Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Is it Okay for a Christian to Celebrate Christmas?

Nathan JonesPDFBy

"Well, that's a no-brainer," you're probably thinking. "Of course Christians should celebrate Christmas. Christmas and Christians go together like those little curly shoes on an elf. They're inseparable!" And yet, the deluge of email this ministry receives around this jolly season is resplendent with believers who are struggling with the origins of Christmas. They really want to know if they are pleasing Jesus, or in actuality are worshiping a false god, truly something to be concerned about.


Christmas Past

I read a book called Fossilized Customs about the origins of Christmas and found the inception and the symbols we use in its celebration very interesting. The author contended that since there are many former pagan elements used for Christmas, that we should no longer celebrate the holiday.

He claimed Christmas was a fabrication of the Roman Emperor Constantine who replaced the worship of the sun god Mithra on December 25th with the worship of Christ. He also pointed out that Christmas over the centuries has picked up many of its festivities from other cultures, like the exchanging of presents, the burning of a Yule log, decorating an evergreen tree, and featuring the medieval Dutch Sinterklaas (Santa Claus). And then, of course, there is today's full scale consumerism.


Christmas Present

Should we then drop Christmas and Easter, and even Sunday worship, and go back to celebrating the Jewish feasts as some concerned Christians have resorted to? Well, let's not give up on Christmas just yet, though, for I think the author of that book missed the whole point of what it means to be a Christian living under God's grace.

What does this "living under grace" mean? Romans 8, Acts 15, and the whole book of Hebrews make it crystal clear that a definite transition occurred in how we obey God's moral law since Christ. It states that believers are free from the 613 laws given to Moses with their appointed feasts and ceremonial rituals, nay even the 10 Commandments. How could that possibly be? Because that old Law was just a pointer to what sin is. It couldn't cleanse because nobody could meet its standards. Instead, the Mosaic Law has been replaced with "love the Lord your God" and "love your neighbor as yourself" (Mk. 12:30-31).

For instance, take the Fourth Commandment about keeping the Sabbath. Because of God's principle of grace, it becomes not one day that we should set apart for the Lord, but every minute of every day. Do you see how grace frees us from the Mosaic Law and yet enables us to fulfill it through Jesus Christ?

We are now under "Christ's law" (1 Cor. 9:21), the "law that gives freedom" (Jms. 1:25; 2:12), and no longer under the "law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:2). Bear in mind that we're not free to sin (Rom. 6:1-2), but because we are free to worship God in a relationship deeper than do's and don'ts, we can choose to celebrate certain holidays or not.

As to knowing that Christ's birthday was really in the Fall and not on December 25th, does which day really matter? Not to Paul, who in Romans 14 declared, "One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike... Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord." Living under grace gives us the freedom to give spiritual significance to any day we please, or not to do so, and, as Paul warns, we do not have the right to judge and condemn those who decide to give spiritual significance to different days.

And just because the Romans feasted and exchanged gifts during the festival of Saturnalia, does that negate Christians following the example of the Wise Men giving gifts to baby Jesus? Of course not! How many of you are thinking of Saturn in front of the plum pudding? No, you're thinking of Jesus.

Symbols have different meanings to different people. To a Christian, the rainbow symbolizes God's promise never to destroy the earth again with water. But in modern American society, it is a symbol of the Homosexual movement. Are we therefore to wash our hands of the Rainbow and surrender it to the devil? I don't think so.


Christmas Future

The book's author missed the point that as Christians we can celebrate Christ's birth on December 25th and have a Christmas tree and all the festivities because we are honoring God. It's certainly okay then to celebrate Christmas because it's a time to remember Jesus' birth and kingship, looking forward to the time when He will return in victory to set up His Kingdom. Christmas, Easter, and the Lord's Day are times of worship and remembrance for the Church, and just because that grinch Satan has attempted to water down our honoring of God doesn't mean we just throw the whole act of worship away.

If Christmas is to you about celebrating our Savior, and you use the decorations and festivities for such a purpose, God knows that your heart and purposes are right with Him. For in reality, to a Christian, every day should be a celebration of Jesus Christ.

"For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen." - Romans 11:36

21 comments:

Billy said...

Heading to Mom's for Thanksgiving today.

Dr. Reagan, Nathan, Lamb & Lion Staff, Sue, Rodney, Hartdawg, rg, Drnofog and all...

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

Nathan Jones said...

Thank you, Billy! And, Happy Thanksgiving to the blog gang as well. I'll eat an extra drumstick for our folks overseas.

Check back Monday for the next CiP Journal post.

God Bless!

Expected Imminently said...

A HAPPY AND BLESSED THANKSGIVING U.S.FAMILY.

(((HUGS)))

Sue
x

Rodney said...

Ditto to all of you, enjoy the bird and the conversation, may we forever recognize the first thanksgiving (Passover), for it was this solemn feast that pointed to the great love of God in offering his Son as a sacrifice for us all!

Katie Hesselton said...

Great post, Nathan. Way to get to the heart of the matter!
Happy thanksgiving!

Nathan Jones said...

Glad the post could be a blessing to you, Katie! I hope you and yours and everyone here has a most blessed Thanksgiving! I praise the Lord for you all with much thanksgiving.

