The Real Christmas Story

Luke 2 – English Standard Version (ESV)

The Birth of Jesus Christ

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Jesus Presented at the Temple

22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
    according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31     that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”

33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

The Return to Nazareth

39 And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.

The Boy Jesus in the Temple

41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 43 And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” 49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

Source: The Holy Bible English Standard Version

Breaking: Major Power Outage at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport – Grounds Planes

Update: As of 8:05 PM EST, Delta is now telling passengers at LAX that they will not be able to get home until Tuesday.
Photo Credit: Sheri Bias at LAX
Update: As of 6:50 PM EST, Sheri Bias has just advised me that LAX is starting to cancel flights out of Los Angeles to Atlanta. She stated that it could be as long as five to six more hours before any planes can leave. But if the power outage resumes, she will need to find another way home.
December 17, 2017, Atlanta, Georgia: Hartsfield – Jackson Atlanta International Airport grounds planes this afternoon just after 1:00 PM due to a complete power outage. According to FOX News, the power outage caused “pandemonium.” This power outage has interrupted travel for passengers across the nation. Many travelers are stuck in LAX because of their flights to Atlanta.
I spoke with Sheri Bias, who is a Delta Airlines traveler stuck at Los Angeles LAX. She states that her flight was supposed to leave at 12 Noon out of LAX. As of the writing of this article, she has been delayed for just over three hours. Bias states that all flights are “grounded going to Atlanta.” Bias was rebooked on a later flight, but it appears that flight may be delayed as well.
Photo Credit: Sheri Bias at LAX
Photo Credit: Sheri Bias at LAX

According to Delta Airlines in Atlanta, the outage was ongoing and they were “working to deplane customers from aircraft that have not been able to park at a gate due to the outage.”

A Delta Airlines Pilot told passengers that a construction workman cut a power line.

Photo Credit: Twitter

International flights coming into Atlanta will be redirected to other airports according to US Customs and Border Protection Agency.

Photo Credit: Twitter

Ciara Leilani Tweeted, “Literal pandemonium at the @ATLairport with power completely out and electric exit doors unable to open. Baggage claim stuck, passengers can go no where! Which means traffic can’t either. GBI and other law enforcement on site now. Talk about delays! #atlanta”

Photo Credit: Twitter

There is a concern if there were any people still stuck in the people movers, the underground trains, that run between the terminals.

It is still unclear when the power will be turned back on.

Source: FOX News

Sheri Bias Interview

Copyright © December 17, 2017, The Lantern & Shield Times, LLC.




Review: My New Hammacher Schlemmer Voice Activated Christmas Tree

I must say, I have had a fit with Christmas trees this year. As many of you have read in my previous article about Balsam Hill, I had two trees from them and both were defective. So I ordered a new tree from Hammacher Schlemmer. It was priced at almost $600, but was on sale for $249.95. It was a 7.5 foot slender tree and had some very beautiful multi color lights as well as clear lights.

I would love to say that I was excited when the tree came by FedEx Delivery, but after the Balsam Hill fiasco,  my excitement was robbed with the two defective trees that Balsam Hill sent to me.

When I opened the box from Hammacher Schlemmer, the tree was nicely packed. It was easy to put together and I did not have a lot of reading to do with the instructions. The tree actually lighted when I plugged in the cord into the electric outlet. That was a pleasant surprise!

The first tree would not stay lit. It would turn itself off multiple times after about five minutes. Therefore, I called customer service at Hammacher Schlemmer and they said they would send me another tree. I was supposed to cut the end of the cord off and mail it to them. Then they stated that they would need to charge my credit card another $249.95 and they would send me the tree within six business days. I pressed them to send it overnight and they agreed. They said they would credit my credit card back within three business days. As of the writing of this story, I have not received the credit, but have faith they will do as they said.

The replacement tree came today and I assembled it and turned on the power. It lit up and stayed lit. I was very excited and delighted to see the beautiful lights. This weekend, we plan on decorating the tree. My wife said that even if we did not decorate it, it is so beautiful. It is the most beautiful tree we have ever purchased.

So here are the cons about this tree. Although it stays lit, the voice activated remote control sometimes picks up conversation, which may change the mode to another color or function. This can become annoying if we want it set on a certain function. My recommendation to the company is to have a function where you can select the color and turn off the voice activation. This would resolve the problem. This is the only problem I have with this tree.

UPDATE: I figured out that once the tree is set on the setting you want, you can turn off the remote and it will stay on that setting and not turn off. This is an excellent feature.

I give this tree a FIVE STAR rating out of FIVE. It is an excellent tree.

The following is their description of the tree taken from their website:

“This is the 7 1/2′-tall pre-lit Christmas tree that changes colors and lighting effects when you say so. Verbal commands including “white fade”, “color change”, and “multi twinkle” direct its eight lighting functions via a 25′-range voice remote. With a lifelike design that makes it look as if it had just been cut from a wintery boreal grove, the tree’s carefully molded PVC and PE tips are accented with pinecones, and pre-strung with 600 multi-colored or white lights rated for 10,000 hours of operation. With a uniform shape that gently tapers from its base to its top, the tree is supported by a four-point, powder-coated steel base and trunk that provides reliable stability. Plugs into AC; voice remote requires three AAA batteries. Assembly required. 90″ H x 40″ Diameter. (24 1/2 lbs.)” ~ Hammacher Schlemmer Website.

