Wise Words

"Wait on the Lord, be strong and of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart...wait on the Lord. Psalms 27:14


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Monday, December 04, 2006

In "Other" Words - Tuesdays at CWO

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I wonder how many of you out there were disenchanted about Christmas last year. I was chatting with some of my friends online and pretty much all of us were really disenchanted with Christmas last year. It was just not the same as in years past.

Most of us talked about how we enjoyed the giving of gifts but were less than enthused about the receiving of them and someone mentioned that maybe it was because Christmas had become so commercialized. Another mentioned that maybe it was because we know that the gifts we give and receive aren’t permanent. In terms of the eternal, they won’t last. I mentioned that I felt, well, hollow about the whole Christmas thing last year. Christmas just didn’t really ring true for me. It seemed to be lacking. Lacking what? The very essence of Christmas, the Sounds of "Merry Christmas", and Christmas songs and anything really having to do with "CHRIST". Instead it was "Happy Holidays" and "Season's Greetings". Heaven forbid that anything about this time of year should have to actually include the REAL Reason for the Season.

How many of us, who know better, have allowed ourselves to get caught up in the materialistic and let the world push Christ to the tiny corner in our lives where we pull Him out for emergencies only?

How many of us put Jesus in the back corner, last on the list or as a passing thought?

How many of us have allowed ourselves to become preoccupied with the day-to-day aspects of life instead of focusing on the Giver of life, the Creator of the universe, the very Reason for the season that we celebrate at this time of year?

So many people were trying so hard to remove any association of Christ with Christmas. Without Christ, Christmas just becomes Mas – which in Español means "more". It means nothing but greed and money and commercialization. More, more, more, gimme more! If we put the Christ back, it should mean that we want Christ More. After all that is what we should strive for every day of our lives. Wanting Christ MORE - to know Him, to love Him, to follow Him. Instead many of us who know better follow the path to materialism just like the rest of the world.

Along with the excessive greed, the removal of the birth of Jesus, the name of Christ and the true meaning of Christmas meant that a lot of schools last year didn’t have Christmas pageants b/c they couldn’t sing carols b/c most carols mention the Holy birth, baby Jesus and/or his mother Mary, the gift of God. One school in Wisconsin also changed the words to Silent Night, the most recorded song in history, but later recanted after they received such backlash across the country from it.

The original lyrics to the beloved carol are:
Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace

The replacement lyrics were:
Cold in the night, no one in sight,
Winter winds whirl and bite,
How I wish I were happy and warm,
Safe with my family out of the storm.

Many schools also had no decorations up b/c they didn’t want to “offend” anyone – anyone except for Christians that is. The same Wisconsin school that changed the words for Silent Night also had decorations for Santa Claus, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah Menorah displays and La Befana – an Italian Christmas witch who had turned her back on visiting the baby Jesus stating she was too busy, but there were no allowances made for a manger or a Christmas tree. And forget calling it a Christmas break anymore. That has the word “Christ” in there and we can’t have the children remembering what is really celebrated at Christmas...or Who. It’s called a winter break now.

How can little kids get truly excited about Christmas if there is nothing there in the schools that can be used to get them into the Christmas spirit? I remember when I was in school they had BIG Christmas trees, decorations of red and green rings in a paper chain, snowflake cutouts from the kids, a nativity set and more. Christmas was hyped up when I was in school. There was nothing shameful, wrong or offensive back then about celebrating Christmas in schools and all over as it’s meant to be celebrated.

How can adults get into the Christmas spirit if there is nothing warm and "Christmasy" about this time of year? Instead it seems to all be about who can get or give the bigger, better gift. Bragging to your co-workers, family and friends about the jewelry or the vehicle or the vacation that you received seems to be the order of the season. The bigger the better it seems. Whatever happened to the true spirit of giving of ourselves, our lives, our love, our time? Whatever happened to celebrating with the advent calendar for the kids or the Nativity scene in the front of houses? Many neighborhood associations frown on Nativity scenes now and you can get fined for having one up. How many adults even remember what an advent calendar is, much less what it is used for?

Christmas items started appearing in many stores at the end of September already this year. What happened to everything rolling out at Thanksgiving time to give children and adults alike something to really look forward to? When it becomes so commercial and it’s all about the money, Christmas starts to lose its thrill and enchantment and excitement. It almost becomes just another day instead of the celebration that it’s supposed to be.

The more we allow others to take Christ out of Christmas, the more it affects us too. The more we start looking away from Christ and celebrating Him daily, not just during the Christmas season, the less of a light we are to a world in dire need of the Light. We need to take our holiday back from the liberal secularists who want nothing to do with the meaning behind Christmas and who don’t want anyone else to celebrate, much less remember, the Higher meaning behind the celebration of the Christmas season. The birth of Jesus Christ, God coming to earth in human form to give us the hope and the gift of eternal life. To live a limited time here on earth so that we could live eternally and to die so that we wouldn’t have to.

Isaiah 9:6 is the Old Testament prophecy that was fulfilled in the birth of Jesus, and recorded in Luke 2:11.

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince Of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his Kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with Judgment and with Justice from henceforth even for ever... ~ Isaiah 9:6-7

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the LORD. ~ Luke 2:11


A piece of Christmas Trivia:

Have you ever wondered why Merry Christmas, rather than Happy Christmas is used as a Christmas greeting?

