Free Audio - Glenn Beck's story of Christmas



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VOICE: The Glenn Beck program brings you the story of Christmas.

GLENN: This is a story, this is a story that has been told so many times. We all know where it begins and how it ends. It's a story of birth and death. Of hope and despair. Of great doubt and even greater faith. That's the part we're going to concentrate on, great doubt and profound faith. As anyone can tell you who has stood at the foot of Abraham Lincoln, the Memorial in Washington D.C. and gazed up into his face, our historical figures are so often painted with such bold strokes that they become more giants than men, yet I believe to truly understand their brilliance, their courage or their faith, we need to see them first as who they really were: People just like us, people with hopes and dreams and fears. Just like us.

In Luke just before the Christmas Story, it talks just a little bit about Mary, the mother of Jesus, being visited by the angel Gabriel. It simply says, "And the angel came to her and said, hail, thou art highly favored. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women." And then it says, when she saw him, she was troubled. "Fear not, for thou hast found favor with God and behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a son and shall call his name Jesus." That's the bold stroke of history here. A simple woman called Mary, a young girl from a very orthodox Jewish community and unmarried. And yet, the story only tells us that she was troubled. Imagine the great doubt: "Was I truly visited or was it just a dream. How will I tell my friends, my family? How will I tell my fiance?"

The great doubt, the questions that must have crept into her mind: "Why? Why me? Am I worthy? How am I worthy? How am I to be the mother of the Lord God? He's my savior. How am I to raise him when he's here to literally raise me." How she must have prayed. How much time before that first Christmas did she spend on her knees begging for peace, begging for comfort and guidance. How she must have pleaded for the constant companionship of the comforter, the holy spirit, the breath of heaven.

(Music)

GLENN: Now, on the long journey to Bethlehem from Nazareth in Galilee, Joseph walked and I suppose Mary rode. They were on their way for the census. You see, Joseph was a descendant of King David and he needed to register in Bethlehem, David's hometown. And his fiance, Mary, was heavy with child. We've already talked about her great doubt: "Was I truly visited or was it just a dream? How will I tell my friends, my family? How am I going to tell my fiance?" When she did share the news with Joseph, he planned on leaving her, but he felt enough for her to do it privately, to not publicly shame her. Yet before he acted on his doubt, and no doubt anger, he was visited in his dreams and an angel spoke to Joseph saying, "Joseph, fear not to take Mary unto you as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost and she shall bring forth a son and you shall call him Jesus, and he shall save his people from their sins. And they shall call him Emmanuel."

Matthew only tells us that after Joseph was raised out of a sleep, he did as he had been told and took unto him his wife Mary. Great doubt? Even greater faith. You know, we almost run by this part of the story every year. Every year we just speed by these two people called Joseph and Mary so we can get to the Christ child part. But let's stop. Let's stop again here and examine this man named Joseph, a guy whose fiance had just told him that "I'm pregnant and not with your child. But don't worry. An angel came to me and said that the child was the son of God and this would be a virgin birth." Great doubt? And then in a dream an angel comes to him.

Now, I don't know about you, but I've had dreams that seem pretty real, the kind that stick with you all day. Let me ask you, what do you think was easier for him to believe? Yet Joseph chose to believe his dream. He chose to believe his fiance. Joseph, the simple man, chose his God. Still, his great doubt couldn't have ended there and now he had to be faced with the same kind of self-doubt that Mary had to confront: "Why me? How can I be a dad to the son of God?"

I remember the Christmas when I feel I began to really become a man. I must have been about 30. And for the first time in my life I wasn't really sure how I was going to provide for my children. Now imagine the fear, the doubt, the profound apprehension Joseph must have faced on that journey knowing that the woman he was now responsible for was about to give birth, not to his son but the son of his heavenly father. And he had yet to find out where.

(Music playing)

GLENN: There really is very little written about this lonely trip to Bethlehem. I suppose one could imagine Mary was uncomfortable. And Joseph was nervous. And there in this little town in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of a desert, in a stable, Mary gave birth. Such a simple beginning for a man that was born a king. His mother, after counting his fingers and toes, I suppose marveling at his delicate features, his tiny little hands, his feet. Holding him near her and them, laughing together, crying together and giving God praise for all of his blessings, she wrapped the babe in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, for there was no place for them in the inn.

