Banning Christmas

The Christmas Holy Day should be banned. The gifts, the celebrations, the parties, the whole nine years, Santa included, should be thrown out and buried. At least that is what the Puritan Christians proposed and accomplished in America the Land of the Free.

For preventing disorders arising in several places within this jurisdiction, by reason of some still observing such festivals as were superstitiously kept in other countries, to the great dishonor of God and offence of others, it is therefore ordered by this Court and the authority thereof, that whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way, upon such accounts as aforesaid, every such person so offending shall pay for every such offence five shillings, as a fine to the country. — Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England 1659

This was passed in 1659, before the founding of The United States of America, during a time where the majority of people were not only Christians, but a good portion of these were legalistically devout Christians. The Christmas Ban was enacted because of certain reasons given here:

  1. Preventing disorder.
  2. Christmas is a superstitious festival that brings dishonor to God.

These two ideas are linked, but lets explore them.

 Today there is a practice of singing songs about Christmas door to door. This we know as Caroling. In the past, in Europe and in America, people would go door to door singinging, but they would be drunk, and they would go into rich people’s neighborhoods and houses and demand that they be fed . I know I would not like it if a bunch of people came into my house demanding that I give them food. This practice around Christmas time was known as wassailing. Christmas was a festival that would be wrought with people acting crazy. This led to lots of disorder. The very act of drunkenness goes back much much further to pagan Roman times, the wassail was just carried forward into Christmas .

The Puritans were not the first group to ban Christmas. In 1583, the Scottish Presbyterians had already concluded that there was no biblical reason to celebrate Christmas . Identifying it as a baptized pagan holiday. Christmas, which means the Mass (Celebration) of Christ, was associated with the Roman Catholic Church, and because the Protestant Christians viewed Catholicism as the Antichrist, they called Christmas “Antichrist’s Mass” . It is true that there is no biblical command to celebrate Christmas. The day itself comes from pagan origins, many think that the Christians began celebrating it in Europe on that day because while the Romans had something to celebrate, the Christians would do their own celebration. During this time of the year, the pagans would dress up as animals and go door to door. When the Church came into power, this practice was banned under pain of excommunication . (it looks like this pagan practice switched over into Halloween)

Things like the Yule Log, Pagan. Mistletoe, Pagan. These things were taught to ward off demons. People had the belief that someone who was born on Christmas day had the power to see spirits and demons and was able to remove them .  The entire season was filled with things taken straight out of unchristian festivals and made Christian. The Christmas season lasted twelve days and during those days no type of work was to be performed, it was a Sabbath.  Maybe the idea was to give people something to look forward to during the winter time, it became a season of much celebration and ungodly disorder. The Twelfth day of Christmas was supposed to be the day the Wise Men came to Baby Jesus and brought Him the gifts. By the time the custom got to the seventeenth century, the Twelfth day of Christmas became the largest party ever, with an incredible amount of alcohol being used .  The entire time and customs lend reasoning to why the Puritans and the Presbyterians banned it.

Even though it was banned, Christmas did not die out. In 1679 four young men invaded the house of a farmer and began to sing Christmas songs. They then asked for alcohol, were pushed out then began terrorizing other people. People kept Christmas indoors and out of sight. In the year 1681 under pressure from England, the ban was lifted. Reforms were made to take out much of the debauchery that had plagged the holiday.

Today, Christmas might be banned under a different pretense. The holiday has lost much of its meaning as people focus on the exchanging of Gifts more than the Birth of Christ . Even though everyone in the 1600’s went to Church on Christmas morning, they seemed to like the other parts of the celebration more than reflection upon Jesus. Christians today seem to be following in the same path. Many Christians also see no problem with the idea of Santa Claus, injecting the very idea of earthly, temporary gifts as a substitute for the eternal, infinite gift of Eternal Life; even lying to their kids about it instead of telling their kids about the One who is Truth Himself, and basing it on works-righteousness (“Knows when you’re sleeping and awake”).

