Friday, December 19, 2008
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.""
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
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.
Friday, December 5, 2008
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
If its secular, then why attack it?