Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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Guest Post from the other side (of the border)

November 28th, 2015, Promulgated by Administrator

Featuring a Guest Post:

Xmas, Starbucks coffee and taking Christ out of Christmas

A Facebook posting (reprinted with permission)
By Mark Murack

 

I saw a Facebook comment that said press “like” if you want to keep Christ in Christmas.

I began wondering how clicking the “like” button keeps Christ in Christmas.  Do people really believe that clicking “like” keeps Christ in Christmas?

Bigger question – Did Jesus ever command that we celebrate his birthday?

Are we getting upset about something that Jesus really isn’t concerned about, instead of paying attention to his one command to love one another – including our enemies – the same way he loved us?

I read the ravings of Christians who are angry at Starbucks because of their new red cup design and wonder – Why do they believe that Starbucks is violating our rights? Why do they think Starbucks is obligated to put Merry Christmas on their cups in a multicultural society? How does their cup design stop me from celebrating the birth of Christ?

Secondly, will they ever want my Jesus if I rage against them?  How does using the letter X in in the word Christmas (Xmas) take Christ out.? Using the letter X instead of the word Christ originated over 1000 years ago because the first letter in the word Christ in the Greek language is an “X” . In the early days of printing the word Christ was often spelled as XP or XT because printing costs were so high.

Is Christ being taken out of Christmas by companies not allowing store employees saying Merry Christmas instead of happy holidays?  I hear Christians getting upset that a manger scene isn’t allowed on government property. How does that take Christ out of Christmas? Are they violating our rights?

Or as disciples of Christ, should we lay down those “rights” and instead take up our obligation to love? Why should we get upset that the world doesn’t want to celebrate Christ’s birthday and only wants a holiday? If they don’t know him, why should they want to celebrate his birthday, and why should I insist that they do?

The Holy Spirit spoke through the Apostle Paul, who wrote that we should pray for our government leaders so we can live a quiet peaceful life.  That instruction was given during the reign of Nero, who was burning Christians alive in his garden. If we prayed for our leaders half as much as we criticized them, isn’t
it possible that things might be very different?

The real Christ of Christmas is making His biggest impact in countries where his disciples have NO rights and face persecution. The only right they have is to love those who persecute them, and as a result Christianity is growing in those countries at phenomenal rates… so maybe we can take a lesson from them. Jesus didn’t come to overthrow the government and demand a top down change, but instead he gave his life for a bottom up change. When the hearts of people are touched by Christ’s love, then the culture and laws change, because our laws are a reflection of our hearts.

Personally, I’m glad companies are telling employees to say happy holidays and governments are saying we can’t put manger scenes on government property.

The best place for a manger scene is on your own front lawn. The best place to hear Merry Christmas is from a disciple of Christ – it helps to identify those who are followers of Christ instead of spectators.Christ is taken out of Christmas – not by the government or by other religions but by us Christians – when we fail to show love to those who are different, when we walk around railing at everybody instead of serving them and giving our lives to help them.How much time do we spend actually planning how we can bless our community, neighbors or fellow brothers and sisters during this season?

Do we look for ways to bless those who have different religious views, those who make things a bit difficult for us (What we experience in North America isn’t persecution – maybe aggravating and frustrating but we don’t really know the meaning of persecution – for which I’m thankful)We take Christ out of Christmas when we pay more attention to all the gifts we are going to buy than the money we are going to give to the kingdom to
promote the gospel and meet the needs of the poor.

January is a hard month in many churches because of all the money Christians spend on themselves
instead of advancing the cause of Christ. It’s Christians who take Christ out of Christmas when we demand our “rights” instead of serving others with Christ’s love. We take Christ out of Christmas when we look at those with different beliefs and treat them like the enemy, instead of with honor because Jesus thought they were so valuable he died for them. I believe the world would want the Christ of Christmas if we acted more like
Christ – displaying his love, mercy and his power, to help people experience the freedom he came to bring. Sadly, it isn’t other religions, the government or big business that has taken Christ out of Christmas – nope, it
us who have done this because we have forgotten what it really means to act like him – to lay down our lives, pick up our cross and follow him.

