Christmas and the Bible

christmas-and-the-bible

christmas-the-bible

 

There is nothing for or against the celebration of Christmas in the Bible.  There is no command for or against it.  As a result, believers have the freedom to choose to celebrate or not to celebrate based upon their convictions.

For those who celebrate Christmas they can find the first “Christmas” celebrated in the Bible but we don’t see anything further in regards to celebrating the nativity of Christ.  The celebration of the nativity of Christ is first mentioned in history in 2nd century.  The celebration of Christmas today is based upon this history and tradition which traces back to the Bible but is not mentioned clearly in the Bible itself.

For those who apply Scriptures commanding believers not to join in the customs of the heathen to Christmas, there is no Biblical backup for this other than taking one’s understanding of history and fitting these things into the Scriptures.  I encourage those who are “anti-Christmas” to make the case against Christmas from the Bible alone as I did and I am confident, if they are honest, they will not be able to do so.  One must take one’s understanding of  history to make a case against this holiday.

For those in favor as well as those opposed to Christmas the same can be said.  History is examined in light of the Bible and interpretation is applied.  So which side is right and what is a believer to do?  Follow the Spirit of God and walk in love (1 Corinthians 8:1-3).  Recognize that none of us have all the truth so perhaps we should be open to others disagreeing and walking in faith differently than us.

I’ve come to find that the people who celebrate Christmas actually have more Scriptural backup for doing so than those who accuse the brethren of being “pagans” for celebrating.  I hope to share why I believe this a little in this article and more in upcoming ones.

I think a lot of people get into the “anti-Christmas” camp because they want to please God and live holy, pure lives.  I know this is why I went in this direction.  I was surprised to find that what actually happened to me when I got into this camp was the opposite.  I became judgmental and separated myself from the body of Christ because of their supposed “uncleanness” and grew more and more into the image of the accuser of the brethren when I was trying so hard to become more like Christ.  I bore false witness about a lot of things which I thought were true but were lies nonetheless.  I saw Christmas as a “satanic” holiday but in reality it is has been used by God for a couple of thousand years to spread the Gospel to the world.

One of the claims of “anti-Christmas” people is that Christmas is not in the Bible and that they only will do holidays in the Bible.  Yet, you can’t condemn Christmas as pagan through the Bible…you have to get a bunch of history (some true, some false) to make that claim. I’ve found that if you only use the Bible, you can actually destroy the anti-Christmas argument pretty easily.

The past couple of years I’ve gone through the arguments I used to make and took away the supposed facts from history and tried to use only the Bible to argue against Christmas and have found that I couldn’t do it.  You can’t prove Nimrod was the “founder” of Christmas from the Bible.  You can’t prove December 25th was a “pagan holiday” from the Bible.  You can’t prove Christians during the time of Constantine adopted this holiday from the heathen and you can’t prove the Christmas tree is from Jeremiah 10 solely from the Bible.

I started to dig into history from a more un-biased view and found that there is a lot of solid evidence that Christmas is not pagan at all but was founded by true believers in Christ and that a lot of the supposed “pagan” stuff wasn’t originated by the heathen but was started by Christians and were later corrupted by the heathen.

It’s easy to use wikipedia or google to dig up dirt on something (especially Christian) and “prove” it is evil.  You can take any truth of the Bible and find dirt on the internet about it.  If you use equal weights and measures about the claims which are made about Christmas being pagan and apply it to other things of our faith you can turn virtually everything in the Bible into a “pagan,” “satanic” conspiracy.  Adam & Eve, the Flood, Moses, David etc. all have pagan parallels and “history” (science falsely so called) says the heathen versions came first…so according to the “pagan Christmas” line of thinking, the entire Bible is a pagan document.

I’ve found that the claims about the “paganism” in Christmas has some truth but a lot of it is based upon poor research and half-truths of men in the past who had an agenda to destroy all things which they perceived as Roman Catholic.  A lot of the information which people use against Christmas comes from Alexander Hislop who made a lot of errors and far-fetched connections in his research to “prove” Roman Catholicism is Mystery Babylon.

