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08 12 24 Christmas Blog

08 12 24 Christmas Blog

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Published by Bible_lover_Bill

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Published by: Bible_lover_Bill on Jul 05, 2009
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I am not for the Christmas traditions anymore. There is a reasonwhy a specific day was not mentioned in the Bible for the most important birth.
December 25th was chosen by a Roman CatholicPope.
 And the addition of Santa Claus influencing parents to lie totheir children about someone who is supposed to have God-likeattributes (remember the famous song about him). And the current President changed the White House Christmas Tree to the Holiday Tree so that non-Christians would not be offended anymore and hebelieves that God the Father and Allah are the same.
The possiblenext President probably agrees.
Most of the gift giving done is withhopes of receiving even better gifts.
But I still do a lot of intercessory praying during December because it is the best timefor Christians and churches to evangelize.
 Also during this monththere are more news stories of compassionate actions done for others and so I pray each time I see such that others might beencouraged to do similar.
More about Christmas and other USAholidays can be found at http://www.box.net/shared/8vikemd3eb.When I was in my first Christian school teaching ministry, two parents got angry that I wanted to have a birthday celebrationinstead of Santa Claus and gift exchange. Most of us havecelebrated December 24th and 25th with the wrong attitude and  purpose during our childhoods and after. But we also havecelebrated our own physical birthdays wrongly. The main emphasisshould be thanking God for another year of life. Where in the Bibledoes it say that we should get congratulations and presents? But the most important facts are: What a sacrifice Jesus Christ madefor us. He gave up wonderful Heaven and His power to come toEarth and begin as a baby in a poor situation. And later He had toresist temptations, suffer ridicule and a horrible physical beating,and die for us. He fulfilled the death penalty requirement of all whobreak God's Law and conquered physical death, so that all whobelieve in Him and the full Gospel can have eternal life with Him inHeaven and on the New Earth where there will be no sin and sicknesses.
Did Dickens Really Rescue Christmas?(by Paul Edwards)
December 18, 2008
Les Standiford is the director of the Creative Writing program atFlorida International University. He has written an intriguing backstory to Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol in his book "The Man
Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens's A ChristmasCarol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits."
If the title makes you question the attribution of inventor of Christmas to Dickens (given that the holiday was certainlycelebrated pre-19th Century) Professor Standiford clarifies thingsfor us a bit when he says, "Dickens did not single handedly dreamup the concept of a yuletide season with its variousaccoutrements." Standiford asserts rather that Dickens "came tothe rescue of a downtrodden holiday that a repressed Westernworld was fairly bursting to revive." The result, as Standifordreadily admits, was that Dickens "gave his contemporaries
asecular counterpart to the story of the Nativity
Standiford traces briefly the biographical history of CharlesDickens, whose life came to a critical turning point in October of 1843, leading ultimately to the writing of "A Christmas Carol" thatsame December when he was just 31 years old.
In addition to his helpful biographical background on Dickens,Professor Standiford recounts how the birth of Christ came to becelebrated on December 25 via the edict of a fourth century Pope(Julius I), effectively merging the pagan orgies of the RomanSaturnalia with the Church's celebration of the birth of Christ:
 The decision to create Christmas
officially celebrating the birthof Jesus for the first time, brought mixed blessings to the Church.Indeed, many pagans found the new religion that embraced theirold customs inviting, and the membership rolls grew.
For the next 1200 years this merging of paganism withChristianity became the quasi-standard for true and "proper"celebrations of Christmas. But, in Standiford's recounting andmuch to his dismay, along came Oliver Cromwell and the Puritansin the 18th Century whose "views of the practice of Christianity"led them to conclude that such celebrations of Christmas "hadsimply gotten out of hand."
One gets the impression that the professor views the efforts of godly Puritans to maintain the sanctity of celebration around thebirth of Christ as the embodiment of Dickens's Scrooge. In fact,the professor holds the Puritans and other conservative Anglicansresponsible for the "downtrodden" nature of the holiday. The
Puritans had made things bad for Christmas, both in England andthe United States, writes Standiford. Thanks to the preaching of the Puritans and the legislative efforts of Oliver Cromwell andother Puritans in Parliament, "by the late 1700s the holiday hadbecome a pale shadow of its former self, cloaked in piousness."Standiford seems to lament that the merry-making and the orgieshad all but stopped, replaced by solemn and sanctifiedcelebrations.
Enter Charles Dickens and his "little Carol" to rescue Christmasfrom its "religiosity" and return it to its pre-Puritan status of revelry and merriment. Thanks to the influence of "A ChristmasCarol", many of "the decorative elements and amusements" of the holiday were "given a fresh gloss", making their return toChristmas celebrations:
[B]lazing fireplaces, mince pies and wassail bowls, carol-singing,plum puddings, holly sprigs, mistletoe, fiddling and dancing, blind-man bluffings, and the parlor game of forfeits had been seen inholiday festivities previously, but the effect of Dickens's tale wasto make the incorporation of such elements seem obligatory foranyone's proper Christmas.
"Charles Dickens", writes Professor Standiford, "played a majorrole in transforming a celebration dating back to pre-Christiantimes, revitalizing forgotten customs and introducing new onesthat now define the holiday", and thus "singlehandedly createdthe modern idea of Christmas."
In reading Standiford's history of "A Christmas Carol", if notDickens's book itself, one sees more clearly the humanisticunderstanding of salvation that is presented there. "A ChristmasCarol" succeeds as a pagan alternative to the Nativity, and assuch presents an alternative to the gospel itself: the story of JesusChrist, his birth, sinless life, atoning death and bodily resurrection.Standiford aptly summarizes Dickens's gospel:
[He] complemented the glorification of the nativity of Christ witha specific set of practices derived from Christ's example: charityand compassion in the form of educational opportunity, humaneworking conditions, and a decent life for all. Just as vital as thecelebration of the birth of a holy savior into a human family wasthe glorification and defense of the family unit itself.

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