Saturday, 24 December 2011

Celebrating Christmas



I've been somewhat on the fence on this topic for many years...and that's because I really didn't know how I SHOULD stand on this topic. I've heard the arguments from both sides of the isle, and I find truth and error in both arguments. Those who say we shouldn't celebrate it at all make me sad...by that I mean, they seem to rigid and dogmatic to me. They remind me of Jehovah's Witnesses who say it is wrong to celebrate birthdays because the only birthday mentioned in the Bible cost John the Baptist his head. Well that IS true...but do we cut off someone's head to celebrate anyone's birthday these days? I agree that celebrating with a fictional character of Santa Claus and flying reindeer makes no sense...however, celebrating Jesus birth into the world ....(aside from the argument that His birthday PROBABLY WASN'T December 25th.....SO WHAT!???!) ....why exactly is it wrong?

So I was heartened to see that Jred spoke on this topic, and asks some very good questions:


http://www.lookupfellowship.com/2011/12/mixing-holy-with-profane-is-what.html

Excerpts:

 This year, I wondered why it is that we seem to know all the demonic, occult, pagan, Satanic things associated with this time of year as if we are experts on the subject (and all in the name of "exposing the darkness of deceit" consistent with Ephesians 5:11 and Matthew 10:16 I'm sure), but we don't seem to possess the same kind of knowledge when it comes to the holy, religious, redeeming, and spiritual aspects associated with this time of year?.....

.....There's something potentially significant that I'm wondering about. There's something pertaining to those who were alive in Jesus' time.

I imagine they had trouble (actually, we know they had trouble) accepting Jesus Christ as the Son of God because of sin, yes, but also because some of them just couldn't understand why a "holy" and "sinless" God would incarnate Himself in a "fallen", "unholy", and "sinful" human body (Mark 10:45; 2 Corinthians 5:21). It's because sin is the reason for the season.

I bring that up because it seems to correlate quite nicely with this entire debate, doesn't it? I mean, those who oppose the celebration of Christmas will often cite all the verses from the Bible about mixing the "holy" with the "profane".

Forgive me, but isn't that what the birth of Jesus Christ is all about? Isn't the virgin birth a mixing of a holy God with an unholy human body? Isn't that the very essence of the thing we celebrate during this (or any other time of the year) as a fundamental tenet of our shared faith?

So what's the problem then? Why the constant debate? Why the protest? Why the incessant hand-wringing over the celebration of Christmas?

************************

It does seem that those who advocate not celebrating Christmas in any way whatsoever do seem to know all about the Pagan, demonic, occult, Satanic things about it, and nothing of what is:

Philippians_4:8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

It's almost as if there is an all-pervasive need to always find the ugly about anything with some of these folks...and perhaps that is the problem Jesus saw in the Church at Ephesus:

Rev 2:2  "'I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.
Rev 2:3  I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary.
Rev 2:4  But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.

With all the finding what is wrong with everything, do they ever mention what is good and sweet and gracious and encouraging? Perhaps they think that making everyone hate Christmas is doing good and sweet and gracious and encouraging things by making everyone aware (continuously) of every evil in the world....but then doesn't that go against Philippians 4:8 admonition to only concentrate on those things that are good and pure? Do we have to constantly find the ugly in everything and continue to purge it out with our disdain for anything that might even have a faint glimmer of possible Pagan influence in it? Or can we find that good part that might turn other people's attention back to the One who makes all things pure?

If Jesus is the reason for every season...doesn't that INCLUDE Christmas?

********************************


Edited to add:

 Jred had a couple of comments in the comment section, which he addresses, and then he has this which is about where I am with this right now too:

At the end of the day, I think this still holds true...

"To summarize briefly, I’m convinced by Scripture and conscience that Christians are not obligated to observe Christmas, and that Christians are not obligated to not observe Christmas.

Christmas observance, or non-observance, (just like the observance or non-observance of any other day) plainly falls into the Biblical category of a matter of indifference and liberty (Romans 14-15; Col 2:16-23).

 
My point in publishing this material isn’t to advocate for, or against, the observance of Christmas (or any other day), but rather to make the case that

a.) such things are matters of liberty and conscience in the light of Scripture
b.) many of the popular myths surrounding the origins of Christmas, even within the church, are often dubious, and sometimes misleading/false and 
c.) many of the most strident objections to the observance of Christmas if applied equally and consistently can have far reaching [and quite probably un-Biblical, legalistic] implications in actual practice."