Ralph Woodrow was the “modern day” Alexander Hislop and wrote a very popular “anti-Christmas” book in the 1960s but later came out with a book called “The Babylon Connection?” in which he refutes his past book and the work of Hislop because he found he was teaching falsehood.

The more I looked into what I believe about Christmas, the more I found that what I believed was based upon Alexander Hislop.  The Jehovah’s Witnesses use Hislop’s research, Herbert Armstrong used his research and most of the modern teachers who teach the “pagan Christmas” view use his work as well.

The idea that Nimrod married Semiramis and their offspring was Tammuz is Hislop’s theory based upon mixing and matching different pagan myths.  The truth is that there is no solid evidence that Nimrod ever met a woman named Semiramis and it can’t be proven that Tammuz was even a real person.  He was a vegetation god not necessarily a historical person.

So what happened to me and many others is that we started following the myths of Alexander Hislop.  Hislop based a lot of his work on poor etymology which the Bible warns us about (1 Timothy 6:4-5; 2 Timothy 2:14) and Jewish fables about Nimrod which the Bible also warns us about (1 Timothy 1:4; 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:4; Titus 1:14).

We cannot take our understanding of history and force it into the minds of others.  If our doctrine is based upon history then we must be willing to give grace to those who don’t see history as we do.  For those who believe that Christmas is pagan, I encourage you to prove this entirely from Scripture before you make the claim that those who don’t agree are “denying” the “truth.”  The Word of God is truth (John 17:17; 8:31-32; 14:6; 1:17), not historical writings of men.

If you believe Nimrod is the “father” of paganism & the Mystery religions you aren’t going to be able to prove this through the Bible.  If you believe Christianity was corrupted by Constantine you aren’t going to be able to prove this through the Bible.  If you believe Christmas trees, Easter eggs and the like are pagan you aren’t going to be able to prove this through the Bible.  All you have is interpretation of history.  If this is the case, please don’t condemn other Christians who interpret history differently.

Following is an article entitled “Is Josephus Reliable” written by Brenton Cook which brings forth some excellent points on Josephus which I think are pertinent to the Christmas subject and can be applied to all historical documents.

“One of the most-quoted resources about the world during Bible times is the first-century historian Josephus. But who was this man, and should we trust what he has to say?

Famed Jewish historian Josephus Flavius was born in Jerusalem in AD 37 or 38, not long after Christ’s crucifixion. The son of a priest, he became a Pharisee, a military commander in the Jewish resistance, and an eyewitness to Jerusalem’s destruction in AD 70. Eusebius, the first church historian, calls him “the most famous Jew of his time” and tells of a statue erected in his honor in Rome.

For two millennia Christian scholars have preserved and studied Josephus’s works, especially his account of the Jewish revolt (The Jewish War) and a complete history of God’s people from creation to the first century (Antiquities of the Jews). Pastors often incorporate details from Josephus in their sermons without even realizing they came from him. But should we trust his works?
A Valuable Eyewitness

While every historian is fallible and must be read with care, historians can be very helpful, especially when they report firsthand knowledge. As a teenager, Josephus spent time with various Jewish sects and knew them well. He later observed the Jewish revolt from the front lines. When he was captured, he got to see the other side. In fact, he won the favor of the general, Vespasian, by accurately predicting his rise to the throne of the empire. Josephus ultimately switched sides and received Roman citizenship, even adopting Vespasian’s imperial family name, Flavius. He now had access to the emperor’s libraries, military reports, and court records from Herod and other rulers in Palestine.

The principal value of Josephus’s work lies in his discussion of Jewish history from 100 BC through AD 100. His narrative of this era is strongly supported by numerous authentic sources he gathered and interpreted with skill.
 
Josephus’s works provide us with valuable details that do not survive in any other records. In fact, he provides the most important extrabiblical information on many key political figures, such as Herod the Great, Felix, and Pilate. For instance, most of our knowledge of Herod’s extensive building projects, such as the temple that Christ often visited, comes from Josephus.

His works also provide insight into the inner workings of first-century Jewish sects such as the Pharisees and Sadducees. His description of another sect, the Essenes, helped confirm that they were the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He also provides gripping details about other first-century events, such as the destruction of the temple (prophesied by Christ in Matthew 24:2) and the Jews’ last-ditch resistance atop Masada.
Yet Josephus was not an eyewitness to most events in his works. His history is only as good as his sources. The early history in The Antiquities of the Jews is far removed from his own personal experience. We can only be sure of the details that coincide with Scripture, but the others are no more trustworthy than the traditions he relied upon.

Pro-Jewish Bias

Though many Jews viewed Josephus as a traitor, he nevertheless remained loyal to his people. The Jewish revolt had caused hard feelings in Rome, and Josephus wanted to change that as a historian and apologist for the Jewish people. While praiseworthy, this bias is cause for caution.

 

His pro-Jewish sympathies emerge clearly in The Jewish War. That work portrays most Jews as peace-loving citizens. He blames Jewish zealots, whom he calls “bandits” and “brigands,” for the collapse of Jewish society in the first century.

Antiquities, written later, attempts to show the superiority and antiquity of the Jewish culture. To achieve that end, it tends to exaggerate the good qualities and ignore the unflattering failures, such as Aaron’s golden calf, in an effort to promote the Jewish cause.

Historians now generally agree with Harold Attridge that Josephus’s Antiquities were a “propagandistic history.” His “paraphrasing [of] the narratives” of the Old Testament was a “creative adaptation” aimed at presenting Jewish history as “relevant, comprehensible and attractive in a new environment.”1

A Different Set of Standards

To read Josephus correctly, we need to keep in mind that he was a product of his times. Readers in first-century Rome had different expectations than we do today. It was common practice for historians to shape or add details to make a good story. Josephus gives a famous account of the last stand of the Jews atop Masada. Instead of surrendering, he says the Jews selected several men to slay the majority and then turn their swords upon themselves. Yet archaeologists have not found the bodies to verify his story.

Also, like other historians of his day, Josephus sometimes invented heroic speeches and put them into the mouths of his subjects, such as the patriotic oratory of Eleazer, the leader of the Jews atop Masada. Since the men who heard Eleazer were slain in the siege, and since Josephus wrote the account from Rome, he cannot possibly have had access to the full speech.

Few ancient historians were careful about numbers and statistics, either. Scholars know that Josephus often errs on the chronologies of first-century events with which he was quite familiar. So be wary of any numbers he gives.

In summary, Josephus is an eminently important and helpful source for gathering details about New Testament times, but Christians should be careful not to read him as an apologist for Christianity or to rely upon him too heavily. Nor should they be ignorant of his bias in favor of Judaism and his willingness to deliberately rewrite Old Testament narratives to provide a more flattering picture of the Jewish heritage.”

The writings of men like Josephus and Philo are valuable for Christians because they came forth during the time period in which Jesus and the Apostles lived.  There is great value in studying this time period in order to gain a better understanding of the New Testament writings.  However, one cannot take these writings as 100% accurate.  One should not base their doctrine on their writings.

Some who are zealous to learn about this time period will look to the writings of the Rabbis during this time period as well (100-300 AD).  However, these writings (The Mishnah, Talmud(s), Tosefta etc.) are not reliable historical documents.

The following quotes come from Jacob Neusner, “one of the most published authors in history, having written or edited more than 950 books”, most famous for translating numerous Rabbinic texts into English.

