Friday, November 10, 2006

The Battle Resumes


True Story: A man walked into a post office. He asked the postal worker, "Do you have any Christmas stamps yet?" The employee responded, "Yes. They are up there," pointing to the upper left corner of a bulletin board. Three different pages of stamps were present. Perhaps a little hard to see, the man pointed to the first page and asked, "What are those?"
"Oh," the worker replied, "Those are for Hanukkah."
"Oh, I'm sorry," the man said. "I was looking for Christmas stamps." Then, looking at the second group of stamps, he asked, "What are those?"
"Oh, those are for Kwanza."
"Oh, I'm sorry," the man stated with a tad of sarcasm. "I'm looking for Christmas stamps." Thinking, "What's there to lose?" the man questioned, "Then what are those?"
"Those are Islamic."
The man turned away from the stamps--a bit frustrated--and said to the employee, "I guess you have mistaken me. Do you have any Christian Christmas stamps?"
"Oh, yeah," the employee assured. "I have some Madonna ones right here. I just haven't put them out yet."
The man turned and walked away from the desk, thinking, "Great. Catholic." He ended up purchasing snowflakes as his "Christmas" stamps.

Now, some might say that there's nothing wrong with Madonna-stamps, but--right or wrong--that's beside the point. The indisputable point is that there is a war going on over Christmas. It stays relatively stagnant in a stalemate for about eight to ten months of the year, but for those few months that it rages, it really rages. Many of those effecting Christ negatively don't even know it. They simply get sucked into erroneous ideas of "tolerance," "relativism," and then, of course, apathy. Even Christians fall into this trap. But, there are more concerted efforts. Like in everything else, secular humanists, secular progressives, and atheists want to take Christ out of the public square--really, the private square, too, in as many places as they can. They literally want to take Christ out of Christ-mas. I didn't even mention the conspiracy of Santa Claus (which I will blog about in the future) and the complete materialization of Christmas. Then, of course, you can't forget about the ultimate secularization of Christmas--calling it the "Winter Holiday."
So what do we do? Well, first of all, we shouldn't try to take away anyone's freedom to celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanza, etc., etc.. That's not what America is about, and it is not what Christianity is about. But the bottom line is that Christmas is Christmas, and no individual, organization, or even government should feel obligated to totally generalize the entire event. That would be taking away THEIR freedom. But why should Christians care?
Because, most importantly, I think, Christmas, like Easter, is an incredible witnessing opportunity. Even in this secularized world in which we live, the story of Jesus can't be totally hidden and smothered, because "Jesus is the Reason for the Season." Christmases come and Christmases go, admittedly, as people apathetically, arrogantly, and ignorantly ignore the story of Jesus and for what which it calls. Yet, once a year, Christmas comes around, beckoning to all with the beginnings of the Greatest Story Ever Told--the greatest truth ever known. If you need a conversation-starter to witness to someone, ice-breakers don't get much better than the Christmas story. People gravitate to it--and for good reason. People aren't offended by it, though they should be offended by their own sin. When you begin to explain the story of the First Christmas, though, and illustrate WHY Jesus had to come as He did and WHAT He did, then the Gospel message shines through fully as it should.

We need to get back, though, to what we should do. We all can't do the big things, obviously. We are all not James Dobson, or Albert Mohler, or George W. Bush, for that matter. But I've compiled a small list (in random order) of what EVERY Christian can do. I hope you will join in.

1.) Try to avoid using (in speech or writing) "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings," or something similar. This generalizes Christmas--thereby taking Christ out of it--and frankly demotes it, if you know what I mean. Although they may seem appropriate for including "Happy Thanksgiving," "Merry Christmas," and "Happy New Year" in one package, try to use "Merry Christmas" as much as possible. If you want to reference the incoming year, say (or write) "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year." It may seem like a mouthful, but it's worth it.

2.) Personally, I wouldn't even say or write "Holiday Blessings." This may be over the top, for, as I said, you may be wishing to refer to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day all-in-one, but if you are referring to the Christmas season in particular, say "Christmas Blessings," or, better yet, say "God Bless You." In fact, say that all the time.

3.) As I mentioned above, say "God Bless You," staying away from luck, the Fates, etc. You should do this all year round anyway. I'm reminded of the song Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. One line of lyrics says the following: "Through the years, we will all will be together, if the fates allow..." The song has been Christianized, to say this: "if the Lord allows..." Is that a small change? Yes, in all appearance, but I would suggest singing the Christian version, even if the version you are singing WITH is the "fates" rendition.

Before I lose you all, I want to add this sidebar. This may sound like nit-picking, or extreme, but as the saying goes, "Extreme times call for extreme measures. (Or desperate times call for desperate measures.)" If we are only going to do the little things, we need to do a LOT of the little things. Even if we are going to do big things, the little things give us the chance to never cease being a part of the battle. And we know our enemy, Satan and his minions, are incessantly fighting.

