How about the date… December 25th? Any credible historians and Biblical scholars will tell you that Jesus was not born on that day. But December 25th was the day of the pagan feast of the birth of the sun god. Nobody that I am aware of knows when Jesus was born. They do know when He died… on Passover, according to the God-ordained feast, as testified of many witnesses. God hid it, as He did the body of Moses, because it is not important. The celebration of His physical birth was not meant to be. Does that not say it all?
How about all the paraphernalia… the holly wreath, mistletoe, Yule log, the tree? All pagan. Mistletoe, for example, represents fertility. Why do people kiss under it? Origins of these are easily determined with research and spiritual judgment. Traditions and origin theories vary, but consider: Are saints elves? Are they obese? Are they endowed with magical powers? Do they smoke? If so, they are not examples fit to represent the Lord in what many presume to be the greatest feast unto the Lord.
Do saints come by stealth, giving superfluous gifts? You may say that you do not really believe in Santa. You may think that such fantasy is innocent or harmless. It is neither. A saint is one in whom dwells the Lord Jesus Christ. A saint is not some elf or fairy tale.
What We Feel About Christmas
He or she is a child of God. The things of Christ should never be mixed with fables or lies. And why would you lie to your children, teaching them that supposedly good things come from such as this one who is antiChrist in all his character, a mixture of a sorcerer if ever so nice a one , a spirit historically a hearth spirit in pagan mythology , and one given to fleshly appetites and vices? Is it not contradictory and hypocritical of parents to teach their children not to lie, yet themselves lie to their children? All in fun, you say? Our lies cost the Lord His life and we entertain them in fun?
It is as harmless to mix truth with lies, as it is harmless to mix poison with good food. Consider that Jesus said He would rather have us hot or cold; if we are lukewarm, He will spew us out of His mouth Rev. There is no such thing as neutrality. Consider that in the days of Noah and the flood, God destroyed all flesh because believers mingled with unbelievers, marrying and having children Genesis 6.
Consider that Samson, by compromising with Delilah, lost his eyes and his freedom, in spite of the great anointing of God upon his life. Consider that when Israel compromised on destroying all the inhabitants of Canaan, those who remained became terrible thorns in their sides. God hates mixture because it kills. What about giving? Is it not good to give? Of course it is, and not only good, but life itself. Pagans celebrated their deities not out of piety but out of selfishness, to appease their gods, entreat them for favors and to indulge in the pleasures of the flesh.
And who gives to whom and why? Usually, gifts are exchanged, as are cards and invites. And if gifts are given to the poor, are they poor only at Christmas? Does the birth of the Savior have value only on one day of the year? Not the way they do at Christmas! Many think that Christmas is a time of gift giving because the wise men came and gave gifts to the Lord. Let us examine the giving more closely. First of all, gifts were given , not exchanged. Secondly, only the holy Child received gifts and no others. Thirdly, not all gave gifts… only those who came to honor the birth of a King, and no ordinary King but One prophesied and spoken of in the stars!
Tell me, what do your gifts… toys, jewelry, literature, luxuries, and games have to do with the Lord Jesus Christ? To whom do you give? To those who mean something to you? Is that unselfish? Is Christmas all about true giving or is it about bribing, salving conscience, gain, reward, obligation, custom, tradition, image, favoritism and social relations? What about the commercialism of Christmas? How is it that debt burdens are keenly felt after Christmas? Alcohol drunken to excess is an important part of Christmas. That is the way it was in our Catholic Christmas celebrations. Could I hit those high tenor notes in the choir at midnight mass with some alcoholic stimulation!
What were we doing but singing praises supposing to worship God! Excess alcohol kills. Many are the fatherless, childless, spouseless and friendless because of this popular time of the alleged celebration of the One Who came to give us life and that we might have it more abundantly! There are many who gluttonize at Christmas and turn their noses up at those who drink. Yet according to God, they are just as guilty.
Great is the emphasis on, and preparation of, food, especially among some ethnic groups, mine having been one of them. While I do not denounce feasting and good and abundant food, I will say that gluttony, as drunkenness, has its day at Christmas. Because it is a celebration not of the Spirit, as is supposed, but of the flesh. Have you not experienced the goodness of God? If not, you need to look to Him and not to the heathen, to the Spirit and not to the flesh, to Heaven and not to earth, for your provision.
You shall not do so to the Lord your God: for every abomination to the Lord, which He hates, have they done to their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burned in the fire to their gods. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy?
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Are we stronger than He? I have seen great suffering upon people who name the Name of Christ because they celebrate Christmas. This may sound like superstition, and there is much superstition among believers and so-called believers, all of which I deplore, but I am not talking about superstition. Were not the children of Israel told time and time again to destroy their gods, objects they thought were quite harmless to keep? No, the wrath of God is upon all who celebrate Christmas, upon those who name His Name, being His or not, and most especially upon those who are His.
In the Book of Revelation, chapters 17 and 18, we read about Mystery Babylon, the mother of harlots. This whore represents false religion, from which comes the pagan foundation of Christmas. Here is what God says to His people concerning false religion:. There is indeed a Christmas spirit, and I do well remember it even after more than two decades of abstention.
Indeed, one does feel peace, joy and goodwill toward men, but only for the brief time of this season. The feelings, however, are a counterfeit of the genuine; one can only know so by experiencing the real. People, these feelings are none other than that of a seductive demon. Consider all the things that people are capable of doing at Christmas, being in that spirit.
Does that not tell you all you need to know? Can one be in the Spirit of God and still do and enjoy the things that many millions do? Would you not rather have the true essence every day of the year? You cannot have both. It was not easy for me to come away, especially having been brought up with Christmas from the cradle, all my family, friends, and associates celebrating and enjoying it as I once had. It is a captivating and a very enjoyable spirit but it is also short-lived, leaving one empty.
Christmas promises more, and leaves people emptier, than any other major celebration of which I know. Many events make no pretenses and have no spirits… they are what they are. They make no reference to God nor pretend to worship Him and so do not promise as much.
Where little is promised, little is expected. But the Christmas spirit is a devious one, making false promises, feigning virtue, and thereby slaughtering many. You may argue that you do not indulge to excess or participate in the pagan customs, but consider: The spirit of Christmas, which all celebrants experience, permits and even encourages the evils of which we are aware. Why so much sadness at Christmas? Why are loneliness and poverty felt so keenly then? Why are regret and unpleasant memories and depression so strong at that time? Thus, Christmas gifts acquire a different form from common goods and services Belk, Having discussed certain essential theoretical questions for this study, the text will contemplate points related to the methodological course adopted for the empirical research.
This study, taking into account the nature of the phenomenon investigated, was based on a qualitative research strategy. Therefore, the adoption of an interpretative perspective for the conduct of all work is implicit. To reach the proposed objectives, this study used Discourse Analysis DA elements. One of the oldest communicative practices in the history of mankind, letters represent at the same time the medium and the very object of analysis of this study. Personal letters establish direct communication between two parties sender and recipient ; reliability conferred on the document; the possibility of interlocution of exchange ; and the construction of specific social relationships in specific circumstances Bazerman, The author explains that personal letters, although they resorted to models, always sought to demystify formal and elaborate writing, without, however, breaking with the social norms present in the communicative routines developed by the social groups to which the subjects belong.
Their primary purpose was to nurture social and affectionate relationships, maintaining a tone of sincerity, warmth and informality. The process of organizing and preparing for the analysis of the charts followed the orientation that is inherent to the adopted method. In this sense, to DA, there is no clear distinction between this stage of organization and the stage of analysis. In DA, organizing data means manipulating it theoretically, questioning it, and confronting it with the theory used in the study - and it is in this process of reading, of coming and going, that the categories are identified and analysis begins.
The analyst has the role of looking for the discursive marks used by the enunciator, the images constructed and sustained in the text, manifested in linguistic materiality, which point to what one wishes to find: a the main aspects of lexical analysis; b the main themes and figures explicit or implicit in the discourses, c the main semantic paths structured from the themes and figures; d the main interdiscursive and intradiscursive aspects; and e the main aspects of the discursive syntax.
Briefly, this study deals with analysis and examination of the discursive and socio-cognitive factors that compose the particularities of this genre, in an attempt to discover elements that point to materialism and the secularization of Christmas in the imagination of children who participated in this study. Thus, its methodological course includes analysis of the textual part contained in its corpus. They were asked to write a letter to Santa Claus about Christmas; beyond that, the contents of the rest of the letter were free. No previous explanation or approach on the subject was made.
To write letters, the children used their own school supplies, sheets from their notebooks, and pencils. After initial treatment, data was processed through a deep and analytical reading of the charts, using the procedures already mentioned. In the end, three discursive categories the reading of the letters, the meanings of Christmas and the centrality of Santa Claus were found to be latent in the course of the analysis. These categories will be discussed below. This category opens the discussion of data because it considers that the whole process of communicative construction occurs with and through the reading of the letters.
The writing of the letters, object of this study, consisted of a single style - writing in the first person, requesting something and reporting facts of life, characterizing them as personal letters. In relation to illustrations, they are in line with the number of handwritten letters, even if the drawing is a simple one. Neatness in calligraphy is emphasized, care in framing the sheet from the notebook with a well-crafted colored border, predominance of green and red point to the importance that the letter has, in this social act, to its senders. Source: Research data Colors, strokes, and shapes illustrate stories, or, from pictures, words draw plots and write stories.
The drawings are representative figures of Santa Claus, Christmas trees, gift boxes, stars, toys they want to receive, hearts and human figures that represent themselves, and, in some cases, are hand-in-hand with another child Figure 1. By observing the drawings, it is possible to read the cultural and symbolic representations about what they believe to be Christmas. The drawings reproduce Christmas elements represented by symbols, referring to the consumption of products and decoration items, emptied of their meanings and, therefore, depleted of the genuine meaning of Christmas itself.
Santa Claus is their most visible face. Personal letters suggest a closeness between the subjects that relate through them. According to Foucault , p. Each subject is unique, with his or her peculiarities, in the form of exposing his or her thoughts, organizing his or her ideas, expressing his or her feelings through words and illustrations, paying more or less attention to the calligraphy. On Christmas Eve may you come visit me. I like toy cars and Spider-Man. God be with you. Please my dear old man make my dream come true I will be very happy.
May God be with you. I really need clothes and also to get a Nonster High [sic] doll. Santa forgive me if I asked for a lot, I just told you my request. Merry Christmas. The tone of the accounts is loaded with spontaneity. The personal letter is a genre of writing that, interactively and discursively, operates upon the addressee, but also upon the sender.
Through a succession of events, a discursive space is created in which the differences of social places are minimized, and relationships are built in an affectionate space, in intimacy and interpersonality. Thus, in a relation to distance, constructed through the letter, Foucault , p. And it must be understood as such that the letter is simultaneously a glance that turns to the recipient through the missive he receives, he feels looked at and a way for the sender to offer himself to his gaze for what it says.
There are different opinions about Christmas in the discourses, which sometimes link it to religious elements and meanings, positive attitudes and values supported, above all, in the Christian tradition, and the discourse reinforces the materiality and consumerism present at Christmas, which, although it is a religious date, has incorporated these aspects over the decades Belk, Lucia, 8 years old.
When we think of Christmas, we think of Santa Claus, shooting stars, gifts. He received several presents and so [sic], every Christmas we get lots of gifts and this is very cool.
At the birth of Jesus everyone went there to see him and everyone brought gifts. Christmas to me is the best thing. Discursive fragments 4 , 5 and 6 , reflect the conception of Christmas constructed by these children. For them, Christmas is special, above all, because of the possibility of receiving gifts. Discursive fragment 6 brings a very interesting account that seems to reinforce one of the theories that attributes the act of gift-giving at Christmas to the fact that Jesus also received gifts from the three wise men of the East on the day of his birth, according to the biblical account.
These interpretations reinforce the argument presented in the introductory section that supports the idea that all consumption has strong cultural components, since it is through it that we re produce cultures, social relationships and society itself. Lit and decorated cities, Christmas trees, Santa Claus, falling stars, gifts are all interdiscursive elements, which, together, show the secular meaning that is given to Christmas, confirming the distancing of the religious meaning of the date.
These elements, mentioned here, elucidate the syncretism that involves the date, which, since the mid th century, was already completely immersed in them Belk, To Belk , the confrontation of meanings concerning Christmas is no longer between religious and secular, but between sacred and profane values in a secular world. The figure of Santa Claus is associated, above all, to the tradition of giving. He has become the most popular and most present symbol of the festivity Belk, Some characteristics define him as a supernatural being, immutable, eternal, ever present, year after year.
Children worship him through letters and requests and he, in turn, rewards the good and excludes the wicked. He thus assumes the role of a divinity to children, whose belief is enough to characterize him in this way. Although his image is remembered by adults and children, at this time of year the relationship he establishes with children is undoubtedly very particular and special, since his story is told to the little ones, who from the first contact they establish with this narrative, come to believe in his existence.
Believing in Santa Claus and other characters is part of childhood, regardless of religion or belief to which the child belongs. Lucas, 8 years old. I wait for Christmas all year long with lights in the streets in the squares. I want Christmas trees and lots of Christmas gifts. I wait for Santa Claus and expect the best Christmas of all. A hug. Dudu, 9 years old. Bela, 9 years old.
