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No Christmas For Millions Of American Families This Year

For millions of American families, there will be no Christmas this year.  The sad truth is that an increasing number of families simply do not have money for Christmas presents or any other luxuries right now.  The number of Americans that fell into poverty set a new all-time record last year and extreme poverty is at the highest level ever measured in the United States.  This Christmas, a lot of American families will be deciding whether to spend the little money that they do have on food, heat or medicine.  All over America, the poor are getting poorer and each year the economic pain seems to get even worse.  But there are also many American families that will have no Christmas this year for other reasons.  Some are just sick and tired of all of the materialism that is involved in Christmas.  Others are trying to be “politically correct” and don’t want to offend anyone.  There are even a growing number of Americans that are Christians but that believe that Christians should not celebrate Christmas for spiritual reasons.  Once upon a time, Christmas was pretty much considered to be a nearly universal holiday in the United States, but that just is not the case anymore.  There are millions upon millions of Americans that simply will not be celebrating Christmas at all this year.

Perhaps you and your family are swimming in Christmas gifts this year.  But when you don’t have enough money for even the basics, buying Christmas gifts can be an extreme financial burden.

What some people are willing to do to buy Christmas gifts is absolutely incredible.  For example, one soldier up in Michigan actually pawned his Purple Heart medal so that he could pay his Christmas bills.

Can you imagine?

Other Americans are eliminating Christmas presents altogether this year because the money simply is not there.  The following story comes from a recent article in USA Today….

Others have no choice but to downsize Christmas. Kate Pearson, 33, a single mom in Atlanta, lost her secretarial job in January and has told her two children that they’re starting new traditions this year.

They drew a festive, 6-foot tree on craft paper and taped it to a wall. “Instead of gifts, which I can’t afford, we’re writing letters to each other that we will open on Christmas morning,” she says. “We’re going to tell each other what we love about our family. And that’s it.”

This year, American families are hurting more than at any other time in recent memory.  An astounding 57 percent of all children in the United States now live in homes that are either considered to be “low income” or impoverished.

Needless to say, there are going to be a whole lot of children with a hollow feeling in their stomachs this Christmas morning.  Not everyone out there gets to open up giant piles of presents on the morning of December 25th.

The sad truth is that there are not nearly enough good jobs out there for everyone.  Unemployment is rampant, and the official government statistics dramatically understate this reality.

If the number of Americans considered to be “looking for work” was the same today as it was back in 2007, the “official” unemployment rate put out by the U.S. government would be up to 11 percent.

But the Obama administration does not want to report double digit unemployment numbers.

They want people to feel good about the economy.

Meanwhile, the number of good jobs continues to decline and incomes continue to fall.

You may be doing very well right now, but there are vast numbers of families that are stretched to the limit financially.

Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.  A lot of people out there are having a really hard time coming up with enough money to heat their homes this winter.

And more than 46 million Americans are being fed by the federal government right now.  Incredibly, more than one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps at this point.

But that doesn’t mean that materialism is dead in the United States.

Large numbers of Americans that still do have money are very much enjoying the consumerist lifestyle.

Last night, we saw once again how crazy Americans can get when it comes to consumer products.  The rioting and fights over the new Air Jordan shoes that were just released made headlines all over the nation….

In Charlotte, WSOC-TV reported that police were called to at least three malls, including one where glass was smashed from a door and officers were ordering people out of the mall.

The Louisville Courier-Journal said police were called Jefferson Mall to break up a fight that broke out among a large crowd waiting to buy the shoes.

The Fox television station in Seattle reported that police sent to Southcenter Mall used pepper spray on some combative shoppers.

Police also had problems with crowds at malls in the Washington area, San Antonio and in Spokane, Wash.

At this point, shopping has become the great American pastime.  We love to buy stuff.

Unfortunately, a lot of us have to go very deeply into debt to buy all this stuff.  If you can believe it, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.

Thankfully, a growing number of Americans are getting turned off by all of this materialism.  A lot of people have decided that they are going to celebrate Christmas without buying a bunch of presents for everybody.  The following example comes from the same USA Today article referenced above….

Jim Arnold, 56, a writer in Los Angeles, spent Christmas in Brazil a few years ago. The low-key approach there, he says, made him realize he could “disconnect” from consumerism and redefine his own holiday.

He stopped buying gifts and sending cards but says he still looks forward to “the parties and the cookies.”

“People drive themselves crazy over Christmas,” he says, “and I don’t think very many of them are really happy about it.”

There is even a website out there called “Buy Nothing Christmas” that encourages people to think differently about Christmas presents.  The trend toward a less materialistic Christmas is really starting to catch on – especially as the economy continues to get weaker.

For some Americans, however, the reason for not celebrating Christmas has nothing to do with either the economy or with materialism.

Many Americans have decided that the “politically correct” thing to do is to either not celebrate Christmas at all or to celebrate it as a “non-religious” holiday.

For example, according to CNSNews.com, the Capitol Christmas Tree in Washington D.C. this year pays homage to Barack Obama, but it does not make any reference to Christmas or to Jesus Christ….

The 63-foot Sierra White Fir lighted at the U.S. Capitol Grounds on Dec. 6 as the official 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree includes a prominently displayed ornament paying homage to President Barack Obama, but includes no ornament readily visible to a person standing near the tree’s base that uses the word “Christmas,” or includes an image of the Nativity, or bears the name or image of Jesus Christ.

According to White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers, the Obama administration is trying to make this “a non-religious Christmas” as much as possible.

But for other religious holidays Barack Obama is not afraid at all to very openly mention religion.  The following is from the official White House statement that marked the beginning of the last celebration of Ramadan….

Times like this remind us of the lesson of all great faiths, including Islam – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. In that spirit, I wish Muslims around the world a blessed month, and I look forward to again hosting an iftar dinner here at the White House. Ramadan Kareem.