4.) When writing or typing, please don't use the terminology "xmas." Although it may seem convenient, it is the epitome of taking Christ out of Christmas. Here's an idea on how to use the "xmas" phenomenon, though:
An "x" is made from a "cris-cross." It is used in "xmas" to make "crismas"--Christmas. But notice the second part of the x: "cross." Cris-cross. Christ-cross. Christ ON the cross. I'm sure there's a witnessing tool in there. But for normal usage, I say avoid "xmas."

5.) I've already mentioned "Season's Greetings," "Happy Holidays," and "Winter Holiday." But, also, here's a reminder not to call the time off of school "winter break." It is Christmas Break. Although kids in year-round school might have a normal off-time in the winter, kids who do not have year-round school get two to three weeks off because of Christmas and the "sub-holidays."

6.) As I've alluded to, stay away from Santa. Santa is one of the biggest detractors from Christ, especially when it comes to children. Woe, that we would cause the little children to stumble! That we would lead them astray! That we would distract them from the greatest Gift and Gift-Giver of them all! Santa is a cutesy figure, and he can be parts of Christian celebrations relatively harmlessly, but if children and/or unbelievers are involved, he should not be.
Santa parallels Christ in some elements. Along with that, if Santa is put on the same level with Christ at Christmastime, when children grow out of believing in Santa, why would they believe that the story of Christ is real? If parents are willing to lie to their kids that "yes, Santa is real," why would the kids later believe their parents when they are told, "Yes, Christ is real"?

7.) Seventhly, we need to get Christ and the story of Christ back into the media and the mainstream. An effort is currently being made at that through The Nativity Story, coming out in December. I can't fully endorse the movie's content--as I am not familiar enough with the script--but I can say that the base idea is noble. There are movies en masse about Santa Claus every year. The same should go for Christ--from preceding stories preceeding his birth, to the actual birth, to the ramifications of His birth and life.

8.) Support stores like Wal-Mart and Kohl's (Update: Sears and Macy's, as well) for bringing the word Christmas back "in their vocabulary." Criticism and boycotts from Christians finally caused a change, and a reward for these stores from Christians should ensue. The pressure needs to stay on stores like Best Buy, although, as I said, they can do anything they want, just like Wal-Mart can say ONLY Merry Christmas if it wants to (although, of course, it doesn't). Read the story here.

9.) Get involved with Christian charity operations. One of my personal favorites is Operation Christmas Child. (If you know of others, feel free to post them.) This group ships shoe-box sized packages that you assemble to under-privileged children around the world, and simultaneously shares the Good News with these children. If you don't have time to purchase and assemble a present, you can simply donate funds.

10.) Don't be afraid to mention Jesus! That's what this holiday is about: celebrating His birth. We shouldn't hide our speech about Him in the home and church. As I mentioned, it's a GREAT witnessing opportunity.

11.) Lastly, don't forget to pray. As I have spoken of prayer before, I don't feel I need to add anything here, except to emphasize it. Our focus during Christmas should be salvation, and there is no better one to have the assistance of than the God of Salvation.

~Kingdom Advancer


Ever since Christ's birth, starting with Herod, effort after effort has been made to "exterminate" or "eliminate" Christ one way or another in one form or another. Modern-day Christians find ourselves in the midst of the same battle that caused Joseph and Mary to take Jesus to Egypt; the same battle that caused Christ's crucifixion; the same battle that the Apostles fought; the same battle that has caused millions of Christian martyrdoms; and the same battle that has resulted in several concerted efforts at the destruction of the Bible, either literally or "intellectually." Will we Christians stand up today?

45 comments:

Austin said...

Hannukah is most certainly not a "sub-holiday". Jesus celebrated it himself. Jewish history is also Christian history, considering that Christianity is basically fulfilled, true Judaism. What if a Jewish seeker, wondering if Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, sees this post calling Hannukah a "sub-holiday"? Not that you meant it, but be careful.

Christmas and Easter are both as much pagan in origin as they are Christian. Lanna knows more about this than I do - ask her. Christmas was the Christian-pagan merging of holidays by Constantine. It originally celebrated the birth of Mithras, and in fact, Jesus wasn't even born on Christmas. This is a classic example of Catholic Christian and pagan "merging".

Thanksgiving, which you may have also refered to as a "sub-holiday" is thus a "more Christian" holiday than Christmas, because its purpose is to give thanks to God (created by Christians), and that purpose remains largely in tact.

Just a few things to think about.

Ketutar said...

You know that you can design your own stamps.
http://www.usatoday.com/life/lifestyle/2004-08-10-stamps_x.htm
Have any picture or text you wish on your stamp, and stop demanding that the society fulfills your needs and satisfies your whims. Catholics are Christians too, and expecting the USPS to ignore 1/4 of American Christians, simply because some of the American Christians don't acknowledge ALL Christian denominations as Christian is a bit egocentric, don't you think...

