| Happy Ramahanukwansmas!?!?|
Here in America, great sensitivity is taken by many businesses and politicians to avoid "offending" customers and alienating voters. After all, nobody wants to "push" anything on anybody that may cause them to take their dollars and their votes elsewhere. At risk of wishing the wrong person "Merry Christmas!" businessmen and politicians revert to "politically correct" greetings and salutations at this "holiday" season. Such manifests itself in sayings that are "inclusive" in nature. "Happy Holidays!" or "Seasons Greetings!" is now heard from the lips of many. Realizing the plurality of religions that celebrate various things at this time of year, "the least common denominator" is used in order to avoid saying something that puts one in a sticky situation.
Radio personality and future FoxNews host Glenn Beck has created a rather clever phrase that I believe really pokes great fun at the entire situation. He has actually coined several terms, but one in particular sticks out the most to me. And that is "Happy Ramahanukwansmas!" The satirical phrase almost has a prophetic quality to it that I believe exposes the shallowness of the hearts of many, if not outright hypocrisy.
For those who truly believe in the "real meaning of Christmas," namely, a celebration of the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus Christ, how can such a person wish anybody anything but a merry Christmas? Where is there any room for the Christian to wish anybody a happy holiday for any other faith but their own? I don't wish anybody a happy Ramadan, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. In fact, I hope people who celebrate those days have a miserable Ramadan, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. How can I wish somebody a happy "holy day" for any religion but my own? To do such is to bring a level of justification to what they blindly celebrate in their spiritually dead state. That would be like wishing somebody well who was taking a goat to sacrifice to an idol.
Deliberately wishing somebody a "happy holidays" in order to avoid possibly offending the wrong person is simply a compromise. It shows that you really do not celebrate the story of God made flesh. It shows that you may not even truly believe the true story of God being born in a manger some time ago. If anybody should have been offended, it was God, who denied Himself the glory that was rightfully His, and instead clothed Himself in humility. The Creator of the heavens and earth was born where beasts slept, ate, and used the bathroom!
You see, I personally hope that when I wish somebody a merry Christmas that it deeply offends them, especially in the atmosphere of today. I hope I come across a Jew who is offended by my wishing them a merry Christmas. And naturally, they should be offended. After all, they reject the idea that their King was born 2,000 years ago. They aren't so much offended at the notion that He was born of a virgin 2,000 years ago. Rather, they are offended that He who was born their King 2,000 years ago was later crucified on the cross, and that the guilt of that crucifixion is held by God over their own heads.
In reality, the issue of Christmas is really the issue of the cross. At both places was God shown as humble. It's a very offensive idea. Men hate crosses and run from them at all costs. Is it no wonder then that today men are deeply offended at being wished a merry Christmas? I think it is personally a good thing that our American culture is trying to purge itself of the Christmas holiday in the public square. For when society is "Christian" in the cultural sense of the term, then it cannot be offended by the One who intended to offend them with the foolishness of the cross. But when a culture is no longer "Christian," as ours is quickly becoming more and more every day, then it should be no surprise that an awakened culture that "gets" what Christmas is about attempts to purge itself of this offense. For it represents something they are actually against.
So, happy ramahanukwansmas? Not on your life. Rather, happy Christmas! If that offends you, good, I hope you get saved.
| 2008/12/20 10:31||Profile|
| Re: Happy Ramahanukwansmas!?!?|
I've not found it to be the norm here in america that people are offended by someone wishing them a "merry christmas".
It may be that I am in the minority on this, nevertheless this has been my experience.
To the contrary,what I've found is that people are puzzled at the least,and offended at the worst, if one replies to their "merry christmas" wish with "I don't celebrate christmas".
Further, when they ask why and you begin to answer
them by explaining to them those reasons they tend to become somewhat defensive and even angry.
There are endless testimonies of those religionists,moralists,humanists and the like,as well as nominal christians who join in this celebration of December 25 known as 'christmas'.
I will but mention this one, by National Secular Society President Dennis Cobell as it is brief but telling.
"Every year as a secularist I am asked if I celebrate Xmas: when I say yes, I am asked, why? Since I am not a Christian, what right have I to join in? Obviously pious Christians celebrate Xmas because it marks the birth of a saviour - but the number of practising Christians is quite small, and much of the winter binge has little to do with Christ-Mass. In addition, apart from Christians, there are other faiths at this time of the year with their festivities: Hindus have just had their Diwali with lights and fireworks, Jews their Hanukah, and this year Muslims have had Eid. For those of us secularists, with no faith, we can refer back to pagan winter-times which pre-date much of modern Xmas.