The company has a Lifetime Guarantee offered by Hammacher Schlemmer. If ever anyone does not like their tree, they can have the amount paid credited to a brand new tree. This is a great value. I highly recommend Hammacher Schlemmer. Please visit their site at Here is the link to their Lifetime Guarantee:

Copyright © December 8, 2017; The Lantern & Shield Times LLC. All Rights Reserved. The Lantern & Shield Times LLC is not affiliated in any way to Hammacher Schlemmer.


YMCA Evacuated in Richmond, Virginia Due to Suspicious Suitcase

UPDATE: November 5, 2017 at 11:30 PM. After the Virginia State Police Bomb Squad was called to the scene, it was determined that the suitcase belonged to an individual who had left the suitcase out on the street. It was filled with clothing. The all clear was given.

Richmond, Virginia: On November 5, 2017, The YMCA on Franklin Street in Richmond, Virginia was evacuated due to a suitcase/suspicious package call found on the side of the street. The suitcase is located at the intersection of Franklin Street and Adams Street. The Richmond Police Department as well as the Richmond Fire Department has responded and cordoned off a two-block area.

The Richmond Police were called at about 6:30 PM EST and have evacuated a two-block radius. The Jefferson Hotel extended the opportunity for those at the YMCA to come in out of the cold.

Source: Jon Burkett, WTVR CBS6

Copyright © December 5, 2017, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.

You Never Know Who Is Watching

I most recently attended my daughter’s graduation from college for her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration. The Spring Commencement was held at Campbell University in Buies Creek, NC. The guest speaker was Dr. Belle S. Wheelan, President of the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges. Dr. Wheelan delivered an excellent address and was right on target in how graduates should conduct themselves in society.

The following are the recommendations for a successful life:

1.Take care of your body. Eat healthily and exercise. Make prayer a part of your daily life.

2. Continue to ask questions. Learning is a lifelong process.

3. Learn to laugh!

4. Learn to pay yourself first. Put some of your income away for retirement and long-term savings.

5. Get something back. Time is much more valuable to invest in people’s lives as opposed to concentrating on making money all the time. Give to other organizations to help support worthy causes.

6. Be as kind to the janitor as you are to the President of a company.

7. Remember to remain civil and polite.

8. Be an active member of your community. Register to vote and exercise that right. Run for a position on the school board, county supervisor, city council, or representative of your state.

9. Don’t believe in your own PR. Give credit to those who helped you get to where you are. Understand that you never know who is watching. People are always looking at what you are doing! You never know who is watching you because they may be key to opening the next door for you to go through. Don’t be so egocentric that you miss out on opportunities.

10. Always believe that you can succeed and be successful! Use your energy to keep forging ahead.

(Credit: Dr. Belle S. Wheelan, May 13, 2017, Campbell University Commencement Exercises)

Here are a few additional suggestions. As a Christian Dad, I would suggest making some changes to Items One and Ten. As for Item One, put God first in your life. Pray every day about everything. Pray for your neighbors and pray for your enemies. Pray for your boss and the leaders whom you work for. As for Item Ten, give God the credit. It is only through God that you have been gifted with your talent. One of my favorite scriptures is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” As a Believer in Jesus Christ, I give Him the praise for all that I have received. As many of you know, not only am I in ministry as a Marketplace Chaplain, but I am a successful entrepreneur. My successes come from the Lord and I give Him all the praise. I consider my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ as my CEO of my company. Always give God the credit as He will bless you!

I loved Item Nine. You never know who is watching you. Make sure in all your decisions, you live your life as a living sacrifice to Christ. Live a life of honor so that it will be pleasing to God. If you do, you will never go wrong. People are watching and many will not invite you to be a part of their organization if you are the type of person who will step on people and treat them harshly. Consider espousing love to everyone. Be kind!

This leads me to Item Six. Be kind to everyone, even the janitor. Once, I heard a story where a person was working as a janitor for a large corporation. People treated him very badly and did not give him the time of day. This man went to college in the evenings and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Accounting. This janitor left his organization and started working for another large company. It was a few years later where his company bought out the company he used to work for as a janitor. Now those executives that treated him badly were working for him because he was the CEO of the company that bought them out. How the tables were now turned and these arrogant executives were now working for the man they stepped on and did not give the time of day. The moral of this story is that you should treat everyone with kindness and love. Don’t think you are better than they are because they are the janitors. If you have the love of Christ in your heart, then you will have agape love for everyone.

Congratulations to all the new graduates. I will be praying for you and look forward to hearing of many successes to come. May God bless each of you! Remember, you never know who is watching!

Joseph T. Lee, Copyright © November 30, 2017, The Lantern & Shield Times, LLC.


