Christmas denied by Hindus in India

While the rest of the world was celebrating Christmas by exchanging gifts and good wishes, several Christians in central India were forced to spend their Christmas in jail. Thirteen Christians, including three children and an eight-month-old infant, were falsely accused by Hindu radicals of blasphemy and were sent to jail in the Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh on December 26th.

Rev. J. Divine of the Methodist Church in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh told ICC, “The situation is very serious and the Christians of this region are frightened, as the authorities do not act on the cries of the minorities.”

Thirteen Christians spent Christmas in Jail.

Mr. Shamlal, a Christian in Sukta Dam, hosted a Christmas celebration in his house in the Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh where Geetanjali, Geetanjali’s family, and ten other Christians were invited for the celebration. During a time of worship, three unknown men came and stood at a distance trying to take pictures and video footage of the Christmas celebration.

Sensing the trouble, the Christians went and inquired as to why the men were taking pictures and videos of their program without informing the host of this activity. Soon, more people joined the three strangers and started to threaten the Christians, accusing them of converting innocent tribal and poor people.

Shamlal, sensing the situation was out of control, asked all of the Christians who came to leave and return home. As the Christians were preparing to leave, they were chased by the mob of Hindus. The Christians immediately went into a house and locked themselves inside for protection. “Lord help us and protect us,” was the prayer offered to God by Geetanjali, a young mother, as mob of now 400 Hindus surrounded the mud house where the Christians were hiding.

The growing mob threatened the Christians who were inside the house, demanding that they come out. Geetanjali told ICC that she heard the voices of the Hindu radicals shouting, “Come out of the house in five minutes; otherwise we will kill you. We will not spare you.”

After fifteen minutes, police arrived and asked the Christians to open the door, saying that they would protect them from the mob. When they opened the door, the officers escorted them to the police station. To the shock of the Christians, a case had already been booked against them under Section 295 of India’s Penal Code, popularly known as India’s blasphemy law. The police refused to record the complaints from the Christians refused to hear what the Christians had to say regarding the incident. The police said, “What you want to say, say it in the court.” The Christians stayed in the police station through the night as well as the next day. All thirteen, including an eight-month-old infant named Abhilasha, were sent to jail.

In total, the Christians spent five days in the jail, before they were able to post bail and were released on December 31st.

False accusations cancelled Christmas.

In a similar situation, Christians in Balisurah village, located in the Sundergarh district of Odisha, also spent their Christmas under awful pressure, as false cases were also booked against several pastors and Christians in the region. Pastor Joshua Das, a Christian leader from Raurkela told ICC, “We had to cancel 3 days of Christmas celebrations, as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) filed a case against seven people who were part of the organizing the Christmas celebrations.”

“Beginning on the 25th, almost every day we had to go to police station,” Pastor Das continued. “We have had to halt our normal worship service now. We do not know how long this will continue.”

Mr. Yuvraj Vardhan, the Regional Secretary of FMPB (Friends Missionary Prayer Band), also told ICC that, “The Christians of this region are being targeted and threatened more frequently than normal by the Hindu radical groups.” Mr. Vardhan went on to urge Christians to pray for the protection of Christian workers and the Christian community. He also expressed hope that both the police and media will take neutral positions.

The time for action is now.

Ever since Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came into power in May last year, Hindu radical groups have been emboldened and are carrying out outrageous acts of violence and persecution against Christians who are already a minority in India. The Sangh Parivar and its affiliate groups continue to threaten to hold large scale conversion ceremonies that forcefully convert Christians to the Hindu faith.

Despite India’s laws officially protecting the freedom of religion, there have reportedly been thirty-one incidents of Christian persecution just in the month of December, 2014. Unfortunately, many more incidents go unreported for various reasons.

In December, ICC launched a petition calling on India’s government to stop the attacks on India’s Christian community, and they have already collected over 5,000 signature. Please consider adding your name to this petition and taking a stand for India’s persecuted Christian community. To sign this petition, follow this link: http://info.persecution.org/IndiaPetition .

