Winning Culture Wars: Putting Jesus Christ back in Christmas

Winning Culture Wars:

Putting Jesus Christ back in Christmas

About a decade ago, many stores and businesses began quietly dropping the word “Christmas” from advertisements, store decorations and the employee lexicon. AFA and others began to notice.

Of course, it was entirely possible that many business people were motivated more by a desire not to offend those who do not celebrate Christmas, rather than an impulse to expel religion from the public realm. In fact, that was the reason most companies gave for dropping references to Christmas.

AFA didn’t buy that explanation, however. For one thing, the vast majority of people in America celebrate Christmas. In 2010, the trade magazine Ad Age cited a National Retail Federation survey that found that 91% of consumers were planning Christmas festivities.

Moreover, no one really seemed to mind the Christmas trees, Nativity scenes or retail well-wishers who said, “Merry Christmas.” Very few customers complained that a store was selling “Christmas trees” rather than the ludicrously named “holiday trees” that some stores were selling in the parking lot.

Ellen Davis, a vice president at NRF, told Ad Age that in 2009 retailers began returning to the emphasis on Christmas. The result? “[T]here wasn’t much push back,” she said. “There wasn’t a huge outcry from groups offended that retailers were saying Merry Christmas.”

Following the actions of AFA and others, the tide is turning back. Randy Sharp, director of special projects for AFA and spearhead of the ministry’s Naughty-Or-Nice campaigns, said over the past decade “our research shows 80-90% of companies have again embraced Christmas.”

He said, “We’ve had a complete flip in perspective. Companies are beginning to see that people who buy from retailers at Christmastime don’t think there’s anything wrong with everyone being open and honest about why that’s happening.”

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Christmas History Facts, Santa Claus, and St. Nicholas

Christmas History Facts, Santa Claus, and St Nicholas

The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus’ words to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor,” Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.st-nicholas

Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals—murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance, said to have healing powers, fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day, December 6th (December 19 on the Julian Calendar).

Through the centuries many stories and legends have been told of St. Nicholas’ life and deeds. These accounts help us understand his extraordinary character and why he is so beloved and revered as protector and helper of those in need.

Origin of setting out stockings

saint-nicholas-childrenOne story tells of a poor man with three daughters. In those days a young woman’s father had to offer prospective husbands something of value—a dowry. The larger the dowry, the better the chance that a young woman would find a good husband. Without a dowry, a woman was unlikely to marry. This poor man’s daughters, without dowries, were therefore destined to be sold into slavery. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home-providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. And so St. Nicholas is a gift-giver.

One of the oldest stories showing St. Nicholas as a protector of children takes place long after his death. The townspeople of Myra were celebrating the good saint on the eve of his feast day when a band of Arab pirates from Crete came into the district. They stole treasures from the Church of Saint Nicholas to take away as booty. As they were leaving town, they snatched a young boy, Basilios, to make into a slave. The emir, or ruler, selected Basilios to be his personal cupbearer, as not knowing the language, Basilios would not understand what the king said to those around him. So, for the next year Basilios waited on the king, bringing his wine in a beautiful golden cup. For Basilios’ parents, devastated at the loss of their only child, the year passed slowly, filled with grief. As the next St. Nicholas’ feast day approached, Basilios’ mother would not join in the festivity, as it was now a day of tragedy. However, she was persuaded to have a simple observance at home—with quiet prayers for Basilios’ safekeeping. Meanwhile, as Basilios was fulfilling his tasks serving the emir, he was suddenly whisked up and away. St. Nicholas appeared to the terrified boy, blessed him, and set him down at his home back in Myra. Imagine the joy and wonderment when Basilios amazingly appeared before his parents, still holding the king’s golden cup. This is the first story told of St. Nicholas protecting children—which became his primary role in the West.

Christmas Stories: Gift of the Magi and the Savior Jesus Christ

Christmas Stories:

Gift of the Magi and the Savior Jesus Christ

Of sacrifice and the Savior

Alex Mac Farland

gift-of-magi-christmas-hairchain2December 2016 – As I was growing up in Greensboro, North Carolina, my grade school education included learning about one of the town’s more famous past residents, William Sydney Porter. Perhaps you’ve heard of his pseudonym, “O. Henry.” Porter (1862-1910) left employment in his family’s drug store to establish himself as a writer.

