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I thought I would share with you my thoughts on the holidays... - A Sorta Fairytale
October 2013
 
 
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hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Fri, Dec. 24th, 2004 04:16 pm
I thought I would share with you my thoughts on the holidays...

...before I have to go finish up some last minute gift wrapping. ;)

I love Christmas. It is by far my favorite holiday. Several of my friends devoutly cherish Easter above it as the most significant of the Christian holidays, but I say without Christmas there would have been no Easter. Christmas signifies the depth of God's love for us in how he humbled Himself to become one of us. One of my favorite songs of the holiday season, not as well-known as some others, is an Advent hymn that eloquently describes how God took on human flesh for our benefit:


Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand.
Ponder nothing earthly-minded,
For with blessing in his hand,
Christ our God to earth descended
Our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth he stood,
Lord of lords in human vesture,
In the body and the blood.
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six-wingéd seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
“Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia, Lord Most High!”



Not only do I love the spiritual significance of Christmas; I also love everything that comes with it. I love the music, the gift-giving (and receiving!), the together-ness of family and friends, the holiday treats (biscochitos, yum!), the charitable acts it inspires. The whole atmosphere of Christmas is wonderful to me. I’m not one to complain about the “commericialization” of Christmas, or the addition of all the secular elements—Santa and Rudolph and Frosty. The more the merrier, I say!

And on that note, I will add a brief comment about the separation of church and state issue. Public schools and government buildings ought to be allowed to have multicultural holiday observances—whether we’re talking about décor on the city hall or songs the high school choir sings in its winter concert. What that means is that I think it’s fine to have a moderate amount of religious Christmas symbols, songs, etc., as long as secular elements, and elements representing other holiday practices, such as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, are present as well. Banning the religious side of Christmas from government buildings and especially form schools not only interferes with Christians’ constitutional right to free exercise of religion, but also starves all of us of much of our valuable culture and history. Imagine if public school choirs were banned from singing music from Handel’s Messiah, because *gasp* we can’t have the government endorsing the Christian religion. Maybe there are some anti-theists out there who would say we should toss Handel out of the public schools along with “Silent Night” and Nativity scenes, but I think most sensible people, religious or not, should be able to see from my example the absurdity of this anti-Christian crusade that rears its ugly head every December. *sigh* What I am saying is that the winter holiday season ought to be a wonderful time of year, and it ought to be a time that belongs to everyone—Christians and non-Christians alike. So, let’s have the angels, and the reindeer, and the menorah all together. As I said above, the more the merrier! The ACLU Anyone who actually wants less holiday observation at this time of year is little better than the Grinch to me. If we want to advocate civil liberties, we ought to be advocating to include more people and cultures and ideas in the winter holidays, not less.

To sum up, I will apologize to neither my Easter-preferring Christian friends, nor my non-religious and/or non-Christmas-observing friends for loving Christmas. And on that note I will say:

M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S and H A P P Y H O L I D A Y S !

And I will leave you with my favorite Christmas poem:


The Work of Christmas
By Howard Thurman

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost, to heal the broken,
To feed the hungry, to release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations, to bring peace among the people,
To make music in the heart.



Indeed, the "work of Christmas" is for everyone, not just for December, but for the whole year.

Grace and Peace,

Joie

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful
Current Music: Jars of Clay ~ "Little Drummer Boy"

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buongiornodaisy
buongiornodaisy
the second biggest jun ishikawa stan on the 'net
Fri, Dec. 24th, 2004 10:53 pm (UTC)

Well, on the Catholic calendar Easter is more important than Christmas. Don't ask me why. I'm not an expert on Catholic teaching. ;)

Merry Christmas!


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hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Fri, Dec. 24th, 2004 11:24 pm (UTC)

Most evangelical Christians consider Easter more important because it commemorates the Resurrection, which is the most significant event in Christian history (in all of history, in fact) according to Christian doctrine. That makes perfect sense to me, and it doesn't surprise me at all that the official Catholic teaching concurs. It's just that for me, subjectively, I enjoy Christmas more, and I think it also has such a significance to the Christian faith as to make any slight advantage Easter has negligible.


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solusfides
Jon
Sat, Dec. 25th, 2004 01:21 am (UTC)
amen, amen, amen!

Christmas signifies the depth of God's love for us in how he humbled Himself to become one of us.
To this I say, AMEN!
Truly, it all starts here. For it is in the beginning of the incarnation (which really means you coud go back even further... 9 months further as the actual big event, but Christmas is the culmination of those 9 months, when God even announced to those around, of his new and humbling work, bringing together full humanity and full God, the Logos incarnate, the mediator and reconciler, teacher and shepherd, King and priestly sacrifice. It all starts here.

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand.

I would agree, this is a most enjoyable tune. My choir at the Seminary did this, and I am in awe of it, I hope I hear it more often... if not get to sing it again.

And on that note, I will add a brief comment about the separation of church and state issue.
again... amen!
avoiding culture, especially in an educational institution, is like teaching and emphasizing that our history and our beliefs mean squat, while yet instilling what appears to be not a Post-Modern culture, but still the Modern culture. For in the Post-Modern, it's all good.
The strongest sense of culture is one that recognizes its roots, its beliefs, and the understanding of the strength of culture and history.

and last but not least
"The Work of Christmas"
Truly, that is a good one, I'll need to send that to my Basic Christian Doctrine teacher, he'd like it.
but, the poem misses one thing, it seems to talk a lot about his work before the final act of reconciliation (although,the release of the prisoner may be hinting to it) and such may still not be quite there... but otherwise, tis gud, and re-phrases your earlier statement well (good way to finish where you started ;-)

Grace and Peace are embodied well in the blessing known as Shalom, so this I shall respond back with.
Shalom to you and your family, this wonderous Christmas Eve!


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