Tag Archives: Jesus

The Reason for the Season

‘Tis the Season. This is a phrase that has been used to introduce what the media is euphemistically referring to as the “holiday season,” because the true name of the holiday in question is no longer considered politically correct. Stores have holiday sales, and people say Happy Holidays as a greeting to each other. Even the phrase “Happy Hanukkah” is more accepted. Congress has been admonished that they cannot express any salutations on official correspondence that refer to the holiday. There is a concerted effort to marginalize the holiday (a term referring to a Holy Day) that is significant to Christians, and this attack is coming from humanists, atheists, agnostics and muslims among others. These assaults are both direct in the loss of the saying “Merry Christmas” and indirect in the abandonment of the holiday traditions because of the commercialization. They use the very symbols of Christmas to argue against Christian observation. The enemies of Christianity’s victory will not come when Christmas is outlawed, but when Christians surrender Christmas.

Many Christians have decried the commercialization of Christmas which seems to be growing more blatant every year. Retailers set out their decorations earlier, sales get bigger and hyped with more enthusiasm as retailers look for the biggest profits, and people are bombarded with opportunities to donate to any number of charities. This year, Black Friday was actually Black Thursday as many retailers opened for business on Thanksgiving Day. Perhaps they do this to try to marginalize another Christian holiday in Thanksgiving.

Jesus was most likely not born on December 25th. The Bible doesn’t say it and a scientific study of the scripture indicates that it is more likely he was born in September or October, although it is still a matter of discussion and debate. Some claim that the December 25th date is set to coincide with the pagan ritual of saturnalia, but many Christian scholars hold that Constantine, the first Christian emperor, set the holiday date. To refuse to celebrate a Christian holiday because it may fall during a one-time pagan observance is to say that I should not celebrate my birthday because it also happens to be Adolph Hitler’s.

Santa has been attacked by many Christians as a false god or an idol that represents the commercialism that is distracting people from the true meaning of the holiday, that of celebrating Christ’s birth. Some shun Christmas decorations as a pagan ritual. All these reasons may seem a noble cause to shun the traditions of the season, but all that serves to do is to promote the commercialization, humanization and de-Christianization of Christmas. Santa Claus in his popular jolly form with the bright red suit and white fur trim is the creation of the Coca Cola marketing department and was introduced in the 1950’s. He is the quintessential marketing tool and has been one of the most successful in history. Kids wait up all night on Christmas eve looking for Santa’s reindeer to land on their roofs.

Beyond Coca Cola’s Santa Claus is the actual story of Kris Kringle. The name Kris Kringle actually comes from the German KristKindle, which translates Christ Child. According to Wikipedia, Kris Kringle was promoted as a gift bringer during the reformation to replace the figure of Saint Nicholas, a catholic priest known among other things for leaving coins in the shoes of children. So Santa Claus is not a pagan symbol, nor is he an idol or false god. He is the personification of Christ’s love and based entirely on Christian principles. Christians should continue to welcome Santa into their homes every year. The moral implications of telling children about the reality of Santa and the truth of the spirit of giving and its origins in history are an individual issue.

The tradition of decorating for Christmas is not based in the pagan rituals, although some would compare it to a Yule tree to try to remove any reference to the Christian holiday. Some accounts ascribe the origins of the Christmas tree to a representation of the paradise tree, honoring the tree that provided the apple that Eve gave to Adam. Other origins are associated with more modern interpretations in northern Germany of celebrating around the tree, then burning the tree at the end of the festivities. Granted, festooning one’s house in light bulbs and garland may seem garish and commercial, but it is an opportunity to enjoy and pass on a shared family tradition. This helps draw a family closer together.

The commercialization of Christmas is rampant and not just for commercial reasons. Granted, businesses want to make as much money as they can. The term black Friday is a reference to the fact that many retailers operate at a loss (negative ledger balances are usually written in red ink) for most of the year and their ledgers finally run in the black (positive balance) for the first time the day after Thanksgiving when more people head out to begin their Christmas shopping. Retailers have marketing companies working year-round to help people find gifts to give. Man’s greedy nature has reversed the onus so that more people make wish lists of wants rather than lists of gives. The practice of giving gifts may seem disingenuous to the solemnity of the Holy Day, but it is based in the historical Christmas story. The magi brought the baby Jesus gifts befitting a king; gold for its value, frankincense, an incense symbolizing prayer and myrrh, an oil for anointing. Christians give gifts at the holiday in honor of that spirit of giving.

Opponents of Christianity want nothing more than to strip America of all things Christian. They try to purge our history books of any Christian references from our founding fathers. They try to twist the first amendment—the one right that guarantees our right to our Christian faith—to silence us as separation of church and state. They try to strip our recognition of our savior’s birth by making it a commercial celebration.

When Christmas is no longer a Christian celebration, then it is nothing more than a 2-month long advertisement and sale with no significance other than how much people can buy for how little money. It is imperative that Christians remember not only the origin of the day—Christ’s birth—but also the traditions of the holiday. Put up a tree, put up a Santa, tell your kids the story of Christ’s birth. Once we surrender our claim to the traditions, we surrender our claim to the season. Keep Christ in Christmas, keep Christmas in your heart, and keep the traditions alive. Tell everyone you meet “Merry Christmas” eschew saying Happy Holidays and worry not about political correctness. The first amendment gives every Christian the right to say Merry Christmas. Use it at every opportunity.

Christmas is a Christian holiday; may it always be so.

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It’s Still Christmas

On this day, I figure I can give commentary a rest and revel in the spirit of the holiday. This is the first Christmas since my sister passed away this summer and the family is still feeling her absence especially during the holiday. Diane always loved Christmas and she would spend the entire year shopping for gifts for all of us and she was particularly good at finding the perfect gift. She bought several Christmas gifts while she was in Hawaii just before she died and Debbie and our Mother brought them home and wrapped them for her and placed them under the tree. It made it seem like she was still with us.

As I said in an earlier story, Diane was a curious soul and reveled in searching for hidden Christmas gifts as a child. She was also good at getting me into trouble as well as she co-opted me into helping her look. Even during our adolescence, when we were wrapped up in our own lives and not wanting to acknowledge family or each other, we still managed to be on the same page when Christmas came around.

One thing on which Diane and I consistently worked together to ensure happened is the annual tour of lights on Christmas Eve. Mom and Dad started the tradition when we were very young and it became one of our favorite past times. As we all grew older and had our own issues and lives to lead, some of our family members would suggest we forego the tour of lights. “It’s too late, it’s too cold, I’m tired, it’s raining” were some of the excuses offered that threatened to end the tradition. But Diane and I stood firm and insisted that no matter what, the tour would happen. At least it did when I was home. Some years, I was unable to make it home on Christmas Eve, but I assume Diane did her part.

This year, the weather was awful most of the day with torrential downpours the night before and constant rain all day. Everyone came home this year for Christmas to support each other and draw strength from one another to keep the spirit of the holiday alive. Some feeble suggestions arose that maybe we might forgo the tour, but instead we loaded up in two cars and made the trip to the usual places as we discovered that the rain had stopped. I could feel that Diane was with us.

Christmas morning was early as usual, but the pace was slower and the mood only slightly more sedate than usual. We set the gifts out and took turns opening them. When Debbie picked up one of her gifts, mom told her that it was from Diane and that she had bought it in Hawaii. I felt her there then, too.

I know she is with the Lord and she is in heaven and better for it, and while I miss her and wish she was still with us, I also remember that while Christmas is to honor the birth of Christ, the best way to do that is to love one another and remember the bonds of family that continue past our worldly experience.

Merry Christmas To All. Merry Christmas Sister.

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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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