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The Top 10 Reasons Why I Don't Celebrate Christmas
Good News Magazine ^ | Fall 2006 | Scott Ashley

Posted on 12/09/2006 7:11:54 AM PST by DouglasKC

The Top 10 Reasons Why I Don't Celebrate Christmas

It’s that time of year again! You’ll soon be barraged by the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas. Shoppers will soon go into spending overdrive, and when the bills arrive, some will wonder if it’s really worth it. Here’s a perspective from one who kicked the Christmas habit.

by Scott Ashley

Christmas is a hugely popular holiday celebrated by some 2 billion people worldwide. It's become such an ingrained part of modern culture that even people in nations with little or no Christian history or tradition are celebrating it in increasing numbers.

Christmas is so big that it plays a key role in the economies of many nations. In the U.S. retail industry, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday is commonly known as "Black Friday"—not because it's bad, but because this marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and stores that have been "in the red"—operating at a loss all year—suddenly see their sales shoot up so fast that they are now operating in the black (at a profit) the rest of the year. "Black Friday" is the biggest shopping day of the year due to its Christmas sales.

Christmas is big—very big. Schools and colleges commonly take a week or longer break at this time, some businesses shut down to give their employees time off, many families plan trips and get-togethers, and some people darken the door of a church for perhaps the first time all year.

So it's not surprising that I get some pretty shocked looks when I tell people I don't celebrate Christmas. That's pretty unusual for anyone, much less someone who's been an ordained minister for 15 years and edits a Christian magazine.

So what's up with this? Why would anyone not want to celebrate Christmas like nearly everybody else? Are there valid reasons for not participating in all the holiday hoopla?

American Late Show television program host David Letterman is famous for his "top 10" lists in which he offers pointed commentary about popular culture and current events. So here I offer my top 10 reasons for not celebrating Christmas!

1. Christmas is driven by commercialism.

It's not that difficult to recognize what really drives the holiday in our age. Cal Thomas, an American syndicated columnist who often writes from a Christian perspective, acknowledged uncomfortable truths about Christmas in a December 2003 column.

"I'm not sure it's worth keeping Christmas anymore," he began, lamenting that the holiday has become a "road show of reindeer, winter scenes, elves and the God substitute, Santa Claus, who serves as a front for merchants seeking to play on the guilt some parents bear for ignoring their kids the rest of the year."

He asks a great question: "Why participate any longer in this charade where the focal point of worship has shifted from a babe in a manger to a babe in the Victoria 's Secret window? . . . No room in the inn has been replaced by no room in the mall parking lot."

But perhaps his most insightful statement is this: "It's instructive how just one season away from lusting after material things can break the habit. It's something like liberation from an addiction or lifestyle choice. Being away from it can cause one to realize the behavior is neither missed nor needed for fulfillment and enjoyment."

Having said good-bye to the Christmas habit several decades ago, I couldn't have said it better myself!

2. Christmas is nowhere mentioned in the Bible.

This is rather obvious, but most people never give it a second thought. The books of the New Testament cover 30+ years of Jesus Christ's life, then another 30+ years of the early Church following His death and resurrection, but nowhere do we find any hint of a Christmas celebration or anything remotely like it.

Yes, the Bible does give us quite a few details of His birth—the angelic appearance to Mary and then Joseph, the conditions surrounding His birth in a stable in Bethlehem, the heavenly choir's performance for the shepherds in the fields outside the town. But nowhere in the Bible is there any record of anyone observing Christmas or any hint that God the Father or Jesus Christ expects us to do so.

3. Jesus wasn't born on or near Dec. 25.

Surprising but true! Remember those shepherds who were "living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night"? (Luke 2:8). December weather around Bethlehem is often miserably cold, wet and rainy. No shepherd in his right mind would have kept his flocks outside at night at that time of year!

The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary says this passage argues "against the birth [of Christ] occurring on Dec. 25 since the weather would not have permitted" shepherds to be out in the fields with their flocks then.