Austin said...

ketutar,

That's not fair, he wasn't saying that the post office has an obligation to provide Christian stamps or that Catholics can't be Christians, he was just pointing out that our society respects other religous holidays and beliefs, but wants nothing to do with Jesus. And even when it accepts Jesus on behalf of one denomination (Catholics), it ignores the others. Kingdom Advancer didn't say this was a post office problem or a Catholic problem - he made it clear that this is a society problem.

Kingdom Advancer,

Sorry, I reckon you're gonna track me down and kill me if I don't stop responding to comments on your blog. Thankfully, you don't know where I live. =)

Austin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Austin said...

You've got a rather diverse set of commentators, you know. First Christians, then atheists, and now a wiccan. Those who seek Truth will find it.

Kingdom Advancer said...

RE Austin's second comment:

No no no. I don't mind when you respond on my blog. It saves me time, and it actually lets me focus more on new posts, other comments, and stuff like that.
Just as long as, when you're defending my posts, you don't say something like "Kingdom Advancer isn't saying you have to believe in Jesus to be saved." ;)

RE Austin's third comment:
I guess I got atheists because I kind of went looking for them. I don't know where ketutar found me, though. I'm going to ask her at the end of this comment.
I seem to have a propensity for confrontation, though. Get this: I walk into the barber shop, and when I get into the chair, the barber immediately starts talking to me about "how amazing Evolution is." He wasn't talking to the guy before me about Evolution. It's like I have written on my forehead (and blog, I guess), "debate me from a non-Christian point of view."
I hope and pray these people are seeking the Truth, and I also hope and pray that I can have a positive influence on them to that extent.
By the way, is that deleted comment yours?

RE ketutar:

First off, thanks for visiting, and I hope God will draw you to Him.

My whims? America is a country that has experienced two Great Awakenings (as well as other revivals), was built on Christian principles, sends out more missionaries than any other country in the world, and has a population in which statistics say the majority consider themselves (stress the word "consider") Christians.
Also, have Catholic stamps if you want to. But don't you think it's egotistical of YOU to expect me to compromise many of my beliefs to join myself with the Catholics by buying their stamps on the basis of "this is the closest thing I can get to what I believe"?
Austin pretty much replied to the rest of your comment. As he said, this was not a post on the probability of salvation of Catholics, although I don't know if you are in a position of authority to say "Catholics are Christians too", or "Catholics are not Christians," for that matter.

By the way, if you don't mind telling me: how did you come across Kingdom Advancing? I like to keep track of that.

Kingdom Advancer said...

RE Austin's first comment:
You definitely bring up some legitimate points, Austin. Let me see if I can address them satisfactorily.

On Thanksgiving:

I didn't refer to it as a "sub-holiday," although it's almost certainly true that this holiday has less global appeal. Also, I think you meant to say that Thanksgiving's ORIGINS are more Christian than Christmas, not the actual holidays.
Thanksgiving presented me with a dilemma, because it is a good, Christian holiday. That's why I ended up saying that if you are past Thanksgiving (already in the actual Christmas season), then at that point you shouldn't say "Happy Holidays" anymore. (Did I say that, or just imply it? I'm not totally sure right now.)

On Jesus' actual birthday:

I don't really think this has relevance. Calendars are different now, and if I'm not mistaken, Jesus' REAL birthday isn't even known (it's not in the Bible, anyway). If you are going to pick a time or day to celebrate, you just got to pick a day and stick with it. (Maybe you can hit the target closer to the bullseye, but I don't know that.)

On Christmas' "pagan" origins:

I don't think this is that important, either. Obviously, before Jesus was born there was no Christmas. During His life there was no celebration. And even after His death, the Gospels weren't "published," if you will, for a little while.
After that, in the hostile environment Christians lived in--with Jews and pagans--I doubt any celebration of Jesus' birth was very public, pompous, or organized.
In addition to that, early Christians probably would've found it strange and unnecessary to celebrate Jesus' birth on a particular day. They'd probably be right. Pastors should not feel obligated to only read the "Christmas story" at Christmas.
Anyways, though, a long, long time has passed since Constantine's act (and I'm going by your information, by the way--don't quote ME) so I don't think secularists can convincingly use that as evidence. We live in America, and celebrating Christmas--Christ's birth--is a tradition here (and most places in the world).

