Jesus Is The Reason For The Season? Really?
Beginning after Thanksgiving, we start to hear slogans like:
“Put Christ back in Christmas.”
“Jesus is the reason for the season.”
While this is all well and good, I would contend that we need to put Christ Jesus back into every day. We are graced with the chance to live and spread the Gospel of hope and peace each day because of what Christ did through is birth, death and resurrection. As recent events have demonstrated in Connecticut, you never know when your time will be up. Let me lay the ground work for my thoughts on the sabbath as well as Christmas. I’ll get to the Resurrection next year when it’s closer to Easter.
Back to the task at hand, Paul himself was asked about observing and keeping “holy days”, and this was his response.
Colossians 2:15-17 (KJV)
15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 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.
Romans 14:1-6 (KJV)
1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 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. 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 Colossians, Paul talks about “shadows of things to come.” As you grow as a Christian, you will find that all the Jewish feast days were fulfilled by Christ, His birth to His resurrection. I hope as you read, you will start to see why it’s important to know the truth about the Jewish feast days and why we need to educate Christians and non-Christians alike on this subject.
Sabbath Days in Particular
Hebrews 4:1-11 (KJV)
1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. 5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. 6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: 7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
I did my undergraduate work in the field of history and have my BS from EIU. They taught me a thing or two about historical context. These early Christians Paul is writing to were Jewish converts, fresh Jewish converts. You have got to put yourselves back in time and realize – one day they were going to temple and the next, they are out. They turned their backs on generations of teaching and tradition. The Jews in the community, that they had known their whole lives, were judging these Christians about their religious underpinnings; especially respect of days. Paul says there aren’t special days to the believer. Everyday is a “sabbathing” or rest. They are all holy. As my old pastor, Doc Scott, would say about the sabbath (which again means “rest”) ‘Christ finished His task perfectly and sat down at the right hand of the Father. We are to rest in Him and are therefore at sabbath everyday.’
If you read on further down in the scriptures, Paul says “if you think you have to keep this day, and are doing it for God, then go for it.” (That was a paraphrase.) I’m just saying, you don’t have to do this anymore. Doc would say, “I’m in the business of turning on lights and breaking traditions that make void the word of God.” I’ve had that pounded into me all my life growing up, so I am taking up that mantle and running with it. My articles aren’t meant to be the final words on anything. I can change. Just depends upon the evidence and proof you offer. I’m trying to educate people on God’s truths that I have found. That’s probably why I’m in the teaching profession. I’ve got to follow this up with, “Don’t park your brains at the church door!” If something is bothering you and doesn’t make sense, then dig and question. There is nothing you can ask that will knock God off of His throne. It might knock some traditionalist Christians or pastors for a loop, and that’s OK.
Now this thinking for myself and studying things led me to raise questions about the dates and reasons we celebrate the Resurrection and Christmas. I think people are venerating the holiday more than the person they are purporting they want to ‘put back’ into said holiday. We make void the Word of God through our traditions. Jesus said that for a reason. Just because we have done something, wrongly, for 100’s of years doesn’t make it right.
“Well, I just don’t think you are right.”
Prove it then. Don’t live your Christianity through sheer emotion and feelings, because feelings can blind us to the truth. Humans tend to ignore logic when intense feelings become involved. Christmas and the Resurrection are two such holidays that prove these feelings don’t always lead to truth.
I want to share with you a small article that was published in a children’s magazine way back in 1967. The magazine is Children’s Playmate and the article is Were you born in December? By Ila D. Hodgson.
“If you or your friend have a birthday in this last month, perhaps you have guessed that December means tenth in Latin. This is the month of the winter solstice, the time when the sun has gone as far south as it goes. Then it starts north again to bring warm months and longer days to the countries of the northern world. Many December celebrations have been held in these and north countries to welcome the return of the sun. Perhaps primitive people were afraid that the sun might sometime decide not to come back. Some of the ways of celebrating from many countries and time are still used to help celebrate our big December holiday, Christmas.
Our date for Christmas comes from a religious holiday that fell on December 25th long before the birth of Christ. It was called “The Birthday of the Unconquered Sun.” The people believed that the sun had been fighting darkness. When the days got longer, they thought that the sun had won the battle. Great numbers of Romans adopted this religion and celebrated this holiday. Because no one knew the exact date of Christ’s birth, it seemed like a good idea to change a pagan holiday into a Christian one when many Romans became Christians.
Our use of Yule logs and mistletoe came from far northern countries. Exchanging gifts and decorating trees helped celebrate the festive Roman Saturnalia, also in December. So you see that we have inherited ideas, customs, words, and names from many ancient peoples. Learning such things enriches our understanding and appreciation of our language and customs.”
