Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Holidays

Tired of Happy Holidays? Did someone take the Christ out of your Christmas? I just saw this headline. "School district bans Christmas cookies..."

No worries. There are several ways to look at the situation. Let's look at a few facts.

Our Savior Jesus was not born on December 25th. We Americans love our holidays and our traditions but did you know that our Savior Jesus was not born on December 25th? It is true. He was not even born in the winter. He was probably born in the early fall.

Luke tells us in 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. (KJV) Having spent two years of my life in that region, I can tell you that it gets cold in the winter. The shepherds do not have their flocks out in the field during the winter. Jesus could not have been born in December based on what Luke 2:8 says.

The Christmas Celebration has Pagan roots.  History tells us that many ancient civilizations worshipped and celebrated the sun. The winter solstice was a big deal for such worshippers of the sun. The pagans worshipped the sun, they worshipped saturn and these pagan festivals predate Christianity by hundreds of years. The yule log, the mistltoe and even the so called "Christmas" tree has its origin with pagan rituals and celebrations.

Jeremiah 10:1-4 Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. (KJV)

God says not to learn the way of the heathens. Rock carvings depicting evergreen trees as sacred symbols have been found all over Scandinavia. Some are as old as 1800 BC. When Christianity became the religion of the land in Rome, it was easy to roll all of the pagan traditions and celebrations right in with the new religion. Mystery Babylon got a foothold on Christianity right from the beginning.

Neither Jesus nor God the Father told us to celebrate Christ's birth. The scriptures would provide us the date of Christ's birth if we were supposed to celebrate it. Truth is, the date that we celebrate Christ's birth is historically the date of a pagan holiday. The method by which we celebrate Christ's birth uses all the same pagan props and merrymaking. For some, this celebration is one more opportunity to exercise the excesses of the flesh. 

We looked at a few facts concerning Christmas. How about some ideas concerning gift giving?

Wise men came from a distant land to worship the child King of Kings and Lord of Lords. They did not give gifts to each other. The wise men gave gifts to baby Jesus but it was not the baby in the manger that they visited. It was a young child who was living in a house. Matthew 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. (KJV)

We cannot literally present our Lord and Savior with gifts today but we can and should worship, love and thank Him. We can also follow his last commandment; John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (KJV)

Look at this exchange with Jesus: Matthew 22:36-39 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (KJV)  

I am in no way advocating that fellow Christians put themselves under the law. Thankfully we are operating under grace and not under the law. Having said that, as Christians we should always love and care for one another.

Acts 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. (KJV)

Instead of giving someone a gift who has all of their needs met, why not give a gift to someone who is hungry or is in need of warm clothes? If you feel the need to celebrate the season with gift giving, consider those who have far less than you do. There are thousands of worthy charities; pick one or two.

Want to put Christ where he should be? Celebrate the birth of our Lord everyday! No eggnog or tree sacrifice required. Rejoice in the fact that his blood was shed to atone for your sins. He is the blameless lambkin who was slain before the foundation of the world...before you were born and had the opportunity to sin, he was already your savior!

Celebrate if you want to... but don't get too excited that someone said Happy Holidays and took the Christ out of your pagan holiday. He should never have been in it! Worship in spirit and truth! Everyday is Christ's day and no one can take that from you. 

Instead of giving uncle Bob a sweater he'll never wear, donate to a local charity or a family who is in need. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Maybe you will consider a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project?

Grace be with you!

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