CHRISTIANS AND CHRISTMAS

Joined: January 2nd, 2005, 6:45 am

December 21st, 2008, 6:36 pm #1

Dear Readers:

Today's lesson reminds us that we must be content to abide within the doctrine of Christ (II John 9-10). The desire to be like the world is a powerful allurement that has caused many to go astray. As more and more of our congregations adopt the ways and practices of the Catholic and Protestant denominations we need this reminder. Please share this lesson with those where you worship. Forward it to others who are in your address book.

-John Waddey


*********************************

CHRISTIANS AND CHRISTMAS

Around the word, religious people observe the Christmas Holy Day. Is such a religious observance approved by God? As we consider this, remember our commitment is to worship God exactly as did the first Christians.

Is December 25 Christ's birthday? Neither Scripture nor history offer not a word to determine the date of his birth. "The day of Christ's birth cannot be ascertained from the New Testament, or indeed from any other source. The fathers of the first three centuries do not speak of any special observance of the nativity..." (McClintock and Strong, Cyclopedia, Vol. 3:p.276). "Chrysostom, in 386, states that the celebration of the birth of Christ according to the flesh `was not inaugurated in Antioch until ten years before that date'" (Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Relgious Knowledge, Vol. 3, p.46).

December 25th was determined by the decree of Liberious, bishop of the church in Rome, in 354 A.D. The date was widely and hotly disputed by others. Days in nearly every month were set forth. "The Western Church ordered the feast to be celebrated on the day of the Mithraic rites of the birth of the sun (Americana). "The pagan Saturnalia and Brumalia were too deeply entrenched in popular custom to be set aside by Christian influence. The pagan festival with its riot and merrymaking was so popular that Christians were glad of an excuse to continue its celebration with little change in spirit or in manner" (Schaff-Herzog, Vol 3, p. 48). The very name Christ's Mass reveals its origin.

Jesus tells us to "observe all things whatsoever (he) commanded" (Matt. 28:20). But he did not command a Christmas observance. Therefore we should not observe this day as an act of worship and devotion. Paul warns us "not to go beyond the things which are written" (I Cor. 4:6). But no New Testament writing tells us to observe a holy day for Christ's birth. To do so is to go beyond what is written. Such religious practices are vain worship, being the precepts of men rather than of God (Matt. 15:9).

God gave his church only one special day, the first day of the week. This is the day of Christ's resurrection; the day of the church's beginning (Mark 16:1-2; Acts 2). It is presumptuous for us to add other items to God's divine plan. Had God wanted such an observance he would have told us. When Christians in Galatia took up the observance of "days, and months, and seasons and years," Paul wrote, "I am afraid of you, lest by any mans I have bestowed labor upon you in vain" (Gal. 4:10-11).

Our society makes Dec. 25th a national holiday. We do not observe the religious observance of this day, but neither can we "go out of this world" (I Cor. 5:9-10). It is the author's view that we can observe the legal, civil, social holiday, just as we do Independence Day or Thanksgiving Day. We can take the day off from work with pay; accept a Christmas bonus; receive a Christmas gift; eat a Christmas feast; give presents to family and friends and; enjoy the holiday festivities without sin. But the church should not make a religious observance of that which God has not authorized.

___________________________________
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

E-Mail: [url=mailto:johnwaddey@aol.com]johnwaddey@aol.com[/url]
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Stephen
Stephen

December 22nd, 2008, 9:54 pm #2

I find it sad when churches say that because the World celebrates Christ on this one day in unity and harmony, that we should not talk about Christ's birth, life, death, and birth. No one is saying this is Christ's birthday or that it should be a religous holiday. However, Since we do celebrate Christ's Birth, life, death, and birth, why can't we use such a day when so many people are actually focused on Christ to reach others. Not just tell them about his birth, but his life and more importantly why he was born and why he died. We should tell that story everyday in the church. I find it insulting and degrading when the church on the 25th of December stops and preaches why we shouldn't celebrate Christ today, Hypocrites. We celebrate it EVERYDAY, including the 25th of December. So This Christmas and Everday before it and after go and tell the good news, how God gave his only son for our sins so that we can have everlasting life with our father when we depart this world. I know this Christmas I won't stop celebrating Christ! Will you?
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Joined: January 2nd, 2005, 6:45 am

December 23rd, 2008, 5:42 am #3

[color=#0000FF" size="3" face="times]Stephen,

I think you missed one significant item in the original article stating that there is nothing in Scripture to suggest that the birth of Christ is to be observed as a "holy day," much less to designate the 25th of December as the day Christ was born -- which in itself has not been precisely determined.

