White Privilege Conference (WPC) wanting to keep the press out for obvious reasons

WPC organizers reacted very poorly to the discovery that this year’s conference was being reported on from inside. This is unsurprising, since WPC has attempted to totally ban reporters from covering its proceedings and has actively kept them out in the past.

It must not surprise you why it was kept secretly for the press the previous years. When you look at the debates it is clear we should seriously pose several questions by the speakers invited and by the set up of that conference.

Today there is a renewed attack (in the Western world) on anything to do with believing there is a God, a Creator of any kind!

There are even people who hold conferences to make it clear to others that almost every dysfunction in society, from racism and sexism to global warming and a weak economy, is united by the ideology of ‘Christian hegemony.’ That is at least what a lecturer at the 2016 White Privilege Conference (WPC) claimed.

Believers are again open to ridicule. Academics, who are confident they have the answer (or at least acceptable opinions) to everything about how the world began, compete among themselves for the “glory” they can receive from each other and from the public with their notions. Some also want others to believe that all more active believers would be creationists and do not seem to get the difference of believing that there has been a Most High Supreme being ordering everything  and being responsible for the creation.

Contingency, Hegemony, Universality

Contingency, Hegemony, Universality (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Certain people, like Paul Kivel, think Christians “colonize our mind.”
Paul Kivel, is a social justice educator, activist, and writer, who to our mind looks not so social at all but is perhaps an atheist socialist against religion and willing to attack it. Though he claims to be an innovative leader in violence prevention for 35 years, it either looks like he has changed gear or has always loved to set up non-believers against believing people .

He defines Christian hegemony as the

everyday, pervasive, and systematic set of Christian values and beliefs, individuals and institutions that dominate all aspects of our society through the social, political, economic, and cultural power they wield. Nothing is unaffected by Christian hegemony (whether we are Christian or not) including our personal beliefs and values, our relationships to other people and to the natural environment, and our economic, political, education, health care, criminal/legal, housing, and other social systems. {Christian hegemony}

For him

All people who are not Christian, as well as most people who are, experience social, political, and economic exploitation, violence, cultural appropriation, marginalization, alienation and constant vulnerability from the dominance of Christian power and values in our society. {Christian hegemony}

It looks like Christendom and/or Christianity (though he constantly refers to Christianity) is/are the badness of this world.

The internalization of dominant western Christian beliefs and values by individuals in our society seems to bring all badness into the world and being the cause of the present problems we have with fundamental Muslims. but it seems also to be in participial white Christian men who are dominating this world and causing inequality and injustice.

He writes

Another level of Christian dominance is within the power elite, the network of 7-10,000 predominantly white Christian men who control the largest and most powerful social, political, economic, and cultural institutions in the country. And finally there is the level which provides the foundation for all the others – the long and deep legacy of Christian ideas, values, practices, policies, icons, and texts that have been produced within dominant western Christianity over the centuries. That legacy continues to shape our language, culture, beliefs, and values and to frame public and foreign policy decisions. {Christian hegemony}

He even wants us tot believe, that we believers are blind. It is true that we cannot go without all those companies and organisations which have their say in our communities and that economical as well as political parties want to have everything in their hands. But we think it over the top, him saying

Christian dominance has become so invisible that its manifestations appear to be secular, i.e. not religious. In this context, the phrase “secular Christian dominance” might be most appropriate, Christian hegemony under the guise of secularism. Of course, there are many forms of Christian fundamentalism which are anything but secular. Often fundamentalists want to create some kind of theocratic state. But the more mainstream, everyday way that dominant Christian values and institutions influence our lives and communities is less evident, although no less significant and certainly not limited to fundamentalists. {Christian hegemony}

According to him Christian leaders have established an annual holiday cycle that extols US militarism/ triumphalism, the nuclear family, consumerism and whiteness. Perhaps he is so much focussed on the U.S.A. that he does not see the holidays of other countries and mistakenly takes many heathen holidays as Christian holidays, though it mostly are also the heathen people who celebrate those and try to lure Christians to celebrate with them.

The holiday cycle which he presents on his website present many secular holidays which he presents as so called holidays of Christianity though Christianity argues a lot against the celebration of those feasts. But we do agree in Christendom we see many people with the name Christian celebrating those heathen festivals as so called Christian holidays.

English: Painting of Christopher Columbus. The...

Painting of Christopher Columbus. The painting Virgen de los Navegantes (in the Sala de los Almirantes, Royal Alcazar, Seville). A painting by Alejo Fernández between 1505 and 1536. It is the only state sponsored portrait of the First Admiral of the Indias called Don Cristoval Colon known today as Christopher Columbus in English. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For him those holidays downplays the violence in our history, holding up a few white Christian men, such as Christopher Columbus and his American presidents,

for uncritical praise and emphasizes faith, family and country.

he writes and continues:

For many in the US, this cycle has come to seem traditional, even though it is constantly recreated and most of the holidays originated within the last 150 years. For some, these holidays have come to feel familiar, unifying and just plain American even though for millions of others they can be painful and alienating. Most of our national holidays are seen as secular, even though their underpinnings are deeply Christian. Even Christmas and Easter are viewed as secular by many. (I have been told that the phrase Merry Christmas in bold letters on the public buses in my
city is not religious but merely a general holiday greeting.)

It looks like he does not know that Jesus was not at all born on the 25th of December and that all the traditions people flirt with have nothing to do at all with the birth of Christ nor with God, and are an abomination in the eyes of God, of which a real Christian should abstain.

That New Year’s day for Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Chinese, Vietnamese, Mayans and many Native peoples happens at other times of the annual cycle, has nothing to do with Christianity not with Christendom but with choosing an other calendar system.

The fact that western countries imposed this calendar worldwide, even though those in the West are a minority in the world, is never acknowledged.

he writes, but we do think that is a matter of choosing a time indication where the West has chosen to keep to that Gregorian calendar, even after some countries tried the Napoleonic calendar for some time, but whatever calendar they would choose always there would be people able to complain about the system chosen.

We do not see any reason at all why not to say “Happy Chinese New Year” or “Happy Jewish New Year”, like we do in the West of Europe? He should know that these other calendars are also culturally specific and that everybody is free to follow one or the other and that nobody would mind you saying “Happy New Year” when it is a new year for that person.
For us this article is written on the 12th of Nisan, 5776 but in the West most people would not know about which day we are talking therefore we also use the common general practised calendar indicating that it is today April the 20th of the year 2016 of the common Era (CE). For us on 22 April (Taanit Bechorot) Friday night we are looking at the 14th of Nisan, 5776 going to celebrate the Passover, the “Feast of Unleavened Bread” Erev Pesach and on the 23rd the 15th of Nisan, 5776 we look at the holiday yomtov, being part of the “Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread”or “Pesach I”, having on Sunday the 1st day of the Omer (or Pesach II) the period between Passover and Shavuʿot, the 16th of Nisan of the year 5776. {The holiday of Pesach, or Passover, is an annual week long festival commemorating the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt and slavery. Before the main festival begins for the Jews, the Christians remember the night that Jesus came together with his apostles for the Last Supper and announcement of the installation of the New Covenant. for us this 14 th of Nisan is the most important day of the year and precedes the Pesach festival which begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew calendar month of Nisan — which derives its name from the passing over of the homes of the Israelite slaves during the tenth plague. It is that liberation and the liberation by Christ that we should remember for ever.} Next year the Passover shall be on Monday, April 10 and in 2018 on Friday, March 30.
But this is all about arrangements and agreements and depending on which calendar you want to base your daily activities.

For economical and practical reasons an agreement has to be made to use what calendar and what to consider the first day of the week: Thursday (certain Hindus), Friday (like Muslims), Friday night – Saturday night or Sabbath (like the Jews), or the week beginning on Sunday or Monday, as such beginning the day at 00.00 hours or when the sun gets down. Here you may find calendars beginning the week with Sunday and others ending with the weekend (which I personally find more practical).
It is true that

holidays can be destructive when they celebrate war or colonialism, are promoted aggressively or when corporations use them to promote values hostile to our environment and us. {The Christian Holiday Cycle}

For sure we need to think seriously about what we celebrate and why, who is included or excluded in the celebration and what values are implicitly or explicitly communicated. But we never should condemn certain groups of people if they want to celebrate certain days, though it is our duty to point out to Christians what they are celebrating and which festivals are alright to take part in and which not.

For Kivel the choice of calendar use and the days celebrated shows the dominance of a certain group and the normalization of such a group.

It is said that WPC takes tremendous pains to protect everybody’s feelings, but this year many toes were stepped on. To ensure a gender non-conforming person isn’t labeled with a wayward “he,” attendees are asked to always introduce themselves with their name and their pronoun set. Presenters routinely ask for anybody to pipe up if they’re triggered by a presentation, and will apologize if such a complaint arises. Almost half the conference revolves around microaggressions and how to avoid them or defuse them.

A major part of WPC are the daily caucuses, where attendees segregate themselves by race and talk through their feelings on white privilege. They were assembled collectively beforehand and assigned to a specific smaller room ‘because of the large number of white people in attendance’. Organizers warned they could start physically exerting their white privilege by walking too aggressively and not paying heed to their surroundings. If attendees weren’t careful, they said, they risked getting in the way of non-white attendees who would have no choice but to shy away and debase themselves before these barreling vectors of overwhelming privilege.

Disaffected participants in the 2016 White Privilege Conference (WPC) have taken to Twitter to complain that the conference was, ironically, too white and was actually filled to the brim with white supremacy. Adopting the hashtag #WPCSoWhite, inspired by the recent #OscarsSoWhite campaign, Twitter users claimed the conference that was supposed to battle white privilege instead served to entrench it. The tag appears to have been started and pushed with particular vigour by Aeriel Ashlee, an education consultant who attended WPC and objected to several parts of a keynote address delivered by (white) historian James Loewen. Some of his comments where even described as “deeply offensive and traumatizing.”

More than 700 Barbie dolls are displayed during an exhibition which takes place from March 10 to September 18, 2016.       (MATTHIEU ALEXANDRE/AFP/Getty Images)Frederick Gooding, Jr., who styles himself as “The Race Doctor” gave a half-comedic, half-serious lecture intended to point out various moments of subtle white supremacy and white privilege throughout the past year. Near the end of his address, Gooding went after Hollywood for the recently-released film “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which features three Caucasian heroes in the form of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.

“I have a quota where it’s just a little too much whiteness, I gotta tap out,”

the Doctor said to a laughing audience.

“One white hero at a time, I can kinda take that, but you have two of them … but then, the White Man said, we gonna show you something. And they throw in a white woman!”

For people discussing other folks it may not be easy today how to call them. All sorts of new terms have to be looked for to talk about people with an other skin colour or with an other faith. In this time of many fleeing from the Middle East and from Africa for discussing different terms are looked for, and one term which could be right at one time a few weeks later may be considered totally wrong to be used.  Undocumented immigrants may still be called “illegals” despite the fact that this also could be a highly inaccurate and pejorative term.  Whether intentional or accidental, the use of such terms has shaped public opinion on immigration policy.  Of course, not everyone who uses these terms intends to colour undocumented immigrants with the stigma that these terms carry with them.  Today the phrase “illegal immigrant” is by many considered

decidedly not okay

During a workshop titled “Nativism 101,” on the topic of immigration and the groups opposed to it, one attendee objected to another’s use of the term “undocumented immigrant.”

