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Is there a war on...Happy Holidays?

Discussion in 'Christmas Controversy & Opinion' started by Jeff Westover, Dec 6, 2012.



  1. Jeff Westover

    Jeff Westover Chief Santa Tracker Christmas Crew MMC Founder

    The holiday tree thing is most certainly NOT a hoax. Look for it in just about any government entity.

    And the Christmas tree most certainly has spiritual significance...to those who knows what it really symbolizes. (most don't)
     
    DustyMoth likes this.
  2. Winter_Worlock

    Winter_Worlock Cryo-Sorcerer MMC Premiere Member

    Well it's definitely older than Christianity. Or Judaism. I'm not enough of a historical expert to know what books in the Bible were written at what time. But the evergreen tree had a lot of spiritual significance throughout human history. It's even obvious in the common name, "evergreen." Unlike all other trees in the forest, Conifers are unaffected by the seasons, which traditionally represent the cycle of life and death. Metaphorically, the trees are immortal. Why is this relevant? Because Pagans were celebrating the evergeeen tree at Solstice completely independent of Christianity. And for this reason apparently, some people who followed Yahweh spoke ill of it.

    From Jeremiah 10: "1 Hear the word which the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel. 2 Thus says the LORD: Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them. 3 For the customs of the peoples are futile; for one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. 4 They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple. 5 They are upright, like a palm tree, and they cannot speak; they must be carried, because they cannot go by themselves. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, nor can they do any good.”

    For the record, I don't care that Christians may have adopted this symbol. The Winter Solstice celebration is about surviving against the darkness until the eventual returning of the light, and Jesus Christ fits perfectly with that. With all humanity has been dragged through, it's a fitting tribute to our spirit as a species on this planet.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
    'Tis the season likes this.
  3. BooksBabiesChristmas

    BooksBabiesChristmas Twinkle Light Checker MMC Member

    How high in the government? My aunt works at the VA in Tucson and they have Christmas trees and Christmas parties and secret Santa and caroling. Personally, other then a few photoshopped Facebook posts, I've seen nothing.
     
  4. Jeff Westover

    Jeff Westover Chief Santa Tracker Christmas Crew MMC Founder

    You ever heard of Lincoln Chaffee? Google him. You'll find many like him government who promote this and basically force the issue on government properties. Not all do, of course.

    Your VA in Tuscon has Christmas trees. While the VA in Atlanta has holiday trees.

    Defend Christmas.com has these things in abundance documented back 12 years now.
     
  5. Jeff Westover

    Jeff Westover Chief Santa Tracker Christmas Crew MMC Founder

    Where do you think Pagans got their ideas of light and dark? They most certainly didn't pull them out of thin air.

    And Christianity did not "begin" with the Nativity of Christ. Christ, after all, is not a name -- it's a title, meaning "Anointed One". The very reason Christians use the whole Bible is because Jesus Christ of the New Testament is Jehovah of the Old Testament -- "anointed" to come forth (For unto a child is born....said Isaiah 500 years before Jesus) from "...before the world was..." (as Christ himself said).

    The spiritual significance of the tree is not that it is evergreen -- it is that it is a TREE, as in the Tree of Life, which is, of course, another name/symbol of Jehovah/Jesus Christ.

    Pagans were not blind their beliefs and traditions. They had their genesis somewhere. We know where.
     
    Storeytime likes this.
  6. Winter_Worlock

    Winter_Worlock Cryo-Sorcerer MMC Premiere Member

    Maybe I'm misinterpreting what you're saying, but I've never heard that there were technically Christians before Jesus was on Earth. Until that time wouldn't everyone have been Jew/Hebrew? But, this is mostly a semantic issue and not worth cluttering up the thread with.

