Nativity Scene in Rotunda of Capitol Featured Venus as Mary, Darwin, Einstein, Twain as Wise Men

According to Channel3000.com, “The display, which was installed on Wednesday [Dec. 14], is in response to the traditional Christian Nativity scene on display at the Capitol [seemingly in Wisconsin], which was assembled by the conservative group Wisconsin Family Action.

Aside from the manger, the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s display isn’t the typical Nativity scene. The display includes a baby girl in a manger, three wise people and Venus as Mary. Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Mark Twain make up the three wise people. The angels in the scene include the Statue of Liberty and an astronaut.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation said its display is meant to celebrate the winter solstice. The group said that in celebrating the winter solstice, it is celebrating reality.” (more…)

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Warnings Against Empty Religion

Prayer is essential to the Christian life. There are those however who may cry out to God and yet worship themselves.

Hosea says, “They did not cry out to Me with their heart when they wailed upon their beds” (Hos. 7:14). Again he says, “Though they call to the Most High, none at all exalt Him” (Hos. 11:7).

Then, in Matthew, we read, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Matt. 15:8).

When we pray or live therefore, let us pray with our mouth and with our heart and worship the God of heaven.

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:10-14).

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The Twelve Days of Christmas – Summary

The 12th Day of Christmas: R.C. Sproul and J.I. Packer on Christmas

R.C. Sproul
R.C. Sproul makes this contribution to the discussion of Christmas.

“That question comes up every year at Christmastime. In the first place, there’s no direct biblical commandment to celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25. There’s nothing in the Bible that would even indicate that Jesus was born on December 25. In fact, there’s much in the New Testament narratives that would indicate that it didn’t occur during that time of year. It just so happens that on the twenty-fifth of December in the Roman Empire there was a pagan holiday that was linked to mystery religions; the pagans celebrated their festival on December 25. The Christians didn’t want to participate in that, and so they said, “While everybody else is celebrating this pagan thing, we’re going to have our own celebration. We’re going to celebrate the thing that’s most important in our lives, the incarnation of God, the birth of Jesus Christ. So this is going to be a time of joyous festivities, of celebration and worship of our God and King.” (more…)

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The 12th Day of Christmas: Christmas and the Use Of Time

The way I view what God is telling us in the Scriptures, regarding Christmas, all boils down to second and fourth commandment issues, and that our Lord is sovereign over the use of time, and He is also the only one with the authority and right to institute holy days (and He has given us 52 holy days per year, in the Lord’s day, and no others).—Reg Barrow

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The 12th Day of Christmas: What Roman Catholics Say About Christmas

“The word for Christmas in late Old English is Cristes Maesse, the Mass of Christ… Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. Irenaeus and Tertullian omit it from their lists of feasts; Origen, glancing perhaps at the discreditable imperial Natalitia, asserts (in Lev. Hom. viii in Migne, P.G., XII, 495) that in the Scriptures sinners alone, not saints, celebrate their birthday… The well-known solar feast, however, of Natalis Invicti, celebrated on 25 December, has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date. For the history of the solar cult, its position in the Roman Empire, and syncretism with Mithraism, see Cumont’s epoch-making “Textes et Monuments” etc… Though Rome gives three Masses to the Nativity only, Ildefonsus, a Spanish bishop, in 845, alludes to a triple mass on Nativity, Easter, Whitsun, and Transfiguration (P.L., CVI, 888).” – From The Catholic Encyclopedia. (more…)

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The 12th Day of Christmas: More Quotes from the 17th to 19th Century on Christmas

“I would to God that every holy day (including Christmas – ed.) whatsoever besides the Lord’s day were abolished. That zeal which brought them first in, was without all warrant of the Word, and merely followed corrupt reason, forsooth to drive out the holy days of the pagans, as one nail drives out another. Those holy days have been so tainted with superstitions that I wonder we tremble not at their very names.” – Martin Bucer, cited in William Ames, A Fresh Suit Against Human Ceremonies in God’s Worship (1633), pp. 359-60.

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“And next in particular, concerning festival days findeth that in the explication of the first head of the first book of discipline it was thought good that the feasts of Christmas, Circumcision, Epiphany, with the feasts of the Apostles, Martyrs, and Virgin Mary be utterly abolished because they are neither commanded nor warranted by Scripture and that such as observe them be punished by Civil Magistrates. Here utter abolition is craved and not reformation of abuses only and that because the observation of such feasts have no warrant from the word of God.” – The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, December 10, Session 17, 1638, pp. 37-38 (more…)

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The 12th Day of Christmas: Did We Celebrate Christmas in Early American History?

While I don’t agree with all of his criticism about the puritans, notice Stephen Nissenbaum’s research in his book The Battle for Christmas by Stephen Nissenbaum. In Chapter 1: New England’s War on Christmas, he says:

In New England, for the first two centuries of white settlement most people did not celebrate Christmas. In fact, the holiday was systematically suppressed by Puritans during the colonial period and largely ignored by their descendants.

