Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, December 16, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page A:11

Mountain Views-News Saturday, December 16, 2017 11THE WORLD AROUND US 
Mountain Views-News Saturday, December 16, 2017 11THE WORLD AROUND US 
President Donald Trump is sending astronauts back tothe Moon. 

On March 11, the president signed White House SpacePolicy Directive 1, a change in national space policy thatprovides for a U.S.-led, integrated program with privatesector partners for a human return to the Moon, followed bymissions to Mars and beyond.

The policy calls for the NASA administrator to “lead aninnovative and sustainable program of exploration withcommercial and international partners to enable humanexpansion across the solar system and to bring back toEarth new knowledge and opportunities.” The effort willmore effectively organize government, private industry,
and international efforts toward returning humans on theMoon, and will lay the foundation that will eventually enablehuman exploration of Mars.

“The directive I am signing today will refocus America’sspace program on human exploration and discovery,” 
said President Trump. “It marks a first step in returningAmerican astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 
1972, for long-term exploration and use. This time, we willnot only plant our flag and leave our footprints—we willestablish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and 
perhaps someday, to many worlds beyond.” 

The policy grew from a unanimous recommendation bythe new National Space Council, chaired by Vice PresidentMike Pence, after its first meeting Oct. 5. In addition to thedirection to plan for human return to the Moon, the policyalso ends NASA’s existing effort to send humans to anasteroid. The president revived the National Space Councilin July to advise and help implement his space policy withexploration as a national priority.

Among other dignitaries on hand for the signing, wereNASA astronauts Sen. Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, Buzz 
Aldrin, Peggy Whitson, and Christina Koch. Schmitt landedon the moon 45 years to the minute before the signing of thenew directive, as part of NASA’s Apollo 17 mission, and isthe most recent living person to have set foot on our lunarneighbor. Aldrin was the second person to walk on theMoon during the Apollo 11 mission. Whitson spoke to thepresident from space in April aboard the International SpaceStation and while flying back home after breaking the recordfor most time in space by a U.S. astronaut in September.
Koch is a member of NASA’s astronaut class of 2013. 

Work toward the new directive will be reflected in NASA’s 
Fiscal Year 2019 budget request next year.

“NASA looks forward to supporting the president’sdirective strategically aligning our work to return humansto the Moon, travel to Mars and opening the deeper solarsystem beyond,” said acting NASA Administrator Robert 

Lightfoot. “This work represents a national effort on manyfronts, with America leading the way. We will engage thebest and brightest across government and private industryand our partners across the world to reach new milestonesin human achievement.” 
A piece of Moon rock was brought to the White House 
as a reminder of the exploration history and Americansuccesses at the Moon on which the new policy will build.
Lunar Sample 70215 was retrieved from the Moon’s surface 
and returned by Schmitt’s Apollo 17 crew. Apollo 17 wasthe last Apollo mission to land astronauts on the Moon andreturned with the greatest amount of rock and soil samples 
for investigation.
The sample is a basaltic lava rock similar to lava found inHawaii. It crystallized 3.84 billion years ago when lava flowedfrom the Camelot Crater. 
You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@MtnViewsNews. 

[Nyerges is the author of severalConstantine was attempting to unite his empire that

books, including “Whose Childhe made Christianity the official religion, and he

Is This” (about the meaning“Christianized” all the so-called pagan commemorations.

of the symbols of Christmas).As a result, the birth of the Sun that was already

He can be reached at www. commemorated by the Mithra-followers was now or Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CAto commemorate the Birth of the Son. 
90041.]It turned out that nearly all of the Christmas symbols

Many years ago, I was asked to conduct a Christmaspre-dated Christianity, and were called “pagan” by some.
event for the non-profit I’d been a part of. My job: “Find“But what is a pagan?” I asked the group. “It turned outthe real meaning of Christmas.” Even after I agreed to dothat the pagani originally referred to anyone who livedthis, I wondered: How can I do that? How can I be sure in the countryside. Only later did the term take on thethat I’ve really got the “real” meaning? How will I knowsomewhat derogatory “non-Christian” meaning, since itwhether or not I’m right?was harder to convert the people who did not live close to

