Category Archives: christmas

>CHRISTMAS SPIRIT: St. Peter, the right winger

>A right wing friend of mine passed this along. I thought I would share it with all my readers. I hope you both like it.

We all know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem because “a decree went forth from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.”

Joseph and Mary, the parents of Jesus, went there to register for the tax.

We also know that many of the early disciples were fishermen. They paid a fish tax to the Roman Empire.

St. Peter met Jesus in a town called Capernaum.

Peter was not originally from Capernaum, but we now know that the fish tax in Capernaum was only half the fish tax in his original home town of Bethsaida.

We also know that Peter operated a large fishing fleet, perhaps the largest in the area, with hired men, that he ran on behalf of his mother-in-law, who is mentioned in the Bible.

The mother-in-law owned a large house in Capernaum, where Jesus often stayed, which is only a few steps from the synagogue in Capernaum, and which is also mentioned in the Bible.

The Bible also tells us that Peter carried a sword and used it in the Garden of Gethsamane.

So there you have it:

St. Peter, the chief disciple and leader of the early Christians, and first Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, was an entrepreneur, a tax refugee, a small business owner, an employer, the inheritor of a family-owned business, and a man who kept and bore arms.

Merry Christmas!

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>REACT:More CHRISTMAS nonsense

>Well, I am offened again. So, what else is new … eh?

I received an email invitation to visit a traditional holiday event at Chicago’s oldest existing home. It will feature traditional food, traditional decorations, traditional music, and traditional whatever else. The only problem with the invitation, it conspicuously avoids naming THE tradition. Never anywhere in the invitation does the word Christmas appear. I guess it is okay to ASSUME what the tradtion is, but one must not print or utter the naughty word … ah … you know … uh …shhhhhh … Christmas.

About the same time I heard a radio commercial for a special concert of traditional (there’s that word again) holiday music. Again, no mention of Chirstmas. So, in this case I am assuming it must be John Philip Sousa playing patriotic Fourth of July marches.

Then there was the item about a village ordering the exclusive use of white light bulbs in holiday (nee Christmas) decorations because … get this … because red and green are religious. (I wonder if this is the same community where the school officials declared “noose” to be a racial slur?) Interestingly, several churches with which I am casually familiar use all white bulbs for the … uh … holiday decorations. But, don’t tell the poli-correct Gestapo or we will all have to have an unlit Christmas trees in our living rooms.

This stuff gets crazier every Christma … ah … holday season.

>LMAO: No mo’ ho

>

Believe it or not, but there is a company in Australia that trains “Santas” and dispatches the jolly fellows to retail malls and stores throughout the world to provide a comfortable knee and an eager ear to young believers coveting the latest toy. Personally, I never thought the Santa schtick was that complicated, but what do I know?.

What tickled my funny bone was a report that the new batch of politically correct Santas have been advised against employing the traditional “Ho! Ho! Ho!” as their tummies shake like a bowl full of jelly. Seems that the word “ho” is an insult to women.

First, “ho” ain’t no word. But for the moment, let us accept the fact the “ho” is a shortened version of the word “whore,” as used mostly by black brothas who had the misfortune of graduating, or not graduating, from an urban public school – the distinction of graduation having no real bearing on their education, anyway.

They recommend “hehehe” or “hahaha. Personally, I think “hehehe” is too much of a snicker and too widely used in Internet chat after someone offers up a salacious comment. “Hahaha” can be too mocking, like the laugh that bursts forth when you see a person stumble with a bag full of groceries. .

And I say “so what?” if there is a double meaning. I am sure that every glitter-eyed, four-year-old thinks of ghetto streetwalkers the minute Santa bellows his trade mark laughter. I mean, really!

And think about this. What happens if these political correctness Gestapos apply their cynical thinking to all the other double-meaning words? Do we ban Peter Rabbit? Or Dick Tracy? Rename the movie, “The Owl and the Pussycat?” Rip the “Johnson” pages from the telephone book? Ban the expression “tit for tat?” No more cocktails? No more dancing at society balls? Can we still get a screw at the hardware store? No more door knockers? A ban on roast butt?

So… I say “No! No! No!” to the ban on Ho! Ho! Ho! Hehehe … hahaha ….!!!

>REACT: Ronald McDonald stomps out Santa

>After publishing my blog item on Macy’s de-Christmas’ing the 2000 year old holiday (November 21, 2007), I went to checked out Chicago’s traditional State Street Christmas Parade held each Thanksgiving – you know, the one that welcomes the arrival of Santa Claus.

Well, the anti-Christ(mas) has struck again – this time in the form of another corporate behemoth, McDonald’s. Not sure when this all happened, but there is no Christmas parade any more. Ronald (the Grinch) McDonald booted the Christmas theme, and the event is now known as the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Forget about Christ. Ronald has knocked off even the secularized Santa image in favor of a logo featuring a trite and tacky turkey in a pilgrim high hat.

(As an aside: In the above logo, doesn’t that look like the front end of an old Pilgrim-style blunderbust rifle pointing at the turkey from behind the leafy bush? I am sure that is not the intent, but still a fitting bit of symbolism, don’t ya think?)

If you were hoping that perhaps the real Christmas parade was rescheduled for another time, you’re out of luck. The only other parade is the Michigan Avenue merchants Parade of Lights produced by Walt Disney. No celebration of Christmas. An obligatory Santa, but certainly nothing to symbolize the real meaning of the holiday.

