The Curiosity Index (22.12.2018)

Did Luke get his nativity history wrong?

From Ian Paul:

I think this is how a lot of people feel about the Christmas stories. They might be profound, they might be of great cultural significance, they might even point to religious truth—but are they really plausible?

Perhaps the greatest culprit in raising this question is Luke’s comment about the timing of Jesus’ birth. He appears to claim that Jesus was born in Bethlehem because Joseph had to travel there to take part in the census, which was taken during the time when Quirinius was governor of the Roman province of Syria, since this was his ancestral home.

For another theory on this one read what Andrew Wilson called The Most Interesting Paper of the Year So Far

Dying well this Christmas

I found this post by Matt Hosier quite moving:

At Christmas we celebrate birth but always the celebrations entwine with death. Christmas is the dying of the year. Christmas is the celebration of a baby in a manger, and a prelude to the man on a cross. Christmas is itself a testimony that we need not fear death – one year dies, another will begin. The baby grows to a man who is crucified, but the cross and tomb are empty. Resurrection is coming!

At the bedside of dying saints I am reminded of that coming resurrection again and again. What a privilege.

Christmas cheer or not in Burundi

From Simon Guillebaud:

It gets me every time that such faithful servants, who have been willing to suffer for the gospel and with whom I’ve journeyed over the last twenty years, struggle to make ends meet. And I’ve always had lots of meat/chocolate/presents to enjoy. It seems so wrong, and unfair that they don’t. But with your help, 500+ families of those who work with us (i.e. a few thousand children with their parents) will be able to have at least one present, some chocolate and meat on Christmas day. We plan to give each family £25/$30.

You could do much worse and few better things today than making a donation. 

This Over-Engineered, Glitter Bomb Bait Package is an Absolute Masterpiece

A few observations. One, this is genius. Two, there seem to be an awful lot of casual thieves where he lives. I’m pretty sure that would not happen in Stockholm.

Terrible Maps

AS further evidence that people are both fantastically funny and have too much time on their hands I give you terrible maps like this:

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