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Derek

Are we allowing Christ to be taken out of Christmas. Xmas

Christmas, what a glorious time of year for those who have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  A time to show love and kindness to all those we know.  A time for forgiveness and reconciliation. A time to give service to those less fortunate. But most importantly a time to remember the birth of the Son of God. The only begotten of the Father in heaven.

The optimum time for his introduction into a world that would torture and crucify him, a perfect man who gave his life,  in a horrendous execution, so that all men could be saved and his elect could return to his presents.

I love this time of year. I love how my family draw close to each other in celebration. I love how they centeralise Christ in their Christmas activities remembering him each morning and night and at each and every meal. But sadly,  people like us, are dwindling in this world.  Since the introduction of Santa Class, anagram of Satan, Christ has gradually been elbowed out of his own celebration,  even by those who claim the title of being a Christian. I was just wondering, do you worship Santa or Christ at Christmas. Do you give thanks for his life or Santa's gifts. Do Christians today give him enough time at Christmas.

The Birthday Party

As you well know, we are getting closer to my birthday. Every year there is a celebration in my honor and I think that this year the celebration will be repeated. During this time there are many people shopping for gifts, there are many radio announcements, TV commercials, and in every part of the world everyone is talking that my birthday is getting closer and closer.

It is really very nice to know, that at least once a year, some people think of me. As you know, the celebration of my birthday began many years ago. At first people seemed to understand and be thankful of all that I did for them, but in these times, no one seems to know the reason for the celebration. Family and friends get together and have a lot of fun, but they don’t know the meaning of the celebration.

I remember that last year there was a great feast in my honor. The dinner table was full of delicious foods, pastries, fruits, assorted nuts and chocolates. The decorations were exquisite and there were many, many beautifully wrapped gifts. But, do you want to know something? I wasn’t invited. I was the guest of honor and they didn’t remember to send me an invitation. The party was for me, but when that great day came, I was left outside, they closed the door in my face…….. . and I wanted to be with them and share their table. In truth, that didn’t surprise me because in the last few years all close their doors to me.

Since I was not invited, I decided to enter the party without making any noise. I went in and stood in a corner. They were all drinking; there were some who were drunk and telling jokes and laughing at everything. They were having a great time. To top it all, this big fat man all dressed in red wearing a long white beard entered the room yelling Ho-Ho-Ho! He seemed drunk. He sat on the sofa and all the children ran to him, saying : “Santa Claus, Santa Claus”… as if the party were in his honor !

At 12 midnight all the people began to hug each other ; I extended my arms waiting for someone to hug me and …. do you know …. no one hugged me. Suddenly they all began to share gifts. They opened them one by one with great expectation. When all had been opened, I looked to see if, maybe, there was one for me. What would you feel if on your birthday everybody shared gifts and you did not get one ? I then understood that I was unwanted at that party and quietly left.

Every year it gets worse. People only remember to eat and drink, the gifts, the parties and nobody remembers me. I would like this Christmas that you allow me to enter into your life. I would like that you recognize the fact that almost two thousand years ago I came to this world to give my life for you, on the cross, to save you. Today, I only want that you believe this with all you heart.

I want to share something with you. As many didn’t invite me to their party, I will have my own celebration, a grandiose party that no one has ever imagined, a spectacular party. I’m still making the final arrangements. Today I am sending out many invitations and there is an invitation for you. I want to know if you wish to attend and I will make a reservation for you and write your name with golden letters in my great guest book. Only those on the guest list will be invited to the party. Those who don’t answer the invitation, will be left outside.

Do you know how you can answer this invitation?

It is by extending it to others whom you care for…share it among friends!

I’ll be waiting for all of you to attend my party this year…

See you soon …. I love you !
Jesus Christ
Shaker

People are allowing Christ to be taken out of Christmas and they're perfectly happy to do so because for most he was never in it in the first place. It's been going on for a long time now and will continue. Most British people are not believing, practising Christians and are simply not interested in a religious festival. Christmas is a totally secular public holiday for the vast majority. Most people don't and don't want to 'worship' anything - thank goodness.

What people are interested in is some time off work when they can spend time with the family, see friends, eat well, drink lots, give and receive gifts and generally have a nice time at the time of year when, at this latitude, they need it most. And three cheers to all of that, since those things are far more important. It's a glorious time of year for countless people who otherwise never give Jesus a first let alone second thought: that's because it's a celebration of good, fine, real and true things - family and friends; good food and drink; receiving but also giving presents - and also, for that reason, a reminder of the less fortunate, an aide memoire to help them and a memory-jogger to remember peace, goodwill, charity and kindness.

