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Danny Kazam
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Our God does not require us to hold festivals or religious celebrations such as the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. He wants and requires worship. Santa Claus is not St. Nick, but is more Cris Kringle. I believe it was Christian's who connected St. Nick to Santa Claus.

Either way, for such a joyous time of year, many fight about it's supposed meaning, many are offended by how others participate in it, or change it to suit their own desires or religious views, and more suicides are attempted or committed during it. Any holiday with that kind of effect cannot be something God requires of us. No, there is no worship in it when we spend so much more concern on how the world celebrates it than we do in worshipping God.
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.
Kevin Ridgeway
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Quote:
On 2013-11-26 01:31, Danny Kazam wrote:

Either way, for such a joyous time of year, many fight about it's supposed meaning, many are offended by how others participate in it, or change it to suit their own desires or religious views, and more suicides are attempted or committed during it. Any holiday with that kind of effect cannot be something God requires of us. No, there is no worship in it when we spend so much more concern on how the world celebrates it than we do in worshipping God.



Danny, not trying to argue, but your suicide statement is a myth typically reinforced by media coverage associating suicide with the holiday season. Spring & early summer is the peak if there is any. In fact Spring is known as Suicide Season. Again, not trying to derail this thread, but just keeping it accurate.

Kevin
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Danny Kazam
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Yes, you are right. Still not much of a joyous holiday unless you keep your eyes on our Lord and not on the rest of the world. Once you get caught up with what the secular world is doing with Christmas, then it's no longer a form of worship worthy of God. I mean this in good will, but who cares how the rest of the world celebrates Christmas. Is our God not bigger than some holiday? God told John what would become of this world before our Lord would return, and yet most of us seem surprised when we see our faith being taken out of holidays, school, government buildings, etc. Those signs should cause us to rejoice, because they are signs that Christ will return soon. Rejoice, for I AM with you, says the Lord.
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.
Dougini
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Quote:
On 2013-11-22 02:42, Danny Kazam wrote:
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.


Precisely why I do NOT acknowledge the holiday. You will NOT find a tree in my home. EVER. Nothing signifying this. Christ was born into this world. That is all that matters. He came to show us how to TREAT EACH OTHER! To show us how to talk to The Father! Then he rose from the dead! And FINISHED it!

We now have a way to continue. The way it SHOULD have been! And what do we DO??? We focus on trees and gifts and GETTING, GETTING, GETTING! "What did you GET for Christmas?" Some people might say, "Drunk". I do NOT participate. I neither give nor wish to receive...gifts. It is a time (for me) to make an extra effort to do kindness. Not in the name of Christmas, but in the name of Yeshua..The Christ!

Doug
David Dayton
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Dear Magical Folks,

I was encouraged to go seeking through G.K. Chesterton's writings on Christmas by this unexpected thread. All his work (google Chesterton and Christmas)thunders forth in favor of the holiday against modernists, atheists, and (sigh)disgruntled Christians. To get a taste of what he's got to say, take a glance at what a rabbi recognizes in Christiandom's most cherished celebration:

A Rabbi's Thoughts: What Christmas Tells Us About America Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie

I love the Christmas season. Part of the reason for me, of course, is that it follows the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah -- the joyous, low-key, family oriented holiday that has inflated importance because of its proximity to Christmas but which, nonetheless, is embraced with delight by Jews of all religious orientations.
But that is not the only reason. Most Americans act differently as Christmas approaches. As a boy growing up in Worcester, Mass., I remember being aware from a very young age that my neighbors, students in my school and people on the street were -- despite frenetic preparations and gift buying -- simply friendlier, more relaxed, more outgoing and more inclined to smile at holiday time. Yes, yes, I know. We have all read about the commercialization of Christmas and the difficulty of maintaining its religious character in a secular world. I have discussed the matter often with the many ministers I know and with my Christian friends. Still, it seems perfectly clear to me that for America's Christian majority, there is such a thing as the spirit of Christmas, and the goodwill of the season always manages to extend its reach, in a lighting-fast and almost effortless way, to Americans of all faiths and religious traditions. G.K. Chesterton once referred to America as "a nation with the soul of a church," by which he meant a nation with an enduring religious character. He was right about this, and each year the Christmas season proves it anew.
I especially like the Christmas season because I know many "lapsed Christians" -- those who are doubters, who virtually never go to church, or who otherwise are distant from or on the fringes of their faith -- and these friends and acquaintances share with me how, at Christmas time, they are drawn to their church. Based on what they tell me, I don't accept that this is simply a desire for family togetherness. What I hear from them is openness to Christmas' religious message, combined with willingness -- and indeed a desire -- to be at church and to offer words of praise and thanks to God. I don't know, of course, how many will establish a connection that will last beyond the holiday. Nonetheless, I am encouraged by their story. And the reason is that I see America's religious character as one of her great virtues: a source and inspiration for morality, community and democratic values. As a rabbi and a committed religious Jew, I have spent many years working to bring Jews on the margins of Judaism back to their religion, and I believe that America is strengthened when Christians find the way back to theirs.
And finally this: To me, the Christmas season serves as a welcome and emphatic public rebuke to the likes of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. For a variety of reasons too complicated to discuss now, American culture has opened itself up recently to voices of self-righteous atheism. These voices express the view, in TV appearances and best-selling books, that God is dead and that religion by definition is always both fanatic and destructive. Yet each year, when Christmas comes, huge numbers of Christian Americans -- who, like the great majority of Americans, are insistently moderate in all things -- are drawn to the holiday and its religious teachings. Scholars and religious haters take note: This phenomenon is proof that liberal religion (and by that I simply mean religion of the centrist, non-fanatic variety) is alive and well in America.


