Friday, December 19, 2008

Change you can really believe in

Courtesy Rob Shoaff, Harrisburg PA

Is Christmas completely lost?

Hat tip to Concept 53 who found this article and wrote a great post:

This is from USA Today:

"The focus on peace and giving gifts allows you to safely focus on nice things instead of the idea that God sent his son Jesus to be Christ, who dies on a cross. It’s human nature to want to take the ‘nice’ without the ‘truth,’ ” says Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research in Nashville

It’s not that Christmas partying is wrong: There just has to be a larger purpose for it, says pastor and author Rick Warren. His newest book, The Purpose of Christmas, cites celebration as one of the three things announced by the angels at Christ’s birth, along with salvation and reconciliation to God.

But social scientists say several trends work against the push to focus on doctrine:

•The percentage of U.S. adults who say they have no religious identity has more than doubled, from 7% in 1990 to 15.2% in 2008, says sociologist Barry Kosmin, principal investigator of the American Religious Identification Survey and a research professor at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.

•Data from Christian trends researcher Barna Research in Oxnard, Calif., finds the long-familiar bump in Christmas church attendance is mostly somewhat-regular attendees coming in from the cold more often.

•Interfaith marriages — in which couples often blur or ignore religious differences — have increased from 2.9% of U.S. adults in 1973 to 8.5% in 2006, says Tom Smith, director of the General Social Survey for the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

But ultimately, the most significant reason behind the shift away from focusing on a religious Christmas that stresses the birth of Jesus may be found in the latest survey from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

The survey found that more than half of U.S. Christians (52%) today do not say Christianity is the exclusive path to eternal life.

Horton blames Christians themselves for taking the Christ out of Christmas. “Secularism cannot be blamed on the secularists, many of whom were raised in the church. We are the problem,” he says.""

via Where is Christ in Christmas? -

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hatred of Christmas is alive and well

A wonderful group of happy, inclusive people have posted this sign on the state capitol grounds in Olympia, WA.

"During this season of THE WINTER SOLSTICE may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

If faith bothers them so much, then why are they angry? Shouldnt they simply be happy in their smug disbelief?

Chuck Norris writes in his Human Events column, "If such words were written against any social minority group, protests would be ubiquitous. But anti-religious bigotry is in vogue these days. Still, there is absolutely no justification for these atheists' written revile."

We say "Merry Christmas." They say "Bah Humbug." You can have your own non-holiday. And we'll celebrate as we wish.

And is there really just a natural world? On the next moonless night, look deep into the darkness of space and honestly think .... what lies beyond? Where does it end?

"For since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities -- his eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." -- Romans 1

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Lights of Christmas

By David Rupert

Christmas is a season of bright lights. They adorn our windows and our homes. Strings of multicolored lamps festively dance on trees flashing in a thousand combinations. Some blink in reckless abandon, while others flow in majestic choreographed ballets. Some neighborhoods flash like carnivals, while others glow with peaceful serenity.

For me, these millions of bulbs are blessed reminders of hope. They are unwitting participants and visual reminders of the message of Christmas.

The first Christmas lights were the bright heavenly hosts that surrounding the shepherds, trumpeting the manger miracle. An angel comforted them and said “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.”

In our nation today, this “good news of great joy” has become an irritant to many. The traditional Christmas story is being carefully clipped out with the sharp scissors of men and institutions bent on ridding our nation of spiritual meaning.

Plato’s wisdom long ago resonates even today: “
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”

Reacting out of their own fear of the Lights of Christmas, the secularists go one step further and determine to snuff out our lights as well.

The newspapers will be full stories of these light-snuffers and darkness-lovers. Schools will ban carols and plays. We’ll battle over manger scenes on public property.

Christmas cards once were radiant reflections of the hope of the season. Now they are reduced to banalities. Now discount stores sell boxes of green and red cards with such meaningful expressions such as “Joyous Holidays”, and “Season’s Greetings”. For me, the stiff-sounding and just plain boring Winter Holiday can’t hold a candle to the lights of a Jesus-centered Christian.

And everyone from mall clerks to school teachers are afraid of The Light of the simple expression: “Merry Christmas.”

The Good news is that Christmas survives the onslaught of humanism. As our most multifaceted holiday, Christmas is historical in nature, cultural in practice and religious in its significance. It represents the heart and soul of our nation.

In spite of an increasingly secular society’s value imposition on the majority of its citizenry, the Light of this holiday burns brighter yet. It is because as humans, we look longingly into our souls and ache with the pain of need. We need peace. We need joy. We need the lasting gift that is without price. We need light to shine in our dark world.

Listen to the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

“Then Pealed the bells
More loud and deep;
‘God is not dead;
nor doth He sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth
Good-will to men!”

Society cannot dim the bright light of the True Spirit of Christmas.
email the author here:
Also join the Society for a Merry Christmas here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

What a nice poinsetta

The University of North Carolina library has banned Christmas trees, because a few staffers have complained over the years.

No student has ever had a problem, just librarians with their glasses perched on the ends of their noses, looking for offense. The provost who made the decision did so because, "it just didnt seem right to celebrate one set of customs" at a library, where knowledge is so important. It actually seems that at this library, ignorance is a more exalted skill.

So instead, they've put in 'festive poinsettas.' It's just a tree. And 95 percent of us dont have a problem. Merry Christmas to the other five percent too.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A buddhist's take on Merry Christmas

Read this and you'll see that Christmas is not so much a religious holiday, but a secular one.

If its secular, then why attack it?

C.S. Lewis on X-Mas

The venerable Christian thinker, author and speaker weighs in on the "XMAS" debate. He uses allegory to tell a tale.

Read him here:

he basically says the two holidays are different, so why fuss?