And Celebrations: The Complete Book of American Holidays tells us that Luke's account of Christ's birth "suggests that Jesus may have been born in summer or early fall. Since December is cold and rainy in Judea, it is likely the shepherds would have sought shelter for their flocks at night" (p. 309) rather than keeping them outdoors.

Also, Luke 2:1-4 tells us that Jesus was born in Bethlehem because his parents came to that town to register in a Roman census. The Romans were well known as highly efficient administrators. It would have made no sense to have conducted a census in the dead of winter, when temperatures often dropped below freezing and traveling was difficult due to poor road conditions. Taking a census under such conditions would have been self-defeating!

4. The Christmas holiday is largely a recycled pagan celebration.

Again, surprising but true! Read it for yourself in just about any encyclopedia.

Consider the customs associated with Christmas. What do decorated evergreen trees, holly, mistletoe, yule logs, a jolly plump man in a fur-lined red suit, sleighs and flying reindeer have to do with the birth of Jesus Christ?

None of these things have anything to do with Him, but they have a lot to do with ancient pagan festivals. (Read the eye-opening details in our free booklet Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Keep?)

And what about the date of Dec. 25? How did it come to be assigned as the supposed date of Jesus Christ's birth? Historians Gerard and Patricia Del Re explain:

"The tradition of celebrating December 25 as Christ's birthday came to the Romans from Persia. Mithra, the Persian god of light and sacred contracts, was born out of a rock on December 25. Rome was famous for its flirtations with strange gods and cults, and in the third century the unchristian emperor Aurelian established the festival of Dies Invicti Solis, the Day of the Invincible Sun, on December 25.

"Mithra was an embodiment of the sun, so this period of its rebirth was a major day in Mithraism, which had become Rome's latest official religion . . . It is believed that the emperor Constantine adhered to Mithraism up to the time of his conversion to Christianity. He was probably instrumental in seeing that the major feast of his old religion was carried over to his new faith" (The Christmas Almanac, 1979, p. 17).

It's difficult to determine the first time anyone celebrated Dec. 25 as Christmas, but historians generally agree that it was sometime during the fourth century—some 300 years after Christ's death. And then a contrived date was chosen because it was already a popular pagan holiday celebrating the birth of the sun god!

Similarly, virtually all of the customs associated with Christmas are recycled from ancient pagan festivals honoring other gods.

5. God condemns using pagan customs to worship Him.

Since Christmas is supposedly a day to worship and celebrate God the Father and Jesus Christ, wouldn't it be a good idea to look into the Bible to see what it says about how we should worship God?

The answer is quite clear. God gives specific instruction about using pagan practices to worship Him—the exact thing Christmas does! Notice what He says in Deuteronomy 12:30-32: ". . . Do not inquire after their gods, saying, 'How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.' You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way . . . Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it" (emphasis added throughout).

And lest some think this is simply an Old Testament command that no longer applies, the apostle Paul makes the same point in 2 Corinthians 6, where he addresses whether unbiblical religious customs and practices have any place in the worship of God's people:

"What fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial [the devil and/or demons]? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God . . .

"Therefore 'Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.' 'I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.' Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 7:1).

Rather than relabeling pagan customs as Christian, or allowing members of the Church to continue their old pagan practices, the apostle Paul told them in no uncertain terms to leave behind all these forms of worship and worship God in true holiness as He commands. Jesus likewise says His true followers "must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24)—not revel in recycled pagan customs and symbolism.

6. Christmas is worshipping God in vain.

Since Christmas is a jumble of ancient pagan customs invented by men, and a holiday found nowhere in the Bible, does God honor or accept such worship?

Jesus provides the answer in His stern rebuke of the religious teachers of His day, men who had substituted human traditions and teachings for God's divine truths and commands: "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites . . . 'in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' . . . All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition" (Mark 7:6-9).

In the 17th century Christmas was actually outlawed in England and some parts of the American colonies because of its unbiblical and pagan origins. They knew something most people today have forgotten or have never known!

