Tag Archives: Christianity

Decorating with History

I spent this weekend putting up the outside Christmas lights and finishing the indoor Christmas decorations after a week of procrastinating. While doing so, it occurred to me that decorating for Christmas is like enjoying Christmas in advance. Opening the boxes and totes of decorations is like opening presents; each one brings back memories of when it was first placed on the tree. This is particularly poignant with “first Christmas” ornaments—whether “baby’s first Christmas” or “Our First Christmas.”

When we pull out the decorations, we put on Santa Hats and play some Christmas music on the stereo so we get sufficiently jolly. Last year, I organized and labeled the totes so they were easier to find and sort. Of course, we still had a hard time finding some of the decorations that we knew we had; but the fun of discovery of the decorations we forgot we had made up for it. We started a tradition on our first Christmas of making an ornament from scratch each year; and we make a point of putting them on right after the base ornaments.

Base ornaments you ask? I know every family has its own way of decorating a tree and some people are quite adamant on their idea of the proper way of trimming the tree. Some say the tree topper goes first, others insist that it should be the last thing to go on and that dad has to be the one to do it. Some insist on garland while others prefer icicles. Well, our way of decorating is two strings of c7 lights first, then several strands of mini lights (including on musical twinkling strand) and then the three sizes of glass ball ornaments; big ornaments on bottom, mid-sized ornaments in the middle and smaller ones on the top of the tree. After the glass orbs, we put on the artistic ornaments, including the home made ones.

Each ornament has a story and a special place on the tree. The long sea shell was a gift from my mom after her Bahamas cruise. The Lionel train was given to me by my dad, a long-time model train enthusiast. The acrylic angel has to go in front of a white c7 bulb in the front of the tree. The mirrored cube has to be nestled in a bundle of mini-lights to reflect the most color. The angel goes on top after all the others are in place.

The tree is not the only decorations with stories. We have the hallmark singing snowman and snow dog that I won at a Christmas party at work. We have the cheap Wal-Mart nativity set that looks like the one mom and dad had for years while I was growing up. We have the Christmas bear that sits on the bookcase that one of my Aunts made. I cannot forget to mention the wooden Noel sign that Michelle gave me the first Christmas in the house. So many decorations that have stories and history of their own that they almost take on a life of their own.

Yes, Christmas means celebrating love and life and giving of one’s self to others. But it is also a great opportunity to celebrate family by opening the gifts of history that are our traditions. When opening your decorations this year, take a moment to remember when you got them and listen to the stories they tell you. They are your stories after all. It’s like an early Christmas.

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Is It Really a Question of Intelligence? Really?

There are not that many things that upset me in life. I try to roll with the punches as often as I can and keep a positive attitude in everything…when it is possible. The times that it is not possible are few, but the biggest trigger I have—the one big button to press if you want to see me upset—is to insult my intelligence. I read the liberal media and blogs and I let a lot of things slide, but some things demand an answer. I am not an ignorant man. I have a college education. I have completed the course of study for a master’s degree with a 4.0 GPA. I am an educator (of sorts…technical training is still education). I can reason my way out of just about any problem with which I am presented.

And I am also a Christian.

There seems to be a wave sweeping the country that the two are mutually exclusive. Many seem to assume that any Christian is a religious nut who lives in a box and refuses to accept that the world is round. These individuals portray Christians as “right-wing red-staters” to discount the conservative political view, assuming that being conservative is fundamental to being a “red-neck” or a hick or any other stereotype associated with ignorance.

This movement posits the notion that all intelligent people must agree that Christianity (or any organized religion) is a fallacy and science is the only true power in the universe. Their reasoning is that science has disproved all the creation ideas of the faithful and has explained, without any doubt, how mankind came to be the dominate life form on this rock, and science will tell you exactly how old that rock is.

Poppycock

Hogwash

Malarkey

Science has no way of determining the exact age of anything older than a few hundred years. All the millions of years that science claims have passed since this planet was formed are based on a mathematical formula extrapolating figures based on another mathematical formula used to determine atomic decay. Folks, have you ever seen an atom decay? I’ll save you the effort of thinking about it. You haven’t. No one has. No one can say for sure how long the Earth has been spinning, unless they were there when it started. And folks—no one alive today was there.

No one has seen a monkey evolve into a man. No one has seen a living dinosaur, so they assume that dinosaurs must have evolved into the species we have today. There is no conclusive proof that says that the Raptor became an eagle or any other bird, though that does not stop scientists from suggesting so. Scientists claim to have mapped the human genome and that there are only the smallest of differences between the human gene sequence and that of any other species. How does this support the claim of evolution? Will they next suggest we evolved from frogs?

There is one basic flaw with science: it relies on facts in evidence at the time. Like a court case, conclusions are made based on the data that the scientist observes and the experiments he or she conducts. This data is then—and pay attention here because this is key—INTERPRETED. This means that the validity is entirely dependent on the person making the conclusion. There have been many cases where a supposed scientific fact has been disputed and disproven. For years, the best scientists in the world believed the Earth was flat. This lasted until an explorer sailed around it. For years it was believed that handling frogs causes warts (and some people still believe this to this day).

