Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Part 3

So...the why of Christmas. Why is the birth of this Jesus something to celebrate?  Why do we celebrate on December 25th?  These are some pretty common and reasonable why question. Why why do we have this holiday that is pretty much a worldwide phenomenon and why is it in the middle of winter, for at least half of us?

I'll look at the second question first. Why December 25th? Do don't have to look very hard  on the internet to hear somebody claiming that Jesus Christ is a mythological copy cat of the vast array that they will claim were born on or around December 25th or the winter solstice.  Well to dispel this myth first. The man we call Jesus Christ or Jesus of Nazareth  was not actually born on the 25th of December. In fact we actually don't know the exact date when he was born and as far as I've read the best guess would actually put his birth sometime in the spring. ( this seems like a pretty good article and this one guesses it to be sometime in September)

So why do we celebrate Christmas in December? This is actually something that I'm finding to be quite easy to find as well and to be honest the reason all boils down to recognition.  December 25th and the days preceding it ,especially the Winter solstice have been for centuries already established pagan holidays.   Yule, Saturnalia, Larentalia, feast of the new sun, the winter solstice itself, and I'm sure I could find others were all already established holidays.  So the Catholic church that ruled Christendom and eventually Rome decided that since there was no feast to celebrate the birth of Jesus they would  appropriate one of the already established Pagan feast days. And thus we have Christmas or the Feast of Christ.  Because of this, after the reformation many protestant Christians didn't actually celebrate Christmas due to it's day being historically a pagan feast day. In fact it was illegal in many states until the 19th century.

Ok so we've figured out that Christmas is a holiday stolen from the Pagans to worship a man named Jesus who was born 2000 years ago.  So what makes this guy so special that we still have a near worldwide holiday for him? Why does this guy deserve a holiday to begin with?

 As many times as we hear it I that we've become so accustomed to hearing it that it doesn't register like it should any more but the reason that we celebrate the day of the man Jesus's birth is that he is the only begotten son of the living God. Think about that. Not only that but Jesus himself said that he and the father are one. He is God made flesh. He is the God that spoke this entire universe into creation become one of us. Both fully man and fully on earth living as a poor carpenter.  When I sit and just think on that I am awestruck!  Jesus Christ both man and God!  He gave up his majesty his riches in his kingdom, to slum it with us so that we would know him! He did not just live with us, he died as one of us. He was subjected to one of the most humiliating, painful deaths imaginable not just as one of us, but for us! All so that we might know how much he loves us. So that we would believe in him and not suffer his wrath and the Fathers wrath because of the sin of the world! THIS is why we celebrate this man's birth 2000 years later. This one day a year, whether they know it or not, whether they like it or not, whether they acknowledges it or not all eyes turn to this man, the only son of the living God, the son begotten not made, the second member of the holy trinity, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.

None go to the Father except the go to the Son. Have you Gone to the Son? Do you know Jesus Chist as Lord and Savior?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas part 2

     So, from Christmas Part 1 post we've seen that the meaning of Christmas is literally Christ. So what about Christ? What about Christ specifically does Christmas celebrate?  It celebrates the birth of Christ.
It celebrates the long prophesied, coming of the messiah, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords!  The one prophesied even in Genesis!

How did he come? Did he come like a king? Did he come in glory and majesty with trumpets and soldiers proclaiming his arrival? No, Gods only begotten son came humbly. As a servant.  He wasn't born in a castle or a palace or even a decent Roman hut or hotel, he was born in a barn.  His bed that first night, was the feed trough for the animals. His parents weren't royalty. His mom was teenage virgin and his step-dad a carpenter. And those who came to pay homage the night of his birth, not foreign royalty but shepherds.

To the world this is absolutely ridiculous. What kind of second rate king or deity actually would subject his offspring to this type of entrance to the world? Or for that matter what kind of horrible person in this day and age would let their kid even be born at home with out the attendance of trained professionals?  This is definitely not what the Jews expected when reading Isaiah.

