Was Jesus born on Christmas Day?

Christmas tree light; festive background with Christmas balls and gift box on snow

For those wishing for a white Christmas, remember this:

As beautiful as it is to see the trees frosted with snow and white flakes slowly drifting to the ground, snow is more nostalgia than historically related to the time of Jesus’ birth.

A white Christmas is more related to the genius marketing by Coca-Cola of Santa Claus. (Yes, we know of the historical St Nicholas from Turkey – but he never saw a reindeer in his life, wasn’t surrounded by elves, didn’t ride through the sky in a sleigh, didn’t shimmy down chimneys and didn’t give gifts only to the nice and neglected the naughty – but I’m sure he would have enjoyed milk and cookies)

The chance that Jesus was born in winter is infinitesimally small. Here are two reasons why:

  1. Shepherds were tending their sheep on hillsides. If it was winter, they would shelter them in the multiple caves in the Bethlehem hillsides. This opened a cave for Mary and Joseph and where Jesus was most probably born. Luke 2:8 – “there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.”
  2. Caesar Augustus “issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.” There was fomenting tension at that time (leading to insurrections and the destruction of the temple in 70 AD) and it is highly unlikely that Caesar Augustus would have exacerbated the situation more by causing families to walk untold distances with little food and shelter through the depth of winter.

The most common estimate is that Jesus was born in early fall.

So – maybe Thanksgiving is a better time to celebrate the birth of our glorious Messiah – God wrapped in frail human flesh!

So, yes, we now traditionally celebrate Jesus’ birth on December 25th but more importantly, let’s remember to celebrate the loving miracle of God coming to us all year long.

It really doesn’t matter if we’re “walking in a winter wonderland” or feeling the kiss of a gentle breeze as it rustles leaves.

Every day He comes to us with His gift of life.

Every day we have an opportunity to kneel before Him in worship.

Every day is Christ incarnate.

“O Come Let us adore Him – Christ the Lord”

Merry Christmas to all!

Arlen and Elsa Salte

arlen elsa Beth

Arlen & Elsa Salte – Directors – Break Forth Journeys

Is Israel Safe? Here’s The Real Story . . .

Frightened employee hiding under the desk - studio shoot

Is Irrational Fear Stealing Your Dreams?

The news cycle spins again and again. Running out of fresh video content, networks loop the same sensationalistic clips on a never-ending cycle.

Their plan?

To grab your attention long enough until they can sell you fabric softener during the next TV commercial.

There is no doubt that you’ll find crime almost anywhere if you search for it long enough.

But when things are exaggerated it’s does no one any good.

While some people are afraid of going to Israel and other Lands of the Bible, these are irrational fears.

If you want to be afraid to travel somewhere, you should certainly avoid the USA. From terrorist attacks to mass shootings to high crime rates, America is a far more dangerous place to be.

Just look at these crime statistics from NationMaster:

  • Crime levels in the USA are twice as high as Israel.
  • Drug use (opiates) in the USA are 90% more than Israel
  • Violent Murder rate in the USA is eighty-two times higher than Israel
  • Violent crime in the USA is more than twelve times higher than Israel
  • Violent Crime (Rapes) in the USA are more than 68 times higher than Israel
  • Robberies in the USA are more than 4 times higher than Israel
  • Fear of crime in the USA is more than 77% higher than Israel
  • Murders committed by youth in the USA are more than 633 times higher than Israel

Still, every year people pile in by the millions to one of the most dangerous developed countries in the world – the USA.

(For our Canadian readers: Canada’s crime statistics are similar to Israel, aside from Canada’s murder rate, which is 3 times higher than in Israel)

How about Middle East tensions? Travel writer and blogger, John Nicholson says it well:

“While we in the United States have only had marginal success developing our own missile defense systems dating back to the days of the Star Wars initiatives under President Reagan, Israel has implemented a system of both tight border and air security that allows Israelis to now go about their daily lives under a blanket of relative calm, stability, and security. For tourists to Israel, this means that visiting the country and even traveling around within it is completely safe, despite the occasional incident or flare up that makes the news back home.”

Is the USA safe? Yes, if you use wisdom, keep your eyes open and stay away from the rougher parts of town. Is Israel safer than the USA? Yes, without a doubt. The statistics prove it.

How sad it is when sensationalistic news reports and unfounded fears keep people back from experiencing one of the highlights of their lives; a life-changing journey to the Lands of the Bible.

Has CNN caused you to cower in a corner? Are you setting aside a life-long spiritual dream because of irrational fears?

Maybe it’s time to live life to the full again. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10 NIV

A fullness of life and a prison of fear cannot co-exist. It’s time to swing wide those prison doors!

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV


How To Fly With Your Guitar To The Holy Land (or anywhere)

Broken GuitarIf you travel with any professional-level ministry trip to any of the Lands of the Bible, there will be worship.

If there’s worship, there will probably be guitars or other instruments.

So, how do you help ensure that your instrument isn’t the focus of the next version of the “United Breaks Guitars” song?

Check the link below for one of the best articles we’ve ever seen on flying with your instrument.

At Break Forth Journeys, we always want to help make your next trip to the Lands of the Bible the best ever!

How To Fly With Your Instrument

Forgot Your Phone Charger? This Tip Could Save Your Sanity:

charge smartphoneHave you ever forgotten your phone charger when you’ve been on a trip? Maybe you left it at home. Maybe you left it in a hotel.

Frustrating? No, it’s way beyond that!

Well, here’s a tip that may save your sanity.

Airport Lost & Founds are vast repositories of chargers, power adaptors, cables and more. People who’ve left them behind are probably on a plane far away. It’s simply not worth their time or money to have it shipped back to their country or even make the call.

Lost & Found often just throws items or recycles them. This is your sanity saver.

If no one has inquired about a charger, adaptor or other item for a while, they’d rather just give it to you because it’s one less thing to deal with.

We’ve also had hotel Lost & Founds who have given or loaned us items in a pinch.

So, if this happens to you, take a deep breath. The people at Lost & Found may be your best friends that day.


What Did Athen’s Parthenon Look Like To Apostle Paul?

Parthenon on the Acropolis in AthensThe Parthenon in Athens today is a jaw-dropping site. But, it’s had some rough years.

So, what did it look like in St. Paul’s day when he stood on Mars hill and gazed up at the Parthenon? It wasn’t the mottled beige stone of today. It was painted vibrant colours!

Now, we can know what it looked like in full color.

Here’s how . . .

In Nashville, there is a full scale replica of the Parthenon. Recently, the Tokyo Broadcasting Corporation used giant projectors to project the colors that were originally on the Parthenon in Athens.

In this one minute video below, see these vibrant colors come to life. This is what the Apostle Paul would have seen. Now, you can see it too!

Here’s an interesting point to know about the Parthenon and Athens:

When the Apostle Paul visited Athens, there were an estimated 30,000 “gods’ in idol form. No wonder Paul said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious.”  That’s a message that’s just as relevant for our world today.

Of course, you can view the real Parthenon and a host of idols at every turn to give you a sense of what the Apostle Paul was walking into.

Hans Elsa Arlen HeadshotIf you join Hans and us for Break Forth Paul in the fall, 2016 you will see this with your own eyes. Hans will share powerful messages of renewal when we visit. We will also worship the true God where once, false gods stood! Please email us for more information here: journeys@breakforthministries.com.

We’d love to have you join us!

Here is the video. It’s stunning: