The Tip of the Viceberg
Possessions and Possession
The season is seasoned with every kind of greeting but that which is the very Reason for the Season: the Birth of Jesus Christ. The verbal engineering is just the tip of the viceberg in satan's agenda to eliminate any mention of the Son of God, for the serpent has wormed its way into courts, commerce and churches, slithering through the branches of society. Happy Kwanza, everyone! Happy Hannukah, all! Happy Winter Solstice to you, and a Happy Ramadan, too! But don't you dare say "Merry Christmas!" Woe is us! Woe is the US!
"Lastly, have not the forces of evil done everything within their power to eliminate all possibility of thinking, reflecting, and communicating with a God so worthy of adoration and appreciation yet so often rejected by our sheer weakness and ungrateful selfishness? It is the separation of people and God rather than the foolish church and state debate that will bring the ultimate downfall of this society!"
Recently I read that upside down Christmas Trees have become the novel fad this upcoming season. It seems that these trees are hung from the ceiling or wall and are popular with some seeking a clearer display of ornaments or more room for bigger gifts. Ah, yes, greed. Considering the cost of these trees ($392.00) I might ask who is fleecing whom. For some, these inverted trees seem an interesting conversation piece as a second tree. Many, however, reject this latest fad as the latest absurd idea like pet rocks. It occurs to me, however, that this fad unwittingly reflects a society that has turned Christmas upside down for a myriad of pathetic and superficial reasons.
The holy monk Abba Serenus once made a number of perceptive and profound observations regarding the influence of the devil and his power of temptation. These observations gain increasing relevance in a world that has begun to take the form of a possessed person rather than a society of thinking, rational, moral individuals.
Evil Specialists of Inverted Priorities
Serenus observed that various demons have varied specialties of temptation. Some focus on material temptation, others on carnal temptation, and still others on temptation of power, for example. This is somehow consistent with a world where specialization has increasingly become the norm rather than the exception. In the old days, people carried out many functions requiring a number of varied skills because they needed to do so and because it was just accepted as normal. Increasingly, The New Order tells us that we must focus on one key skill or area to effectively deal with modern technology and life. In everything from pitching in baseball to assembly line thinking, we are increasingly type cast into smaller and smaller categories, departmentalized into obscurity.
Many will argue that this is all part of the evil plan to make us appear to be more focused experts while we are in fact becoming limited, handicapped moral and practical beings. We are sold the idea that a doctor, for example, cannot be effective unless he or she focuses solely on skin, the lungs, or the heart. While this may be true for many good reasons, the bad part of this equation is that dermatologists forget how to treat broken legs and surgeons forget how to deal with patients' mental state. In the moral and spiritual sphere, we are often sold an ineffective or even distorted moral compass or strategy and told that we must focus solely on that way of approaching moral issues. Rationalism, relativism, proportionalism, and all manner of defective moral mechanisms are portrayed as the way of facing moral issues such that many ignore other, more effective and more moral avenues.
We can see only too clearly how the Christmas season has lost much of its spiritual and religious dimension and message amid the onslaught of commercial, secular, materialistic, superficial, modernist, and even pagan influences. Though this year it is especially evident, look back to your childhood and you'll remember even then Santa Claus taking prominence in the marketplace. Now he is regarded as the only link to Christmas. How sad. This is all so obvious by the attack on Christmas from atheists and radical liberals, seeking to wipe the infant Christ from the map as they are doing with innocent infants through abortion. Given this inverted sense of priorities and morality, it makes ironic sense that a tree used for Christmas should likewise be inverted and standing on its head just as this society has chosen to stand what Christmas should really mean on its head as well.
Other than the proverbial need to do things differently and reject tradition, many have favored this upside down tree because they claim that it allows for a clearer and more attractive display of ornaments. Still others argue that such a tree allows a better arrangement of gifts allowing for large gifts as well. Does this also not further reflect a society more concerned with appearances and material things? Doesn't this all make sense if one accepts the aberration that what matters is how things look and what we can get out of situations? At the end of the day, doesn't all of this just reflect the latest example of how this society twists and distorts anything and everything to suit its needs, whims, and arrogant views?
Three States of Possession
Serenus identified three stages by which the devil and his demons possess a person's life.
- First, they increasingly possess his mind and thoughts such that evil and immoral ideas become common visitors upon his psyche.
- Second, they rob him of the fear and appreciation of God and hence the respect for God's gifts and authority.
- Thirdly, they destroy all possibility of recollection and meditation on spiritual things, thereby completing their possession of the target person.
Simply put, evil + absence of God=ingrained evil. Apart from the obvious truth of these stages for the individual, does this not also reflect what has happened to this society? Has not evil become an accepted point of debate and discussion through an over-intellectualization of its content and an under-appreciation of its potential for harm? Has not that evil entered through false odors of serious intellectual consideration or fanciful play via the occult?