So here we have these two people, not bigger than life. Flesh and blood. Life size. No larger. Just two people like us. Can you see them? No, not painted with the bold strokes of history. Just a man and a woman filled with trepidation, filled with fears and doubt just like any other expecting parent. Yet these two had exchanged presents with each other even before the reason of Christmas had arrived. Each giving to each other the gift of faith, profound faith. Faith in God, faith in their purpose and faith in each other. And in that 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 shown around them and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, be not afraid, for behold I bring you good news of a great joy which has come to all the people, for to you is born this day in the City of David a savior who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you. You will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God and saying, glory to God in the highest and on Earth, peace among men, with whom he was pleased.

And when the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us. And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying which had been told to them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds had told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard.

(Music playing)

GLENN: For unto us a child is born, a son is given. And the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

(Music playing)

GLENN: Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.

May the blessings of this season be upon you from everyone on Glenn Beck program.

The themes of healing and redemption appear throughout the Bible.

Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. — 1 Corinthians 15:43
It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. — Mark 2:17.

So, for many Christians, it's no surprise to hear that people of faith live longer lives.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. — Jeremiah 17:14.

But it is certainly lovely to hear, and a recent study by a doctoral student at Ohio State University is just one more example of empirical evidence confirming the healing benefits of faith and religious belief.

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Moreover, the study finds that religious belief can lengthen a person's life.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. — Proverbs 17:22
Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! — Isaiah 38:16

The study analyzed over 1,000 obituaries nationwide and found that people of faith lived longer than people who were not religious. Laura Wallace, lead author of the study, noted that "religious affiliation had nearly as strong an effect on longevity as gender does, which is a matter of years of life."

The study notes that, "people whose obits mentioned a religious affiliation lived an average of 5.64 years longer than those whose obits did not, which shrunk to 3.82 years after gender and marital status were considered."

And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. — Matthew 10:1

"The researchers found that part of the reason for the boost in longevity came from the fact that many religiously affiliated people also volunteered and belonged to social organizations, which previous research has linked to living longer. The study provides persuasive evidence that there is a relationship between religious participation and how long a person lives," said Baldwin Way, co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at Ohio State.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

In addition, the study showed how the effects of religion on longevity might depend in part on the personality and average religiosity of the cities where people live, Way said.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. — Luke 5:17
Heal the sick in it and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near to you. — Luke 10:9.

In early June, the Social Security and Medicare trustees released their annual report on the fiscal health of these programs, and the situation looks dire. Medicare is scheduled to run out of money in 2026 (three years sooner than anticipated), while Social Security is expected to run out in 2034. The rising national debt is only one of the well-known financial struggles the millennial generation faces. The burdens of student loan debt, high housing prices (thanks to zoning restrictions), stagnant wage growth, the rising cost of healthcare and lingering aftershocks of the Great Recession are among the biggest sources of economic anxiety millennials feel.

Progressive politicians have been very successful at courting the youth vote, partly because they actually promote policy ideas that address many of these concerns. As unrealistic or counterproductive as Senator Bernie Sanders' proposals for single-payer health care or a $15 an hour minimum wage might be, they feel in theory like they would provide the economic stability and prosperity millennials want.

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Republicans, on the other hand, have struggled to craft a message to address these concerns. Fiscal conservatives recognize, correctly, that the burden of the $20 trillion national debt and over $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities will fall on millennials. Some conservatives have even written books about that fact. But the need to reform entitlements hasn't exactly caught millennials' attention. Pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, in her book The Selfie Vote, notes that millennials generally view protecting the safety net as more important than reducing the deficit.

Clearly, Republicans have a problem. They need to craft solutions that address the millennial generation's struggles, but they can't seem to sell entitlement reform, their biggest policy preference that addresses those problems. The Republican approach to wooing millennials on policy is failing because talking about stopping the debt from reaching an unsustainable level is long-term and abstract, and offers few immediate tangible benefits. A new approach to both pave the way for entitlement reform and give millennials an immediate financial boost is to first reform not entitlement spending, but the payroll tax: specifically, by partially (or wholly) replacing it with a value-added tax.

