A Tale of Two Christmases

Pastor David Jeremiah confessed at last weekend’s service that he loves the trappings of Christmas. Every year he takes his family to New York City to watch the Rockettes perform their holiday program. He shared the story of his family’s recent visit:

They gave us a pair of special glasses and turned down the lights. As the program began we could see 3D projections of Santa Claus flying over the stage delivering presents. It looked so real that I actually reached out to try to catch one of the wrapped gifts.

At the end of the program they recreated the Christmas story from the Book of Luke. I sat in wonder as the story of Christ’s birth was presented on the big stage. How would it be received by a New York audience in 2017? Well, there was a standing ovation, but as we were leaving I heard a man say,  “I really enjoyed the first part of the program, but why did they have to ruin it with all that religious stuff?” I wanted to reach out and tell the man, “That religious stuff is what Christmas is all about.”

When it premiered on December 9, 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas was expected to be a ratings disaster. CBS executives didn’t like the theme music (Linus and Lucy by Vince Guaraldi) because it sounded too adult. More importantly, TV execs did not want to broadcast a religious-themed Christmas program. Director Bill Melendez somewhat agreed with the network, but noted that “Sparky (Charles Schulz) would not budge.”

CBS thought of canning the program, but it had spent so much money to develop the project that it decided to air the special and simply write it off as a production loss. The rest, as they say, is history. A Charlie Brown Christmas was seen in 50% of American households. It earned critical acclaim, and was awarded an Emmy and a Peabody. It became a Christmas classic, and has aired for over fifty years.

Pastor Jeremiah warned that even a Christian can get caught up in the trappings of Christmas. Santa Claus is a jovial, non-threatening substitution for Jesus Christ. The North Pole is a substitute for heaven — a lump of coal  a substitute for hell. The concept of good and evil reduced to an innocuous list of those who are naughty, or nice.

 There is a great divide — two Christmases, if you will, one for the pagans and one for the Christians. It is hypocritical, though, for non-Christians to celebrate Christmas, or Christ’s mass. The world loves the holiday music, parties and gifts, but they fail to recognize the true gift of the season.

2 Corinthians 9:15
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Ephesians 2:8
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

God blinds their eyes and hardens their hearts so that they cannot discern what is true nor perceive what is deception. My sorrow is that many Christians are equally confused.

Copyright © 2017 Eternal Christ

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Apollo 8 Christmas Eve 1968

– NASA Press Release –

Christmas Eve, 1968.

As one of the most turbulent, tragic years in American history drew to a close, millions around the world were watching and listening as the Apollo 8 astronauts — Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders — became the first humans to orbit another world.

As their command module floated above the lunar surface, the astronauts beamed back images of the moon and Earth and took turns reading from the book of Genesis, closing with a wish for everyone “on the good Earth.”

The crew entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1968. That evening, the astronauts held a live broadcast, showing pictures of the Earth and moon as seen from their spacecraft.

“We were told that on Christmas Eve we would have the largest audience that had ever listened to a human voice,” recalled Borman during 40th anniversary celebrations in 2008. “And the only instructions that we got from NASA was to do something appropriate.”

The crew rocketed into orbit on December 21, and after circling the moon 10 times on Christmas Eve, it was time to come home. On Christmas morning, mission control waited anxiously for word that Apollo 8’s engine burn to leave lunar orbit had worked.

The crew splashed down in the Pacific on December 27. A lunar landing was still months away, but for the first time ever, humans from Earth had visited the moon and returned home safely.

-End-

America had come through a tumultuous year of social and political upheaval. Riots in the street, escalation of the war in Vietnam, and the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy had left the nation reeling. It seemed as if God had removed His hand of favor from the United States. It is said that when the Apollo 8 astronauts read from the Book of Genesis that you could hear a pin drop in every corner of the earth. In those brief moments the peace of God reigned in the hearts of people on every continent.

Copyright © 2017 Eternal Christ

Jesus or Santa?

I was reading about a childless couple who opened a foster home, but because they didn’t celebrate Halloween, Christmas or Easter their licensing credentials were revoked; and the children living at the home were removed by the state.

The foster parents (who are Christian) suggested that the children not be permanently removed, but that they might spend the holidays in a secular foster home. The social worker denied their request on the grounds that the Christian couple may disapprove if the temporary home is managed by a same-sex couple.

This story opens up a whole range of topics — moral, ethical, legal and spiritual — but what I want to discuss here is in the context of Christian parenting. What do you tell your children about Santa Claus?

The social worker told the foster parents that they were required to affirm the existence of E.B. and S.C. because it was the right of children to be reared in a home which followed the customs of society.

Socialization brings to mind herd mentality. Why do we follow social customs? By way of mass media, social media and public education children are indoctrinated with the values of a Godless world system.

Think of it in terms of the herd of swine that ran into the sea and perished (Matthew 8:28-32). This will be the fate of all people who live by the code, “Everyone is doing it!” Not one of those pigs saw the danger and broke from the herd.

Consider, also, that parents are called to bring up their little ones in the way of the LORD (Proverbs 22:6). There was a time when children were homeschooled and their grade-level reader was the Holy Bible. Public education was instituted in the 19th century by fascists, communists, socialists and progressives to reeducate a nation’s youth. A high school graduate knows more about sex, drugs and alcohol than how to live as a responsible, productive, moral citizen.

Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted. Vladimir Lenin

A child does not have the right to believe in Santa Claus (nor the Easter Bunny). In fact, the evidence suggests that to instill such beliefs causes psychological harm. I was listening to a Christian family counselor who recommended that parents not lie to their children. She shared her own personal story:

I remember when I first learned that there was no Santa Claus. My girlfriends made fun of me because I still believed. It was really hurtful and embarrassing, but what was even more devastating was that my parents had deceived me. I began to question everything my parents had taught me. If Santa Claus was a lie then maybe Jesus was a lie, too. So I stopped believing in God. It wasn’t until I was 29 that I sensed an urge to return to the church. I felt like I was home again, and regretted all those faithless years. 

A youngster’s cognitive development is acute at a very early age. Their mind is like a sponge. What are they being taught in preschool or grade school? Are they learning things that uphold or reject the values taught by their parents? Are parents being honest and forthright with their children?

The prevalent anti-Christian worldview is ubiquitously disseminated through every type of gadget and device. Children are victimized by a secular methodology that advances progressive socialization. In other words, the child grows up faithless and leftist — seeking refuge in a college safe-room (stocked with crayons and Play-Doh) whenever they hear the name of God, or Donald Trump.

Children will retain whatever values have been stored in their neurons. Alcohol and drugs can kill those receptors which is why the left pushes for drug decriminalization, and public schools advocate that rambunctious kids be medicated. It’s so much easier to rewrite the program of a person who is dependent.

Parents, do not lie to your children. Santa Claus is a substitute for Christ. When St. Nick proves to be a myth don’t be surprised if your child no longer wants to attend church. It will be difficult, but you must rethink the tradition of gift-giving. What is the gift of Christmas — that 60″ plasma you scored on Black Friday? No, the gift of Christmas is …

Jesus Christ.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

This is the joyful gift — that God gave his Son to the world. All of the other trappings of Christmas are a deception and a distraction. The hustle and bustle takes our eyes off of Jesus, and leaves many feeling lonely and depressed.

Satan counterfeits all that is pure and lovely. Will you go on being deceived (and your children), or will you take hold of the one, true gift?

Salvation … which is found only in the eternal Son of God.

Copyright © 2017 Eternal Christ