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Archive for the ‘Celebrate Christmas’ Category

It Is OK To Celebrate Christmas

Posted by Job on March 2, 2007

Mark 14:22-26: And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the

kingdom of
God. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives
. 

The precise date of Jesus Christ’s birth is probably unknowable. (Or is it? More on that later!) But we do know that it was not December 25 or similar. History records that the Roman church – state established the date of what is now celebrated as Christ’s birth to replace existing pagan celebrations such as Sol Invictus and Saturnalia as part of their campaign to cause its citizens to switch from paganism to its brand of Christian religion by force rather than free will conversion. However, we can definitely narrow it down to a period of a few days or weeks. We know from Luke 3:23 and John 5 – 11  that Christ’s ministry began on this 30th birthday and lasted 1260 days. This fulfilled the “70 weeks” prophecy of Daniel 25 – 27, that stated that Christ’s ministry would be cut off “mid – week”, or 3 ½ years, and furthermore that it would be in the middle of the 70 weeks itself  (33 ½ years). Further Jesus Christ ate the Passover feast (the Seder) and was executed the next day (a Friday, Preparation Day), with a high Sabbath the following day (John 19:31), which would have made it sometime during the month of April. Now we know from Revelation 11:3 that Bible prophecy considers a month to be a uniform 30 days, making a year 360 days and 6 months 180 days. So, Christ’s death was 180 days from His birth. The problem: no one knows exactly which YEAR Christ died or was born, and none of the relevant calendars (Hebrew, Julian, Gregorian) are 360 days. But Passover ranges from early April to early May according to the Gregorian calendar, and 180 days from then would put you in September/October. Some posit that Christ was born on Yom Kippur, the day of atonement for sin (my personal belief); a more popular theory is during the Feast of Tabernacles.  

The fact that Christmas is not celebrated on the actual birth of Christ but rather during the time of pagan festivals is only one of the problems that a growing number of Christians have with the celebration. Mistletoe, Yule logs, Christmas trees (and ornaments), gift – giving, Santa Claus (and reindeer and elves), lights, Frosty the Snowman, etc. all have strong elements of paganism in them and certainly have nothing to do with Christ, Christianity, Judaism, etc. So, some declare that the whole thing is paganism and that “real Christians” should have nothing to do with it. Others complain that it conveniently shifts the focus of Christianity from God dying on the cross for our sins to a (human) baby born in a manger in a “story” that “represents” peace, goodwill, love, justice, charity, and “the spirit of giving.” Others take a more fundamental approach: why take part in a lie? 

I say that it doesn’t matter (to a point). Why? Note that thus far, I have specifically refrained from using the term “holiday.” Why? Because “holiday” is a word that evolved from the term “HOLY DAY.” Now as GOD ALONE is holy (I Samuel 2:2), God is the only one who can make a HOLY DAY. Man can do whatever he wants with laws, customs, and observances, but he cannot sanctify or purify a day, and he certainly cannot put God’s Spirit into it. There were only seven Holy Days or observances given by God in the Bible: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day. All of the other false “holidays” were created by man, including Christian ones like Christmas and Easter (also replacing pagan festivals), and Jewish ones like Purim (though mentioned in the Bible) and Hanukkah, and of course all of the many political and cultural ones like Independence Day, New Year’s, and Thanksgiving. Even if man created it to honor God, and even if it commemorates some great miracle by God or occurrence of great spiritual significance (i.e. Purim) it still is not something that God Himself set apart, sanctified, and told man to keep. In that respect, Christmas is no different from any other commemoration or celebration that is not evil (Halloween), subversive (May Day), or SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED to worship another god (Ramadan or any observance from any other non – Judeo – Christian religion) or to replace/reject God (Kwanzaa, created as a Marxist/atheist rejection of Christmas). Now to say that we cannot celebrate (I did not say worship or keep, just celebrate) observances because they have nothing to do with God is akin to saying that you cannot throw a birthday party for your child. Even the fact that it was created to replace a pagan observance: what if your child was born on one of those days? When you consider all the religions that are, have been, and will be, there’s a pretty good chance that such is the case (just as pagan observances fall on or overlap God’s Holy Days from time to time). Look, people who celebrate Easter and Christmas are rejoicing in the birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ, not worshipping another God.  