7. You can't put Christ back into something He was never in.

Some people admit the many problems with Christmas. But rather than face up to those problems, some assert that we should "put Christ back in Christmas."

However, it's impossible to "put Christ back in Christmas" since He never was in Christmas in the first place! He never so much as heard the word "Christmas" during His lifetime on earth, nor did His apostles after Him. You can search the Bible cover to cover but you won't find the words "Christmas," "Christmas tree," "mistletoe," "holly," "Santa Claus" or "flying reindeer."

Putting Christ back in Christmas may sound like a nice sentiment, but it's really only a misguided effort to try to justify a long-standing human tradition rather than what the Bible tells us we should do.

8. The Bible nowhere tells us to observe a holiday celebrating Jesus Christ's birth—but it clearly does tell us to commemorate His death.

As noted earlier, the Bible nowhere mentions Christmas or tells us to celebrate Christ's birth.

This is not to say that the Bible doesn't tell us to commemorate a highly significant event in Jesus Christ's life on earth. It does—but that event is His death, not His birth.

Notice what the apostle Paul, conveying the instructions of Jesus Himself, tells Christians: "For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, 'Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.'

"In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.' For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes . . . Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup" (1 Corinthians 11:23-28).

And yes, many believers do what they consider a form of this today in taking communion or "the Lord's supper." They fail to realize, however, the full significance of these acts, or that what Paul is actually describing here is the Passover — which is what Jesus Himself called this observance (Matthew 26:18-19; Mark 14:14-16; Luke 22:8-13, 15).

And many have no idea of the real date of Christ's death and the annual Passover observance, but that's an issue for another time. (Hint: It isn't "Good Friday" prior to Easter as so many mistakenly believe. See our booklet Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Keep? for details.) The point is: Jesus clearly expects His true followers to commemorate His death—not His birth—by observing the Passover.

9. Christmas obscures God's plan for mankind.

Passover, mentioned above, has enormous significance in God's plan for humanity. The Old Testament Passover, described in Exodus 12, was symbolic of Jesus Christ's future role and sacrifice. As the blood of the slain Passover lambs on the Israelites' houses spared them while the firstborn of the Egyptians were slain, so does Jesus Christ's sacrificial death on our behalf spare us from death— eternal death.

Paul alluded to this great truth when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 5:7 that "Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us." Similarly John the Baptist, speaking under divine inspiration, said of Jesus, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).

Peter wrote that we are redeemed "with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Peter 1:19)—a clear reference to the Passover lambs (Exodus 12:5).

A central key to God's plan for humanity is Jesus Christ's sacrificial death on our behalf. He is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8)—meaning His death for our sins was planned before the first human beings were ever created (1 Peter 1:18-20). Only through His death to pay the penalty for our sins can human beings receive God's gift of eternal life (John 3:14-17; Acts 4:12; 1 Corinthians 15:20-22).

Christmas, in contrast, teaches us none of this. Regrettably, because it is a hodgepodge of unbiblical customs and beliefs thrown together with a few elements of biblical truth, it only obscures the incredible purpose of Jesus Christ's coming—as well as why He must return to earth a second time! (For more details, request our free booklets Jesus Christ: The Real Story and The Gospel of the Kingdom.)

10. I'd rather celebrate the Holy Days Jesus Christ and the apostles observed.

God in His Word sets out many choices for us. Will we do things His way or our own? Will we worship Him as He tells us to, or expect Him to honor whatever religious practices we choose regardless of what His Word says?

It's always good to ask the question, What would Jesus do? The answer, from the Scriptures, is quite clear as to what Jesus did. Jesus didn't allow His followers the option of adopting pagan practices in their worship. He and the apostles plainly kept God's Holy Days and festivals that we find recorded in Leviticus 23.

As noted above, they kept the Passover (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Scripture shows they also observed the Days of Unleavened Bread (Acts 20:6; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8). The New Testament Church itself was founded on the Feast of Pentecost (Acts 2:1), another biblical festival they clearly observed (Acts 20:16). They likewise kept the Day of Atonement (called "the Fast" in Acts 27:9) and the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2, 10).