Instead of illegal or undocumented, the woman proposed that such immigrants be labeled

“unauthorized immigrants.”

Unauthorised where those who brought out photographs and texts from this conference where very high income prizes where charged, as if the poor people and immigrants ever would be able to pay such fees.

Dividing the people in categories for the debates Kivel finds it are the Christians who divide people and put them in hierarchical order. For him it is in-acceptable that there would be a

“God over people, men over women, parents over children, white people over people of colour,”

inevitably creating systems that justify and even glorify oppression, but was he and the organisers not doing just that?

 

Please do read also:

  1. The 17th annual White Privilege Conference a militantly Christophobic conference held in Philadelphia
  2. White Privilege Conference Attendees Complain Conference Is Too White
  3. White Privilege Conference: Almost Everything Bad Is Tied To Christianity
  4. 7 Things That Offended People At The White Privilege Conference

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Holidays, holy days and traditions

, who was nominated as one of America’s Most Influential Small Business Experts of 2012 and was named as one of America’s Top 100 Thought Leaders, does find that we as leaders, role models, and parents, we must strive to utilize every opportunity available to us to reinforce the values and beliefs that we hold dear. In such an instance we do have to have some values to which we ourselves do keep. The traditions to which we do hold on should than have a meaning.

“Many holidays are becoming so commercialized that our proud traditions are in danger of becoming trivialized.”

Sonneberg says.

Today, we’re so profit-motivated that we expect retail employees to abandon their family dinners to return to their store in time for the sale. Or worse yet, their employers force them to supervise “midnight madness” sales extravaganzas, featuring over-caffeinated shoppers seeking that “dream buy.”

Many of us can’t even remember the true meaning of the holidays. Memorial Day has morphed from remembering our fallen soldiers to the unofficial beginning of summer. Labour Day’s role in recognizing the achievements of organized labour now just marks the end of summer and a return to school. Veterans Day is honoured as a day off from work.

Scrooge's third visitor, from Charles Dickens:...

That is the strange thing about it all, many do find they should have the day free of work, but do not know what the holiday is all about. They sometimes have a vague idea or do know what certain people do believe in but they themselves do not want to know about it. For example they know that certain Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter, but they do not believe that person ever existed and they also do not believe in the God of Jesus or any god. though they would not want to loose the heathen celebration of the goddess of fertility Estra (hence Easter) or at the end of the year the pagan celebration Christmas, which is on the holy day of the goddess of light. Lots of Christians do want to keep onto that heathen celebration day, though they know it is not really the birth day of Jesus Christ (who was born on the 17th of October 4BCE) For them tradition is what counts, so all the figures which have nothing to do with the time Jesus was born and even which are an abomination in the eyes of the Divine Creator God, they do not want to loose. For them the Santa Claus is holy sacred. Do you know what Father Christmas, the Christmas tree and all the garlands have to do with the birth of the Messiah?

Halloween!!

Halloween!! (Photo credit: cafeconlecheporfavor)

Traditions have become a part of our live we would not like to change easily. Around Halloween I spoke with an English brother who did not mind all the celebrations around Halloween. For him it was just pure fun. It does not mean people are actually believing in supernatural spirits or ghosts. Lots of people like him, might simply view taking part in Halloween and similar celebrations as a way to have fun and teach their children to explore their imagination, creating all sorts of monsters. But why do they have to create ugly things, and not nice things? Why do they not want to see that many celebrations like Halloween have pagan origins and are deeply rooted in ancestor worship, but area also celebration which are of religious importance to several nature worshippers. A few streets further than mine lives a witch which still uses such days to worship the dead and to have contact with supposed spirits of the dead. (According to the Bible when a person comes to his or her end of his or her life, life goes out of that person and he or she can not do anything any-more because he or she will be dead and become dust like any other being, plant or animal.)

Belgium and England are not the only countries where the Wiccans keep to the ancient Celtic rituals, still call Halloween by the ancient name Samhain and consider it to be the most sacred night of the year.

“Christians ‘don’t realize it, but they’re celebrating our holiday with us. . . . We like it,’”

stated the newspaper USA Today when quoting a professed witch.

You may call it strange that Christians also do not mind ‘playing’ around and want to celebrate such days like Halloween which are in conflict with Bible teachings. The Bible warns:

“There must never be anyone among you who . . . practices divination, who is soothsayer, augur or sorcerer, who uses charms, consults ghosts or spirits, or calls up the dead.” (Deuteronomy 18:10, 11The Jerusalem Bible)

I do agree there are no  sons or daughters sacrificed in the fire, but the fires still symbolises such actions. I also do find the reactions very strange when the people burn the puppets ‘full of joy’. What is than the meaning of that action? Does it not show something which is hidden more inside them? Does it not present some hidden feelings or frustrations?

When God tells not to practice divination, sorcery, fortune-telling, witchery, casting spells, holding séances, or channeling with the dead, or having contact with such people doing so, why do those who call themselves Christian do not mind still doing that? Many do not mind to  dabble in the occult or traffic with mediums ‘just for fun”. But is it not hat of which the Bible warns us not to pollute our souls? (Leviticus 19:31)

““ ‘do not turn to spirit-mediums or sorcerers; don’t seek them out, to be defiled by them; I am ADONAI your god.” (Leviticus 19:31 CJB)

Lots of people do not mind intermingling with those people who keep on those heathen traditions and want to celebrate those original pagan celebrations. Is it then not  obvious what kind of life they prefer above the Godly life? Do they not want to get their own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on like the apostle Paul could go on. More than once he warned the people who wanted to be followers of Jesus, that the master rabbi demanded purity of the soul, allegiance to the Most High and loyalty to the man who did not want to do his own will but only the Will of his Father. So why do those Christians also not want to do the Will of the father of Jesus? Do they also forget that Jesus spoke many times about ‘being of this world’ or choosing for God, loving God, and what it really means? Though from the many parables we do know that is we want to use our freedom this way, we will not inherit God’s kingdom.