I was told by Ms. Hall, the then-president of the non-the cities of the day.” 
profit WTI, to make a plan, and that I should write outDuring the next 45 minutes, I discussed the meaningsthe overall reasons and purposes for the event. I was toof the wreath, evergreens, lights and candles, the givingstart collecting all the facts I’d need for my study into theof gifts, the virgin birth, and birth in a stable. I pointedmeaning of Christmas. Sounded good, so far. I neededout that the winter solstice, that darkest day whento discover what all the symbols of Christmas meant,the day’s light increases, has been used ceremonialsymbolically, to each of commemorate the birth of saviors for four or five 

“So you need to focus your thinking on all themillennia. We know Jesus wasn’t born then, but we todayimportant details that pertain to Christmas. Your job is touse that day to commemorate the possibility of a newfind, and then to convey, that real meaning to the others atbeginning.
the event,” I was told. OK. I felt even more overwhelmed. Timothy, who was a guest that night, described theI was not sure I could actually do this and get meaningfulimportance of the winter solstice to ancient people.
results. So, I did the best that I was able to. “That’s why there are so many stone structures and

Finally, the Christmas Eve event took place. It was halfshadows and drawings that tell people when it’s the day ofthe day of music, movies, and delicious food. Once itleast light. Not only did the farmers want to know whenwas underway, everyone seemed to fill their role ratherthe days would get longer, but it was also highly symbolic.
professionally. And then there was my presentation onThere in the deep of winter, when the days were darkest,
the meaning of Christmas. I had toiled over my researchsuddenly the days started to get longer. That’s where thenotes, and done considerable “thinking-into” the subject.birth of the sun idea came from. It’s highly symbolic, asStill, even as I stood there in front of 20 or so people, Iyou’ve been saying, and just about everyone throughouthad my doubts about whether or not I knew what I wastime has taken note of it.” 
talking about.When it was over, I felt that I – and the guests – had come

I explained how I grew up in a Catholic family, andjust a bit closer to finding this real, inner meaning towas taught that Jesus was born on December 25, which isthis special day. But I knew this was not a matter of justobviously why we celebrate his birthday on that date. Butcollecting facts, like some college research project.
by age 14, I began reading literature from non-Catholic,Can I even say that today I know the “real meaning”?
and non-Christian sources, that pointed out that most ofI’ve concluded that, despite all the outward signs andthe Christian Holy Days – including Christmas – wereparties and food, the “real meaning” of Christmas is thatpre-Christian, as hard as that was to believe. Those firstwe should take the time to allow a “new birth” to occur 
revelations had the effect of making me even morewithin our own mind and soul. Yes, that’s not easy, anddepressed at Christmastime, since not only did I perceiveit’s hard work, though very rewarding. This real, innerit as time when the merchants induced us all to buy, itmeaning of this time of the year, is something that anyonenow appeared that Christmas had so-called “pagan” of any culture can choose to experience. 

I had a few encyclopedias with me, and read passages


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder 


I never have to look at the calendar to know when the taking any time off and getting paid for it.
Christmas holiday season is approaching. As soon asAlong with this, all those objecting to ChristmasI lay down my fork on Thanksgiving Day, the battlewould not be eligible for any kind of Christmas giftdrums begin to roll. Somebody, who apparentlyor Christmas bonus. All of these “offensive goodies,” 
does not have much of a life, takes a pot shot at thewould go to those who love and appreciate theChristmas holiday. You would think, from some Christmas season. 
of their comments, the Christmas holiday was theAll government offices would be opened ongreatest conspiracy in all of human history.Christmas day and staffed by all those people who

