Hey guys, this is John from the Clearview Today Show. Before we start today's episode, I do want to give a quick disclaimer. We are going to be talking about our friend Santa Claus all throughout this episode in great detail. So if this is a show that you listen to with kids around, if you've got your kids maybe in the car or you know in the kitchen as you're doing whatever, this may be an episode where you'd want to maybe send them off somewhere, maybe wait till you get home to listen, send them to another room or whatever. We just want to be very aware that a lot of people may listen to the show with kids around. But just as a disclaimer, we are going to be talking about Santa Claus in great detail in this episode.
So just wanted to warn you guys. Thanks for listening. On with the show. Hello, everyone.
Today is Thursday, December the 22nd. I'm Ryan Hill. I'm John Galantis. You're listening to Clear View Today with Dr. Abbadan Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
You can find us online at ClearViewTodayShow.com, or if you have any questions for Dr. Shah or suggestions for future episodes, you can send us a text at 252-582-5028. I'm sorry. I'm going to tell them how they can email us.
You can also send us an email. Sorry about that. In the spirit of Christmas, I'm going to let it slide. It was an accident and that's the last thing I'm going to say. You can also email us at contact at ClearViewTodayShow.com. Now it's my turn to talk.
Sorry. We've done so many episodes, but I still haven't got it up through my head yet. You guys can help us keep the conversation alive by supporting this podcast, sharing it online, and leaving us a good review on iTunes. We're going to actually leave a link for you guys in the description of this podcast so that you can do that. We want to set you guys up for success. That's right.
Yeah. You want to hit the verse of the day? I would love to. It comes from Psalm 25, verses four and five. Psalm 25, verses four and five. Show me your ways, Lord. Teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior and my hope is in you all day long. I love that.
That's a very simple prayer that I think we just forget to pray or we just kind of neglect to pray. God, just show me your ways and teach me your path. Show me the way you want to go. Typically, I know what I like to do is, or what I tend to do, I should say, is that, God, I know the way I'm trying to go.
I know exactly what I want. Just be with me while I do it rather than show me the way that you want me to go. I love the fact that you called it a prayer, John, because so many times it's a great tool for us. If you don't know the words to pray, pray scripture. Pray the Psalms.
Pray God's word to him and that will help give you the words to say. You look very good today. Thank you. I feel like a clown. I feel like a Christmas fool. I feel like a Christmas moron.
We are champions. Did you say Christmas boys? Christmas boys. We are Christmas boys.
If anybody's listening to just the radio, first and foremost, thank you. Second of all, if you are not able to, if you're watching the video, you can see that we are wearing very gaudy Christmas suits. The one that I have has a tag in the back of it that says you look ugly today.
Right. Well, because the thing now is ugly Christmas sweaters. Like for a while it was just like, wow, that Christmas sweater is really ugly. But now that's, that's the rage. Everyone loves having an ugly Christmas sweater party.
So like they're manufacturing things that are this outlandish, gaudy, garish, like bright colors. I like that yours has a tie. Mine doesn't even have a tie. Mine does.
Can I tell you a funny story about mine? Yeah. So mine, mine was a full suit, like shirt, tie and pants. And I wore it to something here at church. Now this is, these are not like you're going to go to the tailor and get these suits. These are, these are just little cheapo suits from Walmart and they're fun.
They're fun for Christmas. Right. So I was wearing the pants, ripped a whole enormous hole huge, huge, like a just, it was like a SpongeBob rip. It was, it was comical because it was instant. It wasn't like loud. It was loud.
Golly. I forgot all about that. Those pants wound up in the trash.
You use it. You duct taped them for that night. Didn't you? I did. I remember that. I did duct tape them for that night.
I definitely remember that. Not fun. Well, you want to, let's jump into the main topic. So today you know, we're counting down the days to Christmas. We are talking about you know, specifically Christmas, how people talk about it. Like it's the most wonderful time of the year, but what does that really mean? Why is it the most wonderful time of the year?
