http://www.biblicalfoundations.org/?p=80 To answe…

http://www.biblicalfoundations.org/?p=80

To answer his question – I say we side with the Puritans. Christmas has nothing to do with Christ. He wasn’t born in December. Everything about the holiday, from the feast and tree, to the gifts has some root in Pagan practice. The gifts today represent the entire form of consumerism we in the West are so caught up in. We should repent of our covetousness. We should keep from all appearance of evil, and strive to keep pagan symbols – like Christmas trees, and Yule logs, and mistletoe – out of our Churches, and houses. If we want to be a pure and holy bride for Christ, shouldn’t we do this. Isn’t this such a minor consideration to make? In light of all that we are called to repent about, our lust, our idolatry, to come to the saving light of the Gospel of the Kingdom – are we really going to hold out on Christmas?

Just honestly take a look at the holiday, as a whole, and what it stands for. Does it stand for your company holiday party where there is an open bar and everyone can get drunk? Does it stand for the children to understand that “Santa” will pardon their “bad ways” and bless them will gifts anyway? Does it stand for families to play “keeping up with the Jones'” mentality? If you want to celebrate Christmas – make it different than the world.

Am I drinking the kool-aid on this one? Let me know

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18 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Dustin Smith on December 18, 2006 at 2:07 am

    Ive limited my involvement to moderzated gift giving, since there is nothing wrong with giving to others and sharing. Note carefully the “moderated” in the previous sentence.

    Can we say happy holidays even?

    Dustin

    Reply

  2. Posted by sean on December 18, 2006 at 2:13 am

    should we be separate from the world for the sake of nonconformity? How far do we take this? Should we stop using electricity, cars, and cell phones? Should we stop wearing clothes? The central impetus of our difference from the world is in regard to the commands of Christ. The world doesn’t follow Christ. We do. When the world says “live together before marriage so you can ‘try out’ the relationship” and Jesus says “don’t even look at a woman with lust” we choose Jesus. But did Jesus ever say don’t use a cell phone? Did he say don’t put up a Christmas tree?

    Reply

  3. Posted by Victor on December 18, 2006 at 2:49 am

    Sean, in light of your comment, I agree that abstaining from things because they are of the world (cell phone, land line for that matter even) is not prescribed by the teachings of Christ, but if something with pagan origins is now fully embraced by the church today, how does God feel about that? I think that is John’s initial point. I think the thing that we must answer is what does God think of us saying, “well it doesn’t mean that to me.”

    For example, Halloween – we’ll dress up as angels instead of goblins, because “it doesn’t mean that to me”

    What do you all think of that?

    Reply

  4. Posted by StevePhttp://www.forhisglory2007.com on December 18, 2006 at 2:52 am

    Jesus gave no commands regarding Christmas trees, but the word of the Lord to Jeremiah was to not learn the ways of the heathen.

    “for the customs of the peoples are delusion. They cut wood from the forest….they decorate it with silver and with gold. They fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not totter”.

    Jeremiah 10: 1-4

    Christmas is a pagan holiday – we should be gracious to our brethren but we shouldn’t compromise with the world. Many christians are recognizing this and refusing to conmpromise.

    Harry Bethel has written a very compelling article on this (if you can overlook his trinitarian point of view).

    http://www.bethelministries.com/CHRISTMAS.htm

    Reply

  5. Posted by JohnO on December 18, 2006 at 3:53 am

    I think Steve has a point. We should try and avoid the culture of the world that surrounds us where it will distort our worship of our God. That was God’s point to Israel – don’t learn the ways of the heathen, they will distract you from me!

    Obviously this isn’t to be a point of contention among us. We should be so gracious towards those who do observe this cultural holiday, and in whichever manner they observe it. I know of some Christians who celebrate Hannukah because they don’t want to celebrate a pagan holiday. Good for them. All I know is that I don’t want to be surrounded by a pagan influence.