According to these protesters, the very wordfind the Christmas season so very offensive. Why isn’t“Christmas,” offends them to no degree. They forbidthe post office open on Christmas day? Moreover,
people to say cheerfully, “Merry Christmas,” as if thosewhy don’t I get my Christmas Cards delivered to mewords in and of themselves would create the ultimate on Christmas day?
damage to the person hearing them.To further our agenda, all those offended byTo placate these values-challenged patrons, someChristmas should not be permitted to shop atbusinesses have chosen not to put the wordChristmas time to purchase “Christmas gifts.” Nor“Christmas,” anywhere near their business, replacingshould they accept any Christmas gifts. If they arethat offensive word with the words, “Happy Holiday.” honestly offended by the Christmas season thisEven employees are prohibited wishing customers ashould be anathema to them. 
Merry Christmas, but rather a “Happy Holiday.” This,Any business person with a store should not 
according to the all-wise Christmas Grinch, is morehave a Christmas sale. If they are really offended byacceptable than simply saying, “Merry Christmas.” Christmas, why do they insist on benefiting from

Of course, anybody who is as smart as a fifth-graderthose who delight in Christmas?
knows that the word “holiday,” according to Webster’sWhile I am on the subject, why are all of thesedictionary, means, “A religious feast day; a holy day.” people who want to take God out of government, ourSo instead of saying “Merry Christmas,” they wantschool system and businesses still greedily acceptingus to say, “Have a happy holy feast day,” which seemsAmerican dollars that have clearly printed on it, “Inmore religious to me.God we trust.” If they were really true to their beliefs,

I am thinking of starting a grassroots movement ofthey would never touch another American dollar inpeople who are offended by people who are offendedtheir life. 
by the word “Christmas.” The only problem with this,This would be another part of our grassrootsI would have a hard time finding people as nasty,agenda. Those desiring to take God out of all of thesevenomous and as gray-matter-challenged as thosethings, if they are honest people, should surrender alloffended by the word “Christmas.” People who believetheir money to people who believe in God. After all,
in Christmas and the Christmas spirit are rather good,if you do not believe in God, why accept money thatloving and generous people.boasts in believing in God?

Part of our agenda would go something like this.Throughout the rest of the year, prayer in schoolPeople offended by the word “Christmas” and byoffends these Grinches. This has always “wonderedcelebrating the Christmas season should not be me.” They do not believe in Christmas or God and yetallowed to take Christmas day off with pay. I dowhen either is mentioned they go into a convulsivenot hear any of these people complaining that theyseizure as though their very life is being threatened.
have Christmas day off with pay. If they really wereIf I did not believe in something as radical as theseoffended by the Christmas season they would refuse people say they do not believe in God or Christmas, it

would not threaten me. I might smile at people who

believed in it, but it sure would not bother me and I 

from them as appropriate. I also had The Golden Bough, 

would not be upset to the point where I would forbid

and Manly Hall’s Secret Teachings of All Ages. I told the

others celebrating it. After all, I do not believe in

small group that was gathered there that day that I was

Halloween, but I have not started a movement to ban 

amazed to discover that Jesus was not the only god or

it from our country. I think it rather silly for people

savior of world history who birth was commemorated

to get all dressed up in scary costumes, pretending to

on December 25, or a few days earlier on the solstice.

be something they are not and begging for candy. As

Mithra, for example, was born of a virgin mother in a

of today, I have not started a movement to ban them

cave. His birthday was commemorated on December

from running for political office.

25. Mithraism was the dominant religion of the RomanEmpire during the time of Jesus. Nimrod from Babylon
I allow those who do not believe in Christmas or in 
was also said to be born on December 25, as was Osiris, 

God to celebrate their holidays: Halloween and AprilQuetzalcoatl, and others. 

1. Just let me celebrate my holidays.
“I was very influenced in my early teens by certain
I celebrate Christmas because of what the Bible 
religious groups who taught that we should not observe

says. “But when the fulness of the time was come, GodChristmas because it is pagan,” I told the small group.

sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the 
I explained that it was not until the 4th Century when 

law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we 
might receive the adoption of sons. And because yeare sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son intoyour hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:4-6).

Christmas means that God provided redemptionfor all humanity. Jesus is the real reason for the season. 

Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of GodFellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He liveswith his wife in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352687-
4240 or e-mail The churchweb site is 

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