But it isn’t just Barack Obama that is trying to be “politically correct” about Christmas.  The truth is that Christmas is being squeezed into a “politically correct” box all over the nation.  A recent article posted on WorldNetDaily summarized some of the assaults that we have seen on Christmas so far this year…

Christmas carolers are thrown out of a U.S. Post Office.

The U.S. military apologizes for promoting a Christian-based charity and relief program providing holiday gifts to poor children.

Across the country, Christmas lights, Christmas trees and menorahs are banned in public areas.

Atheists and “free-thinkers” sue cities into submission, forcing removal of all things “Christ” on public property during the Christian holiday.

But let’s face it – for a large percentage of Americans, Christmas is not a religious holiday.  According to one recent survey, 67 percent of Americans agreed that “many of the things I enjoy during the Christmas season have nothing to do with the birth of Jesus Christ.”

Sadly, it is undeniable that for the vast majority of people the primary focus of Christmas is the presents.  If you take away the presents, suddenly Christmas becomes a whole lot less interesting for most Americans.

So why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25th anyway?

It comes as a shock to many people to learn that Jesus was not born on December 25th.  There is nothing about December 25th in the Bible and Christians did not celebrate December 25th until about 300 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In fact, there is a huge amount of evidence that Jesus was actually born during the fall during the Feast of Tabernacles.  For about a thousand years in advance, God had His people gather on the exact day when the Messiah would be born, in the exact area of the world where the Messiah would be born (Bethlehem is about 5 miles from Jerusalem), and He had them live in humble, temporary shelters for an entire week to foreshadow the manner in which the Messiah would be born and we still missed it.

So where in the world did December 25th come from?

Well, it turns out that the celebration of the birth of the sun god at about the time of the winter solstice goes all the way back to ancient Babylon.  In fact, the word “yule” is the ancient Babylonian word for infant.

Throughout history, the birthdays of a whole host of pagan sun gods were celebrated on December 25th.  In fact, nearly all of our current “Christmas traditions” can be directly traced back to these ancient pagan celebrations.

In the centuries after Christ came, the Roman Empire dominated the civilized world.  Every year, an incredibly popular festival known as Saturnalia was one of the biggest celebrations of the year.  It typically ran from the 17th of December to the 23rd of December.  Then on December 25th came Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, which means “the birthday of the unconquered sun.”  This holiday celebrated the birthday of all the sun gods (such as Mithras) that were worshipped throughout the Roman Empire.

After Constantine legalized Christianity in the early part of the 4th century, he sought to integrate the Christian faith into the broader society as a whole.  Pressure was put on Christian leaders to “Christianize” pagan holidays and practices.

In the year 350 A.D., Pope Julius I declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on December 25th, but the celebration of Christmas really did not permanently take hold until the 5th century.

So in the final analysis, Christmas was originally a pagan holiday that was “Christianized” many centuries after the time of Jesus.

As evangelical Christians learn of this history, large numbers of them are deciding not to celebrate Christmas whatsoever.  They cite Scriptures such as the following from Deuteronomy chapter 12 as evidence that they should not indulge in any pagan holidays or pagan practices that have been “Christianized”….

…be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, “How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.” You must not worship the LORD your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the LORD hates.

After all, they argue, if the word “Satan” was taken out of the Satanic black mass and replaced with the word “Jesus”, that wouldn’t make it alright, would it?

So, as you can see, not all Americans approach Christmas the same way.

Whether it is because of a lack of money, a disgust with materialism, a desire to be politically correct, or deeply held spiritual convictions, the truth is that an increasing number of Americans are celebrating Christmas “differently” or are rejecting it altogether.

In the end, people are going to celebrate whatever they want to celebrate.  At least we still have the freedom to decide what holidays we are going to celebrate in the United States.

But as I wrote about recently, they are starting to come after our free speech in America.  If we let them take away our First Amendment, eventually we will not be able to say what we want to say or worship the way we want to worship.

Whatever your approach to Christmas is, know what you are celebrating and why you are celebrating it.

If we allow ourselves to become blind followers of anything, we could easily end up like North Korea.

When it comes to Christmas, almost everyone has a very strong opinion.  If you disagree with something in this article, that is okay.  Please feel free to leave a comment below with your opinion.  We should enjoy these times when we can engage in robust debate, because eventually they are going to come and try to take our free speech totally away from us.  When those days arrive, we will look back in fondness on the days when we could debate topics like this openly.

The Beginning Of The End - The New Novel About The Future Of America By Michael T. Snyder
  • Loveless One

    I for one am disgusted with the constant bombardment of T.V. commercials for jewelry, perfume, clothing etc. These sick pieces of propaganda brainwash the sheep into believing the only way to be happy, is to be heterosexual with a mate who you break the bank on buying useless glass baubles. Gone are the days when people felt content simply to be LOVED by someone, today’s world is all about sex, power, control and greed.

    It’s no surprise these unholy values are represented in the ads for a holiday that originally meant peace on earth and good-will towards all men.

  • A Dodgy Bloke

    Christmas used to be a really nice time, but lately it became all about the presents. Add in the “Happy Holidays madness” and political correctness and I’m done. I for one was tired of spending money for gifts for my spoiled ungrateful nephews and niece and never got so much as a card. This year I’m opting out my sister is fixing a nice dinner (Which I mostly paid for) but that’s it. The single mom from Atlanta had the right idea I think people should reflect on thier blessings and what other people mean to them.

  • T

    You have a good heart Michael. A lot of people want to ignore the family of four who five years ago thought they were living the American dream with the white picket fence and all. Now they’re living in their van brushing their teeth at gas stations, looked at like mooching scum and are living the American nightmare. It’s actually pretty horrific that something like this can happen to millions of families in what the neo-cons call “the greatest country on earth.”

