Linus explains what Christmas is all about. This section is why this is still a favorite of mine, and one we watch every year as a family.
Linus explains what Christmas is all about. This section is why this is still a favorite of mine, and one we watch every year as a family.
From an opinion piece by a philosophy professor in the New York Times. It really is an interesting read, and it boils down very well the problem with modern education:
In summary, our public schools teach students that all claims are either facts or opinions and that all value and moral claims fall into the latter camp. The punchline: there are no moral facts. And if there are no moral facts, then there are no moral truths.
“No moral truths.” That is the end goal of all modern education. We can’t “progress” as a species if we accept that there are absolutes when it comes to morals and truths. This precept is how the progressives have chipped away at the moral underpinnings of society, and it is how they convince the world to accept more and more aberrant behavior.
“Truth is relative. What is right for you may not be for others. But we have to accept everyone’s conception of truth.”
Except there is absolute moral truth. There is right and wrong. Our denial of it has led to much suffering and unrest, and it is extremely sad to see children conditioned to accept such lies in the guise of “education”.
I have seen a lot about this in different places this week. It is changing my thinking on how we should celebrate Christmas. From The Imaginative Conservative:
About a hundred years ago, the usual jolly G.K. Chesterton can be found lamenting two things that are still a problem today: First, that as a writer, he has to write about Christmas long before Christmas in order for it to be published at Christmas. Second, the rest of the world seems to celebrate Christmas long before Christmas and then when Christmas comes, everyone stops celebrating. Should be just the opposite.
Though we love Christmas for the traditions that it entails, we have forgotten one of the most important traditions. For several centuries people waited until Christmas to celebrate Christmas. And then they celebrated it for twelve days. There was a fast leading up to the feast, and then there were many days of feasting. But in recent years, in spite of official attempts to deflate Christmas altogether, the festival lasts for over a month leading up to the actual feast, and then it vanishes instantly and all evidence of it is erased.
Says Chesterton: “Modern men have a vague feeling that when they have come to the feast, they have come to the finish. By modern commercial customs, the preparations for it have been so very long and the practice of it seems so very short. This is, of course, in sharp contrast to the older traditional customs, in the days when it was a sacred festival for a simpler people. Then the preparation took the form of the more austere season of Advent and the fast of Christmas Eve. But when men passed on to the feast of Christmas it went on for a long time after the feast of Christmas Day. It always went on for a continuous holiday of rejoicing for at least twelve days.” It ended, he points out, in a wild culmination that was famously commemorated by a writer most of us have heard of: William Shakespeare. He wrote a play called Twelfth Night. And while most of us have heard of the play, most have forgotten the meaning of Twelfth Night. It is the twelfth day of Christmas. The last of a dozen days of great celebration, that begins with the birth of Christ and ends with the visit of the Wise Men.
Chesterton thinks that Twelfth Night is much more important than New Year’s Day. “While Progressives are already looking forward to the New Year, Christians should still be looking back to Christmas. It is all the difference between looking back with enthusiasm to something and looking forward with earnestness to nothing. People praise the future because it is blank and featureless; they are afraid of the past because it is full of real and living things.”
The modern world with its obsession for being modern, that is, up-to-date, is always at war with tradition, or what it perceives to be “out-of-date.” Its watchword is “change,” but the only change, says Chesterton, is on “the frothy and frivolous surface of society.” Underneath are the same issues, the same struggles, and the same ideas that all men have had to face, even if they try to avoid facing them. But even in our complex world they are reminded by the simple things of the permanent things. One of the simple things that remind them is “the prudence of the peasant on ordinary days and the festivity of the peasant on feast days.” The shepherds have always figured things out before the wise men.
Every ritual points to something beyond itself. Our Christmas figurines evoke actual people and a historical event. Our simple symbols point to an ultimate reality. Our “ritual rejoicings” are an attempt to express an unfathomable joy that even a chorus of angels could barely express. Unto us a Savior is born. There has never been better news and never a better reason to celebrate.
But we have to wait for it. We have to prepare for it. The one who prepared the way of the Lord did so by preaching repentance. Never has our world needed repentance more than it does now.
