Saturday, December 23, 2023

D.L. Gardner: Context

 Context is important. Even more importantly, understanding context correctly is most important particularly regarding life or death issues. 

What is the context of life? Looking at tombstones we see birthdates and death dates usually with a dash between the two dates. Life is a dash! Is that all that life is? It depends on the context! Didn’t see that coming, did you?

Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas and celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead on Easter or Resurrection Sunday. The Christian church in Rome settled on December 25 as the Feast of the nativity as early as the year 336. Easter is celebrated according to Jewish feasts of Passover and First Fruits on the Hebrew calendar. 

The Gregorian calendar went into effect in October 1582 and is named after Pope Gregory XIII. The Hebrew calendar is a lunar calendar whereas the Gregorian calendar is based on the earth’s trip around the sun. Needless to say, context is critical for understanding all of the calendars used around the earth. 

The biblical book of Daniel contains many prophecies about Messiah coming to earth. Jesus fulfilled many of those prophecies during His first advent. Daniel also prophesied about the anti-Christ and the end times when Jesus will return to earth. Jesus described the end times to His disciples in Matthew chapter 24 with phrases like “When you see….” There will be signs. How do we recognize these signs? Context.

Since Jesus’ ascension into Heaven nearly 2,000 years ago Christians have speculated about His return. The New Testament is filled with signs of His return along with warnings not to be deceived by false signs and false prophets. Context, right?

What is the context of the world in the waning days of 2023? How does the world match up with the previous 6,000 years or so of recorded history? We’re still here after millennia of warnings about Doom’s Day. In the last 50 years we’ve been deluged with apocryphal warnings that climate change will destroy the earth in so many days IF we don’t do something. So far the science of climate change is about as accurate as the science of … well, let’s not go there. 

While Christmas and other festive holidays are generally welcoming and happy times, they’re also likely to be the loneliest days of the year for many people. Why? Context. 

Christians celebrate Christmas as the time when the Christ would deliver us all out of our burdens. Isaiah 9:6 says it like this: “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forever more. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.”

In light of this context Christians should rejoice in Jesus’ return to set up His kingdom. Our worldly contexts of pain, suffering, and unrighteousness are not comparable with what God has promised. Let’s look forward to God’s context through trusting Jesus for eternal life.

Daniel L. Gardner is a columnist who lives in Starkville, MS. You may contact him at


paulo said...

Merry Christmas Daniel !

Anonymous said...

Summary (not actual quote) of article: “the rapture hasn’t occurred yet, so climate change can’t be real.” And he even put in a dash of what is ostensibly COVID skeptism.

When the content posted on this site are as idiotic as this, should we be surprised by the comments left by the readers this drivel would attract? Seems pretty inevitable to me…

Anonymous said...

Amen. We get washed away in the complexities and stupidity of our modern world.
Let’s channel our inner happiness again for the birth of Our Lord.

Anonymous said...

Always use the lens of truth, beauty and grace when figuring out the correct context of things.

Anonymous said...

Peace on Earth and Good Will to Men seems forgotten as a message.

One would think Jesus wore fine clothes and travel in a carriage of gold, belittled anyone who disagreed with his teachings and only healed and helped only those who were part of his "tribe".

And, that the Sermon on the Mount was about who the "enemies" were that had to be "eliminated".

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS