Catherine's Curiosity Corner

Buy the truth and sell it not. Prov. 23:23
 

Should a Christian Celebrate Christmas?

 About this time of year our society is bombarded with everything Christmas.  The stores can’t get the Halloween decorations down fast enough to put up the Christmas sparkle.  The store aisles are overflowing with the newest gadgets to entice your money right out of your wallet.  Suddenly everyone starts thinking about being charitable and doing good deeds, feeding the hungry and homeless with a rush of the warm fuzzies being felt upon dropping a dollar in the Salvation Army buckets.  Almost without notice they find themselves humming along to the piped in music and may even sing along to tunes that tell of a baby born in a manger, peace on earth goodwill to man and a savior being born this day when their voices at no other time hail the Most High’s name.  Most of these people don’t give Jesus a second thought the rest of the year.  But somehow it seems most acceptable to give him a thought or two in December.  For many it is the only time they will visit a church building in the year.  If you try to strike up a spiritual conversation with these people any other time of the year you are likely to be either ignored or told to buzz off.  But none of this has anything to do with why I don't celebrate Christmas.  So then, why don't I?

 It's been more than a few years since I stopped celebrating Christmas.  I had never given it a thought before that.  It was a deeply ingrained part of my past and I was into it along with the best of them.  What made me change then?  Especially as a Bible believing Christian – what could possibly have led me to this drastic about face?  How can I claim to be a Christian and not celebrate the most important day of the year for most Christians?  I can answer that with one word – T.R.U.T.H.  Yes, learning the truth which led to my conversion out of denominationalism and into the simple church that Christ built was the catalyst of change for me.   I realized by simply reading my Bible (especially the New Testament which is where we can learn all about the church Jesus built) that I had not been doing God’s will but my own.  My beliefs and practices, although they “seemed” right and holy and done in all sincerity, were in fact the doctrines of man and did not come from God.  All my life, from a very young girl I believed I was a good Christian.  But I had been rejecting God all along by following the practices of men.  I remember feeling bad for all the people in the world that weren’t “lucky” enough to be born into a Catholic family – how did I come out so lucky?  Ah, but I wasn’t lucky at all.  And I was lazy, accepting without “testing the spirits” to see if they are from God.  What a shock at 47 years old to realize I’d been wrong all along.  How long had He endured my vain worship.  How long had my prayers fallen on deaf ears?  How long had I rejected the Lord who suffered and died for me and wanted me to do things His way?

 

Does God Care How We Worship Him?

One thing I learned very quickly in my search for truth was that God does not accept just any worship.  He has always told man exactly how He was to be worshipped.  Sincerity was never enough.  It must be proper worship.  In fact, the very first murder ever committed was the result of vain worship, of trying to do things our own way.  Abel offered his sacrifice to God according to God’s will but his brother Cain, with all sincerity, offered what was best in his own mind.  When the Lord was angry with Cain it caused Cain to be angry to the point of murdering his brother.  Abel offered of the best of the flock whereas Cain offered the best of the field.  Is meat necessarily better than grain?  No, not necessarily.   God made both meat and grain, but obviously specified one over the other as an acceptable offering.  It is obedience that matters to God, and Cain was not obedient. 

 

What Does The Bible Say?

So what does all this have to do with Christmas?  Well, actually it has everything to do with it.  The world wants to celebrate Jesus’ birthday.  But is that what God has asked us to do?  No.  Since He has told us how we are to worship Him and there is not one word in the Bible about celebrating that day, then sincere or not, that worship will be in vain.  The world wants to celebrate his birth, but God through the Holy Spirit commands us to remember his death, not his birthday. 

1 Corinthians 11:24  24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me."

1 Corinthians 11:26   26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.

The Apostles emphasized the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:1-4
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,

1 Corinthians 2:2 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

When God has told His people how to worship Him He has always specified the “when, what and how’s” necessary to fulfilling the commandment.  He told us that we are to remember:

·         “what?” – the death of Jesus

·         “when?” – on the first day of the week

·         “how?” – the elements of unleavened bread and fruit of the vine (not alcoholic wine!!)

The Bible, although it does tell of the story of Jesus’ birth, does not give a date, and if we were to “guess,” then Dec. 25 would most certainly not be correct simply due to the fact that that would be a most unlikely date given the fact that the sheep were in the fields at night and that would not have happened in the wintertime.

Throughout the holiday season we see only a helpless infant in a manger.  But our salvation comes through the grown man Jesus and what He did on the cross for us!  His salvation is not in His birth, but it is in His death on the cross.  We are of course knowledgeable that He had a beginning in His earthly life, however it is through the end of His life that we are saved and thus it is His death that we are to proclaim to all the world.  That He died (for our sins) and resurrected (that we too may one day be resurrected to eternal life, Him being the firstborn of the dead.)

So we can see that if God had wanted us to celebrate Dec. 25 (or any other day) as Jesus’ birthday He would have told us at least a date and given us some instruction to carry out the commandment.  Seeing that He did not command any such thing, then our worship is not according to His will and is therefore in vain.

I could go into many other reasons why a Christian should not celebrate the holiday religiously, but a simple list will suffice for now:

·         If we were to keep a day in memory of the birth of Christ, it would be a commandment to the Church, and not a universal holiday for all people, as is the practice today.

·         Does the Church today have Biblical au­thority to celebrate Christ's birthday on Dec. 25th or any other day? Definitely, not. There are no passages we can use to justify our joining hands with the world to practice a thing in the name of religion that was handed down to us by the Catholics that we have no Scripture for at all. Christians are commanded to come out of Babylon and not be partakers of her sins. Rev. 18:4. In II Cor. 6:17 we read: "Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate said the Lord and touch not the unclean thing and I will re­ceive you." Many people are in spiritual Babylon and don't know it.

·         The word Christmas means "Christ mass." It came to us from the Roman Catholics. They got it from the heathen celebration of Dec. 25 as the birthday of Saul The Sun God. Thus, it came from idolatrous worship which is strictly forbidden in the word of God. It was a pagan holiday that was celebrated long before the birth of Christ. Later it was inaugurated as the day for celebrating the birth of Christ by the Pope of Rome. Then the pope, saying, we have a mass for    many others, let us have a mass for Christ, selected Dec. 25th for the mass. Thus we see the day most people believe to be Christ's birthday is actually a day borrowed from the Pagans and handed down to us by the Catholics.   It was another of the many attempts by the Catholic church to convert the pagans to “Christianity” without having to “give up” their pagan practices – just change the name to something more Christian-like, but keep the practice.  Paul the Apostle told new converts that they had to put off the old man of sin, not stay in it.  Deuteronomy 12:29-31 tells us NOT to learn the ways of the pagans or to do as they do.

·          There is no hint in the New Testament that the church celebrated Christ's birthday on Dec. 25th or on any other day. In Acts 2:42 "they continued steadfastly in the Apostles doctrine in fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." The Apostles doctrine em­phasized the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and not the birth. The first day of the week was given for the day upon which the Church is to assemble to show forth the death of Christ. Acts 20:7. The Apos­tles forbade the Church keeping days not authorized in Christ's New Testament plan. Gal. 4:10-11. "Ye observe days and months and times and years. I am afraid of you lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain." Notice, Paul said his labor among them was in vain if they observed unauthorized days, etc.

Be not of the World

Some may legitimately ask me why I don’t just celebrate it non-religiously.  Many Christians do just that – and many I know personally.  The simple answer is that my conscience won’t allow it.

Some Christians opposed to the religious celebration of the holiday say they can celebrate Christmas in a non-religious way. I just don’t see how that is possible.  How can you keep a religious day in a non-religious way? We are to let our light shine. Mt. 5:16. When people see us doing what they are, how are they to know we are not doing it for the same purpose they are? That is just an excuse some use to do as they please. That just shows the world that we are just like them.  Most of my family still celebrates it as the birth of Christ and if I were to participate with them it would certainly put me in a tough position with my conscience.

 Superficially, the holiday has some redeeming qualities if you could separate it from the religious aspect, but more often it is an overblown excuse for excess resulting in overextended debt, an excuse for lasciviousness and drunkenness, half-hearted giving, stress and often despair when the holiday overlaps illness or family tragedies, and it is a well known fact that it is prime time for drunk driving incidents resulting in holiday memories of loved ones dying at the hands of another.

 It is a fact that there are many very lonely people whose depression sinks ever deeper during the holidays.  This is not to say that a holiday shouldn’t be celebrated because it makes some people sad, but for all the “warm fuzzies” going around, it belies truth in many ways for many people.   And speaking of those warm fuzzies, once the hub bub is over with, all that holiday cheer goes away for another year.  And for some who overextend their credit cards, often it is the giving on the first day of the week that is the first to suffer when the hurt is on.   It is also a time when parents see fit to lie to their children about a man named Santa who possesses many of the traits God (sees all, is everywhere, writes your name in his book, special powers etc. etc.) is said to have and who, when they realize they’ve been lied to about, causes them to question God too – maybe He’s not real either!

I used to be one of those who proclaimed, “Put Christ back in Christmas!”

Now I know and proclaim that “Christ never was in Christmas to begin with!”

 

 

 
 
 
 
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