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“We Were Soldiers Once & Young” – RC Jr. Reflections on Marriage

Here are some really wonderful thoughts RC Jr “Tweeted” over the past few days in the shadow of the death his wife and her burial on Wednesday.

Dec 23, We do not fail in our work because we are mourning. We do not fail in our mourning because we work. We beautify each with the other.

Dec 22, What began with a wedding became tragedy, but will end in a wedding. In the middle of the best stories we mourn. At the end we cry in joy

Dec 21,  This morning we do not bury my wife’s body in a cemetery, but plant her body in a garden. It will bloom incorruptible when He returns

Dec 20, Old pic of Denise & me reminded me of the book, “We were soldiers once & young.” She rests among the shady trees, triumphant kingdom warrior

Dec 19,  It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, b/c his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

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My Parents’ 64th Wedding Anniversary

Marriage is a gift to those who marry, and the marriage of my parents  has been a gift to all of us.

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The 11th Day of Christmas: Puritans on Christmas

I would to God that every holy day (including Christmas – ed.) whatsoever besides the Lord’s day were abolished. That zeal which brought them first in, was without all warrant of the Word, and merely followed corrupt reason, forsooth to drive out the holy days of the pagans, as one nail drives out another. Those holy days have been so tainted with superstitions that I wonder we tremble not at their very names.” – Martin Bucer, cited in William Ames, A Fresh Suit Against Human Ceremonies in God’s Worship (1633), pp. 359-60.

“And next in particular, concerning festival days findeth that in the explication of the first head of the first book of discipline it was thought good that the feasts of Christmas, Circumcision, Epiphany, with the feasts of the Apostles, Martyrs, and Virgin Mary be utterly abolished because they are neither commanded nor warranted by Scripture and that such as observe them be punished by Civil Magistrates. Here utter abolition is craved and not reformation of abuses only and that because the observation of such feasts have no warrant from the word of God.” – The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, December 10, Session 17, 1638, pp. 37-38

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The 10th Day of Christmas: Rethinking the Pagan Origins of Christmas

Here is a very thoughtful and helpful article by Brian Abshire, “Rethinking the Pagan Origins of Christmas”, where he tells the story of how he has changed over the years in his view of Christmas. He offers a number of historical and logical arguments for his change. In his younger years, he was radically anti-Christmas, but with further consideration over the years, he thinks differently.

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The 9th Day of Christmas: Charles Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon, entitled Joy Born at Bethlehem (preached Dec. 24 1871) and opened the sermon with this:

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 said or sung in Latin or in English; and, secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Saviour; and, consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority. Superstition has fixed most positively the day of our Saviour’s birth, although there is no possibility of discovering when it occurred.

In another place in the Treasury of David on Psalm 81:4 he says:

For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob. It was a precept binding upon all the tribes that a sacred season should be set apart to commemorate the Lord’s mercy; and truly it was but the Lord’s due, he had a right and a claim to such special homage. When it can be proved that the observance of Christmas, Whitsuntide, and other Popish festivals was ever instituted by a divine statute, we also will attend to them, but not till then. It is as much our duty to reject the traditions of men, as to observe the ordinances of the Lord. We ask concerning every rite and rubric, “Is this a law of the God of Jacob?” and if it be not clearly so, it is of no authority with us, who walk in Christian liberty.

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The 8th Day of Christmas: A Scottish Covenanter – George Gillespie – on Christmas

George Gillespie, a Scottish Covenanter and one of Scotland’s Commissioners to the Westminster Assembly, wrote this in A Dispute Against English Popish Ceremonies:

“… by communicating with idolaters in their rites and ceremonies, we ourselves become guilty of idolatry; even as Ahaz, 2 Kings 16:10, was an idolater, eo ipso, that he took the pattern of an altar from idolaters. Forasmuch, then, as kneeling before the consecrated bread, the sign of the cross, surplice, festival days (like Christmas, Easter, etc. – ed.), bishopping, bowing down to the altar, administration of the sacraments in private places, etc., are the wares of Rome, the baggage of Babylon, the trinkets of the whore, the badges of Popery, the ensigns of Christ’s enemies, and the very trophies of antichrist, — we cannot conform, communicate and symbolise with the idolatrous Papists in the use of the same, without making ourselves idolaters by participation. Shall the chaste spouse of Christ take upon her the ornaments of the whore? Shall the Israel of God symbolise with her who is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt? Shall the Lord’s redeemed people wear the ensigns of their captivity? Shall the saints be seen with the mark of the beast? Shall the Christian church be like the antichristian, the holy like the profane, religion like superstition, the temple of God like the synagogue of Satan?” – George Gillespie (Scottish Covenanter and one of Scotland’s Commissioners to the Westminster Assembly), A Dispute Against English Popish Ceremonies, in Gillespie’s Works volume one, p. 80, SWRB reprint.

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Have You Bought The Puritan Hard Drive Yet?

When you do, you will be glad you did – The Puritan Hard Drive, with 12,500 reformation resources.

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