The first of January, celebrated around the world as New Year’s Day, is also the eighth day of Christmas and, as such, the Feast of the Circumcision and Naming of Jesus. Of course, no one knows on what day of the year Jesus was actually born, but since it has become traditional to celebrate Jesus’ birth on the 25th of December, it follows that the first of January is the day on which Christians celebrate the circumcision and naming of Jesus.
Twenty years ago, David Bivin taught a 12-hour series of classes entitled “Aleph-Bet: A Beginner’s Introduction to Reading and Writing Hebrew.” The class was video-recorded and produced into a video series available on video cassette tapes (VCR). This incredible class brought the viewer into a basic understanding of how to read and write the language of Jesus’ day. Now, JerusalemPerspective.com is creating an online course where you can study at your own pace and even interact with other students if you would like.
Christmas approaches with its usual frenzy of decorations, shoppers, carols, cookies, and lights—all wrapped in joy, peace, and goodwill that is often, sadly, as thin as colored tissue paper. But this year, it’s even harder to “get into the spirit.” Hearts are heavy with grief and fear, especially following the deadly and deliberate attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.
Yet, another reality coexists with this present evil, just as it did on the first Christmas, when human misery also abounded—the reality of goodness.