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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: Mike Gehlhausen on November 20, 2009, 11:02:34 AM

Title: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on November 20, 2009, 11:02:34 AM
( Circulating the Internet )

Twas the month before Christmas

When all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying
Nor taking a stand.

See the PC Police had taken away
The reason for Christmas - no one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing
About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.

It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say
December 25th is just a ' Holiday '.
Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!

CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-Pod
Something was changing, something quite odd!
Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.

As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.
At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears
You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.

Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty
Are words that were used to intimidate me.
Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton!
At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.

And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace
The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season, stopped before it started.

So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'
Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
Choose your words carefully, choose what you say
Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS ,
not Happy Holiday!

Please, all Christians join together and
wish everyone you meet
MERRY CHRISTMAS
Christ is The Reason' for the Christ-mas Season!
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: iowakatie1981 on November 22, 2009, 01:16:44 PM
Sad, but true...Reminds me of this, which I can't remember where I found anymore, but it's still good...

If Christ had been born today

And Joseph went up from Galilee to Bethlehem with Mary, his espoused
wife, who was great with child. And she brought forth a son and wrapped
him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no
room for them in the inn. And the angel of the Lord spoke to the shepherds
and said, "I bring you tidings of great joy. Unto you is born a Savior,
which is Christ the Lord."

"There's a problem with the angel," said a Pharisee who happened to be
strolling by. As he explained to Joseph, angels are widely regarded as
religious symbols, and the stable was on public property where such symbols
were not allowed to land or even hover.

"And I have to tell you, this whole thing looks to me very much like a
Nativity scene," he said sadly. "That's a no-no, too." Joseph had a bright
idea. "What if I put a couple of reindeer over there near the ox and ass?"
he said, eager to avoid sectarian strife.

"That would definitely help," said the Pharisee, who knew as well as
anyone that whenever a savior appeared, judges usually liked to be on the
safe side and surround it with deer or woodland creatures of some sort.
"Just to clinch it, throw in a candy cane and a couple of elves and snowmen,
too," he said. "No court can resist that."

Mary asked, "What does my son's birth have to do with snowmen?"
"Snowpersons," cried a young woman, changing the subject before it veered
dangerously toward religion. Off to the side of the crowd, a Philistine was
painting the Nativity scene. Mary complained that she and Joseph looked too
tattered and worn in the picture. "Artistic license," he said. "I've got
to show the plight of the haggard homeless in a greedy, uncaring society in
winter," he quipped. "We're not haggard or homeless. The inn was just
full," said Mary. "Whatever," said the painter.

Two women began to argue fiercely. One said she objected to Jesus'
birth "because it privileged motherhood." The other scoffed at virgin
births, but said that if they encouraged more attention to diversity in
family forms and the rights of single mothers, well, then, she was all
for them. "I'm not a single mother," Mary started to say, but she was
cut off by a third woman who insisted that swaddling clothes are a form
of child abuse, since they restrict the natural movement of babies.

With the arrival of 10 child advocates, all trained to spot infant
abuse and manger rash, Mary and Joseph were pushed to the edge of the
crowd, where arguments were breaking out over how many reindeer (or
what mix of reindeer and seasonal sprites) had to be installed to
compensate for the infant's unfortunate religious character.

An older man bustled up, bowling over two merchants, who had been busy
debating whether an elf is the same as a fairy and whether the
elf/fairy should be shaking hands with Jesus in the crib or merely
standing to the side, jumping around like a sports mascot.

"I'd hold off on the reindeer," the man said, explaining that the use
of asses and oxen as picturesque backdrops for Nativity scenes carries
the subliminal message of human dominance. He passed out two leaflets,
one denouncing manger births as invasions of animal space, the other
arguing that stables are "penned environments" where animals are
incarcerated against their will. He had no opinion about elves or candy
canes.

Signs declaring "Free the Bethlehem 2" began to appear, referring to
the obviously exploited ass and ox. Someone said the halo on Jesus'
head was elitist. Mary was exasperated. "And what about you, old
mother?" she said sharply to an elderly woman. "Are you here to attack
the shepherds as prison guards for excluded species, maybe to complain
that singing in Latin identifies us with our Roman oppressors, or just
to say that I should have skipped patriarchal religiosity and joined
some dumb new-age goddess religion?"

"None of the above," said the woman, "I just wanted to tell you that the
Magi are here." Sure enough, the three wise men rode up. The crowd
gasped, "They're all male!" And "Not very multicultural!" "Balthasar
here is black," said one of the Magi. "Yes, but how many of you are gay
or disabled?" someone shouted. A committee was quickly formed to find
an impoverished lesbian wise-person among the halt and lame of
Bethlehem.

A calm voice said, "Be of good cheer, Mary, you have done well and your
son will change the world." At last, a sane person, Mary thought. She
turned to see a radiant and confident female face. The woman spoke
again: "There is one thing, though. Religious holidays are important,
but can't we learn to celebrate them in ways that unite, not divide? For
instance, instead of all this business about 'Gloria in excelsis Deo,'
why not just 'Season's Greetings'?"

Mary said, "You mean my son has entered human history to deliver the
message, 'Hello, it's winter'?" "That's harsh, Mary," said the woman.
"Remember, your son could make it big in midwinter festivals, if he
doesn't push the religion thing too far. Centuries from now, in
nations yet unborn, people will give each other pricey gifts and have
big office parties on his birthday. That's not chopped liver."

"Let me get back to you," Mary said.
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 22, 2009, 02:16:17 PM
It has always amused me that in order to get nativity scenes on public property - where they do not belong - the pious proponents must agree with the courts that the nativity scenes are not "religious," but "cultural" and agree to have them diluted with Frostys and Rudolphs.
To me, that has always been the profaning of the sacred scene, the willingness of people to say that it is not sacred.
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Pilgrim on November 22, 2009, 02:28:07 PM
Your amusement is duly noted. Might it also be suggested that in light of that preceding your amusement, such a response possesses a certain "scroochish" quality?

Tim
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 22, 2009, 02:30:39 PM
Why "scrooge-ish"? Because I do not want to dilute the sacredness of the nativity by saying "Oh, no, it isn't 'religious,' it's just a symbol of this time of year."?

I'm all in favor of Nativity Scenes. We should put them on our church lawns, even in our own front yards; and hang around them to tell people what they really mean to us. They don't belong on the lawn of the town hall.
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Pilgrim on November 22, 2009, 02:43:33 PM
Your post Charles, seemed to suggest "amusement" at what is essentially syncretism, and to even suggest support of or acquiessence to the same. Proclaiming the incomprehensibility of the Incarnation is the joyuous task entrusted to us in the midst of an unbelieving or jaded world. That would seem to me to be more wothy of our best efforts, which is what I read in the two initial posts.

