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Archive for the category “Blogroll: Holidays”

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of my readers!  Thanks so much for taking the time to read my posts and, at times, providing some fiery debate over them.  It has been a lot of fun and I hope to keep it up over the next year.

I posted a little blurb a couple of years ago about the various days to celebrate over Christmas which you can read here.

As you go through this holiday season please remember why we have a holiday season, which is God who came to earth in human flesh as the fully human Jesus of Nazareth.  If Jesus never came, the Holiday Season as we know it simply would not exist; indeed the coming of Jesus was so momentous that it caused Western Civilization to restart our dating system back to “zero”.

Please be sure to give proper devotion and recognition this Holiday Season to Jesus the Savior of the World who came, and, through his life, death, and resurrection, defeated sin, death, and the devil.  Jesus, as it were, as the Christ-Child, leaves the gift of himself, which is eternal life and bliss with him, under the tree, if you will, in the homes of everyone in the world.  He will not open it for you and he will not force you to take it and if you do not accept it, the gift will never be conferred upon you.  So, please, as you consider the next year, please accept this gift that the Christ-Child leaves for you under your tree because Jesus went to his death to make sure you have it as it literally has eternal benefit and consequences; God could not give you any more than he has, which is all of himself for specifically you.

As a side note, I am sure you all have heard of Kris Kringle who people assume to refers to Santa Claus.  The fact is, German Christians, like all Christians, anticipate the arrival of the Christ-Child on Christmas morning.  In German “Christ Child” is translated as “Christkindl“.  When English speaking Christians heard German-speakers say “Christkindl”, they heard, in their English-speaking-brains, “Kris Kringle,” and assumed the German-speaking Christians meant Santa Claus (or Father Christmas, as it were).  So, yes, Kris Kingle will be coming this year, as it were, as we celebrate the coming of the Christ-Child every year!

Finally, I saw the little meme image below and I thought it was very funny.  For all those who think ‘”X-mas’ takes Christ out of Christmas”, please refer to this image.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

Think Christmas Traditions Are Pagan? Think Again!

The idea that typical Christmas traditions – like Christmas Trees, Santa Claus, or even its date – all somehow derive from paganism is so common that it has become almost a truism.  The pagan source is either described as something the Christian Church coopted and Christianized or merely as something that has survived as a historical or cultural accident despite the influence of the Church in Western Civilization.

As it turns out, the assumption that Christmas traditions are just pagan holdovers may, indeed, not be based on reality or historical facts but, rather, on unquestioned presumptions – a “conventional wisdom” if you will – based merely on the similarity between the traditions.

It appears, for one reason or another, scholars have recently taken another look at the origin of Christmas traditions, and their findings have revealed that the conventional wisdom about their origin appears to be mistaken.

Instead of rehearsing the facts and arguments myself, I would suggest checking out this article (see here) and this article (see here).

In addition to the above articles, I highly suggest watching this video:

 

This additional video is primarily addressed to Christians who object to Christmas trees on biblical grounds:

Of course, then there is also this meme:
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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of my readers!  Thanks so much for taking the time to read my posts and, at times, providing some fiery debate over them.  It has been a lot of fun and I hope to keep it up over the next year.

I posted a little blurb a couple of years ago about the various days to celebrate over Christmas which you can read here.

As you go through this holiday season please remember why we have a holiday season, which is God who came to earth in human flesh as the fully human Jesus of Nazareth.  If Jesus never came, the Holiday Season as we know it simply would not exist; indeed the coming of Jesus was so momentous that it caused Western Civilization to restart our dating system back to “zero”.

Please be sure to give proper devotion and recognition this Holiday Season to Jesus the Savior of the World who came, and, through his life, death, and resurrection, defeated sin, death, and the devil.  Jesus, as it were, as the Christ-Child, leaves the gift of himself, which is eternal life and bliss with him, under the tree, if you will, in the homes of everyone in the world.  He will not open it for you and he will not force you to take it and if you do not accept it, the gift will never be conferred upon you.  So, please, as you consider the next year, please accept this gift that the Christ-Child leaves for you under your tree because Jesus went to his death to make sure you have it as it literally has eternal benefit and consequences; God could not give you any more than he has, which is all of himself for specifically you.

