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"Christian" Occult Symbols:

Questions About Christmas

 

Matthew 1:1 

The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham...16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

 

Some, who have read the article, The Legend of Hanukkah, have sent queries the last few weeks regarding our views of Christmas. Quite some time ago, I had done some research on the subject. Although I have not felt impressed to do an in-depth article on the subject, several queries have prompted the need to address the issue in some manner. Please note. If time permits in the future, I may well expand the information. For now I will simply present a compilation of what I have been responding to the various queries with. Please do not contact me to enter into dialogue on this issue.  I have stated what I feel is important to say at this time. Again Please note---If time permits in the future, I may well expand the information. To email to tell me what I believe about Christmas or that I should not celebrate it is moot, as shown in this article.

Since Christmas has been recognized as a cultural event by many governments and is a statutory holiday for many, we're fortunate in that we as a family use it as a time to get together with our now grown children. It gives us the opportunity to just be together, fellowship and share Christ.

Being raised in a family that always celebrated Christmas, had the tree, presents and such, it wasn't something we ever really thought about after becoming Christians. It seemed the celebration was and is everywhere, and is so commercial and money and lust driven. As a new Christian, it became apparent that Christians viewed Christmas as a time to share the birth of Christ and tell the 'Christmas story.' For some it is a very 'holy' time. 

Some say that Christmas is an alternative to things other religions do, or that we as Christians can have special holidays and such, like other religions. Many non-believers want to see it done away with because the focus for most Christians is Christ, albeit very often alongside the commercial side. Yet, we see non-believers and those with other religious beliefs world wide readily receiving 'Christmas' gifts, Christmas charities, Samaritans purse shoe boxes, from Christians and others, all because of 'Christmas.'  Most will readily accept their own version of "Santa" as well. In some ways Christmas has become an ecumenical force, unifying what normally would not be united. 

Some people also do use it as a time to specifically feed or give to the poor, and that can make it a worthy issue. However, it's also sad to think that might be the only time some give to the needy. That is something to be done year round. 

Matthew 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

I think what Jesus said in Luke 14 is what people generally are missing with regard to any 'special event', and that is to edify others, with the need to stop focusing on what we get out of something, or whether we will get a 'payback' or thank you or pat on the back. 

Luke 14:12  Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee.
13  But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:
14  And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

Some like to say that they use the time to share Christ, tell of His Birth, and such. While that can be true, because non-believers are saying the same things, singing the same songs, often with Biblical inaccuracies in both camps--I can't honestly say how effective Christmas is as an evangelism tool. Nor have I personally, in the 30 plus years as a Christian, seen anyone come to Christ because of it. There may be many--but I haven't personally witnessed it. That doesn't mean it isn't used in that manner. Many only enter a church or fellowship at Christmas and or Easter. God can use those times to convict hearts just as He does at other times. 

As we've grown in the Lord, it used to bother us as to why Christians put a tree at the front of the sanctuary, and we wondered how come some of the songs sung at that time weren't Biblically sound. 

A tree has nothing to do with Christ--yes, some have made up a little story to make it fit--but it has nothing to do with the birth of Christ. It is rooted in paganism and can be shown Biblically to be so.

Studying God's Word always seems to answer the questions. Jeremiah 10:2  Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
4  They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
5  They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not:...

No. Christians don't worship the tree as a 'god'. But many do view it, the decorations, the presents and the 'spirit', as the focus, instead of Christ. And nowhere historically, except in paganism, do we see the relevance of decorating a tree and making it the focus of an event. But are trees evil? No. In fact God Himself is equated to a tree at times and we know of the Tree of Life. And we know Who created all trees.

