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The Worst Christmas Gift Givers
Townhall.com ^ | December 28, 2010 | Andrew Tallman

Posted on 12/28/2010 8:31:14 AM PST by Kaslin

"Christmas is just commercialized materialism. Nobody even thinks about Jesus anymore because all they’re doing is putting up lights, decorating some pagan tree and watching nonsense like Santa and Frosty on TV. Besides, Christmas isn’t even endorsed in the Bible. The story is in two of the Gospels, but the date isn’t given—and Jesus never tells us to celebrate it. It’s a holiday created by the Pope to broker a political deal with 4th Century pagans. And, worst of all, most people don’t even have the decency to say, ‘Merry Christmas,’ on the birthday of our Savior, instead kowtowing to political correctness with the inane, ‘Happy Holidays!’"

Christmas has a funny way of bringing out some people’s inner weirdo. And if you’ve ever heard some Christian critic of Christmas, then you’ve certainly heard something like the arguments summarized above.

So, on behalf of my fellow Christians (or at least in their stead), I’d like to apologize to the secular culture for our behavior at Christmas. We’ve been dumb and mean—and I’m sorry. Please forgive us. There’s absolutely no excuse for our behavior, precisely because it’s so completely out of line with what we actually believe.

Allow me to explain.

At Christmas, of course, we celebrate the gift God made of Himself to us in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ. In the Bible, this occasion was proclaimed by angels, celebrated by all of heaven, attended by the wealthy and the poor and induced people to poetic outbursts (Mary’s Magnificat and the Benedictus of Zacharias). It’s an event of such unique historical significance that we actually base our calendar on it. The nature of the gift was that God condescended to become human, live a perfect life and die in our place so that we could be in right relationship with Him. That’s what we Christians are celebrating.

But over time, that story and gift have been misunderstood, neglected and distorted so that the holiday is barely recognizable to those of us who cherish it. None of this is a surprise to the Giver. He knew it in advance still gave it freely. This is because God is an extremely good gift-giver. He knows that if you give a perfect gift to a widely diverse group of humans, everyone will handle it differently, especially over centuries of time.

On the other hand, most Christians in America can’t say the same thing about ourselves. Christmas has evolved. Once banned by the Puritans, for a brief time in the 20th Century it became a decent, religious holiday for most observers. But in the last 50 years or so, much of the transformation lamented above has taken place. For most Americans, Christmas is lights, trees, songsp, shopping, food, gifts and family. And this drives some of my fellow Christians nuts—because our God gave this awesome gift of Christmas and it’s been ruined by removing Jesus and replacing Him with all this other claptrap.

And so what?

Completely devoid of Christ, Christmas for millions of people is a wonderful time of the year, focused on family, fellowship and generosity. If the only things that happed every December 25th were that people sent cards, wrote e-mails and got together with loved ones for a big meal and some movies, why would that be such a bad thing? It’s far better than nothing at all, right? It’s a second Thanksgiving. And who doesn’t love Thanksgiving?

But for my critic friends (and perhaps myself in former years, I must confess), the fact that our gift has been played with and distorted has left them terribly rankled. Why? Because we’re very bad gift-givers, the sort of relative who gives a child a toy and then stands over him brooding at every little miscue in his own unique way of playing with it. “You’re not doing that right! Stop that right now! You’re ruining it! I’m going to take it back if you don’t use it the proper way!” Ah, there’s nothing quite like the joy created by the self-indulgent tyrant’s “gift.”

Everyone knows there’s something inherently contradictory about the Christian who claims to love the Prince of Peace and serve the Spirit of Joy but then runs around belittling everyone who doesn’t do things just his way. In our efforts to fight off the ACLU with our cultural pitchforks, I fear we’ve become the most alienating Grinches of all, inspiring resentment everywhere we go. Worst of all, just like good little Pharisees, we have a pattern of sitting back to bask in the afterglow of our handiwork, pleased as Pyrrhus.

Nevertheless, our God is patient with us, too. Just as He is patient with sinful non-Christians distorting His gift, He is also patient with sinful Christians reacting foolishly to that misuse. He just keeps on blessing us, in spite of our stupidity, hoping that one day we will learn to imitate Him in simply being glad to give a gift to people who might not use it exactly the right way.

So, if I may be so bold, here again is our gift to you: I hope you enjoyed this past Christmas any way you pleased. There’s much more to it than you might believe or even care about at this moment. If you ever want to know more about that, it would be a privilege to explain it to you. But in the meantime I trust you had fun, ate good food and spent time with your loved ones. My Father in heaven is just glad you’re enjoying His gift so much.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: christmas; waronchristmas

1 posted on 12/28/2010 8:31:15 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

I believe the winter solstice has been celebrated for about as long as man has been around. Ancient man would see the days grow shorter, less food, more cold, they naturally were scared and worried. They thought it was the death of the year. They celebrated so that the spring would come, the rebirth. I think it’s the same with the story of Jesus, except taken to the limit. Death of a man and His rebirth. That idea would appeal to many people, and no other religion can trump having a man come back to life.