    Light & dark is pretty inherent in the seasons. It's hard for us modern day folk to imagine just how scary winter used to be, back before global food trade, insulated homes, and fuel sources our ancestors could have scarcely dreamed of. The shortening nights were a warning of potential disaster, and the possibility that a lot of people could die in the coming months. It's not just Pagan traditions either though. The Hanukkah miracle, also a winter celebration, was about keeping the lights burning until more fuel could be found.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
  7. Jeff Westover

    Jeff Westover Chief Santa Tracker Christmas Crew MMC Founder

    People tend to forget that Jesus was Jewish -- as were Mary and Joseph. They were, in fact, of royal lineage among the Jews. They knew their scripture -- and fought against the corruption of it, corruption that eventually led the Jews to crucify Christ. They rejected him as their Messiah -- but they held those beliefs in common. In fact, if you dig deep into MOST world religions you'll find a lot of commonality in Messianic teaching and beliefs.

    Paganism is sadly bunch together -- meaning they don't fit without other known established faiths. They are kind of a catchall that lazy historians use to explain this or that cultural thing. They are so widely distorted that modern atheists (many of them, not all) claim commonality with Pagans in celebrating the Winter Solstice. That's a foolish notion because Paganism is well populated by Gods -- which is kind of an ironic thing for atheists to partner up with, eh? The greater truth is that within many pagan societies the teachings of light vs. dark, the symbolism of trees in life and knowledge, the acknowledgement of various gods with differing powers -- ALL of it has strong parallels to Christian and Jewish thought. If you consider how human population has expanded and assume that with 7 billion today just how many people we're actually talking about just 5000 years ago you don't have to be an advanced scientists to see that we're not talking about a lot of people or huge differing cultures. It's also not hard to see how in a relatively short amount of time -- say, 500 years -- any kind of religious thought or belief could get corrupted by politicians or others seeking power. In all -- the separation of thought, teaching, belief and faith isn't as great, in my view, as many might suppose. There are reasons for all the parallels.

    Your observations about light and dark -- interpreted by same as good over evil -- are well founded and central to the very foundations of, well, Christmas.
     
    NcGunny likes this.
  8. NcGunny

    NcGunny Candycane Wrangler MMC Emeritus Member

    From the atheists I have known its not that weird for them to believe in a multi God form of religion. Christianity has one God that supposedly controls everything. From children starving in 3rd world countries,cancer, disease etc..etc.. They would rather believe multiple Gods control this and rationalize that not all are bad all the time. Sadly I have seen to many " Its the will of God" scenes to ever make me believe again. I find it comical that more people have been killed in the name of Christianity than all the wars combined. Just to force a religion down someones throat that never was their own. I do find the political end of the spectrum to be a absolute basket case with renaming holidays just to calm a few of the masses. And have no doubt that somewhere along the way..they had reelection propaganda in mind also.
     
  9. Jeff Westover

    Jeff Westover Chief Santa Tracker Christmas Crew MMC Founder

    You bring up a fair point -- atheists can't be put in a box either. I guess I should have tempered my remarks by singling out the American Humanist Association or whatever they're called that keep clinging to Winter Solstice in their annual anti-Christmas tirades. They would like to think they represent most atheists but the truth I know from atheists I know on a personal level is that they shun organized religion of all sorts -- including efforts to organize themselves.

    We have many atheists who are here on the forums and they love Christmas because they love Christmas. I see nothing wrong with that. In fact, I applaud it. And it is because at its core Christmas is about good will, and that's an idea decent people of every stripe can embrace.

    The weird take on things like Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays are never going to go away. They are mere pawns in bigger games of politics, agendas and power plays. They are, at the end of the day, silly and needlessly divisive.
     
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  10. NcGunny

    NcGunny Candycane Wrangler MMC Emeritus Member

    Jeff, sometimes as we have all witnessed many times. Some people just like to make a "wave" because they have nothing better to do, or because they are in a place of power that they can. I personally have never condemned or belittled anybody for their beliefs. It appears MMC is a melting pot of beliefs with everyone loving Christmas. At the end of the day..thats all that really matters.
     