Given the story I've just posted in the News section about Britain being the developed nation which gives most to charitable causes I'd say that on the whole we're doing pretty well. Always room for improvement, obviously, but generally pretty well.
Jim

Much of what we call a 'traditional' Christmas was an over sentimentalised Victorian fantasy in any case, thanks to Mr Dickens, etc! (I'm not knocking this: simply re-stating the obvious).
Even some of the carols* written in the nineteenth century are not exactly theologically correct.
"Away in a manger" being a glaring example.
I wonder if the Christmas we hanker back to really existed in reality, rather than in Hollywood?
I celebrate God Incarnate to a poor family in humble circumstances amid the minutiae of ordinary life.
The rest of it, increasingly plastic hype, can get the heave any day! Friends have urged me to light up my window, put fibre optic tat here, there and everywhere..."because it's Christmas"...even though I see none of it!
And 'none of it' has the slightest relevance to the story of the Incarnation. It's just smoke-and-mirrors flummery which obscures what, for Christians, is the reality; that God became as one of us to live with us, our Immanuel.

I don't denigrate the lights and food, etc.
Just the confusion between them and Christ.


* - not including "The Jacobite Carol"...O come all ye faithful...a beautiful song...but written for political, rather than theological, reasons!
Shaker

When Jim is right he's exactly right. What most of us are raised to think of as the quintessentially English (British?) Christmas as seen on the front of a million cards is for the most part less than two hundred years old: a massive dollop of C.J.H. Dickens Esq. with a few pagan elements thrown in and a thin patina of folk-Christianity over the top.

Like Jim I'm not knocking this either - in many ways it's absolutely lovely. Few people are immune to the charms of preferring rosy-cheeked carol singers standing with lanterns in the snow and mutton-chopped people (even the men) roasting chestnuts in open braziers in the snow-lined streets over a mild and wet Saturday morning traipsing round the out-of-town retail park. I know I'm not - I'm the biggest sucker for that kind of impossibly English/Dickensian snow-and-robins Christmas I know. But it's an invention and a not particularly old one at that. (Although admittedly it has snowed relatively heavily on at least one and possibly a couple of Christmases in the past few years and it really does inject the magic, so the fantasy is at least based on some reality).

December the 25th is the one day of the year which practically groans beneath the sheer weight of hope and expectation we place on it - the expectation of the perfect Christmas. Sadly that can be why the real thing, when it comes and goes, is such a disappointment and so very stressful for so many, which is deeply unfortunate. But it won't change, because we'll still keep alive the hope of the ideal Christmas where it snows but not too much and for not too long, the kids behave themselves, everyone gets exactly what they want, everybody eats plenty but not so much that they feel sick, everybody drinks loads but doesn't have a murderous hangover, and so forth. It wasn't ever thus but it's been the case for long enough now for it to be engrained in our cultural DNA, I think.
gone

Christians adopted the Pagan's Winter festival as their own and put their spin on it.
Derek

Floo wrote:
Christians adopted the Pagan's Winter festival as their own and put their spin on it.


So what?
Shaker

So get your own festival and celebrate it on, or at least fairly close to, the alleged event it purports to commemorate, I guess  
cyberman

Floo wrote:
Christians adopted the Pagan's Winter festival as their own and put their spin on it.


Evidence?
cyberman

Regarding Dickens:

Do you think that what Dickens described in such minute detail in "A Christmas Carol" was something his readers would find brand new and unfamiliar, or something they would recognise?
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
Floo wrote:
Christians adopted the Pagan's Winter festival as their own and put their spin on it.


Evidence?

The 'History' section of the Wikipedia page on Christmas is a good place to start with the absolute basics - and as is always the case with Wikipedia, not so much for the body text (which anybody can write, although the site is well and often scanned and obvious twaddle soon removed/corrected) but for the original sources it provides.

The early chapters of Ronald Hutton's Stations of the Sun (excellent book all round, incidentally) are also good.
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
Regarding Dickens:

Do you think that what Dickens described in such minute detail in "A Christmas Carol" was something his readers would find brand new and unfamiliar, or something they would recognise?


Both. Some specifics - a bird as a Christmas feast (in those days traditionally a goose or a cockerel rather than a turkey), the stuffing, the decorations and the like would all be very familiar to most. What Dickens primarily did which we recognise as a 'proper' Christmas is to shift the emphasis away from a religious festival (even though he was an ardent Christian himself) and towards the home and the family and all the things associated therewith. Wikipedia has this to say:

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In the early 19th century, writers imagined Tudor Christmas as a time of heartfelt celebration. In 1843, Charles Dickens wrote the novel A Christmas Carol that helped revive the "spirit" of Christmas and seasonal merriment. Its instant popularity played a major role in portraying Christmas as a holiday emphasizing family, goodwill, and compassion.

Dickens sought to construct Christmas as a family-centered festival of generosity, in contrast to the community-based and church-centered observations, the observance of which had dwindled during the late 18th century and early 19th century. Superimposing his secular vision of the holiday, Dickens influenced many aspects of Christmas that are celebrated today in Western culture, such as family gatherings, seasonal food and drink, dancing, games, and a festive generosity of spirit.


Dear old Ronnie Hutton says much the same:
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Dickens had treated the theme of Christmas merry-making six years before, in The Pickwick Papers, and done so in wholly traditional, if deeply sentimental, manner. The Carol was different; it was a passionate avowal of how the festival ought to be kept, dashed off in six weeks by a writer in love with his subject. Dickens succeeded in turning Christmas celebration into a moral reply to avarice, selfishness and greed. He linked worship and feasting within a context of social reconciliation ... the overtly Christian content in the Victorian revival of Christmas had been minimal from the beginning—which had been a large part of its success. It was not pagan in the strict sense, of honouring ancient deities, but in the looser and more secular one, of being concerned with honouring natural forces and human responsibilities.


(Italics are mine, not Hutton's).

In other words, though personally a religious man, Dickens reinvented the English Christmas by downplaying the religious angle (it's not wholly absent - you can certainly find it in A Christmas Carol but it's unobtrusive) and emphasising his own, Charles Dickens's, idea of what the perfect English Christmas ought to be, and which many of us have subsequently adopted wholesale straight from him, more or less, which is to say, not a communal, community-based religious festival but a privatised, family-based, home-based secular holiday. The feasting, drinking, the games, the concern for the poor, the needy and the disadvantaged - Dickens didn't invent these things, ovbiously, but he pushed them right to the fore in a way never before seen.
Derek

Shaker wrote:
So get your own festival and celebrate it on, or at least fairly close to, the alleged event it purports to commemorate, I guess  


Nah,  we have had it for around 1,660 years now. Anyone with a vested interest in it has long gone and everybody sees it as relating to Christianity now, so nobody really cares that it was once a pagan festival, let alone want to change it.  No,  we have had it long enough to claim it as ours.  The only people who I have ever known to complain about it is the anti-atheists or the anti-christs, and we all know why that is. I never here Pagan's complain. Just the trouble making Atheists who think that because the have no beliefs in deity then nobody should. .
Shaker

Ralph2 wrote:
Nah,  we have had it for around 1,660 years now.

How long did the pagans have it beforehand, then?

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Anyone with a vested interest in it has long gone

There are still pagans and specifically Heathens (Germanic/Norse pagans) around - didn't you know?

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and everybody sees it as relating to Christianity now

Nobody I know does so.

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so nobody really cares that it was once a pagan festival

Apart from those pagans whose existence you had apparently forgotten about.

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let alone want to change it.

Indeed. It's a secular public holiday devoted to family time, a rest from work, eating and drinking and presents. Why would anybody want to change that?

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No,  we have had it long enough to claim it as ours.

You don't "have" it at all, otherwise the majority of people would think of and celebrate Christmas as a religious festival. It may well have, in fact almost certainly has escaped your notice that they do not. According to a very recent story Britain has become a nation of religious illiterates in danger of knowing so little about Christianity that they won't even know enough about it to find the references in Life of Brian funny any more.

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The only people who I have ever known to complain about it is the anti-atheists

Of which I am one.

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or the anti-christs

Of which I am apparently one according to you.

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and we all know why that is.

Do we?
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I never here Pagan's complain.

How familiar are you with the pagan community? Do you know any? Read any books by pagans? Looks at pagan-themed websites?

In other words, are you sufficiently in touch with a broad enough base of the international pagan community to be able to know if they were complaining about anything? I would bet my shirt and much, much more besides that the answer will be no.

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Just the trouble making Atheists who think that because the have no beliefs in deity then nobody should.

That's militant anti-theism, not atheism for one thing. It's not even my position.
cyberman

Shaker wrote:
cyberman wrote:
Floo wrote:
Christians adopted the Pagan's Winter festival as their own and put their spin on it.


Evidence?

The 'History' section of the Wikipedia page on Christmas is a good place to start with the absolute basics - and as is always the case with Wikipedia, not so much for the body text (which anybody can write, although the site is well and often scanned and obvious twaddle soon removed/corrected) but for the original sources it provides.

The early chapters of Ronald Hutton's Stations of the Sun (excellent book all round, incidentally) are also good.


Well, I had a look at Wikipedia.

It tells me that Irenaeus (2nd Century) puts Jesus' conception at March 25th. (Which puts his birth nine months later...)

It tells me that Sextus Julius Africanus put the nativity at Dec 25th in 221.

It tells me that Dies Natis Sol Invictus was not placed at 25th Dec until AD 354.

The reason these early church guys went with Dec 25th was to do with the stiry about John the Baptist, as I understand it. When he was conceived, there was that story about his father officiating at a ceremony in the temple, where he is struck dumb for doubting someone. The early church people thought they knew what that ceremony was and when it was celebrated. Then there is the story about Mary going to visit Elizabeth when she was 6 months pregnant with John the Baptist. The assumption was that this was the term of gestation at the time when Mary conceived Jesus. Apparently 6 months after that ceremony, whatever it was, is March 25th.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am not for one second saying they got it right. But what they were trying (however badly ) to do was use scripture to come up with a date.

The evidence suggests to me that, if anything, Dies Natis Sol Invictus was assigned to that date after Christianity had become popular in order to compete with it, not the other way round.
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
Now, don't get me wrong. I am not for one second saying they got it right. But what they were trying (however badly ) to do was use scripture to come up with a date.


Indeed.

Quote:
The evidence suggests to me that, if anything, Dies Natis Sol Invictus was assigned to that date after Christianity had become popular in order to compete with it, not the other way round.

An interesting and plausible conjecture. But, alas, for now only that  
Jim

Cyberman....
Nope.
But Hollywoods depiction of the suger-coated reformed Scrooge has become the paradigm for what Christmas is supposed to be
(but rarely is)
Ketty

Re: Are we allowing Christ to be taken out of Christmas. Xma

Ralph2 wrote:


How about citing your source?  Or did you forget?
Ketty

Jim wrote:
. . .
And 'none of it' has the slightest relevance to the story of the Incarnation. It's just smoke-and-mirrors flummery which obscures what, for Christians, is the reality; that God became as one of us to live with us, our Immanuel. . . .


cyberman

Jim wrote:
Cyberman....
Nope.
But Hollywoods depiction of the suger-coated reformed Scrooge has become the paradigm for what Christmas is supposed to be
(but rarely is)


So now you are saying it was invented not by the Victorians, but by Hollywood?

A Christmas Carol was written in the 1840s, less than a decade after the Victorian era began. What he described was obviously familar to his readers, not something new.
Derek

Shaker wrote:


Quote:
Ralph2 wrote:
Nah,  we have had it for around 1,660 years now.

How long did the pagans have it beforehand, then?


That is irrelevant,  the don't have it now,  neither have they for the last 1,660 years.

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Anyone with a vested interest in it has long gone

There are still pagans and specifically

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Heathens (Germanic/Norse pagans) around - didn't you know?


I am fully aware of that,  but the do not care the the Christians have it now.

[
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quote]and everybody sees it as relating to Christianity now

Nobody I know does so.


That just means that you spend to much time on here or you have very few friends.

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so nobody really cares that it was once a pagan festival

Apart from those pagans whose existence you had apparently forgotten about.


No,  I mean the ones who were around when we nicked it.

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let alone want to change it.

Indeed. It's a secular public holiday devoted to family time, a rest from work, eating and drinking and presents. Why would anybody want to change that?


Well,  you think that because you have no Christians as friends.

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No,  we have had it long enough to claim it as ours.

You don't "have" it at all, otherwise the majority of people would think of and celebrate Christmas as a religious festival. It may well have, in fact almost certainly has escaped your notice that they do not. According to a very recent story Britain has become a nation of religious illiterates in danger of knowing so little about Christianity that they won't even know enough about it to find the references in Life of Brian funny any more.