The good news is it’s easy to bring Christ back into Christmas. Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, but came with good news to save it. He said we must stop living for ourselves and lay down our lives to love others. This may mean asking someone to forgive you (even if you were not totally in the wrong) because you have been holding anger or bitterness towards them. (which means you are more wrong than they in God’s eyes).

Maybe it means asking forgiveness from your boss or a co-worker because you have gossiped or criticized them behind their back. It could include sending a card filled with encouragement to a local political representative who has very different beliefs then you do and including a gift card just to bless them. You could make some sandwiches and go downtown to feed the poor. You don’t have to wait for your church to organize something – find something you can do on behalf of Christ.

 

P.S. Don’t simply press Like if you agree – Do something to demonstrate your love for what Jesus has done for you – that’s why I wrote this….

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5 Responses to “Guest Post from the other side (of the border)”

  1. avatar Scott W. says:

    Obviously much to agree with in this post. For instance, I thought the flap over the Starbucks cup design was excessive. It was as if people were keyed up for the usual war on Christmas, set their weapons to hair trigger, and emptied the clip on a rather flimsy pretext. On the other hand let’s not kid ourselves. Starbucks’ leadership is entirely on the side of the pernicious and ersatz religion of SocJus. It is one thing to obey Our Lord and love and bless our enemies; quite another to delude oneself into thinking an enemy isn’t really an enemy who wants you and your kind to be scoured from face of the earth.

    Likewise, I see little point in secular civic institutions making empty Christmas gestures; especially when a handful of squeaky Christmas-haters can make all sorts of trouble for everyone. In fact, Christians should do a housecleaning of their own traditional things that have become scandalous. The St. Patrick’s day parade in New York for instance has become like the right hand hand that offendeth thee. Better to cut it off.

    And then the whole “rights” thing. As my fellow friend and blogger ZippyCatholic puts it, “when you use their words, you start thinking their thoughts”. So, it is easy to agree that an employee should not be compelled to say “Merry Christmas” to customers. However, no one should be glad that an employer threatens to terminate an employee for saying it of his own will. That’s not really a question of rights, but of basic justice and truth. It is one thing for a Christian to patiently endure an injustice; quite another to pretend an injustice isn’t an injustice and take a “keep your head down, your mouth shut, and your stupid beliefs between your ears alone” policy.

    Finally, please pardon me for ending on a cheeky quibble and sounding like Lord Brideshead doing it, but where you ask “Did Jesus ever command that we celebrate his birthday?” the answer is that Christmas is a holy day of obligation. The successors of the Apostles command it through His Church of whom He said, “He that hears you hears me.” So yes, Our Lord commands (note tense) we celebrate His birthday. Dignum et justum est.

    God bless.

  2. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    There is too much to disagree with in this post. I don’t think this is a good post.

  3. avatar christian says:

    -I thought the campaign against Starbucks over their Christmas coffee cup not having holiday designs like snowflakes and tree ornaments was ludicrous. For the holiday season, including Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year, they changed their disposable coffee cup from white to red, while displaying their logo. The result – Red, Green, and White are colors associated with Christmas. Starbucks simply went back to a having simpler, cleaner style of disposable coffee cup for the holidays, namely the Christmas season.

    My son who frequents Starbucks told me they even has a special blend of coffee that they sell during the holiday season which is labeled “Christmas Blend.”

    This ludicrous campaign against Starbucks was initiated by a former pastor, and social media evangelist and preacher named Joshua Feuerstein. Joshua Feuerstein has been noted for creating controversy. There are news reports that he posted a video on his Facebook page on July 29th, 2015, requesting followers of his post to assassinate physicians who perform abortions. After the shooting spree of John Dear at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood facility on Friday, November 27th, 2015, leaving 3 people dead and 9 injured, Joshua Feuerstein deleted that video from his Facebook page.

