celebrate the coming of winter. They would gather this evergreen plant that is parasitic upon other trees and used it to decorate their homes. They believed the plant had special healing powers for everything from female infertility to poison ingestion. Scandinavians also thought of mistletoe as a plant of peace and harmony. They associated mistletoe with their goddess of love, Frigga. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe probably derived from this belief. The early church banned the use of mistletoe in Christmas celebrations because of its pagan origins. Instead, church fathers suggested the use of holly as an appropriate substitute for Christmas greenery.
Poinsettias are native to Mexico. They were named after America's first ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett. He brought the plants to America in 1828. The Mexicans in the eighteenth century thought the plants were symbolic of the Star of Bethlehem. Thus the Poinsettia became associated with the Christmas season. The actual flower of the poinsettia is small and yellow. But surrounding the flower are large, bright red leaves, often mistaken for petals

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Memory Again !!!!!!

Smruti …I heard this name recently and I thought oh what a nice name and I started to think …Smruti is memory.

Once you have had a very peaceful, beautiful state of mind, the very memory of it will come back again and again and make you relive the moment.
Memory of equanimity reproduces memory of one’s being. It brings the memory of self, memory of freedom and memory of devotion. Memory of surrender, memory of love, memory of joy brings you back to yourself. Often, we do not remember nice things. What we keep remembering is bad things. We don’t not remember compliments but we remember somebody’s insults.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Whats up with me !!!!!!!!

I am back in the United States after my short trip to India. Even though its been more than a week ...I haven’t posted a whole lot on my blog disappointing some of my regular visitors.

I was kind of lazy and I had bad jet lag...took me so long to recover. I have been getting shocks after shocks and also taking some time to recover from that. I am sorry guys for you have missed me ...don’t worry I will be back in action ...soon...

I was in India and I didn’t see the excitement of thanksgiving here in the US ...but seems like Iam back in time to catch all the excitement for Christmas ...which already started around here...I love those decoration and the fun filled atmosphere...what is Christmas all about in the United states...mostly all the festivals and holidays have become very commercial and lost the real essence of the day...COM ‘on people wake up and don’t let the society drive you ...but the religion in you drive you ...

Stay glued more posting coming up on Christmas...

Keep the Faith

I read somewhere that “By Faith, by vigour or courage, by memory of having experienced the self and through the deep state of equanimity, a state of heightened awareness is gained”

Faith makes your consciousness stable, steady and solid. Doubt in the consciousness makes you vulnerable, fearful and uncertain.Faith brings out the totality in you. It pulls together all loose ends of integrates your whole personality.Doubt scatters you. Doubt destroys you.doubt disseminates you and your energy.doubt is something that pulls you apart. Dissemination of energy is doubt.
Consolidation of energy is faith… the very feeling of your having faith is a sort of consolidation. That is why Jesus always said that faith is your strength. They are synonymous – faith and strength.

When you are strong and bold, you have faith, when you are weak and feeble you have doubts. Doubt is a sign of weakness. When there is faith, then equanimity is also achieved.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Telugu Film Absurdity

Ifbalayya is hero in pokiri then the hospital scene

Ileana:Em chestuntaru miru
Balayya: mari anta gattiga adigite em cheptam. nuvvem anukuntunnav?
Ileana: Ante... age ayipoyi cinemalu lekunda kali kali ga tirugutu toda kottukuntu tirige BANDODU anukunna....
Balayya: correct manamadhe...
Ileana: kaligane unnav ga panikoche panulu cheyochu ga...
Balayya: kali ga evadunnadu. dabbuliste emaina chesta...
Ileana: emaina ante? Balayya: ippudu flop cinemalu free chesag mamuluga aithe dabbulu tisukuni chesta...
Ileana: endukala?
Balayya: ollu kovekki...
Ileana: ollu.........
Balayya: vidu manisha leda pasuva ani alochistunnavuga.. kachitanga manishinaithe kanu