Now, of course, the conduct on those days is an issue. The Easter bunny and Easter eggs, which are fertility rites? No. And this whole Santa Claus thing? Come on. First off, by telling your kid that Santa Claus exists, you are LYING, which is a sin. Second, I can assure you that even if an entity such as Santa Claus DID EXIST (lives forever, omniscient, visits every house in the world at night while everyone is sleeping with his “elves” and “flying reindeer), no Christian would want him in their house, let alone accept anything from him! Instead, we’d all have preachers and priests anointing our homes with oil and holy water on Christmas Eve to keep him out! Third, you tell your kids that “Santa knows if you are good or bad and are going to give you toys based on it”: if that isn’t idolatry what is? IF you were going to tell your kids to behave to please anyone, it should be THEIR GOD FIRST, THEIR PARENTS SECOND (because God commanded it), PEOPLE IN AUTHORITY (because God commanded it), AND THAT’S ALL! That any Christian would use some system of reward and punishment at the hand of some fabled supernatural being to control their kid’s behavior is idiotic! Besides, controlling behavior: that’s legalism anyway. We are not supposed to be into controlling our children’s behavior, but rather showing them salvation through Christ! Still though, before you use the association with Santa Claus and the Easter bunny to condemn Christmas and Easter, realize that Christian parents are perfectly capable of nonsense like “the tooth fairy”, “the sandman”, “Friday the 13th”, and other such “old wives fables” (I Timothy 4:7) any day of the year.  

Some would say: “Why not keep God’s Holy Days and leave the rest alone?” Well, God’s Holy Days were given to
Israel. If you are not a descendant of Abraham, citizen of
Israel, a Jew, etc. then you are not bound to keep them. Second, we are not legalists. Our salvation and righteousness are through belief in Christ alone and not established, enhanced, or diminished by what days and observances that we keep or don’t keep. That fact is exceptionally expedient to most Christians who do not even keep the Sabbath, which by the way isn’t on Sunday or even Saturday, but rather from sundown FRIDAY until sundown Saturday. And most important: why keep that which is dead, or has been fulfilled? The temple, the ark, the rituals, the Holy Days, and the law all served one purpose: to point to the Saviour. They were to set apart and prepare
Israel to bring Jesus Christ into the world, as well as to be a prophetic description of the Saviour and to demonstrate to us that we needed a Saviour and why. God told us to keep the Holy Days forever? He said the same about the law, the rituals, and most everything else. But now the Christ that all of those things pointed to and described has come, has fulfilled all things, and contains all things. That is why Christ said on the cross: “It is finished” (John 19:30). So, we keep the Holy Days, the law, and everything else by keeping Christ. They have no spiritual value or righteousness apart from Christ, and they add no spiritual value or righteousness to one who already has Christ.
 

Christians should primarily concern themselves with what Christ taught us: to love God with all our strength and to love our neighbor, to go forth and teach all nations, to use the power and authority that we have by His Name and His Blood and The Testimony of The Gospel to withstand Satan and destroy his evil works, and to be watchful and to pray concerning the times and events in anticipation of His Second Coming. Christ – being God – also gave us by Commandment and example holy rituals to keep: baptism, communion, and the washing of feet. Baptism should be a once in a lifetime event (after personally receiving Christ as your Savior), communion and washing of feet can be done at any time and probably should be done as often as possible. Now if you want to keep the Holy Days and other ceremonies and rituals on top of that as many messianic Jews see fit to, then fine. Just make sure that you are keeping Christ’s Commandments to you first – and the vast majority of Christians do not – and realize that it really has no added value to what Christ did for you on the cross and in being raised from the dead, and it will not accomplish anything towards setting you apart, renewing your mind, or facilitating the inward work of the Holy Spirit. All of those things are accomplished by the level in which you realize your faith in grace, not by any work. Which is not to say that there is anything wrong with doing it, or that no good can come from it. Foremost, messianic Jews love to keep these things because it helps them feel connected to their Jewish culture, heritage, and nation, and it also aids their converting other Jews. Also, keeping these celebrations can be great fun; an opportunity to get together with family and other believers and rejoice in all that God has done for and given us, or alternately a somber reflection on the price that Christ paid for us (depending upon the occasion). But then again, Christians are capable of – and really should – do those things at any time, and yes that does include Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, Independence Day, birthdays, weddings, funerals, graduations, etc. 