Some of you will maintain that 'Christmas' IS ugly and evil. I get where you’re coming from. There are many points where I actually agree with you. Really, I do.

In the spirit of Romans 14, I’m okay with that though. I would never dream of trying to convince YOU that YOU should celebrate something that YOU don’t believe YOU should.

I’m just wondering where the line is drawn between 'celebration' and 'worship' because that’s what I think this all comes down to. Maybe that would’ve been a better angle for me to have approached this study from this year.


7 comments:

  1. I love this post.

    It makes sense!


    Back when I first woke up to the fact that Christmas wasn't "biblical" I got all self-righteous about it for a while.

    The Lord has a way of melting our hearts, though, in spite of what we see as good or bad.


    That quote to the church at Ephesus is brilliant and really points something out. Fault-finding can truly result in losing our first love!



    Merry Christmas:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Ma,

    At work we have a student who told me he is from the Pentecostal denomination. He says "Praise God" alot...and there's nothing actually wrong with THAT, and yet something does seem off. One day I showed him my blog, and as I scrolled down the page he saw a youtube video of Celtic Woman. He asked "Why is she dressed like THAT? That is so HIGHLY inappropriate." It was a picture of Maev, her shoulders are bare, but no cleavage is showing. It brought to mind Jesus at Simon's house having His feet washed with the tears of such a "highly inappropriate" woman, and Simon's comments about it. Yes, he is right, it is highly inappropriate....we are ALL highly inappropriate, and yet God loves us. What amazing grace. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I liked the comment that Jred put in the comments section of that post, so I edited it into my post at the bottom...he sums it up nicely about our Christian liberty. God makes the narrow way broad beneath our feet so we can dance like King David danced, but there was Michal (his wife, daughter of King Saul) who was "highly disapproving" of his "highly inappropriate" behavior, of dancing in his underwear.....and although she was probably "right", it was David who was after God's own heart, and God made Michal infertile (a curse upon her) for her reaction to David's joyful expressions. It does give me reason to pause....

    ReplyDelete
  4. You've said it perfectly, Susan, Merry Happy Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Musemater! Merry Christmas to you and loved ones too :D Celebrating Jesus is good in any season! <3

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've been looking at the comments on Jred's blog, the usual arguments against "the traditions of men"....but isn't it a "tradition of men" to tell other people what they should and shouldn't do, instead of following as the Holy Spirit directs? The Lord shows us how He can use things that bless people "in season and out of season" and find treasures in both old and new:

    Mat 13:52 Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.

    We are not to force others to our own opinion, if they see it fine, and if they don't fine....and believe me it has taken me a long time to see that. When I felt strongly that the Lord showed me something, that I saw others doing wrong, I honestly felt it my duty and responsibility to force others to see what God had shown to me....that is not what God has put me here for.

    Each of us is directed by God individually, and each of us is given gifts by God to do with as He personally directs each of us individually. What He has me to do might be (and probably is) different from what He has others do uniquely made to what He made me for. God didn't make cookie cutter Christians. :)

    If He decides to bring some to a knowledge of who He is through celebrating Jesus at Christmas time, why would He be wrong to do so? If some (many?) decide that Christmas is a good time to bring warmth to the winter months by remembering the blessedness of Jesus birth, why should anyone say "You mustn't do that!"...?

    Jesus brings blessing and goodness to His own any and every season, not condemnation and cursing. Jesus birth into the world is a reason for celebrating and for thinking on with wonder and joy.

    Just because some decide that Jesus not being born on Dec 25th should be a reason to not celebrate, well, that is their own journey, and peace be unto them.

    <3

    ReplyDelete


Please be as gracious as you would like others to be to you. Thank you :)


Please try to keep your comments on the topic of the post you are commenting on.

If there is a link to an article or podcast, or if there is an embedded video please view these before airing your views on the posting. If you clearly did not watch video/read link I may choose to remove your comment or leave your comment and then not respond to it ...particularly if you have a question that is already answered on link or video.

Opposing viewpoints are of course allowed here, however, I will limit such discussions to two or at most three further comments on one topic, so do try to get all your criticisms in while keeping that in mind, and don't take it personal....I just don't want to be bogged down with a constant barrage of replies that go on and on like a dog chasing it's tail in circles.