Christmas is upon us and once again a spending splurge is thrust upon us and we find ourselves spending more than we would like to simply because it is CHRISTMAS!
But what is Christmas? What does it mean to us as Christians?
Much has been written about Christmas. Go to Google and you will find lots of information, most of which is of a dubious nature. Here are some facts to consider.
- It purports to celebrate the birth of Christ. GOD is very clear as to when Christ died but not so about HIS date of birth. No date is recorded in scripture and the first date offered was January 6th, and this was later changed to December 25th. All this happened in the 4th.century (+/- A.D.350)! Christmas was not even mentioned for the first 300 years after HE (Jesus) died. Dionysius Exigus(?) circa AD532, came up with the idea of dating world events from the birth of Jesus starting with AD 1 and so-on. But he got this wrong so that according to his calculations Jesus was born on 4 BC!!
- Luke 2:8 tells us that the shepherds kept watch over their flock by night. History shows that in early October they began to gather their flocks off the mountainside and fields to avoid the cold rainy weather—too cold to stay out all night! See Ezra 10:9,13. 9 So all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered at Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth of the month; and all the people sat in the open square of the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of heavy rain. 10 Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have transgressed and have taken pagan wives, adding to the guilt of Israel. 11 Now therefore, make confession to the LORD God of your fathers, and do His will; separate yourselves from the peoples of the land, and from the pagan wives.” 12 Then all the assembly answered and said with a loud voice, “Yes! As you have said, so we must do. 13 But there are many people; it is the season for heavy rain, and we are not able to stand outside. Nor is this the work of one or two days, for there are many of us who have transgressed in this matter. Ezra 10:9-13 (NKJV) So, this certainly was not December and probably not before April when the warmer weather approached. The exact date of Jesus birth is entirely unknown, as all authorities acknowledge. If GOD had wished us to observe and celebrate Christ’s birthday, HE would not have so completely hidden the date from us!
- Scholars have suggested that the beginning of this great departure that is known as Christmas began with Nimrod, (Genesis 10:8). He was the builder of an empire that contained cities such as Ninevah and the infamous Babylon. He was the builder of the Tower of Babel which was displeasing to GOD (Genesis 11:1-8) who scattered them and gave them different languages. Here began Paganism. Men left GOD and devised the cultures of “many gods”. Eventually, with the growth of Christianity, these pagan societies accepted Christ but were allowed, in not encouraged, to bring their evil customs with them into the Church. These customs were convenient and attractive to early Christians as they themselves were often converted from paganism.
- The Bible warns us of these diversions. The Christmas Tree, Holly and Mistletoe are all pagan origin and welcomed the promise of new life. This is the Winter solstice when nature began to turn from the depths of Winter into the promise of Spring. Pagan societies focused their various concepts on this fact of nature (the solstice) and the 25th December emerged as the popular date. It is said that an entrenched belief is not altered by facts, and so it was with these “new Christians”! It was a time for merrymaking and riotous living and so was popular with the common man. Today it is presented as something respectable and almost all churches embrace it.
- WE HAVE ONLY TOUCHED “THE HEM OF THE GARMENT” More could be said but the question remains DOES THIS HONOUR CHRIST? In Matthew 15:8-9, Jesus quotes the words of Isaiah. v.8. “These people draw near to ME with their mouth, and honour ME with their lips. But their heart is far from ME. .9 In vain they worship ME, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men”
Christmas has been taken out of the realm of religion and today, throughout the world, it is promoted vigourously by a commercial enterprise. Everything is proclaimed to be part of this “feel good “message. Literature, The cinema, and T.V. It is unavoidable!! But as Christians let us be careful. GOD gave the 10 Commandments to combat this idea of “anything goes” and then sent HIS SON to save us from worldly sin,
“The Grace of GOD has appeared bringing salvation to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and Godly in this present age” Titus 2:11-12.
Honouring Christ is not a “once a year event” HIS birth was meant to bring us HIS Spirit forever. John 4:24. Amen.
Matt 7:13-15; Rom 1:25; Gal 1:8-9; Col 2:8; John 8:31-32