By the way, are there any good Christmas magic tricks hiding in these 600+ threads? Please advise.

Thanks for your help,

David Dayton
Dougini
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Hi David! Welcome to the Café! May I make a suggestion? Break a long post like that up into 3 or 4 sentence paragraphs? There are some here that will NOT read the above. So, I'll do it for ya this time.


Dear Magical Folks,

I was encouraged to go seeking through G.K. Chesterton's writings on Christmas by this unexpected thread. All his work (google Chesterton and Christmas)thunders forth in favor of the holiday against modernists, atheists, and (sigh)disgruntled Christians. To get a taste of what he's got to say, take a glance at what a rabbi recognizes in Christiandom's most cherished celebration:

A Rabbi's Thoughts: What Christmas Tells Us About America Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie

I love the Christmas season. Part of the reason for me, of course, is that it follows the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah -- the joyous, low-key, family oriented holiday that has inflated importance because of its proximity to Christmas but which, nonetheless, is embraced with delight by Jews of all religious orientations.

But that is not the only reason. Most Americans act differently as Christmas approaches. As a boy growing up in Worcester, Mass., I remember being aware from a very young age that my neighbors, students in my school and people on the street were -- despite frenetic preparations and gift buying -- simply friendlier, more relaxed, more outgoing and more inclined to smile at holiday time.

Yes, yes, I know. We have all read about the commercialization of Christmas and the difficulty of maintaining its religious character in a secular world. I have discussed the matter often with the many ministers I know and with my Christian friends.

Still, it seems perfectly clear to me that for America's Christian majority, there is such a thing as the spirit of Christmas, and the goodwill of the season always manages to extend its reach, in a lighting-fast and almost effortless way, to Americans of all faiths and religious traditions.

G.K. Chesterton once referred to America as "a nation with the soul of a church," by which he meant a nation with an enduring religious character. He was right about this, and each year the Christmas season proves it anew.

I especially like the Christmas season because I know many "lapsed Christians" -- those who are doubters, who virtually never go to church, or who otherwise are distant from or on the fringes of their faith -- and these friends and acquaintances share with me how, at Christmas time, they are drawn to their church. Based on what they tell me, I don't accept that this is simply a desire for family togetherness.

What I hear from them is openness to Christmas' religious message, combined with willingness -- and indeed a desire -- to be at church and to offer words of praise and thanks to God. I don't know, of course, how many will establish a connection that will last beyond the holiday. Nonetheless, I am encouraged by their story.

And the reason is that I see America's religious character as one of her great virtues: a source and inspiration for morality, community and democratic values. As a rabbi and a committed religious Jew, I have spent many years working to bring Jews on the margins of Judaism back to their religion, and I believe that America is strengthened when Christians find the way back to theirs.

And finally this: To me, the Christmas season serves as a welcome and emphatic public rebuke to the likes of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. For a variety of reasons too complicated to discuss now, American culture has opened itself up recently to voices of self-righteous atheism.

These voices express the view, in TV appearances and best-selling books, that God is dead and that religion by definition is always both fanatic and destructive. Yet each year, when Christmas comes, huge numbers of Christian Americans -- who, like the great majority of Americans, are insistently moderate in all things -- are drawn to the holiday and its religious teachings. Scholars and religious haters take note: This phenomenon is proof that liberal religion (and by that I simply mean religion of the centrist, non-fanatic variety) is alive and well in America.