Isaiah 41:17 When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
18 I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. [Ps 107:35; Isa 35:6-7; 43:19; 44:3] 19 I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: 20 That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it. [Job 12:9]

In general terms, here's some personal observations. There's a concerted effort to remove focus from Jesus Christ, His lineage, mention of the virgin birth, and so on, throughout many movements, and not just at Christmas. For the average Christian, the focus is on those things at Christmas. And also family and so on. Yes, the culture of the people is vain, and we know that worldwide people use the time for lust, envy, greed and paganism, because they have no sincere belief in God. Certainly the 'story' of Christ's birth is merely a story to most, a means to an end. But for Christians it is not 'just a story' but an absolute truth. Many also benefit worldwide because of the giving that is done at that time, which should be done throughout the year. But, hard hearts are often softened at that time of year, and many will give then and no other time. People in other religions who reject Jesus Christ, willingly accept receipt of "Christmas presents and gifts"--which is rather ironic in many ways.

What many are doing is declaring all related to Christmas to be pagan, which by implication, includes the Scriptural truth of Christ's birth and so on--to also be pagan. And that is from the spirit of anti-christ. If the focus is in fact, Jesus Christ and relaying Scriptural truth, it is not wrong to share it or focus on it, nor is it pagan. What is done around those events can be either honoring to God or not. Pagans did not manufacture the truth of Jesus Christ, His lineage, the virgin birth, nor the desire to share the reality of Jesus Christ. It's about heart intent on those issues. Some are so intent on the paganism angle, that they declare that Christians are saying that Jesus was actually born on December 25th. Yet, I don't know of a Christian who had to be told that He was not born on that day. And yet those who have apparently just discovered this fact, are now calling Christians pagan for utilizing that day, and for what many view as a holy day for a specific Scriptural and very real Truth--God manifesting in the flesh. And that has nothing whatsoever to do with paganism--but rather Scriptural Truth.

The truth and celebration of Christ, the fulfilled prophecy, His lineage, place of birth, virgin birth, etc., are Scriptural truths, and are not Constantine fabricated paganism, as some would declare. Those who were privy to those real and actual events were likely impacted by them for the rest of their lives and I would suspect, shared and recounted them as something to be remembered. The four Gospels, which specifically relate those truths, although also referenced in many other Scriptures, were written within the first seventy-five or so years after Christ walked on this earth.  

Is it possible several years later, some would try to corrupt and pervert Biblical truth in these matters? There's no question in my mind that some would. To declare the telling or remembrance of the events surrounding the birth of Christ to be pagan is not of God. 

It's one of those things that if a person chooses to do as a way to honor Christ, and present Scriptural Truth about Him, then it is a choice, that is just that, a choice. One that we are told not to judge on. 

Christ is not about contention over holidays, or holydays and such, as shown in Colossians 2:16  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: 17  Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

And in Romans 14:

Romans 14:5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6 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. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

In fact, as Paul demonstrated in, 1 Corinthians 10:27  If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.

We have actually had to apply that issue around Christmas and other events. It's something, that if it wasn't a yearly event, I personally wouldn't miss it and all it means from a worldly perspective, other than the pretty much guaranteed time with our family. We celebrate our relationship with Christ daily. 

When the focus on things takes away from Biblical truth, or Christ, then we have a serious issue. 

Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Over the ages, people have disobeyed God and often do things, not in honor of Him, but self serving. Much in Christmas can be self-serving. Just as many religious traditions are self serving and not in the least about Biblical obedience. The point that comes to my mind, and one that is most important, Jesus said to do one thing in remembrance of Him. Luke 22:19, etc. But we're to remember the Scriptures and what they contain year round.  And that includes the first books of the Gospels, which tell about Christ's lineage, place of birth, and so, and we're to show that it is fulfilled prophecy such as is found in Isaiah, Zechariah, and so on. If something is lacking in the presentation of the "Christmas story," maybe it is just that. For example.

Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

...15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.
17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,
18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not... 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Hosea 11: 1  When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

Jeremiah 31:15 Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.

Maybe because we're getting older, but, we don't get particularly excited about 'special days'. Jesus said:

John 5:39 

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

We're to focus on Christ daily, and that makes every day, a day to be thankful, a day to remember who our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is, and what He has done for us. Each day we have is given as another opportunity to honor and serve Him. The Apostles Paul and Peter, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gave such clear direction. 

1 Corinthians 10:31 

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

Colossians 3: 17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

1 Peter 4: 11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

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