Right. And how can you, if you're not feeling that yet, if you're not feeling the Christmas cheer, how can you connect with that joy that is available here at Christmas and really every day of the year. We're going to go get Dr. Sean, but if you have any questions or suggestions for future episodes, send us a text at 252-582-5028, or you can visit us online at clearviewtodayshow.com. We'll be back after this.
Hey there, listeners. My name is Jon and I'm David, and we just want to take a second and talk to you about Dr. Sean Nicole's new book, 30 Days to a New Beginning, Daily Devotionals to Help You Move Forward. No matter who you are or where you are in life, you're going to get stuck. You're going to have goals that you just can't seem to reach and you're going to be looking for some new way to start over. Unfortunately, life does not have a restart button, but here's the good news. God's mercy is new every day, right? And so that means every day is a new chance for you to start over. Now, Dr. Sean and his wife, Nicole, have written a new 30 day devotional in their 30 day series designed to give you practical tools for starting over.
No matter where you are in life's journey or what pitfalls you've encountered, this devotional is going to help you move forward, refocus your mind on God's truth and meditate on his word. And you guys can pick up a copy right this second on Amazon.com. Unless you're driving.
Yeah, don't shop and drive unless you're driving, in which case, wait till you get home. But we're going to leave a link for you right here in the description of this podcast. So it'll be waiting for you when you get home. That's 30 Days to a New Beginning, Daily Devotionals to Help You Move Forward. And for the remainder of November and all through December, we'll be sending a free copy to anyone who supports the podcast by visiting us online and donating to the show at ClearViewTodayShow.com.
That is a very, very good incentive, gang. That's 30 Days to a New Beginning, Daily Devotions to Help You Move Forward by Abaddon and Nicole Shaw. Thank you guys so much for listening. David, you want to jump back into the show? Let's go. Welcome back to Clear View Today with Dr. Abaddon Shaw, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
You can visit us online at ClearViewTodayShow.com, or if you have any questions or suggestions for future episodes, send us a text at 252-582-5028. Dr. Shaw is with us in the studio today. Dr. Shaw, you are looking holly and jolly today. You are. I mean, you're looking dapper. I'm not going to lie.
This is the time where I would typically be a Grinch, but I'm not going to lie. You look good. Well, you look good.
I love Christmas, but I've never had coats like this. Would you preach in it? Yeah, I'll do it. You can do it. It looks, for a price, I'll do it.
It looks good on you. I might. I got to get the checkbook out, but I'll see what we can do. See what we can do.
I hope you guys are joining us for the first time today. If you're not familiar with Dr. Shaw's work, Dr. Abbadon Shaw has a PhD in New Testament textual criticism, a professor at Carolina University, author, full-time pastor, and the host of Today's Show. You can follow his work on his website. That's AbbadonShaw.com. I got to say, if you go over to ClearViewTodayShow.com, you can see him in this spiffy coat. I just can't get my eyes off of it. That's right.
You got to watch the video version of the podcast, guys. And you guys as well. You are wearing the Santa one.
Definitely do what I can. And then, Ryan, you're wearing gingerbread. Gingerbread house. I do like it says, oh, snap. It says, oh, snap. He's got a broken leg, I think. Or maybe not. Yeah, he's framed. Oh, he does have a broken leg. He's not having a great Christmas.
And I'm just covered in peppermint sticks. I think it looks pretty good. Love it. I love it. Well, with us heading ever closer to Christmas, we want to revisit a discussion that we began in a previous episode about some myths surrounding our Christmas tradition. The Chris Myth Busters. Chris Myth Busters.
I think I came with it. It's hard to say. Chris Myth Busters. It's clever, man. I love it. We got to patent that soon. We really got to patent that.
Call the patent office. Adam Savage is on the phone for me. No. No, please. So we want to talk about, you know, some of these traditions that we hold dear. And sometimes people try to poke holes in these traditions or tell us, hey, don't celebrate this way because it comes from a pagan tradition. So, Dr. Shah, do you want to kick our discussion off today?
Sure. So as you know, I grew up overseas. I grew up in India and many of the traditions we had regarding Christmas came from from the West.
They came from missionaries that came to India. They came from watching movies, came from reading books on Christmas. And we loved it.
