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stempleton
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Very enlightening interview with the creator of VeggieTales on how Christmas got to the point it is today for most of America. Might have some info you could incorporate in your Christmas programs. You can find it on the 9/21/13 radio broadcast of "Focus On The Family" at

http://www.focusonthefamily.com
Vlad_77
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Steve,

Is there a direct link? The reason I ask is that I am struggling with the extreme secularization in Holland where I currently reside. Christmas is actually not the principal holiday but rather a feast/celebration called "Sinterklaas." It falls on the eve of the feast day of the real St. Nicholas who I think would be horrified that such a day would be given greater importance than the birth of our Lord. Curiously, the feast itself doesn't even directly correlate with the story of St. Nicholas - the man who denounced Arius and his heresy at the Council of Nicaea:

"In AD 325 Emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicaea, the very first ecumenical council. More than 300 bishops came from all over the Christian world to debate the nature of the Holy Trinity. It was one of the early church's most intense theological questions. Arius, from Egypt, was teaching that Jesus the Son was not equal to God the Father. Arius forcefully argued his position at length. The bishops listened respectfully.

As Arius vigorously continued, Nicholas became more and more agitated. Finally, he could no longer bear what he believed was essential being attacked. The outraged Nicholas got up, crossed the room, and slapped Arius across the face! The bishops were shocked. It was unbelievable that a bishop would lose control and be so hotheaded in such a solemn assembly. They brought Nicholas to Constantine. Constantine said even though it was illegal for anyone to strike another in his presence, in this case, the bishops themselves must determine the punishment.

The bishops stripped Nicholas of his bishop's garments, chained him, and threw him into jail. That would keep Nicholas away from the meeting. When the Council ended a final decision would be made about his future.

Nicholas was ashamed and prayed for forgiveness, though he did not waver in his belief. During the night, Jesus and Mary his Mother, appeared,* asking, "Why are you in jail?" "Because of my love for you," Nicholas replied. Jesus then gave the Book of the Gospels to Nicholas. Mary gave him an omophorion, so Nicholas would again be dressed as a bishop. Now at peace, Nicholas studied the Scriptures for the rest of the night.

When the jailer came in the morning, he found the chains loose on the floor and Nicholas dressed in bishop's robes, quietly reading the Scriptures. When Constantine was told of this, the emperor asked that Nicholas be freed. Nicholas was then fully reinstated as the Bishop of Myra.

The Council of Nicaea agreed with Nicholas' views, deciding the question against Arius. The work of the Council produced the Nicene Creed which to this day many Christians repeat weekly when they stand to say what they believe."

The "Sinterklaas" here is about as secular as one can get. And, while America is going down the road of secularism, all is not lost. Christians are still attending Mass, Liturgy, and other services on the Holy Days. After living here close to two years, just two weeks ago I found ONE Christmas decoration that depicted that Holy night in Bethlehem. Sadly, much of Western Europe has become terribly secular. In the west, Ireland may well be the last bastion against secularism at least in the rural areas.

Humbly in Christ,
Vlad
stempleton
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Hi, Vlad, the link to the program currently is
http://www.focusonthefamily.com/popups/m......FC12DD9}
although your post was much more detailed than the info provided...thank you for sharing. The program's focus is to help those parents who wish to address the child's view of Santa Claus vs. Christ.
Payne
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Quote:
On 2013-11-21 16:02, stempleton wrote:

Very enlightening interview with the creator of VeggieTales on how Christmas got to the point it is today for most of America.



You think Christmas is messed up in the States, you should really see it is celebrated in some northern Germanic countries

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLnl5ZWG4tg

Krampusnacht is catching on in some American cities as well. It's begining to get a rather large following in Seattle as we've had Krampusnacht parades and celebrations for the last few years. Archie MacPhee's even sells a Krampus Holiday Sweater
Image

Which I of course own and wear on St. Nicholas Day
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Payne
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On 2013-11-21 21:28, Vlad_77 wrote:

The "Sinterklaas" here is about as secular as one can get.