The success of Santa Claus at Christmas is essentially based on the proposition that he is the social agent responsible for gift-giving on Christmas day; to Baudrillard , p. I wait for Santa Claus. These social obligations are translated into the facts of obedience to parents, teachers, positive attitudes with colleagues, good results in school, among others. Here is a brief discussion of the degree of utilitarianism observed in the relationship between the child and Santa Claus. Mauss differentiates between these gifts, goods, and symbols of utilitarian exchange.
To the author, it is not individuals, but collectivities that maintain reciprocal obligations, through family and community groups Sabourin, , p.
However, modernity refuses to believe in the existence of the gift because it represents an inverted image of the material interest of modern society. These arguments are explored in the context of the letters and used to move Santa Claus to gift-giving. I was very obedient this whole year and I studied a lot too, I did not fight, I did not hit anybody and I respected all my friends, family and Mom and Dad too Maria, 9 years old.
Leo, 6 years old. In fragment 10 , the child lists a list of good attitudes and good behavior in various fields of her life.
Focusing on Christ at Christmas
This association of kindness and obedience with its due reward, materially represented by the gift, dialogues with the thought of Belk , p. This study dealt with the identification and analysis of discursive and socio-cognitive marks that suggested elements of materialism and secularism present in the plots and narratives outlined in letters addressed to Santa Claus written by 21 children. The particularities of this kind, which promote direct communication between two parties, based on trust, the exchange and the construction of social relationships Bazerman, was set up as a corpus that favored reaching the purpose of this study.
Although different opinions about Christmas appear in the discourses, which sometimes link it to Christian tradition and refer to positive attitudes and values, the plots and drawings point to elements that make up materialism and secularism, reproduced in Christmas symbols, consumption of gifts, products and decorating items, which are depleted in their meanings and distance themselves from the genuine sense of the date.
Santa Claus is the most visible face of them all. It is worth emphasizing that, despite all the complexity involved, the objective of the work was, without claiming to be conclusive, to bring up provocative questions that serve as a basis for further research. After all, the content generated here cannot answer so many emerging questions, as well as the visualization of possible categories that have arisen throughout the entire process of analysis of the collected data that had not previously been glimpsed.
The analysis of discourse as a theoretical-methodological perspective that consists of unveiling the effects of meaning provoked by certain discursive arguments, that is, where they depart, where they depart to, by whom they are used, for what purpose and who consumes them, adhering to the work proposal. Faced with the discussions conducted from the discursive categories, another reflection to be made has bearing on the inquiries that motivated this study. Considering the characteristics of the article, some limitations are evident. The use of small Christmas letters by children is one of them.
The option of not returning to respondents after the Christmas festivities may also be considered a limitation.
Christmas Spirit Quotes ( quotes)
The lack of other information about the respondents that could contribute to a deepening of the analysis could also be considered a limitation. Seeking to point out managerial contributions to the study, it is worth mentioning that marketers from different types of organizations, as well as managers of retail enterprises, can use the results and reflections raised by the study to improve their understanding of consumers regarding the symbolic issues involved on Christmas.
Finally, it is not hard, at this point, to defend the idea that further studies need to be undertaken to continue what was begun here. Thus, surveys that contemplate other strata of children, taking into account age, income profile and different regions, as well as children from families with different formats and religions, can be included in the list of suggestions for future studies.
Further research could also accompany children after the Christmas holidays, evaluating the impact of receiving or not receiving requested gifts on their perceptions regarding Santa Claus. Gender issues as well as discussions concerning meritocracy could also be interesting possibilities. From a methodological point of view, researchcould be conducted on the basis of the drawings made by children, as well as on the results of their speech in groups.
Bakhtin, M. Marxismo e filosofia da linguagem. Barbosa, L. Campbell Orgs , Cultura, consumo e identidade pp. Baudrillard, J. O sistema dos objetos. Bazerman, C. Letters and the social grounding of differentiated genres. Hall Eds. Letter writing as a social practice pp. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Belk, R. Three scales to measure constructs related to materialism: Reliability, validity, and relationships to measures of happiness.
Advances in consumer research. Journal of American Culture , 10 1 , Materialism and the modern U. Hirschman, Ed. Gift giving as agapic love: An alternative to the exchange paradigm based on dating experiences. International Journal of Research in Marketing , 10 3 , Casotti, L. Natal com Neve no Brasil?
Charmaz, K. Porto Alegre: Bookman. Clarke, P. Christmas Gift Giving Involvement. Journal of Consumer Marketing , 23 5 , A measure for Christmas spirit. Journal of Consumer Marketing , 24 1 , Coelho, M.
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