As a side note, I am sure you all have heard of Kris Kringle who people assume to refers to Santa Claus.  The fact is, German Christians, like all Christians, anticipate the arrival of the Christ-Child on Christmas morning.  In German “Christ Child” is translated as “Christkindl“.  When English speaking Christians heard German-speakers say “Christkindl”, they heard, in their English-speaking-brains, “Kris Kringle,” and assumed the German-speaking Christians meant Santa Claus (or Father Christmas, as it were).  So, yes, Kris Kingle will be coming this year, as it were, as we celebrate the coming of the Christ-Child every year!

Finally, I saw the little meme image below and I thought it was very funny.  For all those who think ‘”X-mas’ takes Christ out of Christmas”, please refer to this image.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope anyone reading this has a happy Thanksgiving!  It is a great time of the year to count your blessings, so as you draw up your chair to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal, please take a few minutes to thank God from whom all blessings flow.

I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of the Thanksgiving celebration (i.e.: the meal), mainly because I am one of the few people who really does not get all that excited about the traditional turkey dinner.  Unfortunately, I am something of a pedantic and borderline-obsessive-compulsive person so, despite not really liking the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, I, ironically, really would not feel comfortable having any other dinner served on Thanksgiving.

I like Thanksgiving mainly because of the parades and festivities that all point to Christmastide, which, like most people, is probably my favorite holiday season.  As an OCD-type person, I refuse to engage in any Christmas frivolity (except for shopping) before Thanksgiving, so, for me, no decorations or music or anything else Christmas before Thanksgiving!  As a result, Thanksgiving is sort of a gateway into Christmas and is fun for me for that reason.  Coincidentally, Thanksgiving is almost always near the First Sunday in Advent, which is the Christian season of preparation for the coming of the Christ-child.

I am also a very nostalgic person with a great respect for history and tradition.  Although I am proud to be an American, I am often disappointed that our country is so young; but Thanksgiving is pretty old for American standards as far as civic holidays are concerned.  Thanksgiving is a great way for me, at least, to feel connected to the American past.  I just think it is so neat to commemorate and celebrate something that happened in 1621!  For me, as an American at least, that is pretty old!  I will, God willing, be alive for the 400th Anniversary of Thanksgiving; how cool will that be?

Anyway, all of this to say: Happy Thanksgiving and thanks be to God for all of the blessings he has bestowed upon us over the past year!

Happy Independence Day!

This post is a little late but between my other posts, the holiday weekend, and my work obligations, I am just getting to this now.

Every 4th of July people in the United States gather together, usually outside, for some fun in the sun, a good barbecue, and fireworks.  Indeed, I always thought it was significant that Americans celebrate our patriotic holidays with hamburgers instead of watching the nation’s military strut through the streets as in many other nations.

We all know (or at least I hope we all do) that we are celebrating the day when our nation, these United States, came together for the first time and declared our independence from Great Britain, the British Empire, and the English crown.  Most of us know the basics of the story, the players involved, the reasons we sought independence, and about the Revolutionary War which subsequently ensued.  Indeed, most of us know the document which symbolized and formally established our independence: the Declaration of Independence, but how many of us have taken the time to read it?  This document is one of the greatest ever written in human history and will stand as a symbol of freedom long into the future and, perhaps, long after the United States of America ceases to exist.  To that end, then, here is your chance to read the Declaration of Independence.  The full text is copied below for you to read.

Before I conclude I wanted to throw in a humorous anecdote: I noticed an English guy on Facebook (a friend of a friend) celebrating the 4th of July in England.  Someone asked him how he could do this considering the British lost the Revolutionary War to which he responded: “[w]e celebrate in the UK too, as the feeling was mutual.” – Zing!  I had to laugh at that.

Thanks and happy Independence Day!

_________________________

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Georgia:
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
Massachusetts:
John Hancock
Maryland:
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia:
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Delaware:
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Massachusetts:
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Connecticut:
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of my readers!  Thanks so much for taking the time to read my posts and, at times, providing some fiery debate over them.  It has been a lot of fun and I hope to keep it up over the next year.

I posted a little blurb last year about the various days to celebrate over Christmas which you can read here.

As you go through this holiday season please remember why we have a holiday season, which is God who came to earth in human flesh as the fully human Jesus of Nazareth.  If Jesus never came, the Holiday Season as we know it simply would not exist; indeed the coming of Jesus was so momentous that it caused Western Civilization to restart our dating system back to “zero”.

Please be sure to give proper devotion and recognition this Holiday Season to Jesus the Savior of the World who came, and, through his life, death, and resurrection, defeated sin, death, and the devil.  Jesus, as it were, as the Christ-Child, leaves the gift of himself, which is eternal life and bliss with him, under the tree, if you will, in the homes of everyone in the world.  He will not open it for you and he will not force you to take it and if you do not accept it, the gift will never be conferred upon you.  So, please, as you consider the next year, please accept this gift that the Christ-Child leaves for you under your tree because Jesus went to his death to make sure you have it as it literally has eternal benefit and consequences; God could not give you any more than he has, which is all of himself for specifically you.  

As a side note, I am sure you all have heard of Kris Kringle who people assume to refers to Santa Claus.  The fact is, German Christians, like all Christians, anticipate the arrival of the Christ-Child on Christmas morning.  In German “Christ Child” is translated as “Christkindl“.  When English speaking Christians heard German-speakers say “Christkindl”, they heard, in their English-speaking-brains, “Kris Kringle,” and assumed the German-speaking Christians meant Santa Claus (or Father Christmas, as it were).  So, yes, Kris Kingle will be coming this year, as it were, as we celebrate the coming of the Christ-Child every year!

Finally, I saw the little meme image below and I thought it was very funny.  For all those who think ‘”X-mas’ takes Christ out of Christmas”, please refer to this image.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope anyone reading this has a happy Thanksgiving!  It is a great time of the year to count your blessings, so as you draw up your chair to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal, please take a few minutes to thank God from whom all blessings flow.

I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of the Thanksgiving celebration (i.e.: the meal), mainly because I am one of the few people who really does not get all that excited about the traditional turkey dinner.  Unfortunately, I am something of a pedantic and borderline-obsessive-compulsive person so, despite not really liking the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, I, ironically, really would not feel comfortable having any other dinner served on Thanksgiving.

I like Thanksgiving mainly because of the parades and festivities that all point to Christmastide, which, like most people, is probably my favorite holiday season.  As an OCD-type person, I refuse to engage in any Christmas frivolity (except for shopping) before Thanksgiving, so, for me, no decorations or music or anything else Christmas before Thanksgiving!  As a result, Thanksgiving is sort of a gateway into Christmas and is fun for me for that reason.  Coincidentally, Thanksgiving is almost always near the First Sunday in Advent, which is the Christian season of preparation for the coming of the Christ-child.

I am also a very nostalgic person with a great respect for history and tradition.  Although I am proud to be an American, I am often disappointed that our country is so young; but Thanksgiving is pretty old for American standards as far as civic holidays are concerned.  Thanksgiving is a great way for me, at least, to feel connected to the American past.  I just think it is so neat to commemorate and celebrate something that happened in 1621!  For me, as an American at least, that is pretty old!  I will, God willing, be alive for the 400th Anniversary of Thanksgiving; how cool will that be?

Anyway, all of this to say: Happy Thanksgiving and thanks be to God for all of the blessings he has bestowed upon us over the past year!

Happy Hallowmass

Happy Halloween to all of my readers!

I thought it would be interesting to briefly mention the significance of this day most people identify with ghouls, costumes, trick or treating, and candy.

With certain exceptions, like Easter, the date of most Christian celebrations are either unknown (e.g.: no one really knows the actual date when Jesus was actually born) or not tied to a certain date (e.g.: Holy Cross Day).  The fluidity of dates for these celebrations allowed the Church to assign dates to them in ways that were most effective in evangelizing the pagan peoples surrounding the early Christian communities.  Hallowmass is among those Christian celebrations which has no specific event to tie it to a certain date, so the Church, in its wisdom, established it to begin on October 31 because the pagan practices around this date seemed to be easily adaptable to the underlying spiritual significance of Hallowmass (described below).

The pagan practices around this date, by and large, commemorated and/or acknowledged the dead and the ending of the seasons of life (spring and summer) and beginning of the seasons of death (autumn and winter).  The Church took these pagan practices and adapted and directed them to its own commemoration of the dead, which is what underlies the Hallowmass.

Hallowmass is a Triduum; a Triduum is a Christian celebration which involves three days, in this case they are: All Hallow’s Eve (October 31), All Saint’s Day (a.k.a.: All Hallow’s Day) (November 1), and All Soul’s Day (a.k.a.: the Commemoration of All Faithful Departed) (November 2).  Each day helps us live out and recognize what the writer of the book of Hebrews says is a “great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1).  That great cloud of witnesses are all Christians, living and dead, who pray, support, and help one another grow closer with one another and with God.  Hallowmass helps us take the time to focus especially on those dead Christian believers.

All Saint’s Day is one of the major (or “high”) Christian holy days and, like all major holy days, it is preceded by a vigil the evening before.  The most famous holy day vigil is Christmas Eve and, like Christmas Eve, All Hallow’s Day (i.e.: All Saint’s Day) also has a vigil called All Hallow’s Eve, now known as Halloween.  On All Saint’s Day, the Church recognizes all of the Christians who have died and are now recognized as having been martyred for the faith and/or as “saints“, which is just a fancy way of saying someone is a hero of the Church (and, therefore, as a follower of Jesus Christ) and are experiencing the true presence of Jesus.

Now, many Christians recognized that there are a great many truly faithful and great followers of Jesus who may not be a “big name”, if you will.  Many Christian families have that faithful father, mother, grandparent, child, son, daughter, aunt, uncle, or whomever, who has helped shape and form the others in his/her family in the Faith, but is not known to anyone but that family.  They may not have the name recognition or the wide appeal or influence of someone like Saint Augustine of Hippo or Saint Francis of Assisi, but for that person’s family, the impact is much more intimate and enormous.  So, in recognition of this, the Church established All Soul’s Day to commemorate all of those Christians who have passed onto the next life.

So, by all means have fun dressing up and eating candy tonight, and enjoying the children, especially yours if you have any, having fun living out a fantasy of being their favorite super hero or princess or whatever it is they like; just do not forget that these three days are also holy and sacred and be sure to remember those Christians who are no longer with us, but, if we have faith in Jesus, we will meet again in the life everlasting.

4th of July!

I hope all of my readers have a great, safe, and fun Independence Day weekend.  My boss, Faye Cohen, will not be opening the office on Friday so I am excited for a four day weekend!  I do not take many days off so I hope to make the most of this time.  When having fun this weekend, let’s all remember our Founding Fathers and be thankful for the amazing, profound, and world changing nation which emerged on July 4, 1776.

Happy Easter!!

We are now in the midst of Holy Week, the most holy time for Christians.  Beginning on Palm Sunday we work our way through Holy Week recounting Our Lord‘s last days and hours.  We come to Spy Wednesday, which commemorates when Judas betrayed Jesus into the hands of the authorities for a measly thirty pieces of silver.  We are now on Maundy Thursday, the day on which Jesus had his Last Supper and gives his new commandment to wash one another’s feet and, more importantly, establishes and institutes the Sacrament of the Breaking of the Bread, which we now call the Eucharist or Communion, where he gives us his saving body and blood to take into our soul.  At the end of the Maundy Thursday rite we strip the altar just as Our Lord as stripped.  Tomorrow, on Good Friday, we remember Jesus’s awful torture and crucifixion as we go into the Holy Triduum.  Of course, our sadness and grief on Good Friday turns to joy during the Great Easter Vigil which moves us into Easter when we learn the Good News that Jesus is no longer dead but alive and, therefore, has killed death.  All of this takes place over the Jewish Passover to establish Jesus as the true Passover lamb.  The lamb protected the Jews from death when its blood was put onto the door posts of their homes.  Jesus’ blood goes onto the doorposts of our souls to protect us from eternal death for all who ask him for it.  Thanks be to God!

This whole drama is played out for our benefit so that we can all be saved and spend eternity with God.  Jesus took our punishment for our sins upon himself so God’s justice could be satiated.  We can do nothing other than thank him and accept his gift of self so we can spend eternity with him.  This is the greatest event which will ever occur in human history and I am humbled it was done to save me.  Thanks be to God eternally!

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