Christmas--Why Not?

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Christmas--Why Not?

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My family had a long tradition of celebrating Christmas Eve on Dec. 24 followed by a family day on Dec. 25. It seemed like the right thing to do, since it is always a good thing for families to get together and for children to share in joy and peace. It is always a delight to see the shining eyes of children who are receiving gifts to unwrap. These events endeared this celebration to our hearts.

“Am I doing something that Jesus would do and that He would support?”

One day, for a reason I cannot explain in physical terms, I was confronted with a strong desire to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ (which I thought I had been doing). I met a number of people who were having the same strange experience. We had never once questioned the warm and loving sharing that we thought the Christmas season brought to mankind—but we asked ourselves, “What does God think about this?” “Are we truly pleasing God?” “Am I doing something that Jesus would do and that He would support?” I have come to understand this as God calling me to repentance from sin (John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
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).

I began to think of the songs we sang. “O Tannenbaum” (or “Oh Christmas Tree”) came to mind. I was singing to a tree as though it were alive and had some strange power. We decorated it and placed our gifts below the tree, as though the gifts and good feeling emanated from and through the tree.

I thought about the words to “Silent Night, Holy Night,” a truly beautiful piece of music. I wondered about shepherds being in the fields on an evening at the end of December, which is a very cold time of the year where I grew up.

I remembered the financial difficulty we had to be able to buy gifts for everyone in the family and to buy the kind of gifts our children had asked of Santa Claus. I began to wonder about Santa Claus and the lies that were told to the children about him and his reindeer. “Rudolph with your nose so bright” began to sound hollow to me.

I eventually learned that Christmas observance is not an honor to Jesus Christ and is not God’s will. As a result, I have not observed Christmas for the last 42 years, and I will never observe that holiday again.

My reasons

Here are some of the reasons I stopped observing Christmas:

1.

Exodus 20:4-5 Exodus 20:4-5 [4] You shall not make to you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. [5] You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
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reveals that God does not want us to use images in the worship of God. And Jeremiah 10:1-5 Jeremiah 10:1-5 [1] Hear you the word which the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel: [2] Thus said 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 cuts 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: 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.
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clearly shows that trees have commonly been used in idolatrous ways. Sin is the breaking of God’s commandments (1 John 3:4 1 John 3:4Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
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). Idolatry is an affront to God. Deuteronomy 12:30-31 Deuteronomy 12:30-31 [30] Take heed to yourself that you be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before you; and that you inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. [31] You shall not do so to the LORD your God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hates, have they done to their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.
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strongly commands us not to do so much as even ask how others worshipped their gods. Using anything that smacks of that which pagans use is sin.
2.

Jesus Christ never sinned in His life (Hebrews 4:15 Hebrews 4:15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
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). Our goal is to be like Him. We ought to shun anything that is sin and resist going against God’s will (Hebrews 12:1-4 Hebrews 12:1-4 [1] Why seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, [2] Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. [3] For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds. [4] You have not yet resisted to blood, striving against sin.
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). Using a tree, fertility symbols and icons in worship to God is a sin.
3.

Lying and deceitfulness are of Satan and not of God (John 8:44 John 8:44You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
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). God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18 Hebrews 6:18That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us:
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). The Christmas stories about Santa Claus and the shepherds in the fields on Christmas Eve were false. I found out that Jerusalem has rain and cold that time of year and it sometimes snows in the region. Sheep are sheltered in the wintertime, not left out in inclement weather.
4.

The Bible tells us it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35 Acts 20:35I have showed you all things, how that so laboring you ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
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). But people are largely motivated by a desire to get and the pressure to give—and give more than they can afford. The popularity of Christmas is largely the result of it being promoted by manufacturers and retailers—it’s the biggest shopping period of the year. As a result, Christmas fosters materialism, commercialism and personal financial difficulties.

I have known people who take the whole year to pay off their credit cards because of the shopping spree they had to go on to buy Christmas presents. I have heard people worry, fret and even complain about having to buy for this person and that person. I saw little joy in giving, and I saw children always expecting to receive. Giving gifts is a wonderful thing to do when it is done with joy, from the heart and for a good purpose. That can be done any time of the year.
5.

In reading the Bible, I found that God had indeed given mankind many occasions to celebrate during the year. He called them “My feasts.” They are all listed in Leviticus 23. These are the feasts Jesus kept all of His life. I remembered that the New Testament had not yet been written in Jesus’ day. If I was to be like Jesus, I would love what He loved, follow the spiritual steps He took and shun that which was not of God. I have found that the Holy Days of God far surpass any celebration that man has devised.
6.

Sin feels good, and that is deceitful. Just because something feels good—even if it involves doing “good” things—does not mean it should be done. Only God can define “good.” Sin easily ensnares us and is deceitful (Hebrews 12:1 Hebrews 12:1Why seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
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; 3:13). Sin contains pleasures, but they are temporary and passing (Hebrews 11:25 Hebrews 11:25Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
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).

People are quick to point out that children enjoy this time of year. It is true that if there were nothing to take its place, children would lose something of value. God intends humans to enjoy activities that bring joy to children and adults alike. He clearly defines what those activities might be—but using symbols of other religions or incorporating the idols of pagan religions into His worship service is strongly condemned.

In the giving of service and obedience, we can truly find the meaning of “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

John 1:1-5 John 1:1-5 [1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] The same was in the beginning with God. [3] All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. [4] In him was life; and the life was the light of men. [5] And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
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; 1 Corinthians 10:4 1 Corinthians 10:4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
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; and Philippians 2:5-8 Philippians 2:5-8 [5] Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: [6] Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: [7] But made himself of no reputation, and took on him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: [8] And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.
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are only a few scriptures that attest to the preexistence of Jesus Christ. Before He came in the form of a man, Jesus was the only being that was revealed to mankind as God (John 6:46 John 6:46Not that any man has seen the Father, save he which is of God, he has seen the Father.
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). That tells us it was Jesus, before His incarnation, who wrote the Ten Commandments and thus defines sin for us all. It was He who defined sin and who came in the flesh to die in our place—for our sins.

The link and connection between Jesus Christ as revealed to us in the New Testament and God as revealed to Israel in the Old Testament is too important for us to negate in any way. Jesus Christ stated that He does not change—He is the same, yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews13:8; Malachi 3:6 Malachi 3:6For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.
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). That means His definition of sin and the reason He died remains constant. We have no right to redefine sin—we have only the obligation to show respect, love, honor and obedience to Him who defined sin and then died because mankind would not or could not live within the bounds He set.

As time has passed, I have come to understand and observe over and over again the blessings that come from carefully obeying God. Careful obedience is what God deserves, and careful obedience is what we need to give. In that giving of service and obedience, we can truly find the meaning of “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” It is God who is the greatest giver of all, and He gives to those who serve and love Him. Now it remains for us to choose to understand His commands and to live by them.

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