Christmas, meanwhile, is totally missing from the biblical record.

Most people don't know that the Bible includes a whole list of festivals that God commanded, that Jesus Himself observed and that the apostles and early Church were still keeping decades after Christ's death and resurrection. And unlike Christmas, these reveal a great deal about Jesus Christ's role and mission.

Each one teaches us a vital lesson in what Jesus has done, is doing and will yet do in carrying out God's great plan for humankind. The differences between these and the tired old paganism and crass commercialism of Christmas is truly like the difference between day and night. Why not look into them for yourself?

I've given you my top 10 reasons for not celebrating Christmas. What do you suppose God thinks of your reasons for continuing to observe it? GN



TOPICS: General Discusssion; History; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: christ; christmas; feasts; festivals; hehateme; selfrighteous
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Learn it, live it, love it. :-)
1 posted on 12/09/2006 7:11:58 AM PST by DouglasKC
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To: DouglasKC
My birthday is March 25th and is "Annuciation Day" when the agnel visited Mary and announced the birth to come. Nine months later Jesus was born ergo Dec 25th!!

BTW several years back a thread addressed the Dec 25th day and suggested that the biblical tale of the sheppards verified the date period since sheep would be calving during the December period. This itme, mentioned in the bible is important proof of the Lord's birthday!!

2 posted on 12/09/2006 7:17:51 AM PST by Young Werther
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To: Young Werther
BTW several years back a thread addressed the Dec 25th day and suggested that the biblical tale of the sheppards verified the date period since sheep would be calving during the December period. This itme, mentioned in the bible is important proof of the Lord's birthday!!

For a different perspective, read this thread, On What Day Was Jesus Born?

It makes a much stronger case for a fall birth, during the feast of tabernacles.

3 posted on 12/09/2006 7:22:10 AM PST by DouglasKC
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To: DouglasKC

The angels celebrated His birth, the wise men came to see the King. I am neither, and have had misgivings about what this holiday has become to pagans. What effect would it have on our witness if we boycotted buying gifts for Christmas and gave to the poor, the widows, and the orphans? There are 45 million orphans in Africa. We could tell people the reason He came in the first place, to save them from materialism.


4 posted on 12/09/2006 7:33:43 AM PST by huldah1776 (Worthy is the Lamb.)
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To: DouglasKC

Let me know when you observe as holy the seventh day Sabbath that God instituted at Creation..


5 posted on 12/09/2006 7:50:38 AM PST by Shimmer128 ( My beloved is mine and I am his. Song of Solomon 2:16)
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To: DouglasKC
1. Christmas is driven by commercialism.

No Retailers are driven by commercialism. You can still celebrate the reason for the season.

2. Christmas is nowhere mentioned in the bible.

That doesn't mean you can't celebrate his birth

3. Jesus wasn't born on or near Dec. 25.

That may be true, but have to pick a time if we celebrate something. When would the author suggest?

4. The Christmas holiday is largely a recycled pagan celebration.

There are pagan aspects to almost every holiday. If you buy into it then so be it.

5. God condemns using pagan customs to worship Him.

But he also honors true worship.

6. Christmas is worshipping God in vain.

If you worship him for the wrong reasons, absolutely.

7. You can't put Christ back into something He was never in.

Sounds like more of a personal problem than a problem with Christmas.

8. The Bible nowhere tells us to observe a holiday celebrating Jesus Christ's birth—but it clearly does tell us to commemorate His death.

By that logic we'd have to quit celebrating all birthdays and holidays. What a boring life.

9. Christmas obscures God's plan for mankind.

True celebration of christmas has us loving each other and honoring Jesus. Seems pretty much in line with God's plan for everyone to me.