 “19 and it is perfectly evident what the old nature does. it expresses itself in sexual immorality, impurity and indecency; 20 involvement with the occult and with drugs; in feuding, fighting, becoming jealous and getting angry; in selfish ambition, factionalism, intrigue 21 and envy; in drunkenness, orgies and things like these. I warn you now as I have warned you before: those who do such things will have no share in the kingdom of god!” (Galatians 5:19-21 CJB)

These celebrations we have around the end of the year may not look harmful and may represent a critical piece of our culture. For many they may help form the structure and foundation of their families and their society.

Tradition contributes a sense of comfort and belonging. It brings families together and enables people to reconnect with friends.

says Sonnenberg who considers that those celebrations remind us that we are part of a history that defines our past,

shapes who we are today and who we are likely to become. Once we ignore the meaning of our traditions, we’re in danger of damaging the underpinning of our identity.

But we also should know that

Tradition provides a forum to showcase role models and celebrate the things that really matter in life.

So we should question “What does really matter”.

Tradition may serve as an avenue for creating lasting memories for our families and friends, but when you look at certain celebrations, the memory or reason why those holidays were created for is all gone.

St. Martin’s Day celebration with lampoons

Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet – Saint Nicholas and Black Peter

Many minimise the lies been told about Saint Maarten (St. Martin’s Day), Saint Nicholas and Saint Claus, they bringing presents to the children, one on his black horse in the streets, the other with his white gray (or grey) running over the rooftops, his black servant going through the chimneys, and than the most magical with his reindeer flying from the North-pole through the sky, having his midgets going through the walls putting the many presents under the Christmas tree. How can a child trust its parents when they tell lies for the fun and to trick their children? Why do not tell them it is their present for this or that occasion?

Some of the stories people told their children, making them afraid of the ghosts or telling them when they would not behave they were going to be put in the sack of ‘Zwarte piet’ or ‘Black Peter’ did give them an experience which was not so much fun. Naturally the presents where much like as well as all the mysticism around those days.

It is also very easy to get caught up in the hubbub of the season of Christmas and the joy people should experience at such an occasion is often obscured by the stress they do experience. The Bible does encourage all of us to remember Jesus Christ, how he gave his life for many. It also encourages us to share the same love as Christ and to be liberal in giving, to help the needy, and to spend time with our families. It also teaches us how to be peaceable.

McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia states:

The observance of Christmas is not of divine appointment, nor is it of NT [New Testament] origin.

The Encyclopedia Americana says:

Saturnalia, a Roman feast celebrated in mid-December, provided the model for many of the merry-making customs of Christmas. From this celebration, for example, were derived the elaborate feasting, the giving of gifts, and the burning of candles.

The Encyclopædia Britannica notes that

all work and business were suspended” during Saturnalia.

*Description: Bilbao-Loiu airport, Biscay, Spa...

*Description: Bilbao-Loiu airport, Biscay, Spain. Olentzaro, Christmas tree, Santa Claus and elf. Photographer: Javier Mediavilla Ezquibela Date: January 6, 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Western Europe in the Winter we do have very dark days and could do with some extra lighting. It is also a period of some cold weather conditions where the wind and rain are not a nice thing to go for a walk. So it can be made much cosier with some extra light and fire in the house. Nothing against that. As such the decorations in the house and bringing a nice smelling spruce in the living room made it possible to have some extra colour and a nice smell in the room which had not so much ventilation as in Summer. But we know also that in the past Europeans decorated their homes with lights and evergreens of all kinds to celebrate the winter solstice and to combat evil spirits. {The Encyclopedia of Religion,}

Tree worship, common among the pagan Europeans, survived after their conversion to Christianity.” One of the ways in which tree worship survived is in the custom of “placing a Yule tree at an entrance or inside the house in the midwinter holidays.” {Encyclopædia Britannica}.

It is totally wrong to believe that those Christians who do not like to celebrate Christmas would not believe in Christ Jesus. They may not forget the early Christians never celebrated the birthday of Jesus. The only feast we should remember concerning Christ, is the day when he took the bread and wine as symbols of the instalment of  the New Covenant, on the 14th of Nisan,or celebrating Passover with a Memorial Meal (Memorial Day for many Christians worldwide.).

To think only then on the 25th of December to be generous or about peace on earth and goodwill toward men, would limit the message Christ had given to his followers. Because every day they should be messengers of peace.

“the person who blesses others will prosper; he who satisfies others will be satisfied himself.” (Proverbs 11:25 CJB)

“if possible, and to the extent that it depends on you, live in peace with all people.” (Romans 12:18 CJB)

Jesus commanded that we commemorate his death, not his birth.

“19 also, taking a piece of matzah, he made the b’rakhah, broke it, gave it to them and said, “this is my body, which is being given for you; do this in memory of me.” 20 he did the same with the cup after the meal, saying, “this cup is the new covenant, ratified by my blood, which is being poured out for you.” (Luke 22:19-20 CJB)

That action of Jesus, preparing himself for giving himself to the world, only willing to do the Will of his Father, should make us to form the right attitude, also willing to do the Will of Jesus his Father, the Only One God.