Rodney said...

When we look at the recent
headlines involving the strategic allignment between Russia and Iran on board with Syria against the U.S. and N.A.T.O., it appears our time is coming significantly shorter. Russia will target U.S. and Israeli missile defenses. Russian warships offshore in Syrian territorial waters. Recently commissioned U.S. aircraft carrier USS Bush headed to Syrian shores as tensions continue to rise.

Expected Imminently said...

Another ridiculing of christianity coming up!
Investigation by Sky News.

http://news.sky.com/home/uk-news/article/16117269

Nigerian based T.B Joshua of Synagogue Church of All Nations.
At least 6 people have died of HIV after giving up medication after churches told them they were healed in Jesus’ Name.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._B._Joshua

Expected Imminently said...

Sky News asked the church for its response to our investigation. Here is its statement:

"We are not the Healer; God is the Healer. Never a sickness God cannot heal. Never a disease God cannot cure. Never a burden God cannot bear. Never a problem God cannot solve.

"To His power, nothing is impossible. We have not done anything to bring about healing, deliverance or prosperity. If somebody is healed, it is God who heals.

"We must have a genuine desire if we come to God. We are not in position to question anybody's genuine desire. Only God knows if one comes with true desire. Only God can determine this.

"That is why, if anybody comes in the name of God, we pray for them. The outcome of the prayer will determine if they come genuinely or not."
------------

If we regard iniquity in our hearts, the Lord does not hear us! For Father God to acknowledge our prayers, we have to be cleansed from post salvation sin 1John1:9. Until then we are called ‘carnal’. If Christians teach a false message from God’s Word, no matter how sincerely meant, then our Heavenly Father will not hear.

However the demonic realm is quick to intervene, especially into the lives of those who are not born again and sealed by the Holy Spirit through Salvation/justification.

Like Simon Magi, who performed many credible signs and miracles, they were done by the power of Satan who is happy to heal if it causes believers to fall away from the absolute Truth that is God’s Word, who took on human flesh becoming Jesus Christ.

Notice the last line is passing the buck. They did their part, if the victims were not healed, then it’s because they were not genuine. This is called LYING, to deceive a person with false information.

I am wondering what gospel and what jesus they are arrogantly preaching as these men were continuing in their sexual sin of Sodomy.

Plus it was a young WOMAN with the authority! Prevalent within Emergent type churches are women ‘pastors’ – which is totally unbiblical.

Maranatha!
Sue

DrNofog said...

I dint wanna spoil Thanksgiving for y'all so I waited til today to shaaaaarrrre this with y'all...

20 bodies found dumped in Guadalajara

I am soooo looking forward to merging into the NAU wif dis rock-solid civilization...
:-0

..also noticed that they can't count...they "found" 6 more bodies in the trucks to add to the count from yesterday.

Rodney said...

Keep a close eye on the news my friends, it appears the Gog/Magog alliance is soon to be gathered to Syrian territory! While some may be on opposite sides of the spectrum, the hooks being firmly planted are drawing them nonetheless!

Susie said...

Hope everyone had a great thanksgiving! Isnt ut wonderful to live every day in the spirit of thanksgiving to our prescious Lord and savior? Not that i enjoy sounding ignorant.... but i am wondering.... what is the gog/magog alliance? And what should i be looking for as far as it pertaining to end time prophecy? Thanks for helping me to understand.

Debbie O said...

Celebrating Christmas is something my husband and I questioned also. I don't want to do anything that is not pleasing to the Lord and we were willing to stop if needed.

I remember the Holy Spirit asking..."why do you celebrate? why do you put up a tree?" My answer is that we celebrate to remember that God gave us the greatest gift ever...His Son. God loved us so much he gave...giving to others is a way to show them we love them. Our giving doesn't have to be monetary, it can be in service or time or even just a smile and a hug.

I want my children to know that because God loved us He gave something precious...that we too should give.

As for the tree, we put up a tree to showcase our ornaments. Ornaments that were given with much thought and love...from parents, friends, spouse, or children. We don't worship our tree. Since our children were little we have bought them an ornament so when they leave home they will have some "memories" to start their own tree with...and add to through the years.

After much seeking and praying we came to a peace that our motives for celebrating were pure and honorable before the Lord. Even since then we have enjoyed this time of year as a remembrance of the love God showed us and continues to show us. We don't get into the materialism of Christmas but do like to shower each other as we are able with gifts to express our love for them.

blessings,
Debbie

ps. just to add that I also respect those who feel convicted not to celebrate. We each must stand before the Lord and answer for our obedience to Him.

DrNofog said...

Susie,
This is from earlier:
The Gog-Magog Battle - Ezekiel 38:7-17

But, if you look at the map there, you'll notice that none of the nations that directly border Israel are missing from the Gog/Magog alliance. That's because they are defeated and captured in the Ps83/Isaiah17 war prior to E38 and Damascus gets nuked, never to be a city ever again.

Israel has made it very clear in the past several yrs that if Hammas & Hizbullah in Lebanon start lobbing Chem/Bio bombs at Israel, they will hold the capital city Damascus, not Lebanon or Jordan, responsible and respond the same as if it were nukes.

