Martin Luther King Jr.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on this day in 1929.

Dr. King was the leading figure of the Civil Rights Movement, as African-Americans struggled for freedom and equality in the United States. Dr. King was a brilliant orator and an inspirational leader. Dr. King was committed to the principals to non-violence, in part based on the example of Gandhi in India.  He believed that the only path towards a peaceful resolution of the plight of black people in the United States was through non-violence, civil disobedience, and peaceful protest.

source: wikimedia commons / Library of Congress

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated as a national holiday in the United States on the 3rd Monday of January.

For more on the life of Dr. King:

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Alan Paton

South African author Alan Paton was born on this day in 1903.  The author of Cry the Beloved Country used his novels as part of his lifelong fight against Apartheid in his homeland. He died in 1988, not able to live long enough to see the rise Nelson Mandela and the end of Apartheid just a few years later.

Orthodox Christmas

source: wikimedia commons / CC / GFDL

Merry Christmas to Eastern Orthodox Christians in Canada and around the world who celebrate the birth of Christ on this day. The Orthodox Churches of Russia, the Ukraine and other parts of Eastern Europe continued to follow the Julian Calendar after most of the rest of the Christian world adopted the Gregorian calendar from the 16th century and onward. While most of the countries of Eastern Europe eventually adopted the western calendar for political and economic purposes, some have maintained the Julian Calendar for religious and cultural purposes.

Epiphany

Also known as King’s Day or Twelfth Night, Epiphany is a Christian celebration that traditionally brought a close to the Christmas Season. In the western Church, King’s Day commemorates the visit of the Magi, the “Wise-Men” or Kings of the East, to the infant Christ, God’s revelation of the Messiah to the Gentiles (non-Jews.)  In bygone traditions, the “Twelve Days of Christmas” were marked from Christmas Day to Epiphany.

Adoration of the Magi by Mantegna (Public Domain / WIkimedia Commons)

This holiday is not prominent in Canada, but is a significant event in many Catholic areas, including parts of the Europe, Central America and South America.

For more:

Catholic Encyclopedia

It’s Twelfth Night…

Epiphany 2015

J.R.R. Tolkien

One of the most popular authors of the 20th Century, J.R.R. Tolkien was born to English parents in 1892 in Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State. The family moved back to Britain at age 3. He studied at Oxford and eventually taught there as well. He would go to author some of the English language’s most read books, including The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. For more on Tolkien, click here.

Isaac Asimov

asiConsidered one of the giants of science fiction, Isaac Asimov was born on this day in 1920. His work and the work of other great sci-fi writers, film makers and game developers is celebrated on this day, unofficially International Science Fiction Day. (If you get the chance, visit the Sci-Fi Museum in Seattle!) For more on the life of Isaac Asimov, click here.

Christmas Day

scroogechristmas
source: public domain

Christians in Canada and around the world celebrate the Nativity, the birth of the Christ. Christians believe that Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem, in Roman occupied Israel roughly 2000 years ago, was the Messiah, the long awaited saviour promised by God.The Hebrew word Messiah translates to Greek as Khristos, from which we get the anglicized form, Christ. Christians believe that God became one of us in the person of Jesus, or Emanuel, literally “God With Us.”Over the course of the last century, Christmas has grown from a strictly Christian festival to become a secular holiday celebrated by people of many different religions, cultures and worldviews from all over the planet. For some, Santa Claus, stockings and gift-giving are central to Christmas. To others, it is a much needed rest at the coldest and darkest time of year. Some may agree with the Grinch, who simply hated Christmas, or with Ebenezer Scrooge when he said it was a “Humbug” — although both of them changed their positions in the end!

Whether you are celebrating the birth of the Christ with your family and friends, or observe Christmas as a strictly secular event, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve

134746__nativity_l“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.'” from the Book of Luke, Chapter 2