And looks like a lot of fun https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gx_-Qum2ltw

The holiday's origins predate it's modern Christian trappings by many centuries and really has little to do with the Bishop from Lycia
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Danny Kazam
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I don't put too much value on the holiday. It was a pagan festival before Christians participated in it. We know it wasn't the actual day Christ was born, and we do know that the holiday originated from pagan beliefs.

I have yet to meet a Christian who doesn't bring into the home a tree and decorate it with tinsels and lights, and put presents underneath it. Hang lights on the outside of their homes, an hang wreaths on their doors, hang stockings up and sing Christmas carols. Not to mention they raise their children believing in Santa Claus, and flying magical reindeer.

It's rather hypocritical. Give to the pagans what is theirs, and give to God what is His.

Raise our children in the truth about Jesus. Raise them in the truth about how Christians took a pagan festival and tried to claim it as their own. Why are we so shocked that pagans still celebrate their festival?

Is not our God bigger than that?

That's why my children were raised not believing in Santa. Our family chooses to celebrate the pagan festival in a Christ like way.

This year my family is attending midnight Mass because every denominational church we have gone to has put more emphasise on the pagan way to celebrate than the Catholic Church does.

Last year, the Lutheran Church we attended had a huge tree all decorated centered in the worship area. Everyone stood around the tree holding hands and sang songs.
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MagicBus
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My wife and I are speaking participants in an outdoor nativity play for the week before Christmas- including with all kinds of real life critters. We are the innkeepers who turn away the young couple. Really kinda neat- our church has in it's huge front lot area six+ wood bond fires going, and by each fire station is a different set up scene from the Luke birth of Christ story. Really a neat idea, families walking around from fire camp to fire camp can see the different stories/scenes all set up. Then, afterwards, folks can go into the church if they want for hot chocolate, etc.. Our church is blessed to have in front of it a large empty grassy lot with a small pond where all this can be put on. It's called "Journey to the Manger"- A Living Nativity. http://www.DiscoverLighthouseChurch.com
Danny Kazam
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That sounds cool. The local Catholic Church has something similiar set up this year. They are using real people who will be acting out the various scenes outside the back of the Church.
Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.
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Our youth group puts on a nativity play each Christmas Eve at St. Anne Catholic Church in Harrisville, Michigan. Each Easter they do a "Living Stations of the Cross"...sort of a mini Passion play.
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Vlad_77
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Quote:
On 2013-11-21 22:16, Payne wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-11-21 21:28, Vlad_77 wrote:

The "Sinterklaas" here is about as secular as one can get.



And looks like a lot of fun https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gx_-Qum2ltw

The holiday's origins predate it's modern Christian trappings by many centuries and really has little to do with the Bishop from Lycia


Perhaps Payne, on the issue of Christmas and how it is NOT celebrated, we can just agree to disagree.

Best,
Vlad
Wes Holly
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Another never ending discussion. I liked the interview (didn't think I was going to, but I did) The 2 different holidays approach is valid.

St Nicholas was a Christian who did good works and was influential enough that people chose to honor his ministry by mimicking his actions. With that thought, how can we say that St Nicholas day was a pagan holiday? As for the timing of it, well, many cultures celebrated a mid-Winter feast of some sort. Hard find a time on the calender that doesn't have a celebration attached to it.

Christianity, as in other cultures, absorbed common practices/beliefs and put their own spin on it. The significance of the evergreen tree is such an example. Should we, then, be surprised that non-believers celebrate popular holiday/customs with a secularized viewpoint?

Should Christians be offended at the commercialization of Christmas? I think yes, but all we can control is our own actions, hearts and what is taught in our households.
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Vlad_77
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Quote:
On 2013-11-24 10:01, Wes Holly wrote:
Another never ending discussion. I liked the interview (didn't think I was going to, but I did) The 2 different holidays approach is valid.

St Nicholas was a Christian who did good works and was influential enough that people chose to honor his ministry by mimicking his actions. With that thought, how can we say that St Nicholas day was a pagan holiday? As for the timing of it, well, many cultures celebrated a mid-Winter feast of some sort. Hard find a time on the calender that doesn't have a celebration attached to it.