Pr. Tim Christ
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 22, 2009, 02:49:29 PM
Your post Charles, seemed to suggest "amusement" at what is essentially syncretism, and to even suggest support of or acquiessence to the same. Proclaiming the incomprehensibility of the Incarnation is the joyuous task entrusted to us in the midst of an unbelieving or jaded world. That would seem to me to be more wothy of our best efforts, which is what I read in the two initial posts.
Christians were syncretic when they adopted the pagan holiday to the sun-god as the day to celebrate the nativity of our Lord. Biblical evidence indicates that birth was not likely in the winter.
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Pilgrim on November 22, 2009, 02:57:11 PM
Brian,

You might to do a little more homework on how the church arrived at its choice regarding the dating of Christmas. It's far more involved than your simple assertion would suggest.

Pr. Tim Christ
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: edoughty on November 22, 2009, 03:00:59 PM
I guess I don't understand the kerfuffle here.

Even if (and that's a big if) Christ was born in mid-winter, I have no particular need to hear "Merry Christmas" from store clerks or from government employees during the month before Christmas or the days after, any more than I expect to be wished an observant Lent.  "Have an expectant and appropriately preparatory Advent" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, anyway.  I am aware that there are other holidays from other faith traditions at approximately this time of year; c'est la vie and good for them.  I don't celebrate Hanukkah, but I don't begrudge Jewish folks the kosher section of the grocery store or the seven-foot menorah in the entryway.

I don't think it's appropriate, with separation of church & state, to have religious symbols on government property and would rather government be simply neutral and stay completely out of it.  I agree with Charles here; far better that we who do anticipate and celebrate the Festival of the Incarnation on Dec 25 be the ones who show our own faith on our own church lawns, our own homes, by our own actions.  
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: jpetty on November 22, 2009, 03:04:49 PM
Very timely.  It fits well with Fox's annual "war on Christmas."  Leave it to conservatives to try to turn Christmas into yet another "culture war" issue.
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 22, 2009, 03:07:09 PM
Pastor Christ writes:
Proclaiming the incomprehensibility of the Incarnation is the joyuous task entrusted to us in the midst of an unbelieving or jaded world. That would seem to me to be more wothy of our best efforts, which is what I read in the two initial posts.

I respond:
Yes, indeed. But we should not insist on doing it on town hall property, or diluting our witness just so that the state appears to let us do it.
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: iowakatie1981 on November 22, 2009, 03:13:56 PM
Very timely.  It fits well with Fox's annual "war on Christmas."  Leave it to conservatives to try to turn Christmas into yet another "culture war" issue.

Leave it to liberals to see nothing wrong with the "religious left" attempting to dilute the message and ministry of Christ into nothing more than quotas and I'm-ok-you're-ok so that they might be invited to sit at the "cool kids" table. 

I don't have to worry about the government telling me to shut up about Jesus, the church is handling that just fine on its own. 
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: jpetty on November 22, 2009, 03:31:37 PM
Who told you to "shut up" about Jesus?  Let me know and I'll go beat 'em up.
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: iowakatie1981 on November 22, 2009, 04:00:27 PM
Well, let's see...

Every time someone manages to preach a 10 minute sermon that doesn't once mention Jesus...(ok, maybe once...)

Every time I am in a small group that sets out to study local art and connect it with the Gospel, and as we are preparing our presentation, I say, "we should have something to say about the Gospel here," and everyone looks at me like I'm crazy.

Every time we read an article for class that belongs in a sociology or anthropology class, and my friend asks, "This is interesting, but what does it have to do with Jesus?" and the professor stares at her like she's from Mars.

Every time a bishop, from the pulpit, declares that "God is SO DONE with Bibles."

Every time "mission" is defined as polite interreligious dialogue whose point is not to bring the Good News but simply to learn how to get along with others.

The "implicit curriculum," in educational parlance, is "shut up about Jesus."  Just sayin'...

And yes, every one of these examples has actually happened...
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: GoCubsGo on November 22, 2009, 04:21:20 PM
Well, let's see...

Every time a bishop, from the pulpit, declares that "God is SO DONE with Bibles."


When did this happen?  Which bishop?  Just curious though, sadly, I'm not surprised.
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Jay on November 22, 2009, 04:23:39 PM
( Circulating the Internet )



As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.
At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears
You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.



Lowes is "Your Christmas Destination"

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=home

Kmart has a Christmas countdown -

http://www.kmart.com/shc/s/dap_10151_10104_DAP_Countdown

Sears has "more values more Christmas" promotion

http://www.sears.com/

The front page of Target's website has the word "Christmas" in big bold letters:

http://www.target.com/

I didn't check the others, but you get my point.  

Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: iowakatie1981 on November 22, 2009, 04:26:47 PM
Well, let's see...

Every time a bishop, from the pulpit, declares that "God is SO DONE with Bibles."


When did this happen?  Which bishop?  Just curious though, sadly, I'm not surprised.

A couple weeks ago.  Oregon.  Text: Jeremiah 31
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: edoughty on November 22, 2009, 04:35:27 PM
Well, let's see...

Every time a bishop, from the pulpit, declares that "God is SO DONE with Bibles."


When did this happen?  Which bishop?  Just curious though, sadly, I'm not surprised.

A couple weeks ago.  Oregon.  Text: Jeremiah 31

Then, as a "hook" to get congregants' attention, it makes sense.  Because, having tried written laws, God now writes on our hearts and gives us the Word enfleshed.

31 "The time is coming," declares the LORD,
       "when I will make a new covenant
       with the house of Israel
       and with the house of Judah.

 32 It will not be like the covenant
       I made with their forefathers
       when I took them by the hand
       to lead them out of Egypt,
       because they broke my covenant,
       though I was a husband to [d] them, [e] "
       declares the LORD.

 33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
       after that time," declares the LORD.
       "I will put my law in their minds
       and write it on their hearts.
       I will be their God,
       and they will be my people.

 34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
       or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,'
       because they will all know me,
       from the least of them to the greatest,"
       declares the LORD.
       "For I will forgive their wickedness
       and will remember their sins no more."
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Mike Bennett on November 22, 2009, 04:36:10 PM
Who told you to "shut up" about Jesus?  Let me know and I'll go beat 'em up.

Well, let's see...

Every time someone manages to preach a 10 minute sermon that doesn't once mention Jesus...(ok, maybe once...)

Every time I am in a small group that sets out to study local art and connect it with the Gospel, and as we are preparing our presentation, I say, "we should have something to say about the Gospel here," and everyone looks at me like I'm crazy.

Every time we read an article for class that belongs in a sociology or anthropology class, and my friend asks, "This is interesting, but what does it have to do with Jesus?" and the professor stares at her like she's from Mars.

Every time a bishop, from the pulpit, declares that "God is SO DONE with Bibles."

Every time "mission" is defined as polite interreligious dialogue whose point is not to bring the Good News but simply to learn how to get along with others.

The "implicit curriculum," in educational parlance, is "shut up about Jesus."  Just sayin'...

And yes, every one of these examples has actually happened...

jpetty, I've read somewhere that boxers soak their hands in brine to toughen them up.  You should probably do that before you go beat up all these people Iowa Katie told us about, whom you committed to go beat up.

Mike Bennett
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: iowakatie1981 on November 22, 2009, 04:45:27 PM
Right, but it wasn't delivered in a "hook to get your attention" kind of way. 

