(Originally published by me on a different website. This updated article includes minor changes and a new section at the end.)
It is often asserted that Christmas is, in origin, a Christian holiday. In fact, this is not the case. It originates from at least three pagan holidays, which Christians combined and upon which placed a Christian spin.
I was raised in a traditionalist Baptist home that held to good old-fashioned “family values”, one of the most important being that God established marriage to be the permanent union of a man and a woman. This idea was ingrained into me when I was very young, and I certainly did not know anyone who did not follow this pattern.
That all changed in ninth grade, when I went to public school for the first time.
Today, on May 5th, the American president is required by law to sign a proclamation each year urging all Americans to pray. The law was enacted in 1952, and represents one of the most egregious violations of America’s constitutional order. It was unsuccessfully challenged in court, but its unconstitutionality needs to be regularly reiterated.
by T. E. Smith
John 20:24-29 records the story of one of the apostles, named Thomas. This short story has likely made him the second-most infamous of all the apostles (after Judas). In this tale, Thomas is not with the apostles when Jesus appears to them, and so he does not believe their resurrection account. In his words, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe” (v. 25). Jesus appears to him eight days later and shows him the evidence, upon which Thomas confesses faith in Jesus as God.