(This is Part 1 of atwo partpoll. Please also vote in Part 2 in the next post above)
Strange, this, but true. I suppose one should ascribe it to the exhausted misnomer, “human nature”, or more simply to the way we mostly think. With regularity, it is the more controversial subjects which attract the most attention on most blogs, forums and discussion groups in the social media. This tendency, a norm within secular circles, inevitably seems to apply to many Christian discussions, as well.
This is a Christian blog regarding fundamentals of the Christian faith, therefore, one would expect that the majority of the regular readers here would be from of the fundamental Christian camp. Even so, previous polls which I have placed on this blog regarding the more controversial issues are those which have, by far, received the most votes. Polls regarding the less controversial, and dare I say it, the more scholarly topics, generate less interest.
Are all the issues listed appropriate subjects for Christian discussion? Continue reading →
Another year is coming to an end, and for me personally, another dreaded “festive” season is fast closing in. As a child, Christmas time was by far my favourite part of the year; school holidays, presents, friends, feasting and families. Even while our children were growing up and lived at our home, Christmas always had a very special place in our calendar, for all the traditional reasons and some of our own.
Those comforting, warm (Southern hemisphere) and fuzzy days of simple togetherness and caring have long gone and have been replaced with over-priced consumer goods, mad shopping frenzies, enormous traffic congestion, escalating crime rates and death on the roads. It is all very sad. Quite frankly, I would probably be safer, more comfortable and my normality would be less disrupted if I found myself evangelizing on some Far-Eastern quiet Bhuddist island on December 25 this year.
As the years have passed, the “festive” or holiday season, which includes Christmas time, has become a commercialized farce, along with other similar festivals such as Mothers Day and Valentines Day. The original meaning and “reason for the season” has been replaced with lavish parties, extreme festivities, entertainment and expensive gifts. No longer is it “the thought that counts”, rather the value of the gift which apparently demonstrates the level of affection one has for the recipient. Rarely is the birth of our Saviour brought into the picture on Christmas, except in some churches and, of course those are quite empty over the holidays. Almost half of the congregation has gone to the beaches and leisure resorts of the world and the other half are in the shopping malls. The vast majority of children in the world will never know the true meaning of Christmas or experience the love which can surround the day.
Additionally there is a war being waged on the traditional Christmas by the secular world, atheists and falsely religious. “Merry Christmas” is being replaced with “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays”. This, of course, is being done in an attempt to promote a religiously tolerant society and an acceptance of a secular world religion. The battle for your bucks in the countdown of shopping days to Christmas has also become a major spiritual battle.
That brings me back to the controversial issue among many Christians, which is the celebrating of Christmas in the traditional way. The debate as to whether or not Christians should celebrate Christmas on December 25, or any other date for that matter, has been raging for centuries. There are sincere Christians on either side of the debate, and many reasons as to why or why not Christmas should be celebrated by Christians.
One argument against Christmas is that the traditions have origins in paganism. Another argument is that the Bible forbids Christmas trees, and the passage in Jeremiah 10:1-16 is cited as biblical disapproval, even though that passage has no relevance to Christmas or Christians. Some regard the fact that the Bible gives no indication as to the birth date of Jesus as reason enough not to celebrate the day on December 25. Others, on the other hand, regard the fact that the Bible is silent on the issue as tacit approval by God over the celebration issue. Some say that because the world celebrates Christmas, Christians should avoid it. And so, on and on the arguments pro- and anti-Christmas are cited.
As in all things we should prayerfully seek guidance over the matter of Christmas, particularly if it is a divisive issue for the Christian family. Please tell us what you think about Christmas in our poll below.
God bless all those who, like myself, will be ever so slightly traumatized by the upcoming rush toward the end of the year and the fake celebrations of a Christ-less Christmas, and God also bless those who will enjoy every moment of celebrating the birth of our Saviour on December 25.
Particularly, I pray for God’s blessing on those who will not have a morsel of food, a drop of water or who will have to fight for their very life on the day that the rest of the world goes shopping and tolerates spoilt grandchildren demanding more expensive toys.
The recent debate between Dr. Abel Pienaar (www.spiritualiteit.co.za) and Dr. Mike Licona (www.risenjesus.com) was a good-natured and instructive exchange of different views on the question of whether Jesus rose physically from the dead. (Despite one reviewer’s asinine remarks about how Licona started off with “shenanigans”, attempts to “butter” the audience and “establish some initial advantage and favour” (see http://www.nuwe-hervorming.org.za/forum/hitch-without-bark-much-stronger-bite), I personally really appreciated to see Licona showing up wearing a Springbok jersey in solidarity with South African supporters during the Rugby World Cup.)