Corporate America, in a fit of greedy political correctness has changed the “love thy neighbor” holiday message to “love thy neighbor’s money.”

On the other, maybe the Christians got just what we deserved. I mean, most of our religious holidays were superimposed over Pagan celebrations in an effort, successful to be sure, to drive the godless holidays into extinction. It would seem that the neo-Pagans of corporate America are providing pay-back time. They are driving Christians from the public forums in favor or superficial Disney cartoons, holiday trees symbolic of nothing, and irrlevant festivals of lights. Sure, it is all very pretty, but prettiness does not connote significance or relevancy. (Did the name Paris Hilton just pop into your mind, too?)

Kicking Christ out of his name sake holiday is nothing new. The transformation from the elderly St. Nicholas of European origin to the cartoonish pot-bellied, retail-hawking Santa Claus happened more than three generations ago. The “Xmas” abbreviation was the rage at mid-20th Century. The supporting roles once held by shepards were given to a bunch of elves. The drab animals of the manger faded in the face of the bright-eyed and bright-nosed reindeer know as Rudolph – the creation of the advertising department or the now defunct Montgomery Ward & Company.

It would seem that the austere message of Christ is not in keeping with the sales strategies of the big retailers. The maniacally generous iconic characters, such as Santa Claus, make for better sales. Can you image for one moment bringing your child, with a long selfish wish list, to Macy’s to sit on the lap of a actor dressed as Jesus?

The very modern-day buying orgy is an anathema to the biblical Christ. To celebrate this holiday in keeping with its theological origins would require feeding the hungry as opposed to gorging the gluttonous. Clothing the naked, not donning designer duds. Comforting the ill, not imbibing until we are. We are admonished to care for those less fortunate, not over indulge the already blessed.

When you look at it that way, I guess dumping Christ and Christmas makes sense. What has evolved is NOT Jesus’ holiday. It is the celebration of the new religion, Consumerism. Maybe … just maybe … the secular iconology is not driving out the Christmas of Christ. Maybe it is just filling in the vacuum we have selfishly provided. Maybe the Grinch is not the politically correct, but the theologically challenged. Maybe it is not “they” who stole Christmas, but “we” who too willingly abandoned it.

Something to ponder as we good Christians begin our annual pilgramage to Wal Mart. At least they still know it is Christmas.

>REACT: Macy’s Christmas. Bah humbug!!

>I sent the following as a letter-to-the-editor to a number of major publications. Generally, at least one will publish my epistle. As I prepared this for delivery, the shadow or pessimism crossed my mind. Would, I wonder, any major newspaper publish a letter-to-the-editor so critical of a major advertiser? The answer is … “nope.” I got two calls to confirm that I was author – a practice that most often leads to publication. For a moment, there was hope. But alas, my condemnation of Macy’s was rejected even as the department store ads grew larger and more frequent on the eve of the busiest shopping day of the year.

So, for whatever it is worth. Here is my unpublished opinion.

To: The Editor

Christmas at Macy’s, bah humbug!

On November 10, the Big Apple department store, Macy’s (nee Marshall Field & Company), again insulted Chicagoans and Christians.

In celebration of one of Christianity’s holiest seasons, Macy’s invited convicted felon Martha Stewart to preside at the official tree lighting ceremony – and hawk her designer ornaments. Full-page newspaper ads invited all of us to participate in this event by dropping by and (they hope) giving them some of our hard earned money to send back to New York.

For most of my life, the lighting of the “great Christmas tree” in the Walnut room was one of the highlights of the Christmas season. If you missed the lighting, you could always drop in at the Walnut Room at any time during the Christmas holidays.

But wait! Something is missing. Oh yeah! Christmas. Nowhere in the full-page ad did the word Christmas appear. No Christmas tree. Just a tree. No Christmas ornaments. Just Martha Stewart ornaments. Turns out that the Grinch who stole Christmas is none other than Macy’s.

The ad was devoid of any references to or images of Christmas – the official name of this national holiday. No stars. No angels. No nativity scene. No candles. No cross. No Santa Claus (nee St. Nicholas). The ad featured only bells, birds and bright shiny bulbs of one shape or another.

I am not a religious zealot. In fact, I would have to improve considerably to attain the level of a poor Christian. But why, in the name of tolerance, do we have to pretend something is not what it is. This is the Christmas season, and most of us Christians will be putting up a Christmas tree, decorated with Chirtmas ornaments — and singing Christmas caroles. We will greet others with “Merry Christmas” – whether the friend is Christian or not, because we are wishing them goodwill not engaging in religious rivalry.

Macy’s has taken the warm and loving feeling of Christmas and turned it into a Martha Stewart make-over. It is much too cold, too sterile, too commercial, too New York. When I was a child, traditionalists fought against the “xmas’ abbreviation with the slogan, “put Christ back into Christmas.” Well the East Coast heathens of commerce have gone one better. They have driven everything Christmas out of Christmas. Not even a teensy weensy bit of religious imagery.

If I was not already boycotting Macy’s for dumping the Marshall Field name, I would certainly have to boycott them for this latest effrontery.

Larry Horist

P.S. The Macy’s windows will feature the Nutcracker this year. Somewhat traditional, but safely on the secular side.