On Hannukah:
I put "sub-holiday" in quotation marks. Perhaps I should've also said, "for lack of a better word." A few things here:
1. It is a "sub-holiday," as a fact, statistically, in popularity. That just can't be denied.
2. Although it is wrong--I'll admit--to group it with other religions' (like Islam) holidays and such, I think you'll admit that--no matter what it is about (and I don't know much about it)--it is inferior to Christ's birth, especially or particularly when done in the stead and denial of His birth.
3. Christ may have celebrated Hanukkah (and I'm again going by your info), but you have to use the WWJD method. Would He be in favor of ignoring His birth and celebrating Hanukkah?
4. Again, no matter what Hanukkah is about, I think you'll admit that it is a distraction from the Greatest Story Ever Told, the story and truth of Jesus Christ. Though the Christian or Messianic Jew may be able to celebrate Hanukkah harmlessly, to the Jew denying Jesus' Messiah-ship, it is a distraction, a side-track, another tool used by the enemy to keep them away from Christ. Even to a non-Jewish non-Christian, it might be another element to convince that person that "all religions are the same and co-equal."

Austin said...

Kingdom Advancer,

I wouldn't nit-pick about the date of Christmas if it was just a random date or a guess, but it's not. It was intentionally meant to celebrate both the birth of Jesus and a pagan god at the same time, so Constantine's kingdom wouldn't split. Easter? Same thing! It had something else to do with Mithras, although the name "Easter" actually came from a Celtic holiday (named for a Celtic goddess) that was celebrated at the same time.

I agree, it doesn't matter anymore. But some people disagree. Like Lanna for example. Anyway, it's definitely not a good idea to just ignore this stuff. It has influenced us.

About Catholics being Christians too, you're right, a non-Christian has no authority to decide that. It would be like some teenager claiming he's an enlightened Buddhist, when a Buddhist monk says that he's not. To be a Christian you must have a relationship with Christ. Someone who doesn't have one, and doesn't believe you can, has no authority to determine who has such a relationship and who doesn't.

ketutar,

Sorry, I forgot something:

Jesus is the Truth, and Truth cannot be silent for the sake of lies. The True Religion can't sit down with the others and say, "They're all valid too." This isn't a religious preference, this is Truth. If society rejects Christ, it isn't because it isn't fulfilling our whims, it's because it's rejecting the Truth. Lies don't matter. Truth matters.

You come at this with the approach of, since Christianity is just another religion like all the rest, we have no right to expect society to cater to ours. But you misunderstand us. We don't want society to cater to any religion - we just want the Truth, and that is Jesus, whether people want Him or not.

Austin said...

Oh, Kingdom Advancer,

The deleted comment is mine.

Lanna said...

Kingdom advancer,
I found your blog on my sisters. I'm Lanna. HI!
I know what the x in xmas is there for....
It's the pagens form of saying Chirstmas. It's has something to do with a God of theirs. I can't remember it all. Look up "Ben Williams" in your google. Maybe you can find his opinion on Christmas. I, personaly, do not celeabrate it. From my studies, it's a rather pagen holiday all together.

Lanna

under_the_mercy said...

Actually, the "X" in Xmas comes from the Greek letter "Chi" which looks like our "X" and has been used as an abrievation for Christ since the ancient Greek acrostic.

Kingdom Advancer said...

RE Austin:

I don't really think there's anything for me to add.

RE Lanna:
Hi! You know, it's funny: you found me from your sister's blog, but I actually found your sister's blog from your blog (I just had to check her blog out, because personally, I thought your family's discussion on Halloween was really funny. :)) Anyways...

I'm in a dilemma: you and Under_the_Mercy say different things about what the "x" in "xmas" means. Whoever is right (or if you are both right), though, I have this answer: your answer is that it is pagan. Therefore, it is still taking Christ out of Christmas and Christians should not use it. Under_the_Mercy's answer is that the X actually is used for Christ in the Greek language as an abbreviation. That is simply too deep and obscure for most people--including Christians--to catch, and I don't think most people--especially non-Christians--use it with that intention. So, unless you're planning on writing a note after it that "this is another way to Christ--only in the original language of the New Testament," then I would again suggest not using it at all.

Um...that was kind of a reply to you, too, Under_the_Mercy. :)

Kingdom Advancer said...

Oh, more for Lanna.

Here are some points addressing why I don't think Christians should feel obligated to avoid Christmas:

1. First of all, I understand your feelings. I feel the same way about some things, like, for instance, yoga. The spiritual foundation of yoga leads me to believe that Christians should completely and utterly avoid it.
2. Secondly, though, I'm not sure pagan origins hold too much relevance in this particular case. Note, for instance, that no one worships Mithras anymore. No one recognizes Mithras each Christmas as the "reason for the season." Since its inception, the celebration of Christ's birth as an organized holiday has become more and more prominent to the extent that that is what this holiday is now, especially in America (the celebration of Christ's birth has been around much longer than America has).
We can't avoid pagan origins altogether, at least not without GREAT inconvenience. Just one example: the day we call the "Lord's day" is named for the Sun god. The traditional Sabbath, if I'm not mistaken, is named after the god Saturn. Yet, I imagine that those words are in your vernacular, and I imagine that you don't hide out all the time so that you don't have to be a part of something with pagan origins. (Although, I'll admit this isn't a perfect analogy: God is the ultimate Origin of the seven-day week.)
3. Thirdly and finally, I think if all Christians stopped celebrating Christmas it would be disastrous. Look at Halloween: that's a good holiday gone bad (again if I'm not mistaken; I'm tired, by the way. ;)); yet Christians still try to stem the tide with harvest and hallelujah parties and the like. Why, when Christians have the upperhand, would we then give up on Christmas, which has come to be majoritatively about Christ (at least in comparison to other gods)?