Well,  that is a good thing.  Prophecy fulfilled. The church shall fall from within.

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The only people who I have ever known to complain about it is the anti-atheists

Of which I am one.


Yes

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or the anti-christs

Of which I am apparently one according to you.


Yes

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and we all know why that is.

Do we


Yes

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I never here Pagan's complain.

How familiar are you with the pagan community? Do you know any? Read any books by pagans? Looks at pagan-themed websites?

In other words, are you sufficiently in touch with a broad enough base of the international pagan community to be able to know if they were complaining about anything? I would bet my shirt and much, much more besides that the answer will be no


Then you would end up getting very cold and be totally wrong in your assumption. If I were not a Christian I would be a pagan. .

[
Quote:
quote]Just the trouble making Atheists who think that because the have no beliefs in deity then nobody should.

That's militant anti-theism, not atheism for one thing. It's not even my position.
[/quote]
Those who are in the employ of Satan rarely know it. He uses them as the character and traits thy came here with remains with them. You were this arrogant and condescending befor you got her and it sounds like you always will.
Derek

Re: Are we allowing Christ to be taken out of Christmas. Xma

Ketty wrote:
Ralph2 wrote:


How about citing your source?  Or did you forget?


Facebook,  however, the writer is anonymous.
Shaker

Ralph2 wrote:
That is irrelevant,  the don't have it now,  neither have they for the last 1,660 years.

Nobody "has" it now. Other things being equal (that means apart from, amongst other groups, those in prison and those people who have to endure unwanted familial obligations, which I suppose amounts to much the same thing) people pass the Christmas period in any way that they wish to, and for the vast majority that means resting from work, spending time with the family, seeing friends, eating and drinking to excess and giving and receiving nice things, all with next to no - in fact usually no - religious thought, belief or input whatsoever. If you sample public opinion, or were in some other way to take a wide-angle snapshot of how a typical British Christmas is enjoyed, then you will see that this is the case. That's not going to change. If you've not already been made aware of this - in normal, ordinary, everyday life; in spending time with a wide variety of people; in the media; in popular culture; in just being 'out there' as a normal, newspaper-reading, telly-watching, Web-surfing, High Street-shopping citizen of Britain in December 2013 - then you're entirely out of touch with the way in which most people go about enjoying Christmas. That may well be the case: but don't run away with the idea that your experience is in any way representative of the mainstream view of Christmas for most people today, which is as I've described it.
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I am fully aware of that,  but the do not care the the Christians have it now.

(1) The Christians don't "have it now" - the celebration of Christmas as a religious, specifically Christian festival is a minority pursuit; absolutely and perfectly valid for people who hold those beliefs and a vital expression of religious freedom in a pluralist, liberally democratic, secular society, but a minority pursuit nonetheless; (2) Even if this were true - it isn't - how would you be in touch with general pagan opinion to know that they don't care?

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That just means that you spend to much time on here or you have very few friends.

Your average post count is 13 per day. Mine is 2.75. Who spends too [sic] much time on here?
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Well,  you think that because you have no Christians as friends.

Not in person, in what's laughingly referred to as real life, no.  

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Well,  that is a good thing. Prophecy fulfilled. The church shall fall from within.

Capital.

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Then you would end up getting very cold and be totally wrong in your assumption. If I were not a Christian I would be a pagan.

I'm perfectly confident that the pagan community generally would be every bit as enthused about that as real and actual Christians are that you claim sodality and fellowship with them. This will produce the inevitable response from you (so should, by rights, really demand that you not make that response, what with saving your fingers, time and energy and all) but people whom I regard as genuine, true and proper Christians (even by the most exiguous and minimal definition of that word let alone anything more full-blooded and full on: I mean people like Ketty, like cyberman, like Jim) regularly express their doubts about your status as a Christian.  

Nevertheless, that statement doesn't answer my questions. It's not even an attempt at doing so.

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Those who are in the employ of Satan

Or Santa - same thing, according to you, isn't it?

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You were this arrogant and condescending befor you got her and it sounds like you always will.

Almost certainly.
Derek

[quote="Shaker:100844"]

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Ralph2 wrote:
That is irrelevant,  the don't have it now,  neither have they for the last 1,660 years.

