Post 137 of 445

By Chor-Episcopos Dr. Kyriakos of Chicago

The other day when I was dismissing my Metaphysics class after the final lecture of the semester my farewell statement was: “Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!” Immediately the response from the back corner of the classroom was “Dr. T, don’t say so; it is politically incorrect to say ‘Merry Christmas’, but say, “Happy Holidays!” I told my students that I was greeting everyone during the season of Christmas for the past thirty-five years of my life in America with the traditional “Merry Christmas”. Although most of my students agree with me, some were jittery about my greeting “Merry Christmas”, and their reason was that they were not religious.

I asked them if they were going to receive gifts during this holy season. “We do, and of course, we will be upset if our parents or friends would not show their love and appreciation by giving gifts”.

With another fifteen minutes left before dismissal, I explained to them the real reason behind giving gifts, and why the early church adopted the practice of giving gifts.

In Christianity the Godhead is made of a Trinity, the existential and essential union of three distinct persons; they are called the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is love, and love is God and it is with a Trinitarian essence that this love can be maintained in its perfection. It is because of this love, which God Himself is, that the Holy Trinity chose to effect creation, and man is the crown among all His visible creations. Man erred and lost his original innocence, which maintained his divine image and made him commune with his Creator. God out of love decided to restore this divine image in man by offering the Son of the Trinity to humanity. This Son became incarnate and “dwelt among us”, and Jesus is this Son of God. Jesus is the Ultimate Gift of God to humanity. It is to celebrate this GREATEST GIFT that we exchange gifts during the Christmas season. So the reason of this season is Jesus, Who is the Messiah (Christ- Anointed) of the Hebrew prophesy. Without Christmas, there is reason for us to exchange gifts, and if we do exchange gifts we are hypocritical. We need the celebrations to satisfy our physical appetites, but we do not want to embrace the ideology behind the celebrations! We enjoy sumptuous dinners, tasty wines, and great gifts during these days, but we want to ignore the reality behind all these celebrations. Without Christ, there is no reason for such celebrations. Here we find reasons to ignore Christ, because we do not want to offend our neighbors who are either Muslims, or Jews, or atheists, or agnostics. Out of respect to my neighbor who is not a Christian, I do not hesitate to say, “Happy Hanukkah!”, or “Happy Ramadan!”, or “Happy Divali!”, when he celebrates his holy day. Why is not that courtesy extended to a Christian, who is either your coreligionist or does not profess your religion. This is sheer discrimination…

There is a deliberate attempt in America to attack Christ and His eternal spiritual kingdom. Let me enumerate a few examples. As a prelude to Christmas or Easter, it has been a practice for Newsweek Magazine and Time Magazine to write cover stories about Christ in order to strip Him of his divinity, to present Him even less than an ordinary man with a birth of illegitimacy or with superstitions attached to His resurrection. No one has seriously questioned this audacity from the part of these mega media empires. They presented these cover stories as scholarly researches! Christianity is a religion of faith. However, did genuine Christian researches dry up in our seminaries and divinity schools?

It is reported that the media have deliberately obscured the religious identity of the rioters that burned hundreds of automobiles and many divisions of cities and villages in France for many weeks. Whom were they scared of, we definitely know. The minority population that shook up the political and governmental authorities of France for weeks by their atrocious and criminal activities was once the beneficiaries of a compassionate policy held by France, and thus they became guest workers. It is these people and their second generation that created political and social unrest by not at all identifying with the host culture. An immigrant community generally gets assimilated into the host society, but this did not happen to these Northwest African immigrants. Why did the media obscure the ethnic or religious identity of these rioters?

It is sad to see that most of the University Divinity Schools have been invaded by liberalism and secularism. Recently a female graduate of Chicago Theological Seminary after receiving her M.Div. degree became a devout Muslim! When I encountered this apostate, she told: “In my seminary, I found Muhammad more of a prophet than Jesus, and I followed him”. A pastor of the United Church of Christ and reportedly a graduate of the same seminary, who was a part-time faculty at a secular college, even formed a “Gay Club” for students. A Church of South India pastor and a graduate of Serampore College justified homosexuality and the ordination of homosexuals to the Christian ministry! I wondered what these seminaries are teaching now-a-days. Are they teaching Christian faith and Christian morality? Hence I believe that the seminaries and divinity schools are being invaded by liberalism.

If Newsweek and Time magazines dare to attack Mohammad or Mohammedanism through their cover stories, the Muslims around the globe would rise up in riots, and their religious leaders would have already declared a price for the heads of the writers of those stories, and possibly for the heads of their owners and editors. In a democratic society secularism is a virtue and a value. However, when it is tainted with bigotry, it is venomous to human culture and society.