We should treat Advent as we should Lent. It should be a time of prayer and penance and preparation. And privation. Pray early and often. Hold off on the treats. Give things up. Give alms.
One form of penance, of course, is enduring the awful “holiday” music that blares out of the loudspeakers in every public place during the month of December. There is no escaping it. But then, when that music is finally and mercifully turned off, and when the rest of the world is taking down the decorations, our great celebration will just be beginning. And our music will be better, too.
Millions of Christians around the world soon will be celebrating the birth of Christ. In many places, like ancient Bethlehem where Jesus was born, commemorating the birth of the Savior is still the main focus. Unfortunately, the United States in the last few decades has witnessed increased hostility toward the sacred nature of Christmas, erupting into what has become a blatant war on Christmas.
Stores, schools and communities across America continue to find new and intolerant reasons to remove any religious references to Christmas, stripping it of any holy or historical significance. Christian songs, prayers and other spiritually vital connections to the Lord Jesus Christ are deleted or diminished.
Two flagrant examples:
In Ramsey County, Minn., the courthouse banned red poinsettias because someone deemed them a “Christian symbol.”
A Veteran’s Administration hospital in Augusta, Ga., adopted a policy banning religious Christmas songs in public areas.
But none of this should surprise us.
When Christ stepped out of eternity and into a cold animal stall in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, the angels announced His birth with these stunning words to shepherds huddled in the Judean darkness: “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).
Jesus, the second Person of the Trinity, became as fully man as He was fully God. He took on human flesh for one reason—to die for our sins, to rescue us from eternal separation and unending punishment. He fulfilled that mission three decades later when He hung on a cross in Jerusalem, was buried, rose again and ascended into Heaven.
Believers in Christ call Jesus’ birth His first Advent, or His first Coming. It was a time for miracles and healings, but also a time for suffering at the hands of sinners. He was betrayed, scorned, beaten and crucified.
When Christ returns—His second Advent or Coming—it will be an entirely different experience. He will come with undiminished power and glory, as a conquering King who will cast Satan and unbelievers into an eternal lake of fire. His kingdom will be finally consummated with the new heavens and the new earth.
Scripture calls the time between those two Advents the last days. We don’t have to wait for them. Everyone born from the resurrection of Christ until His triumphant return has lived in them.
The Apostle Peter, in his first sermon at Pentecost, referred to the Holy Spirit’s outpouring with the words of the prophet Joel: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh” (Acts 2:17).
The writer of Hebrews began his letter with a magnificent description of Jesus Christ, saying that God “has in these last days spoken to us by His Son” (Hebrews 1:2).
And the Apostle Paul told his protégé Timothy that “in the last days perilous times will come” (2 Timothy 3:1). He goes on to list nearly 20 chillingly familiar character traits that describe those days, such as pride, brutality, treachery and heartlessness.
We should not be taken aback, then, when a day that should be devoted to meditating upon the marvelous, virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ is instead treated in a scandalously secular way that denies His deity and saving work.
The Name of Christ is an offense to the unbelieving world. The mention of His birth, or life, or death and resurrection, is an insult.
The world, the flesh and the devil all hate the mere mention of His glorious Name. They are mortal enemies of the Savior.
The world the Bible speaks of is the world system that is set against the rule and reign of Christ. It is enthralled with power and greed, and it wants no part of the Messiah’s absolute authority.
The flesh refers to the rebellious, sinful soul of man that is corrupted with deceitful desires and refuses to acknowledge God. It is willful, prideful disobedience that reacts with instinctive disdain for the Savior.
The devil animates it all. Knowing that his time to roam on earth is short and that he will one day be cast into the lake of fire, he opposes Christ at every turn. He and his demons will help gather all the nations into a great last-ditch rebellion against the King of kings before he is defeated.
Until then, however, we should expect stiff, relentless opposition to the Gospel message from our culture. The persecution that many believers already experience in many countries may still be far into the future for us, but don’t expect that it will not intensify and heighten.
