Category Archives: Christmas

Christmas: Promise and Purpose

By Daniel Downs

Christmas is a multifaceted story about real events wrapped in two narratives. The two narratives are found in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Like a new train and its track, these two narratives are part of one colorfully packaged gift given to humanity by God. Together they show the meaning of Christmas.

Some scholars and teachers rightly say the reason for the season is God’s love, peace, and forgiveness of sin.

The first gospel begins with teen pregnancy. Yes, it’s true the Hebrew word translated virgin actually means young woman or teen girl. It’s equally true that in ancient Jewish culture teenage girls were expected to marry and then bear children. Out-of-wedlock pregnancies were as unlawful as immoral. The social stigmatism would have been as illiberal as Scarlet Letter puritanism. Just as a barren wife, a young unwed mother would have experienced the discriminating scorn of a religious society. Therefore, it is reasonable to interpret the transliterated Hebrew word almah as virgin (Mt. 1:23; Isa. 7:14).

Rabbinical literature originating in Babylonia portrays young Mary as mistress of a Roman soldier. Whether because of sinful consent, seduction or rape, Mary’s pregnancy was conceived by rabbis opposed to the gospel message as adulterated sin. The Palestinian view, as scholars call it, is considerably different. It lacked any negative diatribes against Mary or her son. Just as the Palestinian Talmud reflects its local context, the two gospel narratives were rooted in local events and daily life in Judea and Samaria.

We also will find the meaning of Christmas grounded in the same geographical, cultural, ideological, and historical situation of then current events.

While reading our two narrative gifts, two bright themes twinkle like lights reflecting off shinny wrappings. Those themes are promise and purpose. As if sitting prominently under a Christmas tree, the two themes are wrapped with bright colorful interpretations of unfolding events. Those events appear to be fulfillment of promises made by God through even more ancient prophets. As such, they reveal as well as affirm the purpose of God.

For example, the gospel of Matthew begins the story of Jesus’ birth with marriage. “Mary has been betrothed to Joseph…her husband (1:18, 19). In ancient Jewish culture, engagement was regarded as the beginning of a marriage. While Joseph was thinking about divorcing her, an angel told him to keep his wife because her pregnancy was God’s doing (1:19-20). Why would God do such a thing? The angel continued telling Joseph that Mary’s son would save his people. At that time, most Israelis were expecting a Messiah that would deliver them from the oppressive rule of the Roman Empire and puppet kings like Herod. That was not God’s purpose. Jesus was adopted and formed in the womb of Joseph’s virgin wife to save his people from their sins (1:20-21). This was seen by ancient writers like Matthew as fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy about the Messiah (1:20-21; Isa. 7:14). As evident in writings like Psalms of Solomon, 1 Enoch, and Dead Sea Scrolls, the Messiah of David would represent the holy presence of God and lead all Jews into sinless living. In fact some believed the law would pass away when the true Messiah began to reign. For the law not to be needed meant all had to live holy lives at all times. Being capable of doing so meant the Messiah had to be as holy and sinless as those he would make holy or sinless. That is what the name “Immanuel” or “God with us” meant to those same ancient people.

If we trace the biblical history of God’s redemption, God chooses marriage and family as part of the means to its end.

The purpose of marriage is narrated in Genesis (2:18-25). After their moral crime, Adam and Eve were given a promised future in which God’s purpose would continue. Adam and Eve would create a society of families who would make God’s creation productive and who would overcome temptation and immorality (Gen. 3). It was for married society that God offered the first animal sacrifice in order to cover the naked guilt and shame of the first traditionally married couple. The clothing also served to minimize temptation (Gen. 3:21-23). Nevertheless, sibling rivalry and sexual perversion motivated by jealousy and lust followed (Gen. 4:1-24). One result was the rise of the first walled urban city, according to archaeology. Beginning with Adam’s grandson, the descendants of Adam began seeking God’s redemption (Gen. 4:25-26). Why? Because human decadence also continued until it dominated society. This was followed with the family of Noah being saved from the flood as well as the continuation the covenant of redemption that began with Adam (Gen. 6-8 & 9-10). The fulfillment of God’s redemptive purpose was given greater specificity with the family of Abraham. Through this family, God promised to bless the entire world (Gen. 12-17). At the same time, the sterile couple, Abraham and Sarah, was promised a son, Isaac, through whom the promise would be fulfilled in history (Gen. 15, 18). Yet, the promise was The same could be said about the family of David and the promised Messiah (2 Sa. 7:12-16; Rom. 1:1-4). Not only through a specific descendant of David would Israel’s redemption be realized but all people across the globe would have access to it as well. With the virgin birth of Jesus, the promised redemption began to be fulfilled.

As we have seen, God chose a young married couple to bring His adopted son into the world. The fact that an angel visibly announced God’s adoptive purpose for Jesus’ life before his conception gave them a solemn mission of parenting. Their purpose was to raise God’s son to fulfill his life purpose—the salvation of Israel as well as rule of the kingdom (Lk. 1: 32-33). All of this was affirmed first by the priestly shepherds who were told by a host of angels that the salvation this new born King would bring was for all people (Lk. 2:10-14). Further affirmation came at Jesus’ dedication by the temple priest Simeon (Lk. 2:21-32). Simeon again affirmed that Jesus was salvation for both Jews and gentiles according to Isaiah 49:5-6. Finally, the ambassadors of Parthia, the Magi, came escorted by a military regiment to pay homage to the newly born Messiah (Mt. 2:1-6). Consequently, Mary and Joseph were parents with a holy mission to deliver God’s gift of salvation holy and sinless for both Israel and the world. They had godly relatives and friends as well as a culture defined by God’s word (however tainted by sin and the influence of Rome’s presence) to assist them.

This was God’s Christmas gift to all people for all times. Jesus’ parents wrapped him in a Hanukkah candle wick because God wanted all people to see that His son is true light of the world (Lk. 2:12-14). While his destiny was to suffer the shame and judgment for all sins of all people on the cross and in hell, God saw the fulfillment of his redemptive purpose advance toward final fulfillment (Isa. 53). Having fully satisfied divine justice, God raised His son from hell, from death’s tomb, and from the rejection of ignorant men. And, by lifting His son up to His side in heaven, the light of His peace, grace, and holy life forever shines for all to behold and embrace. God’s just forgiveness, His presence and empowerment, and His acceptance are continually held out by our gentle risen Shepherd and Lord Jesus. The gift only has to be received and lived. When all parents and their children do, society will finally realize the common good of God’s will. Then peace will then reign on earth.

“Accessorize, Economize and Socialize” at Greene Community Health Foundation’s 4th annual Fashion Swap ‘N Shop, October 27th

The Greene Community Health Foundation’s 4th annual Fashion Swap ‘N Shop is scheduled for Saturday, October 27th, 2012 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Schindler Banquet Center in Xenia.

The Fashion Swap ‘N Shop is just that…a chance for women to come together to “swap” clothing and “shop” with a variety of businesses, just in time for the holidays. Clothing swaps are becoming more and more popular as Americans from every tax bracket are cutting back how much they spend on clothing in local retail shops. And with the focus on living “greener”, it’s a great way to recycle unwanted fashion items from outfits to accessories, such as jewelry, purses and shoes.

Women are invited to bring up to 5 gently-used, upscale and consignment-worthy clothing items of all sizes on hangars, including accessories to swap with other women. The event, featuring a luncheon, chair massages, fashion show and basket raffle, also boasts close to 30 different women’s home-based businesses including Pampered Chef, Tastefully Simple, Gem City Feng Shui, Scentsy, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Silpada, Velata Fondue and many more. Goody bags filled with various items will be provided to each guest, courtesy of Security National Bank. Nathalie Basha of WDTN-TV’s Living Dayton will be the guest emcee for the event.