    • Michael

      T:

      Thank you for the kind words. Those of us that have warm homes should definitely remember (and give a little extra) to help all the families out there that are living on the streets or in their vehicles.

      Also, hopefully people will not think that I am “bashing Christians” in this article. As those that have read this site for an extended period of time know, I am a very strong Christian and I make no apologies for that.

      Michael

  • NWO Alert

    But the major religions of today have to be changed because they are not compatible with the changes to come. The old religions will have to go. Especially Christianity. Once the Roman Catholic Church is brought down, the rest of Christianity will follow easily.

    Then a new religion can be accepted for use all over the world. It will incorporate something from all of the old ones to make it more easy for people to accept it, and feel at home in it.

    Most people won’t be too concerned with religion. They will realize that they don’t need it.

    http://100777.com/nwo/barbarians

    • Sunshine

      Brother NWO,
      Mind if I go on ahead with the yellow submarine?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_cwWP5Qf1k
      Everyone one of us is all we need.
      Seriously folks, don’t let the grinch get to ya.
      Make peace.
      Love to all.

  • Stanislaw

    Michael,

    Christmas is celebrated on December 25th also because the day is the darkest day of the year, which as the various pagan people correctly noted, was the year when the sun “disappeared”. Thus it is fitting that on the literal “darkest” day of the year, that Christians should celebrate the coming of the “light of the world” among men.

    The Christianization of various pagan practices and ideas has been practiced since the beginning of the Church because Christ had to be communicated to people in means that was both able to be understood as well as culturally relevant. There is a great difference between the Christianization of a a cultural practice used by pagan person and the direct worship of pagan dieties.

    It is also a process that is not just practiced by the Church alone, as Islam and Buddhism have done similarly when going into different cultures apart from the one in which they originated. The dogma (absolute truths believed to be divinely revealed) remains constant, but the methods of expression vary.

    Thus if all “paganism” was to be uprooted from Christianity, that it would rule out the entire Greco-Roman culture into which Christianity was born. It would not be possible to speak about Christianity and its development without Platonic philosophy, Aristotalean Philosophy, the Latin language, the Greek science writings, the plays of the Latin and Greek writers, and the entire cultural apparati which the Church inherited and preserved following the end of the Roman Empire in 476 AD. Thus the Church did not keep the less desirable elements of Roman society, but worked to take the good and salvageable elements of society and transform them into something honorable and dignified before God and man.

    I find the analogy between the “Black mass” a celebrating Christmas on December 25th as ludacrous as the infamous “Black legend” and other “Popish” fables invented by late 17th, 18th, and 19th century Anglo-Saxon and German Protestant writers with very creative imaginations. From my experiences with American evangelicals, the few who do attack Christmas as a “pagan” feast day and cite scripture as justification for doing so are as likely to deny the Christianity of members of the Catholic Church, Orthodox churches, and the Assyrian church of the East, who edited and compiled the Bible during the late 4th century AD.

    I completely agree that Christmas in America has been “paganized” in that the focus is about stuff and not Jesus. However, I also find this is why fewer people each year seem to say “Merry Christmas” and instead opt for “Happy Holidays,” and even become upset when Christmas is mentioned (I speak from experience as I work in retail).

    Christmas was fixed on December 25th for the good reason of giving glory to God’s Son. I find that, especially at this time in American history, it should be a unifying point for Evangelicals with the Catholics and Orthodox, for as Ben Franklin said, “We must hang together lest we assuredly hang separately.”

    • Kenw

      Great post!

      Christians of all denominations must unite. I get tired of the fingerpointing and Satan uses our differences as a wedge between us. Our energies would be better utilized fighting the secularism plaguing our culture and Islam which is the greatest threat to us and tge antichrist religion

      • xander cross

        The problem with your claim is that you have no evidnece that Satan exists. Again, people like you is the reason why the elite is doing so much in the first place.

  • http://onlinerookies.com Kalen

    Very good piece Michael. I believe December 25 is also the birthday of the Greek god Dionysus, who shares a few parallels with Jesus. However, I disagree with skeptics who say that traits of Jesus were borrowed from Dionysus (such as the idea of reincarnation). Nonetheless, with respect to celebrating birthdays it’s ironic that the birthday of Christ is celebrated on the same day as many polytheistic divinities.

    Frankly, I think it is absurd that people are so politically correct that they can’t even say Merry Christmas. Even most atheists celebrate Christmas, so that proves that even if it is a religious holiday for many people it doesn’t have to offend people who don’t share those beliefs. The same argument could be said about celebrating Halloween, which is a pagan holiday. I don’t know anyone who follows the beliefs of ancient Celtic religions or worships the Roman goddess Pomona. Kind of hypocritical to be assaulting Christmas like this, regardless of what your religious beliefs are. I would think that practioners of Judaism would have the most reason to be bitter (since their holiday is usually not given as much attention), but they actually seem to be the most open-minded of non-Christians.

  • freedom!!!

    I sense a profound universal sadness that is pervading people’s lives over what they perceive to be the “end game.”

    What I personally have found and experienced this Christmas is a strong desire to spend it simply…with the people I love.

    2012 will be the year to stand up for what you believe, hold true to yourself, and find the courage inherent in us all.

    Peace to everyone, and have a wonderful, safe Christmas holiday!

    • Loveless One

      I agree with the sense of sadness you’re feeling and it’s not just because of holiday doldrums either. A great many people are fearful of next year, the dreaded ’2012′, thanks in no small part to the media masters in hollyweird but also hoaxsters, fake ‘gurus’, mediums and all other forms of new-age hocus pocus. And there’s also the fact that some people are beginning to wake up, I include myself in this lot, to a world that has no place for them or they want no part of. This is especially difficult around the holidays when our self-exultation sees no end.