10. I'd rather celebrate the Holy Days Jesus Christ and the apostles observed.

Nobody's stopping the author from doing anything. I absolutely abhor articles like this. You should celebrate Jesus and who he is and what he did every day--just not Christmas. If you get involved in the secular stuff associated with Christmas, you're celebrating for the wrong reasons. I would suggest the author needs to get his priorities in line--not try to justify everything biblically.
6 posted on 12/09/2006 7:54:23 AM PST by Ptaz (Take Personal Responsibility--it's not fun, but it's the right thing to do.)
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To: huldah1776
The angels celebrated His birth, the wise men came to see the King. I am neither, and have had misgivings about what this holiday has become to pagans. What effect would it have on our witness if we boycotted buying gifts for Christmas and gave to the poor, the widows, and the orphans? There are 45 million orphans in Africa. We could tell people the reason He came in the first place, to save them from materialism.

Good point.

7 posted on 12/09/2006 7:55:57 AM PST by DouglasKC
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To: Shimmer128
Let me know when you observe as holy the seventh day Sabbath that God instituted at Creation..

I started doing that about 5 years ago. Consider this your notice. :-)

8 posted on 12/09/2006 7:57:07 AM PST by DouglasKC
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To: DouglasKC

:)

Served and noted!!!


9 posted on 12/09/2006 8:00:36 AM PST by Shimmer128 ( My beloved is mine and I am his. Song of Solomon 2:16)
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To: Ptaz

To properly address the issues raised by the author, it might be better to address the issues he raised UNDER the headings, and not just the headings themselves... :-)


10 posted on 12/09/2006 8:04:33 AM PST by DouglasKC
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To: DouglasKC

What a smug, self-satisfied guy the author is...


11 posted on 12/09/2006 8:07:08 AM PST by LongElegantLegs (...a urethral syringe used to treat syphilis with mercury.)
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To: DouglasKC

Are you sure this Ashley idiot isn't named Ebenezer Scrooge? Bah humbug barf alert- Hope three spirits visit him.


12 posted on 12/09/2006 8:14:06 AM PST by johna61
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To: LongElegantLegs
What a smug, self-satisfied guy the author is...

I've never met Mr. Ashley, but I strongly suspect that's not a true statement of his character. But it is nice to see that you're not bothering to refute the points made in the article.

13 posted on 12/09/2006 8:15:33 AM PST by DouglasKC
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To: johna61
Are you sure this Ashley idiot isn't named Ebenezer Scrooge? Bah humbug barf alert- Hope three spirits visit him.

Not celebrating Christmas really opens people up to scorn, doesn't it?

14 posted on 12/09/2006 8:18:38 AM PST by DouglasKC
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To: Ptaz

I'm with you, Ptaz. This is just extremism at the other end of the spectrum from the Anti-Christian AntiChristmas crowd.

Let's be realistic and remember that the Christian religions evolve. Things aren't the same as they were 2006 years ago, and the celebration, understanding and knowledge of the faithful reflects that. "Debunking" the history and historical practices of Christianity is interesting to me personally only as an exercise.

C'mon, let's take it further. God's image as a man, and as a powerful, white, bearded man of middle age? Well, that's the image of Zeus, and it sure helped the Greeks to accept our God over theirs when the time came.
Bringing a tree into your house at the onset of winter? Well, we all know that was a druid custom. Christmas at December? Most scholars think that Christ's birth was during lambing and calving season, which is March-April, in the Holy Land, btb, not December. But having the celebration of life and the birth of the Savior in December brought the European Pagans over! There are a hundred more examples.

Call it what you will... I call it practicality. More importantly, it's now a part of our shared history, regardless of how it started.
I can certainly agree on the negative aspects of the rampant commercialism now brought with Christmas.

In one sense, I agree with this Author... skip a couple of Christmases by serving in the military or in a job that requires travel outside of the US, with no friends or family within a couple of thousand miles. When you return, you will find all the disgusting consumerism a minor thing, and the spirit of the season will return you you and your family, closer to perfect that you'd ever imagine!
This is my first Christmas at home in 4 years, btb. I dig it.


15 posted on 12/09/2006 8:27:24 AM PST by capt.P (Hold Fast! Strong Hand Uppermost!)
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To: DouglasKC
Not celebrating Christmas really opens people up to scorn, doesn't it?