Under the current Social Security model, workers pay for the benefits of current retirees through the payroll tax. This system creates the illusion of a pension program, in which what you put in is what you get out, but in reality Social Security is a universal safety net program for the elderly paid for by taxes. The payroll tax falls on workers and is a tax on labor, while the value-added tax (VAT) is a tax on consumption imposed at every part of the production process. Assuming that this policy change is revenue-neutral, switching to a VAT will shift the responsibility for funding Social Security and Medicare away from workers, disproportionately poorer and younger, and onto everyone participating in the economy as a whole. Furthermore, uncoupling Social Security funding from payroll taxes would pave the way for fiscal reforms to transform the program from a universal benefit program to one geared specifically to eliminating old-age poverty, such as means-testing benefits for high-income beneficiaries, indexing benefits to prices rather than wages or changing the retirement age.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences. As the Tax Policy Center notes, the change would actually make the tax system more progressive. The current payroll tax is regressive, meaning that people with lower incomes tend to pay a higher effective tax rate than people with higher incomes. On the other hand, the value-added tax is much closer to proportional than the payroll tax, meaning that each income group pays closer to the same effective tax rate.

For Republicans, such a change would fit conservative economic ideas about the long-run causes of economic growth. A value-added tax has a much broader base than the payroll tax, and therefore would allow for much lower marginal tax rates, and lower marginal tax rates mean smaller disincentives to economic activity. According to the Tax Foundation's analysis of a value-added tax, the VAT would be a more economically efficient revenue source than most other taxes currently in the tax code.

Not only would replacing part or all of the payroll tax provide an immediate benefit to millennial taxpayers, it would also open the door for the much-needed entitlement reforms that have been so politically elusive. Furthermore, it would make the tax code both more pro-growth and less regressive. In order to even begin to address the entitlement crisis, win millennial support and stimulate the economy in a fiscally responsible manner, Republicans must propose moving from the payroll tax to the VAT.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate. His writing has appeared in Townhall and The Federalist. He is a federal policy intern at the Tax Foundation. Opinions expressed here are his only and not the views of the Tax Foundation. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Glenn was joined by Alanna Sarabia from "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios on Thursday for an exclusive look at Mercury Museum's new "Rights & Responsibilities" exhibit. Open through Father's Day, the temporary museum features artifacts from pop culture, America's founding, World Ward II and more, focusing on the rights and responsibilities America's citizens.

Get tickets and more information here.

Watch as Glenn gives a sneak peek at some of the unique artifacts on display below.

History at the Mercury Museum

Alanna Sarabia interviews Glenn Beck for "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios.

Several months ago, at the Miss Universe competition, two women took a selfie, then posted it on Instagram. The caption read, "Peace and love." As a result of that selfie, both women faced death threats, and one of the women, along with her entire family, had to flee her home country. The occasion was the 2017 Miss Universe competition, and the women were Miss Iraq and Miss Israel. Miss Iraq is no longer welcome in her own country. The government threatened to strip her of her crown. Of course, she was also badgered for wearing a bikini during the competition.

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In an interview, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, said:

When I posted the picture I didn't think for a second there would be blowback. I woke up to calls from my family and the Miss Iraq Organization going insane. The death threats I got online were so scary. The director of the Miss Iraq Organization called me and said they're getting heat from the ministry. He said I have to take the picture down or they will strip me of my title.

Yesterday, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, posted another selfie with Miss Israel, during a visit to Jerusalem.

In an interview, she said that:

I don't think Iraq and Israel are enemies; I think maybe the governments are enemies with each other. There's a lot of Iraqi people that don't have a problem with Israelis.

This is, of course, quite an understatement: Iraq, home to roughly 15,000 Palestinians, refuses to acknowledge Israel as a legitimate country, as it is technically at war with Israel. The adages says that a picture is worth a thousand words. What are we to do when many of those words are hateful or deadly? And how can we find the goodness in such bad situations?