In the past the presidents of the United States used to send out their greeting cards during the Christmas Season with the inscription, “We wish you a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR. Now even our highly acclaimed and deeply Christian President Bush is forgetting his Christian heritage and faith in Christ by sending a generic greeting of ”Happy Holidays”, without reference to Christ, Who is the very reason of this season! Sad? Isn’t it? Yes! It is worse than that.

Of course, you might say, this is a secular nation and the President is restricted to make reference to Christ. If so, the Presidents, who sent out greetings of “Merry Christmas” in the past, should be posthumously impeached for the violation of the United States Constitution. Or why worry about a religious holiday of Christmas at all? Stop the practice of sending greeting cards altogether. Well, it is not a good business practice, because it would hurt Hallmark and many companies that produce greeting cards. The President should be an exemplary citizen who promotes business in America and the capitalistic and utilitarian philosophy behind its economics. No matter what we secularists preach, we should sell our wines and whiskies, Christmas ornaments, Christmas cakes, greeting cards, postage stamps, Christmas trees, electronic products, and all the gift items one can imagine; because it is good business. When we are engaged in good business, we forget the real business of recognizing the Creator of all this abundance and affluence that we enjoy.

It is very disturbing to observe that this discrimination is primarily targeted against the Christians. It was reported that the Government of the United States of America held Ifthar dinners to celebrate the great conclusion of the Ramadan fasting season and to honor the Muslim devotees of the diplomatic community in Washington D.C. This writer does not know if the money spent for this purpose was drawn from the tax payers of this country. If so, it violates the spirit of separation between church and state. Whether tax payer money was used for this purpose or not, this writer has some legitimate questions. Is it important that the U.S. President or the U.S. Secretary of State should hold an Ifthar dinner to celebrate a Muslim festival when the United States as a secular nation has no special interest on religion at all? Let me ask point-blank: Would the King of Saudi Arabia or the King of Morocco or a so-called democratic regime in a predominantly Muslim country, such as Turkey, ever arrange a state dinner to celebrate Christmas or Christ’s Resurrection? Would the heads of any predominantly Muslim country ever hold a state celebration for any Christian feast? Please do not misunderstand this writer. He is a friend of many good and devout Muslims, and a good admirer of Muslim thinkers like Fetullah Gulen. This writer has regularly opened his inner office area as a private corner for his Muslim friends to conduct the Friday noon prayers. He has also attended Muslim religious services without prejudice. But this ‘stately’ (?) recognition of another religion, while offending the Christian majority of this nation which was founded by deeply Christian immigrants from Europe is nothing but cowardice. Whom are we trying to placate? Yes, this writer believes that Christ is slowly thrown out not only from the hearts of people, but also from a society, which always boasted about its Christian culture and history.

Go to any store during the Christmas season. What you see is: “Happy Holidays!” Listen to the TV and Radio programs. What you hear is” “Happy Holidays!” When this writer came to this country, he heard “Merry Christmas!”, and saw “Merry Christmas!” I would like to encourage our Christians to massively boycott the stores where they do not see a display of “Merry Christmas” during the Christmas season. This writer is not offended either by the Jewish greeting, “Happy Hanukkah!” at the entrance of a store. Maybe, a boycott by the majority Christian population will send a message to the lunatic mentality of this age. It is also possible that the Christians of this country are no more Christians! It is liberalism and hedonism that try to trample down Christian morality and values, which this generation considers as inhibitive and detrimental to human growth and development. Having no sense of the development of human history and its dependence on Christ and His eternal movement, liberalism preaches that Christianity is inhibitive; that is why the nation’s foremost Radio Talk Show host Michael Savage calls liberalism a mental disorder. I wonder why the media and all liberal groups are scared of Christ!

Yes, for the past two thousand years, movements after movements, regimes after regimes, tried to burry Christ to never rise again. If the incarnation of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity was history and an event that divided human history, it was the Resurrection of the Incarnate Lord that made Him and His movement perennially invincible. Yes, Christ was born, Christ trampled down death, and Christ will reign forever.

We urge every Christian to be courteous and respectful to his Jewish friends or Muslim friends or Hindu friends when they celebrate their holidays by greeting “Happy Hanukkah!”, or “Happy Ramadan!”, or “Happy Divali!”

This lecture was necessary to induce the realization that Christianity is the basic culture of western society. For us Christians, Christ Jesus is a reality. Our redemption is achieved by His incarnation, His ministry on earth, His trial and suffering, and His Resurrection

Christ is born! Glorify Him!!!