Friday, December 23, 2005

Holydays vesus Christmas? Why Is This an Issue?

Dogmatic Christians are outraged that they aren't allowed exclusive use of the Winter Solistice to celebrate Christ's birth. The fact that the actual date of the birth of Christ is never mentioned in the Bible doesn't seem to matter. It seems that just as the term Holy Days has been secularized into Holidays, they want to do the same with Christmas by insisting that name solely be attached to the frenzy of consumerism that has evolved around it. Now, why don't they make THAT (excess consumption) the issue?

For a really complete historical look at Christmas, read this article. Excerpts are included below:

"Celebration of birthdays -- even including that of Christ -- was rejected as a pagan tradition by most Christians during the first three hundred years of Christianity, but the matter became increasingly controversial. The third century Christian writer Tertullian supported observance of Christ's birthday, but condemned the inclusion of Saturnalia customs such as exchanging of gifts and decorating homes with evergreens. Chapter 10 of the Book of Jeremiah begins by condemning the heathen practice of cutting a tree from the forest to "deck it with silver and gold"..."

"English Puritanism was probably the most extreme manifestation of the Protestant reaction against the Roman Church. Exodus 20:4 could be taken to indicate that God does not want to be worshiped the way pagans worship their gods -- with idolatry such as Christmas trees and Nativity Scenes (much less revelry, drinking and gluttony). Oliver Cromwell campaigned against the heathen practices of feasting, decorating and singing, which he felt desecrated the spirit of Christ. Christmas was called such names as "the Papist's Massing Day" and "Old Heathen Feasting Day". The very word Christmas was viewed as taking the Lord's name in vain..."

"Although the Bible sanctifies Saturday as the Sabbath, many Christians regarded Sunday (the day of the resurrection of Christ) as the new holy day -- especially because this distanced Christianity from Judaism. In 321 AD Constantine made Sunday rather than Saturday (Saturn's Day) the weekly holiday of the state religion of Sun-worship. The revolt of the Jews & the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, the rejection of the Hebrew calendar and the increasing pre-eminence of the bishop of Rome were all part of the Romanization of Christianity which accompanied the Christianization of Rome..."

"In 325 AD Constantine called the first Council of Nicea (Nicaea, effectively the first Council of the Roman Catholic Church) to resolve controversy and establish Christian orthodoxy. The Council established the Unity of the Holy Trinity, the date of Christmas and the date of Easter... Also in 325 he declared December 25th to be an Immovable Feast for the whole Roman Empire. The bishop of Rome may have accepted December 25th as the date of birth of Jesus Christ as early as 320 AD, but careful analysis by Catholic scholarship can only establish that it was some time before 354 AD..."

"The standardization of Santa's image was probably due to Coca-Cola artist Haddon Sundblom who (in 1931) depicted Santa as a portly, jolly grandfatherly figure with a ruddy complexion and white-fur-trimmed red coat & cap -- replacing the pipe with a bottle of Coke. Thirty-five years of annual advertising by the Coca-Cola company using Sundblom's Santa solidified the contemporary image of Santa Claus (but without the Coke)..."


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