ADF

Mohler: A Festival of Lights

The Jewish festival of Hanukkah is now underway, its first night coinciding with Christmas for the first time in many years. This is the “Festival of Lights” commemorating the recapture of the Temple by Jewish forces led by the Maccabees about 160 years before the birth of Christ.

Our Jewish neighbors celebrate Hanukkah as the cleansing and rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem and they remember the miracle of the menorah lights in the Temple burning for eight days, even though there was sufficient oil for only one day.

Hanukkah is a significant Jewish holiday in the United States and increasingly around the world. It’s a celebration of Jewish identity and religious liberty, commemorated with gifts and special foods and the gathering of families.

Of course, it also includes the lighting of a candle each night and its symbol is the menorah—with nine lights. Let us all wish our Jewish friends and neighbors a very Happy Hanukkah.

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LaBerge: The Long View Of History

American history is very short by global standards. In the news we’ve been hearing about Coptic Christians in Cairo and the plight of the peoples of Aleppo. What many of us don’t remember is that those were two of the three largest cities in the Ottoman Empire, the Islamic Caliphate that ruled the region from 1299-1919.

Our tendency is to focus on issues of the West and even western varieties of Christianity. This can leave us lacking the “long view” of history that informs many Muslims and—especially—the Islamist movements that have disrupted the entire region.

Of course: the even longer view of history reminds us of when Christianity thrived throughout the greater Middle East.

As ancient cities and people of ancient faiths make contemporary headlines, we need to remember just how young (relatively speaking) our nation is and yet just how much we have to offer those who for centuries have not had the blessings of living in freedom and peace.

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Davenport: States Could Be Winners With Trump

Since Ronald Reagan, Republican and Democrat presidents alike have grown the federal government and its role in our lives. From No Child Left Behind to environmental laws, the pattern has been more and more federal regulation.

The Trump administration may finally swing the pendulum of government power back toward the states.  As a conservative former governor, vice president Mike Pence will champion state control. The new Secretary of Education favors vouchers, which means less government power over education. The heads of Energy and the Environment are both state officials who have fought federal power.

The most important questions the Trump administration can ask are:  should the government act and, if so, which branch and which level? When the federal government has taken over everything from healthcare to the environment and education, it’s high time for an administration that asks those important federalism questions and returns power to individuals and to the states, as promised in the 9th and 10th Amendments.

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Hewitt: Unifying a Fractured GOP

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Candidate Donald Trump never had much in the way of support from the traditional Republican foreign policy establishment. But President-elect Trump is changing that. I count myself among those who are surprised and impressed as we have watched him assemble a team of national security heavyweights, both an impressive team and a diverse team.

Throughout the rough and tumble of the election cycle Trump was pretty well disconnected from the various factions within the GOP foreign policy establishment. He kept his own counsel and he won his own mandate.

The question is: What has happened since Election Day? After all: a large slice of our national security experts even signed “#NeverTrump” letters.

In short: the president-elect has assembled a very experienced team.

From the “generals”—James Mattis, John Kelly, Keith Kellogg, Michael Flynn—to top-tier choices like Mike Pompeo at the CIA, Trump is unifying the fractured foreign policy elite GOP.

The grown-ups are back—and they’ve agreed to support the new guy.

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Mohler: Handel’s Messiah

Everyone knows about George Frideric Handel, but few remember Charles Jennens, but it was Jennens who wrote and conceived the idea of the “Messiah,” the massive oratorio that is performed thousands of times worldwide at Christmas. Jennens wrote the libretto—the text—of the “Messiah,” tying together the Bible’s central story: God’s salvation of His people through the work of the Messiah.

He used the very words of the Bible for his text. Jennens had a purpose in his project, and that was to remind his audience of the truth and power of the story of salvation. And thus his attention to the birth of Christ. In just 21 days, Handel put the words to majestic music. “For Unto Us a Child is Born.”

That is the prophet’s declaration of God’s great gift to us at Christmas. It is the reason for the unspeakable joy Christians know at Christmas.

Merry Christmas from the Salem Radio family.

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THR 12/24/16: A Christmas Story Special

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In this special edition of the Townhall Review, Michael Medved tells the story of Christmas, from the humble beginnings of Jesus Christ’s birth to Saint Nicholas to Santa Clause. Medved shares how Christmas was both frowned upon and celebrated in colonial America and how General George Washington used the holiday to his advantage in the Revolutionary War. Dennis Prager rounds out the show by expressing his gratitude for religion and particularly Christianity in America, even though he is a Jew.

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Medved: Connected Celebrations

This year, the ancient Jewish calendar and the modern secular calendar fall into rare alignment: the first night of Hanukah falls on Christmas Eve. It’s a good time to note similarities between the messages of the Christian and Jewish holidays that begin on the same evening. Both festivals celebrate light—and recognize the miraculous nature of illumination in the darkest, shortest days of winter. And both emphasize themes of redemption: Hanukah means “dedication” and marks the re-dedication and purification of the Temple in Jerusalem after it had been desecrated by practitioners of Greek paganism, while Christmas hails the redemptive, purifying power of a new-born Messiah.

 Both holidays also stress the ability of everyone to draw closer to God and goodness, with special emphasis on joy and celebration that will encourage children to do so.

 Wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah to all those who embrace the connected messages of these beloved holidays. [soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/299036904″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

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