    Reply

  6. Posted by sean on December 18, 2006 at 2:28 pm

    First of all, I have never met someone who worshiped the Christmas Tree. I think we cannot impose on others cultural traditions a yoke that is not spelled out in Scripture. The one thing that has not occurred in this discussion is referencing Scripture. The exception to this is Steve’s interpretation of Jeremiah 10–I believe this is talking about an idol…something that would be carved and overlayed with silver and gold, not a tree with its branches still on it. I just can’t seem to justify taking a fanatical position on this one (i.e. looking down on those who celebrate Christmas through decorating their houses, setting up the tree, and exchanging gifts). I don’t think this is Christian, but I don’t think it is anti-Christian either. What I can agree with you extremists on is that covetousness, Santa Clause, ghost encounters (Scrooge), and drunkenness are specifically condemed in Scripture and should not be practiced by Christians. What do you think? (btw, I don’t even have a Christmas tree 🙂

    Reply

  7. Posted by JohnO on December 18, 2006 at 2:54 pm

    My initial post doesn’t declare any anethemas on anyone. I didn’t say that we should look down on them at all – “Obviously this isn’t to be a point of contention among us. We should be so gracious towards those who do observe this cultural holiday, and in whichever manner they observe it.”

    I just want to try and have the right focus.

    Reply

  8. Posted by Victor on December 18, 2006 at 3:00 pm

    My Hanukkah celebration has been wonderful. We have commemorated a victory of God’s people and a miracle performed by His hand during their re-dedication of the Temple. The focus of this and the Biblical feasts of Israel gives a good perspective on things I think. The time was about God. The people got together to honor, praise and reflect on God. It was family-focused, but still on God (ex: the family is around a nice meal, but the topic of conversation is their forefather’s deliverance from slavery, etc.)

    Reply

  9. Posted by sean on December 18, 2006 at 5:27 pm

    sure, change the subject Victor…nice try 🙂

    I guess my point is that we don’t need another thing to be devisive about. We don’t need an attitude that says, “you can’t be part of our group if you have a Christmas tree.”

    If the problem is ignorance (i.e. the person has never seen the Pagan Origins of Christmas Video) then enlighten them with love.

    I think putting the birth of Christ into Christmas is nonsense and no one in the first 300 years of Christianity ever “celebrated Jesus’ birthday.”

    However, if the tree doesn’t represent an idol to me then to me it is not an idol. Meaning is everything.

    Reply

  10. Posted by Victor on December 18, 2006 at 5:35 pm

    My intention was not to change the subject but to highlight what the focus of things, our “celebrations” should be about – God, not us.

    I don’t think anyone has said that we don’t consider someome a Christian if they celebrate Christmas or something, so that isn’t the issue for me or some of the others here. However, I think it is great for us to be talking about these issues for the reasons we are. We want to know what God things about/expects from us in every area of our life and thought. This is from a healthy desire to be right with God and holy because He is.

    Your point about the tree not representing an idol to you has some validity, however does not work generally across the board.

    Reply

  11. Posted by SteveP on December 18, 2006 at 5:35 pm

    Some interesting and excellent points by everyone on this thread. Just how far do we go in remaining separate from the world? My feelings are of no importance – what are the commands of Christ?

    Make no mistake – these arguments will only intensify. We are coming to the close of this age. Christ is cleaning up His church. He is openly speaking to those who have ears to hear. It is midnight and the Bridegroom is coming. Wake up and trim the lamp and get ready to come out and meet the Bridegroom. That is the message of the last hour.

    I’d suggest spending some time on Harry Bethel’s website and pondering what he has written. I don’t agree with him on everything but I’m constrained to say I agree with him more than I disagree.

    We should be gracious to our brethren, but Christmas is a holiday that is “of the world” and the world loves its own, but hates Jesus. Why then does the world love Christmas? Because it is not of Jesus.

    The Jewish feasts are worth considering as true holydays as opposed to the pagan ‘holidays’ the world embraces. As for myself, I haven’t fully extricated myself from Christmas traditions, but I consider it a blessing that we won’t put up a Christmas tree this year, and my family is happy and doesn’t feel deprived.

    Brethren, let’s love and encourage one another, and let’s not allow our ‘meat’ to be an occasion for a weaker brother or sister to stumble. Having said that, if God has revealed something to you, then ignorance is no longer an excuse. Obey Christ, speak the truth in love, and be blessed.