Nobody "has" it now. Other things being equal (that means apart from, amongst other groups, those in prison and those people who have to endure unwanted familial obligations, which I suppose amounts to much the same thing) people pass the Christmas period in any way that they wish to, and for the vast majority that means resting from work, spending time with the family, seeing friends, eating and drinking to excess and giving and receiving nice things, all with next to no - in fact usually no - religious thought, belief or input whatsoever. If you sample public opinion, or were in some other way to take a wide-angle snapshot of how a typical British Christmas is enjoyed, then you will see that this is the case. That's not going to change. If you've not already been made aware of this - in normal, ordinary, everyday life; in spending time with a wide variety of people; in the media; in popular culture - then you're entirely out of touch with the way in which most people go about enjoying Christmas. That may well be the case: but don't run away with the idea that your experience is in any way representative of the mainstream view of Christmas for most people today, which is as I've described it.


Words are easy to write but are empty without evidence.  How do you intend to substantiate your claim her.  Personal experience,  only my experience. Is the exact opposite to yours. My Christmas with all those I love and know revolves around the birth of Christ,  the true meaning of Christmas.

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I am fully aware of that,  but the do not care the the Christians have it now.

(1) The Christians don't "have it now" - the celebration of Christmas as a religious, specifically Christian festival is a minority pursuit; absolutely and perfectly valid for people who hold those beliefs and a vital expression of religious freedom in a pluralist, liberally democratic, secular society, but a minority pursuit nonetheless; (2) Even if this were true - it isn't - how would you be in touch with general pagan opinion to know that they don't care?


In my world Christmas is still very much a Christian festival.  Well,  as you said it is a lie then anything I say is pointless.  Many call me the pagan Christian.


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That just means that you spend to much time on here or you have very few friends.

Your average post count is 13 per day. Mine is 2.75. Who spends too [sic] much time on here?


I didn't say that I spend less time then you,  did I? You don' need to post to be here.

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Well,  you think that because you have no Christians as friends.

Not in person, in what's laughingly referred to as real life, no.
 

I wonder why?

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Well,  that is a good thing. Prophecy fulfilled. The church shall fall from within.

Capital
.

It is always good to see that this work and wonder is still on course.

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Then you would end up getting very cold and be totally wrong in your assumption. If I were not a Christian I would be a pagan.

That doesn't answer my questions, however. Not even an attempt at doing so
.

No,  I have noticed that yo need things explaining to you.  It means that you would loose the bet.

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Those who are in the employ of Satan

Or Santa - same thing, according to you, isn't it?


No,  santa claus is not real,  you may not have known that. It is a lie started by Satan to take away the real meaning of Christmas.

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You were this arrogant and condescending befor you got her and it sounds like you always will.

Almost certainly
.

I Agree
The Boyg

cyberman wrote:
Floo wrote:
Christians adopted the Pagan's Winter festival as their own and put their spin on it.


Evidence?


Evidence? Floo don need no steenken evidence!
Shaker

Ralph2 wrote:
Words are easy to write but are empty without evidence.


I'm sure we shall remember that when you produce another one of your additions to the ongoing chronicles of the fictional Professor Phil.

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How do you intend to substantiate your claim her.
 
By telling you to speak to more people; by telling you to read more newspapers and magazines; by telling you to watch more telly; by telling you to spend more time in the High Street of the nearest town or city; by telling you to open your eyes and see how Britain - not your family, even if your statements are true - celebrates Christmas 2013.

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Personal experience,  only my experience. Is the exact opposite to yours. My Christmas with all those I love and know revolves around the birth of Christ,  the true meaning of Christmas.

Which you are on record as having said is at completely the wrong time for this alleged event. Why is this?

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In my world Christmas is still very much a Christian festival.  Well,  as you said it is a lie then anything I say is pointless.
 
No, I didn't say it was a lie, actually, so the claim that I did is in itself a lie - or, more charitably, a mistake. Your statements about your family may be completely true. It's quite possible.

What I actually said, which is demonstrably the case, is that a minority of people observe Christmas as a Christian festival; the majority treat it as a secular public holiday marked by all those things which I must have written out a good four or five times by now on two different threads and which I surely needn't write out yet again.   

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No,  I have noticed that yo need things explaining to you.  It means that you would loose the bet.

A bet can't be loosed. A bet can certainly be lost, but the onus is on you to demonstrate, with evidence, how and why my bet would be lost.

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No,  santa claus is not real,  you may not have known that.