It may be more the public announcement. Anytime there's a party pooper they invite themselves to scorn.

Jump up at a wedding sometime and try it, just for grins.

16 posted on 12/09/2006 8:33:07 AM PST by Balding_Eagle (God has blessed Republicans with political enemies who are going senile.)
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To: DouglasKC

Well, that is one point of view


17 posted on 12/09/2006 8:36:27 AM PST by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America; the Islamization of Eurabia)
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To: DouglasKC
What's to refute? If those reasons work for him, that's fine.
As far as my statements as to his character, well, that's how he comes across in this article. I'm sure he's just charming in person.
18 posted on 12/09/2006 8:41:08 AM PST by LongElegantLegs (...a urethral syringe used to treat syphilis with mercury.)
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To: Balding_Eagle
It may be more the public announcement. Anytime there's a party pooper they invite themselves to scorn.

That's true enough. Anytime a majority encounters someone who goes counter to popular opinion there's usually some kind of scorn. Whether or not the majority is correct is irrelevant.

19 posted on 12/09/2006 9:13:27 AM PST by DouglasKC
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To: capt.P
Let's be realistic and remember that the Christian religions evolve.

Ah, that's the rub. If one believes that:

Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever

Then Christian "evolution" should be minimal, if at all. If one believes that scripture is God breathed, then Christian "evolution" should be minimal if at all.

Things aren't the same as they were 2006 years ago, and the celebration, understanding and knowledge of the faithful reflects that.

Certainly they're not the same. But that doesn't make it necessarily a good thing, or a right thing.

20 posted on 12/09/2006 9:19:25 AM PST by DouglasKC
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To: DouglasKC
I enjoy celebrating Christmas—for a week or two.

As it is, when images of Santa Claus first appear in the stores, I know that Halloween will soon be here.

21 posted on 12/09/2006 10:09:59 AM PST by Logophile
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To: DouglasKC

To me, Christmas is a special day where we are reminded that Christ was born into this world and came to die for us on the Cross. My family might send a few cards or presents, but Thanksgiving is a much bigger holiday in terms of celebration. It's not a contest to see who's going to get the most presents - especially since we were given the greatest gift by God over 2000 years ago. That's where I think a lot of Americans lose perspective on Christmas.


22 posted on 12/09/2006 10:14:42 AM PST by kcbc2001
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To: DouglasKC
A good essay, but...re: No shepherd in his right mind would have kept his flocks outside at night at that time of year!)))

Where else do you keep a flock of sheep? Barns? The Motel 6? My assumption is that there wouldn't be an infrastructure to provide a flock with cozy comfort in winter and that the shepherd doesn't have a whole lot of choices. Doesn't lambing take place in wintertime?

23 posted on 12/09/2006 10:24:04 AM PST by Mamzelle
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To: DouglasKC

I thought I did. This kind of reprimand you post here is why most people ignore articles like this.


24 posted on 12/09/2006 10:31:21 AM PST by Ptaz (Take Personal Responsibility--it's not fun, but it's the right thing to do.)
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To: capt.P

Welcome home! and have a blessed Christmas.

Mrs VS


25 posted on 12/09/2006 10:54:02 AM PST by VeritatisSplendor
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To: DouglasKC; saradippity; Phx_RC; Northern Yankee; NYer
Surprising but true! Remember those shepherds who were "living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night"? (Luke 2:8). December weather around Bethlehem is often miserably cold, wet and rainy. No shepherd in his right mind would have kept his flocks outside at night at that time of year!

Here's a "throw spaghetti on the wall and see if it sticks" thought.

The birth of Jesus as The Messiah and Our Lord and Saviour was truly a miracle. Even the Archangel Gabriel came to announce it.

Who's to say that in preparation for this true miracle, God didn't tweak the weather bit for a few days to allow the shepherds to have their flocks out there?

Wouldn't that an example of "the mystery of faith?"