    Beyond the Starbucks’ holiday cup argument, there is much that I do not agree with, with regard to the views of Mark Murack.

    I disagree with Mark Murack when he states Christians do not suffer persecution in the United States, or they really don’t know what real persecution is. There may not be hangings, beheadings, rapes, tortures, crucifixions, and other barbaric punishments in the United States, especially under those who practice radical Islam, but we have more subtle persecutions under those in high influential positions who are either atheists, ant-Christian, or those who believe in a complete separation of church and state, who additionally prescribe edicts and pass laws contrary to Christian observance.

    In the workplace: If you are a healthcare professional and you refuse to set-up, perform or participate in abortions in a hospital which performs abortions, you are fired. If you are a healthcare professional and you are not willing to facilitate individuals to have sexual relations (especially in-house) with any number of partners, and either prescribe birth control methods and supply condoms, or administer birth control and facilitate condoms, to decrease chance of pregnancy, you need to look for another job. If you are a counselor: social worker, mental heath therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist, and you do not endorse same sex unions, sexual unions without benefit of marriage, other unnatural situations, and transgender lifestyle, and provide counseling agreeable to these situations, you may need to leave affiliation with a particular institution and work solo. If you thrown out of the military if you are a Chaplain or Counselor and don’t adhere to these views and counseling practice.

    I know of a friend who years ago, left a job with a car dealership because he was asked to lie and be deceitful in order to sell cars. He told that head of the dealership that he was a Christian and wasn’t willing to do it. And then he quit.

    Employers and Business Owners: If you are an employer and are asked to provide healthcare insurance – if you are Christian, but not a religious institution, you are required to provide birth control including many types of contraceptives including counseling.
    If you own a bakery, florist shop, wedding venue, etc., if you are Christian, but not a religious institution, and you do not want to accommodate same sex marriages, you can be sued.

    If you are a public office position: If you are asked to issue a marriage license to a same sex couple -if you are Christian, don’t believe in same sex marriage, and aren’t willing to issue a same sex marriage license, you are arrested and put in jail.

    Religious schools/charities: If you accept public funding from the government, they can dictate your policies. They can interfere with your taught catechism and theology, teach the LBGT agenda as a normal, acceptable lifestyle, teach and endorse birth control and premarital sexual relations. They also can dictate who you hire, your employees’ “rights,” and employees’ healthcare coverage.

    Employees of various lines of work have been restricted from using “God” in their communication and dialogue with patients, clients, co-workers, and customers. Employees have also been instructed to wish patients, clients, co-workers, and customers ” Happy Holidays” rather than saying “Happy Hanukkah” and “Merry Christmas!” In fact, it is deemed as politically incorrect to say “Merry Christmas!”

    There have been towns and cities who have cancelled their annual Christmas lights and other Christmas observances within the last 10 years, out of ” sensitivity” for non-Christians, trying to be politically correct.

    It’s almost as though Christians are expected to apologize for being Christian, and exclaiming “Merry Christmas!” is deemed as offensive and insensitive. It is against our religious freedom not to be able to celebrate openly.

    Yes, where is love of Jesus Christ in all of this

    Many places have banned the use of “Christmas tree” and insist on the term “Holiday tree” instead.

    Regardless of how you view the Obamas: Some years back, Barack Obama’s advisers told the family not to display the White House Nativity Scene at Christmas. Michelle Obama argued that it had always been a White House tradition and Barack Obama stated regardless of how people viewed Jesus, this birth was of a man who had a profound impact on mankind through many centuries. The Nativity Scene was shown.
    If there is a public lighting of the Menorah, the Nativity Scene should be shown.