However, since we know that Christ has already made every provision for sinners like us, we can steadily and obediently be about the Father’s work of letting our light shine before men. We can be about the business of living uprightly in an evil age, testifying of Christ’s power to deliver us from sin, Satan and the world.
The war on Christmas—the war on Christ—is doomed to fail. Christ came the first time to rescue us from our sin; He is coming a second time to establish His kingdom forever under His righteous reign.
Every believer from every age who has repented and trusted in Him for the forgiveness of sin will be with Him. The Babe at Bethlehem will be the conquering King.
So this Christmas, don’t worry if you see the opposition building. Praise Him that He came to earth 2,000 years ago on a rescue mission, that He has rescued you.
It seems Glenn Beck went to see the new movie Exodus: Gods and Kings. Here is a video where he shares his thoughts:
Seriously, why would anyone have ever believed that today’s Hollywood would get a spiritual story correct? You could tell from both the trailer for this movie and for Noah that all of the Christianity had been stripped out of the stories. I honestly don’t understand who the studios made these movies for. They want to cash in on the same audience that some recent Christian movies have enjoyed, but they don’t tell authentic Christian stories. They bastardize the stories we love and then expect us to lay down our money on movies that disrespect our faith. How does that make sense at all?
In this message from August 1955, Billy Graham describes problems that seem hauntingly similar to those of today. And the answer to every one of those problems is still the same—Jesus Christ. This message is even more needed today than it was in 1955.
Many Christian parents are becoming fearful that they cannot properly train their children in this lawless and wicked age. We have received scores of letters in our office asking, “What is the answer? What can I do with my son? My daughter?”
We are beginning to reap what has been sown for the past generation. We have taught the philosophy of the devil, who says, “Do as you please.” Behaviorism has been the moral philosophy of much of our education in the past few years. Psychiatrists have told parents to let their children do as they please, lest in restraining them they may warp the children’s personalities.
We have taken God out of our educational systems and thought we could get away with it. We have sown the wind, and we are now reaping the whirlwind. We have laughed at God, religion and the Bible.
Many of our educational leaders sneer at the old-fashioned idea of God and a moral code. Movies feature sex, sin, crime and alcohol. Teenagers see these things portrayed alluringly on the screen and decide to go and try them. Newspapers have played up crime and sex until they seem glamorous to our young people.
Instead of publicizing the good and constructive things that teenagers do, we have played up the sensational lawbreaker. We have taught our young people that morals are relative and not absolute.
At the heart of the problem is the failure of parents in the home. Evangelist Billy Sunday once said, “If you want to lick the devil, hit him over the head with a cradle.” Parents today are not interested, apparently, in defeating the devil in the home. There seems to be little parental responsibility for discipline. Children are allowed to go wild.
I want to give a few suggestions to Christian parents. First, take time with your children. Your children not only require a great deal of your time, but they long and hunger for it. Perhaps they do not express it, but the hunger and longing are there just the same. Love them; spend hours with them. Cut out some of your so-called “important social engagements” and make your home the center of your social life. God will honor you, and your children will grow up to call you blessed (see Proverbs 31:28).
Second, give your children ideals for living. Teach them moral and spiritual principles of life. Show them that only the morally and spiritually right attain genuine satisfaction in life.
Third, set your children a good example. A well-known story illustrates this point. It was the usual custom for a lawyer who walked to his office every morning to stop at the corner tavern for a drink. One morning when the snow had fallen, he heard a sound behind him. Turning, he saw his 7-year-old son stepping as far as he could in his father’s tracks in the new-fallen snow.
The father turned around and said, “Son, what are you doing?” The son replied, “I’m stepping in your tracks.” The father sent his son back home, but that morning he couldn’t go to the tavern; all he could think of was a boy stepping in his father’s tracks.
When he was studying for his law case that day the boy’s words kept returning, “I’m stepping in your tracks.” About noon the father got down on his knees and accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior and said, “From now on I want my son to step in the tracks of a Christian father.”
Fourth, plan activities for your children. Plan things together as a family. Make the home so interesting and delightful that your children will want to stay home; then they will never miss the things that so many young people are engaged in for thrills.