I treat both Satan and Santa as equally unreal. The salient difference between them is this vitally important proviso: Satan is a fictional character designed to be the scapegoat for (because the source of, root of, creator of) all evil, pain, misery, suffering, woe, disease, discord in the world. All the wrong, bad, nasty stuff, essentially. Santa is a fictional character pictured as a jolly, loving, bearded, rosy-cheeked old chap - everybody's idealised favourite granddad, just as growing up in the 1970s mine was dear old Jack Hargreaves - with a penchant for sherry, mince pies, airborne reindeer and dressing in red who in the space of one night magically brings little kiddies everywhere really nice things like the toys they really, really, really want. These are both figments of the human imagination, but I really, really wish one of them actually existed and I am unexpectedly extremely sorry to say that I am sorry that he does not. Can you guess which one I'm referring to?
Farmer Geddon

Kinda sums it up succinctly:

"Jesus’ ministry, miracles, Passion and Resurrection were often of most interest to first- and early-second-century C.E. Christian writers. But over time, Jesus’ origins would become of increasing concern. We can begin to see this shift already in the New Testament. The earliest writings—Paul and Mark—make no mention of Jesus’ birth. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke provide well-known but quite different accounts of the event—although neither specifies a date. In the second century C.E., further details of Jesus’ birth and childhood are related in apocryphal writings such as the Infancy Gospel of Thomas and the Proto-Gospel of James.b These texts provide everything from the names of Jesus’ grandparents to the details of his education—but not the date of his birth.

Finally, in about 200 C.E., a Christian teacher in Egypt makes reference to the date Jesus was born. According to Clement of Alexandria, several different days had been proposed by various Christian groups. Surprising as it may seem, Clement doesn’t mention December 25 at all. Clement writes: “There are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord’s birth, but also the day; and they say that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus, and in the 25th day of [the Egyptian month] Pachon [May 20 in our calendar] … And treating of His Passion, with very great accuracy, some say that it took place in the 16th year of Tiberius, on the 25th of Phamenoth [March 21]; and others on the 25th of Pharmuthi [April 21] and others say that on the 19th of Pharmuthi [April 15] the Savior suffered. Further, others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi [April 20 or 21].”2

Clearly there was great uncertainty, but also a considerable amount of interest, in dating Jesus’ birth in the late second century. By the fourth century, however, we find references to two dates that were widely recognized—and now also celebrated—as Jesus’ birthday: December 25 in the western Roman Empire and January 6 in the East (especially in Egypt and Asia Minor). The modern Armenian church continues to celebrate Christmas on January 6; for most Christians, however, December 25 would prevail, while January 6 eventually came to be known as the Feast of the Epiphany, commemorating the arrival of the magi in Bethlehem. The period between became the holiday season later known as the 12 days of Christmas.

The earliest mention of December 25 as Jesus’ birthday comes from a mid-fourth-century Roman almanac that lists the death dates of various Christian bishops and martyrs. The first date listed, December 25, is marked: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae: “Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea.”3 In about 400 C.E., Augustine of Hippo mentions a local dissident Christian group, the Donatists, who apparently kept Christmas festivals on December 25, but refused to celebrate the Epiphany on January 6, regarding it as an innovation. Since the Donatist group only emerged during the persecution under Diocletian in 312 C.E. and then remained stubbornly attached to the practices of that moment in time, they seem to represent an older North African Christian tradition.

In the East, January 6 was at first not associated with the magi alone, but with the Christmas story as a whole.

So, almost 300 years after Jesus was born, we finally find people observing his birth in mid-winter. But how had they settled on the dates December 25 and January 6?

There are two theories today: one extremely popular, the other less often heard outside scholarly circles (though far more ancient).4

The most loudly touted theory about the origins of the Christmas date(s) is that it was borrowed from pagan celebrations. The Romans had their mid-winter Saturnalia festival in late December; barbarian peoples of northern and western Europe kept holidays at similar times. To top it off, in 274 C.E., the Roman emperor Aurelian established a feast of the birth of Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun), on December 25. Christmas, the argument goes, is really a spin-off from these pagan solar festivals. According to this theory, early Christians deliberately chose these dates to encourage the spread of Christmas and Christianity throughout the Roman world: If Christmas looked like a pagan holiday, more pagans would be open to both the holiday and the God whose birth it celebrated."

http://www.biblicalarchaeology.or...how-december-25-became-christmas/
trentvoyager

I wanted to vote "neither" but I didn't have that option.
Shaker

trentvoyager wrote:
I wanted to vote "neither" but I didn't have that option.

Tut  

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