His point was that God no longer has any specific standards to which He holds us.  "You are OK in the Lord."  Problem is, I don't want to be "ok."  I want to be forgiven, loved, redeemed, transformed, a new creation.  And anytime we take the transformative power of Jesus and turn it into "Jesus says you don't need to be transformed," not only have we diminished the Gospel, we have failed to serve those who know that, indeed, they DO need to be transformed.

Well, let's see...

Every time a bishop, from the pulpit, declares that "God is SO DONE with Bibles."


When did this happen?  Which bishop?  Just curious though, sadly, I'm not surprised.

A couple weeks ago.  Oregon.  Text: Jeremiah 31

Then, as a "hook" to get congregants' attention, it makes sense.  Because, having tried written laws, God now writes on our hearts and gives us the Word enfleshed.

31 "The time is coming," declares the LORD,
       "when I will make a new covenant
       with the house of Israel
       and with the house of Judah.

 32 It will not be like the covenant
       I made with their forefathers
       when I took them by the hand
       to lead them out of Egypt,
       because they broke my covenant,
       though I was a husband to [d] them, [e] "
       declares the LORD.

 33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
       after that time," declares the LORD.
       "I will put my law in their minds
       and write it on their hearts.
       I will be their God,
       and they will be my people.

 34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
       or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,'
       because they will all know me,
       from the least of them to the greatest,"
       declares the LORD.
       "For I will forgive their wickedness
       and will remember their sins no more."
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: iowakatie1981 on November 22, 2009, 05:58:17 PM
Why "scrooge-ish"? Because I do not want to dilute the sacredness of the nativity by saying "Oh, no, it isn't 'religious,' it's just a symbol of this time of year."?

I'm all in favor of Nativity Scenes. We should put them on our church lawns, even in our own front yards; and hang around them to tell people what they really mean to us. They don't belong on the lawn of the town hall.

If we don't want them on the lawn of the town hall (or Capitol or whatever), why is Christmas a federal holiday?
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: James Gustafson on November 22, 2009, 06:01:47 PM
Right, but it wasn't delivered in a "hook to get your attention" kind of way.  

His point was that God no longer has any specific standards to which He holds us.  "You are OK in the Lord."  Problem is, I don't want to be "ok."  I want to be forgiven, loved, redeemed, transformed, a new creation.  And anytime we take the transformative power of Jesus and turn it into "Jesus says you don't need to be transformed," not only have we diminished the Gospel, we have failed to serve those who know that, indeed, they DO need to be transformed.

Although it is clear that Jesus has established the new covenant, as he himself said (Lk 22:20), the required blood sacrifice for salvation through his blood has been completed, clearly Jesus is, "the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant" (Hebrews 9:15), but it is also clear that Jesus has not yet returned and completed all the acts that will make the earth his footstool, or in my mind, complete the prophesy given to us in Jeremiah.

When I've heard people proclaim that Jeremiah 31:33 is already accomplished and then they believe that 31:34 is completed as well, and they use this as some sort of justification for doing a "new thing", I wonder why it is that they didn't question why it is that they needed to teach us this new thing then, if they are correct?  Their interpretation disproves itself the moment someone has to teach it to another Christian.  At this time, in-between salvation on the cross and ascension, and Christ’s return, Jeremiah 31:34 is only half completed, the first part is yet to come.
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: dkeener on November 22, 2009, 06:14:42 PM
I was thinking that this year I would truly honor the "month before Christmas" by sending out Advent cards instead of Christmas cards. I'm thinking a large picture of an angry prophet and the caption:

You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee the wrath to come.

Happy Advent - John the B



Any suggestions for who I should send them to?  ;D
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 22, 2009, 06:32:57 PM
Your post Charles, seemed to suggest "amusement" at what is essentially syncretism, and to even suggest support of or acquiessence to the same. Proclaiming the incomprehensibility of the Incarnation is the joyuous task entrusted to us in the midst of an unbelieving or jaded world. That would seem to me to be more wothy of our best efforts, which is what I read in the two initial posts.
Christians were syncretic when they adopted the pagan holiday to the sun-god as the day to celebrate the nativity of our Lord. Biblical evidence indicates that birth was not likely in the winter.

 ::)
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 22, 2009, 06:55:01 PM
Brian,

You might to do a little more homework on how the church arrived at its choice regarding the dating of Christmas. It's far more involved than your simple assertion would suggest.

A.A. McArthur in A Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship and Edgar S. Brown, Jr. Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church are the primary sources I've used. Both claim that December 25 had been a date for the worship of a sun-god before it was a celebration of the Nativity of Christ.
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: jpetty on November 22, 2009, 07:27:16 PM
Who told you to "shut up" about Jesus?  Let me know and I'll go beat 'em up.

Well, let's see...

Every time someone manages to preach a 10 minute sermon that doesn't once mention Jesus...(ok, maybe once...)

Every time I am in a small group that sets out to study local art and connect it with the Gospel, and as we are preparing our presentation, I say, "we should have something to say about the Gospel here," and everyone looks at me like I'm crazy.

Every time we read an article for class that belongs in a sociology or anthropology class, and my friend asks, "This is interesting, but what does it have to do with Jesus?" and the professor stares at her like she's from Mars.

Every time a bishop, from the pulpit, declares that "God is SO DONE with Bibles."

Every time "mission" is defined as polite interreligious dialogue whose point is not to bring the Good News but simply to learn how to get along with others.

The "implicit curriculum," in educational parlance, is "shut up about Jesus."  Just sayin'...

And yes, every one of these examples has actually happened...

jpetty, I've read somewhere that boxers soak their hands in brine to toughen them up.  You should probably do that before you go beat up all these people Iowa Katie told us about, whom you committed to go beat up.

Mike Bennett

Well, actually, I'm a pacifist.  The "beat up" part was hyperbole.

But yes, I would absolutely defend Katie's right to advocate for and defend her religious beliefs.  It's coercing others to ratify those beliefs--like getting store clerks to say "Merry Christmas" (especially when they probably have all along anyway)--that I don't go along with. 
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 22, 2009, 08:29:21 PM
iowakatie asks:
If we don't want them on the lawn of the town hall (or Capitol or whatever), why is Christmas a federal holiday?

I comment:
Different matter entirely. A federal holiday does not necessarily endorse the holiday, it only notes that - for the broader public good - federal business will not be done that day.
I always ask: Why insist that the nativity scene be on the town hall lawn? First, we have to demean its importance to have it be there. Then there is the fact that in many of our towns (mine, for instance), Christians are only a slight majority, and we do need to be concerned about our neighbors.
Proclaim Christ at Christmas, put a manger scene in front of every church in town, and the witness will be more authentic and grander than having cheesy plastic figures of the Holy Family flanked by snowmen and perhaps a menorah in front of town hall.
This dispute arises somewhere almost every year; and I just don't get it.
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: iowakatie1981 on November 22, 2009, 08:39:20 PM
Oh, I see how it is.  Tell me you've got my back, and then ditch me when the chips are down... ;D

Who told you to "shut up" about Jesus?  Let me know and I'll go beat 'em up.