He is best remembered for crafting “The Gift of the Magi,” one of America’s best loved short stories. The story has captivated readers around the globe. A young husband and wife are deeply in love but financially poor. Yet each secretly sacrifices greatly in order to buy the other an extravagant Christmas gift – combs for her hair and a chain for his pocket watch. Their sacrifices provide the irony that climaxes this tender Christmas classic.

Their actions certainly demonstrate sacrificial love, but as a child, I was frustrated by it. It was years before I understood the ultimate act of sacrificial love on which O. Henry’s story was based.

The Old Testament book of Isaiah points to the coming Savior in a number of key passages. Isaiah famously speaks of the one who would someday be “led like a Lamb to slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7), and “by Whose stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5, 1 Peter 2:24). Writing around 750 BC, Isaiah prophesied events from the Savior’s time on earth that we would later read about in the Gospels: He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:34). The Messiah would be God incarnate (Isaiah 9:6, Mark 14:61, John 10:30-33). He would be beaten beyond recognition before being put to death on the cross (Isaiah 52:14, Matthew 27:26-31).

Jesus-gethsemane-Greatest-of-All-Del-Parson-211887Here is where the facts about Christmas might seem to be as hard to reconcile as the ending of an O. Henry tale. Clearly, the Father loves and cherishes His unique and only Son, Jesus. So much so that when Christ was suffering for the sins of the world and dying on the Cross, the Father looked away. Though no one fully understands how, for the first and only time in all of eternity, the Father and the Son were separated. As Christ’s horrific betrayal, woundings, and death culminated, it is a wonder that the wrath of God didn’t erupt onto the entire globe.

The irony is that Isaiah 53:10 says, “It pleased the Father to bruise Him” (literally, “to crush Him”). How can this be? How could God possibly have been pleased with the vicious execution of the One called “His beloved Son”? How could the hateful and brutal treatment of Jesus been pleasing to the Father?

jesus-rock1The wording of Isaiah and similar passages such as John 3:16 show the compassionate heart of the Father: If it means that you would be saved – restored in this life and saved from hell in the next – the Father’s heart in Isaiah 53:10 is essentially saying to all of us, “I did all of this because I love you.”

Unlike the best human writers, God leaves no holes in the plotline of His amazing drama! Think of it: In Jesus’s coming to earth, the Author wrote Himself into the play. And He invites you, through faith in Christ, to enter into the story. Christ’s presence in the Bible and His work through history truly are the greatest story ever told. In love, God sent His Son. In love, the Son died and arose. And in love, we meet Jesus personally.

What makes this more than just a great story is the element no other author could include: The cliffhanger story of Jesus happens also to be…reality.

Alex McFarland is co-host of Exploring the Word heard daily on American Family Radio. He is author of 17 books, and speaks regularly around the U.S. Learn more at alexmcfarland.com and purchase his books at afastore.net.
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Read “The Gift of the Magi” at https://americanenglish.state.gov

Judeo-Christian Culture: White House Christmas Tree Lighting—President Trump Honors Jesus Christ, Importance of Family

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Merry Christmas!

White House Christmas Tree Lighting—President Trump Honors Jesus Christ, Importance of Family

President Donald Trump Lights National Christmas Tree: “The birth of Jesus Christ and the story of his life forever changed the course of human history.”

Onan Coca

President Trump delivered an amazing speech earlier this week when he and the First Lady lit the National Christmas Tree and welcomed in the Christmas season.

“The Christmas Story begins 2,000 years ago with a mother, a father, their baby son, and the most extraordinary gift of all—the gift of God’s love for all of humanity,” the President said. “Whatever our beliefs, we know that the birth of Jesus Christ and the story of his life forever changed the course of human history.”

From the White House:

Throughout the years, the Christmas tree lighting tradition has withstood the test of time and served as a symbol of hope through moments of hardship. In 1945, President Harry Truman delivered a Christmas message of optimism during a time consumed by the despair of World War II.

“This is the Christmas that a war-weary world has prayed for through long and awful years,” said Truman. “With peace come joy and gladness. The gloom of the war years fades as once more we light the National Community Christmas Tree.”

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Judeo-Christian Culture vs. Multiculturalism—Western Values Win

Culture Wars: Judeo-Christian Culture vs. Multiculturalism—Western Values Win Christmas Message: Christmas Is About Jesus Christ by C.A. Davidson CHRISTMAS IS NOT multi-cultural. Christmas is unique to Biblical Culture, for without Christ, there would be no Christmas. It is called Western … Continue reading

Judeo-Christian Culture: Moral Support for Nativity Scenes

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Moral Support for Nativity Scenes

Anonymous donor behind campaign to install Nativity scenes nationwide

‘It is critical that Christians proclaim the Gospel message to their fellow citizens’

Bob Unruh

An anonymous donor has joined with the activist group American Nativity Scene and the Thomas More Society in a campaign to provide free Nativity scenes to display at or near statehouses across the nation.

The organizers say now is the time to prepare for the displays because of the process required to obtain permission.

“Indeed, these are for Christmastime display, but October is the time of year to start finalizing plans for a privately funded Christmas display as is legally allowed in traditional public forums such as state capitols, county complexes or city hall lawns,” explained Ed O’Malley, president of American Nativity Scene.

“We are giving away free Nativity scenes. It’s not really a Halloween treat, but it’s definitely not a trick. We are seriously committed to our goal of keeping Christ in Christmas.”

Tom Brejcha, the Thomas More Society president, said atheist groups “may mock our message, but we will not be silent as it is critical that Christians proclaim the Gospel message to their fellow citizens.”

 

http://www.wnd.com/2017/10/anonymous-donor-behind-campaign-to-install-nativity-scenes-nationwide/

Judeo-Christian Culture: Christmas Quotes about Jesus Christ

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Christmas Quotes about Jesus Christ

Theme Quotes for December: Christmas is about Jesus Christ

Without Jesus Christ, there would be no Christmas. He is the Reason for the Season.

Wise men still follow Him.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come; Let earth receive her King! Let every heart prepare him room. ~Isaac Watts

Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful, joyful and triumphant! Come and behold him, born the King of angels; Oh, come let us adore him; Christ the Lord. ~John F. Wade

Jesus Christ is the Gift from God. For God so loved the world, He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him may not perish but have everlasting life. ~John 3:16

I challenge you to …return to [your] Christian faith and to the strong religious foundation that is so essential for peace of mind and real happiness. ~L. Tom Perry

Sometimes the most precious and sacred things are right in front of us, in plain sight, but we cannot or will not see them …I promise that if we unclutter our lives a little bit and in sincerity and humility seek the pure and gentle Christ with our hearts, we will see Him, we will find Him—on Christmas and throughout the year. ~Dieter F. Uchtdorf

At the meridian of time, in a place so obscure and humble that it was overlooked by the wise and mighty of the world, our Redeemer was born. If this same small, innocuous event occurred in our time, we might well wonder if our own eyes would know what to look for; if we would see our Friend, and open the doors of our souls. ~C.A. Davidson

History Facts: The Truth about Thanksgiving

History Facts:

The Truth about Thanksgiving

Success of Pilgrims due to Free Market, Not Indian Charity

Rush Limbaugh

The great Pilgrim migration occurred because of the overwhelming success at growing their community. The word of what the Pilgrims had done spread — I mean, there are ships going back and forth, New World to England and Europe all the time, and word spread of this newfound prosperity, of this New World, of the new opportunities, of the religious freedom and other freedoms that had been created after the arrival of the Pilgrims.

Had none of that happened, had the real story of Thanksgiving been that the Pilgrims were a decrepit bunch, out of place and didn’t know how to take care of themselves and if it weren’t for the Indians they would have died, there would have been no reason for anybody to follow ’em. It would have been judged a failure. But it was anything but. And it’s it is not taught today.