Kingdom Advancer said...

I wanted to highlight an update: Sears' and Macy's, according to Bill O'Reilly, are two more stores worth noting that are on board with Christmas again. He emphasized again that Best Buy is NOT.

Austin said...

Under the Mercy

What acrostic? Are you referring to the ixthus?

Lanna said...

I don't have but 5 minutes....

Whether or not you believe that Christmas is a Christian holiday or not is your choice....yet there is no sin in not celebrating it either. Most people say it's just a good time for giving....should that not be Thanksgiving..when we give in return of what has been give to us? OR even, just turn every day to a Christmas like matter. Can modern Christians not give and thank everyday? Do we have to buy our gifts and focus on sharing on just one day? Can we give without knowing we are receiving? The holiday has made people date minded. Giving and getting all evolve around that day. Sure, it can be a nice time to have a family get together and such....but why take such a day and turn it into a day of give and gets. Most people feel under pressure to get others gifts. Even people who have nothing to give. It turns it from Marry to not.

questions?

Lanna


P.S.

THANKS AUSTIN! For the post at the very top. You have studied about Christmas. I am glad. I don't expect you to drop the holiday all together, but it's nice to know you took my words to mind!

Austin said...

Hey people, check this out. I though it fit the topic rather nicely:

"One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord."
-Romans 14:5-6a(NIV)

Kingdom Advancer said...

Let me just think out loud some points, here:

1. I didn't accuse you of sin, Lanna, so I hope you didn't take it that way. However, as my blog and user name demonstrates, I'm committed to the advancement of God's Kingdom, and I don't see that happening through the Christian retreat from Christmas. I think there is a great witnessing opportunity during the Christmas season that can be lost if Christians reject Christmas, basically "throwing it to the dogs" more than it already has been.

2. I noted the materialization of Christmas. I agree with you. But not celebrating Christmas for this reason would be like not calling Sunday "the Lord's day" or "church day" because some people don't go to church on Sundays, and some people are immoral on Sundays.

3. I also sort of mentioned in one of my previous comments that we shouldn't focus on Christ's birth just at Christmas. And, again, I agree with you that the materialization of Christmas is overboard. But, there is nothing wrong with giving gifts, especially since it recreates the Ultimate Gift. Yes, when you're talking about extended family or "business acquaintances" and the like, present exchanging can be tedious and a little ridiculous. But, there's something really sweet between close-knit families and friends--where everyone gives and everyone gets, unlike--say--a birthday. And, I don't think you could arrange another time like that unless you planned another holiday. (What would be the point?)

4. Giving is not supposed to be done expecting something in return. You are right. That is unbiblical. But that expectancy is almost unavoidable, now.

5. You're right, again, that giving shouldn't be so concentrated on one day and people shouldn't feel pressured. But, then again, here's a positive: I think some people DO need to feel pressured to give. They might not give all year round, and although they might not be doing it for the right motives, they still need to be giving. Oftentimes, after deciding to give, it makes them feel good and they want to do it more.

6. As far as being date-minded, I think setting a specific date for all these things just kind of makes things more practical.




Austin,
interesting...

Kingdom Advancer said...

Oh, by the way, I meant to say something else.

You pretty much mentioned all the secular things about Christmas, or the secular extremes. But I think that's all the more reason to be "salt and light" in this holiday. Remind people what it should really be about. And, of course, Christians should not have some of the problems you were talking about.

Lanna said...

Austin,
That sounds like Sunday to me.
That's what I mean. Sunday should be the only day we focus our other days around. Not setting a day to give gifts. We should give all the time and praise our Lord. We should also use Sunday to set other things to the side and worship.

Mysterious,
Lanna

Austin said...

Kingdom Advancer,

Did you say Halloween was a good holiday gone bad? I would say it's a bad holiday that has improved. It went from being about killing, pagan worship, etc. to being about candy and scary stuff. It may be bad, but it hasn't "gone bad" - it started worse.

Austin said...

Lanna,

Well, for one thing, the Sabbath was on Saturday, not Sunday. I think we Christians eventually changed to Sunday because of the resurrection of Christ.

Secondly, Paul seems to have been talking about holidays such as Passover, Pentecost, Hanukkah, etc. There were probably some questionable ones, or Paul wouldn't have bothered to make the statement, I think. That's what I got out of the verse.