So the upshot is that far from it being wrong, rather Christians SHOULD celebrate Christmas. Why? Because everyone else is. There is the “be ye not conformed to the world (Romans 12:2)” thing; well if you are going to apply that to Christmas then you should apply it to things that Christians do a lot more than once a year. Remember: Christmas is NOT inherently sinful, so take Romans 12:2 and apply it in its proper place and context like everything else instead of searching for opportunities to be legalistic, self – righteous, or even to the point of creating a new religion out of the imagination of your own heart that purports to honor God but instead honors YOU, who goes around thinking that everyone else but you is some pagan idolator. Do not think that you can exceed the righteousness of the Bible, or that you have access to some level of righteousness, knowledge, anointing, or dedication that virtually no one else has in the world but you. Instead, recognize this: on Christmas, hundreds of millions of people around the globe ARE WORSHIPPING YOUR CHRIST! When all those people gather together in one mind and spirit concerning God, that creates a powerful anointing and moving of the Holy Spirit that fills so many people with happiness, love, peace, and a desire to give and serve as Christ gave and served. Of course, Satan strikes back and motivates people to engage in not only Santa – worship but mammon, overindulgence, sexual sin, lawlessness and rebellion, etc. That explains why there are so many suicides and crimes and so many depressed people. And THAT is why Christians need to get involved. The world is going to continue celebrating Christmas THEIR SINFUL WAY whether Christians continue to keep the holiday or get all self – righteous and drop out. Remember: this is about spiritual warfare, people! We need the praise and worship of Christians about and in the Name of Jesus Christ in order to combat and overcome all of the evil spirits and evil people who are going to be out looking for people to devour during that time. And we definitely should not limit our praise and worship to church. We ought to take it to the streets. That is one of the best things about the caroling tradition: go around singing songs about Christ to people who otherwise would not hear it, confronting them with your faith (during the time when they would be least likely to complain lest they appear to be a “grinch”) and showing them the love of Christ.

And those who have a real problem with the holiday can do what many Christians have started to do on Hallowe’en: evangelize! Since you obviously aren’t going to be dealing with lights, trees, presents, and parties because of your own fears of being a pagan, then use the significant energies and resources that you will save to tell others about Christ! And this would be your opportunity to actually evangelize as Christ did: among the sinners and people who need it the most! On Christmas, there are a lot of lonely unhappy people to be found in bars and restaurants and at movies and such who would endure your proselytizing pitch just to have someone to talk to. And instead of being the one who never gets invited to the Christmas parties because you are “too Christian to be around sinners”, be the one who never gets invited to a Christmas party AGAIN because the last time that you were invited you kept trying to get every lonely, hurting, depressed, insecure person who tries to hide it by getting drunk and acting foolishly to say the sinner’s prayer. Look, Jesus Christ did not give us a religion so that we could go off into some corner and hide and talk about how righteous we are and what sinners everyone else is. He gave us SALVATION and A RELATIONSHIP that He wants us to go out into a world of sinners and share it with as many people as possible so that we could save some of them out of it. And yes, Paul told us to wherever possible not to offend, even if it means eating things sacrificed to idols if it may help you gain your brother (I Corinthians 8:10 – 14). So if you go around declaring yourself too holy for Christmas, not only will you be sticking a finger in the eye of a lot of very dedicated Christians (including a great many in other countries who risk their lives to give God the praise), but you will also be giving an unsaved person yet another reason to reject you and your Christ with you. And would you be held accountable on Judgment Day for offending the saved and the lost in this manner? Yes. I am not saying that you should celebrate Christmas, only that if you do not then you are missing a huge chance to be a light to the world as Christ commanded you to be, and also to not be self – righteous and condemning.  

If Christmas is indeed a bad thing, so what. That only makes it one more bad thing in a sinful world full of it, and when faced with a world filled with sin and the pain and suffering that sin brings, we Christians are to be out on the front lines as a force to overcome the sin and help and comfort those suffering from its effects with our love and the gospel. If that doesn’t motivate you to get out there on December 25 and do some caroling while handing out candy – canes (invented as a Christmas evangelization tool; in the shape of a cane because Jesus Christ is our shepherd, with red stripes to signify His Blood and by His Stripes we were healed on a white background to represent His Purity and how we are washed clean by and in His Blood) with tracts on them or something else on that day to worship with your current brothers and sisters in Christ and to gain new ones, then you really need to get on your knees and ask God to examine your heart.  

Prayer:

Father God in the Name of Jesus Christ, may Your Children celebrate Christmas in a way that brings Honor to Christ’s Name and Your Name and also brings people to salvation through Christ and causes them to be servers, givers, sacrificers, and to show love as Your Son did. In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.   Deliverance:

The demons that work in this area are self – righteousness and accusing. Please read the Basic Spiritual Warfare guide to learn more about how to go against these demons to help set captives free and win battles in the name of your God through the power, authority, and victory given to you by his Son Jesus Christ and by his blood shed for you!

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