We really loved it. And so when I came to America, I expected to find the same traditions. And yes, there are many still going strong and some new ones that I never knew existed.
I came across those and I've shared some of those in the in the previous radio shows. But then I also noticed something, unlike in India, where we Christians are just glad to be worshipping and having Christmas here. People talk about Christmas as if you're just blowing this way out of proportion. You need to calm down.
You need to get back to facts. And if anybody even remotely is excited about the Christmas tree or mistletoe or giving gifts or Santa Claus or some other Christmas carol or some movie, immediately they are jumped upon or pounced on and said, you need to realize that's got nothing to do with the real thing. And you know what's funny is they say it like it's some sort of gotcha. Like I've heard people so many times like, you know, where do you find Christmas trees in the Bible? Like Christmas trees and lights and mistletoe?
You won't find that in scripture. Like thank goodness you're here to tell me that. I had no clue. Yeah, I mean, it's I get it. I get the commercialization. I get all that. So don't misunderstand me. I do understand sometimes people are so focused on buying that extra gift or or or, you know, just celebrating Christmas in ways that are not nice.
They're naughty. I get that, but, but having said that, come on, it's great to celebrate the birth of God's son. Yeah, absolutely. Now people oftentimes just try to poke holes in, you know, they see the celebration like now you know that came from this tradition or, you know, that's not really how Christmas was intended. Why has it got to be at one of two extremes where if it's not found explicitly in the Bible, like the Christmas trees, like they're just a pagan ritual. Like if it's not found in the Bible, then it was taken from pagans. Just know some of the people who are behind this, this whole pagan idea are like people like Jehovah's Witnesses and others.
Why do you want to go along with their research? Do you think they have just a genuine heartfelt concern for Christianity? No. Very true. No, they have a whole different version, which I would say very heretical.
So don't go down that road. Yeah. What is the whole thing with the Christmas trees? Like it was, it was like Scandinavian or something like that?
Like how did that even? I would claim it's a pagan ritual borrowed from the Scandinavians. And I get it because many ancient cultures worship certain trees. And so they say, you know, Oh yeah, the Vikings or the Norseman, you know, they had their trees. Well, really? I mean, Indians had their trees too. Native Americans had their trees, the Africans had their trees. So does that mean that, Oh, you just have taken a pagan ritual and made it Christian? No, no. That's a, in fact, in right now in biblical scholarship, that's a way of studying history that is really looked down upon as the history of religion school, where we take, you know, kind of comparative religion, taking this tradition and that myth and whatever, and putting them together and saying, this came from this.
That's a really looked down upon as inaccurate. And yet we keep talking about this, right? So where did Christmas trees come from? Well, when those ancient Christians began to worship and get saved, they may have taken some love for trees and brought them into Christianity. But come on, how many times are trees mentioned in the Bible? Lots. Lots of times. Right? Not long ago.
Not long ago. Yeah. Adam and Eve eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Abram became Abraham later on, lived by the oak trees of Mamre, where he built an altar to the Lord and everywhere Abram went, he planted trees. The people of Israel were promised to become trees of righteousness, you know, blesses the man who walks on the council of the ungodly on and on, but he'll be like a tree planted by the rivers, you know, with bears fruits in its season.
I mean, so, you know, think about trees also as Jesus giving his life on a tree. That's right. Right. That's, that's the traditional word that is used. And then of course, when you get into heaven, there's also the tree of life in the heavenly city.
So all that to say, please don't let someone come and straighten you out. Decorate that Christmas tree. Yeah. Create that tradition.
Enjoy it. Let kids have fun. Right. And then treat, teach them about Jesus who hung on a tree. That's right.
Why not use it as a teaching opportunity? Yeah. Oh. So next time you see your ton and bomb, don't get so upset.
Don't get so mad. That's right. That's right. Don't get, don't get people selling Christmas trees. Do y'all, no one likes a Grinch.
That's right. Do y'all hang mistletoe in y'alls house? We did growing up. We don't have any in the house right now.
But we did grow it up. That was part of the, the regular house. I do. You do? I got some too. It's a, it's a dude that works out with us who gave me some mistletoe.