““father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, let not my will but yours be done.”” (Luke 22:42 CJB)

We should take time this holiday season to think about that and to meditate what we want to do, following human traditions and doing the same thing what people would love most, or following the Biblical instructions about how to behave, whom and what to associate with, either being part of the world or part of Christ.

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Please do find ‘s article: Tradition: The True Meaning of Holidays

Preceding articles:

Hanukkahgiving or Thanksgivvukah

Thanksgivukkah and Advent

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English: A Christmas Tree at Home

English: A Christmas Tree at Home (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Find also to read:

  1. A season of gifts
  2. God’s Special Gift
  3. What Jesus sang
  4. Christmas customs – Are They Christian?
  5. Jesus begotten Son of God #1 Christmas and Christians
  6. Jesus begotten Son of God #2 Christmas and pagan rites
  7. The nativity story
  8. Christmas, Saturnalia and the birth of Jesus
  9. Christmas customs – Are They Christian?
  10. Speedy Christmas!
  11. Christmas trees
  12. Merry Christmas with the King of Kings
  13. What do you want for Christmas
  14. Ember and light the ransomed of Jehovah
  15. Sancta Claus is not God
  16. Wishing lanterns and Christmas
  17. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  18. Timely Growth
  19. Idolatry or idol worship
  20. Halloween custom of the nations
  21. 11 November, a day to remember #1 Until Industrialisation
  22. 11 November, a day to remember #2 From the Industrialisation
  23. Victims and Seekers of Peace
  24. 1 -15 Nisan
  25. Deliverance and establishement of a theocracy
  26. Day of remembrance coming near
  27. 14 Nisan a day to remember #1 Inception
  28. 14 Nisan a day to remember #2 Time of Jesus
  29. 14 Nisan a day to remember #3 Before the Passover-feast
  30. 14 Nisan a day to remember #4 A Lamb slain
  31. 14 Nisan a day to remember #5 The Day to celebrate
  32. 14-15 Nisan and Easter
  33. Around the feast of Unleavened Bread
  34. Seven days of Passover
  35. Jesus memorial
  36. Bread and Wine
  37. Ransom for all
  38. High Holidays not only for Israel
  39. Observance of a day to Remember
  40. Is it wise to annul the Pentecostweekend
  41. Festival of Freedom and persecutions
  42. Casual Christians
  43. Life and attitude of a Christian
  44. Not bounded by labels but liberated in Christ
  45. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late !

Additional reading:

  1. From a midwinter celebration to a Christian feast
  2. Is Christmas Christian?
  3. The Christ – Mass Lie
  4. By Jove! It’s Christmas: Did the First Christian Roman Emperor
  5. Appropriate the Pagan Festival of Saturnalia to Celebrate the Birth of Christ? Matt Salusbury Weighs the Evidence
  6. The Life Mag: 12 Days of Christmas – Secret Code along the Roman Road
  7. The Real Story of Christmas
  8. What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?
  9. Have nothing to do with Godless Myths and old wives’ tales
  10. Christmas Customs–Are They Christian? – Jehovah’s Witnesses Official Web Site
  11. Has Christmas Lost Christ? – Jehovah’s Witnesses Official Web Site
  12. The Christmas Spirit All Year Round? – Jehovah’s Witnesses Official Web Site
  13. Take Your Stand for True Worship – Jehovah’s Witnesses Official Web Site
  14. Christmas is a lie
  15. We are Christians and are not celebrating Christmas
  16. The Un-Christmas Club
  17. The Plain truth about Christmas

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http://belgianbiblestudents.wordpress.com/tag/Easter/