Many people like to get into debates about the day, no one knows the day of the Birth of Christ and I don’t think it matters. The fact that a pagan holiday was used to celebrate the Birth of Jesus is unfortunate. I am glad that Christianity did eventually win out, but history shows that many of the unchristian rituals were baptised into the Celebration (Mass) of Christ.

Maybe we need to thinking about banning Christmas, until we can reform it to be the day where people think not of their own selves, but on the One who is the reason for the season. If not, then history will repeat itself.

— Merry (Mighty) Christmas.  

Faith and the Titanic

This year marks the 100th aniversary of the terrible sinking of the RMS (Royal Mail Ship / USPS) Titanic. On April 15, 1912 this ship was the largest moving structure ever built by the hands of mankind. It was luxurious, spacious and packed more than 2000 on what would be her first and last voyage from  Southampton, England to New York City. Its also interesting to know that the ship was funded by J.P Morgan Chase. (I wonder if the bank will make any statement in regard to this tragedy) Over 1000 persons died when the ship broke into two–710 survivors were left in lifeboats that weren’t filled to the max. Everyone associated with the event is now dead.

But where was God?

This is a question people ask when disaster’s happen. And no doubt this question has been asked many times since the event. Is it possible to trace God’s hand in this event? It is possible to understand it through His eyes? Some would say that God didn’t care about these people, that He could have simply moved the iceberg and everything would have been okay. But the Christian should nevertheless look for God’s hand in the matter and this is what I hope to set out to do today.

Side Note: Class Restrictions 

An interesting thing to notice that the Titanic was the most segregated ship of its time. Though all of the classes were treated better than what was accustomed to at the time, first and second class had nearly all of the luxury. For example, first and second class had multiple bathrooms while there were only two (one for each gender) for the entire third class (1,026  passengers). Third class passengers were on the waterline, so when the ship crashed into the iceberg, they would be the first to go.  Third class had Iron toilets, while second class had Porcelain and first class had marble toilets! The most interesting thing is that each class of passengers were kept from interacting with each other. So a person in second class could not enjoy or even see all the tantalizing things that were happening in first class. But if you were in first class you were only a deck below where the lifeboats were! Luxury indeed were not for most of its passengers, just for those who could afford it. However the richest passanger abourd the ship, John Jacob Astor IV did not survive.

A Near Accident 

When the Titanic left On Wednesday 10 April 1912 a few minutes after her departure at Noon, the ship had a near accident. The huge ship passed by a much smaller ship  SS City of New York . The displacement of water caused the other ship to increase height drastically and fall back to normal levels. The ships cables could not support the sudden change and snapped. This caused the New York to spin out of control and it nearly missed the Titanic by 4 feet (1.2 meters). This delayed the ship for an hour.

The ship then went to France and Ireland. From there it went out of the English channel into international waters. It then traveled for three days smoothly.

Divine Intervention

With a disaster about to hit so many souls, it would have been even more disastrous if this event happened without warning. But there was a warning. I believe that God was trying to send a message to the Titanic to prevent what happened from taking place.

God uses humanity to warn Titanic


At least six warnings, like the one pictured here, were sent to the Titanic. The Marconi International Marine Communication Company, Limited, was the main telecommunications service operating in the North Atlantic Ocean. They had two operators on the Titanic: Senior Jack Phillips and Junior Wireless Operator Harold  Bride. They were both considered very qualified and were tasked with carrying messages two and from the Titanic on the Marconi “Wireless” (their radios).

It is known that the wireless operators had an antenna that had power output of 1.5 kW per each of the two antenna that were in use. This allowed for a range of 1000 miles. The messages were communicated in Morse Code, which consisted of dots and dashes.

The wireless operators had many messages, along with weather reports, they were given news reports from newspapers and also a heavy amount of mail. As the ship got closer to New York, many passengers sent messages ahead to family members to make plans for their arrival.  This resulted in a large load of information that had to be translated and communicated.

Ice Warnings Received By Titanic

14/4 9.00am

Caronia (MSF) – Eastbound, New York to Liverpool, Queenstown. The message was delivered to the bridge, where Captain Edward John Smith posted it for his  officers to read.

