Sunday, November 24, 2013

Oh Noes! Christmas is Under Some Unspecified Attack!

The bone I am chewing on tonight is this perception that Christmas is under attack in some way.

Really? I mean, have you ever been prevented from buying toys for the kids, putting up Christmas lights on your home, singing Christmas Carols, or wishing people a Merry Christmas? When was the last time someone spied through your window, looking for a tree to burn or a Nativity set to smash? I've never seen it.

Not once, in my entire life, have I needed to celebrate the Lord's birth in secret. Isn't that wonderful. I am so privileged. I've never even heard of a government sponsored Bible burning, or contemporary Americans Christians being thrown to the lions by a dictator on American soil (maybe that will change this year, but I highly doubt it).

The phrase "Happy Holidays" seems to be raising some extra ire this year. Why? The Holiday Season has three HUGE holidays, back to back, that nearly every Christian in the US celebrates. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. Might it be possible that some people are saying "Happy Holidays" in order to cover their bases should they not contact you again between the holidays?

Then of course is the blanket politically correct statement that is intended when it comes from government and large businesses. By law the government may not endorse Christianity (although the individual members may offer Christmas greetings at their discretion), and businesses hurt their bottom line when people think they are promoting one faith above another. However, does any true Christian, from the bottom of his heart, think Christmas can not happen without a government endorsement, or (to quote Dr. Suess) "Christmas comes from a store"?

There seems to be this fear that if people stop saying "Merry Christmas", that the meaning will be lost. This is untrue to the point of absurd. Christmas is only lost when we really forget what it's about. 

The point of the holiday is not to say the name correctly or to be smiled upon by government and businesses; and even the celebration of the birth of Christ is only a part of what Christmas commemorates. The true message of Christmas is contained in the message from the angels to the shepherds outside of Bethlehem:

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men (emphasis added).
(New Testament | Luke 2:10–14)

Remember, going to battle to defend against some perceived attack on Christmas will not preserve the true meaning of the holiday. If anything, it will only distract from God's true message of redemption, peace, and goodwill.

Tell you what, no matter which holiday greeting you get, remember that the intent was to express goodwill, not attack your faith. Do return goodness for goodness and say, Merry Christmas, if that's what you celebrate. I doubt that person will take offense; and even if they do return with a "bah-humbug", you can still wish that person a Happy New Year, or even a Good Afternoon.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Late but interested is better

Am I Common Core aligned? No, of course not.

Today, homeschool was informal. I let them watch Cars before school (I was having a slow morning), then we played with salt dough for while. After the movie we had a prayer, recited the Pledge of Allegiance and then we did some arithmetic problems in salt dough (no deep thinking, just the standard algorithm). After that we did a short reading lesson from a primer that is most definitely not Common Core aligned (long live the McGuffey Series and Mother Goose).

Now they are eating popcorn while I make pizza crust for tonight's dinner and do some cleaning.

I'm of the opinion that children should be pushed as far as they can go individually go academically, but until they are about eight years old, at least the better half of their academic day should be play time and personal interest.

Why blunt their brains by killing their curiosity in the name of education? No. Late with a strong desire to learn is better than early and disinterested.

Mother Goose. Not educational, possibly violent, not Common Core approved.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Righteous Teachers vs Unrighteous Teachers

I was studying in the Book of Mosiah today, my new favorite book, and I read Alma the elder's teachings on kings and teachers which I find very interesting.

His people asked him to be king over them, which he declined, feeling he was unworthy. He taught them to trust no man to be be king over them because (having first hand knowledge) not all men are righteous. He also said not to trust anyone not of God to be a teacher over them.

As I am a teacher of my own children and in Primary it stands out to me the importance of righteous teaching.

Eventually, even though they were a Godly people, they were taken into bondage by the Lamanites (this is a fallen world, bad things happen to everyone from time to time), but the Lord protected and favored them. The wicked priests of King Noah (of whom Alma the Elder was once counted before his sore repentance) were also placed in bondage.

The wicked priests gained political advantage and the King over the Lamanites placed them in charge of the people of Alma, and appointed them teachers.

How interesting what happens when unrighteous teachers are appointed. Alma's people are persecuted. and while it is true, the Lamanites benefitted economically by learning secular teachings; ultimately, because God's law was not taught, corruption and greater wickedness resulted.

In these days, while removing religious instruction from schools has not the cause of every evil in our society, I do note some similarities between our society and that of those mentioned above: Unrighteous people gaining political advantage, the elimination of God from schools, religious persecution. Now, obviously there are some differences between this story and ours. We don't have literal burdens tied to our backs, nor have I once been threatened with death for praying aloud in public; but the dangers of ungodly teachers and leaders has become more clear to me in recent years.

Eventually, the Lord enabled the people of Alma to escape, and the wicked priests of Noah were left behind to whatever fate befell them. I hope to be among the people the Lord favors in the end.

No more teachers. No more books. No more Lam'nites dirty looks!
lifted from here