      I used to pray for the end of the world on 2012, I’m not going to lie, my depression I’ve been battling quilt trips me into this thought process from time to time. Or at least I wished for some great ‘reboot’ to the system ala The Matrix. But now I’m beginning to realize that the end or hoping for the end isn’t the answer. The real answer lies in somehow, piece by piece, making some kind of change however piecemeal it may be. And I’m not taking about Obama™ brand ‘change’, I’m talking real honest to goodness help from the heart, not because it looks good but because it’s what’s right.

      For me 2012 is my final stand, either I can make a change in this plastic kingdom where nothing is real or someone else beats me too it. If nothing than I know there is no hope for the land of the not so free, the best I can hope to do is move to another country (any ideals?) where maybe real people still exist.

      Like I said in my earlier post, we’re being groomed more and more everyday to meet the ideal ‘American’ lifestyle, and it hurts me deep inside when individuals are no longer valued within society. Individuals and revolutionaries fought blood and bullet for what we have, and I’m not talking about mercenaries in Iraq or Afghanistan who we’re told to worship. No, I’m talking about the revolutionaries, everyone else is an aborted afterthought.

      Phew, sorry for this long rant, I guess it’s my Christmas wish to get this off my chest! I dedicate this to all the weirdos, loners, cooks, crazies, intellectuals, lone-wolfs, gays, lesbians, bi, trans…whatever American ‘society’ deems as un-pretty and sees fit to label, who’re alone and hurting this holiday season. I’m right there with you and you’re not alone. We’re the thin line of resistance before complete and utter conformity. I’m a 25 year old man and I know that this is a life worth living.

      Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, happy whatever! Peace on earth and goodwill to all men!!

  • Gary2

    Tax the rich and spread the wealth-plenty of money for gifts if the wealth and income was distributed more evenly .

    • knightowl77

      Let me get this straight….you advocate taxing the rich so that those on welfare can buy more plastic junk to make them feel good?…..Hmmmmm sounds like you didn’t get the little red wagon (to which you feel entitled) that you wanted as a child… Life just isn’t fail, and it never will be…

      • gary2

        true life is not fair, however, we do not need to h ave policies that make life more unfair such as ones that favor capital over labor IE favor the rich over workers.

  • Boycott X-Mas

    Boycott X-Mas y’all, don’t make these same Corporations rich since they will lay off millions after X-Mas day.

  • ScoutMotto

    If all I receive at Christmas time were cards from people, I would be happy with just that. I feel it is better to simply be remembered than for people to worry about what to get me for gifts. I do NOT put up a tree, since I am aware of its pagan origin.

    Christ is definitely my Lord, and I take great joy in obeying the command to remember His death on the first day of each week (Sunday by normal calenders). I’ve read of no command in the Bible to remember His birth, though without it there could have been no death, burial and resurrection.

  • sylvie

    Your are absolutely right. I am glad for one thing this Christmas. Americans have a true gift given to them this season. Its called the truth. I doubt they will want to part with it, but instead add to it. And as far as celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, and the New Year? I think families all over the country can remember how to celebrate these holidays in a meaningful way.

  • Colin

    I don’t celebrate Christmas. For me, this day is like any other day of the year.

  • Watch-the-Watchers

    I am so glad the people are starting to wake up to this pagan holiday…..

    I would like to add to your article the fact that the Christmas tree was originally implemented in the celebration of the fake-god Attis. I won’t go into detail here about how it was used, but one can find it pretty easily.

    This is then warned against in Jeremiah chapter 10. When he is stating this, this celebration was big in certain parts of the world, yet Yahweh warns us not to celebrate it.

    Jeremiah 10:2 “KJV Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. 3* For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. 4* They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. 5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.”

    The same goes for Easter (ISHTAR/INANNA/ASHTEROTH), and her son Tammuz on the solstice. Also, many of the other holidays we are led to follow have true Babylonian origin, and yet is ingrained in to all of us through consumerism.

    What is sad is the fact that we are becoming the third world. But if one wants to stick to the bible, it told us it would happen. It also warns what happens next. Jeremiah 51- and revelations 18

    • http://lastdayrapture.blogspot.com/ TK

      +1

      Great verse from Jeremiah! That verse stopped our family from buying another Xmas tree.

  • http://myonionlayers.blogspot.com/ F@Wian

    Excellent article. We gave up celebrating Christmas 6 years ago for the reasons you mention above – and now remember Jesus’ Incarnation at this time – believing that it is right to focus on things that are ‘true, … noble, … right,…pure, …lovely,… admirable,… excellent or praiseworthy’ (Phil. 4:8) – the prophetic symbolism of the Hebrew feast of Hannukah is also extremely relevant (we don’t HAVE to do anything, but for our non-Christian parents’ sake, we felt it would be unkind to distance ourselves from them). Since realising that Christmas is actually pagan at its roots, it has saved me a HUGE amount of stress. I used to think that it ought to be the time of year at which I felt closest to God and felt guilty because it was exactly the opposite.
    We celebrate Jesus every day, actually, because the most important thing is ‘Christ in you, the hope of Glory’ and no longer the keeping of festivals Blessings

    • http://lastdayrapture.blogspot.com/ TK

      +10

      Good Comment! Celebrate Jesus every day!

  • John

    Mute ALL commercials! The mute button is the most used on my remote!

    • gary2

      DVR so you do not even have to watch commercials. I honestly can not remember the last time I saw one.

  • Kenw

    Jesus Christ, the savior of the world, is born. He is Christmas. Without remembering and celebrating that, the day is meaningless. Praise be to our Lord and King!

  • Texar

    Merry Christmas!!

