Tag Archives: Christmas

Post-Thanksgiving Ramblings…

The day after Thanksgiving, or “Black Friday” for the shopping hordes has arrived.  For those of us who don’t enjoy the crowded Wal-Marts, Targets, and Malls, it is a good day to wind down, finish digesting all the food eaten, and perhaps to reflect a bit on what’s ahead.  Christmas.  Yes, Christmas will be upon us before we can blink twice.

It is easy at this point in time to start obsessing about Christmas gifts and Christmas plans.  It might even be time for those who have a grind against Christmas to gear up for protests. Christians protesting that it’s pagan, pagan’s protesting that it’s Christian…funny how that works, isn’t it?  What I would like to challenge my fellow believers to remember (even if you don’t celebrate Christmas) during this time is that it is the people that really matter.

Finding the right gift for someone is often a rush, you find something “just right” that you know they’ll love and it’s a good feeling.  The point I’m trying to make  amidst my rambling is to always focus on the person themselves, and not just the gift or the season.  We all need to take the time to appreciate the people in our lives, because we won’t have them on the Earth with us forever, and even though when death separates believers, we have hope to see then again, it is still hard to lose someone here on earth.

If there’s someone you want to see or talk to, don’t wait for a holiday gathering; see them now.  Send a card now, for no other reason than to say “hi” or to ask “how have you been?”  Holidays are great times to get together, but don’t take the opportunity that we have every day for granted.  During this time, we should be remembering one of the greatest facts of our faith; The Son of God became human, He came and dwelt amongst us.  The God of the universe came and made a real connection with mankind; He was a Son, and a Brother, a Friend, a Teacher…He ate with “us” and cried with us, and walked many roads with us, and celebrated Holidays with us.

We have daily chances to connect with family, friends, and loved ones.  Let’s not wait for a specific day, but rather view every day as a chance to interact with the people that mean something to us!  As we remember how Christ interacted with humanity, let’s use everyday to remember God’s grace and love and turn everyday that we can into Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc… We only have a limited number of days here on this earth, let’s not waste ’em!

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What should Christians think about Christmas?

You want to get a “good” argument going amongst believers?  Try this timely topic; What should Christians think (and do) about Christmas?  There are many sides to this issue; on the extreme ends we have people labelling other people “heretic” if they don’t celebrate Christmas, and on the other, equally loud declarations of “heretic” if they do (yes, there is just a touch of hyperbole in there, but it’s actually quite close to that sometimes).  Here’s the short and sweet answer;

Romans 14: 4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded  in his own mind. 6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it.

Granted, Paul wasn’t talking specifically about Christmas, but the teaching still fits.  It’s true that Christ was not born on December 25th, but that is the day the RC picked to celebrate it on.  Was it because of the proximity of the pagan festival that occupied the season?  I’m sure that played into it.  The question is, that if that is true, should Christians celebrate Christmas or not?

I think it is important to recognize the truth; that the date isn’t the actual date of Christ’s birth.  It is also important to note that Jesus never instructed us to observe His birth, nor did the apostles.  What He did tell us to remember, and to do was to participate in communion, or the partaking of the bread and wine in memory of Him; of His life, death, and resurrection.  I believe that puts the celebration of Christmas firmly in the “freedom in Christ” category.

I personally believe that if you feel compelled to celebrate Christmas, if it is a family tradition and you like to decorate and have a tree and such; go right ahead.  If you don’t feel compelled to celebrate it, you don’t like decorating, or putting up a tree, that’s fine too.  It isn’t anything that believers should fight over, though I do think it is important that everyone does know that Christ was probably born in the fall or spring rather than the wintertime. Also, if we believers do celebrate it, I’d like to see more of an emphasis on Christ, what His birth means, His fulfillment of prophecies, discuss when He might have actually been born, etc… and less emphasis on consumerism.   My memories of Christmas that I’m the most fond of are those surrounding family “get-togethers;” not for the presents I gave or received, or the decorations, but because of the people, laughter, and fun that came with seeing one another and eating a family meal and just “hanging out” together.