  11. Winter_Worlock

    Winter_Worlock Cryo-Sorcerer MMC Premiere Member

    I've encountered this as well, and the same goes for people who call themselves Pagans but don't even believe gods exist. Pagan has always been a catch-all term for anyone who doesn't follow one of the main world religions, and has also been synonymous used with infidel or heathen, and could also mean Gentile. From that perspective, an atheist can easily be classified as a pagan, and some probably do so as a moniker of pride (similarly, at the height of the hype, I remember some people who hated the Harry Potter universe actually referring to themselves as muggles). Also it's not surprising that atheists might be more apt to support polytheism, because coexistence is just simpler that way. In oversimplified terms, if two monotheists from different religions meet, the logical result is, "If your god is not my god, then your god is an evil demon," or simply, "Your god does not exist and only mine does." Both scenarios are very good at causing blood to boil to the surface. With polytheists, there is a third option. "You have your god and I have mine. Cool. Want to go get a quesadilla?" Not saying this was the norm, but the odds of a mini-crusade breaking out are at least reduced. Omnitheism (all gods are actually the same god) in theory could also accomplish this, but with so many conflicts of law between different religions, I can't see how that would ever catch on.

    However, the Christmas Tree (along with Christmas) almost seems to be taking on an omnitheistic identity. While there are plenty of atheists or non-Christians who don't identify with the cross (or non-Catholics who don't identify with the crucifix), many of them have a tree in their home every December. The Christmas Tree is probably the most universally accepted holiday symbol on the planet today, so perhaps it isn't really that surprising that some have opted to give it an equally universal name.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
    BooksBabiesChristmas likes this.
  12. NcGunny

    NcGunny Candycane Wrangler MMC Emeritus Member

    Thought I would bring up a different aspect to this thread thats been on the old back burner for awhile.
    Having to young boys I end up watching lots of cartoons. It popped into my head about the amount of neutral holiday themes alot of U.S. based producers infuse into their shows.
    Daniel Tiger (a spinoff from Mr.Rogers neighborhood)
    Christmas is referred to as "Snowflake Day" it is more than neutral and becomes awkward to watch due to them staying away from any normal Christmas scenes. Same goes for almost any holiday on the show i.e. Thanksgiving Day, Valentines Day etc.
    On the other hand...the influx of Russian and European toons get right to the point. They dont hide and pander to stay neutral. Christmas is Christmas and you know exactly what holidays they are celebrating.
    Masha and the Bear... quite a few Christmas episodes with Santa and the trimmings.
    So it seems like the shows that might be made to be viewed by young kids in schools etc are the neutrals and some Netflix, Amazon originals all stay far away from any traditional symbolisms. (I wonder if its due to hoping they can sell them to educational institutes)?
     
  13. Winter_Worlock

    Winter_Worlock Cryo-Sorcerer MMC Premiere Member

    Daniel Tiger? From the "Land of Make Believe?" I don't see why anyone need get upset about that. It's a different land/planet/universe/whatever and various cultures have all celebrated during the winter in radically different ways. Some elements are shared almost universally, others aren't. Funnily-enough, as goofy as the 'show' was, I really liked the basic concepts of "Life Day" from that horrid Star Wars Christmas Special. But... I won't torture anyone by making them try to survive a viewing of that show. I'll just leave this here instead. If you ever get the opportunity, watch the whole episode. It delves gently into the spirit of winter celebrations, introduces a unique mythology that fits seamlessly into the Fraggle universe, and (in spite of the show being aimed at the K - 8 crowd) the foreign-but-familiar holiday that the Jim Henson Company weaved for this story is stunningly beautiful. The kind of chills that I get from this feel just like 'Christmas Eve anxiety.'

     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
  14. HollyKing

    HollyKing Merry Monarch of Yuletide MMC Premiere Member

    Just my two cents worth....