Well, let's see...

Every time someone manages to preach a 10 minute sermon that doesn't once mention Jesus...(ok, maybe once...)

Every time I am in a small group that sets out to study local art and connect it with the Gospel, and as we are preparing our presentation, I say, "we should have something to say about the Gospel here," and everyone looks at me like I'm crazy.

Every time we read an article for class that belongs in a sociology or anthropology class, and my friend asks, "This is interesting, but what does it have to do with Jesus?" and the professor stares at her like she's from Mars.

Every time a bishop, from the pulpit, declares that "God is SO DONE with Bibles."

Every time "mission" is defined as polite interreligious dialogue whose point is not to bring the Good News but simply to learn how to get along with others.

The "implicit curriculum," in educational parlance, is "shut up about Jesus."  Just sayin'...

And yes, every one of these examples has actually happened...

jpetty, I've read somewhere that boxers soak their hands in brine to toughen them up.  You should probably do that before you go beat up all these people Iowa Katie told us about, whom you committed to go beat up.

Mike Bennett

Well, actually, I'm a pacifist.  The "beat up" part was hyperbole.

But yes, I would absolutely defend Katie's right to advocate for and defend her religious beliefs.  It's coercing others to ratify those beliefs--like getting store clerks to say "Merry Christmas" (especially when they probably have all along anyway)--that I don't go along with. 
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: pr dtp on November 22, 2009, 08:43:19 PM
Brian,

You might to do a little more homework on how the church arrived at its choice regarding the dating of Christmas. It's far more involved than your simple assertion would suggest.

A.A. McArthur in A Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship and Edgar S. Brown, Jr. Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church are the primary sources I've used. Both claim that December 25 had been a date for the worship of a sun-god before it was a celebration of the Nativity of Christ.

They need to do their research then, because it was the Winter Solstice - the 22nd, not the 25th.  The reason for it should then be obvious.



Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 22, 2009, 09:17:35 PM
Brian,

You might to do a little more homework on how the church arrived at its choice regarding the dating of Christmas. It's far more involved than your simple assertion would suggest.

A.A. McArthur in A Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship and Edgar S. Brown, Jr. Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church are the primary sources I've used. Both claim that December 25 had been a date for the worship of a sun-god before it was a celebration of the Nativity of Christ.

They need to do their research then, because it was the Winter Solstice - the 22nd, not the 25th.  The reason for it should then be obvious.
The articles indicate that they had the date wrong for the Winter Solstice. My hunch is that by the 25th they could tell that the days were beginning to get longer.
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: James_Gale on November 22, 2009, 09:36:47 PM
I frankly wouldn't mind much if secular society would stay out of Christmas and Easter altogether.  Secular forces have pushed "Christmas" into Advent, ended "Christmas" about 6:00 pm on the first day of the season, and (perhaps most annoyingly) extended Easter back into Lent.  But I know full well that secular society will continue to provide distractions.  And the Church most assuredly will survive them.

Of course, most of those trying to eliminate Christmas from public discourse are not motivated by a desire to protect the integrity of Christian beliefs and practices.  On the contrary, many of them are motivated by a desire to stigmatize and marginalize Christianity (and religion generally).  And those of us in the ELCA have learned that you have to stand up to these ideological movements.  If you don't, bit by bit, these movements advance, crowding the religious out of the public square.   
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: James Gustafson on November 22, 2009, 09:59:45 PM
Brian,

You might to do a little more homework on how the church arrived at its choice regarding the dating of Christmas. It's far more involved than your simple assertion would suggest.

A.A. McArthur in A Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship and Edgar S. Brown, Jr. Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church are the primary sources I've used. Both claim that December 25 had been a date for the worship of a sun-god before it was a celebration of the Nativity of Christ.

They need to do their research then, because it was the Winter Solstice - the 22nd, not the 25th.  The reason for it should then be obvious.
The articles indicate that they had the date wrong for the Winter Solstice. My hunch is that by the 25th they could tell that the days were beginning to get longer.
Brian,

You might to do a little more homework on how the church arrived at its choice regarding the dating of Christmas. It's far more involved than your simple assertion would suggest.

A.A. McArthur in A Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship and Edgar S. Brown, Jr. Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church are the primary sources I've used. Both claim that December 25 had been a date for the worship of a sun-god before it was a celebration of the Nativity of Christ.

They need to do their research then, because it was the Winter Solstice - the 22nd, not the 25th.  The reason for it should then be obvious.
The articles indicate that they had the date wrong for the Winter Solstice. My hunch is that by the 25th they could tell that the days were beginning to get longer.

I don't really care myself about the Dec. 25th debate, I like Christmas and celebrating the birth of Christ then is as good as any time,  but the explanation that, they “Got the date wrong for Winter Solstice”, they actually say that in the published articles?  LOL  … clearly THAT must have slipped by someone’s fact check editors desk unlooked at, someone should have a red face to claim that the Romans couldn’t tell when the Solstice occurred!  LOL

Since the Julian Calender and almost fifty years before the birth of Christ, the winter solstice did fall on December 25.  The difference between the calendar year and the solar year moved the actual solstice forward about three days every four hundred years when in the sixteenth century Pope Gregory XIII corrected the calendar, giving us our modern winter solstice to the 21st or the 22nd of December.

They got the date wrong…. LOL  ::) :P
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: jpetty on November 22, 2009, 10:08:10 PM
Oh, I see how it is.  Tell me you've got my back, and then ditch me when the chips are down... ;D

Who told you to "shut up" about Jesus?  Let me know and I'll go beat 'em up.

Well, let's see...

Every time someone manages to preach a 10 minute sermon that doesn't once mention Jesus...(ok, maybe once...)

Every time I am in a small group that sets out to study local art and connect it with the Gospel, and as we are preparing our presentation, I say, "we should have something to say about the Gospel here," and everyone looks at me like I'm crazy.

Every time we read an article for class that belongs in a sociology or anthropology class, and my friend asks, "This is interesting, but what does it have to do with Jesus?" and the professor stares at her like she's from Mars.

Every time a bishop, from the pulpit, declares that "God is SO DONE with Bibles."

Every time "mission" is defined as polite interreligious dialogue whose point is not to bring the Good News but simply to learn how to get along with others.

The "implicit curriculum," in educational parlance, is "shut up about Jesus."  Just sayin'...

And yes, every one of these examples has actually happened...

jpetty, I've read somewhere that boxers soak their hands in brine to toughen them up.  You should probably do that before you go beat up all these people Iowa Katie told us about, whom you committed to go beat up.

Mike Bennett

Well, actually, I'm a pacifist.  The "beat up" part was hyperbole.

But yes, I would absolutely defend Katie's right to advocate for and defend her religious beliefs.  It's coercing others to ratify those beliefs--like getting store clerks to say "Merry Christmas" (especially when they probably have all along anyway)--that I don't go along with. 

