Thursday, November 18, 2010

Celebrating Christmas?

Here is a good study on when Jesus was born.

Jesus was not born in December, and the holiday called “Christmas” is a man made construct designed primarily to benefit man and not God. It is curious that gifts are given to each other when Christmas is supposed to be a celebration of Jesus’ birthday. Where are His gifts? The holiday itself has become a spectacle of hedonism and consumerism with a touch of religious sentimentalism. Great and expensive Christmas pageants are presented around the country while other believers are persecuted, live in prisons, or even starve elsewhere in the world.

If the church began to celebrate Christmas during Rosh Hashanah or on Yom Kippur, it might be more appropriate. And if we celebrated it with joy and worship without the clamor of presents and credit card enthusiasm, it might be much more representative of our faith. The world has not adopted our holiday, we’ve adopted theirs. The New Testament exhorts us not to observe days, especially days which we have invented. When we mold our faith and our God into things that are events to watch and be entertained, then we have removed the spiritual essence of our faith.

The observable manifestation of Jesus should always be embedded in the lives of those who profess His name and follow His Lordship. Theatrical presentations can be used for evangelism, and some people have come to Christ through Christmas pageants, but the observance of Christmas has now become a western spectacle that is so void of anything resembling Jesus or the New Testament, that even Jews and other religions celebrate it without feeling that they are compromising their own faith.

I attempt to avoid being legalistic or hysterical about the issue of Christmas, but I do not observe it any longer. The most insidious forms of paganism are those which shroud themselves in Christian verbiage and even go so far as to claim to be Christian observances in and of themselves. When a believer dresses up his child as Moses and allows him to collect candy on Halloween, that might be an issue. However, at least no one claims that Halloween is a Christian observance. But what if Halloween began as a ecclesiastical holiday designed to promote giving as outlined in John 3:16? And if over the years the goblins and ghosts had consumed that holiday to where they were the focus and not God’s gift of His only Son, would it still be appropriate for believers to celebrate it?

Gal.4:9-11 - But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

he account in Luke concerning the birth of Jesus was specifically designed to reveal His divine birth, and present Him as the virgin born Savior of the world. No New Testament writers recall with any specificity that event, and Paul says only that “in the fulness of time God sent His Son”. The birth of Jesus was not meant to become a holiday, and surely not the disgusting display it has become today. It makes us feel good and gives us that Norman Rockwell holiday spirit, but it is a mirage and a deception that for the most part draws us away from Christ and not to Him.

And yet those that trumpet their literal Bible stance are reticent to even address the issue, much less repent and adjust their celebration accordingly. I do realize that in the course of what is entrenched and accepted I am considered a nut and a Scrooge. I take no pride in that and I am aware that many committed believers celebrate Christmas.. (The word itself is compromise.) But perhaps Jesus is not returning as soon as some of us believe. And if so, perhaps God wants to sanctify His people in anticipation of a mighty move of His Spirit.

I do not believe in a world wide revival, however I do believe pockets of revival are possible if God’s people are willing to allow themselves to be pruned by the Sword of the Spirit. But if we resist being challenged in the obvious issues, how will we bow willingly to the more painful and sacrificial ones? And in the end, what have we sacrificed for Jesus and His kingdom?

The Lord has place a difference between you and the Egyptians.

Where is that difference? Where is that sweet smelling fragrance that identifies us as humble reflections of the Lord Jesus? I ask you this question: What holiday do we as believers celebrate that the world does not? The truth is that the New Testament exhorts us not to celebrate holidays, especially those in concert with the world. The historical birth of God the Son was probably in September or early October, but the greatest replication of that birth takes place when a sinner believes on the Lord Jesus and Jesus is “birthed” inside his mortal being.

When we celebrate communion, we do not eat candy straw out of plastic mangers. We eat bread and wine that represents the blood and body of Jesus on the cross, and we do that looking forward until He comes. But in true Israelite fashon, we have taken that which is good and made it into an idol. Do we celebrate the circumcision of the infant Jesus? In this latter part of December, I exhort you to take inventory of what is happening all around you. I believe the Spirit will reveal to you how much He disapproves of what men suggest comes from God. If you want to accurately observe the birth of Jesus, you will have to wait for naxt fall. This year's date has already passed.

1 comment:

Josef Sefton said...

Beautiful and inspiring, Rick

Blessed be the name of Beloved Jesus whose loving gracious compassionate interceeding heart always longs to bless us.
May we all offer sacrifices of praise unto His matchless name now and forevermore.

Cherished visitors to this blog, pure precious Jesus alone was worthy to suffer in our place. Truly His face was set like a flint to be our slaughtered
sacrificial salvation-bringing Lamb.