Proceeds from this event will benefit the Clinic Cupboard housed at the Greene County Combined Health District in Xenia. This cupboard contains basic over-the-counter medical supplies, baby necessities and personal products for GCCHD clients in need throughout Greene County. All remaining clothing from the swap will be donated to Community Action Partnership of Greene County.

Reservations are due by Wednesday, October 19 and are $30.00 per person or $25.00 per person if reserving 4 or more women together. The event is sponsored by Miami Valley Hospital, Simply W.O.M.E.N. Dayton, The Greene, WDTN-TV, Mini University, Inc., Security National Bank, Evergreen Children’s Center and Lori’s Loft Upscale Consignment Boutique. For more information or to make a reservation, please contact Laurie Fox at 937-374-5669 or email her at lfox@gcchd.org. The brochure with a reservation form is available on the website, www.gcchd.org.

Annual Car Show to Feature Hot Rods and Cool Cars in Support of ‘Holiday Project’

(Xenia, OH) This weekend on Saturday, September 1, hot rods and cool cars will line the streets of downtown Xenia at Main and Detroit Streets to raise funds for the Greene Community Health Foundation’s annual Holiday Project at the Greene County Combined Health District. This event is sponsored by the Greene County Road Runners Car Club.

The 16th annual ‘Christmas for Kids’ Car Show will roll into town on Saturday featuring door prizes, 50/50 raffles and fun for all ages. Registration for cars will be held from 9:00am – 12:00pm and anything on wheels is just $10 per entry. Dash plaques will be provided to the first 100 entries and various awards will be given to selected entries including the ‘Favorite 50’, Best Engine and Best Paint. The show is free to spectators and will be held 9:00am – 3:00pm, rain or shine. All proceeds support the Holiday Project which provides holiday gifts for Greene County families in need. Donations of new toys will be accepted throughout the day.

GCCHD would like to thank the car show event coordinators Adam, Andrew and Sherri Geis, along with many generous sponsors and donors from the community.

For more information on the car show, please contact Sherri Geis at 937-510-1504 or Carol Sue Knox at 937-374-5658 or by email at cknox@gcchd.org.

A Christmas Prayer

God help us to end poverty in our time.

The poverty of having a child with too little to eat and no place to
sleep, no air, sunlight and space to breathe, bask, and grow.

The poverty of watching your child suffer hunger or get sicker and
sicker and not knowing what to do or how to get help because you
don’t have another dime or a car, money, or health insurance.

The poverty of working your fingers to the bone every day taking care
of somebody else’s children and neglecting your own, and still
not being able to pay your bills.

The poverty of having a job which does not let you afford a stable
place to live and being terrified you’ll become homeless and
lose your children to foster care.

The poverty of losing your job, running out of unemployment benefits,
and no other help in sight.

The poverty of working all your life caring for your own children and
having to start all over again caring for the grandchildren you love.

The poverty of earning a college degree, having children, opening a
day care center, and taking home $300 a week-or a month-if
you’re lucky.

The poverty of loneliness and isolation and alienation-having no
one to call or visit, tell you where to get help, assist you in
getting it, or care if you’re living or dead.

The poverty of having too much and sharing too little and having the
burden of nothing to carry.

The poverty of convenient blindness and deafness and indifference to
others.

The poverty of low aim and paltry purpose, of weak will and tiny
vision, of big meetings and small actions, of loud talk and sullen
grudging service.

The poverty of believing in nothing, standing for nothing, sharing
nothing, sacrificing nothing, struggling with others for nothing.

The poverty of pride and ingratitude for God’s gifts of life and
children and family and freedom and home and country and not wanting
for others what you want for yourself.

The poverty of greed for more and more and more, ignoring, blaming,
and exploiting the needy, and taking from the weak to please the
strong.

The poverty of addiction to more and more things; drugs, drink, work,
self, violence, power, fleeting fame, and an unjust status quo.

The poverty of fear which keeps you from doing the thing you think is
right.

The poverty of convenient ignorance about the needs of those around
you and of despair and cynicism.

God help us end poverty in our time, in all its faces and places,
young and old, rural, urban, suburban and small town too, and in every
color of humans You have made everywhere.

