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596: The Surprising Origins of Christmas in America with W. David O. Taylor


If Jesus is the reason for the season, why do most Christians celebrate Christmas at home with their families rather than at church? David Taylor, a professor of culture and theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, joins Skye to discuss the origins of Christmas in America. He says Queen Victoria, Charles Dickens, and Coca-Cola have done more to influence how we celebrate the birth of Jesus than gospel writers. And he explains why the Puritans who first settled in America believed Christmas was satanic. Speaking of Satan, we have an update on the Satanic Temple display in the Iowa State Capital. The Texas Supreme Court made a controversial, and confusing, ruling about abortion. And what happens when Americans say they’re more religious but they are less likely to engage in religious practices like attending a church?


Holy Post Plus Getting Schooled - Saint Nicholas


0:00 - Intro


1:29 - Show starts


3:57 - Theme Song


4:18 - Sponsor - World Relief - Visit https://worldrelief.org/holypost/ to download your family refugee guide and learn more about the Path Community


5:37 - Live Show Recap


11:14 - Satanic Statue Decapitated


22:01 - Texas Abortion Case


44:09 - Republican and Democrat attitudes towards Religion


56:33 - Sponsor - Get 35% off your first order of Sundays. Go to www.SundaysForDogs.com/HOLYPOST or use code HOLYPOST at checkout. 


57:44 - Sponsor - Magic Spoon - Go to www.magicspoon.com/HOLYPOST and use code HOLYPOST to get $5 off


59:23 - Interview Intro


1:05:28 - The Puritan’s impact on Christmas


1:09:18 - Queen Victoria’s  impact on Christmas


1:17:23 - Charles Dickens impact on Christmas


1:26:44 - Christmas in America Today


1:35:36 - End Credits



Links mentioned in news segment:


Satanic Temple says part of display in Iowa Capitol 'destroyed beyond repair'


Religion as a Cultural and Political Identity


5 things to know about the latest abortion case in Texas



Other resources:



THE LIGHT HAS COME: PRAYER CARDS FOR ADVENT, CHRISTMAS AND EPIPHANY


Daily Advent Devotionals by David Taylor


Why Putting Christ Back in Christmas Is Not Enough



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16 Comments


I think physicians also have a responsibility to communicate well about risks and benefits to abortion.


In the Texas case where a mother had to make a choice between having a baby with Trisomy 18 and being infertile versus potentially later having a healthy child, it would have been helpful to have a better understanding of Trisomy 18. While it is true that the baby may have died quickly, it is also true that babies with Trisomy 18 do survive into their toddler years. Because there are a variety of malformations that a baby with Trisomy 18 may have, it would have been helpful to know if the baby had a malformation that would lead to a quick death or…


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Laura Gatannah
Laura Gatannah
Dec 22, 2023

The Baphomet statue was intentionally performative. The point isn't to de-christianize anyone. It's to say, "How does this make you feel?" and if you're a thoughtful Christian who feels a bit of offense seeing that in a public space, then to maybe get you to imagine what if it were everywhere and there were negative repercussions to you for not going along with it. Its purpose was a performance illustrating the problems of what appears to be the government sanction of a particular "religious" point of view. It's not supposed to be taken as a genuine display of some religious expression. It's basically performance art trying to be evocative and apparently it worked.

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I think the Puritans were onto something...

They banned Christmas in England and U.S. as the holiday turned into a a festival of drunkenness.

They instead made it a day of fasting and prayer. Yea, the Puritans weren't big into Catholic things like the mass, papal edicts etc. They saw it as superstition more than anything...which makes sense given what the martyrs had to go though during the Reformation.


Also when Alabama legalized the celebration of Christmas... did they allow all the slaves in the state to celebrate as well.... just asking...


Not certain of the the current state of Christmas in the U.S., it seems to have devolved into a Winter Festival/Shopping Holiday/Family-get-together celebration.


I can't find Jesus anywhere…


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Lisa Crews
Lisa Crews
Dec 20, 2023

Setting up a Holy Posters local event at a public location (coffehouse, park, community center space, church facility ) at MeetUp.com is probably the easiest way for people to meet with others. I have several different groups I've been able to participate in thanks to that website.

Keeping a consistent term like "Holy Posters", which is what Skye calls us if I remember correctly, and mentioning it as such on the show will be key to connecting others with our shared mindset. Different terms in different locations would make it confusing and harder to search for.

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Mark Norman
Mark Norman
Dec 21, 2023
Replying to

Maybe I was hallucinating, but I think they mentioned going on tour a few weeks ago. That would be another amazing way for Holy Posters to meet up.

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Lisa Crews
Lisa Crews
Dec 20, 2023

When are we going to admit that there just isn't a way to legislate abortion effectively that protects doctors and women in these difficult pregnancy situations? No, there isn't a carefully worded set of laws that considers the huge range of incredibly complex and individualized factors for all pregnancies that adequately protects women, babies, and hospital staff for all current and future pregnancies. That's a fantasy the idealists among us need to abandon. Most pro-lifers aren't willing to consider this cold, hard reality because American minds are so Disneyfied, sitcommed, and novelized. Everything always works out in the end in those stories because they're fiction and their only limitations are the author's imagination. That's not real life. Trying to legislate…

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Mark Norman
Mark Norman
Dec 21, 2023
Replying to

I agree with you Lisa; however,

most people want things to be simple - black or white, good or evil. In my experience, this is true everywhere, not just the US. Its the reason Disney, sitcoms, and novels are popular distractions, but not the cause of the illness.


Saying "I don't want abortion laws on the books" is as simple and impossible as any other absolutist position on this complicated subject. People have spent (read: wasted) their lives demanding an abolition of abortion and are not about to let a little thing like the cruel, real-life consequences of that position get in their way.

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