“The early rabbis created an ideal cultic world with little continuity with the real world of the second-temple period. Neusner wrote, “It [the Mishnah] purports to describe how things are. But it tells us more about a fantasy than about the real palpable world, the world concretely known to the people who wrote about it.”  {Jacob Neusner, Messiah in Context pg 24}

“The Mishnah is a document of imagination and fantasy, describing how things ‘are’ out of the sherds and remnants of reality, but, in larger measure, building social being out of beams of hope.  The Mishnah tells us something about how things were, but everything about how a small group of men wanted things to be.”  {Mishnah translation by Jacob Neusner pg xvii}

“So, in all, the Mishnah represents the thinking of Jewish sages who flourished in the middle of the second century…When we consider that, in the very time in which the authorities before us did their work, the Temple lay in ruins, the city of Jerusalem was prohibited to all Israelis, and the Jewish government and administration, which had centered on the Temple and based its authority on the holy life lived there, were in ruins, the fantastic character of the Mishnah’s address to its own catastrophic day becomes clear.  Much of the Mishna speaks of matters not in being in the time in which the Mishnah created, because the Mishnah wishes to make its statement on what really matters.”  {Mishnah translation by Jacob Neusner pg xvi}

“But it [Mishnah] would not provide us with an exhaustive and reliable account of the world actually viewed by those people, I mean, the world of Jewish people of the first and second centuries in the Land of Israel…through regulating a world constructed mainly in mind, the sages of the Mishnah built a world that would endure from their time to ours.”  {Mishnah translation by Jacob Neusner pg xix}

The point to be made is that those things which are recorded by historians are not always 100% accurate.  All historical sources have some bias, whether or not the writer is trying to be objective or not.  Some historians are merely propagandists, others are sincere but have been deceived or misinterpreted their sources.  When it comes to matters of faith, we can’t rely entirely upon historical sources to make judgments on God’s will.  We must look to the Bible.  The Bible says that we all see through a glass darkly (1 Corinthians 13:12) so we must give each other grace in how we “work out our own salvation” (Philippians 2:12).

The true “test” to see if one’s application of history to their walk is based upon “truth” is if they are bearing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23; Philippians 1:9-11; 2 Peter 1:5-8).

Has your study of history caused you to grow in grace (2 Peter 3:18) or has it caused you to become bitter?  C.S. Lewis speaks of this “history” study which leads to bitterness.  In the following quote Lewis speaks of “filthy atrocities read in the paper” but one can apply this to “pagan roots” claims which one can readily find on the internet and in the interpretation of history by some.

“Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, `Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally, we shall insist on seeing everything – God and our friends and ourselves included – as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.” {C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity}

The New Testament warns us not to give heed to writings of men which lead to the above description by Lewis.

Tit 1:14  Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
Tit 1:15  Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
Tit 1:16  They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

Has your study of history caused you to grow closer to His people (Colossians 1:9-18; Peter 1:22; 2 Corinthians 6:6) or has it drawn you away (Proverbs 18:1; Jude 1:19; Ezekiel 14:7; James 3:15)?

Don’t assume that a fellow believer who doesn’t see things as you do is an ignorant fool or heretic because they don’t submit to your understanding.  Many times, our world-view is coming from less than accurate history such as with Josephus, the Rabbinic writings, or writings of men like Alexander Hislop.  If one wants to believe certain historical writings as factual then that is their prerogative but don’t point the finger in condemnation at those who don’t believe these things to be 100% trustworthy.  Don’t assume that another believer is outside of God’s will because they aren’t walking as you are when it comes to convictions based upon history.  Some times the other person is closer to God’s will than you are because they aren’t equating “historical writings” with fact.

Love Bears All Things

love bears all things

We can’t force our convictions on others so we must be tolerant of their understanding (1 Corinthians 13:7) as the Lord has been patient and tolerant with us. Tolerance comes from the Latin word ‘tolerantia’ which means to “bear” which compares with the Greek word στέγω ‘stego’ (bears) of which love performs (1 Corinthians 13:7).  Love “beareth” all things, yet love does not rejoice in iniquity (1 Corinthians 13:6).

Toleration is from the Latin ‘tolerationem’ which is a “noun of action from past participle stem of tolerare” which means forbearance.  We must recall that while we were yet sinners and enemies of God (Romans 5:8-10; Ephesians 2:1-6; Colossians 1:20-21) He showed us His great forbearance in sending His Son to bring reconciliation between Himself and us (Romans 2:4; 3:25).  As a result, we are also to be “tolerant” to others who are overtaken in sin and error and extend His goodness to them (Romans 2:1-4).  We are to seek to restore one overtaken in a fault, bearing one another’s burdens and so fulfilling the law of Christ (Galatians 6:1-3).