‘Captain, Titanic – West-bound steamers report bergs, growlers and field ice in 42° N, from 49° to 51° W, April 12th. Compliments, Barr’

14/4 1.42pm

Baltic (MBC) – Eastbound, New York to Liverpool, Queenstown. This message was delivered to Captain Edward John Smith as he talked to Bruce Ismay. Ismay pocketed the piece of paper, and later showed it to several passengers. At 7.15pm, Smith asked for its return, when it was finally posted in the chart  room.

‘Greek steamer Athenia reports passing icebergs and large quantities of field ice today in latitude 41° 51′ N, longitude 49° 52′ W. Wish you and Titanic all success. Commander.’

14/4 1.45pm

Amerika (DDR) – This message was actually a private one to the US  Hydrographic Office in Washington DC, overheard by Titanic’s radio operators. Regretably, it never made its way to the bridge.

Amerika passed two large icebergs in 41° 27′ N, 50° 8′ W on April 14.’

14/4 7.30pm

Californian (MWL) – This message was actually to Antillian (MJL), but overheard by Titanic’s radio operators. This was delivered by Bride to the bridge, although Captain Edward John Smith was not made aware of it. He was in the a la carte restaurant, dining with the Wideners.

‘To Captain, Antillian: Six-thirty pm, apparent ship’s time; latitude 42° 3′ N, longitude 49° 9′ W. Three large bergs 5 miles to the southward of us.  Regards, Lord.’

14/4 9.40pm

Mesaba (MMU) – This message never reached the bridge. Harold Bride was getting some much needed sleep, and Jack Phillips was busy on the key sending and receiving commercial traffic to Cape Race.

‘From Mesaba to Titanic . In latitude 42° N to 41° 25′,  longitude 49° W to longitude 50° 30′ W, saw much heavy pack ice and great number large icebergs, also field ice, weather good, clear.’

You can read more about the geographic reprsentation of the reported areas where the icebergs were reported here.

About forty minutes before Titanic began to sink, another message was sent to her by the S.S. Californian.  The ship was in the same ice-field that Titanic was approaching, and was stuck in it. The Californian sent a message to the Titanic without the MSG prefix (which would require a response from the Bridge).  Phillips, maybe beacuse he was tired or he was trying to send out all of those reports the passengers wanted sent out,  replied to the Californian  with a message of “D-D-D,” meaning shut up. Can you believe it? So, the Californian turned off their radio. When the Titanic sent out distress signals, the S.S. Californian which was only a few miles from the sinking ship.

So the Titanic was notified of the danger, and due to the stubbornness of some of the crew, and the myth of the “unsinkable ship”, they went full speed ahead. They saw the iceberg, made a turn and it hit it. At first they thought it was a minor scrape, but they did not know of the 300-foot gash well below the ship’s waterline.

When the captain assessed the damage, he predicted the ship would last about an hour. The minutes that followed would forever be encased in human minds until this very day. With over 40,000 tons of water filling the ship, it began to sank.

There are tales of a band playing Nearer my God to thee as the ship sank. This song would be played during the many benefit concerts that raised money for the victims of the tragedy, including their families.

This clip from the Titanic Movie(1997) seems to best capture the sadness of the event.

At least among those men, Faith was still alive and well in their hearts. Titanic carried a total of 20 lifeboats which could support about 1/3 of the total capacity of the ship. This was considered well above the standard of the day as the thought was that the boats would be used to ferry passengers to and from any other large boat that would be there for the rescue, in the unlikely event that something would occur.

The demise of the Titanic lead to drastic changes in safety regulation of Navel vessels. The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) was created to create global changes in the way ships were ran. 24 hour radio operators were made standard, and all messages dealing with the navigation of the ship were made the highest priority always, regardless of heading. There are also numerous other improvements that are still in effect to this day.

So God did not let this happen without warning. When I consider this, I thank Him for the warning messages. I could see Him crying out as the ship sank, with tears in His eyes as people fell victim to hyperthermia. We need to stay watch to the messages that God sends in our life, and be forever watchful of His hand when tragedy strikes.