As the Christian community in India continues to face this new wave of persecution, Christians worldwide must take action to call for the protection of their brothers and sisters in India.

You are free to disseminate this news story. We request that you reference International Christian Concern (ICC) and include our web address, www.persecution.org. ICC is a Washington D.C.-based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.

By Adrian Holman – Commentaries on Spirituality –

Franklin Graham: America Is Lifting Up Sin

The Rev. Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritans Purse, says the government’s attacks against Christianity and bans on traditional Christmas themes while society glorifies sin is “like little children shaking their fist at Almighty God.”

“What’s happening is we’re glorifying sin, we’re lifting up sin. And it’s like little children shaking their fist at Almighty God,” Graham told Fox News host Megyn Kelly during a Wednesday segment of “The Kelly File.”

Speaking about atheists and secularists’ actions to ban celebrations of Christmas in schools and government buildings, Kelly commented on American Atheists’ “skip church” billboard ad campaign, which The Christian Post has reported on. She also cited the city of Pittsburg’s previous plan to rename the Christmas holidays “sparkle days” and the ban on poinsettias at a Minnesota court house, among others.

“It’s all over the country,” Graham asserted. “You have the secularists and the humanists who are wanting to deny that Jesus ever existed. And they want to take His name off of everything.”

Graham continued: “What’s happening now is that it’s infiltrating our government. And our government is attacking Christmas. And it’s not only attacking Christmas, but the name of Christ.”

Christians, he suggested, need to stop being pacifists and defend their rights by writing to their representatives on the school board, city council, state legislature and in Congress.

“Many times Christians are polite; they don’t want to be confronting anybody, so they just back off. But Christians need to write their politicians, and [they] need to stand up and defend their rights, because if you don’t, we’ll lose them. And we’re already losing them, just one at a time,” Graham said.

By Melissa Barnhart – Christian Post –

Christmas

Christmas. Believe in Christmas or not, like it or not, prepared for it or not, participate in it or not — Christmas is here — again! It is the inevitable, unstoppable, and most popular celebration of the year that comes every December. I recall when I was a child that the Christmas season did not begin until after Thanksgiving and it seemed the mystical December 25th Christmas day would never arrive. Now that I’m older, things have changed. The days, weeks, and months go by ever so quickly, and presto! — Christmas is here again.

Why Christmas? The majority say, “Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus.” Why a Christmas season? Most will say, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Really? No, not really–the manger scenes, Christmas carols, and religious activities notwithstanding. Interestingly, Christmas is not a Bible subject or even a Bible Word.

It is a historical fact that the season and day now known as Christmas preceded the birth of Christ by hundreds of years. Christmas was adopted from earlier heathen winter solstice celebrations celebrating the sun, including the Roman festival of Saturnalia celebrated from December the 17th to the 24th; Celtic Yuletide which was a twelve-day long festival of feasting around November/December; the Roman New Year celebrated on January the first when greenery was used to decorate houses in celebration of the birth of the undying sun, and presents were given to children and the poor. The Roman Catholic Church “Christianized” this pagan festival by substituting the birth of Christ for sun worship and named it Mass of Christ. The title was later shortened by the church to Christ-mas. The traditions celebrated at Christmas today were invented by blending together customs from paganism and many different countries.

A brief look at “Christmas in America” :

In the early 17th century, a wave of religious reform changed the way Christmas was celebrated in Europe. When Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan forces took over England in 1645, they vowed to rid England of decadence and, as part of their effort, canceled Christmas. By popular demand, Charles II was restored to the throne and, with him, came the return of the popular holiday.

The pilgrims, English separatists that came to America in 1620, were even more orthodox in their Puritan beliefs than Cromwell. As a result, Christmas was not a holiday in early America. From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings. By contrast, in the Jamestown settlement, Captain John Smith reported that Christmas was enjoyed by all and passed without incident.

After the American Revolution, English customs fell out of favor, including Christmas. In fact, Congress was in session on December 25, 1789, the first Christmas under America’s new constitution. Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday until June 26, 1870.

Before the ‘Civil War’, the North and South were divided on the issue of Christmas, as well as on the question of slavery. Many Northerners saw sin in the celebration of Christmas; to these people the celebration of Thanksgiving was more appropriate. But in the South, Christmas was an important part of the social season. Not surprisingly, the first three states to make Christmas a legal holiday were in the South: Alabama in 1836, Louisiana and Arkansas in 1838.

In the years after the Civil War, Christmas traditions spread across the country. Children’s books played an important role in spreading the customs of celebrating Christmas, especially the tradition of trimmed trees and gifts delivered by Santa Claus. Sunday school classes encouraged the celebration of Christmas. Women’s magazines were also very important in suggesting ways to decorate for the holidays, as well as how to make these decorations.

By the last quarter of the nineteenth century, America eagerly decorated trees, caroled, baked, and shopped for the Christmas season. Since that time, materialism, media, advertising, and mass marketing has made Christmas what it is today. The traditions that we practice at Christmas today were invented by blending together religious and secular customs from paganism and many different countries.

In 1997, Artist Robert Cenedella drew a painting of a crucified Santa Claus. It was displayed in the window of the New York’s Art Students League and received intense criticism from some religious groups. His drawing was a protest. He attempted to show how Santa Claus had replaced Jesus Christ as the most important personality at Christmas time. Obviously, he was correct.

Should Christians celebrate Christmas?

I like Charles Spurgeon on this subject because he does not fit easily into either of the simple pre-cut molds that tend to dominate those with strong opinions on whether Christians should even acknowledge, much less celebrate Christmas. In one corner you have those who give a resounding “NO” to this question. After all, the Bible does not even hint at celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ annually. Furthermore, Christmas is an adaptation of a pagan festival and “what hath light to do with darkness?” In the other corner are those who seem to think that anything less than an all-out celebration of Christmas—even by those who are not Christians—is an assault on Christianity and one more indication of how godless our culture has become.

Spurgeon’s views are clear that Christmas is not a biblical holiday and so minces no words in criticizing the attempt to equate it with vital Christianity. He sometimes ridicules and chides the observance of Christmas as a “popish festival.” This point of view is what is most often quoted when Spurgeon and Christmas come up. For example, on Sunday morning, December 24, 1871, Spurgeon preached a sermon entitled, “Joy Born at Bethlehem.” He began his sermon with these words:

“We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas. First, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be sung in Latin or in English; and secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior; and consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority. Superstition has fixed most positively the day of our Savior’s birth, although there is no possibility of discovering when it occurred. It was not till the middle of the third century that any part of the church celebrated the nativity of our Lord; and it was not till very long after the Western church had set the example, that the Eastern adopted it.

Probably the fact is that the “holy” days were arranged to fit in with the heathen festivals. We venture to assert, that if there be any day in the year, of which we may be pretty sure that it was not the day on which the Savior was born, it is the twenty-fifth of December. Nevertheless since, the current of men’s thoughts is led this way just now, and I see no evil in the current itself, I shall launch the bark of our discourse upon that stream, and make use of the fact, which I shall neither justify nor condemn, by endeavoring to lead your thoughts in the same direction. Since it is lawful, and even laudable, to meditate upon the incarnation of the Lord upon any day in the year, it cannot be in the power of other men’s superstitions to render such a meditation improper for today. Regarding not the day, let us, nevertheless, give God thanks for the gift of His dear Son.”

Spurgeon had little patience with his Protestant brethren who made much of the day out of religious devotion. Yet, Spurgeon did not think it some violation of Scripture to utilize the inevitable emphasis of the season to preach the incarnate Christ. So it is easy to find sermons on the birth of Christ that he preached around Christmas time.

