My Take: Being poor on Christmas
December 17th, 2011
11:59 PM ET

My Take: Being poor on Christmas

Editor's Note: Tangela Ekhoff is an inspirational speaker, comedy performer and ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. She blogs about marriage, motherhood and life in Oklahoma at Homegirl on the Range.

By Tangela Ekhoff, Special to CNN

(CNN) - For my husband and me, the crown jewel of success as parents is the shrieks and wanton joy that come when our children open presents on Christmas morning. It’s enough to breach the dams in my eyes. Every year, my husband (the better shopper) picks one big-ticket gift for our boys, the one we call “the Showstopper!”

The Showstopper is the present that is either No. 1 on their wish list or the one they didn’t even know they wanted, until they make confetti of the shiny paper that conceals the happiness wrapped inside. The Showstopper is THE gift. It’s so awe-inspiring that it causes an intermission to present-opening and signals the point when the boys forsake all other gifts to play with the Showstopper. Last year, it was Chuck the Talking Dump Truck.

This year, there will be no Showstopper.

I wish I could say we are avoiding the Showstopper out of solidarity for Americans who are too poor to afford Christmas. I wish we were that socially conscious. This year, the Showstopper will not be part of the Ekhoff family Christmas, because this year, we are the poor.

We moved from Montgomery, Alabama, to my husband’s childhood home of Owasso, Oklahoma, with high hopes and great expectations for opportunity. It is not going as well as we hoped. We have applied for several hundred jobs between us. I was rejected for a job at a chicken restaurant. I am from Alabama. I was born with a frying pan in one hand and a hunk of lard in the other. I’m still mad about not getting that job.

In a former life, my husband was a computer technician. In this life, he slings pizza, rakes leaves, shovels snow, cuts grass and bakes cakes, but it still is not enough money to pay for basics, let alone any utility bills. I use both of my worthless college degrees as microfiber cloths to fight grime as a house cleaner, and out here in Oklahoma, people are not as willing to pay for this service as they are in the South. I speak publicly and perform comedy, but gigs are harder to come by than we originally anticipated.

We thought the move to Oklahoma would turn it all around and send us sashaying back into our middle-class life. Instead, it has given us the final shove into the abyss of poverty. For us, 2011 has been the Worst. Year. Ever.

This is also the first year in the history of our family that we will not buy gifts for some unknown poor child as part of an Angel Tree project. Every year, we would buy hats, socks, mittens, jackets and/or toys for some poor child.

This year, at some church or business in our town, there are two construction paper Christmas stockings hanging on an Angel Tree with our sons’ wish list printed on them. This year, our sons are “those poor kids.” This year, if there is a Showstopper, it will not be purchased by us but by a generous, anonymous individual or family with the means to help us, the underprivileged family.

On the Christian calendar, the season leading up to Christmas is known as Advent. During Advent, Christians pray and light candles to remind us to wait expectantly and prepare for the miracle of the birth of Jesus Christ. This year, Advent is more meaningful to me than ever. This year, our family has lost so much, and I continually pray for a miracle. As our family awaits the celebration of the birth of Jesus, we anticipate and long for a better world not just for us but for others who suffer in the “new” economic reality: poverty.

My greatest hope, as we await the birth of Jesus, is that God restores our family financially. Yes, it’s selfish. I am grateful the Angel Tree project is available to provide my children and hundreds of children in my town with presents this Christmas. But, selfishly, I pray that next year there will be no Angel Tree. My husband and I are both intelligent and hard-working. We want nothing more than to provide for our children.

As we struggle with the new normal, we pray (yes, selfishly) that during this Advent, as we wait for Jesus’ light to shine upon the world, that a sliver of that miraculous light will shine on our little family. Like a child anticipating the rapturous joy of opening presents on Christmas morning, I hold on to my faith and anticipate a rebirth, a renewal, a restoration for our family.

I expect a miracle. And in this season of Advent, miracles happen every single day.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Tangela Ekhoff.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Christmas

soundoff (1,294 Responses)
  1. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    My work here is done; it's obvious that somewhere along the line I trounced onehippydolt when it called itself herbie or some other lame name. Oh, well. I feel just awful about it.

    December 19, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • The Broken Wind of Angels

      Oh yeah. You sure showed him. You big, internet thug tough-guy you. You must get an award for all this hard work, right? Someone, get this e-tard an award.

      Yes Tom, before you try to correct what you will automatically assume to be an easy target, I do realize that you claim to be a female as stated below. What I want to know is how boring bags of garbage can be so self-absorbed. We all await your amazing life story.

      December 19, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Aww, poor thing. You can twiddle that thumb you've got stuck up your behind waiting, sweetie. I know who you are. You don't impress me. You DO however, make me laugh.

      December 20, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
  2. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Poor little onehippydufus. It is truly sad to see a lonely kid trolling because he doesn't have a friend in the world.

    Seek help, little boy. You need it.

    December 19, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • The Broken Wind of Angels

      Pot, you just got the kettle shoved into your rectum. Good luck getting it out King E-Tard.

      December 19, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  3. r.ortiz

    this story is to remind everyone, it does not matter if you are rich, poor black, or white, people are hurting regardless of your situation these times, my self like many others are going through the worst of times, but things will change for better or worst have some faith and belive it will change things. As for christmas it is all in your heart, we do not know the actual birth day of christ, as to all going through hard times you are not the only ones bless you all.

    December 19, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
  4. onehippypoet

    Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son: youu said:

    "So, you're willing to send all the gifts you bought to someone less fortunate, right? I'll be awaiting proof you've lived up to your own words, hypocrite."

    no one on this planet needs to prove anything to you

    December 19, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • onehippypoet

      tom tom the pipers son
      stole a pig and
      put it under the tree
      the cheap son of a

      December 19, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Still stings, does it?

      December 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      That's what happens when you are having trouble figuring out the reply function, one.

      Better luck next time, darling.

      December 19, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • onehippypoet

      tom tom the pipers son
      stole a pig and
      the whole f,n family
      is down with trichinosis

      December 19, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son


      December 19, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • onehippypoet

      i posted it as a separate entry on purpose

      i'm not an idiot like your buddy central scrutinizer/ungodly victim of child molestation who can't figure that out

      funny that you make such a stupid assumption, but when your lost puppy does it, you don't seem to care

      and you have the nerve to call other people hypocrites


      are you sure you aren't a closet penticostal? you sure act like one

      December 19, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, right. You did it "on purpose". Sure, you did.

      What's your damage, honey? Did your mommy abuse you? Did your brother diddle you? Or was it your babysitter?

      December 19, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • onehippypoet

      of course you of all people can't fathom that someone might actually do something unexpected of their own free will

      stupid people make lots of assumptions : )

      good bye!

      December 19, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ayup, you certainly do, dingus.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  5. Summer

    I really enjoyed this article. Not the hardship that her family is going through, of course, but the humor and honesty in it. Her family is going through what hundreds of thousands of other families are, and she struck a perfect balance of reality and light-heartedness. I truly hope things turn around for them. It's hard to not be able to give your kids what you want. Good parents are fine with doing without, but it's hard to watch their kids do without, especially during Christmas.

    December 19, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  6. derp

    God will provide for your family......

    .......if he is not too busy fixing NFL football games in favor of Tim Tebow.

    December 19, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  7. grassisbrown

    For those of you who are being mean, just remember GOD sees you and that this could be your story next year... Let's see who will be laughing then! Merry Christmas, Tangela, and May GOD bless your family with an overabundance of his blessings! Keep holding on to GOD – Your miracle is only a prayer away! I am standing in agreement with you and your fam!

    December 19, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Oh really

      Yep.. heres the advice boys and girls.. you don't have to work to acheive what you want.. just take the easy smeazy way of praying for it.. pray hard and you will never have to soil your sole ever in your life.. what you want is just a prayer away..

      December 19, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • Laney1025

      No such luck. Dad forgot to lock down his computer so the kindergartners are out today. Please try not to read the nasty stuff and focus on the meaning in this story. A lot of Americans are in this same position this year through no fault of their own. A great majority of them have children. My heart goes out to them all. I am just thankful that I have no small children to worry about this year in my house. It would be horrible. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

      December 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  8. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    "For my husband and me" Seriously? It's one thing for some posters on these sites to write like English is their second language, but this is an actual "published" article on a major news site. Just an observation.

    December 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Webster

      Lucifer's Evil Twin,

      "For my husband and me is correct." A tip that you can use in figuring this out is to take away the other person and try it out. You would say, "For my husband, the crown jewel is..."; and you would say, "For me, the crown jewel is..."

      "My husband went to the store"... "I went to the store" = "My husband and I went to the store".
      "He gave a gift to my husband" ... "He gave a gift to me" = "He gave a gift to my husband and me."

      Hope that helps...

      December 19, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Teach

      Never, never end a sentence with "I". Totally shows your ignorance. Lots of people do that, and they are all wrong.

      December 19, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Webster

      "Never, never end a sentence with "I"."

      That is not quite correct, Teach.

      How about, "Will you walk the dog today or shall I?"

      Also, those who announce “It is I” have traditional grammatical correctness on their side, but they are vastly outnumbered by those who proudly boast “it’s me!” –http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/myself.html

      December 19, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • Newly employed in AZ

      Thank you Webster...well done.

      December 19, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • sgm

      I just love it when a sanctimonious jerk tries to correct someone's grammar and turns out to be wrong. That made my day!

      December 19, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • onehippypoet


      tom tom the pipers son does it all the time.

      December 19, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Must be very painful for you, one.

      December 19, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'm so proud of my effect on onehippypoet. Apparently, I must have made quite an impression on it.

      December 19, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • onehippypoet

      tom tom the pipers son
      stole a pig and
      hey which wine
      with swine?

      December 19, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • onehippypoet

      tom tom the pipers son
      stole a pig and
      what you were expecting
      honesty from tom tom?????

      December 19, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • Joe Friday LAPD

      Just checking some facts. Tom tom, you got a permit to pack a pig?

      December 19, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ooooh. Did you catch me in a lie, dear? Do tell. Which one was it?

      December 19, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ossifer Friday, izzer a prollem with my swine?

      December 19, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Wait a minute! You promised to call me rosie, one! I demand you do so forthwith.

      December 19, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • Joe Friday LAPD

      Pig packing without a permit is particularly impermissible in this city. We catch you packing an impermissible pig we're going to have to be persistent in prosecution. Got that. Repeat it back to me wise guy.

      December 19, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Peter Piper picked a peck of poets named onehippypoet. They got fined for having an illegal substance that produces torpor.

      December 19, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ooops. I lied. I meant to say "produce prodigious panoplies of poop."

      December 19, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • Joe Friday LAPD

      You've just described a felony ......... in a moment the results of that trial

      December 19, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I wait with great anticipation...

      December 19, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
    • Joe Friday LAPD

      Tom tom the pipers son was found not guilty of being a wit and sentenced to no life at all, writing incessant and unneeded comments on the CNN belief blogs.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    • The Broken Wind of Angels

      I'm certain it'll "get off" early for all the time served already.

      December 19, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
  9. jwas1914

    What we need to concern ourselves with is if this holiday is in fact a religious holiday. Does the Holy Scriptures indicate the birth of Christ being the 25th of December? How does God view such celebration? Is Jesus name being used in vain? What does Santa Clause, a Christmas tree, Frosty the Snow Man and Rain Dears have in common with Christ? Is there a link? Is Christmas a true Christian holiday? Please visit http://examinetheholyscripturesdaily.blogspot.com/ for details. Please read your Bible daily.

    December 19, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Huh?

      It's all based on other religions of the time look at the day Christians celebrate Jesus b-day.
      The actual birthday of Jesus was forgotten by the early Christian movement. in those days, various groups celebrated his birth on JAN-6, APR-21 and MAY-1. By the 4th century, the church selected the approximate time of the winter solstice as the date to recognize Jesus' birth. They picked up this date from Pagan sources. As luck would have it, the autumn equinox might have been a more accurate choice.
      The winter solstice occurs about DEC-21 each year. It is the day of the year when the night is longest and the daytime shortest. Using the crude instruments available, ancient astronomers were able to detect by DEC-25 of each year that the daytime had become noticeably longer. This date was chosen, and remains, the traditional date for followers of many different Pagan religions to celebrate the rebirth of the sun. Following the solstice, each succeeding day has slightly more sunlight than the previous day. It was seen as a promise that warmth would return once more to the earth. Numerous pre-Christian Pagan religions honored their gods' birth or rebirth on or about that day. Their deities were typically called: Son of Man, Light of the World, Sun of Righteousness, Bridegroom, and Savior. Some examples are:
      Roman Pagan Religion: Attis was a son of the virgin Nana. His birth was celebrated on DEC-25. He was sacrificed as an adult in order to bring salvation to mankind. He died about MAR-25, after being crucified on a tree, and descended for three days into the underworld. On Sunday, he arose, "as the solar deity for the new season." His followers tied an image of Attis to a tree on "Black Friday," and carried him in a procession to the temple. His body was symbolically eaten by his followers in the form of bread. Worship of Attis began in Rome circa 200 BCE.
      Greek Pagan Religion: Dionysus is another savior-god whose birth was observed on DEC-25. He was worshipped throughout much of the Middle East as well. He had a center of worship in Jerusalem in the 1st century BCE. Some ancient coins have been found in Gaza with Dionysus on one side and JHWH (Jehovah) on the other. In later years, his flesh and blood were symbolically eaten in the form of bread and wine. He was viewed as the son of Zeus, the Father God.
      Egyptian Pagan Religion: Osiris is a savior-god who had been worshipped as far back as Neolithic times. "He was called Lord of Lords, King of Kings, God of Gods...the Resurrection and the Life, the Good shepherd...the god who 'made men and women be born again'". Three wise men announced his birth. His followers ate cakes of wheat which symbolized his body. Many sayings as-sociated with Osiris were taken over into the Bible. This included:
      • 23rd Psalm: an appeal to Osiris as the good Shepherd to lead believers through the valley of the shadow of death and to green pastures and still waters
      • Lord's Prayer: "O amen, who art in heaven..."
      • Many parables attributed to Jesus.
      Worship of Osiris, and celebration of his DEC-25 birth, were established throughout the Roman Empire by the end of the 1st century BCE.
      Persian Pagan Religion: Mithra was a Persian savior. Worship of Mithra became common throughout the Roman Empire, particularly among the Roman civil service and military. Mithraism was a compet-itor of Christianity until the 4th century. Their god was believed to have been born on DEC-25, circa 500 BCE. His birth was witnessed by shepherds and by gift-carrying Magi. This was celebrated as the "Dies Natalis Solic Invite," The "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun." Some followers believed that he was born of a virgin. During his life, he performed many miracles, cured many illnesses, and cast out devils. He celebrated a Last Supper with his 12 disciples. He ascended to heaven at the time of the spring equinox, about March 21.
      The Babylonians celebrated their "Victory of the Sun-God" Festival on DEC-25. Saturnalia (the Festival of Saturn) was celebrated from DEC-17 to 23 in the Roman Empire. The Roman Emperor Aurelian blended Saturnalia with a number of birth celebrations of savior Gods from other religions, into a single holy day: DEC-25. After much argument, the developing Christian church adopted this date as the birthday of their savior, Jesus. The people of the Roman Empire were accustomed to celebrating the birth of a God on that day. So, it was easy for the church to divert people's attention to Jesus' birth.

      December 19, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • jwas1914

      Take note:
      The New Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges: “The date of Christ’s birth is not known. The Gospels indicate neither the day nor the month . . . According to the hypothesis suggested by H. Usener . . . and accepted by most scholars today, the birth of Christ was assigned the date of the winter solstice (December 25 in the Julian calendar, January 6 in the Egyptian), because on this day, as the sun began its return to northern skies, the pagan devotees of Mithra celebrated the dies natalis Solis Invicti (birthday of the invincible sun). On Dec. 25, 274, Aurelian had proclaimed the sun-god principal patron of the empire and dedicated a temple to him in the Campus Martius. Christmas originated at a time when the cult of the sun was particularly strong at Rome.”—(1967), Vol. III, p. 656.

      M’Clintock and Strong’s Cyclopædia says: “The observance of Christmas is not of divine appointment, nor is it of N[ew] T[estament] origin. The day of Christ’s birth cannot be ascertained from the N[ew] T[estament], or, indeed, from any other source.”—(New York, 1871), Vol. II, p. 276.
      Luke 2:8-11 shows that shepherds were in the fields at night at the time of Jesus’ birth. The book Daily Life in the Time of Jesus states: “The flocks . . . passed the winter under cover; and from this alone it may be seen that the traditional date for Christmas, in the winter, is unlikely to be right, since the Gospel says that the shepherds were in the fields.”—(New York, 1962), Henri Daniel-Rops, p. 228.

      December 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Jenn

      From the Got Questions Ministry: http://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-myth.html

      December 19, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Jenn

      This leads us to the next area of investigation—do the mythological gods of antiquity really mirror the person of Jesus Christ? As an example, the Zeitgeist movie makes these claims about the Egyptian god Horus:

      • He was born on December 25th of a virgin – Isis Mary
      • A star in the East proclaimed his arrival
      • Three kings came to adore the new-born “savior”
      • He became a child prodigy teacher at age 12
      • At age 30 he was “baptized” and began a “ministry”
      • Horus had twelve “disciples”
      • Horus was betrayed
      • He was crucified
      • He was buried for three days
      • He was resurrected after three days

      However, when the actual writings about Horus are competently examined, this is what we find:

      • Horus was born to Isis; there is no mention in history of her being called “Mary.” Moreover, Mary is our anglicized form of her real name ‘Miryam’ or Miriam. “Mary” was not even used in the original texts of Scripture.
      • Isis was not a virgin; she was the widow of Osiris and conceived Horus with Osiris.
      • Horus was born during month of Khoiak (Oct/Nov), not December 25. Further, there is no mention in the Bible as to Christ’s actual birth date.
      • There is no record of three kings visiting Horus at his birth. The Bible never states the actual number of magi that came to see Christ.
      • Horus is not a “savior” in any shape or form; he did not die for anyone.
      • There are no accounts of Horus being a teacher at the age of 12.
      • Horus was not “baptized.” The only account of Horus that involves water is one story where Horus is torn to pieces, with Isis requesting the crocodile god to fish him out of the water he was placed into.
      • Horus did not have a “ministry.”
      • Horus did not have 12 disciples. According to the Horus accounts, Horus had four semi-gods that were followers and some indications of 16 human followers and an unknown number of blacksmiths that went into battle with him.
      • There is no account of Horus being betrayed by a friend.
      • Horus did not die by crucifixion. There are various accounts of Horus’ death, but none of them involve crucifixion.
      • There is no account of Horus being buried for three days.
      • Horus was not resurrected. There is no account of Horus coming out of the grave with the body he went in with. Some accounts have Horus/Osiris being brought back to life by Isis and going to be the lord of the underworld.

      So when compared side by side, Jesus and Horus bear little, if any, resemblance to one another.

      December 19, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Jenn

      Another popular comparison done by those claiming that Jesus Christ is a myth is with Jesus and Mithras. All the above claims of Horus are applied to Mithras (e.g. born of a virgin, being crucified, rising in three days, etc.).

      But what does history say about Mithras?

      • He was born out of a solid rock and not from any woman.
      • He battled first with the sun and then a primeval bull, thought to be the first act of creation. Mithras killed the bull, which then became the ground of life for the human race.
      • Mithras birth was celebrated on December 25, along with Winter solstice.
      • There is no mention of him as being a great teacher.
      • There is no mention of Mithras having 12 disciples. The idea that Mithras had 12 disciples may have come from a mural in which Mithras is surrounded by twelve signs of the Zodiac.
      • Mithras had no bodily resurrection. The myth is told that Mithras completed his earthly mission then was taken to paradise in a chariot, alive and well. The early Christian writer Tertullian did write about Mithras believers re-enacting resurrection scenes, but he wrote about this occurring well after New Testament times, so if any copycatting was done, it was the cult of Mithras copying from Christianity.

      More examples can be given of Krishna, Attis, Dionysus and other mythological gods, but the result is the same. In the end, the historical Jesus as portrayed in the Bible is thoroughly unique. The claimed similarities are greatly exaggerated. Further, while belief in Horus, Mithras, and others pre-dated Christianity, there is very little historical record of the pre-Christian beliefs of those religions. The vast majority of the earliest writings about these religions is dated to the third and fourth centuries A.D. It is illogical and unhistorical to claim the pre-Christian beliefs in these religions (of which there is no record) were identical to the post-Christian beliefs in these groups (of which there is record). It is more historically valid to attribute any similarities between these religions and Christianity to the religions copying Christian beliefs about Jesus and placing those attributes on their own gods/saviors/founders in an attempt to stop the rapid growth of Christianity.

      December 19, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Jenn

      This leads us to the next area to examine: the logical fallacies committed by those claiming that Christianity borrowed from pagan mystery religions. Two fallacies in particular are obvious— the fallacy of the false cause and the terminological fallacy. If one thing precedes another, it does not mean that the first caused the second. This is the fallacy of the false cause. Even if pre-Christian accounts of mythological gods closely resembled Christ (and they do not), it does not mean they caused the gospel writers to invent a false Jesus. Claiming such a thing would be like saying the TV series Star Trekcaused the NASA Space Shuttle program.

      The terminological fallacy occurs when terms are redefined to prove a point, when in fact such terms do not mean the same thing when compared to their source. So for example, the Zeitgeist movie says that Horus “began his ministry,” but Horus had no actual ministry – nothing like that of Christ’s ministry. Those claiming Mithras and Jesus are the same talk about the “baptism” that initiated prospects into the Mithras cult, but what was it actually? The Mithras priests (using a ritual also performed by followers of Attis) would suspend a bull over a pit, place those wanting to join the cult into the pit, slit the bull’s stomach, which then covered the initiates in blood. Such a thing has no resemblance whatsoever to Christian baptism—a person going under water (symbolizing the death of Christ) and then coming back out of the water (symbolizing Christ’s resurrection). But advocates of the mythological Jesus position deceptively use the same term to describe both in hopes of linking the two together.

      December 19, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • Jenn

      Finally, the New Testament attests to the fact that the portrayal of Jesus was not mistaken for that of any other god. When faced with Paul’s teaching, the elite thinkers of Athens said this: “He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming? For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean" (Acts 17:18-20). Clearly, if the accounts of Jesus were simply rehashing stories of other gods, the Athenians would not have referred to them at “new” teaching. If dying and rising gods were plentiful in the first century why, when the apostle Paul preached Jesus rising from the dead in Acts 17, did the Epicureans and Stoics not remark, “Ah, just like Horus and Mithras”?

      In conclusion, the claims that Jesus is nothing more than a myth, a copy of mythological gods, originated from authors whose works have been discounted by academia, commit logical fallacies that undermine their veracity, and cannot compare to the New Testament Gospels which have withstood nearly 2,000 years of intense scrutiny. The alleged parallels disappear when they are compared with the original historical texts. Similarities between Jesus and the various mythological gods can only be argued for by employing selective and misleading descriptions.

      Jesus Christ stands unique in history, with His voice rising above all false gods and continuing to ask the question that ultimately determines a person’s eternal destiny:“Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15)

      December 19, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Newly employed in AZ

      Missing the point folks.. What she is saying is that this a humbling experience for her, and she is human, and she is also hoping for a better future for her family and all of us. If prayer helps, and I know that it does, then let her pray... and I will also pray for you non believers while I am a work.

      December 19, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • Laney1025

      Is it really necessary to split hairs over this topic? Think about all the good will that is distributed in Jesus' name this time of year. That is truly what it's all about...giving...in honor of Jesus. Unfortunately, modern society equates giving to mean material things but giving can be in good will and acts, too. A lot of that going around this time of year. Bless all those who are using this time of year to help others, support others emotionally, and to bring joy to others. That's what it is all about.

      To all those determined to cast a cloud over this story or this time of year...you won't succeed. Your nastiness just reveals that you are not even on the radar in life without the little bit of shock value that you use in these posts. Now stop crying, go blow your noses, and sit in time out where you belong.

      December 19, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • .....

      "Your nastiness just reveals that you are not even on the radar in life without the little bit of shock value that you use in these posts. Now stop crying, go blow your noses, and sit in time out where you belong."

      Pot meet kettle, kettle meet pot

      The log in your eye is making you blind.