  • Origins of Holidays (xntricproductions.wordpress.com)
    Holidays originally Holy days are celebrated to pay honor to a certain time of the year, a certain day or days that are Holy or important and have meaning to the people celebrating.
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    With this mixing of cultures we also have, in many cases, mixing of religions, beliefs, customs and traditions. This has been happening for centuries all over the world. As people travel from place to place and settle in new areas sometimes by choice, sometimes by force or out of necessity, our traditions, customs, beliefs are brought with us. We introduce what is ours to the new place where we settle and we are introduced to what is customary to others. So even customs, traditions and religions can become intermingled. Only the very devout remember and continue to teach what is theirs and theirs alone.
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    In the Bible God warns his people numerous times throughout the Bible to remain separate from the people of the lands they would inhabit. God warns all of his people not to adopt the traditions of pagan people and not to honor him the way that pagans honor their gods.In other religions people worship and honor their gods and holy times of the year according to their beliefs and practices. Pagans do not worship God or include Christ in their celebrations however their celebrations are nearly identical to ours.
    In fact pagan religions as celebrated by pagans today have remained pretty much the same since they started thousands of years ago. Some pagans do put their own twist on it or start their own new family traditions just as Christians do but the foundation of their beliefs remain intact. So why do so many non- Christians celebrate Christmas and Easter?
  • About Christmas (myrarsenriquez.wordpress.com)
    Christmastime, as it is often called, is in the winter of the Northern Hemisphere, at a time when there were already ancient festivals. Some of the traditions that are used for Christmas are older than Christmas, or come from other non-Christian traditions such as Yule. Modern traditions of Christmas often focus on the giving of gifts. The season for retail stores to sell gifts, food, greeting cards, Christmas trees, and decorations begins the day about a month before Christmas Day.
  • Christmas is a Pagan Holiday (bblessedtoday.net)
    Don’t get upset and defensive with your excuses and arguments on how Christmas is about Jesus and the reason for the season and saying that I am just a party pooper that is putting a dent in your family traditions. Do some research on your own and see for yourself where Christmas came from and what are its real origins. Sometimes the only way we really change ourselves is to see things from our own eyes, to read things on our own, to observe with new information to see if it is truly wrong to celebrate Christmas.
  • Christians and Halloween (fredfies.wordpress.com)
    Consider What Halloween Celebrates (can we celebrate that?)  I am amazed that earlier and earlier superstores are geared up for October 31.  As soon as the last school supply is sold, the Halloween decorations appear.  In August? Really?  But here they come…skeletons, tombs, witches, death and gore fill the aisles of the store.  Of course, you can dress as something as harmless as an M&M, but it is clear that the celebration is of the “dark elements” of this world.  Consider what the Bible says,
  • How Holy are the Holidays? (mypentecostalreformation.wordpress.com)
    Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years day, are all days we consider as part of “the holidays”. As a kid I would count the days ’till thanksgiving. Waking up early and smelling the turkey and all the seasonings along with it.
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    Christmas was the next holiday to be enjoyed. This day had a major count down, to when Santa came to bring me gifts. I had gotten honor roll all school year-long, and I wanted my rewards. As the days drew near to the big day, presents appeared under our Faux Christmas tree.
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    The purpose of these gatherings were to be around family while we wait for the new year. New Year’s Eve represents survival, new starts, clean slates, perseverance, and gym memberships.
  • Why Christmas? (mymindyourplan.wordpress.com)
    Every year we set up our Christmas trees, decorate them and our houses, get a day or two off work, spend half our year’s wages on presents and spend the days we have free with our families. Kids are excited for Santa Claus, adults are excited….for their time off work. Why is it we do this?
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    Sol Invictus was a Roman sun god that was worshiped during the festival Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, or “Birthday of the Unconquered Sun” which was celebrated on the 25th December.
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    The truth about Christmas is that there is no real Biblical reason for us to be celebrating the birth of Jesus. I say this, the Bible gives us no command to do so but, rather, to celebrate His death, resurrection, ascension and exaltation. So why is it we celebrate it, and in some ways more so than His death at Easter?
  • Traditions (polandec.wordpress.com)
    Some of Polish traditions are firmly rooted in Catholicism, a predominant religion in Poland, while others spring from various pagan rites. Nowadays, any pagan elements still present in the culture take the form of fun festivals and shows.
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    Christmas Eve (Wigilia), an evening preceding Christmas Day, is traditionally celebrated with a festive Christmas supper. It’s a very special occasion, when families prepare 12 types of meatless dishes – one for each of the 12 apostles. On this day Christmas tree is also decorated so that Santa Claus can bring Christmas gifts.
  • Stolen Holidays and Entitled Pagans (mapletreedruidry.wordpress.com)
    ontrary to popular Neo-Pagan believe (yes, I have been guilty of holding onto this in the past), the Celtic conversion was rather peaceful, despite the objection of the priestly Druid class.  This was a culture tired of the centuries of Blood Wars, and were quite happy to accept peace and love at first.  The Norse accepted Jesus as another war god.  New Holidays were adopted.  Old holidays were blended.  I’m not saying it was seamless, or without any conflict.  But it was much more of a sharing of culture than a stealing of holidays.  Yesterday was the first day of Hannukah.  I made latkes for dinner.  Does this mean that I “stole” it from the Jews?  Of course not!  I was celebrating in solidarity.
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    No one owns the copyright on having a god with a birthday on December 25th.  As fun as it is to “keep Saturn in Saturnalia” and “keep Han in Hannukah”, there are dozens of gods with birthdays this time of year. Mithra, Dionysus, Saturn, and possibly even Aengus, Lugh and Taliesin
  • Pagans, Sinterklass, and Jesus (parttimeyp.wordpress.com)
    Mid-winter celebrations had a long history even before Jesus walked on the Earth. People celebrated around the solstice because the days were starting to grow longer. Scandinavians burnt a Yule log believing that each sparks represented a new pig or calf that would be born. Many Europeans would slaughter most of their cattle so they wouldn’t have to feed them, which lead to large feasts. The Germans had a celebration honoring Odin, many people choose to stay inside during this time because it was believed that Odin made nighttime flights observing people and deciding who would prosper and who would die in the coming year. (That sounds strangely familiar doesn’t it?)
  • Halloween is Satanist Christmas (govtslaves.info)
    The Satanic Bible ranks Halloween as one of the two most important festivals on its calendar, which may explain why it’s now being promoted as a ‘fun’ festival
    Behind the playful facade, Halloween celebrates perversion, which is the real meaning of the occult. It is a ”religious indoctrination into Druid paganism, witchcraft, and Satanism.”
  • Halloween, should Christians stay away or is it ok to celebrate?
    When we consider the history of Halloween (a Christian perspective), it may seem as if the modern holiday has gotten out of hand. After all, doesn’t Halloween glorify evil? Is it right to send our children out as devils and vampires? Should we emphasize the saints, whose nearly forgotten feast day is the reason for Halloween? Hallow is the same word for “holy” that we find in the Lord’s Prayer, and e’en is a contraction of “evening.” The word Halloween itself is a shortened form of “All Hallows Eve,” the day before All Saints Day. This holiday, properly understood and celebrated with all of its fun trappings, can be a way for us to deepen our understanding of faith.

Hanukkahgiving or Thanksgivvukah

In 1888 the world could celebrate Thanksgiving and the start of the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah (Chanukah {חנוכה}) on the same day. In 2013 this happening now brought for some concerns, because this year the two feasts also come together but are by many mixed.