In December of 1855 Spurgeon preached on “The Incarnation and Birth of Christ” from Micah 5:2. His opening words were these:

“This is the season of the year when, whether we wish it or not, we are compelled to think of the birth of Christ. I hold it to be one of the greatest absurdities under heaven to think that there is any religion in keeping Christmas-day. There are no probabilities whatever that our Savior Jesus Christ was born on that day and the observance of it is purely of Popish origin; doubtless those who are Catholics have a right to hallow it, but I do not see how consistent Protestants can account it in the least sacred. However, I wish there were ten or a dozen Christmas-days in the year; for there is work enough in the world, and a little more rest would not hurt laboring people. Christmas-day is really a boon to us, particularly as it enables us to assemble round the family hearth and meet our friends once more. Still, although we do not fall exactly in the track of other people, I see no harm in thinking of the incarnation and birth of the Lord Jesus. We do not wish to be classed with those ‘Who with more care keep holiday the wrong way, than others the right way.'”

In the same vein Spurgeon preached a message on December 25, 1864, entitled, “Mary’s Song,” based on Luke 1:46-47. In it he says:

“Observe, this morning, the sacred joy of Mary that you may imitate it. This is a season when all men expect us to be joyous. We compliment each other with the desire that we may have a “Merry Christmas.” Some Christians, who are a little squeamish, do not like the word “merry.” It is a right good old Saxon word, having the joy of childhood and the mirth of manhood in it, it brings before one’s mind the old song of the waits, and the midnight peal of bells, the holly and the blazing log. I love it for its place in that most tender of all parables, where it is written, that, when the long-lost prodigal returned to his father safe and sound, “They began to be merry.” This is the season when we are expected to be happy; and my heart’s desire is, that in the highest and best sense, you who are believers may be “merry.” Mary’s heart was merry within her; but here was the mark of her joy, it was all holy merriment, it was every drop of it sacred mirth. It was not such merriment as worldlings will revel in today and tomorrow, but such merriment as the angels have around the throne, where they sing, “Glory to God in the highest,” while we sing “On earth peace, goodwill towards men.” Such merry hearts have a continual feast. I want you, ye children of the bride-chamber, to possess today and tomorrow, yea, all your days, the high and consecrated bliss of Mary that you may not only read her words, but use them for yourselves, ever experiencing their meaning: ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.’”

It has been 150 years since Spurgeon preached these sermons and Christmas continues to be a controversial subject among many Christians; “Should I or should I not observe Christmas?” Spurgeon was wise in concluding that since he could not cancel Christmas, he would avail himself of the opportunity of the season and the day to proclaim the incarnation of Christ.

These sermons also assure us that the building where Spurgeon preached was never decorated with a Christmas tree, holly, mistletoe, and wreaths during the Christmas season to generate a “Christmas spirit.”

Federal judge: “Christmas is both secular and religious”

Christmas has been a federal holiday in America since June 26, 1870. In August, 1998, Cincinnati attorney Richard Ganulin filed suit in U.S. District Court claiming that “Christmas is a religious holiday, and the Congress of the United States is not constitutionally permitted to endorse or aid any religion, purposefully or otherwise, or entanglement between our government and religious beliefs.”

Congress granted Christmas this special status in 1870, following the lead of several state legislatures. It is now one of ten government-sanctioned holidays that include birthday celebrations for Martin Luther King and George Washington, and the recognition of Independence on July 4. Ganulin argued that the establishment of the December 25 date, though, “effectively endorses one set of Christian religious and Christian cultural beliefs…” In dismissing the suit, U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott argued that the Christmas holiday did not violate Ganulin’s right to equal protection under the law. She added that “The court has found legitimate secular purposes for establishing Christmas as a legal public holiday.” When the government decides to recognize Christmas Day as a public holiday, it does no more than accommodate the calendar of public activities to the plain fact that many Americans will expect on that day to spend time visiting with their families, attending religious services, and perhaps enjoying some respite from pre-holiday activities.

Ganulin and his family have the freedom to celebrate, or not celebrate, the religious and secular aspects of the holiday as they see fit,” Dlott added. “The court simply does not believe that declaring Christmas to be a legal public holiday impermissibly imposes Christian beliefs on non-adherents in a way that violates the right to freedom of association.”

Dlott also gave her interpretation of the “Lemon” test from Lemon v. Kurtzman which is used widely in deciding if an action by the government violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment. She opined that Christmas “has a valid secular purpose, it does not have the effect of endorsing religion in general or Christianity in particular, and it does not impermissibly cause excessive entanglement between church and state.”

