Thursday, December 16, 2010


Years ago I began to think about the various greetings that all of us used during the “Christmas season”. Merry Christmas - Seasons Greetings - Happy Holidays - Have a Good Christmas - Have a Blessed Christmas - all of which are nebulous greetings that are suggestions about the enhancement of us and not the glory of God. “Happy, merry, and blessed are aimed at having Christmas be enjoyable to us. Rarely if ever did someone say, “Glory to the birth of the Incarnate King!” And the time and money spent for each other seemed out of character for a celebration that was supposed to commemorate the coming of Emmanuel.
The word “Christmas” itself is a Roman Catholic combination of Christ and mass. This holiday was not observed in the early church, and was an invention of the institutional church as a response to the winter solstice pagan observation. That is the reason it is celebrated in December and not in the fall when Jesus actually was born. Shepherds do not sleep outside in the winter “keeping watch over their flocks”. It is far too cold. And just an hour long study of when Elizabeth became pregnant, and when Mary visited her, will reveal that John the Baptist was 5 or six months older than Jesus.
But even if “Christmas” was accurately celebrated in September today, the current mode of celebration undermines the entire essence of the story and purpose of the Incarnation. The sentimental “peace on earth” blanket is misleading and in fact disguises the very purpose of God the Son’s Incarnation. It is a disgrace. And to think that millions of believers join energetically in this pagan celebration must grieve the very Spirit that impregnated the young virgin.
How self righteous it is for us to create a holiday, force feed it with Jesus, and then celebrate it like drunken sailors spending their paychecks at a foreign port. And what does this holiday bring to a culture?

* The suicide rate increases.
* Many secular businesses make astounding profits.
* Many marriages begin to crumble because of the stress.
* Many people add to their personal debt.

This coming Christmas will be just another spiritual tragedy to God’s Kingdom. Any observance of the Incarnation must be projected through the prism of Golgotha and the resurrection. They cannot be an aside or an “Oh by the way”. The focus must not be on wise men (who were not there anyway) or shepherds or mangers. The focus must be on the Glorified Christ, crucified and risen! And if you understand this: He must not just be our focus - He must be our life. And if we desire to make Him our Lord, we must be willing to hear what He says and obey. So in the interest of hearing Him let me share a few of His words.

Gal.4:7-11 -Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.
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.

o instead of observing the Old Testament holy days, we have created our own. That is a shadow of the law. At least “Easter” falls on the resurrection day and is not encumbered by the enormous weight of hedonism and sentimentality, at least in the church. And even though it should have another name it cannot be placed in the same category as Christmas. But if we truly desire to obey and please Christ we must not observe “holy days”. God instituted holy days and feasts as fore shadows of the coming Christ. He has come, and the shadows must now give way the fulfillment.

Col.216-17 - Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
17Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ

Here Paul encourages believers not to take offense when others persecute you for not observing the holy days that they do. Do you realize that one of the ways true believers could be a peculiar people in the darkness would have been to do nothing? When the world invented Christmas, all believers had to do was humbly not entered into that observance and they would stand out. I sincerely believe that could have been a great source of evangelism and it would have consistently invited curious questions. But alas, the church decided that Christmas was too good to pass up.
I was raised with Christmas, and to my mother it was her favorite time of year. All sorts of sentimentalities are observed within the holiday name Christmas. People have a favorite Christmas tree ornament; many treat picking out a Christmas tree as a spiritual event; some have special cookies they make; some take great pride in outdoor lights and different Christmas scenes; and some observe traditional Christmas Eve events. And there is the obligatory gluttony. All of which are designed to make us all feel good and enhance the experience of Christmas. Of course everything I mentioned is only available to people with means.
I do not expect anyone to read this post and have an epiphany. What I do hope is that some will allow the Spirit to ask questions within them. And if that happens, you will see how great a cultural idol Christmas is, and how great the peer pressure will be if you even breathe the suggestion of abandoning Christmas. People will be much more understanding if you admit to having a drinking problem than they will if you suggest that Christmas should not be celebrated. I cannot fully convey to you the freedom that comes when you take a step of faith like this. I must confess to enjoying the lack of pressure to spend and the consternation over what to buy and the counting down of days and the horrific migrations to malls and other retail places. Yes, I enjoy that part of it. But more than that, I hope I have pleased Him who actually did come in the likeness of sinful man in order to suffer and die for my sins.

Christmas isn’t about Bethlehem, it’s about Calvary.
In fact, if you desire to celebrate Christ's birth, celebrate it on "Easter".
(Or better yet celebrate it every day.)


Anonymous said...

The article 'Christmas' is excellent! I agree that the holiday has become distorted by commercialism. I appreciate your using the holy scriptures to back your points. I celebrate Christ's birth because He came to save mankind from sin and redeem him to Himself. This is the true meaning and purpose of the day. Your final statements are so true, "Christmas isn’t about Bethlehem, it’s about Calvary.
In fact, if you desire to celebrate Christ's birth, celebrate it on "Easter".
(Or better yet celebrate it every day.)" God bless your ministry.

Anonymous said...

The Lord has opened my eyes this year to the hollowness of this "holiday" that is really not a "holy day" at all.
The assumption that we have to participate in the obligatory gift exchange and send cards and decorate is really bothering me this year.
I was told that I needed to get into the "Christmas Spirit"!
I said that I have a joy that comes bubbling up out of the spring of life-giving waters that is the Holy Spirit within me and I don't need any other spirit than that. The worldly "joy" and "cheer" at this time of year has become just so much clamor in my ears.
My husband enjoys the whole gift-giving, cookie eating, holiday movie-watching thing so I just smile and wait for it all to be over for another year.
Jesus said that He gave a peace - but not as the world gives...
Christmas is a very worldly time - it's more than a day, but a season. I'm not a scrooge because I don't love Christmas - I love and give all the year. I don't need it thrust upon me by the world!
Thank you for another wonderful post!

Josef Sefton said...

Jesus is uniquely Our righteous Rescuer and Redeemer!

In my opinion true believers would be wiser not to use the word "Christmas" at all!

I believe we ought to be celebrating the entire life of Jesus whilst He lived on earth, His victory on the cross.

Additionally, we ought to be celebrating His resurrection, His continuing intercessory work, His soon coming as Judge and His holy nature as holy God and Our LORD.

Yes, let us celebrate every precious, true detail that makes Our Saviour Jesus unique, so that we can teach insightfully, and to the glory of God, against Isa and Allah in the Koran!

Rick Frueh said...

These comments certainly indicate a shift in how believers view the secular construct called "Christmas".

Steve said...

Forty years study verifies everything you say, brother. In brief summation: the Church for its first 350 years didn't celebrate Jesus' birth (rather, His resurrection), major Reformers (John Knox, John Calvin, and others) considered it (as one wrote) "an abomination," the religious-immigrants to colonial America overwhelmingly rejected the holiday (Puritans passed laws against its observance), leading evangelical denominations and individuals (Presbyterians, Charles Spurgeon) taught against it even after it was made an official U.S. holiday in 1870.

The idea of "believing in" Christmas (and the sentimental popularity of the holiday) primarily began with Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" in 1843. It's a strange "Christmas" story: the words "Jesus" or "Christ" never appear. Yet it's a story of a "conversion"--Scrooge comes to "believe in" CHRISTMAS !! (Not coincidentally, the first commercial Christmas card went on sale the same year.)

Political manipulators claim there's a "War on Christmas", a "liberal" attack on this Christian and American "tradition," ignoring the fact it's neither. But CHRISTIANS are themselves ignorant...and become prey to the deceivers.

Jesus Christ, Son of God, took on human flesh and was born of a virgin. Beyond that supreme fact, "Christmas" is mostly compounded of "traditions of men" and second-hand paganism.

God forgive us if we make such a fabric of lies our primarily witness to the world !

In Jesus, Steve

Anonymous said...

Good article..over this past month the Holy Spirit has been showing me what an abomination to God Christmas is. We are not to have one foot in the world and one foot with God. That's idolatry. There are a lot of Christians out there wanting to put Christ back in Christmas but they don't realize He was never there to begin with. I started thinking about when someone is born it's the creation of a new life but Jesus wasn't created..He's the Creator.. He was in heaven with His Father before He was sent here to die on the cross for the sins of the world. He is the resurrection and the life... Now Jesus did tell His apostles to remember His death by the partaking of the bread and of the wine until He returns. So it was His death that He wanted us to remember. If we were meant to celebrate Jesus birth date, God would of made it known to us. We know it's not Dec 25...that's a lie and we know who the father of lies is.