The author seems to be emulating "man's thinking" to make sense out of one of God's true miracles, to conform to his own belief, if all he is basing his argument is on the weather.

It also appears that this minister is claiming to do what Cathlolics are constantly critized for doing. He's trying to add to, or reinterpret the scripture and belief to what it really says here.

I think I'll just leave it to "the mystery of Faith" and rejoice in Jesus's birth.

And btw, Merry Christmas to all.

26 posted on 12/09/2006 11:27:25 AM PST by kstewskis ("Never give away for free what God has given you as a gift for your husband"....CyberAnt)
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To: Mamzelle
Where else do you keep a flock of sheep? Barns? The Motel 6? My assumption is that there wouldn't be an infrastructure to provide a flock with cozy comfort in winter and that the shepherd doesn't have a whole lot of choices.

My assumption is that there would be some type of shelter for the sheep. It wouldn't be a good practice for someone who wanted to raise sheep not to shelter them during inclement weather. Stables have been around for quite a while.

As far as lambing goes, the sheepherder can control when it occurs. But if they lamb in winter they better have the lambs in shelters because they are much more susceptible to weather extremes.

27 posted on 12/09/2006 5:51:30 PM PST by DouglasKC
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To: Ptaz
I thought I did. This kind of reprimand you post here is why most people ignore articles like this.

I expect that most people will ignore articles like this. It takes courage and a commitment to God to recognize that Christmas is a historical and not a biblical holiday. Jesus Christ created the days he expects his followers to observe....and Christmas isn't one of them.

28 posted on 12/09/2006 5:54:31 PM PST by DouglasKC
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To: kstewskis
Who's to say that in preparation for this true miracle, God didn't tweak the weather bit for a few days to allow the shepherds to have their flocks out there?

Look, it's no mystery how December 25th was chosen. From a history of Christmas:

In the first 200 years of Christian history, no mention is made of the actual date of the birth of Jesus. The first mention we have of a celebration of his birth appeared in 336 AD. Why this omission? In the case of the early Church fathers, the reason is that the commemoration that was considered most worthy was the date of his death. In comparison, the date of his birth was considered insignificant. The historical tradition was to celebrate the death of remarkable people and not their births; most people did not even know when their children were born; it was often considered insignificant. (It was enough to know that a person had been born and not the actual date, although we will see in a few minutes that God considered the date to be very important.)

Speculation on the proper date began in the 3rd and 4th centuries, when the idea of celebrating his birth first started. There was quite a controversy among the early Church leaders. Many were opposed to the celebration. Origen, who lived from 185-254, strongly recommended against such a celebration. He said, “In the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday. It is only sinners who make great rejoicings over the day in which they were born into this world.” During this time of controversy, various people proposed eight specific dates during six different months. Although December 25th was one of the last dates to be proposed, it was the one that was finally accepted by the leadership of the church in the West. The earliest mention of the observance of December 25th is in the year 336. This date was probably chosen to oppose the feast of the Natalis Solis Invicti, or the nativity of the unconquerable sun. (Whether it was set on this date to avoid persecution by pagans or if this was an early attempt at ecuminicism is open to debate. Most people think that the Pope was just trying to make peace with the pagans.)

December 25th was made popular by Pope Liberius in 354, and that date became the rule in the 435 when the first “Christ Mass” was officiated by Pope Sixtus III.

As I mentioned a moment ago, this date coincided with the date of a celebration by the Romans to their primary god, the sun, and to Mithras, a popular Persian sun god who was supposedly born on the same day. The Roman Catholic writer Mario Righetti admits that, “to facilitate the acceptance of the faith by the pagan masses, the Church of Rome found it convenient to institute the 25th of December as the feast of the birth of Christ to divert them from the pagan feast, celebrated on the same day in honor of the ‘Invincible Sun’ Mithras, the conqueror of darkness.”