Secondly, has this society not increasingly lost its fear, appreciation, respect, love, devotion, and obedience of its God? Has not The Almighty increasingly become the object of mockery, debate, heresy, disrespect, and sheer arrogant rejection?
Lastly, have not the forces of evil done everything within their power to eliminate all possibility of thinking, reflecting, and communicating with a God so worthy of adoration and appreciation yet so often rejected by our sheer weakness and ungrateful selfishness? It is the separation of people and God rather than the foolish church and state debate that will bring the ultimate downfall of this society!
This brings us back to the whole Christmas flap. Sheryl Karas, author of The Solstice Evergreen: The History, Folklore and Origins of The Christmas Tree, has said, "It's a pagan thing…there's something sinister, almost bad, about it." Like much of the devil's handiwork, I believe that this upside down Christmas Tree is anything but an innocent fad. It is consistent with the devil's pattern of taking traditional things and inverting them for mockery and evil purposes. If Satan knows how to do anything, it is spreading his evil in the costume of innocence and benign themes. Hidden behind such apparent innocence, however, is usually great evil and toxic influence. Like the occult and such things as Harry Potter, the upside down tree is merely the latest vehicle by which the devil has infected Christmas with his poison of perdition. While the upside down cross originates with St. Peter, the devil has adapted it as the inverted cross of satan. This is a symbol everywhere to satanic belief and practice. That is why the fact that John Paul II willingly went along with the obvious inverted cross carved into the papal throne while he was in the Holy Land in 2000 was so scandalous. Yet few said anything or were scandalized. That is how deep Lucifer has penetrated psyches everywhere and dulled so many consciences.
Two Motives for Divine Providence
Serenus concluded his observations by noting that God allows demonic attacks upon us as either a test of our fidelity or as a punishment for our sin and neglect. That is one answer to how such a scandal above, and many others under JP2's regime were allowed. Surely every one of us has failed that test of fidelity often enough to merit our eternal regret and humble plea for mercy from a God only worthy of total loyalty and love. Surely as well we have all merited whatever punishment God should deem us worthy of considering our ungrateful reaction to His love and mercy. On a societal level, has this world not been tested so often only to fail and deserve the punishments and suffering inflicted? Certainly all natural evils are man-made in the sense that they are allowed by a loving God hoping to shock us back to reality!
For the past 40 years He has allowed the True Sacrifice to be taken away as had been prophesied in Sacred Scripture and by saints. Now, He is allowing memory of His birth and name to be wiped out by an evil society bent on total surrender to the prince of the world. But He has a method to His Divine "Madness" for in our plight, our exile, He uses these 'losses' to help us remember what we have lost and do all in our power to recover it. It is a process as old as the Old Testament. We just need to heed the signs of His Divine Providence.
The holy monk Serenus is just one of many thinkers who have meditated upon the character of temptation and its nature. His observations on that nature and its progression depict a clear comparison between individual and societal temptation and perdition. We would do well to think about these observations and use them as a guide to dealing with such temptations more effectively. Perhaps such considerations will help us to see the evil visage behind the false smile that sin and evil portray in a society increasingly unable to see beyond that smile of sin, and then we will start asking folks why are they so 'merry and joyous' during this festive season if they omit the Reason for the Season.
What it boils down to is that it does not take a genius to see that Christmas and its true message of love, sacrifice, devotion, peace, and the touch of God upon mankind has been corrupted and now even rejected by this increasingly lost society. The latest fad of selling upside down artificial Christmas Trees is just the most recent example of this kind of corruption, distortion, and mockery of Christmas. Many people place a star or angel at the top of the traditional tree to symbolize the Nativity Story. It is interesting to note that an inverted tree does not allow for such a decoration at the top since it is upside down. Its subtle message is that making room for artificial meaningless appearances and material gifts is more important than any symbol of the first Christmas. Simply put, this kind of tree represents a society turned morally upside down that is more concerned with appearance, materialism, convenience, novelty, modernism, and secular motives that make room for the influence of the devil and push away any reference to Christ. Once again, apparent but false innocence hides the devil's despicable apple of perdition as he slithers through a Christ-less Christmas!
Editor's Note: Heaven is once again under attack by those who would seek to ignore and overthrow God's majesty and authority. Gabriel Garnica, educator and attorney, submits regular insights and commentaries to remind and help guide readers toward a deeper and more assertive faith. Touching on topics and issues ranging from personal faith, doctrine, education, scripture, the media, family life, morality, and values, Gabriel's notes are music to traditional ears but unpleasant tones to those who have bought into the misguided notions so prevalent and spreading in today's Catholic world.