Check out the book "Isralistine".

Susie said...

Thanks dr nofog for the references! I really appreciate it and i love learning from u guys! I am reading dr reagans book "Gods plan for the ages" and... nathan... i love it!!!! U r all wonderful people and i so much appreciate fellowship with u who love the Lord and yearn for Him to come for us soon like i do! :)

Rodney said...

No nukes required for Damascus to become a ruinous heap, just an old fashioned earthquake of the magnitude described in Ezekiel 38:19,20. A Psalm 83 connection I find not to realistic when we look at the players involved in recent days! Any strategic nuclear weapon deployed on Syrian soil would no doubt bring a Russian nuclear response.

I also believe the recent miscaculation by the U.S. in killing 28 Pakistani soldiers will result in Pakistan joining the Russian-Iranian-Syrian alliance now being forged. They have already formally submitted their request for full membership in the growing ranks of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (S.C.O.) along with Iran.

I further believe that the agenda of the U.S. and N.A.T.O. to sponsor a Muslim Brotherhood Caliphate in the Middle East and North Africa will no longer go unchallenged! Syria will be the deciding factor in the equation, Russia and China have already made their opinion clear regarding the matter. The global dominance of the West (U.S. and N.A.T.O.) is coming to an end.

We should also understand that Western intelligence agencies have being busy staging these popular uprisings and utilizing the U.N. to grant military intervention under the guise of humanitarian concerns. Though this agenda serves to appease Islamists (Muslim Brotherhood) for granting favorable access to certain resources. It will however backfire and result in a battle prophesied over 2,600 years ago.

Rodney said...

It could also very well be that Islamist and Muslim Brotherhood present N.A.T.O. member Turkey has persuaded he U.S. and European Members of N.A.T.O. to serve it's agenda of establishing an Islamic Caliphate through deception. When we examine the recent regime changes in North Africa and the Middle East, one common theme rises to the surface, the establishment of Muslim Brotherhood leadership.

The danger here is that Turkey is leading the U.S., Israel and E.U. in a military faceoff with Syria, Iran, Russia and China to serve their own agenda. Perhaps that is why Turkey agreed to host the recently contested Missile Defense System. I also believe that Iran has identified the Turkish agenda and has recently stated that any military action on their soil will automatically bring Iranian missiles raining down on Turkish soil.

Rodney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DrNofog said...

Susie,
Like in Oz, pay no attention to the man under the bazeball cap, - he's our resident dissident...
;-D

These are the bordering nations that are NOT part of E38, but rather P83/I17, that are shaping up for war when Assad pulls the trigger...
Israel ready for war with Hezbollah as if it will happen in a week: Israeli official [about 3rd article down]

As much as I hope we'll be gone, I have this nagging suspicion that we'll be here to witness I17 and "they" can't have us intolerant Christians around saying: "See, I told you so!! Wanna see what the Word of God says is coming next if y'all don't repent?!?"

Congress to Vote Next Week on EXPLICITLY creating a Police State [4th article down]
:0

Tadow said...

Wow... I had such a respect for this ministry... until now. When you chop up Scripture to promote a lie, I cannot stand behind that. You used Scripture (Romans 14) that specifically refers to EATING FOOD sacrificed to idols attached to the observance of various High Days. You completely left out the Scriptures where we are told to keep ourselves from idols altogether. 1Cor 12:2; 1Thes 1:9; 1John 5:21... to name a few.

What amazes me is that the majority of the Church pushes the obsolete "law of tithing," yet they cannot take a lesson from Israel's repeated disobedience in following the way of the Gentiles, in "doing what everyone else did." You would have to be blind not to see that this is the primary reason they were in the mess they were in when Jesus showed up... why the ones who should have known who He was didn't... and why they ultimately rejected and crucified Him. Thankfully for us they did, though. But, as Paul says, we better take heed if we think we stand lest we fall. If we're not careful, we are not guaranteed protection from the fate of those who fell dead in the wilderness and were carried off into captivity back then.

If you think a Christmas tree is not an idol, try giving it all up. Toss out your tree, your ornaments, decorations, gifts... all of it. Could you do it? It's not easy to give up everything you've ever known. Easter, on the other hand, was easy. There is NO WAY I could ever worship my Lord with Bunny's and eggs. Once I discovered the pagan origin of it, I was appalled.

God is looking for those who worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.
Maybe it isn't a big deal, but I can't help but wonder what God thinks when His Word is being twisted up to justify the traditions of men. Didn't Jesus have a problem with those? Be blessed.

Nathan Jones said...

Tadow, it's not a "twisting of the Scriptures" but your difficulty in believing what the Bible has to teach on this subject that's your issue.

Fortunately, Romans 14 tells us that if a special day of celebration (like Christmas) is a stumbling block for you, then by God's grace please don't participate in it. But, verse 6 tells us that for the rest of us, "He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. Verse 10 asks you, "You, then, why do you judge your brother?" The answer is emphatically, you have no right to. And so, as verse 13 tells you to do, "stop passing judgment on one another," for "each of us will give an account of himself to God."