Really? Yes he did. Oh no. And he's like, Hey, you want some mistletoe? I was like, you have some like, yeah, right here. And he cut off some couple of branches, gave it to me.
So I took it home, put it in water, sitting by the printer in the kitchen. Where did that come from? Where did the whole mistletoe thing come from? Well, mistletoe, I mean, if you think about it in ancient times, it was considered to be a miracle plant.
Okay. So when everything in, in winter was dead, we're talking more, more towards Europe, not so don't, don't, don't go to Africa or Asia. It doesn't have the same, it's not the same, but where there's lots and lots of snow.
This was like the, the little rootless parasitic plant that would still be flourishing, right? So everything is dead in the harsh of winter, except for the mistletoe. So it symbolized life and hope and fertility and all those things. So when the ancient druids, you know, when they became Christians, they carried that tradition in and said, okay, so mistletoe now takes on a new meaning.
It's about God's power to bring life from death. Oh, wow. Now, where in the world is that wrong?
When you take ancient traditions that are pagan and saying, you know what? Now I see it in a whole different light. Yeah. Let's repurpose it.
Oh my goodness. No, we need to just jettison that. The mistletoe ban mistletoe in Christendom. Is that why people say no to mistletoe because of how it began, like where the tradition originally came from?
I think most people don't even know where it began. I was going to say, even if it was in that, like a fallacy in that, like the Genesis fallacy where you can't, you can't say that because it started like this, if the origin was bad, the thing must be right. Right. That's it. Right. Like when it comes to trick or treating. Okay. I get it.
I'm not, I'm not big on that. But Hey, look, if you're going to have trunk treats at your church, don't let anybody stop that and say, but do you know where that comes from? So do you know where music comes from? Jabal and all those guys, they were not very godly people, but we all sing.
David sang to the Lord, Psalm 43. What do you do with that argument? Why don't we go back to Genesis and say, look, look right here, there are no music allowed because these were all Cain's descendants. No, we enjoy that. That's right.
There's known as a Genesis fallacy for those who are wondering. So one thing that's fresh on my mind, because we actually put some up not long ago in my yard is some Christmas lights. Oh, how dare you? I love Christmas lights.
How dare you? I've never heard people actually not Christmas. I mean, I'm sure they're out there, but I've never heard people like not Christmas lights because that's one of the ones that when people say, well, it's not found in scripture. Like no one ever thinks that electric, the people had electric lights. Yeah. I just want to know, like, where, where did that tradition come from?
Well, no one really knows when some of these things began because no one sat and wrote it down. But from what we gather, it's Martin Luther, you know, the great German reformer just wrote a paper on Martin Luther last night and had nothing to do with Christmas lights though. Yeah. He was taking a walk through the woods one late December night and he saw the moonlight sparkle on the snow covered branches of the evergreen trees. And he was so struck by their beauty that he, he tried to recreate that.
And by attaching candles to his Christmas tree. Wow. Wow. Yeah. I know it's kind of tricky how to do that.
I was going to say, man, that's a risk. And they had fires too. Yeah. I mean, you see old pictures. That was the thing for a long time was like putting candles actually sitting in your Christmas tree.
Imagine me as this little Indian boy living in India, often wonders like, how do they do that? Yeah. Cause I mean, most of our trees were not that rigid.
Right. So the Ashoka trees, like the leaves has drooped down. They look like, they look like a an evergreen or fir tree, whatever, but they, the leaves are just like flat. I'm like, how do they put the candle on it? There's no way in there. It's physically by the laws of physics, it's not possible, but the trees here are different.
The way the branches fan out, you know, the way they are sturdy. Yeah. You can clip it. And they were able to do that. Wow. Still dangerous, but yeah. So it reminded him of Jesus being the lot of the world. And so thank goodness for electricity. If not, we would be in trouble today. We'd have a lot of burn up Christmas trees. Yeah.
Burn up homes, families. Yeah. That would be terrible.
Terrible. Yeah, absolutely. I think one of the biggest ones that we hear and guys, this is kind of where we, where we talked about the disclaimer coming in. So if you didn't listen to that disclaimer, I think one of the biggest ones that we talk about is Santa Claus. I think that's the one that people really take issue with.