Merry Christmas is a common phrase exchanged among Christians during the holidays. The term Christmas is a translation of the Old English version – Cristes Maesse which is the Mass of Christ.

Under modern day definitions of the word “merry” means cheerful or festive. However, when the saying Merry Christmas first came about, the widely accepted meaning of the word was peaceful or blessed. Thus, wishing someone a Merry Christmas is truly wishing them a blessed or peaceful Mass of Christ.

Christmas, under that definition, is a Christian holiday set aside to celebrate the birth of Christ, the Son of God and the Savior.

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TRUTH About Religious Expression at Christmastime

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Get Your Own Magnet and Tell Others about the
REAL reason for the season.


Kim Anderson said...

Hi, Nic. Thanks for this post! I, too, and saddened and angered at what our culture is doing to this holy day. The worst fall-out in my opinion, is that so many Christians have decided there isn't anything that they want to celebrate at this time of year.

Our family is re-discovering the joys of Advent, an old church holiday season, that helps us to focus on the spiritual realities of Christ's coming - the first one, and the one we still long for. Come and see!

MiPa said...

Amazingly here in England we don't here so much of the political correctness of Christmas. But then we have the marginalization of Christians everyday. I'm focusing on the Advent with my girls and enjoying it so much. But it will be harder as they grow (and when/if we return to the States) to maintain that focus in the face of commercialism. Thank you for a thought-provoking post.

kpjara said...

Sad truth really. I am also saddened that Christians continue to stand idly by as more and more of the very roots of our nation are upended and forced out.

We will kill a bothersome giant with a stone...it seems time to take action for the God "we trust"!

lrlwreath said...

Nic, this is awesome post. I agree people tend to focus on things that can not satisfy and the world tries to take away the One Thing that does satisfy.

I loved your explanation of "Merry Christmas".

Nic...MERRY CHRISTMAS AND GOD LOVES YOU. Thank you for writing this post.

Anonymous said...

First of all let me say...I need to visit here more often rather than just on Tuesdays! Note to self - put Nic in Favorites after leaving this comment. Every year we have tried to back away from the commercialism of Christmas..getting back to the basics like live Nativities, Christmas programs, etc. is a great way to stay out of the stores. Several years ago my Christmas card list was over 100...this year I bought a box of 20. Last year we went $1,000 in debt to add the "merry" into Christmas...this year we told family and friends that we would not be exchanging gifts this year...just the kids (of which there are only three). Small changes I know, but instead of running around checking things off a to do list this morning I am going to take some quiet time to begin reading Luke. Small changes that reap enormous benefits. Thanks for participating in IWO..it gives me a chance to catch up with you.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I make sure I always write something like 'Merry or Happy Christmas' in the cards that I send.

'Happy Holidays' makes me cringe.

The Imperfect Christian said...

What a great post! You are so right! Christmas has turned into something completely opposite than the intended meaning. We all need to focus on the REAL reason for the season!

Fiddledeedee (It Coulda' Been Worse) said...

You're so right. First, God is taken out of the schools, and now Christ is removed from Christmas. Unbelievable. It's up to us, those who believe, to instill the traditions of Christmas, not the commercial ones, but the biblical version, in our children.

At A Hen's Pace said...

We are another family who is getting back to the understandings of the ancient church and celebrating the seasons of the church year. Traditionally, Christmas doesn't even begin until the 24th of December! And then it only lasts 12 days, until Epiphany.

Once when we saw neighbors with Christmas lights up before Thxgiving, I commented to my kids, "Boy, they're really jumping the gun." My boys liked that expression a lot, and now they love to point out too-early signs of Christmas with the comment, "Look, there's another one, jumping the gun!"

Anonymous said...

you know I hang my head in sadness over the state of Christmas in Canada as well... I go out of my way to say Merry christmas; because it is MY holiday;
Thanks for the great links!
and thanks for coming to my blog! My mom is here and my hubby is out of town, so time on the computer has been limited the past bit on my IOW's! Next week! I'll be up and running!

Winter said...

Nic, thanks for stopping by my blog. I've been to yours a few times, but jsut never let you know. Sissy B sent me over here when she discovered we have something in common. You have someone you love in Iraq and I too have someone there, my husband.

Christmas has lost a lot of its charm as I've gotten older. Partly because my husband's and my family would fight over who got to spend it with us--we're the only ones with grandchildren right now. I've also seen a huge trend from my in-laws with lavishing my kids with whatever they begged to have. This is still a sore spot for me, but I'll give it some time, they'll come around.

My Dh and I made it a point not to teach the kids that Santa is real. There was backlash from this, but when we explained that he wasn't the true meaning of Christmas and it's teaching our kids to lie the families backed off and took our cue and taught the kids what we wanted.

I'm so thankful my Dh is a strong leader and one who is willing to get Christ back into Christmas. I miss him dearly.

I plan to make your blog a frequent spot to visit.


Ame said...

"Christmas items started appearing in many stores at the end of September already this year."

that always disturbs me, too

eph2810 said...

Amen, Nic. We really need to take the holiday back. If truly 70% of Americans are Christians, why do 30% of the population have the bigger voice?