Tag Archives: Christmas

The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast

This kind of made me have second thoughts, as to why we Americans broke away from the mother country. Though respectful of other faiths, the Queen’s Christian faith shines through clearly. Following this year’s speech, is the first televised Christmas speech she gave in 1957, reading from John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress.

 


Christmas in Dark Places 2020

Glen Scrivener is an evangelist in the U.K.  In this crazy year of 2020, I needed to hear this Christmas message:


Does the Bible Forbid Christians from Putting Up Christmas Trees?

Time-honored practice that sparks memories, in celebration of the coming of the Lord, who brings Eternal Life.... or insidiuous smuggling in of paganism into Christian homes? (credit: US Forest Service)

Time-honored practice that sparks memories, in celebration of the coming of the Lord, who brings Eternal Life…. or…  insidiuous smuggling in of paganism into Christian homes? (credit: US Forest Service)

It is that time of year again. Inevitably, some well-intentioned Christians argue that putting up a Christmas tree is a pagan practice, and so we should avoid standing them up with decorations in our homes, out of obedience to Scripture.

As someone who has kept ornaments I made back in kindergarten, if I had heard this, back when I was a kid, it might have soured me a bit on Christianity. But in the age of social media, the debate over Christmas’ supposed pagan origins, and that of the Christmas tree in particular, seems never ending. A favorite Bible “prooftext” given for this view is from the King James Version of Jeremiah:

Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.
They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not (Jeremiah 10:2-4 KJV).

Well. Well… I guess I should toss that adorable tree into the fire, with that sentimental “Christmas mouse” ornament I once made. Right?

The irony of this mentality is that it is a variation of an argument some atheists use to discredit Christianity, that Christmas was merely an invention of “the church,” political propaganda used to create a new form of paganism, a “copy cat” faith borrowed from the ancient Mithra cult, with a Jewish veneer pasted over it, squashing other forms of paganism, in order to unite the Roman empire.

I always find it bizarre when both certain fundamentalist-type Christians, as well as certain hyper-atheists, manage to gang up together to fight against some Christian practice that was originally designed to point us towards Jesus. But is there a better way to understand this passage of Jeremiah, that more accurately reflects the original context of the Biblical author? Continue reading


Earthrise: 50 Years Since Apollo 8

Fifty years ago today, three American astronauts read from the Book of Genesis, on Christmas Eve, as their space ship orbited the moon. The New York Times has produced two films, one short 5-minute film and one fantastic, longer 30-minute film, that remembers the iconic photo, that memorializes a stunning moment in human history.

The iconic “Earthrise” image taken by astronaut Bill Anders on Apollo 8 on Christmas Eve 1968. Friday marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 8 liftoff (William Anders, NASA)


Are the Christmas Stories in the Bible Fact or Fiction? (in 4 minutes)

While Christian believers prepare for Christmas, many today wonder if the whole thing was all made up. N.T. Wright responds to the skeptics’ question:


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