2 posted on 12/28/2010 8:40:57 AM PST by stuartcr (When politicians politicize issues, aren't they just doing their job?)
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To: Kaslin

Bull hockey bro.

Dumb article

Don’t get his point.

Just an excuse to waste words.


3 posted on 12/28/2010 8:42:49 AM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: Kaslin

The best Christmas wrapping paper I’ve seen in quite a long time depicted Jesus on a cross adorned with lights, tinsel, and presents underneath.

Pretty much sums up my opinion on the current state of Christmas. And most other American holidays in general.


4 posted on 12/28/2010 8:52:47 AM PST by Domalais
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To: Kaslin
The secular culture has had many years to take away the joy of Christmas. We no longer see nativity displays, angels or wise men carrying gifts. Christians have been beaten down so much that the once beautiful yard displays have disappeared. Midnight Mass is still attended by many but we don't see images of people walking into the churches.
5 posted on 12/28/2010 8:53:15 AM PST by Bronzy (We Remembered In November.)
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To: Kaslin

I thought this was going to be an article about fruit cakes....


6 posted on 12/28/2010 8:58:16 AM PST by Donkey Odious (I can explain it to you. I can't understand it for you.)
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To: Kaslin; Bronzy

I liked the article, because sometimes Christians can get a little self-righteous and prissy about Christmas.

I think it’s up to the churches to make it more of a religious holiday. Don’t back down about putting up a creche in a public place, make sure your bells are playing Christmas carols, make sure your members go to Midnight Mass (or whatever its Protestant equivalent might be), etc.

But there’s still room for tinsel and feasting, and that reminds even people who aren’t Christians that something special is being commemorated and maybe (if we’re happy and joyful ourselves) makes them wonder if they could be part of it.


7 posted on 12/28/2010 8:59:27 AM PST by livius
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To: Bronzy

for 35 years now, I’ve had a creche under my Christmas tree....as did my mother when she was alive....


8 posted on 12/28/2010 9:00:08 AM PST by cherry
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To: Kaslin
Good post. I especially liked the part about Christians acting like Pharisees.

Last week I came across an article about why December 25 was chosen as the day to celebrate the birth of Christ, http://www.bib-arch.org/e-features/christmas.asp#location1

It discussed the possible connection with Saturnalia, but also states that there is another, more likely possibility. Many in the early Church thought that Christ was conceived (referred to as the Annunciation) and died on the same day, March 25. December 25 is 9 months later.

So Merry Christmas to all! We are still in the Twelve Days of Christmas> My own Pharisaical hangup is that folks celebrate and then abandon Christmas too soon. We have until Epiphany/Theophany on Jan 6.

9 posted on 12/28/2010 9:00:56 AM PST by Martin Tell (ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it)
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To: Domalais
The Christmas Nail


10 posted on 12/28/2010 9:06:12 AM PST by EBH ( Whether you eat your bread or see it vanish into a looter's stomach, is an absolute.)
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To: livius

I kinda liked the article also.

For those who sneer at Christmas because they can ‘prove’ Jesus was actually born in the spring ... well, I asked Jesus about this on December 26th, and he said.

“the truth is I wasn’t born yesterday.”


11 posted on 12/28/2010 9:08:01 AM PST by altura
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To: Martin Tell

My hangup is that my church (Episcopal) does not seem to realize that Christmas starts the day after Thanksgiving.

They refuse to sing carols until Christmas Eve.

And then Sunday, when we’re out of the mood, we got carols.

Okay, they were beautiful and kinda put me back in the mood, but ...


12 posted on 12/28/2010 9:10:18 AM PST by altura
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To: altura

One of my friends at church used to say, it’s ridiculous for Jesus to want to celebrate his birthday when we’re all so busy with Christmas.


13 posted on 12/28/2010 9:11:37 AM PST by altura
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To: altura
I was all hungup when I was Episcopalian, but everything is better since I became Orthodox.
14 posted on 12/28/2010 9:13:22 AM PST by Martin Tell (ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it)
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To: Martin Tell

Same with Anglicanism/Catholicism. It’s amazing what having a Church that understands Jesus will do for you.


15 posted on 12/28/2010 9:17:37 AM PST by BenKenobi (Rush speaks! I hear, I obey)
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To: Kaslin

I believe Eric Idle had some useful insights on this...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqfZUX5svCg


16 posted on 12/28/2010 9:22:29 AM PST by Elwood P. Doud (America, you voted for a negro socialist with an Islamic name - so why act surprised?)
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To: Kaslin
It’s a second Thanksgiving. And who doesn’t love Thanksgiving?

and The Lord has been successfully removed from there as well...

anyways, Happy Birthday Lord Jesus, each and everyday...and "Thank You for your service"...

by next year the stores will have their cheap crap blockin the isles before halloween...