By the way, are there any good Christmas magic tricks hiding in these 600+ threads? Please advise.

Thanks for your help,

David Dayton
Vlad_77
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Doug,

What this Rabbi wrote is what I was trying to express in comparing the US to Europe. In America there at least IS a spirit of Christmas, both as the Birth of our God and of course the Santa Claus side. Here in western Europe, with the exception of the Republic of Ireland and some of the rural areas of other countries, there is not even a MENTION of Christ! In Eastern Europe, Christmas is alive and well in Catholic Poland and Hungary and Orthodox Greece and Romania. But I fear that eastern Europe will fall prey to the secularization of western Europe. A dear friend of mine lives in France and she told me that France is just as secular as Holland. In Italy, many recent polls have shown a strong surge of secularism - but I am hopeful that Pope Francis will reverse the trend at least there. In Holland, as much as I love the people, I see no hope. This country has been secular for a very long time and it was once a bastion of Catholic Christianity in the south and the Protestant Reformation heavily influenced the north.

In two years I have seen here ONE image of the Birth in Bethlehem. I am soul weary of secualrism.
Danny Kazam
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Vlad, the hope is knowing that Christ will come again to gather his people and restore His Church regardless if people celebrate Christ's Mass. The world will continue to reject Christ, and it will get worse before it starts getting better. These are signs and prophecies coming true fortold by Christ to John.

In these times God does not need warrior's but people like you with servant hearts. The war may have been already won, but we must put on the armour of God for the battle that rages around us.
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.
Dougini
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Quote:
On 2013-11-28 09:02, Danny Kazam wrote:
Vlad, the hope is knowing that Christ will come again to gather his people and restore His Church regardless if people celebrate Christ's Mass. The world will continue to reject Christ, and it will get worse before it starts getting better.


Isn't that the real message? And this time, it won't be a meek and mild Jewish fella. OMG, the POWER! And He will NOT be alone! This Being that Yeshua became is BEYOND understanding! God, The Father, living through a being born of MAN! Incredible. The infinite I AM...bought us BACK! And, He's gonna come and get us. Get us outta here. You are SPOT ON, Danny! The world will continue to reject Christ, and it will get worse before it starts getting better.

I understand your frustration, Vlad. When The Judgement falls on this secular world, I DO NOT want to be here! People laugh and joke about UFO's and aliens. Lemme tell ya something. What's coming will make that look like a FLEA CIRCUS! This world will get a taste of THE POWER, too, when they try to shoot them down. We got away with that at Roswell. Not this time, friends! Smile

Doug
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I'm probably in the minority here, but I quite like the fact that Christianity has appropriated, subverted and re-interpreted pagan symbols. An evergreen tree is a good symbol of immortality, holly can be a reminder of a crown of thorns etc etc. This subversive layering of mythological symbolism adds a richness to the season, and is nothing new: many Christian religious holidays and stories have 'borrowed' from non-Christian sources and changed them (just consider the reworking of ANE mythology in the bible).

That said, I dislike the militant and aggressive anti-religious sentiments expressed by some secularists and athiests - as Vlad said, it can be wearying for the soul to regularly face petty ridicule and bullying, to be thought an ignoramus, and to watch the slow removal of Christian symbolism from day-to-day life. I want a secular state in the sense of separation of church and government, and I certainly don't want theocracy or theonomy, but I also want there to be a genuinely tolerant, and positive, acceptance of the import of religious life - even to the point of allowing religious discourse in the public sphere.

Oh well, Merry Christmas everybody! Smile
mralincoln
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I'm a Christian, a pastor, a Bible College professor, and I love Christmas! I, too, love the fact that Christianity "took over" the holiday.

I do have a tree (with a nativity scene at the base) as, this season I focus on the birth of Christ (but tie it directly to His purpose in coming-His death on the cross and God's gift of salvation by grace alone), and we do the same in our church. It's an opportunity to share the message of hope and forgiveness. I take every opportunity, such as this, to share Christ.

So, I celebrate Easter, too, even though some of the customs are pagan in origin..

Now, I do have a problem with parents lying to their children about Santa Claus (and the Easter Bunny). We did not teach our son to believe the Santa myth, but I, too, can enjoy some of the traditional seasonal programs like Rudolph without violating my Christian conscience.

Just some of my thoughts.

Though I'm not saying I agree or not with every single detail, there is a great discussion on this topic at https://bible.org/article/should-christi......hristmas
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