I'm the one right behind you going, "You go, girl!"
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: iowakatie1981 on November 22, 2009, 10:29:45 PM
And they say chivalry is dead... :P

Oh, I see how it is.  Tell me you've got my back, and then ditch me when the chips are down... ;D

Who told you to "shut up" about Jesus?  Let me know and I'll go beat 'em up.

Well, let's see...

Every time someone manages to preach a 10 minute sermon that doesn't once mention Jesus...(ok, maybe once...)

Every time I am in a small group that sets out to study local art and connect it with the Gospel, and as we are preparing our presentation, I say, "we should have something to say about the Gospel here," and everyone looks at me like I'm crazy.

Every time we read an article for class that belongs in a sociology or anthropology class, and my friend asks, "This is interesting, but what does it have to do with Jesus?" and the professor stares at her like she's from Mars.

Every time a bishop, from the pulpit, declares that "God is SO DONE with Bibles."

Every time "mission" is defined as polite interreligious dialogue whose point is not to bring the Good News but simply to learn how to get along with others.

The "implicit curriculum," in educational parlance, is "shut up about Jesus."  Just sayin'...

And yes, every one of these examples has actually happened...

jpetty, I've read somewhere that boxers soak their hands in brine to toughen them up.  You should probably do that before you go beat up all these people Iowa Katie told us about, whom you committed to go beat up.

Mike Bennett

Well, actually, I'm a pacifist.  The "beat up" part was hyperbole.

But yes, I would absolutely defend Katie's right to advocate for and defend her religious beliefs.  It's coercing others to ratify those beliefs--like getting store clerks to say "Merry Christmas" (especially when they probably have all along anyway)--that I don't go along with. 

I'm the one right behind you going, "You go, girl!"
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: George Erdner on November 22, 2009, 10:58:43 PM
Is anyone aware of any day out of all 365 that wasn't celebrated as a holiday by some culture or civilization at some time in history? Given the number of polytheistic religions with their huge pantheons of gods, goddesses, demi-gods, and events related to all of those deities, how can anyone be sure that any date on the Christian calendar wasn't previously used by some other religion?
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Weedon on November 22, 2009, 11:03:35 PM
Didn't Thomas Tally right an article that rather put the nail in the coffin in the myth that Dec. 25 was chosen to replace a pagan Roman feast day?  I seem to recall reading that some years ago.
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 23, 2009, 12:16:55 AM
Didn't Thomas Tally right an article that rather put the nail in the coffin in the myth that Dec. 25 was chosen to replace a pagan Roman feast day?  I seem to recall reading that some years ago.
And even if he didn't and the date really was chosen to replace a pagan festival, wouldn't the claim that it showed Christians being syncretic still be stupid?
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 23, 2009, 01:08:03 AM
Didn't Thomas Tally right an article that rather put the nail in the coffin in the myth that Dec. 25 was chosen to replace a pagan Roman feast day?  I seem to recall reading that some years ago.
And even if he didn't and the date really was chosen to replace a pagan festival, wouldn't the claim that it showed Christians being syncretic still be stupid?

Yes.
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 23, 2009, 01:13:04 AM
Didn't Thomas Tally right an article that rather put the nail in the coffin in the myth that Dec. 25 was chosen to replace a pagan Roman feast day?  I seem to recall reading that some years ago.
And even if he didn't and the date really was chosen to replace a pagan festival, wouldn't the claim that it showed Christians being syncretic still be stupid?
How many Christmas symbols are found in the biblical stories? Wreathes, tree, candles, poinsettias, etc.?

What about the eggs and lilies and bunny at Easter? In fact, what about the name "Easter"?

While not always an accurate source, Wikipedia does use Christmas and Easter as examples of Christian syncretism.
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 23, 2009, 01:17:54 AM
Since the Julian Calender and almost fifty years before the birth of Christ, the winter solstice did fall on December 25.  The difference between the calendar year and the solar year moved the actual solstice forward about three days every four hundred years when in the sixteenth century Pope Gregory XIII corrected the calendar, giving us our modern winter solstice to the 21st or the 22nd of December.

They got the date wrong…. LOL  ::) :P

From the Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, under "Worship (Seasons)"

In Rome, Emperor Aurelian (A.D. 270-275) had fixed December 25 (the winter solstice according to the astronomical calculations of that time) as the feast of the sun-god. By the time of the conversion of Constantine the day was no longer identified with the birth of the day star but with the Sun of Righteousness. Scholars claim that the date of December 25 is connected with the erection by Constantine of a basilica around the tomb monument of St. Peter at the site of the sanctuary of Mithras, the Persian sun-god.

From A Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship, under "Christmas"

In Egypt in 1996 B.C. the calendar recorded the winter solstice as being on January 6, but by the time Alexandria was founded in 331 B.C. the inaccuracy of the calendar meant that the solstice was on December 25. The dates of the Christian festivals of Christmas and Epiphany are both linked with the winter solstice, transmuting celebrations of the pagan world. It is at Rome in the early fourth century that we find the first evidence for Christmas. In the year 274, the emperor Aurelian introduced in the imperial capital the festival of the Invincible Sun. Natalis Solis Invicti, on December 25. At some point before 336, the church must have established on this date the commemoration of the incarnation, the birth of the Sun of Righteousness.

I haven't seen you quote any resources with your view.
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 23, 2009, 01:48:54 AM
I usually tell parishioners that we celebrate "two Christmasses."
One involves the secular hoopla. It's fun; you can't avoid it; it begins the day before Thanksgiving and it is packed with all that "stuff" that ranges from office parties, through shopping sprees, winter carnivals, store decorations, "Christmas specials" on television, etc. etc.
The other involves a pious Advent, the eucharist on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, carols sung by people who believe the words they sing, the festivals of St. Stephen, St. John and Holy Innocents, and the days leading up to Epiphany.
Title: "Calculating Christmas"
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 23, 2009, 02:41:13 AM

Christians were syncretic when they adopted the pagan holiday to the sun-god as the day to celebrate the nativity of our Lord.

Dr. William Tighe, Associate Professor of History at Muhlenberg College, begs to differ in his article, "Calculating Christmas (http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=16-10-012-v)."

He begins,
Quote
Many Christians think that Christians celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25th because the church fathers appropriated the date of a pagan festival. Almost no one minds, except for a few groups on the fringes of American Evangelicalism, who seem to think that this makes Christmas itself a pagan festival. But it is perhaps interesting to know that the choice of December 25th is the result of attempts among the earliest Christians to figure out the date of Jesus’ birth based on calendrical calculations that had nothing to do with pagan festivals.

Rather, the pagan festival of the “Birth of the Unconquered Son” instituted by the Roman Emperor Aurelian on 25 December 274, was almost certainly an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Roman Christians. Thus the “pagan origins of Christmas” is a myth without historical substance.