Or that's a sticking point. Yeah. Yeah.
Among Christians especially. Yep. Well, especially if you back up a little bit, it's the whole idea of gift giving. Well, how I grew up, we didn't have that Christmas morning. All you would have is a new pair of clothes and these were not like ready-made clothes.
Like you go buy at Belks or, or Macy's or whatever. No, these were clothes that you got stitched. Mom and Dad would take me to the tailor and they would measure us and stitch our clothes.
Oh, wow. And then, so this would usually be done somewhere beginning of November or end of October. And then a week before Christmas, you know, that was the date we would go or dad would go or mom would go and pick up the clothes from the tailors and then they would hang in our, you know, closet, whatever. And then Christmas morning we put on this brand new shirt, a brand new pair of hands. And it was, it was very special for us. Not only did we have a new set of clothes, but it was also that this is God's day. This is Jesus's day.
You're wearing new things on his day. But when I came to America, you know, people didn't do that. Of course you still give your kids new clothes and things like that, but you have a lot of gift giving. I didn't know this whole business of boxes and boxes of gifts, all kinds of gifts coming out from under the tree.
And then I heard messages and pastors talking about how, you know, this is not necessary and this is not good and all that. And I'm like, but that's a tradition. Let them do it.
You know, cause each of those gifts ultimately represents the gift of God's son. So when the people are doing this, why are you so upset? I mean, what if people didn't do anything? What if they give gifts on like, say Halloween, you know, would be upset. Yeah. I would be upset.
It's like, why? So on Christmas day to represent the birth, the giving of God's son and you are upset. Yeah.
Why don't we stop preaching those kinds of messages and just, just give it a new meaning and say, or, or, or assign it the meaning from the gospel. Yeah, absolutely. Can we, can we talk a little bit more about, about Santa Claus specifically? Cause that's, I feel like that's an issue for a lot of people. What, what is, where did this tradition start?
Where does it break down? Where Santa Claus is the one now giving out gifts. I think really the underlying question for many people is, is it okay for me to have Santa for my kids?
Yeah. Santa Claus. Santa Nicholas. Santa Nicholas. Hey, we have a Nicholas here sitting behind the things, jolly old Saint Nicholas. He's definitely not a Saint.
I just want to clarify that. You have anything to add to that Nicholas? Anything to say about your sainthood? You didn't have to call me out like that. I think it was probably appropriate son. He's our third one in the family, but, but Saint Nicholas was a pastor of Myra.
Okay. So Myra is, was an Asia minor, which is modern day Turkey. And on December the sixth is the Western churches, Christmas and December 19th, the Eastern or, or the day of Saint Nicholas would be December the sixth or December 19th in the Eastern church. And it was a day to give gifts because he would give gifts. He began this whole practice of giving gifts and he gave gifts to children and in time it kind of merged into the December 25th. So we give gifts on December 25th. So it came from Saint Nicholas, which we have made into kind of in, as you say, it faster Saint Nicholas. Santa Claus. Wow.
It's crazy how, crazy how language kind of evolves like that. Yeah. Do you, I mean, I guess that's our thing is, is it okay to have Santa Claus? Is that an okay thing for us as Christians to do? Yeah. I'm okay with that. It's just, just, you know, it's all right to pretend and have a great time with your kids.
It's okay. As they grow up, explain to them, you know, Hey, this is, this represented a great man in Christianity who cared about people. In fact, what we know about Nicholas is that he, he was rich and very, very, came from a rich, rich home. He was from Bari and in the fourth century and he, he gave his wealth away to the poor. So why not teach your children how in ancient times there was this man who was very wealthy and he could have lived only for himself, but he gave his wealth away to people.
There was a family that was struggling and, and he, he, he threw money into their window, you know, and they had something to eat. So he would do it kind of at night. He would do it in a cover of darkness to make it special so that nobody would know who did it.
You know, and figured it out. So that was St. Nicholas. Now, if you, if you want to, you can read his biographies.