      December 19, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  10. Chief Two Dogs Phucking

    For her and her family I think a family pack of "Glow-N-The-Dark ButtPlugs" would be nice.

    December 19, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • .....

      Obviously you never learned this in grade school. Emotional Maturity is defined as: the ability to express one’s own feelings and convictions balanced with consideration for the thoughts and feelings of others.

      December 19, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  11. Eaton Butts

    I have a gift for her, IN MY PANTS!!

    December 19, 2011 at 9:54 am |
  12. hamburger steak

    If she is very hungry I would allow her to nibble on my D!CK like a rat does cheese.

    December 19, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  13. Laney1025

    Wow! I was so hopeful that the spirit of kindness and warmth would come out somewhere but I see so much nastiness here that I am going to say that I wish the very best for this family and the thousands of others in this country facing the same for the holidays. Not everyone in this country is a grinch or a stingy slug. So try to avoid reading the bad stuff. The ones making the bad comments apparently spend their time kicking puppies and yanking canes from the hands of the elderly. For once I can say I am truly, from the bottom of my heart, ashamed at the comments I see here. I hope the nasty hearts fill with enough rocks to sink them from view before too much longer. They don't deserve to be a part of any society other than their own "it's all about me" world. Be careful what you say...even in anonymity. Your comments here will reflect in your real life unless you're such a liar that you have your loved ones fooled. Glad I am me and not you. To those who did have good things to say and read this article rather than jump to the worst conclusion you could draw in as few a words as possible...Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, whatever you celebrate! Thank you for the good spirit you have bestowed on others!

    December 19, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • Abdullah the Butcher

      Someone needs to take pity on this woman and buy her some new hair, a weave, a wig or pay to have her head shaved.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • Mark Montgomery loves removing his buttPlug then getting his TurdCutter banged.

      For Xmas lets all ban together and send her family a case of malt licka.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Your husbands big weiner is tastyLicious

      I will send her a care package of Hot Doo Doo.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • Laney1025

      Really you three? Just how old are you collectively? Five, maybe six? Get off your Dad's computer before he finds out! You three are a joke just as the three who followed. I really needed a laugh and your ignorance gave it to me. "Buttplug"? "In your pants"? Oh my! Just how original can you be at determining that you are nothing more than a waste of humanity? Niiiiiccccce! It's kind of obvious that all of you are the same poster! Get real!

      December 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  14. There are no showstoppers at Christmas!

    Remember, that first Christmas was in a manger,
    Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes,
    The first ones to greet him were the poor shepherds,
    Enjoy the real reason for this season-
    the Greatest gift to all mankind!!!

    December 19, 2011 at 8:46 am |
    • Joy!


      December 19, 2011 at 8:53 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So, you're willing to send all the gifts you bought to someone less fortunate, right? I'll be awaiting proof you've lived up to your own words, hypocrite.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Remember that jesus (if he existed at all) was not born at this time of year and that Christmas is a holiday stolen by the christards from the pagans!

      December 19, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • jwas1914

      What we need to concern ourselves with is if this holiday is in fact a religious holiday. Does the Holy Scriptures indicate the birth of Christ being the 25th of December? How does God view such celebration? Is Jesus name being used in vain? What does Santa Clause, a Christmas tree, Frosty the Snow Man and Rain Dears have in common with Christ? Is there a link? Is Christmas a true Christian holiday? Please visit http://examinetheholyscripturesdaily.blogspot.com/ for details. Please read your Bible daily...

      December 19, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • ....

      jwas1914 is a TROLL click the report abuse like to get rid of this TROLL!

      December 19, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Get This

      jwas1914 - "Please read your Bible daily..."

      It is not my Bible... it is yours.

      How would you like it if a Muslim said, "Read your Quran daily"?... or a Hindu who said, "Read your Vedas daily"?

      December 19, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  15. Lil Wayne has the HIV but thats still underwraps.

    She is just another lying shill. Her family went and maxed their credit cards, leased vehicles and bought houses they couldnt afford and now its time for a miracle from above. Well GlowRee be, praise gawd. Just another liar is all she is

    December 19, 2011 at 7:42 am |
    • Sherry Buckner

      I'd very much like to see your proof that she is is a liar...if you don't, I guess that'd make YOU one, wouldn't it?
      You will never be happy by being so mean-spirited, my friend.
      In fact your unhappiness and personal disdain is shouting in the ear of every reader.
      How humiliating that must be for you.
      Why not try a different way?

      December 19, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  16. Jimmy CrapCorn

    This lady isnt poor. She is stupid.

    December 19, 2011 at 7:40 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You make her look like a genius, moron.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:40 am |
    • onehippypoet

      tom tom the pipers son
      stole a pig and
      found out the pig
      was way smarter than him

      December 19, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hmm. Perhaps you should take up knitting, one. You're not too good at poetry. It's "smarter than he." Which is pretty silly, since I'm a "she". I don't have to be smarter than the pig. I just have to be smarter than you, and that's a given.

      December 19, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • onehippypoet

      only an idiot would pick a male name and then question the intelligence of anyone that assumed it was male.

      i'll start calling you rosie.

      December 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Promise? Pretty please?

      December 19, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  17. Ashlyn

    I don't think it's materialistic for a parent to want to give their children nice presents on Christmas. Children want what they want regardless of how much it costs. Many parents – myself included – say no 19 times out of 20 because we can't afford to buy everything our children want, and we don't want them to be spoiled. It's a wonderful feeling to be able to say "yes" on Christmas morning, and see the look on a child's face when they get something they've wished for. At my workplace, we adopt two families each year and the greatest reward for all of us is seeing the delight of the children. I would feel very depressed as Mrs Ekhoff does if I could not give my child or the other children one of their hearts' desires for Christmas. If this makes me materialistic and not understanding Christmas, I'm guilty as charged.

    December 19, 2011 at 7:00 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      I don't think it makes a person materialistic at all. I think as parents we all want our children to have the best possible in this world and for them to feel important also. A few years ago friends of mine couldn't afford food or gifts for their kids, so I took them shopping and helped ensure those kids had a Christmas. It's not so much about the adults in my opinion, as it is about bringing joy to a child.

      December 19, 2011 at 7:33 am |
    • jwas1914

      Hello Ashlyn: What we need to concern ourselves with is if this holiday is in fact a religious holiday. Does the Holy Scriptures indicate the birth of Christ being the 25th of December? How does God view such celebration? Is Jesus name being used in vain? What does Santa Clause, a Christmas tree, Frosty the Snow Man and Rain Dears have in common with Christ? Is there a link? Is Christmas a true Christian holiday? Please visit http://examinetheholyscripturesdaily.blogspot.com/ for details. Please read your Bible daily.

      December 19, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • ......


      Why don't you use that brain of yours instead posting websites. Otherwise I say click the report abuse link on this TROLL!

      December 19, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  18. Jimmy Bond

    She is great cook...The video shows her putting Jiffy cornbread mix in a bag...LOL...

    December 19, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And? What, do you grind your own cornmeal, putz?

      December 19, 2011 at 8:41 am |
    • onehippypoet

      more stupid commentary from the wannabe dude

      December 19, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So do you grind your corn on a mill stone, honey? Or do you use a Cuisinart?

      December 19, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Come out, come out, wherever you are, onehippydumbazz. What's wrong? Did your mommy make you turn off her computer?

      December 19, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  19. HellBent

    Mrs. Ekhoff – expecting a miracle? When why solicit donations for your kids gifts on paypal? Hedging your bets? Perhaps your belief in the almighty isn't as strong as you would lead others to believe?

    December 19, 2011 at 1:13 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Where do you see any solicitation? I looked at her blog and I see nothing of the kind.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:41 am |
    • thor1211

      I too had a problem with this, I was torn between feeling bad for her and disliking her use of the word "showstopper" then I saw her "Pay Pal" donation request on her website...Uh, I no longer feel bad for her.

      I saw the request yesterday, maybe she took it down????

      December 19, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • onehippypoet


      didn't see the paypal donation thing eh? figures.

      you sure are a smart one

      December 19, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So you looked for it, did you?


      December 19, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  20. MK

    Thanks for this timely article. Good luck. Good bless ... I feel your pain and hardship ...

    December 19, 2011 at 12:38 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.