Christianity, as in other cultures, absorbed common practices/beliefs and put their own spin on it. The significance of the evergreen tree is such an example. Should we, then, be surprised that non-believers celebrate popular holiday/customs with a secularized viewpoint?

Should Christians be offended at the commercialization of Christmas? I think yes, but all we can control is our own actions, hearts and what is taught in our households.


Wes,

The point at least about Holland and much of Western Europe is that Christmas is not really celebrated as it was - Ireland and a few other countries being the exceptions. "Sinterklaas" in Holland has nothing at all to with Saint Nicholas - who was one of the Doctors of the Church, and the defender of the beliefs of ALL Christians and what ALL Christians believe to this day. And whomever stated that St. Nicholas's feast day supplanted a pagan holiday is spouting misinformation. And St. Nicholas himself, much like he did when slapping the heretic Arius, would I wager be very unhappy that celebrating the Holy Birth is something that has taken second place to a purely sectarian holiday.

As for when Christmas is celebrated, it doesn't matter as we don't know when our Lord was born. What IS important however is that we DO celebrate it. My gripe is that in Holland you have a strange sort of figure who is a take off on St. Nicholas and worse, NO Christ in Christmas.

I also stated here I think or in another post that in Holland other holidays include:

The Monday after the Sunday of Pentecost and most Dutch have NO idea what Pentecost is!
Ascension Thursday, again, they have the day off work but don't even know what the day means.
Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) I do understand but again, there is no Christ in Christmas.

Unless things have changed that drastically in America Since February of 2012 when I moved here, in America, you would see Nativity scenes (thank you St. Francis of Assisi), religious Christmas specials - the Charlie Brown Christmas Special even gets it right. You would see the story of the Little Drummer Boy, etc., etc. Here in Holland, NO mention of Christ at all. There is only one way to celebrate and Christ is not in the equation here and it breaks my heart. In fact, it is one of the factors that,Lord willing that I can find a place to stay, I will be returning to America. I am soul-tired brother.

Humbly in Christ,
Vlad
Payne
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Quote:
On 2013-11-24 10:01, Wes Holly wrote:

St Nicholas was a Christian who did good works and was influential enough that people chose to honor his ministry by mimicking his actions. With that thought, how can we say that St Nicholas day was a pagan holiday? As for the timing of it, well, many cultures celebrated a mid-Winter feast of some sort. Hard find a time on the calender that doesn't have a celebration attached to it.



Sinterklaas arrives on the Fifth of December which is the same date as Faunalia Rustica an ancient pagan holiday in honor of Faunus, one of the most ancient of Roman deities. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faunus

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinterklaas

Quote:

"Parallels have been drawn between the legend of Sinterklaas and the figure of Odin, a major god among the Germanic peoples, who was worshipped in Northern and Western Europe prior to Christianization. Since some elements of the Sinterklaas celebration are unrelated to Christianity, there are theories regarding the pagan origins of various customs of the holiday stemming from areas where the Germanic peoples were Christianized and retained elements of their indigenous traditions, surviving in various forms into modern depictions of Sinterklaas. Non-Christian elements in Sinterklaas that arguably could have been of pagan origin:"



So he arrives on a pagan holiday and mimics the actions of an old Nores God. So it is understandable why some might see Sinterklass as, like many other Christian Holidays and symbols, just a thin veneer placed over much older pagan traditions.
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Mike Maturen
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The difference being that Saint Nicholas was an ACTUAL historical and documentable person.


Quote:
On 2013-11-25 01:59, Payne wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-11-24 10:01, Wes Holly wrote:

St Nicholas was a Christian who did good works and was influential enough that people chose to honor his ministry by mimicking his actions. With that thought, how can we say that St Nicholas day was a pagan holiday? As for the timing of it, well, many cultures celebrated a mid-Winter feast of some sort. Hard find a time on the calender that doesn't have a celebration attached to it.