‘Tolerantia’ traces back to the Hebrew word תלה ‘talah’ which means to lift up and hang as in the Messiah being lifted up (Deuteronomy 21:23; Galatians 3:13) that mankind might be reconciled to the Father while we were yet in our sins.  Messiah is the epitome of toleration.  He who was without sin tolerated the presence of sinners and bears their burdens/sins that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).  As a result, we are to carry this same “toleration”, the ministry of reconciliation, hating the sin of the world, yet never hating the sinner (1 John 2:9-29).

There’s nothing wrong with disagreements with one another as we all see through a glass darkly (1 Corinthians 13:12).  The important thing to remember is that love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8) and the wisdom from above is “pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy…and the fruit of  righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” (James 3:17-18).

Tit 3:2  To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.

Jas 4:11  Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

1Pe 3:8  Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
1Pe 3:9  Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
1Pe 3:10  For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
1Pe 3:11  Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.

We all know IN PART. We all prophecy IN PART. God did it this way so that we would have the common sense to know we need each other.

1Co 13:1  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
1Co 13:2  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
1Co 13:3  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
1Co 13:4  Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
1Co 13:5  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
1Co 13:6  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
1Co 13:7  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
1Co 13:8  Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
1Co 13:9  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
1Co 13:10  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
1Co 13:11  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
1Co 13:12  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
1Co 13:13  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

1Co 8:2  And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.
1Co 8:3  But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

Eph 4:1  I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
Eph 4:2  With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
Eph 4:3  Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Eph 4:4  There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
Eph 4:5  One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Eph 4:6  One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Eph 4:7  But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
Eph 4:8  Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
Eph 4:9  (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
Eph 4:10  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
Eph 4:11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Eph 4:12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Eph 4:13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
Eph 4:14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Eph 4:15  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
Eph 4:16  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

2Co 13:14  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

Receiving One Another

romans 14.19

 

God has received those who celebrate Christmas and Easter and He has received those who celebrate Sukkot and Passover.  If God has received a believer, we should too (Romans 14:1-3; 15:7).  If God has taken a believer by the hand, we should too.  We are to walk in God’s name/character, His love.  Our rejection of another is declaration that God has rejected them too.  This is a form of profaning His name.

Rom 14:1  Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
Rom 14:2  For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
Rom 14:3  Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

Rom 15:7  Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

The Greek word for “receive” is προσλαμβάνω ‘proslambanō’ which literally means to “take by the hand,” to “take to one’s self as a friend”.

John Gill commentary

“receive him; not only into their affections, and love him equally, being a believer in Christ, as one of the same sentiments with them, only in this matter, but also into church fellowship with them. The Syriac version reads it, הבו ליה אידא, “give him the hand”: in token of communion, a form used in admission of members. The Gentiles were apt to boast against, and look with some contempt upon the Jews, and were ready to object to their communion, because of their want of light and knowledge in these matters; but this was no bar of communion, nor ought a person to be rejected on account of his weakness, either in the grace, or in the doctrine of faith, when it appears he has the true grace of God; and much less on account of his weakness in that branch of it, concerning Christian liberty; for since Christ does not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax, nor despise the day of small things, churches should not: it may also intend a receiving of such into intimate conversation, at their private meetings and conferences; taking particular notice of them; giving them proper instructions; praying with them and for them; endeavouring to build them up in their most holy faith, and to bring them into the knowledge of those things they are weak in; bearing their weaknesses patiently, and bearing with them in great tenderness: thus such should be received,”