Think about nutrition. There is one science that changes its mind daily about what is good for you and what is bad. The one basic flaw keeps popping up. No one can know anything for sure. No one can make a claim and then spend a lifetime observing every possible subject in every possible permutation of situations to base a general claim as a fact. No one can go back in time to observe the big bang and the formation of life on this planet. No one can. There is no conclusive proof that the Earth is in fact 4 billion years old. There is evidence based on theoretical mathematics that supports the conclusion that it is 4 billion years old, but nothing that is without doubt.

There once was a time when scientists admitted that it was all guesswork. But perhaps egos grew too big. Perhaps the push to publish and be authoritative grew too strong, but it was probably a bit of both. Either way, science has become the end-all-be-all of human endeavor. If enough people believe in a thing, it is accepted as fact, even if there is no proof.

People are replacing faith with science; but those same people are accepting science on faith. They believe the conclusions on nothing more than faith in the minds of those who make the claims. The scientists write books explaining their beliefs and the population hold these books as proof to dispute any religious views to the contrary.

I have a book too. In this book, learned men make conclusions based on observation as well as direct testimony. My book is the Bible and I will put it against any book you hold up. You have faith in your science, I have faith in God. I am not ignorant, I am not in denial and I am not burying my head in the sand. I am a reasoning, intelligent man and I believe in God and Jesus Christ.

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Christmas Time is Here

Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all
The children call
Favorite time of year
Snowflakes in the air
Carols everywhere
Olden times
And ancient rhymes
Love and dreams to share

These are the lyrics to one of my favorite secular Christmas songs ever. I love Christmas music. Secular music, religious music, orchestral music, carols, hymns, if it’s Christmas, I like it and I’ll listen to it. Christmas is important for so many reasons as Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ as well as celebrating the principles of giving to others.

Sadly we have lost focus of the season. Christmas has always been a Christian holiday (here’s a hint: Christmas and Christian both start with Christ) which has never been a real problem in a nation founded on Christian principles. It is those principles that are creating the big problem, however. One of the founding principles was freedom for all to practice their own religious ideals with no inference from Government. This is where the “separation of church and state” gets its meaning.

People get confused by this separation however. They seem to think it means that you cannot practice your religion if it offends someone, or you cannot practice it without including all other religions. Well, this is fallacy. Christians celebrate the birth of the savior in December. We know that he was not actually born on December 25th, but that is not the point. The point is that we set aside a day to celebrate the occasion. This sense of inclusion has led to the month of December being recognized as “The Holiday Season,” which gives everyone an excuse to celebrate something. Hanukah and Kwanzaa have been added to the mix which serves to further dilute the significance of Christmas.

Jews do not celebrate Christ’s birth, because Jews do not believe he is the messiah; they celebrate Hanukah in December. It coincides with the Christmas season, but not the actual day, and it has nothing to do with Christ, but rather celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple at Jerusalem. They light a candle for eight days to recognize the miracle of the candle oil, where the temple was out of consecrated oil and only had enough for one day. It lasted, however for eight days, which is the time it takes to press, prepare and consecrate olive oil.

Kwanzaa has no religious significance whatsoever. It is celebrated in December just to give African-Americans a celebration of their own separate from the dominate holiday of the season. It was created in 1967 but did not gain acceptance until much later. The founder of Kwanzaa claimed that Jesus was psychotic and that Christianity was a white religion that blacks should shun.

The media—having become the mouthpiece for the liberal agenda—has become an avid supporter of inclusion for the “Holiday Season,” even to the extreme of refusing to use the phrase Merry Christmas, opting to use the diluted “Happy Holidays” instead. Seems Merry Christmas is too Christian. Schools have dropped the Christmas Pageant and now have a holiday concert where secular songs are sung, but no religious hymns or songs.

Sadly, we as a people, do not help matters. The tradition of giving gifts has evolved into nothing more than a marketing scheme for retailers to gain profits. The day after Thanksgiving, traditionally heralded the beginning of the Christmas season, is now simple called “Black Friday,” because it is the day that merchants books actually show a profit. News broadcasts are full of stories of sales and people who do ridiculous things to save money buying things at stores. The stores do not even wait for Black Friday anymore. They start hanging “Happy Holidays” signs before Halloween these days. Celebrating giving has evolved into celebrating buying.

Christmas time is here and it used to mean something. It meant celebrating God’s love, Christ’s birth and giving of ourselves to others—and it needs to mean this again. This is what we need to remember this Christmas season. This needs to be held close as we gather family around the hearth and table and this is what needs to be honored as we exchange gifts with loved ones. Play your favorite Christmas music whether it be carols, hymns or secular. Merry Christmas to all.

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