17 posted on 12/28/2010 9:33:16 AM PST by Gilbo_3 (Gov is not reason; not eloquent; its force.Like fire,a dangerous servant & master. George Washington)
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To: yldstrk

Too bad it went over your head.


18 posted on 12/28/2010 10:52:07 AM PST by Jedidah
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To: altura

Hmmmm, my late mother-in-law’s Episcopal church used to do a “Lessons and Carols” service on a Sunday afternoon sometime before Christmas.


19 posted on 12/28/2010 10:52:22 AM PST by Explorer89 (And now, let the wild rumpus start!!)
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To: Gilbo_3

They put that cheap crap in the aisles before Halloween because people will buy it.

Christians could easily vote with their pocketbooks on this one.

I have refused to participate in that horrendous Black Friday thing, which has ruined Thanksgiving weekend. I will not buy anything but food during those days.

There are so many things wrong with Christmas — the commercialization, the frenzy, and, as the author points out, the history of the holiday. It’s most unlikely that Christ was born in wintertime, all scriptural hints pointing to a September birth.

Not to mention that the Gospel, defined, is the Resurrection, not the birth. But the Resurrection couldn’t have happened without the birth, so I’m fine with anything that will get people into the Word for a day or two.

But it is a man-made holiday, and increasingly messed up by man.


20 posted on 12/28/2010 10:58:25 AM PST by Jedidah
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To: Jedidah
Not to mention that the Gospel, defined, is the Resurrection, not the birth. But the Resurrection couldn’t have happened without the birth, so I’m fine with anything that will get people into the Word for a day or two.

I'll bump that...

the 'concensus' date doesnt really rub me wrong tho for the same reason...

the humility to be born into the human world, puttin the crown on hold, is amazing, to say the least...

21 posted on 12/28/2010 10:23:58 PM PST by Gilbo_3 (Gov is not reason; not eloquent; its force.Like fire,a dangerous servant & master. George Washington)
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To: yldstrk

The article was good.

Many Christians are beginning to rethink the celebration of Christmas for various reasons. Commercialism/incorrect, unverifiable date of Christ’s birth/not a Biblical holy day, etc.

The author asks that we just leave people alone and let them celebrate Christmas.

And that we not judge other Christians who DO celebrate Christmas.


22 posted on 12/28/2010 10:24:38 PM PST by Reddy (B.O. stinks)
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To: stuartcr; metmom; Quix; lastchance
I think it’s the same with the story of Jesus, except taken to the limit. Death of a man and His rebirth. That idea would appeal to many people, and no other religion can trump having a man come back to life.

Do you believe that Jesus was God incarnate, and died to pay for our sins and rose to grant us eternal life?

A simple "Yes" or "No" is sufficient.

23 posted on 12/28/2010 10:30:44 PM PST by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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To: Grizzled Bear

ABSOLUTELY YES INDEEDY.


24 posted on 12/29/2010 3:43:57 AM PST by Quix (Times are a changin' INSURE you have believed in your heart & confessed Jesus as Lord Come NtheFlesh)
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To: Kaslin; Grizzled Bear

HOWEVER . . . Nevertheless . . .

I still greatly enjoyed walking down Taipei streets . . .

and even attending events in Mainland China . . .

and hearing prcious carols glorifying THE PRINCE OF PEACE and His condescension of coming for me.


25 posted on 12/29/2010 3:50:06 AM PST by Quix (Times are a changin' INSURE you have believed in your heart & confessed Jesus as Lord Come NtheFlesh)
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To: Grizzled Bear

With my entire being. Jesus is the Truth that all other truths must be measured against. Even facts fail if they do not reflect the great Truth of Jesus is Lord.


26 posted on 12/29/2010 7:56:54 AM PST by lastchance (Hug your babies.)
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To: Grizzled Bear

No.


27 posted on 12/29/2010 10:29:36 AM PST by stuartcr (When politicians politicize issues, aren't they just doing their job?)
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To: stuartcr

Thank you for your candor. If Jesus is not who he said he is, who is he?


28 posted on 12/29/2010 10:33:58 AM PST by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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To: Grizzled Bear

You asked for a simple yes or no, so I answered. This should answer your last.

It would be more accurate for me to have said the following though;

I do not know if Jesus was/is God incarnate-
I do not know if any sins are paid for by His death-
I do not believe a man has risen from the dead-

I will add that I believe God made us each the way He wants us, including our religious beliefs. I believe He has a plan for all and everyone, and that His will is done, regardless of how it looks to us humans.


29 posted on 12/29/2010 8:52:39 PM PST by stuartcr (When politicians politicize issues, aren't they just doing their job?)
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