Fifth, discipline your children. The devil’s philosophy is: “Do as you please.” Children are going to be in society what they are in the home. The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, teaches that parents ought to lovingly discipline their children.
Ephesians 6:4 says, “You, fathers … bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” In Proverbs 13:24 the Bible says, “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” And in Proverbs 19:18, “Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction.”
If you fail to discipline your children, you are breaking the laws, commandments and statutes of God. You are guilty not only of injuring the moral, spiritual and physical lives of your children, but of sinning against God. The Bible says that if you fail to discipline your children, you actually hate them.
The best way to influence your children is to set an example before them. Remember, the majority of children acquire the characteristics and habits of their parents.
The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Now, some parents carry discipline too far, continually harassing their children. The Bible also says, “Do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged” (Colossians 3:21). Parents should never give unreasonable commands. Nor should they ever give a command that they do not mean to be carried out.
Sixth, teach your children to know God, and bring them up in the church. Very seldom do parents have trouble with children when the Bible is read regularly in the home, grace is said at the table and family prayers take place daily. Most trouble with teenagers comes from children reared in homes where prayer is neglected, the Bible is never opened and church attendance is spasmodic. Christ gives the moral stability, understanding, wisdom and patience needed to rear children.
Many parents are not Christians. They have never received Christ as their Lord and Savior. Church attendance, if any, has been no more than a duty and a ritual. Their children have seen the insincerity in the lives of their parents. They have watched their parents go to church on a Sunday and live like the devil during the week. So the children have rebelled against religion as a whole; they have turned away from moral restraint. Many parents are only reaping what they have sown.
Christ is the answer to teenage delinquency. Christ in the home, in the lives of the parents, is the only permanent solution to the menacing teenage social problems in America.
If you are a parent, Christ can help you to rear your children in the fear and nurture and admonition of the Lord. If I were not a Christian, I would despair of my children in the moral climate in which we have to rear them.
Get the Scripture and its principles ingrained into their souls—“precept upon precept; line upon line;” teach them “here a little, and there a little” from the Word of God (Isaiah 28:13). Get them into the habit of going to church every Sunday, of praying daily and of saying grace at the table.
That will solve 90 percent of the problems you have with your children.
If you are a young person seeking thrills, happiness and joy in some of these questionable avenues of pleasure, I beg you to come to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ can give you the greatest happiness, the greatest adventure and the greatest thrills that you have ever known.
If you will take Jesus Christ into your heart, He will put a spring in your step, joy in your soul and a thrill in your heart. Come to Christ! Jesus Christ is the one who can be joy and happiness and peace to all of you young people. I beg of you to surrender your life to Christ.
But there are many of you who will say, “I would like to give my life to Christ, but I cannot live the Christian life. I have tried before but have failed.” Ah, yes, but when you receive Christ, He comes into your heart. He gives you supernatural power to live the Christian life.
You do not struggle alone, by yourself. He lives in your heart to give you power and strength to live the Christian life. You, today, can give your heart to Christ. In Romans 10:13 we read, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
More brilliantness from Matt Walsh:
In the liberal view of things, not paying a tax is the same as being given money by the government, because the government automatically owns everyone’s money and any that you keep is a gift from them. Make sense?
This actually sums up the liberal/progressive stance on most everything fairly excellently. The government owns everything. Anything you have is because they allow you to have it. But don’t think that you get to make any real decisions about how you want to use your land/possession/money/liberties. Because, if you use them in a way they don’t like, they will take them away.
No unauthorized garden for you. Cut it down or they’ll do it for you (also here, here, and here). And who could possibly carry this much cash on them for a legitimate purpose? Must be for drugs, they’ll just have to confiscate it. Good luck getting it back in court. You think you should be able to decide on your own who your private business makes contract with? You must be joking. Do what they say or go to jail. Freedom of speech/religion? Only in these (ever shrinking) appointed areas, and only as long as they decide to tolerate it.
Take ten minutes out of your day and go give the rest of the article a read.