The convergence of the secular and sacred holidays is presenting opportunities for many Jews and challenges for others — including concerns about everything from extra preparation and party planning to those who think they will dilute or devalue both celebrations.

The dilemma is best illustrated by Hillel Day School teacher Lori Rashty, who recently watched eighth-grade students help second-graders plant their freshly painted hands onto paper to make the turkey, then transform the four finger feathers into candles to incorporate a menorah.

Image from a greeting card made by Jewish online gift shop ModernTribe.comWe are facing a real special Hanukkah – Thanksgiving holiday because we shall have to wait for an other for 79,000 years before we would encounter such an occasion again. Looking at what happens in the world now, this probably would not happen as such, because the Third World War shall have happened already and the Millennium shall also have been a fact, after which Christ Jesus shall have handed over the Kingdom of God again to his Father.

But now we can look at the double-barreled holiday, which in certain countries brings a kind of an exciting way for the kids to realize that it’s a special occasion for them.

The lunisolar nature of the Jewish calendar makes Hanukkah and other religious observances appear to drift slightly from year to year when compared to the U.S., or Gregorian, calendar. Jewish practice calls for the first candle of eight-day Hanukkah to be lit the night before Thanksgiving Day this year, so technically “Thanksgivukkah,” — or “Thanksgivvukah,” as the Hillel students spell it — falls on the “second candle” night.

At Hillel Day School, students entering the library see a colourful poster designed to provoke thoughts about the convergent holidays: Under a Thanksgivvukah headline are several questions, including

“How are Thanksgiving and Hanukkah alike?”

It may be very special to have Hanukkah and Thanksgiving on the same day. We should think about the creation, what God has given us all, believers in God and other believers. The secular element for Thanksgiving has been there always because it finds its historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, celebrating the reaping of the harvest. In many countries the heathen also had their harvest-home or harvest-festival, where they celebrated the blessings they got from nature. In lots of places was celebrated that the year came to a good end and was hoped and prayed to the gods to go in a good Winter season.

Origin of Thanksgiving

The radical reformers of 1536, wished to completely eliminate all Church holidays, including the heathen Christmas and Easter, but hose festivals looked to traditionally embedded they did not manage to get them our of the Christian holiday festivals. Though for many serious Bible students and sincere Christians, who knew Christ Jesus was born on the 17th of October 4BCE, the celebration of the goddess of light was a celebration they did not want to associate with. Therefore they wanted to say thanks to their God, and remember the birth of Christ Jesus on an other day.

In the 16th century the heathen holidays were to be replaced by specially called Days of Fasting or Days of Thanksgiving, in response to events that the Puritans viewed as acts of special or Divine providence.

English: The Discovery of the Gunpowder Plot, ...

The Discovery of the Gunpowder Plot, Laing Art Gallery (Tyne and Wear Museums) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Strangely enough for their holidays they also took secular happenings. Days of Thanksgiving were called following the victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588 and following the deliverance of Queen Anne in 1705. An unusual annual Day of Thanksgiving began in 1606 following the failure of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and developed into Guy Fawkes Day. In the Autumn of 1621 William Bradford, governor of Plymouth Colony, called for a day of thanksgiving and prayer after the colonists’ first harvest. An other thanksgiving day in 1623 celebrated rainfall after a drought. After 1630 a Day of Thanksgiving came to be observed every year after the harvest and other colonies in New England gradually adopted the practice. In the South the custom did not appear till 1855.

President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 officially proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday. Traditionally celebrated on the last Thursday in November, it was changed by the act of congress in 1941 to the fourth Thursday of November.

The first Canadian Thanksgiving or Jour de l’Action de grâce is often traced back to 1578 and the explorer Martin Frobisher, in thanks not for the harvest but for surviving the long journey from England through the perils of storms and icebergs.

In Holland some commemorate the hospitality the Pilgrims received in Leiden on their way to the New World and thank God for His provisions. {Many of the Pilgrims who migrated to the Plymouth Plantation had resided in the city of Leiden from 1609–1620, many of whom had recorded their births, marriages and deaths at the Pieterskerk.}

Most of the U.S. aspects of Thanksgiving (such as the turkey), were incorporated when United Empire Loyalists began to flee from the United States during the American Revolution and settled in Canada. The Canadians celebrate it annually on the second Monday in October.

Origin of Hanukkah or the Feast of Dedication, the Feast of Light

Antiochus IV Epiphanes had, because of his frustration not to extirpate the Jewish faith, desecrated the Second Temple of Jerusalem. To observe the rededication of the temple in 165 BCE {Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire} , a celebration of 8 days, beginning Kislev 25 (according to the Hebrew calendar), had to bring to the memory the indistinguishable and ever spreading Jewish faith. The ceremony also recalls the Talmud story of how a small, one-day supply of non desecrated oil miraculously burned in the temple for eight full days until new oil could be obtained.

English: Hanukkah menorah, known also as Hanuk...

Hanukkah menorah, known also as Hanukiah. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Jews use a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched Menorah or Hanukiah. { חנוכה (Hanukkah) is also the Hebrew acronym for ח נרות והלכה כבית הלל — “Eight candles, and the halakha is like the House of Hillel”. This is a reference to the disagreement between two rabbinical schools of thought — the House of Hillel and the House of Shammai — on the proper order in which to light the Hanukkah flames. Shammai opined that eight candles should be lit on the first night, seven on the second night, and so on down to one on the last night (because the miracle was greatest on the first day). Hillel argued in favor of starting with one candle and lighting an additional one every night, up to eight on the eighth night (because the miracle grew in greatness each day). Jewish law adopted the position of Hillel.}

Today on the first day of the festival the first arm is put on light. The second day a second candle is lighted. Progressing to eight on the final night. The typical Menorah consists of eight branches with an additional raised branch. The extra light is called a shamash (sometimes spelled shamas Hebrew: שמש‎, “attendant” or “warden”) or gabbai ((Hebrew: גבאי‎) and is given a distinct location, usually above or below the rest. The purpose of the shamash is to have a light available for practical use, as using the Hanukkah lights themselves for purposes other than publicizing and meditating upon Hanukkah is forbidden.