Sinterklaas arrives on the Fifth of December which is the same date as Faunalia Rustica an ancient pagan holiday in honor of Faunus, one of the most ancient of Roman deities. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faunus

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinterklaas

Quote:

"Parallels have been drawn between the legend of Sinterklaas and the figure of Odin, a major god among the Germanic peoples, who was worshipped in Northern and Western Europe prior to Christianization. Since some elements of the Sinterklaas celebration are unrelated to Christianity, there are theories regarding the pagan origins of various customs of the holiday stemming from areas where the Germanic peoples were Christianized and retained elements of their indigenous traditions, surviving in various forms into modern depictions of Sinterklaas. Non-Christian elements in Sinterklaas that arguably could have been of pagan origin:"



So he arrives on a pagan holiday and mimics the actions of an old Nores God. So it is understandable why some might see Sinterklass as, like many other Christian Holidays and symbols, just a thin veneer placed over much older pagan traditions.
Mike Maturen
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Payne
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On 2013-11-25 08:53, Mike Maturen wrote:

The difference being that Saint Nicholas was an ACTUAL historical and documentable person.



Which makes him becoming the centerpiece of an old pagan feast day just that more ironic Smile
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Mike Maturen
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Not really, Payne. As others have stated, many religions have taken over holidays which were either of local origin or even pagan origin, and "cleaned them up".

Nobody knows for sure what day Jesus was actually born (although it is fairly certain that it was NOT in December). The Church arranges it's liturgical calendar so that it makes the most sense in the cycle of celebration.

The most likely times I have seen for the birth of Jesus would be early September, or Spirngtime (around the time of Easter).
Mike Maturen
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Payne
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Quote:
On 2013-11-25 12:10, Mike Maturen wrote:

As others have stated, many religions have taken over holidays which were either of local origin or even pagan origin, and "cleaned them up".



And it appears that the "cleaning" continues. As modern society becomes more secularized it is dropping the unneccessary baggage these so-called holidays have drug with them over the centuries. Just as the Christians removed the need for sacrifices and burnt offerings to the horned gods to bring back the sun. Today's man leaves the trappings of the churdce behind as well and strips the celebration down to its very esssence of fun, family and most importantly crass consumerism. Smile
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Stephon Johnson
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We shouldn't marvel at how messed up the World celebrates this time of year. The "world" is fallen and doesn't know God! Within the true Church of saved believers, it's doing just fine. Satan is the god of this world, and the father of liars. So naturally, he is going to employ every myth, fable, fairy tale, and heresy he can to get the lost as far away from the true meaning as possible. But God is sovereign, and knows exactly what is going on. He will use all Satan's lies meant for evil, to accomplish His ultimate glory and perfect will. But like Lot in Sodom & Gomorrah, we can't help being disturbed by what we see the sinful doing around us! Praise and glory to God, for sending His only begotten Son; who lived the perfect sinless life required by the Law and was obedient to death on a cross as the spotless lamb, given to pay for our sin! What a kind, merciful, holy and just God!
WHAT IF you wake up tomorrow with ONLY the things that you THANK GOD for today?
Mike Maturen
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Amen, Stephon!
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Theodore Lawton
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I second that Amen Smile

As a believer I enjoy celebrating the birth of the Son even though; more than likely, it isn't His actual birthday. I can enjoy decorations and Christmas lights, even if I'm too lazy to put up my own. I enjoy the time spent with my family, friends, good food and fun; watching people react to gifts I buy them. I reject Santa in the sense of giving your children a dream that will one day be shattered, but I love watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. I just wouldn't tell my kids; or in any way insinuate by omission, that Santa is real, but I think imagination, e.g., watching a television show, can be a fun thing with the right parental guidance.

The commercialism is something we can all do with less of. Christmas decorations in stores before Thanksgiving rolls around? Things get frustrating this time of year: the streets are jammed, the stores are crowded, there can be a million things to do, but it would be good to remember what Dickens says about Scrooge in A Christmas Carol: 'and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.'

It's how we keep Christmas that counts. As believers we don't need to listen when the world tells us what is going to make us happy.

Matthew 5:16 tells us: Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

If we let our light shine bright and are ready with a reason for our hope- a reason to share with unbelievers and give them hope- then we keep Christmas well.
Magic is the bacon in the breakfast of life.

............................................

God bless you and have a magical day
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