God help us to end poverty in our time in all its guises-inside
and out-physical and spiritual, so that all our and Your
children may live the lives that you intend.

First published in Child Watch on december 16, 2011 by Marian Wright Edelman, President of Children’s Defense Fund.

The Meaning of Christmas

By Daniel Downs

Christmas is a celebration of the fulfilled promise of a new life, a baby. Honoring this new born destiny presents to the world a universal hope. It is about God being with us now and we being with God in the future.

Christmas is about parents, parenting, naming, and the common work of fulfilling God’s revealed purpose for the world; their world of family, our world of common good relationships, and God’s purposed world.

Christmas is thus a celebration of life-giving. Life is God’s gift to the world–to each individual, to each family, and to society. Every morally and materially good relationship contributes to the creation of abundant life for all. This too reflects God’s good will for all people. Its revelation began with the divine promise to Abraham. It was institutionalized through Israel. Its realization was pronounced by angels and manifested in the new born babe of Bethlehem—the one the angels said they would see lying in a lowly manger (Luke 2:1-20). The irony of life is that it always begins in utter helpless poverty, but God gives everyone the natural riches of loving parents, caring society, and nature’s bounty.

Material and monetary gifts as well as profits are meant to serve the prophetic purpose of life-destiny. Even the three wise men brought gifts to the new born babe that not only made him and his family very rich but also provided the means to fulfill his purpose in life (Matthew 2:1-12).

The significance of Christmas is how God reveals and fulfills His part in the destiny of human life. Human destiny is not a search to find oneself. It is not a hunt for life purpose or meaningful work. Human destiny is a divine revelation that is manifest, reinforced, prepared for, and fulfilled. It is the life-work, a multifaceted employment, of living well. Living well is not best defined by financial worth but by the quality of life made and given. A good life is not made alone. The author of the first book of the Bible, Genesis, wrote: “Let us make man in our image and likeness.” If God made us within a community of others, it stands to reason that we must do the same. Good persons are reproduced in a redemptive society of families committed to forming each newly born child into a good citizen of our heavenly Father’s world. In God’s world, the divinely ordained work of living means being and making to be good children, good parents, good spouses, good neighbors, good laborers or entrepreneurs, good citizens. As God provided for Jesus through the magi, God wants to provide everything needed to fulfill our own destiny whether it be with spouse, home, material goods, and understanding of the divine purpose for life. This God did for humanity’s first parent. God gave him a wife, Eve. God gave them a home in the garden. He gave them all of nature’s produce for sustenance. God also gave them trusteeship over all the riches of nature including all living creatures (Genesis 1:26-31 &2:7-24). Then, God gave a world full of families to help each other fulfill life’s destiny.

The apostle Paul referred to Jesus as the new Adam (1 Cor 15:45-49). His birth was the beginning of a new humanity. The accomplishment of his life work ushered in the realization of God’s redemptive plan for all people. The revelation of Jesus his life-purpose was first given to his parents, Mary and Joseph. God’s prepared them to prepare Jesus for its fulfillment. Therefore, the life of Jesus Christ is the model of God’s plan for every parent and child.

Jesus’ life is a revelation and history, albeit a sketchy one, of how God fulfills His plan for the world through one family of chosen parents and chosen child (to be). The life-work of Jesus—the chosen child—could not have happened without chosen parents and the entire lineage of other chosen ones. Both gospels of Matthew and Luke clearly shows the ancestry of Jesus going back through King David, to Judah, Abraham, Noah, and finally to Adam (Matthew 1:1-17 & Luke 3:23-38).

The same is true for all of us. Whether seemingly big or miniscule, our individual purpose in God’s plan for the world is connected to a host of ancestors going back to Adam and Eve. Every one of them was chosen by God for our life-work to be fulfilled.

Like Jesus, every one of us was born to fulfill a specific part in the plan of God for the world.