Unwittingly or not, Judge Dlott trivialized both Mr. Ganulin’s case, and her own ruling by including a ditty with her official written decision. It read:

The court will address
Plaintiff’s seasonal confusion
Erroneously believing of Christmas
MERELY a religious intrusion

Whatever the reason
Constitutional or other
Christmas is NOT
An act of Big Brother!

Christmas is about joy
And giving and sharing
It is about the child within us
It is mostly about caring!

One is never jailed
For not having a tree
For not going to church
For not spreading glee!

The court will uphold
Seemingly contradictory causes
Decreeing “The establishment” AND “Santa”
both worthwhile “CLAUS(es)!”

We are all better for Santa
The Easter Bunny too
And maybe the great pumpkin
To name just a few!

An extra day off
Is hardly high treason
It may be spent as you wish
Regardless of reason

The court having read
The lessons of “Lynch”
refuses to play
The role of the Grinch!

There is room in this country
And in all our hearts too
For different convictions
And a day off too!

Christmas is here to stay:

Christmas is not only a federal holiday; it is an irreversible America tradition. Believe in it or not, agree with it or not, participate in it or not — Christmas is here to stay. Many American families view the Christmas season as an important time of the year to come together whether they are Christians or not. Although in recent times Christmas has become highly commercialized, Christmas is a very special time of year and many families have their own ways of celebrating this holiday. May all who know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, rejoice and proclaim:Jesus Christ Is God!

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son,
and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

Matthew 1:23

“Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:21

“Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Galatians 1:3-5

By Robert McCurry – The Wake-Up Herald –

Research About Nativities, theResearch about the traditional Christmas Story that may surprise atheists

The Christmas season almost always brings along with it good tidings, great joy — and a series of contentious battles over the separation of church and state.

Atheist activists make it known each year that they oppose nativities and other religious displays on public land, but where do Americans really stand on the contentious constitutonal issue?

A new Pew Research Center poll found that 44 percent of Americans believe that Christian symbols like nativity scenes should be permitted on government property — even if religious symbols representing other faiths aren’t present to balance them out.

And an additional 28 percent of the public believes that Christian symbols should be permitted, but only if other symbols are there for balance. That said, 20 percent of Americans do not believe these symbols belong on public property, according to the Pew Research Center.

Taking a deeper look at the numbers, this means that 72 percent of the public supports faith-based displays on public property in some form.

But on the flip side, 48 percent of the Americans do, to some degree, have concerns about nativities and other related elements on government property; this latter proportion includes those who believe there should be a balance of symbols on display.

By Billy Hallowell – The Blaze –

CHRISTMAS HEROES: Parents Fighting Anti-Christian Agendas

How ironic that as children all across the nation prepares to take part in various Christmas season events that they, in far too many cases, will not be allowed to actually celebrate Christmas. But to be honest, it is far more serious than just celebrating Christmas. Each day millions of students are sent by their parents off to build a solid academic base as well as learn about our American values in school. Those values and principles are built upon Judeo-Christian beliefs. In 2013 there were over 400 biblical principle attacks on children who wanted to read a Bible before or after school or even during lunch break and were denied.

When your child returns from the Christmas holidays will he or she still have to learn and embrace the teaching of Islam in the classroom, but have the teaching of biblical history overruled? What happens when the topics your child may be learning are ideals and values that marginalize how you have raised them and articulate an agenda that compromises your family’s religious beliefs? This is not something that can be overlooked simply because the child is heading home for a Christmas break.

Actually this serves as the best time to discuss and share what your beliefs are and reinforce the reasons why you will stand up for them when your child returns to school in the New Year. Don’t accept the erroneous church and state separation argument that liberal school officials try to jam down the throat of Christian parents. Your child has U.S. Constitutional rights and they must be protected….

