Archive for the ‘epiphany’ Category

The first day of Epiphany is traditionally called the King’s Day where the church remembers and celebrates the visit of the wise men, who saw the starry heavens declaring the glory of God, and followed the poetic message to seek the King in Bethlehem. We’ve begun a bit of a family tradition for commencing this season of epiphany by watching The Star of Bethlehem, a documentary movie about one man’s quest to make sense, astronomically, of the Bethlehem Star using NASA’s amazing computer program that can calculate the exact position of the stars on any given date.  Essentially Frederick A. Larson, the host of this movie, delineates the known astronomical possibilities for the star, considers the nine scriptural clues, eliminates most of these through reasoning, makes a hypothesis, and works with the computer-generated program to see whether his hypothesis is legitimate.  He notes that the wise men, from the star, were impelled to inquire after a (1) king, (2) born, of  (3) Jews.

What “message” was in the stars that could compel them to look for these three clues?  Essentially, within the time frame that Larson was hypothesizing, there is a rare triple conjunction of Jupiter, the “king planet” and Regulus, the “king star”, within the constellation of the lion (think Lion of Judah). He points out certain scriptural prophecies regarding the Messiah’s birth that seem to contain strong astronomical allusions.  Frankly, what Larson finds as he plugs in the dates into the program is stunning.

Perhaps even more stunning to me was the more obvious, documented facts that Larson brought to my attention on another astronomical subject in the scriptures.  Do you recall Peter at Pentecost when the wild crowds were accusing them of being drunk because the disciples were suddenly able to speak in the languages of other people?  Well, in the midst of this chaos Peter quotes this –I thought– rather peculiar verse from Joel about a blood moon and tells the crowd that they know these things (about Christ) are true because of what Joel the prophet said about a blood moon and that they’ve seen it with their own eyes.  Larson informs us that a blood moon wasn’t just bizarre “prophet talk”.  That was a known term for a lunar eclipse.  And when you plug in all the data about months, weeks, days, and hours that are given in the scripture about the time of Christ’s crucifixion, you can see the computer-generated re-enactment of what was going on astronomically during the exact hour of Christ’s crucifixion and watch the lunar eclipse that was indeed happening.  A blood moon.  As a side note, I was reading along in another book earlier this week, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, and lo and behold, it mentions a Dionysius the Areopgite who was born in Athens, who studied astronomy in Egypt and made very particular observations on the great eclipse which happened at the time of the Savior’s crucifixion.  He was later appointed a bishop of Athens and martyred under the second persecution under Domition in A.D. 81.  This is just history…the good stuff I missed by primarily getting the book-shaped agendas that were presented to me for my classroom education.  Grrr.

So, the movie ends with a little extra clip at the end.  A sort of “by the way this is an interesting side note”.  If you were to stand on the moon and look at the earth, at this sin-ridden world at that very hour of the eclipse, guess where the eclipse is happening… in the heart of the constellation of the Ram.  Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  But my God, Jehovah, created the heavens and earth and all of their glorious coincidences with them, and he ordains that every bit of this world proclaims his glory.  And they do.  But after watching this movie,  I think perhaps, they were saying it more clearly than I ever anticipated.

All right, so just because I am a very forthright person I will say this.  Several people have watched this movie and loved it. But, one friend of ours fell asleep during this movie. (I scolded, naturally.) And, Nathanael who just turned seven told me this year, in his sweet little Nathanael way, “I used to think this movie was kind of boring.  But now I think it’s really interesting.”  Last year’s astronomy course justified.  Ha!!!  If you’re local and want to borrow this flick at the risk of feeling like you are taking your own short astronomy course (especially at the start of it), we’ve got it and would love to share.  Or you can buy it at Amazon for  $12 or research the details of his findings at this link:


Anyone with great arguments for or against the astronomical data within this dvd, please engage us–we’d be interested in hearing more.

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S T A R   of   D A V I D   P R E T Z E L S

(not pictured. so sorry. we ate them all.  maybe another batch later.)

Here’s a fantastic recipe for homemade pretzels.  It’s easy enough that the older boys can make these on their own.  We like the traditional pretzel shape, which is supposedly a person’s arms folded in prayer.  But, Elijah experimented with several other shapes this year and settled on a favorite, a Star of David .  Once you have your eight equal pieces, roll them in long ropes.  Each rope will make one star.  Divide that one long rope into two equal halves and form the two, ideally, equilateral triangles by weaving alternately over and under the other equilateral triangle. Make the last join secure on the underside.



H O M E M A D E   S O F T   P R E T Z E L S,   R E C I P E

1 cup plus 2 Tbl. water (70-80 degrees)

3 c. all purpose flour (We use home-ground spelt or wheat and it works like a charm)

3 Tbl. brown sugar (We use Rapunzel/Rapidura)

1  1/2 tsp active dry yeast

(Later you’ll need 1/2 cup of baking soda added to a pot of 2 quarts of water .)

Knead the first four ingredients in a bread machine, processor, or by hand.  You may need to add 1-2 Tbl. of water or flour to get drier or wetter so the dough is nicely workable.  Divide dough into eight pieces and roll each into a star or pretzel shape.   Add baking soda to 2 quarts of water and bring it to a bubbly (beware) boil. Drop pretzels into the boiling water with a slotted spoon, two at a time, and let them boil for 10-15 seconds. (We turned them over halfway).  Remove them with slotted spoon and set them on a clean dry towel to ‘drip dry’ a bit. After all pretzels are boiled, take them off the towel, place them on a baking stone or pan, Sprinkle kosher salt (or cinnamon sugar for sweet pretzels).  Bake at 425 for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. ( If you forgot to add salt or spice before baking, mist them with water after baking before sprinkling so the grains will adhere)   Yield: 8 yummy pretzels.  And, oh, the creative possibilities:  snowflakes, stars, snowmen, hearts, spell names or words…

(I don’t recommend doubling this recipe as it is harder to work the dough, particularly for kids.  BTW You can freeze these pretzels after they are boiled and blotted on the towel, or you can bake them first, then freeze.)




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