As the new Adam, Jesus birth represents the rebirth of humanity. Every human being born since Jesus has been represented by Him to God. Everyone has had or will have the opportunity to experience the redemption, reconciliation, renewing, and parenthood of God, who never intended to father only Jesus. God wants all people to become His children, living in His household, under His authority and care. In one sense, all humans are children of God because all exist as God created them to exist. Yet, some children live without parents. Some people who have parents live as though they do not. Others exist without any sense of history, tradition, value, future hope, purpose or legacy, all of which begins in a family household connected to extended family within a society and world of families. Even though some discover it in social institutions like school, workplace, military, social mission, mosque, synagogue, temple or church, membership in them does not equate to being part of God’s household. Without a life forming relationship with God, hearing His defining words, and obeying His law or rules meant to direct behavior and work, no one can claim to be in the household of God. For life in God’s household is eternal and not limited to temporary materiality of the present.

Jesus represents life in the household of God. His birth was the beginning not the end. His untimely death was the means to a redemptive end, the fulfillment of God’s redemption of all people. His resurrection represents the future for a new humanity. As his apostle Paul taught, Jesus was the first born from the dead not the last (Colossians 1:18; Romans8:29). Every one of us will be reborn but only those who have been faithful to God will continue to live in His household.

Wayward people often behave in ways that land them in jail or prison. The faithless and unfaithful also will live eternal life behind bars in the prison called hell.

Jesus is the way of escape in the present.

Christmas is a mass celebration of eternal life. The end of life is to live eternally in and to the glory of God the Father. This is accomplished by living the good life in God’s household, doing what is right, and fulfilling one’s divinely purposed life-work.

What God revealed to Mary and Joseph, to Elizabeth and Zachariah, to Sarah and Abraham was the life work and purpose of their first born child. Each has to live so as to fulfill it. For Jesus to fulfill his life work and its purpose, he has to live without sin to the very end. We too have to learn to do the same. For without holiness (likeness of God) no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14 ). That is, knowone will see Him after this life in heavenly city.

Men Using Women’s Fitting Rooms Appears to be a Common problem at Macy’s

(Orlando, FL) – Another Macy’s employee has contacted Liberty Counsel and shared about repeated issues with men using the women’s fitting rooms. This individual asked to remain anonymous out of fear of losing her job. The employee said she constantly has to ask men to leave the women’s fitting rooms. In addition, she has been asked numerous times by mothers who have daughters in the fitting rooms to please ask the men to leave the women’s dressing rooms.

With the Christmas shopping season in full swing, customers around the country are sending Macy’s a message that such a bizarre policy is not acceptable. One woman posted on Macy’s Facebook page that her family normally spends $2,000 at Macy’s and she is planning to boycott the store. Others are shredding their Macy’s credit cards and closing their accounts. The chorus of voices opposing Macy’s disturbing dressing room policy is growing louder as more troubling incidents are coming to light. The message will become increasingly clear that the majority of the American people are not in line with the radical Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (“LGBT”) agenda.

This story of Macy’s LGBT policy which allows men to use the women’s fitting rooms came to light when Macy’s fired Natalie Johnson from its San Antonio store after she politely told a clearly identified man that he could not re-enter the women’s fitting rooms.

Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel said, “Macy’s policy that allows men to use the women’s fitting rooms makes no sense. This policy has put at risk every woman shopper who enters one of these rooms. While attempting to cater to a radical LGBT agenda, Macy’s has alienated almost the entirety of its customer base.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation Continues the War on Christmas

If Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sounds familiar to you, it’s likely because they are the same atheist group currently behind the attacks on the Tenth Mountain Division’s Big Mountain Jesus statue in Whitefish, Montana, the veterans memorial, that Liberty Institute is defending. It seems FFRF is also investing much of their energy into waging war on Christmas, with the latest attacks taking place in Santa Monica, California, South Jersey and Henderson County, Texas.