So it really is upon you. As a parent what are you willing to sacrifice to stand up and protect your child from a school or a school district that is willing to take away or marginalize your child’s values and principles because it is convenient for them? Are you willing to tolerate unfair and illegal treatment of your child? Are you willing to let the politically correct values of liberal parents and secular anti-Christian organizations dominate your life, principles and support of America’s biblical heritage?

America has a culture that rises up from the deep foundational values that guided the founding fathers….parents that pray over their decisions at their kitchen table, or in the living room or perhaps during the church service. As a responsible parent they take a stand on principle rather than they should turn over their role and responsibility to the offending teacher, principal, submitting to the will of a partial anti-Christian school administrator or local school board member. They are not like others who take the easy route and conveniently swallow their principles and their values….

Take a page from Samuel Adams, who was one of America’s Revolutionary Heroes and a Founding Father. Adams’s father was a church deacon and was deeply influenced by him. Adams spoke of lukewarm supporters saying,

“If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

Let liberty and your children and America’s future generations be your guide and your prayer as you celebrate this Christmas season. There is no tranquility in servitude to political correctness, so take off the politically correct chains of convenience that are used to shackle your children. Praise the birth of the Son of God and fight to protect your child and their future in the New Year as their Hero!

By Kevin Fobbs – Clash Daily –

The History of Saint Nicholas: Santa Claus is real!

Actor and filmmaker Kirk Cameron recently invited a former evangelical pastor to TBN to make the case for Santa Claus as Cameron promotes his new film “Saving Christmas,” which seeks to convince Christians who choose not to celebrate the holiday.

Cameron shared a segment of the interview on his Facebook page on Tuesday, in which he spoke with historian William Federer, a former evangelical minister and political candidate. Sporting the Liberty University logo embroidered on his shirt, Cameron invited Federer to outline the history of Saint Nicholas and other items found in his book “There Really Is a Santa Claus: The History of Saint Nicholas & Christmas Holiday Traditions.”

“You are the Christmas Santa dude!” Cameron said, beaming. “You are the expert to tell us about about the real Santa Claus. … Who is he?”

Federer, a signer of the Manhattan Declaration, an ecumenical document that unites Christians and Catholics to stand together for life and family, then provided background the life of the Turkish bishop Nicholas, who was known to give the poor and inspired the tradition of gift-giving during Christmastime. He explained that after Nicholas died in 343 A.D., his bones were brought to the pope, who built a basilica for his remains, where they are enshrined to this day.

“The Christians moved the bones of St. Nicholas from Myra in Asia Minor over to Bari, Italy in the year 1087 [A.D.],” Federer told Cameron, citing that Muslims were seeking to destroy the bones of the “saints.” “And the pope, Pope Urban II, he builds a cathedral.”

He then explained that gift-giving in the tradition of Nicholas, who had been sainted by the Roman Catholics, soon become so popular among Catholics that it seemed to distract from Jesus, so the icon St. Francis of Assissi (after whom the current pope is named) created the creche, also known as the modern nativity scene.

“And so St. Francis of Assissi said, ‘Look, all this gift-giving is fine, but it’s a distraction from the real reason for the season,’ and so St. Francis of Assissi invented the creche scene—the nativity scene,” Federer outlined. “So, that goes back to the 1200’s and St. Francis of Assissi.”

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“Wow,” Cameron replied in awe.

Federer explained that once the holiday hit Germany, the protestant reformer Martin Luther—a former Roman Catholic monk—did away with the saints days, but the people of Germany liked the gift-giving too much to give up the tradition. And so it continued.

Other Roman Catholic writings confirm Federer’s teachings to Cameron as being accurate.

“In 1087, … Italian merchants obtained the relics of Saint Nicholas, which had been held in a church at Myra, and brought them to the city of Bari, in southern Italy. There, the relics were placed in a great basilica consecrated by Pope Urban II, where they have remained,” writes Catholicism expert Scott Richert. “By the late Middle Ages, Catholics in Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands had begun to celebrate his feast day by giving small gifts to young children. On December 5, the children would leave their shoes by the fireplace, and the next morning, they would find small toys and coins in them.”

By Heather Clark – Christian News Network –

Christmas on December 25th is not from Paganism!