But the fact of the matter is that the Pilgrims — they were not ideologues. It wasn’t that somebody said, “We’re gonna try socialism.” It’s just the way they set it up. They wanted to be fair with everything. It was a natural thing. “We’ll have a common store. Everybody has one share, and everything we do and make goes into that bank, and everybody gets an equal percentage of it.” Well, human nature interceded, and there were some lazy people that didn’t do anything, they don’t have to, they were entitled to an equal share no matter what they did.

That didn’t work very long. They set up free enterprise where the fruits of your labor determined what you got, what you had, and what you’re able to do. And it formed the basis of forming the basic arrangements they had as a community. Well, it was so successful, and that’s what they gave thanks for.

These were deeply religious people. They were giving thanks for having been shown the light, and the word spread, and that began the Great Puritan Migration, and that’s when the flood of European arrivals began, after the success of the original Plymouth colony.

What’s the Truth About the First Thanksgiving?

Michael Medved

Rewritten History

“Food, football, and…oppression. That’s what Thanksgiving has come to mean to many Americans.

Back in 2007, Seattle public school officials made national news by describing the holiday as a “time of mourning” and a “bitter reminder of 500 years of betrayal.”

This new narrative describes the Pilgrims as arrogant oppressors who fled persecution only to become persecutors themselves, depriving Native Americans of their land and their lives.

But this is wrong on every count.

TRUTH

Painting above, The First Thanksgiving by Jennie Augusta Brownscomb, 1914

First of all, the Pilgrims didn’t cross the ocean to flee persecution—or even England. They’d been living for over a decade in Holland, Europe’s most tolerant nation, and a haven for religious dissenters. Free from interference by the Church of England, they feared seduction—not persecution, worrying that their children would be corrupted by the materialistic Dutch culture.

That’s why they risked their dangerous 1620 voyage to a wilderness continent: not because they were running from oppression, but because they were running toward holiness—fulfilling a fateful mission to build an ideal Christian commonwealth.

They initially planned to plant this model society on the wild, wolf-infested island known to natives as Manhattan, but winds and tides blew them 250 miles off course, dumping the Mayflower on the frozen coast of Massachusetts.

Somehow, the Pilgrims saw their dire situation as a demonstration of providential power—especially after a giant wave picked up the flimsy boat of a scouting party on a stormy December night. The turbulent sea then deposited them safely—miraculously—on a little island within sight of the ideal location for their settlement. It was a deserted Indian village with cleared land, stored supplies of corn, and a reliable source of fresh water.

No, these supposedly cruel conquerors never actually invaded that village. Instead, they expressed a fervent desire to pay the natives for the dried corn they found, if only they could find someone to pay. But the former inhabitants had perished during three years of plague—probably smallpox—that immediately preceded the Pilgrims’ arrival.

Squanto

Squanto and the miracle of Thanksgiving

One of the few survivors of that devastation turned up several months later to welcome the English newcomers. Against all odds, he proved to be the single human being on the continent best-suited to help the struggling settlers, since he spoke English and had already embraced Christianity.

His name was Squanto , and he had grown up in this very village before a ruthless sea captain kidnapped him as a boy and sold him into slavery in Spain. After four years, he was freed by kindly monks, then made his way to England, and finally sailed across the Atlantic—only to find his friends and family all wiped out by disease.

Over the next few months, Squanto helped the English newcomers plant crops and negotiate a friendly trade agreement with the region’s most important chief—Massasoit.

No wonder Pilgrim leader William Bradford called Squanto “a special instrument sent of God for their good.”

The celebration later known as “The First Thanksgiving,” actually involved a three-day harvest festival in October, apparently inspired by the Biblical holiday of Sukkot, or The Feast of Tabernacles. Ninety hungry Indian warriors joined the 53 surviving Pilgrims for this occasion (nearly half the colonists had died during the brutal winter).

The Englishmen provided some vegetables, fish, and perhaps wild turkeys, while the natives brought five recently hunted deer as house gifts. The preferred sport on this occasion wasn’t football, but shooting, with settlers and Indians sharing a fierce fascination with guns.