You can’t put something back that was never there in the first place. Again, I’ll quote Dr. Scott. “How do you compete with these pagan festivals? They have a party and we have the Bible. I know, put the rubber stamp of Jesus on it you fools!” So they made Christ the “unconquered Sun” and turned this pagan festival Christian. If you can’t beat them, join them. The Church at the time just en-grafted all the pagan traditions and made this the birth of our Savior. They did this instead of keeping His actual birth date in the month of September in the fall of the year; most likely on the Feast of Trumpets. Remember, Paul tells us that Christ’s life events and the Jewish feast days were shadows of things to come. I’ve not the space now, but later on I will tell you why I think His birth date, His actual one, has significance beyond the need to be venerated. His whole life was set up on a calendar that means something. Just look at His death and resurrection. These events fall on Jewish feast days that had significance. His death fell in a way that God had designed in order to teach His people what He needed them to know. The Jews are still God’s chosen people. Christ’s life fulfilled these shadows that Paul talked about. Zola Levitt’s teachings on these feast days are just marvelous. He does a better job than I could of going through each one. Click THIS LINK and prepare to spend about 4 hours learning about these days.
Getting back to Christmas; you can deduce when Christ’s birth was with relatively little effort. You’ll find that, through temple birth accounts in the priesthood pertaining to John the Baptist (who was Jesus’ cousin) it had to be in the fall of the year. Just read THIS. He’s obviously done the research and backs it up with logic. I’ll not vouch for the rest of the site, or other writings, but this article is spot on. (Remember, I hold to the biblical principle of proving all things and holding onto what is good – the truth.)
What About Christmas Trees?
Jeremiah speaks on this point.
Jeremiah 10:1-5 (KJV)
1 Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: 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. 3 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 axe. 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: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.
Jeremiah is getting on his people for idol worship. Is this not what the Christmas tree was in ancient times? I’m not against parties and having fun. Know why and what you are doing.
Paul admonishes us that if you have freedom, don’t use it to cause your brother to fall. Why not teach the truth and remove the stumbling block? I find it funny that we judge people for things like reading Harry Potter books, but every year we teach that Christ was born on December 25th and that Christmas trees are somehow “Christian.” Jeremiah’s tree couldn’t even speak, but we have churches that make it sing. In my future Easter article I am going to raise points about that holiday as well.
Wrap It Up!
I’m not telling you that you have to quit anything when it comes to Christmas. You want to celebrate Christ’s birth then, great! BUT, know when it really was. It has some significance in the long run. Put your tree up, but know that it’s not anything related to Christianity. Teach your kids the truth. Check what I am saying and, if it’s true, don’t hate the messenger. Christ’s words should break chains and make us free. Why get mad if your tradition gets destroyed? Don’t be chained to what the world and tradition tells you is the truth. That’s not God’s Word.
You see, saints, I live my life, and teach my family and friends to live life, by faith and grace. I stand with Paul and say, let no man judge me. He that will judge me is the Lord. When I stumble and fall short, grace is there to pick me back up and remind me Christ died for my shortcomings and failures. There is no more condemnation in Christ Jesus because of His death. And if there is no condemnation, there is no guilt or shame.
The tale of the prodigal son should be as familiar to us as the Resurrection and Christmas stories. After every illicit thing that the son did, his father was running out the door to greet him and to welcome him home. Notice, here, the son wasn’t running to the father. Why would he? The son knew what he had done and how he had behaved. He had the weight of his deeds on his shoulders. We are all that son; as well as that thief on the cross. We have all went astray doing what we want. We are all sinners. The son that deserved condemnation, and all kinds of reproach, received grace and love instead. That father in the story is a representation of our heavenly Father. He’s saying ‘don’t run or turn away from me. Come home, come back home and it will be alright. It doesn’t matter what you did, just come home.’ That’s the Father I love and serve. And that’s the Father that needs to be more evident in my life and yours. It’s an everyday thing. Not just a Sunday thing, a Wednesday night thing or a twice-a-year thing on Christmas and Easter. These two “holidays” were pagan and existed long before Christ got here. Read up on your church history and set yourselves free. Teach and live grace and faith – and the truth will set you and others free.
Saints, enjoy your families and friends during this time of year. Get together and fellowship. Exchange gifts if you like. But don’t try to make it something it’s not. If you want to celebrate that day as an observance of the birth of Christ, fine. But don’t try and turn pagan things Christian. And when people question this celebration and point out the truth behind Christmas, especially non-believers, don’t get offended. Simply say, “Yeah, I know it’s not Christ’s birthday, but I’m choosing this time of year to celebrate it. Then surprise them and go on to explain when He really was born. Heck, the person may be so taken aback that you know the truth, and can back it up, that they may just stop to listen to you share the Gospel. That’s the greatest gift you could give anyone. Even if they don’t listen to you, at least you’ve planted the seeds of truth.
Friends, stay tuned for my 2013 Resurrection message in March. And may you have a blessed, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Grace and Peace to you,
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