    SteveP

    Reply

  12. Posted by SteveP on December 18, 2006 at 5:51 pm

    One more thing….regarding the phrase all of us have sometimes used “It doesn’t mean that to me”. Please read and carefully consider the following testimony, again, by someone the Lord is speaking to in these last days-

    “It Doesn’t Mean That To Me”

    “I’ve heard these six words literally hundreds of times — usually as a response to pointing out the Biblical admonition against pagan rituals associated with the Babylonian holy days (holidays in modern English). For example, just over a month ago when a local “Christian” friend was telling me how cleverly his kids had dressed up for Halloween, I told him this holiday was of Satanic origin, and should not be observed by believers. He just smiled and said it doesn’t mean that to me.

    Another time, a Christian acquaintance defended taking his entire family to see the new Harry Potter film. Blithely brushing aside my concerns about Christians embracing the fictional occult phenomena, he repeated the now familiar refrain “but it’s just fantasy and fun stories. Besides, it doesn’t mean that to me.”

    Over the years, I’ve probably repeated the Biblical warnings against the pagan Babylonian ritual practice of keeping a christmas tree hundreds of times. On dozens of occasions I’ve cautioned friends and family that the christmas tree ritual is an ancient Satanic custom associated with the Greek demigod Cronos – his Roman counterpart being Saturn. In Scripture, he’s better known under his Babylonian name of Tammuz.

    In Ezekiel, as part of the sun god worship that had infected the Jerusalem temple, we find the “women weeping for Tammuz” (Ezekiel 8:14) because the Babylonian sun god had died as a young deity. As part of the demonic ritual, his death was honored on his birthday which coincided with the Winter Solstice. The idolatry of sun worship is closely identified with this seasonal period when the sun begins to stay in the sky longer.

    The birth of Tammuz was December 25th, and to commemorate his death, the people would cut down a young evergreen tree (which causes the death of the tree) and decorate it with bright ornaments and candles. The star placed at the top of the tree is related to Ashtaroth — the star goddess mother of Tammuz (Attis to the Phoenicians, Adonis to the Greeks, Osirus to the Egyptians, etc). The practice goes back at least 2,500 years before Jesus Christ was born. Needless to say, Jesus was not born in December.

    Over 500 years before the time of Jesus, the prophet Jeremiah wrote:

    “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 peoples are vain; for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of his hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright like the palm tree, but speak not; they must needs be borne, because they cannot go.”

    The ritual of the decoration of a “christmas tree” is descended from the worship of the groves in the Old Testament (Judges 3:7), the practice of Wicca (ancient Witchcraft) in the middle ages, and the Druids (child sacrifice) in more recent times. Over the years, whenever I’ve pointed this out to “Christians” that “celebrate” the holy day, virtually every one of them will justify their involvement with a variety of rationalizations. Sometimes they seek to `Christianize’ the practice with a manger scene under the idolatrous tree — usually saying something to the effect of “Jesus has changed all that.” Another favorite is “Oh, I know it has dark origins, but the kids love it and the tree smells so good.”

    Ezekiel also noted the fragrance associated with the ritual tree when the Lord warned how those that He was about to destroy those who “put the branch to their nose” (Ezekiel 8:17). As my family and “Christian” friends continue to stubbornly defend the christmas tree practice through the hardness of their hearts, I’ve learned they will ultimately seal their justification of honoring the Devil by summarily dismissing the subject (and me) with the catch phrase it doesn’t mean that to me.

    Of course, the rationalizations that “believers” offer to justify their veiled rejection of most things taught in the Bible are intricately crafted and cleverly varied. All those Biblical passages about how we should live are “the law,” they say, and “we’re not under the law, we’re under grace.” I’ve been repeatedly told about the “freedom” we have in Christ — another apparent justification for behaving in whatever fashion suits us.

    When I tell all who will listen that the Sword of God is raised against “the children of disobedience” and that America is about to be harshly judged, I’ve learned to expect a series of defensive New Testament verses taken out of context — usually followed by the now hollow catch phrase “it doesn’t mean that to me.”

    Those that have added that slick sound bite to their theological vocabulary can expect to learn a new phrase they will hear on judgment day: Depart from me, ye that work iniquity, I never knew you. And when they cry out in terrified desperation, `but Lord,’ “we have eaten and drunk [taken communion] in thy presence,” the Scriptures bluntly inform us that He will say “I know you not whence ye are.” (Luke 13:26, 25)

    And as they are being sent into outer darkness prepared for the Devil and his angels, the lost will undoubtedly follow in Satan’s illustrious footsteps, and resort to twisting Scripture before the Lord — `But Lord, your Bible promised that I all I ever had to do was just say that prayer, and accept you.’ Wouldn’t it be ironic, if He would then say to those that refused to listen to His repeated warnings, It Doesn’t Mean That To Me.”