Read the rest here. (http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=16-10-012-v)

spt+
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 23, 2009, 03:10:53 AM
Amazing dynamic here.
The dust-up over how Dec. 25 got to be Christmas - an essentially no-big-deal issue - took off and flew higher than it should.
Why?
Because Pastor Stoffregen was the one who mentioned it.
If Pastor Stoffregen says "Good morning!" to someone; does that automatically mean it's a lousy day?
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: J. Eriksson on November 23, 2009, 06:33:36 AM
Few comments:

The stores here were playing "We wish you a Merry Christmas" the day after Halloween.   You have it lucky they hold off to Thanksgiving.
Charles your  post about 2 Christmasses was pretty good.
People have always commercialized something that is important to the 'psyche' of their culture... witness the religious trinkets dug up at temples in Greece etc.   I will worry when Christmas is NOT commercialized.
The Emperor of Japan who is the 'sun-god' has his official birthday on the winter solstice and the current occupant of the Throne has his real birthday on Dec 22.   I contend that at the height of the emperor cult approximately  70 years ago,...the Imperial Household bureaucracy fudged the day they reported he was born on.

I don't care how many pagan festivals or festivals to the god of money were/are celebrated around the winter solstice.  Like all of you, I WILL celebrate the birth of the Lord of Light, the Son of Righteousness, the Prince of Peace on December 25th.  I consider it impossible not to celebrate the coming of the one who is the Light of the World, who came to redeem humanity from the 'perennial constant seasonal effective disorder of the soul on or about the shortest day of the year. 

Cheers to the historic Collects and other Propers for Advent and Christmas,

Best to all
JamesinJapan
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on November 23, 2009, 06:37:41 AM
The interesting thing about the interesting article by Tighe is that it has no footnotes.  This a recent tendency (which I cannot footnote), to assert things without showing their sources.  (not that I necessarily doubt what is posturalted or could serious persue the citations) but someone should or be given the opportunity to test veracity....  and of course this is of less weight than many of things put forward as biblical background, isogogics, interpretation and so forth.    Harvey Mozolak
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: George Erdner on November 23, 2009, 09:13:21 AM
Amazing dynamic here.
The dust-up over how Dec. 25 got to be Christmas - an essentially no-big-deal issue - took off and flew higher than it should.
Why?
Because Pastor Stoffregen was the one who mentioned it.
If Pastor Stoffregen says "Good morning!" to someone; does that automatically mean it's a lousy day?

You've just described how you respond to my posts, though Pastor Johnson will no doubt delete this one as soon as he sees it.
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: James Gustafson on November 23, 2009, 10:04:44 AM
Since the Julian Calender and almost fifty years before the birth of Christ, the winter solstice did fall on December 25.  The difference between the calendar year and the solar year moved the actual solstice forward about three days every four hundred years when in the sixteenth century Pope Gregory XIII corrected the calendar, giving us our modern winter solstice to the 21st or the 22nd of December.

They got the date wrong…. LOL  ::) :P

From the Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, under "Worship (Seasons)"

In Rome, Emperor Aurelian (A.D. 270-275) had fixed December 25 (the winter solstice according to the astronomical calculations of that time) as the feast of the sun-god. By the time of the conversion of Constantine the day was no longer identified with the birth of the day star but with the Sun of Righteousness. Scholars claim that the date of December 25 is connected with the erection by Constantine of a basilica around the tomb monument of St. Peter at the site of the sanctuary of Mithras, the Persian sun-god.

From A Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship, under "Christmas"

In Egypt in 1996 B.C. the calendar recorded the winter solstice as being on January 6, but by the time Alexandria was founded in 331 B.C. the inaccuracy of the calendar meant that the solstice was on December 25. The dates of the Christian festivals of Christmas and Epiphany are both linked with the winter solstice, transmuting celebrations of the pagan world. It is at Rome in the early fourth century that we find the first evidence for Christmas. In the year 274, the emperor Aurelian introduced in the imperial capital the festival of the Invincible Sun. Natalis Solis Invicti, on December 25. At some point before 336, the church must have established on this date the commemoration of the incarnation, the birth of the Sun of Righteousness.

I haven't seen you quote any resources with your view.

How exactly is my view different than those dates?  I was laughing about saying they got the solstice wrong, those articles do not say they got the solstice wrong.  The solstice by their calender was Dec. 25th, our calender corrects the leap year problem and moved the solstice to the modern day 21st and 22nd. (i.e., solstice stayed with the solar calander and the holiday moved with the gregorian calander so now they are not on the same day anymore).  

You know, perhaps that's why you have a such a large response of people debating your position, you end up fighting even those that are on your side.  Perhaps you should go back and read my statement and precisely find exactly what it is that you disagreed with.  Your summary of their position was incorrect, I took your word for what they said, it turns out that they didn't say what you said they said.  They said what I said: (the winter solstice according to the astronomical calculations of that time) and the inaccuracy of the calendar meant that the solstice was on December 25, they didn't "Get the date of the solstice wrong" the solstice was on Dec. 25, like I said.
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 23, 2009, 10:09:38 AM
Mr. Erdner asks:
Is anyone aware of any day out of all 365 that wasn't celebrated as a holiday by some culture or civilization at some time in history?

I respond:
May 17.
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Erme Wolf on November 23, 2009, 10:22:53 AM
Mr. Erdner asks:
Is anyone aware of any day out of all 365 that wasn't celebrated as a holiday by some culture or civilization at some time in history?

I respond:
May 17.

The Sons of Norway will be calling on you.
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: GoCubsGo on November 23, 2009, 10:48:24 AM
Amazing dynamic here.
The dust-up over how Dec. 25 got to be Christmas - an essentially no-big-deal issue - took off and flew higher than it should.
Why?
Because Pastor Stoffregen was the one who mentioned it.
If Pastor Stoffregen says "Good morning!" to someone; does that automatically mean it's a lousy day?

It depends.  Did he say it in Greek?  What was the theological intent of the greeting in the ancient Greek?  How was "Good morning" said in other places in the New or Old Testament?  Given Brian's penchant for over-analyzation and the "hermenuetic of suspicion" one must be very careful to take what he says not at face value.  Who knows he may simply be qouting a book, the ELCA constitution or the PB and not at all expressing his own "good morning." ;D

Now please return to worshipping the Sun god everyone and stop trying to argue that there is any "war" on Christmas. :-X
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 23, 2009, 11:26:27 AM
Amazing dynamic here.
The dust-up over how Dec. 25 got to be Christmas - an essentially no-big-deal issue - took off and flew higher than it should.
Why?
Because Pastor Stoffregen was the one who mentioned it.
If Pastor Stoffregen says "Good morning!" to someone; does that automatically mean it's a lousy day?

You've just described how you respond to my posts, though Pastor Johnson will no doubt delete this one as soon as he sees it.


Let's see. . . considering. . . considering. It does violate the instruction to him not to respond to Austin's posts, which may merit removal . . . but on the other hand, he's essentially right in what he has said, and he has said it without using any vulgarities, untasteful expressions, or slanderous remarks . . . Oh, OK, I'll leave it.  ;D
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 23, 2009, 11:29:09 AM
Mr. Erdner asks:
Is anyone aware of any day out of all 365 that wasn't celebrated as a holiday by some culture or civilization at some time in history?

I respond:
May 17.