Rom 14:1  Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
Rom 14:2  For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
Rom 14:3  Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
Rom 14:4  Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
Rom 14:5  One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
Rom 14:6  He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
Rom 14:7  For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
Rom 14:8  For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.
Rom 14:9  For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
Rom 14:10  But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
Rom 14:11  For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
Rom 14:12  So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Rom 14:13  Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
Rom 14:14  I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
Rom 14:15  But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
Rom 14:16  Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
Rom 14:17  For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Rom 14:18  For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
Rom 14:19  Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Rom 14:20  For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
Rom 14:21  It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
Rom 14:22  Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
Rom 14:23  And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

 

If we are convicted not to celebrate Christian holidays or participate in customs such as Christmas trees or Easter eggs we shouldn’t condemn our brothers in Christ who do so as “pagans” when there isn’t good evidence that the origin of these customs come from pagans. We should receive them as brothers as God does like Romans 14 talks about. If they are doing it unto the Lord then they are glorifying Him and we shouldn’t speak against them and slander them (Psalm 59:19-23). Its up to each one of us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), being fully persuaded in our own minds (Romans 14:5-6), seeking to not put a stumbling block before our brothers (Romans 14:13-14). We are all going to stand before the judgment seat of Christ and He will judge whether or not someone was doing a custom unto Him or not (Romans 14:10).

Let each person be convinced in his or her own mind and follow the Lord wholeheartedly in that conviction (Romans 14:5-6). We all have to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling so we ought not to point the finger of condemnation at others as each one of us falls or stands according to the Lord, not man (Romans 14:4).  Regardless of what ‘side’ one chooses, we are to receive each other as the Lord has received us (Romans 14:1-4), bearing one another in love (Romans 15:1-3; 1 Corinthians 13:7).  In this way we can break down the walls and “sides” and unify in the love of Christ (John 13:34-35; 17:11-23).

Heb 2:11  For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

We are not to strive about the law but let each person work out their own salvation.

Tit 3:9  But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.

Php 2:12  So, then, my beloved, even as you always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much rather in my absence, cultivate your salvation with fear and trembling,
Php 2:13  for it is God who is working in you both to will and to work for the sake of His good pleasure.

It is the role of the Holy Spirit to convict of righteousness and sin, not us (John 16:7-8).  The duty of believers is to be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is within them. (1 Peter 3:15).

We don’t have all the answers, but we do have the love of God.
1Co 8:2  And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.
1Co 8:3  But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

Love covers a multitude of sins (mistakes and misunderstandings of the Word/Will of God).

Pro 10:12  Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.
1Pe 4:8  And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

I’ve found that Christmas (Feast of the Nativity) was being celebrated by Christians who learned directly from the Apostles…it wasn’t something instituted hundreds of years later by “Constantine Christians” as is claimed by many.  Even the date of December 25th has a lot of good historical backup and early Church Fathers speak of this date as the true day that Jesus was born.

If we dig hard enough we can find information about “pagan roots” of pretty much anything.  The truth is that all things come from God who created everything very good.

Most of the myths of the heathen are based upon what they saw in nature.  Even Albert Pike says this.  Things might have gotten corrupted but the Gospel is all about restoration and reconciliation.  Sin, death and the devil have been overcome and when we continually give back to the devil things which Jesus has conquered we are in essence denying Him and giving the victory to Satan.

We are too busy trying to find what is “of Satan” and miss that Jesus has brought light into the darkness and life from the dead.  This is the message of Christmas (Luke 1:79).  Even if some heathens celebrated the winter season in a devilish way in the past, I believe God made the winter solstice to be a shadow which points to the Gospel of the Promised Seed Jesus.

For me, when I see Christmas trees and lights on houses I rejoice because people are proclaiming that Jesus, the Light of the world is the Lord.  Even if they are doing it ignorantly, they are still proclaiming the truth of the Gospel.  Paul said that whether people preach Jesus sincerely or because of envy and strife he rejoiced that Christ is preached (Philippians 1:15-18)…I have come to the place that I feel the same way.

Previous articles:

Christmas 2016

In Defense of Christmas

Christmas & Herbert Armstrong

 

Next article: Christmas – Little Guy in the Eye

Holidays christian-holidays-2

blessing-4

Comments

comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *