For a true Christmas understanding we need the witness of the apostle John, who was the closest of the apostles to Christ Jesus, in the first chapter of the Gospel that bears his name. Then read the Old Testament book of the Prophet Isaiah, chapter 53. It was given by God to Isaiah about 700 years before the birth of the Christ child, Jesus, which is recorded in Matthew’s Gospel, chapters 1 and 2, and in Luke’s Gospel, chapter 2.
I can’t really add anything to those witnesses except to quote select verses from Isaiah chapter 53 and parts of chapters 43 and 44:
“Who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? – vs 1
He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of a dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, and nothing in his appearance that we should desire him – vs 2
He was despised and rejected by mankind… he was despised and we held him in low esteem. vs 3
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him… – vs 5
We all, like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the sins of us all. -vs 6
Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days , and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. – vs 10
After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. – vs 11
For he bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.” – vs 12b
(Compare the New Testament book of the Acts of The Apostles chapter 8, verses 26 through 35 where the apostle Philip explains that the above Scriptures from Isaiah ch 53 are fulfilled in Jesus life, death and resurrection. This was believed to be so by the apostles and the early church; and the evangelical church of today – which is the fastest growing, in this order, in Iran, Afghanistan and China! Jesus said “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not stand up against it!”)
“I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me their is no Savior” – Isaiah 43: 11
“I am the first and I am the last, apart from me there is no God” – Isaiah 44: 8b
“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross. Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth (( i.e – in their graves)), and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” – The Apostle Paul in Philippians ch 2: 8 – 11.
*All Scripture references are from the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible.
As to winter weather on this part of The Globe, it has been quite variable since we moved from Quebec to Southern Ontario in 1975. Then my work as a pastor took us to Halifax, NS in 1984, for nearly four years, after which we moved back to Central Ontario in 1987 – or Northeast/Southern Ontario, whichever is correct depending on where that mysterious line is.
At that time, in those winter-weather days we had rather severe conditions: Lots of snow, bitter cold often with blizzard like conditions. It seemed that winter lasted “forever”! Then, progressively, we went into very mild winters with little snow and moderate temperatures here in south-central Ontario. That seemed to last for a decade or so, and now for the past few years it has been returning to earlier winter-like conditions.
During those years of the late twentieth century and into the 21st, when I hunted the Haliburton Highlands in winter for wolf and coyote using snowshoes, by late February the depth of snow was often 30-inches. Then during the mild period in late February it was no more than 18 inches, or a foot less. Also, during that mild period there was often only patches of snow by mid-January with bear tracks in those patches. I recall at least a couple of incidents during those years that highlighted the fact that we had moved into a more moderate climate: 1) A friend who lived year-round with his wife on the edge of a prominent lake in that area, stopped me one day in mid-January on the dirt road that went to the lake as we met in our vehicles. We chatted side by side with our windows down, and he pointed to a spot off the road and said: “I saw your bear over there a couple of days ago!” (He was , by-the-way, a test pilot for Boeing’s 747s.) 2) I was often scouting timber and brush conditions for canine tracks during winter months. Once with only patches of snow, I left the dirt road and went into the bush near a bog. A large dead-fall had pulled up a lot of earth by its roots and left a good size cavity in the ground. I knew it was there and thought this might be a good place for a bear to den over winter. As I approached it there was a patch of snow and, sure enough, fresh bear tracks in the snow emerging from the “hole” created by a windstorm as the conifer toppled!
< This isn’t the exact location, but nearby and similar in appearance, though several years later. This pic was in late September, 2018 with some patches of snow on the ground. I’d just fired a 350g Hornady FT from my recently acquired #1 Ruger in .458 Win through a dead-fall moments before.
Another example of the variableness of so-called “climate change”, that seems to have “everybody” in a panic these days, was a “longtime” ago along the Eastern Seaboard of the Atlantic coast — which included the Bay of Fundy where my family made their living in the fishing industry. This happened during the late 1960’s. My Dad, brothers and uncle made most of their living aboard the NORWIN from late April through the summer and into late fall. The NORWIN was a 70 foot dragger for haddock, cod, Boston blue fish (pollock) etc. In that process they noted an unusual amount of shrimp in both the water and caught in their net. Upon further inquiries they discovered this was not just their unique experience, but large shrimp were showing up where they were not supposed to be! Longer story shorter, they switched nets to catch shrimp and made a better living that way for several years!
What had happened during that period was that the Gulf Stream had moved closer to the Eastern Seaboard and brought its warmer salt waters and creatures with it that has significantly changed traditional thinking about the fishing industry to this day!
It’s somewhat like the Jet Stream that can, and does, vary toward more northerly climes or southerly in its journey from west to east – that makes our weather variable and interesting, if not downright hazardous at times.
< This white 5 gallon bucket has been circulating about in these woods for over two decades. Originally, it was one of my bear-bait buckets for transporting bait to various sites. I had several of them. By times bears would runoff with one or another and I might stumble on one years later. This one has several big bear bites, but when flipped over has been used by other hunters as a seat for hunting anything under license ambling through these woods , as well as by myself.
So our spring times have been cooler and more damp in recent years, while our autumns seem to terminate abruptly by late October. That is abruptly into winter-like conditions! So there are historical and also present changes that occur in our climates: drought, floods, hot, cold and temperate. Personally, after having lived for 86% of a century, I see no reason to be in a panic over climate changes! “Springtime and harvest, summer and winter shall endure as long as the earth shall last” – God says so in the Bible!
So to maintain some resemblance of sanity, I intend, by God’s good grace, to keep on keeping on! And that means a lot of shooting at the range and some hunting in the Haliburton Highlands until unable to continue doing so. After all, how could I otherwise justify the purchase of those really big .458″ projectiles?
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all…
Will talk again in 2022… God willing!