  • http://www.OlGreyGhost.Blogspot.com Ol’ Grey Ghost

    Since “Christmas” is an artificial construct in the first place, enjoy it in any way you want…

    http://www.olgreyghost.blogspot.com/2009/12/noctiphobia-and-winter-solstice-real.html

    A Happy Yuletide to All…

  • nicholas fowler

    I agree whole heartedly with the article. i am not a Christian in any traditional sense but live the values of love and compassion just as yeheshua did . I have no belief in saviors or messiahs these are to me fictions. but we should be joyful at any time of year, and let Christmas be simply a holiday for you and if believe in a Saviour fine, but whatever, enjoy the love and warmth in people, and give a little more. I found nothing but joy today doing my shopping, there is still an enormous amount of love in the world. live each day and make each day as perfect as you an. nothing more is asked of you.

  • http://www.catholicthinker.net/ PaulF

    Michael,

    I know your heart is in the wrong place here, but your reasoning is seriously flawed – largely because your assumptions are incorrect.

    Let’s start with what the holiday of Christmas really *is* – what the Church *made* it: Christmas is a holy day (that is, ‘holiday’) celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, Who is God Incarnate, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Creator and Redeemer of the world. That’s what Christmas *is* – even if the former pagans the new holiday was given to *previously* celebrated it as something else.

    You see, the Church that Jesus Christ founded has the power to make the ordinary holy – just as the Incarnation Itself has made the profane holy, for eternity. Christ gave the first leaders of His Church the power to “bind & loose” (this refers to law-giving in the ancient Jewish sense), and even told Peter that what he binds on earth will be bound in heaven as well! Clearly, the Church has authority on earth, does it not?

    To take a pagan festival and *transform* it into a Christian Holy Day – for that is what was done – says to the world, “Jesus Christ is Lord, and He changes the world. Forget your pagan past, for this day, like all days, now belongs to He and He alone!”

    You are aware that wedding rings are a pagan artifact? Do you wear one? Do you think you should take it off? How about going to McDonald’s, which features a set of golden arches remarkably similar to that symbol of the Whore herself, ancient Bablyon?!

    You will say that that is silly, and may say that these things are not involved in religious worship – but, actually, for the Christian, every aspect of life should be offered to God. But, in that case – pagans had rituals with water similar to baptism – perhaps it should be ruled out. And they knelt in prayer to their gods – that posture is pagan!

    Do you see the lack of logic and naivety in such thinking? Yet such is a logical endpoint to he who begins with things like eschewing celebrating the birth of the Lord because the date was formerly a pagan festival.

    In fact, atheists and pagans will assert that *all* of Christianity is in fact an outgrowth of paganism – a falsehood, of course, but as a matter of fact there are indeed many examples of God making the profane holy, or of His Church simply making use of aspects of human behavior, posture, symbols, etc., that either have no intrinsic meaning or are actually innately, properly associated with worship of God. Please see this short essay, especially the links therein:

    http://www.catholicthinker.net/catholicism-and-paganism/

    Perhaps you can see that it is not very practical to try to “avoid” all *traces* of anything remotely related to paganism – and in any case this is a mistaken motivation anyway, because it’s what you believe, what’s in your heart, and how you behave that matters, not superficial and external details.

    [ And now for an aside regarding your comment that "there is nothing about December 25th in the Bible", with the obvious implication that it is thus irrelevant (or worse). Again, we have a set of very false assumptions in operation here - the main false assumptions that underly modern Protestantism, actually.

    I might start by asking, since the Apostle John tells us in his Gospel that Jesus did and said many things that were never written down, why anyone should assume that *everything* relevant to the Christian would be contained therein. The word "Trinity" is found nowhere in Scripture - is it irrelevant?!

    However, this is only the very tip of the iceberg. Where did my Bible come from, the intelligent and truth-seeking Christian must ask. In fact, the canon of the Bible - its list of books - is a product of the Catholic Church, decided at Catholic Councils. Please see the beginning section of this document for a very brief treatment of the canon:

    http://www.catholicthinker.net/infallibility/

    See also these documents which demonstrate that not only does the Bible not teach "sola scriptura" - the notion that *it* is the sole or even main source of authority - it teaches quite the opposite:

    http://www.scripturecatholic.com/scripture_alone.html
    http://www.scripturecatholic.com/the_church.html
    http://www.catholicthinker.net/sola-scriptura/
    ]

    Jesus Christ gave us a living Church that did not die when the canon of Scripture was finally settled (several hundred years after the Resurrection!). Christ tells His disciples to “go to the Church” (thus it is singular and visible) to settle disputes, He gave this Church the power to “bind and loose” that even Heaven respects, and He promised that the very gates of Hell would *never* prevail against this Church – because it is His divine creation. This Church has decided that the birth of Our Lord will be celebrated on December 25th, and those who wish to remain obedient to Christ in all things should take notice.

    P.S. Please see these documents for details on the authority of the Church – Biblical proof that it must exist, and does exist:

    http://www.catholicthinker.net/th-source-of-catholic-authorit/#_ftn1

    http://www.catholicthinker.net/peter-the-papacy/

    P.P.S. More “pagan”/”idolatry” misunderstandings debunked:

    http://www.catholic.com/tracts/do-catholics-worship-statues

    http://www.catholic.com/tracts/praying-to-the-saints

    • http://lastdayrapture.blogspot.com/ TK

      -1

      Bad comment, it was the catholic church that introduced Xmas to the pagans. It was the catholic church that introduced many pagan ideas (such as worshiping idols, priests, saints, mary, etc.). It was the catholic church that killed over 50 million innocent Christians, and it is the catholic church that tried to keep the Bible from the masses.

      It is also the catholic church that is trying to unite all religions during these last days.

      Most people believe that the woman who rides the beast (read Revelations) is the catholic church.

      • http://www.catholicthinker.net/ PaulF

        Ah, more clueless fundie cluelessness. You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about – none.