Austin said...

Actually, Lanna, in context, Paul was giving an example explaining a much larger concept. Even if the example doesn't apply to Christmas, the broader concept certainly does. Here it is:

"Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God."

It seems to me that Paul would certainly accept certain people celebrating Christ's birth on Christmas and others choosing not to because it's been paganized (in Rome) and commercialized (in the U.S.)

Actually, this goes right along with what Paul also said about eating food sacrificed to idols - which he was okay with, in the right circumstances.

Stop being mysterious and tell me how old you are! I already know what you look like, anyway, so what does it matter?

under_the_mercy said...

RE: austin:

Yes I am reffering to the "icthus".

It is spelled "ΙΧΘΥΣ" meaning "Jesus Christ God's Son is Saviour" the X is the greek word Chi and stands for christ

Austin said...

I thought so. Thanks.

Austin said...

This is from wikipedia:

"The word Christmas is derived from Middle English Christemasse and from Old English Cristes mæsse.[2] It is a contraction meaning "Christ's mass".

The name of the holiday is sometimes shortened to Xmas because Roman letter "X" resembles the Greek letter Χ (chi), an abbreviation for Christ (Χριστός)."

Faultline USA said...

Thanks for you excellent article. I especially liked “They simply get sucked into erroneous ideas of "tolerance," "relativism," and then, of course, apathy. Even Christians fall into this trap.” Here’s an example of that trap. As we are about to enter another Christmas season you might be interested in the subtle infiltration from the left concerning the War on Christmas. Read “A Progressive God Responds to the War on Christmas” at

Faultline USA

Kingdom Advancer said...

Faultline USA,

Thanks for the kind comments.

Ketutar said...

I'm sorry I haven't responded earlier, I didn't know there's a discussion going on.

First, I'm not atheist. I believe in God, and nothing is ever going to lead me away from God. I'm just not Christian and will never be.

Yes, your whims.
It seems to me that you have decided that the fact that USPS have been using the Christian art found in different American museums as theme for Christian Christmas stamps is somehow offensive. Using stamps depicting Christian art is "compromising your beliefs".
"Catholic" IS "Christian". Calling it anything else is offensive and stupid. Also, my "position of authority"... :-> THAT is a whole another discussion... But never mind, I'm obviously not discussing theology with you, or whether all who call themselves Christians are Christians... That's not the subject of this discussion.

About 80% of USA's population considers themselves Christian. Who are you to say that they ARE not Christians?

It can be discussed if USA was built on Christian principles, and it is being discussed. It can also be discussed what are "Christian" principles. My experience is that the "Christian" principles and values are "Christian" only when it's a Christian talking about them. When it's someone non-Christian talking, they are HIS values and principles. The same values and principles can be found everywhere. The so called "Christian" principles are Jewish principles, and the so called "Jewish" principles were Pagan principles. Let's take "freedom of religion", one of the principles USA was built on. It is not Christian principle, on the contrary.

You expect ME to compromise ALL my beliefs by buying things in a store that is flagged with "Christmas", by being forced to listen "Christmas" carols in public places, by being forced to see "Christmas" decoration on public places and so on. And YOU have the guts to complain about a STAMP!!! And why? Not because it is not Christian. Because it is not the RIGHT kind of Christian...

USA is also the country with largest Jewish population in the world - even bigger than in Israel. USA has the largest Pagan population in the world, and the largest religious diversity in the world. Now, by your logic, USPS should be publishing stamps for EVERY celebration of EVERY religious community in USA, according to EVERY different denomination of each of these religious communities... Is this what you ask? No. Of course not. The only thing YOU are interested are YOUR interests... Now, I call that being egotistic.

BTW, which part of "you can have any picture you want on your stamps" don't you understand? You can choose any illustration on your stamps, just as any other person in USA, because USPS have provided you that service. You, just as every other person in USA, which ever religion they confess to and which ever denomination they belong to, can have exactly the kind of a stamp you want. That's called "equality", which BTW is not a Christian value, principle or virtue either.

Ketutar said...

I forgot, I found your blog by "reason for the season" search.

Ketutar said...

Austin

if the post office's "inability" to provide RIGHT kind of Jesus on Christmas stamps is seen as that the society doesn't respect Christians or Christmas, doesn't want anything to do with Jesus and ignores Christianity, then it looks to me that he indeed thinks the post office has an obligation to provide RIGHT kind of Christian stamps, and that it IS a post office problem, as part of society problem.
To me religion is a PERSONAL matter, and not society's responsibility, obligation, duty or what ever. If the society doesn't provide religion, the society hasn't failed, because it is not the society's job to provide religion to people. It's the people's job to provide religion to their own life.
I don't think I'm being unfair, I think HE is being unfair - and a couple of other things, which I think is better left out of this discussion.

