Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Message

Thanks Brother,

I send this to my friends,
On Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 10:39 AM, <> wrote:

My "Christmas" Message to You

Well just like clockwork, once again this year around the beginning of the 12th month, the emails began trickling in from all the legalistic, albeit well meaning, souls who consider it their duty to correct my theology and save me from "Christmas".  However, in their defense I will say that most of these folks tend to be more dedicated and quicker to challenge things that others consider too sacred to question.  In that regard, I certainly give them credit.  I believe there's nothing wrong with challenging peoples sacred cows since the truth will always hold up under scrutiny.  Just the same, in deference to Christ, and in pursuit of a more accurate revelation of what the Scriptures actually teach about this subject, I am compelled of our Lord and King to submit here to you the following for that said purpose. 

I have compiled here a list of the most frequently given reasons why people - the majority of whom consider themselves Christians or christian -  tell me they don't celebrate Christmas or even recognize the Nativity of our Christ.  While there may be others, these are the ones I seem to hear over and over again every year.  They are...       

1)  Jesus wasn't born on December 25th.

2)  In Jeremiah chapter 10 the Bible says don't set up a "Christmas tree".  

3)  The gospels give different accounts with different information about the Nativity story.  

4)  Celebrating birthdays is a pagan practice since the 1st Century church didn't celebrate the Nativity or "birthdays" at all.

I have considered all these myself from time to time and, certainly, they are worthy to address having been postulated sincerely by those whom I believe, in most cases, are seriously seeking the truth.  And so, lets look briefly at each one of these to see how they hold up in the light of Scripture and sound biblical thinking.

1)  Jesus wasn't born on December 25th.  This is probably true, but so what?  Romans 14:4-6 very thoroughly addresses this argument.  It reads, "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.  One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike.  Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.  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...".  My family chooses to celebrate Christmas (which, personally, I like to refer to in the language of Scripture as the Nativity) and focus all that we do in connection thereto solely upon the miraculous incarnation of our Creator.  The fact that the natural man has corrupted his understanding of the Nativity - like everything else he touches - has no affect on the way my household honors Christ by it.  Because they have turned it into a highly stressful, commercial pagan event imposes no obligation on me to do likewise.
2)  In Jeremiah chapter 10 the Bible says don't set up a "Christmas tree".  No, not actually.  Jeremiah 10:2-5 makes no mention whatsoever about putting up a tree and decorating it in celebration of the Nativity.  What it does say indirectly, is to do so without a good purpose is pagan and vain.  Go read it for yourself.  More importantly, this scripture is directed to the "House of Israel" - those under the old covenant - just like Leviticus 4:15 which instructs elders to, "lay their hands upon the head of the bullock before the Lord: and the bullock shall be killed before the Lord."  The truth is, those of us who are in Christ and under His better covenant are no more prohibited from having a "Christmas tree" any more than we are required to kill a bullock before the Lord!  If you want to drag that dead decaying, stinking carcass out of the Old Testament law over into our new and better Covenant in Christ, be my guest!  Just don't expect those of us who have been set free from those dead carnal works of the flesh to join you.   

3)  The gospels give different accounts with different information about the Christmas story.  Yeah... so what?  James 1:22 says be, "a doer of the word", while at verse 25 using the phrase "a doer of the work".  Does this make one verse wrong and the other right?  Of course not.  They're, very simply, both correct; not mutually exclusive of each other.  At Proverbs 26:4 it is written, "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him".  Then, in the very next verse, it says, "Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit".  So, is one wrong and the other right?  Of course not.  If you are lead of the Spirit rather than your own human deduction, in any given situation you will know which of the two to apply.  However, if you are not lead of the Spirit, these verses will look like a contradiction and you will be clueless to the Mind of Christ concerning how and when to use them accordingly.           

4)  Celebrating birthdays is a pagan practice since the 1st Century church didn't celebrate Christmas or "birthdays" at all.  They didn't wear underwear either, but I'll bet you do!  Again, so what?  If Hitler's favorite desert was vanilla pudding and mine is to, does that make me an evil Jew hating dictator?  Come on people... let's use our brains here!  Personally, as an ambassador for the Christ I'm not big on celebrating birthdays - especially my own - since under the secular laws of the natural man your "birthday", after your name, is the most critical minimum contact or indicia necessary for the imperial powers to know in order to legally attach to and prosecute you.  The bottom line here for me is, if it doesn't violate the spirit of Scripture, and it brings me closer to the Lord Jesus, in any way whatsoever, it is a good thing. 

And so, whatever your belief or convictions may be about "Christmas" and the Nativity of our Christ, Philippians 4:8 pretty much embodies my persuasion of it all.  "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."    
I don't particularly expect to change any ones mind with any of this, but if, by the Spirit of God, I have managed to plant a seed of truth that will later grow into a fuller revelation of the Mind of Christ concerning the Nativity, I will be happy to have at least done that.

Have a blessed and wonderful Nativity in Christ; and remember to pray for those who are suffering the difficulties and tribulations of these last days of the church age.

William Raymond: pastor & ambassador for the Christ

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