        The Catholic Church IS the specific, visible, hierarchical Church that Christ founded – which is a demonstrable fact. I know you fundies never actually read what you’re responding to, but try reading this (which was above):

        http://www.catholicthinker.net/peter-the-papacy/

        Your charges of “paganism” and idolatry are based on your own ignorance of both Scripture and early Christianity:

        http://www.catholicthinker.net/catholic-myths/
        http://www.catholicthinker.net/catholicism-and-paganism/

        and more stuff you didn’t read:

        http://www.catholic.com/tracts/do-catholics-worship-statues

        http://www.catholic.com/tracts/praying-to-the-saints

        I’ll stop now since I know there’s no point.

      • http://www.catholicthinker.net/ PaulF

        Actually, I’ll respond to your charges of “corruption” in the Church as well.

        Please consider these things:

        - Jesus Christ made it clear that there would good & bad – wheat & chaff in His Church until the end of time, when they are separated.

        - Since all men are sinners, it should be clear that all men in the Church will be sinners as well. So it is just a matter of degree we are discussing.

        - What matters is that the Church is *valid* – that the line of Apostolic Succession is intact, that her sacraments are valid, and that her official teachings are without error. All of these things are true. You DO understand that these are the things that are _critical_, right?

        What is the standard that YOU demand of God’s servants?

        Would you have spit on Moses’ authority because he was a murderer??

        Would you have spit on David’s throne because he was a murderer and adulterer??

        And would you have spit on Cephas because he denied His Lord out of fear, thrice??

        In so doing you would be spitting on God.

        I don’t mean to trivialize the scandals of priestly abuse. They have been terrible, and shocking – among the worst things the Church has known in the last nearly 2,000 years. These events – the cover-ups possibly even more-so than the actual abuse – were utterly shocking and disgusting beyond words, there is no doubt. However, the men committing these acts were men, and not the Church. The Church is not the people in it – a concept that many Protestants do have a difficult time understanding, it would seem. And that is understandable, as they know that their churches are, frankly, human institutions started by men. But Christ’s Church is a divine institution though populated with imperfect people, as has been noted. Christ’s parable of the wheat & the chaff foretold the bad seeds in the true Church, and the fact that they’d be often hard to spot as well. (Few people are aware that the chaff he referred to is a weed that looks almost identical to a wheat plant! Thus, it would not necessarily be easy to spot the wolves – His parable has real subtlety!) There are now over one billion Catholics in the world and the notion that they must or should all lead moral lives to prove the worthiness of the Church itself does not hold logical water – in fact, it is very silly. What matters is that the doctrine & dogma as taught officially by the Church through the millennia is true.

        Protestants of various stripes like to this of their sect as, relatively, spotless and clean. That’s comparatively easy when your sect has existed for a few decades or less than that. But go back to the roots of Protestantism and we see *far* less tolerance and just as much dogmatic authority asserted – but without any divine foundation! For authority comes from Chris and His Apostles, in His Church, and no other.

        What I mean, in case you didn’t know, is that both Luther and Calvin tortured and executed not only over doctrinal issues but *civil* as well; they both became the worst kind of tyrant. Here are a few links:

        http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/…rture-and.html
        http://www.freewill-predestination.com/unchanged.html
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Calvin
        http://www.evangelicaloutreach.org/michael-servetus.htm

        Now, of course, you’re going to protest that you have nothing to do at all with Luther and Calvin! But, then, why do you accept their radical, new doctrines of sola scriptura and sola fide, that had never before been taught in the 1500 years of Christianity? Why do you just happen to largely agree with them on every other repudiation of Catholic doctrine as well (all of which can be traced to the apostles)? I hope you see what I mean – the legacy of modern “Bible Christians” AND “Hebrew Rootsers” IS with the Protestant “Reformers”.

        If you are proud that whatever Christian sect, or group, or whatever you want to call it has *nothing* to do with Catholicism, well then, you have nothing to do directly with the apostles either, or the Church that Christ founded on them:

        http://www.catholicthinker.net/th-so…olic-authorit/
        http://www.catholicthinker.net/peter-the-papacy/
        http://www.scripturecatholic.com/the_church.html
        http://www.scripturecatholic.com/apostolic_succession.html

        I’ll stick with the Church that Christ founded, warts and all, thank you. She is, herself, a divine creation – spotless and perfect – but sullied indeed by the sins of her members, starting with those of Peter and the rest of the apostles.

        • http://lastdayrapture.blogspot.com/ TK

          Paul,

          The link below leads to a video that describes the torture devices used to kill millions of God fearing Christians by the catholics:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWS0ePXeq24

          at the end of the video are sources for the information used.

          Never forget that Hitler killed 7 million while the Catholics killed over 50 million (while some sources say upwards of 150 million).

          Paul, the church I belong to is the Church that Jesus Christ established:

          18For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

  • http://www.catholicthinker.net/ PaulF

    Of course, Michael, many parts of your essay were completely correct, and worthwhile, such as highlighting the hardships of the poor and lambasting the terrible commercialization of Christmas!

  • Steven Cornett

    The “pagan Christmas” notion has long become the “received wisdom” of popular culture, but there are many problems with the hypothesis. First, no church father from the period in question makes mention of Christmas as a recent liturgical invention, and in fact see the date of Christmas as providential, not man-made. St. Ambrose make mention of Christ as the True Sun that outshines the pagan gods of antiquity. This was part of a common theme among the church fathers that saw Christmas as providential proof that Jesus Christ has displaced the idols of prior ages.

    The first mention of Christmas is from circa AD 200, though Epiphany was celebrated at least a century earlier. The Christians of the time up to the Fourth Century were concerned with separating themselves from the world around them instead of appropriating anything from the Classical world (aside of the philosophical language as an apologetic tool, such as by St. Justin Martyr in the middle of the 2nd Century).

    As many are beginning to understand, though it hasn’t filtered into the popular understanding as of yet, the origins of Christmas are not so much in pagan antiquity but the Lord’s Passion during the Passover. The tradition in ancient Jewish practice was to date the conception of a prophet as being on the day of this death. St. Augustine is familiar with this, and mentions it in “On the Trinity.”

    “For he [Jesus] is believed to have been conceived on the 25th of March, upon which day also he suffered; so the womb of the Virgin, in which he was conceived, where no one of mortals was begotten, corresponds to the new grave in which he was buried, wherein was never man laid, neither before him nor since. But he was born, according to tradition, upon December the 25th.

    The main article that reviews this changing view of the origins of Christmas is in Biblical Archeology Review.

    • http://lastdayrapture.blogspot.com/ TK

      -1 Steve

      There is no denying the fact that the catholic church used December 25th to bring more pagans into the church (and therefore bring more $ into the church). Your attempt at placing the blame elsewhere has failed.

      • Steven Cornett

        Re: TK,

        Is there something wrong with using the aspects of the culture in which you find yourself to evangelize? The comparison of Christ as the True Sun helped the Imperial “anti-holiday” of Sol Invictus backfire on him, as you might well point out.

        Christians do the same today, afterall. We have, for instance, you have the phrase “Jesus the real thing,” a takeoff of the old jingle for Coca-cola. You can also search for the takeoff of “got milk” as well.

        Deny it? Why should I?

        • Sunshine

          The take-off of “got milk” campaign was in 1993.
          Now, was it just mere coincidence that same year, 1993 the FDA approved the use of BOVINE GROWTH HORMONE in cattle???
          That’s no coincidence to me.
          My opine is that well, since the hormone made cows produce much more than they were naturally meant for a campaign had to be launched to induce people to consume more milk.
          Oh, nevermind those concerns about hormone laced stuff and/or it’s effects on health..just buy milk.
          As they say, beware of what they feed you. (media wise)

  • http://www.catholicthinker.net/ PaulF

    Typo!

    “I know your heart is in the wrong place here”

    Should, of course, be “in the _right_ place”…

  • A.S.

    I don’t know if this has any relation to the story, but it teaches a lesson…

    Once the Baal Shem Tov (the founder of Kaballah) was riding in a coach (driven by horses). Another person was in the cabin with him–a Christian. When the coach passed a church, the Baal Shem Tov noticing no reaction by the Christian, ordered the driver to stop.

    On getting out the Baal Shem Tov said to the Christian, “Clearly you are not so religious, since you did not cross yourself as we passed the church. I refuse to ride with a pagan…”

    What the Baal Shem Tov was implying was that, for a non-Jew, being a Christian, albeit not such a “kosher” religion for non-Jews (the ideal is to be a Noahide), at least makes him a moral person. If he did not act as a Christian (those times were much different than our times), then maybe he could be a thief, murderer, rapist, etc. So, the Baal Shem Tov gave him sound warning.

    So, according to a very liberal Jewish approach, if Christians don’t observe Christmas the way it was originally intended (doesn’t matter what the date is) then they are noting more hypocrites, liars, and materialists.

    And BTW, I have not yet heard Obama wising Jews a Happy Chaunkah, Happy Passover, Happy New Year (Rosh Hashana), etc. So it seems to me that he is hateful of all religion except for Islam. Makes you think where his allegiance really is!

    • mondobeyondo

      Obama is too busy playing golf on his perpetual vacations, to actually care about us. Where is it this time around, Hawaii? Tahiti

      His caddie says, “Mr. President! You scored a birdie!”

      Obama: “Yes! It’s a partridge in a pear tree!”

      Ewww.

  • JR

    As always, great article, thanks. Two points:

    - Re. the free speech issue, everyone here needs to call their rep in DC re. this horrible SOPA bill. Google it is you need details

    - Re. the Deuteronomy passage about “…not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, “How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same…’” While I appreciate the comment, I think in this case, the concern is mimicking the ACTIONS – such as passing their children through the fire, the Asherah “sex and religion shrines,” etc. Whether a date was chosen to supplant a pagan holiday is probably not relevant. What is important are actions, which in turn are led by an attitude of the heart which is the main concern, IMHO.

    We celebrate Christmas as an arbitrary date chosen for the birth of Christ. We treat it as a family day, and give a few presents, but it is NOT materialistic.

    Just one comment from the peanut gallery.

  • hoser

    L-One, I agree. Qbama did promise the American people change. He never said change would be Bush Policies on steroids! Truth, we would have gotten the same thing with McCain. Both parties are broke. The only politician that isn’t stuck inside the box and talking “real solutions” is Dr Ron Paul. God help us if he is not elected president. Hardcore Dems/Repubs are all liars.

    • DB200

      Mr. Qbama promised to close down Guantanamo within a year. Politicians make a lot of promises especially during election time. The way to hell is paved with good intentions.

  • Freedom 1080

    Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.

    Why cause the idiots in the Globull warming con game. If you support any of the Green movement you deserve the higher electrical bills.

  • Barbara

    What passes for Christianity is pretty far from the real deal. There is no spirit of love tolerance and humility. Christmas is the celebration of worldly assetts: family, friends, food, deocrations, presents, and merriment.

    Is the spirit of Christ one of merriment? It is one of joy, peace, long suffuring, kindness, temrperance, humility, etc. Having a good time at a party does not make you a good Christian, but that is how people seem to think.

    Those faithful Christians without family or friends to celebrate with end up feeling forlorn and forgotten, just like the child who prayed to the same Santa for gifts, but then got cheaper stuff than the kid next door. It all makes the person next to you feel indaquate, so you have to do more and more to keep up and feel like your are special enough to be blessed.

    People don’t celebrate birthdays with Christmas trees and egg nog and mistletoe, so saying it is just a birthday to celebrate Jesus and family and friends is stupid. It is a pagan festival that was given Christian connotations to disquise the true religion of Christ, which is Judaism.