Breaking: Matt Lauer Fired from NBC for Inappropriate Sexual Behavior in the Workplace

November 29, 2017: Today, we are learning of a great media icon who has been fired over allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace. On the Today Show this morning, Savanna Guthrie and Hoda Kotb announced that their co-worker, Matt Lauer was fired for “Inappropriate Sexual Behavior” in the workplace.


This statement was written by the Chairman, Andy Lack, of NBC.

Savanna Guthrie, The Today Show, November 29, 2017, National Broadcasting Company.

The Lantern & Shield Times LLC Copyright © November 29, 2017.

UPDATE: Oxford Circus Shooting

London, England: November 24, 2017; According to the Metropolitan Police (MPS), the mass stampede which was caused by rumors of a shooting, was triggered when two men were fighting on the platform. Because of the reports of gunfire, the MPS responded with the British Transport Police (BTP) to the scene, only to find no suspects or victims. The stampede was in the Oxford Circus shopping district. This was the busiest shopping time of the year. The above picture is of the suspects taken off a CCTV Camera in the platform area. The Oxford Circus is now reopened.

© November 24, 2017 The Lantern & Shield Times, LLC.

Breaking: Terror in London- Shots fired in Oxford Circus

London, England: Police are responding to a terrorist-related incident involving shots being fired. At this time, no known casualties have been reported. Oxford Circus shoppers flee as shots were being fired. Although no suspects or victims have been found, London was on lockdown as this investigation unfolds. There was an injury of a lady who got hurt during the mass panic.

According to London Police, “To date police have not located any trace of any suspects, evidence of shots fired or causalities. Officers continue to work with colleagues from British Transport Police in the area of Oxford Circus.”

 A spokesman for the MET stated, “Police were called at 16:38 to a number of reports of shots fired on #OxfordStreet & underground at Oxford Circus tube station.”

Photo Credit: Twitter, British Transportation Police
Photo Credit: Metropolitan Police UK, Twitter

The incident is now over and no suspects were found.

© November 24, 2017, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.




Happy Thanksgiving: What are you thankful for?

Today, I wished many people Happy Thanksgiving! I did this because I love these people and hold them in high regard. I am thankful for my wife and daughter, my family, friends, and clients. I praise God for my relationships. Most of all, I am thankful for God’s love, where He allowed His Son, Jesus Christ, to shed His blood for the redemption of our sins. I am thankful for my salvation through Jesus Christ.

Today, I asked many friends from Facebook what they are thankful for. Here are a few of their responses:

Carol H wrote, “Jesus and a caring and patient and helpful husband and son.”

Cindee wrote, “Life.”

Carol B wrote, “Thankfulness…….I’m Thankful first of all for the Grace and Mercy of another day and a Heavenly Father who loves me. We are never promised tomorrow so be Thankful for his Graciousness. I’m Thankful for family, friends, miss my Dad, but I know he is with JESUS and that’s what matters. Make this a Thankful Day and forget all the craziness this world tries to make us think that the “Materialistic” makes us happy….it doesn’t….happiness can only be found in a relationship with “JESUS” and then he makes everything else in our lives something to really say Thanks For!”

Karen wrote, “I am thankful for my beautiful family and all my friends old and new. God Bless.”

Beckie wrote, “I am so thankful for being raised in a Christian family and knowing that my parents and grandparents daily prayed for all of our family – kids, grandkids etc. what a blessing!”

Kathy wrote, “Many blessings! Friends and family and friends who are like family.”

Michele wrote, “I’m so thankful for a wonderful, loving family and friends. I’m so thankful for God’s healing power.”

With all that is going on in our world, please take a moment to tell your loved ones that you love them. Give your family a hug and tell your children you love them. No one knows how long they have on this earth.

The staff of The Lantern & Shield Times wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving! May God Bless each of you! We value your followership!

Joseph T. Lee, © November 23, 2017, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.



Movie Review: “The Man Who Invented Christmas”

One of my favorite things to do leading up to Christmas is to Watch “A Christmas Carol,” which was written in book form by Charles Dickens in the 1840s. The Puritans, who believed Christmas was pagan and tied to Roman Catholicism, left some influence on Britain, where the holiday was not widely observed at the time. Dickens, as he’s portrayed in this movie, writes a book that ignites the celebration of Christmas in England.

It was a refreshing movie. It contains no curse words and gives a glimpse into a producer of British literature at  a time when our culture is coarse and many things European are disparaged.

Starring the British actor Dan Stevens, the movie tells of Dickens actual life and adds his interaction with his strong imaginary characters. “The Man Who Invented Christmas” even gives a glimpse into character development as a writer might do.

While the movie’s target audience would not be children, it contains child actors, who play their parts well. There’s nothing vulgar in this flick. Parents can feel very comfortable taking their children to see this movie. If you wish to teach your children English literature, this movie could act as a good introduction to that. The movie shows the influences upon Dickens’ life and how he developed ideas for characters through people he met.

The story Dickens writes, which the British call “Scrooge,” is not meant to teach Christian theology. The necromancy suggested is fanciful and harmless within its context. It’s a movie the whole family can enjoy together.

I recommend taking the whole family to see this movie. I give it Four out of Five Stars.

Ashton Smith, Copyright © November 22, 2017, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC