[From the descendants of Alexander’s officers] there sprang a sinful offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes, son of King Antiochus, once a hostage at Rome. He became king in the year one hundred and thirty seven of the kingdom of the Greeks.
In those days there appeared in Israel men who were breakers of the law, and they seduced many people, saying: “Let us go and make an alliance with the Gentiles all around us; since we separated from them, many evils have come upon us.” The proposal was agreeable; some from among the people promptly went to the king, and he authorized them to introduce the way of living of the Gentiles. Thereupon they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem according to the Gentile custom. They covered over the mark of their circumcision and abandoned the holy covenant; they allied themselves with the Gentiles and sold themselves to wrongdoing.
Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, each abandoning his particular customs. All the Gentiles conformed to the command of the king, and many children of Israel were in favor of his religion; they sacrificed to idols and profaned the sabbath. I Maccabees 1And now, as Advent rapidly approaches, everything in our environment seems to war against it. In the midst of a world which seems increasingly dangerous, we now find ourselves surrounded by the claptrap and cacophony of the secular Christmas season which seems increasingly inappropriate. Only the most determined effort will dispel our nagging fears, and ward off the pressure and distractions of the moment.
And I am determined. I've been thinking a lot about how to keep the world at bay for the next four weeks and one of the things I've hit upon is this.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8I am going to try everyday to look at, or listen to, or read something beautiful. I've been thinking about what every mother knows and that is that when you are expecting, nothing matters except the baby. All your plans, all your efforts, all your decisions revolve around that little life that has been entrusted to you, and one thing your want for that child is that his life will be filled with beauty. And so, as I wait for the infant Jesus to be reborn in my heart this Christmas, I am going to try to make a beautiful little place to receive Him. I plan on posting some of this on the blog, I'm not going to commit do posting everyday, but as often as I can.
|Photo Credit: Nancy Derham|
To see all the posts in this series, click HERE.
P. S. I'm going to take a look at Reed of God tomorrow and decide how much we should read during the first week.