If the Roman or paganistic influence had not orginated "that day" upon which the citizens of the world [including "Christians" also] were to celebrate and sing, "Happy Birthday to You ... Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus," would it have been originated by some other [e.g., non-Roman] culture or influence at some other, later period? We don't know. Maybe or maybe not.

The Scripture has a lot to say about celebrations, holidays and festivities. For example, Isaiah 1 has this message:[/color]

[11] To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.
[12] When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
[13] Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
[14] Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.
[15] And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
[16] Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil....


[color=#0000FF" size="3" face="times]That's not to say that it is evil to think and that we never talk about the lowly birth of Jesus when we proclaim the message of His life and sacrifice and suffering and death on the cross, His burial and resurrection.

Now, I agree with you and churches of Christ have been/are known to do this that while "Christmas" is a religious celebration in the Catholic and Protestant world, we should take this opportunity to explain and have a clear understanding that December 25 as the "birthday of Christ" is man-ordained.

There is no harm in making known that truth about the December 25th myth. But let us not fail to make the physical birth of Jesus relevant to the gospel of salvation -- that the Savior of mankind, by God's grace and love, came to this world to offer redemption in His blood.[/color]
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Stephen
Stephen

December 23rd, 2008, 10:39 pm #4

While we understand that we have no knowledge when Christ was born, we see this, as the world is focusing it's attention to Christ, as the perfect time to not only tell the story of how our savior came to earth, but why he came and what he did...

You can make this statement without sounding judgemental and condeming. When I was young in the Church of Christ my parents actually took us out of a church we were visiting on our way home on the 25th which was on a sunday because they were preaching about Christ. I didn't understand this as a child, but when I was older that moment really stuck on me in my own journey through God's word and not some preachers. I know there are actually some churches that would go the route of not even mentioning Christ's name because of the 25th of December, lest they find themselves, in their hearts sinning.

Look at it this way when God told us to go out into all the world and preach the gospel, he didn't say "Oh except for the 25th of December, because one day the world is going to attach some stigma to it as my son's birthday." Sounds like we might not quite be being silent where the Bible in silent.

To me if it's in your heart that this might cause you to sin, then find a church that feel's like you. But, don't throw judgement on congregations that see this as another way to reach a world that so often closes the door on us.

A Very Merry Christmas to all!

Stephen
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Joe
Joe

December 24th, 2008, 1:25 pm #5

Ya if you are a catholic or a pagan, well catholics are pagan so marry christmas to all catholics.

To God be the Glory
Joe McKnight

Oh ya, the time of Christ's birth is in the bible. check out Sunday School in Exile if you need (or should I say "want")help with this math problem.
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Joined: January 2nd, 2005, 6:45 am

December 26th, 2010, 5:12 am #6

Dear Readers:

Today's lesson reminds us that we must be content to abide within the doctrine of Christ (II John 9-10). The desire to be like the world is a powerful allurement that has caused many to go astray. As more and more of our congregations adopt the ways and practices of the Catholic and Protestant denominations we need this reminder. Please share this lesson with those where you worship. Forward it to others who are in your address book.

-John Waddey


*********************************

CHRISTIANS AND CHRISTMAS

Around the word, religious people observe the Christmas Holy Day. Is such a religious observance approved by God? As we consider this, remember our commitment is to worship God exactly as did the first Christians.

Is December 25 Christ's birthday? Neither Scripture nor history offer not a word to determine the date of his birth. "The day of Christ's birth cannot be ascertained from the New Testament, or indeed from any other source. The fathers of the first three centuries do not speak of any special observance of the nativity..." (McClintock and Strong, Cyclopedia, Vol. 3:p.276). "Chrysostom, in 386, states that the celebration of the birth of Christ according to the flesh `was not inaugurated in Antioch until ten years before that date'" (Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Relgious Knowledge, Vol. 3, p.46).