Our Xmas festival is nothing but a continuation of the winter solstice festivity; for the ecclesiastical authorities saw fit, about the end of the third or the beginning of the fourth century to transfer the date of Christs nativity from January 6 to December 25, wrote Sir James Frazer in "The Golden Bough" - a book on Magic & Religion published in the early 20th century. The Eastern Orthodox churches still observe the January date. In earlier times the church took over much that passes for our modern Xmas: the two main ones were the Roman Saturnalia - a time of feasting and drinking, exchange of gifts, and when masters and slaves changed roles. In northern Europe there was the ancient Yuletide associated with the winter solstice.
Thus it is entirely appropriate for secularists to join in: the yule-log was burnt to mark the return of the sun at the darkest time of the year. Many now speak of SAD - seasonal affective disorder. Having some fun, brightening up the cold days of shortest daylight, and a break from work has nothing to do with what Christians believe about the birth of Christ. Though it has to said that the notion of a Virgin Birth - somewhat disregarded by many modern churchmen - has its roots in many other religions and folk tales from ancient Egypt and Greece. Both Buddha and Zoroaster are reputed to have come from virgin births according to some myths.
What of our more modern customs? We decorate our homes with holly & ivy - evergreen plants staying green throughout the winter. Mistletoe is a revival from Celtic religion and was sacred to the Druids. The Xmas tree was made popular here when Prince Albert - Queen Victorias consort - placed one outside Windsor Castle in 1841. Xmas cards, with some early examples displaying family rather than religious, scenes, really took off with the introduction of the - ah fond memories - penny post in 1840.
As for eating and drinking - there was a time in the seventeenth-century when Puritan Christians opposed the levity and licence this brought about. Such items as mince pies derive from consecrated pagan cakes. The Xmas pudding - the traditional round and flaming one - is a symbol of the rising of the sun from its winter lethargy and the optimism of rebirth- looking forward to the brighter days to come, and then on to Spring. All this is associated with the natural cycle of the seasons. Sun worshippers are part of this tradition; some are lucky enough to make an overseas escape. An entirely secular reason for celebrating at this time.
Xmas is often spoken of as a time of peace & goodwill; a quite inappropriate association with the war and strife caused by the zealots of faiths. Of course, as secularists we cannot believe in the truth of the nativity tale about Christs birth; anyway, much of it is recognised as historically inaccurate by theologians. But so long as it is put alongside pantomimes - which parents & children enjoy at this time of year - I can see no reason for objecting to it. It is a fairy story - angels singing in the sky and wise men coming to see a baby Jesus; however, if David Blunketts legacy of a Bill to outlaw Incitement to Religious Hatred goes on the statute book I may have to be careful what I say about this in the future!
Secularists thus have plenty of reason for joining in, alongside those of faiths other than Christianity. As one 19th century - Ingersoll - secularist/freethinker said: "the time to be happy is now, the place to be happy is here, but the way to be happy is to help others to be happy". So Seasons Greetings or a Merry Christmas, one and all!"
As another poster on another thread has noted,
"What if God sees the celebrating of Christmas and Easter as problematic as the Israelites honouring the Lord with their lips, but serving the gods of the land with their actions?
There was only one king in Judah who, after turning the nation back to God, went all the way, tearing down the high places, and reinstating the Passover. What is every reformation/revival in the past, even though good, fell short on such a point.
Are we open to the consideration of it, or will we just dismiss it all as ridiculous?"
And I thought pastorfrin's reply was excellent,
"Sorry to say, as with most matters of the heart, especially when the traditions of men are involved; the answer would be to just dismiss it all as ridiculous. Sad yes but traditions are and have been held over the truth since there inception.
Galatians 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Childhood memories that are steeped in tradition are hard to give up; especially when we are guilty of introducing them to our children and grandchildren.
We all must make a decision which traditions we keep and which ones we discontinue,
And a good feeling or a childhood memory should have nothing to do with making these decisions; prayerfully reading Gods word and sharing with one another in love and grace, might."
| 2008/12/20 13:25||Profile|