It is beyond me why you and others want to punish me for my opinions. I am not the enemy.
Please forgive me if I made it sound like I want to punish you for your opinions. Am I not merely giving my own? Did I not even give you the benefit of the doubt in my own post and state that I do not think you mean to be derogatory towards certain Christmas traditions but that you may unintentionally be coming off as such?
But if you want to see derrogatory look around and see all the worse abusers of your heart held traditons...
Of course it makes me sad to see a symbol such as the Christmas tree turned into a money-making scheme by opportunists who care not one iota for the "reason for the season" as the saying goes. But their sin does not make a valid and licit practice null and void. Does the money-making secular use of the Easter egg during Pascha make the old and venerable practice of handing out dyed eggs during the Paschal Service null and void? I don't know if you do that in the Ethiopian Church or even in the OO communion, but it is definitely a well loved practice in the European Orthodox churches.
These people has made these traditions embarrassing and insulting.
Perhaps. But they can also be used as evangelism tools. Countless unchurched have no idea why they put up a tree in their house. A Christian can easily turn it into a good thing and preach the Gospel to someone who really thinks Christmas is about fat men in red suits and tree decorating. God has a wonderful knack of turning evil into good, no?
We need people like you to stand up and defend the true nature of these traditions. Then maybe people like me can have a better opinion of these traditions and maybe use them to some degree. These traditions are very beautiful to the eye but I have a hard time standing in traditions with people who are not believers. I have nothing in common with these people. For example I just got a picture card from a muslim co worker of his kids sitting in front of what is called a Christmas tree. A MUSLIM....with a Christmas tree.....That's my point. If all the partakers of the tradition were like you than its good.
I do indeed thank you for your high opinion of my defense. Sadly, the Christian origin of many elements of our Western culture have either been forgotten or revised in the past 200 years since the so-called Enlightenment. Both Pope Benedict XVI and Patriarch Alexy of Russia have spoken recently on the need for Christan Europe to reclaim its Christian heritage. By extension, the United States must do so. That is not to say that we need a theocracy, but that people should recognize what they are doing and why they are doing it. As I wrote above, it is up to believing and practicing Christians to "be not afraid" (as per the late PJP2's motto) and to use these Christian
symbols that are so culturally ingrained to re-evangelize people who have forgotten the meaning of these symbols. This is one place where the buck does stop with me and I do, in my own humble way, try to tell friends what things mean and, again with all humility, without coming across as a zealot. Thankfully, my interest in general symbology is well known amongst my friends and I'd like to think that I can use that knowledge as a means of evanglization. Sometimes I even do it without thinking about it.
These folks are your enemy. They want to own these traditions and have worked hard to redefine these traditions. In NYC the Christmas Tree is now the Holiday Tree. So much for Christmas. Now what was specifically Christian is now 'whatever'.
I prefer to look upon most of them as lost sheep, not as wolves. To be sure, there are wolves among the pack, but most people are simply lost sheep in the wilderness. While I'm certainly no shepherd, perhaps I can be a bit of sheep dog and nudge them towards the Divine Shepherd.
As you said God does need your defense.
I am taught that we (the true believers) are the defenders of the faith.
Of course we are to be defenders of the faith. However, God does not need
us to do so. It is our duty to do so, but God does not need our pithy help in proclaiming His glory. We are far too ill equipped to even begin to appreciate His love for us in the first place.
I mean you no harm.
I hope you continue to build on your tradition with more and more Christ centeredness.
And I mean you none, Father Deacon, and please forgive me if I have harmed you. I was simply trying to point out that some of your well placed invective towards those who would use Christ like Simon Magus has possibly and inadvertently
spilled over to those of us who are trying to proclaim Christ through our own particular ways using well-established Christian symbols. Ethiopians have thankfully not lost sight of the origins of many of their customs while Europeans have unfortunately all but forgotten (or ignored) much of their Christian past. It is the fault of those of us who still believe that our customs are now dead ritual to much of the world.
But that still doesn't mean we can't circle the wagons, so to speak, and begin a campaign of Subersive Evangelization using the very symbols that have been taken from us.