Excuse me? Even I, without a drop of Norwegian blood, know that is Syttende Mai, Norwegian constitution day. You, sir, are an ignorant or malicious Swede, slandering one of the most important days of the year! For shame!  ;D
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Mike Bennett on November 23, 2009, 11:32:37 AM
I usually tell parishioners that we celebrate "two Christmasses."
One involves the secular hoopla. It's fun; you can't avoid it; it begins the day before Thanksgiving

I can tell Charles is roughly my age.  That's when secular Christmas used to begin (although I was thinking it was the day after, not the day before).  Now it begins sometime before Halloween.

Mike Bennett
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Gary Hatcher on November 23, 2009, 11:39:09 AM
Mr. Erdner asks:
Is anyone aware of any day out of all 365 that wasn't celebrated as a holiday by some culture or civilization at some time in history?

I respond:
May 17.

Excuse me? Even I, without a drop of Norwegian blood, know that is Syttende Mai, Norwegian constitution day. You, sir, are an ignorant or malicious Swede, slandering one of the most important days of the year! For shame!  ;D
We (the Swedes) have regarded it as the day that we graciously let the Norwegians begin to govern themselves.  ;D
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 23, 2009, 11:44:08 AM
Mr. Erdner asks: Is anyone aware of any day out of all 365 that wasn't celebrated as a holiday by some culture or civilization at some time in history?

I respond: May 17.

Excuse me? Even I, without a drop of Norwegian blood, know that is Syttende Mai, Norwegian constitution day. You, sir, are an ignorant or malicious Swede, slandering one of the most important days of the year! For shame!  ;D

Yes, Dick, but do you celebrate it.  And, are Norwegians a culture or civilization?
 ;)

Frid och allt gott, fader Steven
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Lutheranistic on November 23, 2009, 11:55:07 AM
I usually tell parishioners that we celebrate "two Christmasses."
One involves the secular hoopla. It's fun; you can't avoid it; it begins the day before Thanksgiving

I can tell Charles is roughly my age.  That's when secular Christmas used to begin (although I was thinking it was the day after, not the day before).  Now it begins sometime before Halloween.

Mike Bennett

Well, that and the use of the word "hoopla".
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: James_Gale on November 23, 2009, 11:56:53 AM
Mr. Erdner asks: Is anyone aware of any day out of all 365 that wasn't celebrated as a holiday by some culture or civilization at some time in history?

I respond: May 17.

Excuse me? Even I, without a drop of Norwegian blood, know that is Syttende Mai, Norwegian constitution day. You, sir, are an ignorant or malicious Swede, slandering one of the most important days of the year! For shame!  ;D

Yes, Dick, but do you celebrate it.  And, are Norwegians a culture or civilization?
 ;)

Frid och allt gott, fader Steven


As a person of German and English descent who grew up in the Swedish Church, I have frequently wondered out loud to my Scandinavian friends whether there is any real difference between a Swede and a Norwegian.  After all, both groups eat that rancid fish thing at Christmas time.  
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Mike Bennett on November 23, 2009, 11:58:13 AM
I usually tell parishioners that we celebrate "two Christmasses."
One involves the secular hoopla. It's fun; you can't avoid it; it begins the day before Thanksgiving

I can tell Charles is roughly my age.  That's when secular Christmas used to begin (although I was thinking it was the day after, not the day before).  Now it begins sometime before Halloween.

Mike Bennett

Well, that and the use of the word "hoopla".

OK, young 'un.  You and your chums have a bang-up time, cut a rug and paint the town red!. ;D

Grampa Mike
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 23, 2009, 12:02:19 PM
Since the Julian Calender and almost fifty years before the birth of Christ, the winter solstice did fall on December 25.  The difference between the calendar year and the solar year moved the actual solstice forward about three days every four hundred years when in the sixteenth century Pope Gregory XIII corrected the calendar, giving us our modern winter solstice to the 21st or the 22nd of December.

They got the date wrong…. LOL  ::) :P

From the Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, under "Worship (Seasons)"

In Rome, Emperor Aurelian (A.D. 270-275) had fixed December 25 (the winter solstice according to the astronomical calculations of that time) as the feast of the sun-god. By the time of the conversion of Constantine the day was no longer identified with the birth of the day star but with the Sun of Righteousness. Scholars claim that the date of December 25 is connected with the erection by Constantine of a basilica around the tomb monument of St. Peter at the site of the sanctuary of Mithras, the Persian sun-god.

From A Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship, under "Christmas"

In Egypt in 1996 B.C. the calendar recorded the winter solstice as being on January 6, but by the time Alexandria was founded in 331 B.C. the inaccuracy of the calendar meant that the solstice was on December 25. The dates of the Christian festivals of Christmas and Epiphany are both linked with the winter solstice, transmuting celebrations of the pagan world. It is at Rome in the early fourth century that we find the first evidence for Christmas. In the year 274, the emperor Aurelian introduced in the imperial capital the festival of the Invincible Sun. Natalis Solis Invicti, on December 25. At some point before 336, the church must have established on this date the commemoration of the incarnation, the birth of the Sun of Righteousness.

I haven't seen you quote any resources with your view.

How exactly is my view different than those dates?  I was laughing about saying they got the solstice wrong, those articles do not say they got the solstice wrong.  The solstice by their calender was Dec. 25th, our calender corrects the leap year problem and moved the solstice to the modern day 21st and 22nd. (i.e., solstice stayed with the solar calander and the holiday moved with the gregorian calander so now they are not on the same day anymore).  

You know, perhaps that's why you have a such a large response of people debating your position, you end up fighting even those that are on your side.  Perhaps you should go back and read my statement and precisely find exactly what it is that you disagreed with.  Your summary of their position was incorrect, I took your word for what they said, it turns out that they didn't say what you said they said.  They said what I said: (the winter solstice according to the astronomical calculations of that time) and the inaccuracy of the calendar meant that the solstice was on December 25, they didn't "Get the date of the solstice wrong" the solstice was on Dec. 25, like I said.

The phrases in the quotes: (the winter solstice according to the astronomical calculations of that time) and the inaccuracy of the calendar indicate to me that according to the astronomical calculations of our time, and the accuracy of our calendar, they were wrong. Perhaps  you understand those phrases differently.

I note that Festivals and Commemorations by Philip Pfatteicher, he states: Both Christmas and Epiphany are related to pagan solstice festivals (p. 34). However, in the newer New Book of Festivals and Commemorations, he states: Older studies suggested that both Christmas and Epiphany are related to pagan solstice festivals," but later he writes: "Careful study of the sources, however, fails to establish a close relationship between any pagan festivals and the epiphany, and in the later twentieth century another hypothesis was developed based on the relationship between the date of Jesus' death and conception and birth.... Because Christian devotion understood Jesus' perfect life to have begun and ended on the same date, the beginning of the Incarnation, his conception, was thought to have taken place on what was also to be date of his crucifixion, April 6. His birth therefore would have been exactly nine months later, January 6. (pp. 16-17)

However, in the same book, he also writes about "The Nativity of Our Lord". (He doesn't in the earlier book.):

According to the older "history of religious hypothesis," the celebration of December 25 was introduced to replace the pagan festival of the Unconquered Sun, Natale Solis Invicti, which the Roman emperor Aurelian, to unite and strengthen his empire, had established throughout the empire in 274 in honor of the Syrian sun-god of Emesa and which he ordered to be kept on December 25, a celebration of the winter solstice. The Church of Rome, according to this hypothesis, remembering biblical passages such as Malachi 4:2, which speaks of the "sun of righteousness," and John 8:12, in which Jesus refers to himself as "the Light of the world," introduced into its worship the celebration of the birthday of the true Sun, which  knows no setting. Such Christ-as-sun symbolism was deeply embedded in Christian consciousness.