BTW, I didn't say he thinks this is a Catholic problem. I said it's a problem with SOME Christians that they don't acknowledge EVERY Christian denomination as Christian, and therefore can be offended by the fact, that the USPS doesn't see any problems in using Christian imagery in Christian Christmas stamps.

Ketutar said...

Why is Jesus' actual birthday of relevance? One reason is that the chosed date is already a birthday of several existing Gods.

It really doesn't have any relevance, because the Jews didn't celebrate birthdays, Jesus didn't celebrate birthdays, his original disciples didn't celebrate birthdays and the early Christians didn't celebrate birthdays. The ROMANS celebrated birthdays, and especially GOD's birthdays, and especially Winter Solstice as a God's birthday, and THIS celebration was so popular - people love "Christmas", what ever name you call it - the 4th century church decided to emulate the party to bring more people to the church. A lot of Christians find this as enough reason NOT to celebrate Christmas at all.

A lot of other Christians resonate like you.

What would Jesus do? I highly doubt he would choose the Roman way of celebrating his birthday as Pagans celebrate the births of their Gods. I also has the impression that Jesus saw himself as Jewish, so I would guess he'd choose Chanukkah.

Also, I might be wrong - after all, I'm not Christian - but wasn't the message of Jesus his DEATH and not his birth? Was it not so, that merely his birth would have been pretty insignificant and meaningless without his death?

Perhaps all religions are not the same and equal, but it is the society's duty to see that all religions are TREATED the same and equal... as USA is built on religious freedom among other things...

Ketutar said...

Austin,

Easter has nothing to do with Mithras. Winter Solstice does.
Eostre is not a Celtic Goddess, but Germanic Goddess.
Easter can be accepted as Christian holiday, because the Christian legend tell that Jesus died on Jewish Pesach.
It really doesn't matter.

"a non-Christian has no authority to decide that"
If a Christian defines himself as Christian, who has the authority to say he isn't?
I am not taking any authority to decide who's Christian and who's not. I let the Christians decide that all by themselves. If someone tells me he's Christian, I respect his choice of defination for himself. You might not respect people's choices, or think that you have the right to define other people for themselves, I don't.
You are someone saying to a Christian priest that he's not Christian, because he's not what YOU define as RIGHT kind of Christian. What do you know of other people's relationship with God? Please, consentrate on what you know - YOUR OWN relationship with God, and leave other people to care about their own relationships, OK?

The truth cannot be hidden. The truth won't care about whether it is being told or not. Who makes most noise doesn't always speak the truth, in fact he often doesn't. That's why he needs to make noise. Truth will be truth, even when it is not heard. I don't need the whole society celebrate my feasts. I don't need stamps and banners, trumpets and public displays of faith to have a relationship with my God and to remember the Reason for the Season. Why do you? Why do you put up such a fight over a stamp? I don't have a stamp to commemorate my Midwinter celebration, and I couldn't care less.

Have you heard a saying "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and God what belongs to God?" It is the PEOPLE's responsibility to care for their relationship with God, not the SOCIETY's. You should be able to keep your God in your Christmas without stamps, with people wishing "happy holidays" to each other, with people sending cards where it's said "Season Greetings", with stores keeping a non-religious profile etc. Instead you take a secular society as a sign of "society rejecting Christ".

I come at this with the approach of that the society is meant for all the people in the society, and not to only some chosen few, which ever criteria one uses to choose. The society is made of people who has made different choices, and whether you like it or not, God has given us all a free choice, and God respects that. Why do you have such problems with accepting it?

Ketutar said...

"Why, when Christians have the upperhand, would we then give up on Christmas, which has come to be majoritatively about Christ (at least in comparison to other gods)?"

Perhaps, because in the Bible you are told not to do as Pagans do. That the Christians have done that for 1400 years is no excuse...

(Besides, if the Catholics are not Christians, then the Christians have NOT celebrated Christmas for 1400 years... Christianity hasn't even existed for more than... er... 400 years?)

Ketutar said...

Lanna,

"Whether or not you believe that Christmas is a Christian holiday or not is your choice....yet there is no sin in not celebrating it either."

well... that depends... Do you believe that it's a sin to break the rules given in the Bible? Like not celebrating Pagan holidays?

"The holiday has made people date minded."
Indeed...
Isn't every day a great witnessing opportunity? Why throw a show for a day?

Ketutar said...

What I got out of Romans 14 is that one Christian shouldn't be judging another Christian because they interprete the text differently.
It is about the Christians who were born Jewish expecting the Christian not born Jewish to convert to Judaism and to keep the Mosaic laws.

BTW, your view on the origins of Halloween is very weird. "being about killing, pagan worship etc. to being about candy and scary stuff"? It has never been about killing. But what would a Christian know about non-Christian stuff... you just don't have the proper authority.

Austin said...