December 25th was determined by the decree of Liberious, bishop of the church in Rome, in 354 A.D. The date was widely and hotly disputed by others. Days in nearly every month were set forth. "The Western Church ordered the feast to be celebrated on the day of the Mithraic rites of the birth of the sun (Americana). "The pagan Saturnalia and Brumalia were too deeply entrenched in popular custom to be set aside by Christian influence. The pagan festival with its riot and merrymaking was so popular that Christians were glad of an excuse to continue its celebration with little change in spirit or in manner" (Schaff-Herzog, Vol 3, p. 48). The very name Christ's Mass reveals its origin.

Jesus tells us to "observe all things whatsoever (he) commanded" (Matt. 28:20). But he did not command a Christmas observance. Therefore we should not observe this day as an act of worship and devotion. Paul warns us "not to go beyond the things which are written" (I Cor. 4:6). But no New Testament writing tells us to observe a holy day for Christ's birth. To do so is to go beyond what is written. Such religious practices are vain worship, being the precepts of men rather than of God (Matt. 15:9).

God gave his church only one special day, the first day of the week. This is the day of Christ's resurrection; the day of the church's beginning (Mark 16:1-2; Acts 2). It is presumptuous for us to add other items to God's divine plan. Had God wanted such an observance he would have told us. When Christians in Galatia took up the observance of "days, and months, and seasons and years," Paul wrote, "I am afraid of you, lest by any mans I have bestowed labor upon you in vain" (Gal. 4:10-11).

Our society makes Dec. 25th a national holiday. We do not observe the religious observance of this day, but neither can we "go out of this world" (I Cor. 5:9-10). It is the author's view that we can observe the legal, civil, social holiday, just as we do Independence Day or Thanksgiving Day. We can take the day off from work with pay; accept a Christmas bonus; receive a Christmas gift; eat a Christmas feast; give presents to family and friends and; enjoy the holiday festivities without sin. But the church should not make a religious observance of that which God has not authorized.

___________________________________
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

E-Mail: [url=mailto:johnwaddey@aol.com]johnwaddey@aol.com[/url]
[color=#0000FF" size="3" face="times]I "devoured" a big Christmas breakfast this morning. I "devoured" a big Christmas meal at mid-day with 2 desserts. This evening I couldn't "devour" as much but it was still ... you know. The big question was asked of me later on: "Um ... do you still run 3 miles a day and how fast [or slow] do you run now?" (I think you get my point.)

Here are questions to ask:

1. Did your congregation have a Christmas program last Sunday?
2. Do you really believe that Christ was born on Dec. 25?
3. Do you believe that Christmas is of Catholic/pagan origin?
4. Do you celebrate Christmas as a religious festival?
5. Is it wrong to celebrate Christmas as a religious festival?
6. Do you celebrate Christmas only as a season of giving?
7. Should preachers, without making it a religious festival, take the opportunity to preach the birth of Christ and emphasize why He came to earth and God's plan of redemption?
[/color]
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Dr. Bill Crump
Dr. Bill Crump

December 26th, 2010, 3:31 pm #7

While we understand that we have no knowledge when Christ was born, we see this, as the world is focusing it's attention to Christ, as the perfect time to not only tell the story of how our savior came to earth, but why he came and what he did...

You can make this statement without sounding judgemental and condeming. When I was young in the Church of Christ my parents actually took us out of a church we were visiting on our way home on the 25th which was on a sunday because they were preaching about Christ. I didn't understand this as a child, but when I was older that moment really stuck on me in my own journey through God's word and not some preachers. I know there are actually some churches that would go the route of not even mentioning Christ's name because of the 25th of December, lest they find themselves, in their hearts sinning.

Look at it this way when God told us to go out into all the world and preach the gospel, he didn't say "Oh except for the 25th of December, because one day the world is going to attach some stigma to it as my son's birthday." Sounds like we might not quite be being silent where the Bible in silent.

To me if it's in your heart that this might cause you to sin, then find a church that feel's like you. But, don't throw judgement on congregations that see this as another way to reach a world that so often closes the door on us.

A Very Merry Christmas to all!

Stephen
Stephen wrote: "When I was young in the Church of Christ my parents actually took us out of a church we were visiting on our way home on the 25th which was on a sunday because they were preaching about Christ."