During the twentieth century, another explanation developed, the "calculation hypothesis." From the third century Christians had attempted to calculate the date of Jesus' birth. Human life, it was thought, ought to begin and end on the same date to form a compete and perfect cycle. Because Jesus, above all others, lived a perfect life, the day of his death must also be the date of his conception. According to a variety of calculations, March 25 was widely held to be the date of Jesus' crucifixion, and therefore it ought also to be the date of his conception. His birth, exactly nine months later, took place on December 25. (The Eastern Churches, which fixed the date of the conception and crucifixion on April 6, kept the Nativity festival exactly nine months later, January 6.) (p. 623)

So, there are two hypotheses about the date of the Nativity of the Lord -- and two different dates.

In regards to syncretism, Pfatteicher also writes: Pre-Christmas symbols have easily been incorporated into the Christmas celebration. Evergreen trees and holly tell of life that endured the cold and darkness of winter. Lights and fires were common to encourage the rebirth of the sun. (p. 624)

He also notes: In America the celebration of Christmas was largely  a nineteenth-century creation. Puritan influence suppressed the observance of Chrsitmas in New England and elsewhere. In 1847 no New England college had a Christmas holiday. Early in the nineteenth century a master at Boston Latin School on Christmas Day asked his class whether any students knew what day it was; no one knew. Not until 1836 did the first state, Alabama, declare Christmas a holiday; during the Civil War, thirteen states made Christmas an official holiday. (p. 623)

He suggests for further reading
Coffin, Tristram P. The Book of Christmas Folklore. New York: Seabury, 1973
Kelly, Joseph F. The Origins of Christmas. Collegeville: Liturgical, 2005
Studwell, William E. Christmas Carols: A Reference Guide. New York: Garland, 1984
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Lutheranistic on November 23, 2009, 12:13:08 PM

OK, young 'un.  You and your chums have a bang-up time, cut a rug and paint the town red!. ;D

Grampa Mike

Just what I had planned, Grampa Mike...right after I finish my new issue of the AARP magazine  ;)
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Iowegian on November 23, 2009, 12:13:53 PM
Mr. Erdner asks:
Is anyone aware of any day out of all 365 that wasn't celebrated as a holiday by some culture or civilization at some time in history?

I respond:
May 17.

Excuse me? Even I, without a drop of Norwegian blood, know that is Syttende Mai, Norwegian constitution day. You, sir, are an ignorant or malicious Swede, slandering one of the most important days of the year! For shame!  ;D
We (the Swedes) have regarded it as the day that we graciously let the Norwegians begin to govern themselves.  ;D

... and not even that, you bozos.  ;-)
Title: Re: "Calculating Christmas"
Post by: revjagow on November 23, 2009, 12:26:34 PM

Christians were syncretic when they adopted the pagan holiday to the sun-god as the day to celebrate the nativity of our Lord.

Dr. William Tighe, Associate Professor of History at Muhlenberg College, begs to differ in his article, "Calculating Christmas (http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=16-10-012-v)."

He begins,
Quote
Many Christians think that Christians celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25th because the church fathers appropriated the date of a pagan festival. Almost no one minds, except for a few groups on the fringes of American Evangelicalism, who seem to think that this makes Christmas itself a pagan festival. But it is perhaps interesting to know that the choice of December 25th is the result of attempts among the earliest Christians to figure out the date of Jesus’ birth based on calendrical calculations that had nothing to do with pagan festivals.

Rather, the pagan festival of the “Birth of the Unconquered Son” instituted by the Roman Emperor Aurelian on 25 December 274, was almost certainly an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Roman Christians. Thus the “pagan origins of Christmas” is a myth without historical substance.

Read the rest here. (http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=16-10-012-v)

spt+

Excellent article, Steven.  Thank you!
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: James Gustafson on November 23, 2009, 01:12:33 PM
The phrases in the quotes: (the winter solstice according to the astronomical calculations of that time) and the inaccuracy of the calendar indicate to me that according to the astronomical calculations of our time, and the accuracy of our calendar, they were wrong. Perhaps  you understand those phrases differently.

I trimmed your quote down to just the discussion you had with me, I have not addressed the reason for December 25 so I'll not address those and leave it to others to argue.  

I only pointed out that you said the articles stated that the Romans got the the solstice wrong, but the Romans DID know when the solar solstice was.  The astronomical calculations of the solar calender of our time are not different than their time, the name of the date on the proverbial wall calender changed.  We have changed the wall calender, the wall calender we use is more correct than theirs was.  When we changed the calender, Christmas stayed with Dec. 25, but the solar calender of the astronomical calculations refused to recognize the authority of Gregory to change the calender and stubbornly kept the winter solstice right where it had always been, so now the winter solstice falls on what we call  Dec 21st or Dec. 22nd, depending on which year it is.

The Romans could very well determine, accurately, when the solar calender's winter solstice occurred, and your articles said the same thing I said.
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 23, 2009, 01:19:33 PM

Yes, Dick, but do you celebrate it.  And, are Norwegians a culture or civilization?
 ;)

Frid och allt gott, fader Steven


Well as a Swede, of course I celebrate cutting the Norskes loose.

Besides, my wife is one.  ;D
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 23, 2009, 03:13:24 PM
I had my own reasons for picking that date, one of them being a desire to see just how much dust would be stirred up by the stomping of Scandinavian feet.

(Fading away now, happily singing Nu är det jul igen.)

Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 23, 2009, 03:18:28 PM
I had my own reasons for picking that date, one of them being a desire to see just how much dust would be stirred up by the stomping of Scandinavian feet.

In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion Wikipedia
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 23, 2009, 03:22:01 PM
I had my own reasons for picking that date, one of them being a desire to see just how much dust would be stirred up by the stomping of Scandinavian feet.

In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion Wikipedia

I just can't stand it when people quote from Wikipedia. It's such an unreliable source that only bozos who won't take the time to do research for themselves are the ones who use it -- and then inflict the rest of us with the garbage from that website.

Is that kind of what happens when someone gets hooked by a troll? ;D
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 23, 2009, 03:22:50 PM
In case you didn't notice, on very rare occasions, I shape-shift. It's nice today under the bridge, hearing the trip-trap trip-trap overhead.
Title: Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
Post by: Erme Wolf on November 23, 2009, 10:06:03 PM
In case you didn't notice, on very rare occasions, I shape-shift. It's nice today under the bridge, hearing the trip-trap trip-trap overhead.

But will the Norskies set out any Christmas pudding for you?   :D