Some very good biographies are out there of St. Nicholas. And he was a kind of a very conservative Bishop. You know, I mean, one time he even from what legend tells us, even walked in and punched areas. I have heard that. I've definitely heard that one of the church councils, I mean, he punched him because he there's this guy or areas of somebody was having an issue with the deity and humanity of Jesus.
Oh, can't do that. You know? So other than, you know, we, we, we only see him as a jolly old St. Nick, but he was sometimes not so jolly.
Yeah. I've seen this meme going around of, it's like one of those old paintings of like the, the saints and it's St. Nicholas. And it says on the meme, it says, I'm here to put it, I'm here to hand out gifts and punch heretics. And I'm all out of gifts.
I'm all out of gifts. I've seen that too. I think it's, I think it's good though, the way that you put that Dr. Shaw, because so many Christians I think needlessly struggle with, I feel like I'm just lying to my kids.
You're not. St. Nicholas rep is representative of the generosity of Jesus Christ and he represents that generosity and that spirit of giving that's very real in Jesus. Yeah. And what a, what a better outlook than just, Hey, you know, eventually one day I'm going to have to have a difficult conversation with my kids. No, let's talk about, talk to them about like, Hey, this is, this represents the spirit of giving. You can embody that spirit.
And ultimately, like you said, it points back to the greatest gift, Jesus. That's it. Right. That's it.
So yeah, if you overdo it and your kids are 30 years old and still believing in Santa or their, their faith is shaken because of Santa, I don't know how strong a faith you gave them. Yeah. Great point. That's true. That's very true. Wasn't very strong.
It wasn't very strong to begin with. David just sent me the meme. David just texted me the meme. It's the same one Ryan just said, I can't, I'm all out of, I'm here to punch heretics and I'm all out of presents. What does it look like? I'll show you. Yeah.
It's this, uh, uh, I don't even know what century painting this would be, but it's just this like a saintly, like I love it with the aura around his head. That's too funny. I'm all out of presents. That's cute. Watch out. Well, I guess Dr. Shostakovich closes, do you have any words of encouragement related to these Christmas traditions for our listeners?
Yeah. I definitely tell people, you know, life is tough life, especially in the world in which we're living now in this 2022 heading into 2023, uh, celebrate, you know, rejoice. The Bible talks about rejoice. Again, I say rejoice as Paul. So rejoice, be glad, be happy, you know, redirect your thoughts from the struggles and the pains and the frustrations of life. All of us have some frustrations, all of us have some pains and hurts and cuts and bruises and um, don't, don't dwell on those.
The enemy will keep reminding you of those redirects your thought to the Holy Spirit on the joy of the Christian life and the joy of Christmas. That's right. Amen. That's awesome. If you guys enjoyed today's topic or you have suggestions for future topics, let us know by sending us a text at two five two five eight two five zero two eight. You can also visit us online at cleaviewtodayshow.com and you can support us financially by visiting that same website. Click that donate button. We're grateful for all of our giving partners. Every gift, every contribution goes not only to building up this radio show, but supporting countless other ministries for the building up of the kingdom of God. John, do you have a quote to leave us with today?
Yeah, this one comes from St. Nicholas. I came to give presents to kids and punch here at Tix and I just ran out of presents. And I just ran out of friends. No, I got one. Watch out.
I got one. This is, um, here it is. You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take. Oh my goodness. Michael Scott. From the office?
Mm hmm. Oh boy. I don't know if that's original to him. That quote changed my life. In fact, I think that was the point of that episode. That wasn't original to him.
It took everything I had to kind of shift my thinking in that way. The only thing that, what were you going to say? Tell me. Are you sure he said that? It says Michael Scott in big letters. There's something small.
Where does it say that? The internet? Yeah. No, that's, I don't think it's original to Michael Scott. Okay. Wait, there's another name under here. What is the name? Gretzky. I don't know who that is.
The hockey player? I guess so. Really? That's what it says. But I think Michael Scott said it.
Oh boy. I don't know. I don't doubt that he said it. Let me fact check my sources.
I don't know if it was original to him. All right. Let me fact check my sources and I'll get back to you. We'll get back to you. We love you guys. Bye-bye and hopefully read today. You
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