The Year in Church and Religious History

3 Jan – Pope Leo X excommunicated Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformer, in his papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem, after Luther refused to recant his writings as required by the 1520 papal bull Exsurge Domine (1521). 6 Jan – Epiphany, the traditional date of the arrival of the Magi (Three Kings) to the Holy Family… Read More The Year in Church and Religious History

Advent Tree Family Devotions – December 25

December 25 – Five pointed star   Matthew 2:1‑12; Numbers 24:17; Revelation 22:16   Today is Christmas Day, the day of Christ’s birth, the advent of the Messiah, the Anointed One of Israel, and the Savior of the World.  All that we have learned in the past 24 days has pointed to this day, one… Read More Advent Tree Family Devotions – December 25

Advent Tree Family Devotions – December 24

December 24 – Manger Luke 2:1‑20 The Greek word (φάτνη phatnē), derived from the verb, pateomai (“to eat”) is usually translated “manger” in the New Testament. A manger is a feeding trough for animals, and in ancient Israel near Bethlehem it was probably an area cut out of the rock wall of a cave used to… Read More Advent Tree Family Devotions – December 24

Advent Tree Family Devotions – December 23

December 23 – Cross John 1 Crucifixion, a method of execution and torture invented in the 6th century BC, was practiced for the next 700 years by the Persians, Greeks, Macedonians, Carthaginians, and Romans. First, soldiers scourged the victim until he was weak and bloody. Many victims died. Then, executioners fixed a cross beam to… Read More Advent Tree Family Devotions – December 23

Advent Tree Family Devotions – December 22

December 22 – Shell   Genesis 1; Job 38-39; Jonah 1   Life on earth would not exist without seas.  Seas modulate temperatures on the earth’s surface, provide water, supply food, and function in a million different ways to make our earth what it is.  The sea is also a source of amazing power.  According… Read More Advent Tree Family Devotions – December 22

Advent Tree Family Devotions – December 21

December 21 – Butterfly   I Corinthians 15   Butterflies, among the most beautiful of insects, are found almost everywhere on earth.  Since they fly during the day, are so plentiful and so approachable, mankind has long known about their intriguing lives.  Thus butterflies provide a wonderful example of the transition to eternal life for… Read More Advent Tree Family Devotions – December 21

Advent Tree Family Devotions – December 20

December 20 – Triquetra   I Peter 1:2   The Triquetra is a design consisting of three equal arcs, and has a long history of use in religious rituals.  It has been found on rune stones in Northern Europe and on early Germanic coins, and resembles the three equal and interlocking triangles of the Valknut… Read More Advent Tree Family Devotions – December 20

Advent Tree Family Devotions – December 19

December 19 – Heart   Deuteronomy 6:5; 1 Samuel 16:7; 2 Chronicles 12:14; Psalm 9:1; 51:10; Proverbs 16:23; Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 5:8; Hebrews 3:15 The Hebrew word for heart (לב leb) is used 593 times in the Hebrew Old Testament.  It is a masculine noun which can mean “the center of a thing” (i.e. the heart… Read More Advent Tree Family Devotions – December 19

Advent Tree Family Devotions – December 18

December 18 – Crown   Matthew 27:29; John 19:2; Psalms 8:5; 2 Timothy 4:8; James 1:12; Revelation 4:4-11; 14:14   Distinctive head ornaments have been used as rewards for prowess, and as signs of authority and dominion, for millennia.  Laurel wreaths were given in Greece and Rome to victorious athletes and conquering generals.  The word… Read More Advent Tree Family Devotions – December 18

Advent Tree Family Devotions – December 17

December 17 – Seven Pointed Star Revelation 5:12-13; Acts 1:8; Romans 8:18; 1 Corinthians 2:14-16; Philippians 3:7-8, 4:7-8; Revelation 2:4-5 The number seven has had many different meanings over the centuries. The heptagram, or seven pointed star, is considered a sacred symbol in the Wiccan tradition and a symbol of magical power in other pagan… Read More Advent Tree Family Devotions – December 17