Paul wrote in the new testament that God makes the wise of the world foolish. This is part of the story of Jesus birth. Those who consider themselves very wise tend to consider this story foolishness. The story not only showing that Jesus first coming he come in humility and service but is a parody of the world. When Jesus returns the rulers of this world will bow to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords who entered into his time on this earth in the most humble way possible.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Is Magic(k) real?

Is magic(k) real?  This is something I don't hear much discussion of, but in this pluralistic age where getting information or instruction on the subject of magick is as easy as going to Barnes & Noble or I felt the need to discuss it a little. I'm going to use the term Magick, with a k to differentiate from David Copperfield type stage magic. I'm talking about "spiritual" magick. According to the 19th/20th century occultist Aliester Crowley the definition of this type of magick

"The art and science of creating change in accordance with your will"

This, as far as I can tell from their own literature, is not completely accurate. Not to mention this is completely vague. So...what is "magick"? Magick falls in to four general categories, spells, spirits, divination and "spiritual evolution". All four of these take various forms ranging from the obvious to the covert and they're sometimes used in different combinations. I'll continue with short overviews of all these categories.

Spells short rituals or ceremonies using chants, candles, ribbons and various other implements ranging from the mundane to the exotic. Spells can be used for anything from enticing a "deity",spirit or demon to answer a request or command, to affecting somebodies actions or feelings spells or even darker uses such as hexes or curses.

In magick spirits abound. People attempt to contact spirits for all different reason, for information, servitude, worship, guidance, protection, and even in some traditions to be possessed by. This can be done by various ways, ceremonies and rituals, the use of mirrors, Ouija boards, dances, chants and meditations. 

Divination  is a description of the methods used to try and know the future or prophesying. This as well has several methods. Tarot, Astrology, crystal gazing, palm reading, tea leaves and runes (stones, bones pieces of wood with symbols carved or drawn on them) are probably the most well know and most popular. There are other methods such as Mirror gazing, fire gazing, Geomancy ( a method of drawing random dots in the earth and reading them) and even sometimes spirit contact is used for this.

The last but not least category is "spiritual evolution". This is the attempt to become a god or god like. All of the above mentioned can be used for the attempt at this goal. As well as the addition of lengthy meditations, lengthy  and elaborate ceremonies in the attempt to reach altered states of consciousness

Ok so all of this stuff is nonsense and superstition right? . Remnants from a primitive and less enlightened period of our history made popular for a short time by hippy thowbacks and emo kids who suck at video games right and can't play guitar right?  I don't think so. This the phenomenon of  the occult  and magick in our culture is not something that just popped up overnight. This is something that has been throughout the history of the world and continues today.

Is it real? The Bible certainly treats it as such. A quick search of references to magick in the Bible found 55 verses many read similar to Revelation 21:8

 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death

Magick and sorcery as it's often call in the Bible is taken very seriously and no where is it indicated that it's not real or simply superstition, Another example in the Book of Ezekiel.

Thus says the Lord God: Woe to the women who sew magic bands upon all wrists, and make veils for the heads of persons of every stature, in the hunt for souls! Will you hunt down souls belonging to my people and keep your own souls alive?19 You have profaned me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, putting to death souls who should not die and keeping alive souls who should not live, by your lying to my people, who listen to lies.
20 "Therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against your magic bands with which you hunt the souls like birds, and I will tear them from your arms, and I will let the souls whom you hunt go free, the souls like birds

As I said before it's not treated as mere superstition or fancy. It is spoken harshly against and given the harshest punishment, death and hell.  So should Christians worry about magick?  No, we shouldn't worry about magick,  However we should be on our guard. Jesus said that Satan is a liar seeking to deceive even the elect if he can. Many of the things that I've listed do not always come in nice packages that have "Magick" or "Occult" printed in big letters on the outside. In fact many come in the guise of a supposed form Christianity. Though many more come disguised as self help or displayed as harmless by pop- culture figures.

So my conclusion?  Yes magick is real. It is the power displayed by Satan as a counterfeit of Gods. As God uses man to carry out his will on earth Satan will do the same through the false prophecy, miracles, and signs that is more simply called magick. 

I may do another on how these things have wormed their way in to our culture and even our churches and many are none the wiser but that will be another time