[ the actual title of this page:]
http://LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/Christmas.html

 

What has America's "Christmas"
got to do with Jesus Christ ?

        Many pious Christians speak of "putting Christ back into Christmas".  But, using the Christ child – rather than Santa Claus – to justify America's annual orgy of gift giving would hardly be a cause worth dying for.  The "Christmas season", however, is a great time for Christians to face the fact that the real challenge is to put Christ back into "Christianity", not just into the holiday. 
        We know that we are going up against billions of advertizing dollars, and years of "tradition", but who knows what may be possible, if God is on our side?
        Although Jesus himself was the recipient of gifts at his birth, what possible connection is there between that event and the custom of comfortable people exchanging gifts among themselves?  In point of fact, such a custom flies in the face of what Jesus actually taught.  Can anyone who takes Jesus seriously doubt that what he would say about America's annual orgy of "Christmas gift-giving" is what he said in :


        Can anyone who takes Jesus seriously doubt that what Jesus would say about America's annual orgy of "Christmas gift-giving" is what he said in :

{ Luke 14:12-14 } 

        "Jesus said to the one who had invited him, 'When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid.  Rather, when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.' "

Planet Earth If 100 people were
chosen to represent the
entire world population,
57 would be Asians , 21 would be Europeans,
8 would be Africans, and 14 would be from
North and South America
30
would be
white
  70
would be
non-white
48
would be
male
52
would be
female
  • 80 would live in substandard housing.
  • 50 would suffer from malnutrition.
  • 6 of them ( all from the U.S.A.) would own almost 60% of the entire world's wealth.
  • Only 1 would have a college education.
  • 70 would be unable to read.
  • Only 1 of them would be looking at this message,
    because the other 99 would not have a computer.

        According to www.thehungersite.com site, as of 12/25/2005, approximately 24,000 people die each day from hunger, or from hunger-related causes.  That translates into one person dying every 3.6 seconds – 74% of whom are children.  The majority of hunger-related deaths are caused by chronic malnutrition.  An estimated 800 million individuals  – children, mothers, fathers, grandparents –  simply cannot get enough to eat.
        If God's will is represented by  in Luke 3:11
 "Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise", then why are the millions of middle-class, as well as wealthy Christians, who have thousands of times more wealth than the poor, exchanging gifts among themselves in Christ's name, instead of using that extra wealth to alleviate the hunger and homelessness and injustice in this world?  There wouldn't nearly be so much suffering in this world, if the millions of "Christians" who are wealthy – by the world's standards – were being told by those who are supposed to represent him that the price of salvation which Jesus set for those with means is the helping of those without means.

Rockwell painting

[ Norman Rockwell's masterpiece ] Jesus' version of the Golden Rule was
        "Do unto needy strangers  as you would do unto him."



        I understand that the American writer Upton Sinclair was a "Communist", but this Christian clergyman thinks thatg he had a point when he wrote:

        “Consider Christmas—could Satan in his most malignant mood have devised a worse combination of graft plus bunkum than the system whereby several hundred million people get a billion or so gifts for which they have no use, and some thousands of shop clerks die of exhaustion while selling them, and every other child in the Western world is made ill from overeating—all in the name of the lowly Jesus?"



        Why not give your family and friends a real gift this Christmas, namely, the revelation of what Christ was really all about?  Instead of dwelling on the "Christmas story" (i.e. the birth and infancy of Christ, which is nowhere as historical as people have imagined over the centuries, as we show below), why not help them discover what Christ really wanted people to know about him, i.e. his message of love and caring for those most in need of love?

Click on the banner below to receive a Christmas gift truly worth receiving,
and worth giving to those you love most :

www.LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/Christlike
a gift from Rev. Ray Dubuque


        The ultra-Conservative Fox Network news anchor, John Gibson has published a book entitled, "The War on Christmas" : How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought.  I'm not going to enrich Gibson by buying this book, but my well educated guess is that Gibson has spent as little time studying theology, as I have spent reading his book.  But it seems that the more ignorant Conservatives are about religion, the more arrogant they are about promoting their Conservative "faith".
        Here are some illustrations of the ignorance of many Conservative "Christians".  Most such people are under the illusion that their view of the Christmas story comes straight from the bible.  But chances are that their views come rather from church "Christmas pageants", (which may be based on the bible, but shield them from problems with the actual bible texts).
        Any good bible scholar – as opposed to the average Conservative clergyman – will tell you that :

  • While Christmas pageants weave Gospel stories together seamlessly, the stories of Luke and Matthew go together like oil and water. 
            Bible scholars now believe that Mark was the first to publish the story of Jesus' life, some 20 years after Jesus' death, and he (like the evangelist, John) wrote nothing whatever about Jesus' birth or childhood.  Apparently unhappy with Mark's Gospel, Matthew, Luke and John each decided to try to improve on Mark by writing their own versions of Jesus' life and teaching.
            Although Matthew and Luke wrote as though they were both witnesses of Jesus birth, you have to wonder if they were writing about the same person.  Luke appears to know nothing about any kings coming from the East, or King Herod becoming involved, or a multitude of Jewish male children being butchered, or the holy family fleeing to Egypt, where Jesus supposedly spent the first years of his life.  Wouldn't you think that events as dramatic as these would be included in any story of the first chapter of Jesus' life?  Matthew, on the other hand, shows no knowledge of the shepherds, or the appearance of a multitude of angels to announce and celebrate the birth of Jesus.  And directly contradicting Matthew's claim that immediately after his birth Jesus was carried off in panic to the foreign country of Egypt to the south where he stayed for several years, Luke writes all about the public ritual appearances at the temple, and says that  "When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth (North of Bethlehem, and far from Egypt to the South, and from which)  "every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover."   (Luke 2:39-41)
  • There are also problems with the "virgin birth" accounts of both Matthew and Luke.  For one, Matt. 1:22-23 claims that Isaiah 7:14 is a profecy about Jesus' birth:  "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel." (KJV)
            Sadly, Christian versions of the Hebrew bible which use the word "virgin" in this verse may be intentionally mistranslating the Hebrew word "almah", which is not the word for "virgin", but the word for "young girl" or "recently married young woman", because the accurate translation would expose Matthew's erroneous assertion that "All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet (Isaiah) : "Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means, "God is with us."   ( An additional problem with this text, which Matthew claims is a profecy about Jesus, is that there is no evidence of anyone ever calling Jesus 'Emmanuel'.)
  • Far from being an earth-shattering event, the story of the virgin birth of Jesus follows a long-standing tradition in the Middle East of great men or gods having such an origin.  A thousand years before Jesus, "Zoroaster, the Persian prophet and patriarch who lived and preached in ancient Babylon, was said to have been God-begotten and virgin-born."  and Christianity's principal rival religion in the Middle-East at the time was centered on Mithras, who "was said to have been sent by a father-god to vanquish darkness and evil in the world.  Born of a virgin (a birth witnessed only by shepherds), Mithras was described variously as 'the Way', 'the Truth', 'the Light', 'the Word', 'the Son of God', and 'the Good Shepherd' and was often depicted carrying a lamb upon his shoulders.  Followers of Mithras celebrated December 25th (the winter solstice) by ringing bells, singing hymns, lighting candles, giving gifts, and administering a sacrament of bread and water."
    [ from infidels.org/library/modern/james_still/virgin_birth.html ]
  • Another problem with the miraculous birth story is that the Christians of the first three centuries didn't even celebrate Jesus' birth. The first mention of a Nativity feast appears in a Roman document from 354 A.D., and that document is the first to list December 25 as his official birthday. It appears that after a great debate over how human Jesus had really been, some scholars believe that the church began celebrating Jesus' birth as a way of emphasizing his humanity.
        We may not know exactly why the date of December 25th was chosen, but it may well have been because that was the date of the Roman festival honoring the sun god, Mithras. It also coincided with the pagan festival of Saturnalia, which was widely celebrated throughout the Roman Empire. Unfortunately for the church, Saturnalia was usually celebrated with drunken revelry. And for Christians, for the next thousand years or so, Christmas became the wildest party of the year. There were huge feasts and street parties that often led to riots.
        It was writers who helped turn Christmas into more of a domestic holiday. The poem "The Night Before Christmas," published in 1823, was one of the first works of literature to suggest that Christmas should be focused more on children than adults. And Charles Dickens's novel "A Christmas Carol", in 1843, helped popularize the idea that Christmas should be about family.

Take it from Stephen;
there is much more
where this came from, at my
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