The wording of the statement implies that Stephen's family left the service because his parents were opposed to preaching that focused on Christ--period. ALL preaching should be focused on Christ. I think Stephen means his parents were opposed to preaching that focused on the birth of Christ when Christmas Day fell on Sunday. It is important to clarify that.

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Dave
Dave

December 27th, 2010, 4:22 am #8

[color=#0000FF" size="3" face="times]I "devoured" a big Christmas breakfast this morning. I "devoured" a big Christmas meal at mid-day with 2 desserts. This evening I couldn't "devour" as much but it was still ... you know. The big question was asked of me later on: "Um ... do you still run 3 miles a day and how fast [or slow] do you run now?" (I think you get my point.)

Here are questions to ask:

1. Did your congregation have a Christmas program last Sunday?
2. Do you really believe that Christ was born on Dec. 25?
3. Do you believe that Christmas is of Catholic/pagan origin?
4. Do you celebrate Christmas as a religious festival?
5. Is it wrong to celebrate Christmas as a religious festival?
6. Do you celebrate Christmas only as a season of giving?
7. Should preachers, without making it a religious festival, take the opportunity to preach the birth of Christ and emphasize why He came to earth and God's plan of redemption?
[/color]
I figured this one was coming.....and J. Waddey making mention of it just shows you that even after people have been taught better they still go after the old WRONG ways. They don't put up their wishes against the Word of God. That is why you have people like J. Waddey lamenting this Christmas holiday as being something negative. Some people just can't be positive. They can't because that is their makeup.......gloom and doom whiners.

Hey Donnie, those questions......the amateur comedian coming out in you.
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Joined: January 2nd, 2005, 6:45 am

December 27th, 2010, 5:05 am #9

[color=#0000FF" size="3" face="times]Dave,

You didn't say anything about two things:

1. How much you "devoured" on Christmas Day.
2. Your answer(s) to any of the questions posed.

The British scientists may claim to have solved the mystery: "Which came first: the chicken or the egg?"

Members of the church of Christ should undoubtedly know which occurred first:

(a) The church of Christ not celebrating Christmas or the birth of Christ on December 25 as a religious festival

........ or ........

(b) the change agents acquiring the practice from the Roman Catholic Church (or pagans) and Protestant neighbors of celebrating Christmas or the birth of Christ on December 25 as a religious festival.


Your statement: "that even after people have been taught better they still go after the old WRONG ways" is erroneous and is not factual.

Now, Dave, would you answer the questions posed above?[/color]
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Dave
Dave

December 27th, 2010, 6:21 am #10

"that even after people have been taught better they still go after the old WRONG ways"

IS CORRECT.....

People have been erring/sinning since Adam........they take the Right Ways of God and think they can make His Ways better. All OLD ways are not right.....man takes his wishes to be right over God. Those old ways will never be better. Only the Ways of God are right......NEW and OLD.

So try as you might, Donnie, you cannot make this Christmas holiday something bad. What is bordering on lunacy is that you take it to be a historical pagan holiday. If men continue to uphold Christmas with CHRIST in it, it will ALWAYS be good, no matter how much you whine and spit at it.
Jesus DID have a day that He was born. Most historians believe that it wasn't December 25th. That isn't the point. The point is that some men still take time to show observance to our King, around this time of the year. It isn't so much a particular day, but an observance. Yes, we, as Christians, observe the birth, death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and King.....everyday.

J. Waddey said....."God gave his church only one special day, the first day of the week."
I would consider that near blasphemy. God continues to give us SEVEN days a week to worship Him. They are ALL SPECIAL. We do gather together on the first day of the week to worship as a whole body.
HOWEVER, does that make Sunday more special to Thursday as a day of worship. Let us go to the Scriptures to see what God says, instead of what J. Waddey believes.
Romans 14
5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.
What did Jesus say about healing on the sabbath? Why did He say that? EVERY day, given to the Lord, is special and a day to serve Him.

The most wonderful thing about this time of the year is that maybe....just maybe.....someone takes a look at our Savior and sees Him as the Savior of the World and comes to believe in Him. Even if one person has done so, and you KNOW that it has happened before.....then Christmas is GOOD!!!





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