    I agree with Hanukkah celebrations and public lighting of the Menorah across the country. I also agree that the Nativity Scene should be on display in a public place also, as well as Christmas trees and other decorations. I think it would do well to have a Menorah and a Nativity Scene on display on government property, after all our country had a Judeo-Christian origin on which our laws were based. Maybe a pregnant woman caught in a difficult situation might view a Nativity Scene and think of Mary in her situation, and receive hope and inspiration to carry her child to birth.

    By all means, people should open their hearts to Christian charity, especially at Christmastime. But I can’t help get the message that Mark Murack thinks people should just keep Christmas in their own private way.

    There are Christians who chose to observe Christmas in other parts of the world despite martyrdom. Shouldn’t it give us more holy fuel to celebrate Christmas? We should also acknowledge these martyrs on the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

    From One Institute:

    “Once again, the month of Christmas witnessed some of the most barbaric attacks on Christians throughout the Islamic world.

    After Andrew White, an Anglican priest known as the “Vicar of Baghdad,” told of how the Islamic State [S] “chopped [Christian] children in half; they chopped their heads off,” he offered the following anecdote:”

    “IS turned up and they said to the [Christian] children, “You say the words [the shehada, to convert to Islam], that you will follow Muhammad.” And the children, all under 15, four of them, they said, “No, we love Jesus [Yesua]. We have always loved Jesus. We have always followed Jesus. Jesus has always been with us.” They [IS] said, “Say the words!” They [children] said, “No, we can’t.” [White starts sobbing] They chopped all their heads off. How do you respond to that? You just cry. They’re my children. That is what we have been going through. That is what we are going through.”

    Reading these accounts should make us fight all the more to safeguard our religious liberties. Those Christians martyred honoring Jesus Christ on Christmas should give us holy fuel to truly celebrate Christmas with Christian zeal.

    oneinstitute.org/5169/christmas-slaughter-muslim-persecution
    https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/

  4. avatar christian says:

    I’m sorry that I didn’t have the entire first link copied in my post above. Here it is:

    http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/5169/christmas-slaughter-muslim-persecution

    The article story on this link gives you an account of how other Christians observed Christmas last year. I would hope it would inspire other Christians including the readers of this post, to stand up and be counted as Christian, to stand up for Christian rights and principles, and to observe Christmas.

  5. avatar christian says:

    I need to apologize for my earlier statements about Americans not having experienced certain violence and killings at the hands of radical Islamics, when in fact we have.

    A woman was beheaded by a radical Islamic terrorist at her workplace in Sept. 2014, and her co-worker was injured during a beheading attempt before the terrorist was shot dead. American journalists have been beheaded outside of the country by radical Islamic terrorists. There have been multiple bombings, mass shootings, and large scale attacks, claiming many, many lives, and injuring many, many others, throughout the United States by radical Islamic terrorists; the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania were the first attacks on United States’ soil. And the United States has lost many of its military, young men and women, fighting the war on radical Islamic terrorism, and many of those who have survived bear devastating physical and/or emotional injuries. U. S. Military personnel (and civilians) who have been captured by radical Islamic terrorists have suffered extreme mistreatment of magnitude, it is very difficult to emotionally process and digest.

    But these radical Islamics terrorists do not make up our government, lawmakers, judicial system, and police force.

    We have a different brand – atheists and ungodly people who are part of our government: executive, judicial, and legislative branches, at federal and state levels, (and atheists and ungodly people and groups which have strongly influenced them), who have been progressively taking over Judeo-Christian values and Judeo-Christian rights. And you notice that there is not a proportionately large outcry from the American public over laws governing human life in vitro, and morality and sexuality.

    Pastor Mark Murack of Victory Christian Church of Ontario, Canada talks of “North America” when he states we Christians don’t know what Christian persecution is. Is Canada really that different from the United States? Or has Pastor Mark Murack been sheltered as a pastor serving a Christian church who has never had to make a difficult situation between his job and what his non-church employer has asked him to do? Are all his congregants sheltered as well and never suffered hardship for making a Christian stand against immoral, ungodly acts and judgments?

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