    I would consider Passover to be Christ’s birthday because that is when the lambs are born and he is the lamb of God. I believe Christmas does dishonor Christ and therefore Christians who know better should stop. The more you ignore Christmas, the better you feel.

  • Gary2

    Interesting all the divorces in the christian church…I’m just sayin…

    • xander cross

      I agree Gary.

  • Gary2

    Seriously-quoting bible verses to each other does nothing to solve anything. I guess if it makes you feel better than whatever but do not confuse it with solving anything or coming up with concrete ideas to fix the mess we are in.

    I actually have solutions like taxing the rich and spreading the wealth which WILL fix things.

    Maybe you should be praying that 2012 is the year of taxing the rich hard and spreading the wealth. Now that’s a prayer I can get behind.

    Hey I can cut and paste from the bible also. Someone is actually praying for the world to end in 2012? WTF??? Are Christians crazy?

  • Douglas Dillard

    Michael,

    Thanks for keeping the information flowing over the holidays. The quality and quantity of data you supply is impressive.

    Hope you had a Merry Christmas!

    • Michael

      Thank you for the kind words Douglas.

      May this upcoming year be incredibly blessed for you.

      Michael

  • DB200

    “Last night, we saw once again how crazy Americans can get when it comes to consumer products.”

    The “Air Jordan competitive shopping behaviour” (is this politically correct or what?) was even on television in Europe. My children commented as follows:

    My daughter (6): “Why are they behaving like that, didn’t they go to school?”

    My son (8): “Why don’t they buy food with the money they have?”

    What should I have answered to my kids?

  • William

    I have read recent polling data that indicates over 70 percent of Americans think the country is on the WRONG TRACK! If you reelect your incumbents in Nov of 2012, things will NOT get better; they will get worse. Vote OUT all incumbents, regardless of political party. Just vote them OUT!

  • jaxon64

    Christmas is not about the packages for me- nor does the particular day hold any significance. Without knowing an exact date for Christ’s birth then Dec. 25th works well enough as any day to celebrate in remembrance.

    For myself and my family it is about remembrance of the ultimate gift-God’s incredible grace as He showed a love some unfathomable to the human mind. He sent Jesus as atonement for us. God cannot change His Holy or Perfect nature and He is also perfect in His justice. We are all found sinful and short of God’s glorious and holy nature–but there are tidings of great joy !! For His love for His creation is so great that He provided the ultimate gift- the free gift of salvation through the atonement by Jesus Christ.

    My family does not celebrate a pagan holiday. We attend a candlelight service at church with worship in song. We then went home and read the story of Christ’s birth from the Bible and my grandaughter-my first grandchild- put the little baby Jesus figurine in the manger under our tree. On Christmas day we arose early and went to church to celebrate and give thanks and worship. Then we went home, opened gifts for the children ( my wife and I requested to not be given anything). Later my extended family came over and we had Christmas dinner together. A few are not people of faith but they never are offended ( not like the foaming-mouth Christian haters who sometimes post here) when I ask everyone to hold hands around the table and thank God for our blessings before we eat.

    The point is that Christmas to me transcends petty arguements about particular dates, materialism, pagan origins, trees, advertising, Black Fridays and freedom to put up public displays vs govt restriction of the free practice of religion– it even transcends religion. This is a date that my family and I celebrate and give thanks to God’s incredible grace and gift to us-His Son Jesus Christ.

  • bob-bob-bob

    I had a christmas when we had no money for Gifts an that taught me a real good lesson that I use to this day . My wife and I put away $20. each payday in an envelope for christmas and forgetaboutit! this year we had $600. each to spend .

  • mondobeyondo

    Nowhere in the Bible does it mention Jesus was born on December 25th. In fact, no date at all is mentioned.

    Perhaps God, in His infinite wisdom, did this on purpose, to prevent us from turning the birthdate of His only begotten Son, turning it into a cult type date. You know, like January 8, 1935. (Elvis Presley’s birthdate).

    So, what did we do instead? We picked a nice convenient day (hey, 1 week before New Year’s Day sounds good!) and declared it to be Christmas! Let’s celebrate it by erecting a tree and covering it with lights! And then we can put cheap Chinese crap underneath it! And whatever else that has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus…

  • Steven N.

    Ladies and Gentlemen of the audience: I rise in support of Micheal’s article based on the following facts in evidence: Micheal pointed out that hundreds, if not thousands of families are going without food, shelter and heat this Christmas. It is Irelevant what the church or the “politically” correct procedure is for celebrating the birth of Christ. The fact remains that no matter how heated the debates become of wether Christmas is pagean or not, the sad truth is that while this article is being written, over 700 families in my home state are facing eviction. That’s right, over 700 just in my state alone. Over 11,000 families and innocent children have been cut from the welfare roles, so the state legislators can go to the Bahamas for the holidays! Micheal ponts out the serious injustices that are being commited on the part of a depraved government mentality. So, you can blame this deplorable economy on whoever you want, you can cite dozens of web links and articles to substantiate your arguments. It’s not the origin of religion that needs to be talked about. What all of us as Americans need to bring to the forefront is the fact that while our children go hungry, and our veterans remain homeless, we need to keep these innocent children in our hearts–and our prayers! I know I am next in line for eviction, I’m on my way to the soup lines and My heat and electric will be shut of in the next 20 days. I join the ranks of thousands of others who have fallen on hard times as a direct result of the Governments depraved indifference to the society they claim to serve.

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  • Orator

    I see your points, but you should have kept yourself neutral. Now you only come off as bias. Far-right, anyone?

  • Daddy

    Nothing for Christmas this year. Don’t have any money. I have kids and grand kids but no money. Struggling to put food on the table. We go hungry quite often.

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