    ————————–

    If we know – we’re responsible to obey. Again, knowing doesn’t mean we become ungracious. But Jude also said to “save some with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”

    Reply

  13. Posted by JohnO on December 18, 2006 at 9:28 pm

    “However, if the tree doesn’t represent an idol to me then to me it is not an idol. Meaning is everything.”

    Sean, I know you very well, and I know it doesn’t mean that to you. But others will use that to justify anything and everything they do – even watching television shows entirely focused on sex and adultery. Someone said those exact words to me.

    Reply

  14. Posted by sean on December 18, 2006 at 11:54 pm

    JohnO: I think we are far too extreme on this issue. Entertaining oneself with evil directly disobeys the commands of Christ (watching sex, drugs, robbery, etc.). Besides Xmas trees do not cause any moral action one way or another (that is, unless you worship it as an idol–a phenomenon I have never even heard of other than by fanatical anti-Christmas ppl).

    SteveP:Excellent point about Christ cleaning up his church. You are right holiness is the key to being Christian. I am very curious about a point you made…you said that you won’t be having a Xmas tree this year and your kids don’t feel deprived. How is this possible? All their friends have trees. I am very interested in your approach because I’m a father too and I don’t plan on putting up a Xmas tree but I don’t want to “punish my kids for being Christian” if you know what I mean.

    What about gift giving. This is also pagan…it seems we are ok with that. I think when mixing in with the world causes immorality (belief/behavior opposite of the Scriptures) then we need to seriously make a big deal, but in the area of putting up a pine tree because (1) we’ve always done it (2) it smells good (3) it looks pretty (4) it is part of our culture. doesn’t seem like idolatry to me. Having said that I don’t think any of those reasons are very compelling (which is why I don’t have one–and I’m cheap).

    Reply

  15. Posted by JohnO on December 19, 2006 at 3:22 am

    Maybe we are too fanatical. It could certainly be possible. But I know that I want to make a point to people by the way I live my life. And maybe that this Christmas thing doesn’t work in others’ minds like it does mine. And there is nothing wrong with that.

    Reply

  16. Posted by SteveP on December 19, 2006 at 1:51 pm

    Sean,

    You asked if not having a Xmas tree this year wouldn’t make my kids feel deprived. Actually, my wife is taking “the tree thing” harder than my two boys, but she’s adjusted to the idea. The boys could care less about the tree….now if I said “no more gifts”….that would be a CRISIS. LOL.

    I have been preaching to my family about Christmas trees for almost five years now, so for them this isn’t a “new thing”. It’s just Dad being Dad.

    As far as gift giving, Christmas cards, Christmas dinner, I do feel we have liberty in areas that the Word gives no specific or general commandment on. Nothing wrong with blessing a loved one with a gift or sharing a meal. The question is are we controlled and caught up in the spirit of the world. How much money do we need to spend on gifts? How many people actually go into debt to buy gifts so as to not offend their friends or relatives, or even worse, to impress? There is a clear command to steward what we have, for it all belongs to Christ, and that command should impact how we spend our time, talent, and treasure. This is something we should all work out with fear and trembling.

    Blessings –

    Steve

    Reply

  17. Posted by sean on December 19, 2006 at 2:31 pm

    Steve, my wife was also a bit concerned about the anti-Xmas tree sentiments coming from me until she watched the google video about the pagan roots of Christmas. Then we decided that any traditions we want to establish would have to have a reason. She suggested decorating the house for winter (i.e. winter berries, branches of pine trees, etc.) as one decorates for spring (flowers, indoor plants, etc.). We could not think of any good reason to put up the Xmas tree so we won’t do it. Simple as that. Has your wife seen the video? Click here to check it out (it’s about 34 minutes long).

    Reply

  18. Posted by Dustin Smith on December 21, 2006 at 3:32 pm

    Watched that video with my youth group last night. Needless to say, they are pretty discusted with the world and how deceived they have been.

    “Good find” Sean.

    Dustin

    Reply

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