If you frequent social media, then you’ve probably been inundated with smarty pants pseudo scholars calling Christmas a “pagan holiday.” These under-informed accusers believe they have the goods with bold claims like Christmas trees are forbidden in Jeremiah 10 (a passage about the manufacture of Canaanite idols) and that the date of December 25th was adopted from the pagan holiday of Saturnalia (actually December 17th).

The best way to respond to these claims is to ask them what evidence they have (from source documents). Most of the time this question will cause them to change the subject or elicit the chirping of crickets. The truth is most of the claims are dubious and have no actual evidence. Even if there were other holidays on the same date, it does not mean that they were even aware of each other. Correlation does not necessarily imply causation. The leaps in logic are prohibitive and there is no source claiming the Christians appropriated pagan days until the 12th century!

In the real world reputable ancient source documents lay waste to the popular pagan origins theory concerning December 25. Biblical Archaeology Review is a serious journal respected by real biblical scholars. The article How December 25 Became Christmas provides ample evidence debunking the pagan origins myth, showing how it actually began, and even demonstrating how 12-5 was decided to be the date of Jesus’s birth. This dates back to the second century….

By Cris D. Putnam – Logos Apologia –

Atheist Anti-Christmas Messages Appear Near Nativities in Illinois

Atheists in Illinois are taking direct aim at Christmas by posting numerous public displays in an effort to combat nativity scenes and other religious sentiment.

“Once again this year, the non-religious will have a voice in the Chicago area countering the religious symbolism widely present on public property during the the month of December,” reads a press release from the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Metropolitan Chicago Chapter.

The group has posted a large, illuminated scarlet “A” along with banners celebrating the winter solstice and the Bill of Rights in Chicago’s Daley Center Plaza.

The organization also collaborated with the Chicago Coalition of Reason to unveil a separate set of messages over the weekend inside North School Park in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

The atheist displays will outnumber religious symbols intended to commemorate the Christmas holiday, according to the press release from the secular group’s Metropolitan Chicago Chapter.

….the nativity has been displayed at Daley Plaza since 1985 when the “God Squad,” a group of locals, advocated its placement at the site. Every year, these individuals volunteer their time to both assemble and disassemble the display.

By Billy Hallowell – The Blaze –

Retailers Rated On Marketing “Christmas” To Public

The American Family Association has rated national retailers on how they used or avoided using the word “Christmas” in their advertising. AFA reviewed up to four criteria to determine if a company was “Christmas-friendly” in their advertising: print media (newspaper inserts), broadcast media (radio/television), website and/or personal visits to the store. If a company’s ad has references to items associated with Christmas (trees, wreaths, lights, etc.),it was considered as an attempt to reach “Christmas” shoppers.

If a company has items associated with Christmas, but did not use the word “Christmas,” then the company is considered as censoring “Christmas.”

For the retailers’ ratings….

See who’s saying ‘Christmas’ now (but didn’t last year)!

From American Family Association –

Just a few years ago, roughly 80 percent of the nation’s retailers ignored the use of “Christmas” in their stores and in advertising, choosing instead to use the politically correct terms “Happy Holidays” or “Holiday Sales.”

While there has been a major turnaround among the companies, there have been some holdouts.

For example, last year, AFA called for a Christmas boycott of Radio Shack. For several years, Radio Shack refused to use the word “Christmas” in advertising or otherwise. In fact, many of Radio Shack’s franchise owners joined AFA in urging the company to include “Christmas” in its marketing.

The boycott was successful!
This year, Radio Shack was using “Christmas” well before the end of October. In a press release dated October 22, Radio Shack was promoting an “exclusive lineup of Christmas gifts.”

In an email to AFA this week, the company said for 2014, “RadioShack’s advertising and social media channels will reflect the spirit of the holiday which includes the use of the word “Christmas” in several of our consumer-facing communications.”

We believe this change is the direct result of your and AFA’s efforts.

You can help us continue to win the War on Christmas.
Right now, we want you to help share the Good News of Jesus’ birth.