Ketutar,

I need to point a few things out:

You contradict yourself when you say that others don't have to accept my beliefs, but then you say that I have to accept theirs.

You may be asking, "When did I say you have to accept theirs?" I'm glad you asked.

You insist that I have no right to consider Catholics non-Christians.

I do have that right.

What you said about Halloween and Christmas origins is probably true. I don't have a reason to debate that with you. I do, however, have a problem with your statements about whether or not Jesus would have wanted us to celebrate Christmas.

First of all, just so you know, I'm not the least bit "anti-semitic". Jesus is a JEW, he's the promised JEWISH Messiah, etc. I believe all that, and I'm proud of God's chosen people, though they have had their share of mistakes.

You say that Jesus probably wouldn't have approved of us celebrating Christmas, but you clearly don't know Jesus. The NT makes it clear that stuff like that is completely acceptable. Pagan origins mean nothing to me. I can celebrate Christ's birth on this day. Some have supposed, and you seem to agree, that since Jews didn't celebrate birthdays, and pagans did, then it should be wrong for me to celebrate them. False. Birthday celebrations simply weren't a part of Jewish culture. That doesn't make them wrong.

One last note, about the Catholics:

If I believe that their teachings are false, do I have that right? If I believe that Christ taught something different then they do, then is it reasonable for me to believe that most Catholics are not Christians because the word "Christian" comes from the word "Christ"?

I rest my case.

Austin said...

If you don't believe that Halloween has ever involved killing, then do a little research on the Druids.

Austin said...

Final note on Catholics being Christians:

I find it interesting that you brought this subject up again, since I addressed it farther up.

Here it is again:

"About Catholics being Christians too, you're right [Kingdom Advancer], a non-Christian has no authority to decide that. It would be like some teenager claiming he's an enlightened Buddhist, when a Buddhist monk says that he's not. To be a Christian you must have a relationship with Christ. Someone who doesn't have one, and doesn't believe you can, has no authority to determine who has such a relationship and who doesn't.

There, proof that we get to decide whether certain denominations are teaching Christianity correctly or not. You bring up Romans 14, but this verse is talking about Christians. Other verses make it clear that Paul (who wrote Romans 14) did not accept sects or cults as Christian, nor did he say that you could be Christian if you contradict the Bible on important matters.

Interpretation? There's only one interpretation of "Worship the Lord, and serve him only," so when the Catholics say, "It means worship Mary too," they must be wrong.

I have a relationship with Christ. If they don't, then they aren't Christians. I'm sorry if people are offended by me saying that. If I tell an alcoholic that they should consider going to AA, and they get mad at me and say, "I'm not an alcoholic", does that make it true? Obviously not. I'm not trying to hurt Catholics' feelings, I'm just telling them that their church is teachings false teachings. It's true. Sorry, sometimes truth hurts.

Austin said...

Ketutar,

You misunderstood Lanna. She was agreeing with you.

Kingdom Advancer said...

"Besides, if the Catholics are not Christians, then the Christians have NOT celebrated Christmas for 1400 years... Christianity hasn't even existed for more than... er... 400 years?)"

Huh? Christianity existed before Catholicism. The apostles were Christians.

Kingdom Advancer said...

"But what would a Christian know about non-Christian stuff... you just don't have the proper authority."

Very cute. However, killing is an empirical fact. Being a Christian is about a change of heart, a personal relationship with Christ, and the acceptance of, adherence to, and belief in what the Bible says.

Kingdom Advancer said...

"Also, I might be wrong - after all, I'm not Christian - but wasn't the message of Jesus his DEATH and not his birth? Was it not so, that merely his birth would have been pretty insignificant and meaningless without his death?"

Well, the message of Jesus is about His life, death, resurrection, and teachings. But, why don't you explain to me how all that would have gone down without Jesus being born?

Read Matthew 1 and 2 and Luke 1 and 2 and I'll think you'll see that the birth of Jesus was a big deal.

Kingdom Advancer said...

""a non-Christian has no authority to decide that"
If a Christian defines himself as Christian, who has the authority to say he isn't?
I am not taking any authority to decide who's Christian and who's not. I let the Christians decide that all by themselves. If someone tells me he's Christian, I respect his choice of defination for himself. You might not respect people's choices, or think that you have the right to define other people for themselves, I don't.
You are someone saying to a Christian priest that he's not Christian, because he's not what YOU define as RIGHT kind of Christian. What do you know of other people's relationship with God? Please, consentrate on what you know - YOUR OWN relationship with God, and leave other people to care about their own relationships, OK?"

I'm not defining who is a Christian and who is not on my own. I'm letting the Bible do it. And, by the way, your philosophy needs to be revised by 1 John. It doesn't matter what a person says he is. It matters what he actually is.

Kingdom Advancer said...

I know you wrote a lot more, Ketutar. But, I'm not going to address them right now. Maybe later.

Until then, Merry Christmas!