In Sephardic families, the head of the household lights the candles, while in Ashkenazic families, all family members light.

A dedication to God

The name “Hanukkah” derives from the Hebrew verb “חנך”, meaning “to dedicate”. the Jews want to show others around them that they are willing to  dedicate themselves fully to the Most High Creator, the Adonai Elohim יהוה {Jehovah} Who created the heavens and the earth and  said, “Let light come to be,” and light came to be (Genesis 1:3). It was the Messenger of יהוה {Jehovah} who appeared to Mosheh  (Moses) in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. The God Who spoke often by the flames and should be are light in the darkness, is the One Who needs our attention. Those eight days we can meditate on His Works.

Jesus (Jeshua) also celebrated the Feast of lights or Hanukkah.

“22  then came Hanukkah in Yerushalayim. it was winter, 23 and Yeshua was walking around inside the temple area, in Shlomo’s colonnade.” (John 10:22-23 CJB)

When  Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon, he wanted to honour his Father and be thankful for all the things He did for him and his followers.

We do not have to go through Solomon’s porch any-more, but we do have to be thankful to our Creator like Jesus was thankful to Him. The Nazarene Jeshua remembered that in 167 BCE Antiochus ordered an altar to Zeus erected in the Temple. Jeshua when he was alive never was called Jesus, Issou or ‘Hail Zeus’ and probably would not have liked it to be called that way. This name in honour of the Olympian “Father of gods and men”, the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology was only given many years later in Constantine’s time to adhere with the Roman Empire their gods and to have him as a part of a three-une god like in the Roman-Greek culture. By calling him the same as Zeus, Jeshua also could be called the god father, like Zeus. It was Antiochus who banned brit milah (circumcision) and ordered pigs to be sacrificed at the altar of the temple (the sacrifice of pigs to the Greek gods was standard ritual practice in the Ancient Greek religion).

In the light of today

English: Saying grace before carving the turke...

Saying grace before carving the turkey at Thanksgiving dinner in the home of Earle Landis in Neffsville, Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today Christians do not need to have a circumcision and do not need to bring any offerings, so there is certainly not needed a  sacrifice of pigs.

Hanukkah is not a “Sabbath-like” holiday, and there is no obligation to refrain from activities that are forbidden on the Sabbath, as specified in the Shulkhan Arukh. It is  and is celebrated with a series of rituals that are performed every day throughout the 8-day holiday, some are family-based and others communal. There are special additions to the daily prayer service, and a section is added to the blessing after meals.

For both occasions,  it is all about remembering the wonders of the Most High. The prayers and songs are presented to the Holy One who give us all things even when we may not deserve them. God has given his only begotten son Jeshua (Jesus Christ) who by giving his totally to his Father, presenting his body as a sacrifice, became the Messiah, the one who brought salvation to all people of the world.

“For Hanukkah, you usually just get presents and then for Thanksgiving you just eat. Now everything is just mixed together and I think that’s a great thing.”

said Jason Teper, an eighth-grader who was helping the second-graders with their menurkeys. But in many countries Hanukkah is in the first instance also a period of saying prayers to think God. In some countries the presents became more important. Also for the Christians the presenting food to the table of the lord, sharing the presents God has given us by the Work in nature,made lots of Christians concentrating on preparing a good festival meal at home for themselves. In many countries presents also became part of the holiday festival. For some Thanksgiving Day was such an important day like Christmas is/was for the Catholics.

Combined festivities

Saul Rube, Hillel’s dean of Judaic studies, said the light-hearted combinations of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah icons underscore a deeper bond: The Talmud, one of Judaism’s core texts, describes Hanukkah as a “holiday of thanksgiving.”

“The fact that you could meld our Jewish culture and the popular culture is such a wonderful opportunity, when so many times in December observant families feel … torn. They want to be part of that whole holiday season,” he said.

Rube said his Thanksgiving dinner table will have one notable addition: a challurkey, a loaf of Jewish challah bread in the shape of a turkey. Some Detroit-area bakeries are selling them but he found one he liked online from a kosher bakery and ordered it. It was only $12, but a good bit more for shipping.

“I splurged — I told my wife if we amortize the cost over 80,000 years ’til it happens again, it’s not so bad,” he said.

American Jews also love Thanksgiving and celebrate it every year with the rest of America. Some Jews consider Thanksgiving kosher, not for the thanking of the Creator, but because Thanksgiving is generally seen as a secular, national holiday in which people honour family and community, regardless of ethnic group or religious denomination. It is also popularly associated with pilgrims giving thanks for their new life in America, where they could practise their religion freely.

Rabbi Levi Shemtov, director of the Washington office of the ultra-Orthodox Chabad movement, says there is “nothing adverse to anything Jewish or contradictory to Judaism” in Thanksgiving.

“For that celebration to happen – as we are in our religious calendar celebrating our own religious freedom, as it was achieved in ancient times – makes it only that more emphatic,” he says.

People preparing meals for the poor at a Jewish community centre in Washington DC

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Additional reading:

  1. Being thankful
  2. Thanksgiving-Hanukkah overlap spurs thanks, angst
  3. What happens when you cross Thanksgiving with Hanukkah?
  4. Barry’s Best Bread for the Challah-Days