    The term "Pagan" is from the late Latin paganus, referring to someone who lived in the country. Christianity caught on first in the big cities; the smaller towns and villages took longer to convert. "Pagan", mostly used in a derogatory sense, came to mean someone who was backwards or unsophisticated - essentially what we mean in our modern times when we say someone is a "hick".
     
  15. HollyKing

    HollyKing Merry Monarch of Yuletide MMC Premiere Member

    Mr. Dickens handled this well, I think...

    "There are some upon this earth of yours,'' returned the Spirit, "who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us.''
     
  16. Winter_Worlock

    Winter_Worlock Cryo-Sorcerer MMC Premiere Member

    It's also worth noting that flawless gods at least 'seems' to be a monotheistic thing. Take a look at the Aesir or the Olympians. They made mistakes all the time and no attempt was made to cover up that fact.
     
  17. ChristmasCommerical

    ChristmasCommerical Christmas Fan MMC Member

    Because of this, when someone says it's "Happy Holidays, not Merry Christmas!", I go, "A Blessed Kwanzaa to you!"
     
  18. Mimi

    Mimi Merry Forums Newbie MMC Member

    I still say Merry Christmas and never stopped. If somebody responds with Happy Holidays I have no issue with that. I celebrate Christmas they celebrate Holidays.. it's all good. :)
     
  19. HollyKing

    HollyKing Merry Monarch of Yuletide MMC Premiere Member

    Just for the amusement value... does anyone here know what the term "holiday" means?

    It comes from the Old English (hālig "holy" + dæg "day"). So you're wishing - whoever it might be - "Happy Holy Day", whichever holy day happens to apply to them. Would you knowingly wish a Jew or a Hindu "Merry Christmas", knowing that that particular holiday is meaningless to them? Could it even be considered some weird attempt at conversion?

    Maybe - even probably - no such thing is intended, at least in most cases. But Christianity has a long history of forcing itself on those who are perfectly content with their own beliefs and see no need to change them. The Inquisitions (there were three), the conquering of Central and South America by the Spanish, the systematic extermination of the Indians in North America, to name just a few.

    Maybe people are sick and tired of being told that their religion is inferior or evil or Satanic. Maybe they're tired of the lies - that their religion mutilates animals, rapes children, eats human flesh, drinks blood. (Check out the term "blood libel" - it'll open your eyes.) And it's still going on. Go to any Christian website that addresses Paganism and see what they say about us. And then maybe it will be easier to comprehend why the Big Three monotheistic religions have little (if any) appeal to us.


    Sorry. There was no attempt to be offensive in what I just said - just as you intend no offense when you assume that everyone celebrates Christmas.

    'Nuff said.
     
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  20. SilentNight490

    SilentNight490 Snowman Engineer MMC Lifer MMC Premiere Member

    I do not care if someone tells me Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or whatever, it does not matter. They are being kind enough to say something nice to you or wish you a good holiday, to me it does not matter.

    People do however need to understand that Christmas is not the only holiday of the season and it is important to be kind and sensitive about other peoples religions.

    I do not celebrate Christmas because of Christ or any of that. I celebrate it because I enjoy it. I do think that people should research more about the holiday and know where a lot of the traditions actually came from, which was from Pagans. The true origin of the holiday is actually very interesting and what is also interesting is why the 25th was chosen as the birthday of Jesus when he was actually born during a different time. I do find it all fascinating. It wasn't until A.D. 440 that the church officially proclaimed December 25 as the birth of Christ. This was not based on any religious evidence but on a pagan feast. December 25 was used as a celebration of the birthday of the sun god. It was observed near the winter solstice.

    The apostles in the Bible predicted that some Christians would adopt pagan beliefs to enable them to make their religion more palatable to the pagans around them. Therefore, some scholars think the church chose the date of this pagan celebration to interest them in Christianity. The pagans were already used to celebrating on this date.

    That isn't to say I find it wrong for people to celebrate this holiday because of Jesus, they can celebrate it for any reason they want.
     
    AuntieMistletoeDear likes this.

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