I also think that Christians should know a bit about Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights.  We are in the midst of the eight days right now, and perhaps I’ll make a bit of a post about it later.  In a way, I believe that the RC laying claim to the 25th, instead of incorporating a remembering of Christ’s birth into a Jewish celebration shows the move away from Jewish roots, and into a more “Roman” way of thinking/doing things.  This has important implications for other outside influences that may have crept into the RC.

How about Santa?  Well, this debate comes up when believers wrestle over the idea of what to tell their children.  I’m all for honesty, and doubt if I’d lead my child to believe in Santa, but I understand parents feeling compelled to carry on the Santa Claus tradition with their children. I see nothing wrong with sharing that the figure of Santa Claus is probably derived from Saint Nicholas, and it is up to each person to decide how they are going to “handle” this tradition.

Anywho, I just think it is a timely subject, and would be interested in hearing opinions from any of my readers about it as we head into Christmas Eve.  As for me, I don’t put up a tree, nor any decorations, really.  I do celebrate Christmas with my family, who really enjoy putting up trees and the like, I give gifts and eat a lot, and like to learn about Hanukkah and all the detail surrounding Christ’s birth…and above all I try to remember every day that my Saviour lives, and remember that His birth, life, death, and resurrection is why I can be assured of my salvation…He’s already given us all the greatest of gifts, we just need to make sure we realize it and accept it.

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More vitriol; Baby Jesus, dictatorship, and Christmas…

You may have already heard about the news story that leads to my blog post, you can find an article on it here: Anti-religion Sign Joins Nativity Scene…. Now, there’s a whole blog post just from that article, but I have to get to my main discussion point here; Dan Barker on Fox and Friends this morning trying to make some kind of point about us Christians “stealing” the winter solstice from “them,” and drawing a bizarre connection between having a creche (nativity scene) of the baby Jesus with Hell…and dictatorship.

Apparently Dan Barker is another proselytizer for the “new atheism.”  This was my introduction to him, and I’ve found quite a bit about him online of course.

First, December 25th is indeed the time set aside in the church’s liturgical calendar to remember or commemorate Christ’s birth.  Pretty much every Christian I know readily acknowledges that Christ wasn’t literally born on the 25th of December.  So, this Dan Barker (spokesperson, and co-president for “freedom from religion”) goes of on this odd notion that Christians “stole” the winter solstice from them, meaning the atheists…hunh.

Does Dan Barker not realize that the celebration of the winter solstice was not humanistic, that it had religious, sacred, and/or spiritual overtones, even when it wasn’t Christian?  How about the fact of the celebration of Hanukkah, the festival of lights, also falls at this time of year?

Besides those obvious facts, how in the world is adding in a day to celebrate Christ (and St. Nick for that matter) “stealing” anything?  There was no logical argument given, it just came across as a child stamping his foot over some perceived slight.

Then he starts talking about the baby Jesus, and winds up trying to throw in a bit about Hell (it seems that’s what he thinks about when looking at a nativity scene), and how that baby Jesus became a dictator.  Now, I fully realize this is the same Dan Barker that can’t even admit that Jesus was a real, honest to goodness person that did in fact exist.  The idea of the “Jesus myth” (where someone claims Jesus of Nazareth never existed in any form) is so illogical as to defy description.  There are a majority of scholars from all backgrounds that readily admit the existence of Jesus, even if they do not believe He’s the Son of God.  So, I should be prepared for illogical tangents, but the one about baby Jesus becoming a dictator was a red herring I didn’t really expect…especially since Barker supposedly doesn’t even believe Jesus ever really existed.

Of course in our society it is quite clear when someone refers to someone else as a dictator, especially in a context like this, that they are employing a dysphemism.  It is an attempt to sway listeners’ emotions in a negative fashion…and this is what Dan Barker attempted to to do by linking the term “dictator” to Jesus (baby Jesus at that).  The later comments by viewers of Fox News, and additional thoughts by the anchors reveal that Barker’s attempt at emotional manipulation (unsurprisingly) backfired.

Who can seriously listen to someone who directly tries to smear Jesus in His infant state by tossing around words like “dictator,” and pouting about Christmas?  It struck me as a good thing he was broadcast on-air with all of this rhetoric, since it should show people how illogical, and emotional those like Dan Barker really are.  Yes, we again have an example of a “new atheist” blatantly resenting Jesus whilst at the same time trying to maintain that He doesn’t exist in the first place…funny that.

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