Though these hardy Pilgrims loom large in the American imagination, they never built their Plymouth settlement into a major colony. In nearby Boston, the later colony of Massachusetts Bay grew so much faster that it swallowed up the great-grandchildren of the Pilgrims in 1691.

But the sense of purpose of the original Pilgrims left a permanent imprint on the national character. They maintained unshakable confidence that God protected them—not to grant special privileges, but to impose special responsibilities. They saw themselves as instruments, not authors, of a mysterious master plan.

Today, with our continued blessings so obvious and so overwhelming, the only reason to treat this beloved national holiday as “a time of mourning” is that some foolish Americans actually think that’s a good idea. The Pilgrims knew better: they understood that people of every culture and every era can gain more from gratitude than from guilt.

Article By Michael Medved for Prager University

Thanksgiving 2017: Thanksgiving Proclamation; Thanks to God

Thanksgiving 2017:

Thanksgiving Proclamation; Thanks to God

THANKSGIVING DAY, 2017
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

On Thanksgiving Day, as we have for nearly four centuries, Americans give thanks to Almighty God for our abundant blessings. We gather with the people we love to show gratitude for our freedom, for our friends and families, and for the prosperous Nation we call home.

In July 1620, more than 100 Pilgrims boarded the Mayflower, fleeing religious persecution and seeking freedom and opportunity in a new and unfamiliar place. These dauntless souls arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in the freezing cold of December 1620. They were greeted by sickness and severe weather, and quickly lost 46 of their fellow travelers. Those who endured the incredible hardship of their first year in America, however, had many reasons for gratitude. They had survived. They were free. And, with the help of the Wampanoag tribe, and a bountiful harvest, they were regaining their health and strength. In thanks to God for these blessings, the new governor of the Plymouth Colony, William Bradford, proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and gathered with the Wampanoag tribe for three days of celebration.

For the next two centuries, many individual colonies and states, primarily in the Northeast, carried on the tradition of fall Thanksgiving festivities. But each state celebrated it on a different day, and sometime on an occasional basis. It was not until 1863 that the holiday was celebrated on one day, nationwide. In the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg, one of the bloodiest battles of our Nation’s Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that the country would set aside one day to remember its many blessings. “In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity,” President Lincoln proclaimed, we recall the “bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come.” As President Lincoln recognized: “No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”

Today, we continue to celebrate Thanksgiving with a grateful and charitable spirit. When we open our hearts and extend our hands to those in need, we show humility for the bountiful gifts we have received. In the aftermath of a succession of tragedies that have stunned and shocked our Nation – Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria; the wildfires that ravaged the West; and, the horrific acts of violence and terror in Las Vegas, New York City, and Sutherland Springs we have witnessed the generous nature of the American people. In the midst of heartache and turmoil, we are grateful for the swift action of the first responders, law enforcement personnel, military and medical professionals, volunteers, and everyday heroes who embodied our infinite capacity to extend compassion and humanity to our fellow man. As we mourn these painful events, we are ever confident that the perseverance and optimism of the American people will prevail.

We can see, in the courageous Pilgrims who stood on Plymouth Rock in new land, the intrepidness that lies at the core of our American spirit. Just as the Pilgrims did, today Americans stand strong, willing to fight for their families and their futures, to uphold our values, and to confront any challenge.

This Thanksgiving, in addition to rejoicing in precious time spent with loved ones, let us find ways to serve and encourage each other in both word and deed. We also offer a special word of thanks for the brave men and women of our Armed Forces, many of whom must celebrate this holiday separated from the ones for whom they are most thankful. As one people, we seek God’s protection, guidance, and wisdom as we stand humbled by the abundance of our great Nation and the blessings of freedom, family, and faith.

Painting above, The First Thanksgiving by Jennie Augusta Brownscomb, 1914

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 23, 2017, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage all Americans to gather, in homes and places of worship, to offer a prayer of thanks to God for our many blessings.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.

DONALD J. TRUMP