In Henderson County, FFRF sent a demand letter to county officials demanding that they remove a nativity scence from the courthouse square. The County correctly responded to FFRF that the nativity scene was constitutional under established U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

In Santa Monica, Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the wise men have been booted from their long-held nativity displays and replaced by non-religious symbols, such as quotes like “Religions are all alike — founded upon fables and mythologies. — Thomas Jefferson”, and a display showcasing King Neptune, Jesus, Santa and Satan reads, “Millions of Americans know MYTHS when they see them. What myths do you see? American Atheists.”

For nearly 60-years there has been little to no competition for the designated spaces assigned to groups for Christmas displays in Santa Monica. This year, however, City Hall utilized a random lottery to determine which groups would be able to attain the spaces for displays. Damon Vix is behind the lottery effort being used to assign spaces and he helps groups like FFRF and American Atheists, Inc. acquire these plots of land.

Meanwhile, some anonymous residents from Pitman, NJ, contacted Wisconsin-based FFRF because they want a sign put up by the Catholic Knights of Columbus that reads, “Keep Christ in Christmas”, taken down, claiming it violates the Constitution. While the sign is placed over a county road, it is attached to privately held property. The town’s mayor, Michael Batten, said “I think it’s a sad state of affairs that in our country, we kowtow to the minority and not the majority of people who like that sort of thing to stay.” FFRF is now determined to hang their own sign, which says: “At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

FFRF is not focusing their attacks solely on the coasts of our country, however. The group is also waging a battle against Henderson County, Texas. FFRF sent a threatening letter asking that the county remove the nativity display from the square in Athens, Texas. The group also made known their plans to post a sign reading “At this Season of the Winter Solstice, LET REASON PREVAIL.” The banner goes on to state that religion is a “myth and superstition.” Fortunately, local pastors and Christians are taking a stand against the false claims by FFRF and will be holding a rally at the courthouse this Saturday, December 17, 2011.

Source: Liberty Watch, December 14, 2011.

Reiterating Need for Common Sense About Christmas, Rutherford Institute Issues Guidelines for Celebrating Christmas in Public, At School or Work

(Charlottesville, VA) — Hoping to alleviate ongoing confusion arising from political correctness over the do’s and don’ts of celebrating Christmas in schools, workplaces and elsewhere, The Rutherford Institute has issued its “Twelve Rules of Christmas” guidelines, which are available here. Institute attorneys cited a recent incident in which a public school 6th-grade class was asked to make “holiday cards” to send to the troops but were told they could not use the words “Merry Christmas” on their cards.

Individuals with legal questions or in need of legal assistance should call (434) 978-3888 or email staff@rutherford.org.

“Political correctness should never trump the Constitution,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “Schools, government officials and businesses have an opportunity to take the high road and not be relegated to playing the Grinch this Christmas. It’s time for some common sense this Christmas.”

In years past, The Rutherford Institute has been contacted by parents and teachers alike complaining about schools changing their Christmas concerts to “winter holiday programs” and renaming Christmas “winter festival” or cancelling holiday celebrations altogether to avoid offending those who do not celebrate the various holidays. Similarly, nativity displays, Christmas carols, Christmas trees, wreaths, candy canes and even the colors red and green have been banned as part of the effort to avoid any reference to Christmas, Christ or God. Thanksgiving has also come under fire in recent years. Several years ago, for example, Institute attorneys were contacted by a concerned parent who remarked that whereas in previous years teachers in their school district had been told not to mention Christmas, Easter or anything relating to God, they could no longer even mention the word “Thanksgiving” because “the pilgrims offended the Indians” and “Thanksgiving was never intended to be thanks to God!” Another parent with children in the public schools was upset and concerned when she received a letter from school officials directing classroom mothers not to use plates and napkins with Thanksgiving printed on them at their children’s fall parties. As she recounted, “It seems like they are worried about offending just one person and are worried about law suits. In the past, this school has gone from ‘winter’ parties that banned red and green cupcakes and napkins, to banning any winter party in fear that it may be mistaken for Christmas.”

Post Office Manager Throws Christmas Carolers Out into the Cold

by JP Duffy
December 12, 2011

This Christmas season has been very memorable for me and my wife especially now that Audrey, our 2-year-old, is old enough to participate in festivities such as decorating the Christmas tree. Since Thanksgiving, Audrey has danced around the house singing “Jingle Bells” and humming the tunes of Christmas carols that she hears throughout the day. Last Saturday, Audrey almost had the opportunity to experience another Christmas tradition for the first time — caroling. The three of us stood in line along with dozens of other customers at the U.S. Post Office located in the Aspen Hill Shopping Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. We were preparing our packages when Audrey tugged on my sleeve, saying “Daddy, Daddy, look.” I turned to see a bright smile on her face as she pointed to a trio of Christmas carolers entering the post office who looked like they had stepped off the theatre stage of “A Christmas Carol.” The gentleman of the group wore a top hat and the ladies were arrayed with shawls and bonnets. Dickens would be proud. Everyone turned their attention to the carolers in anticipation of that annual tradition that we’ve all experienced.

They were only a few notes into their carol when suddenly, out of the corner of my eye I saw a scowling postal manager rushing to confront the carolers. He angrily told them that they had to leave immediately because they were “violating the post office’s policy against solicitation.” Everyone was momentarily frozen in astonishment before customers began booing the manager. Even in the face of protests from his customers, the manager wouldn’t back down.

The carolers explained that they were going to each business within the shopping center to sing a couple of carols — as they have done for many years. However, this was the first time that they had been turned away. The manager said he didn’t care and that they could take it up with the postmaster if they had a problem. “You can’t do this on government property,” he said. “You can’t go into Congress and sing” and so “you can’t do it here either,” he said smugly as the carolers turned sadly to leave. I encouraged them to file a complaint but they had little hope that a complaint would resolve anything and felt they had no choice but to acquiesce.

I later described the incident to a friend of mine who had worked for the post office for 26 years. He couldn’t imagine that there would be any policy that would prevent Christmas caroling at post offices. Indeed, a Google search will show examples of post office caroling during past Christmas seasons.

Over the last several years, we have watched militant secularists team up with federal bureaucrats in the effort to sterilize the public square of anything remotely connected to anything religious. This postal manager has clearly received the memo which has led him to stamp out Christmas caroling. But I have my own memo to all the Christmas carolers out there. Let’s not surrender to the secularist version of Christmas future. Let’s hold onto Christmases of past and do our part to pass that on to our children. As for me, I am taking at least one piece of advice from the postal manager and will send my own comment to the General Postmaster. The U.S. Constitution in no way prevents the government from accommodating Christmas caroling. I invite you to send your own memo (or email in this case) to pmgceo@usps.gov or call 1-800-275-8777.

Ben Franklin, the founder of the U.S. Post Office once said, “So shalt thou always live jollily; for a good conscience is a continual Christmas.” The U.S. Post Office and all of us would do well to heed Franklin’s advice.

Orginally published in the blog of the Family Research Council (FRCBlog.com) on December 12, 2011.

Mitten Tree Provides Warmth for Those in Need This Winter

(XENIA, OH) — The Greene County Combined Health District has already put up a tree this year in hopes of getting a head start on the holiday season and the cold winter months to come. You see, this is no ordinary tree. It is the annual Mitten Tree decorated with mittens, hats, scarves and gloves for Greene County families in need.

The Mitten Tree project, now in its 26th year, was developed in 1985 by Elaine Hughes, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with the Health District’s Well Child Clinic. Hughes had heard about the idea and recognized a need in Greene County for this service. The very first tree was a full size artificial one decorated with small, homemade felt mittens that clients could pick out and trade in for the real pair.

Over the years, thousands of mittens, gloves, hats and scarves have been donated to the tree from churches, schools, individuals, businesses, knitting guilds and other service organizations. To this day, monetary donations or actual items are still welcomed annually to decorate the now wooden tree that hangs on the wall just inside the main doors to the Health District. The Greene Community Health Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Health District, manages all donations for this project.

If you are interested in supporting this project either monetarily or with a donation of hats, mittens, gloves or scarves, please contact Carol Sue Knox or Laurie Fox at 937-374-5600.