Protestant historian Henry Chadwick said, “Moreover, early in the fourth century, there begins in the West the celebration of December 25th, the birthday of the Sun-god at the winter solstice, as the date for the nativity of Christ. How easy it was for Christianity and solar religion to become entangled at the popular level is strikingly illustrated by a mid-fifth century sermon of Pope Leo the Great, rebuking his over-cautious flock for paying reverence to the Sun on the steps of St. Peter’s before turning their back on it to worship inside the westward facing basilica.” Do we see this today? Do you see people worshipping pagan gods during the time that is supposedly set aside to celebrate the birth of Jesus? How about Mammon, the money god? (Any thoughts at this point?)

29 posted on 12/09/2006 6:00:23 PM PST by DouglasKC
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To: DouglasKC

Bah Humbug Scott Ashley. You are just a bit of undigested beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato.


30 posted on 12/09/2006 6:06:50 PM PST by mware (By all that you hold dear... on this good earth... I bid you stand! Men of the West!)
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To: DouglasKC
Well, Scott, in as much as you're entitled to your opinion, I think you are stuffed clean-full o' shit. I'm not a big fan of the over-commercialism and secularization of the holiday, myself, but I won't let any anal-retentive, pious killjoy talk down to me like a child over how I comport myself on what I consider a very solemn-yet-joyous anniversary. And don't anybody dare presume they are enlightened enough to posit what God might think about my acknowledgement of His Son's birth. The market for that sort of theological self-righteousness is currently cornered by brutal, violent acolytes of a drunken pedophile. Go vent your spiritual spleen on Druids, or Gaian dirt-worshipers, or something.


31 posted on 12/09/2006 6:22:06 PM PST by Viking2002 (Islam is to Western Civilization what ticks are to a dog.)
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To: DouglasKC

oh please...Pope Gregory designed the present day calender...do you really think that you can measure seven days from anything.. I think not. The Catholic church wrote the bible, all Christians were Catholic for over 1500 years..pay attention Jesus founded 1 religion, Catholocism..wake up and grasp salvation


32 posted on 12/09/2006 6:56:51 PM PST by terycarl (G)
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To: DouglasKC

oh please...Pope Gregory designed the present day calender...do you really think that you can measure seven days from anything.. I think not. The Catholic church wrote the bible, all Christians were Catholic for over 1500 years..pay attention Jesus founded 1 religion, Catholocism..wake up and grasp salvation


33 posted on 12/09/2006 7:14:54 PM PST by terycarl (G)
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To: terycarl
oh please...Pope Gregory designed the present day calender...do you really think that you can measure seven days from anything.. I think not. The Catholic church wrote the bible, all Christians were Catholic for over 1500 years..pay attention Jesus founded 1 religion, Catholocism..wake up and grasp salvation

The bible was being written eons before Roman Catholicism came onto the scene. In this bible, Jesus Christ created holy days and told those who worship him how to observe them. He caused this to be written down in Leviticus, among other places. When Jesus Christ incarnated, he kept these same holy days that he created. Christmas is not one of those.

34 posted on 12/09/2006 7:55:13 PM PST by DouglasKC
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To: Viking2002
but I won't let any anal-retentive, pious killjoy talk down to me like a child over how I comport myself on what I consider a very solemn-yet-joyous anniversary. And don't anybody dare presume they are enlightened enough to posit what God might think about my acknowledgement of His Son's birth.

I'm glad you consider it a solemn, yet joyous anniversary. However, Jesus Christ created holy days and listed them in the bible. As God, these are the days that Jesus wants us to observe to honor him. These are the days he honored when he incarnated.

35 posted on 12/09/2006 8:04:07 PM PST by DouglasKC
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To: DouglasKC
As far as lambing goes, the sheepherder can control when it occurs. But if they lamb in winter they better have the lambs in shelters because they are much more susceptible to weather extremes.

Scripture itself tells us about the winter time in Judea.

[Ezra 10:9-13] 9 Within the three days, all the men of Judah and Benjamin had gathered in Jerusalem. And on the twentieth day of the ninth month, all the people were sitting in the square before the house of God, greatly distressed by the occasion and because of the rain. 10 Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, "You have been unfaithful; you have married foreign women, adding to Israel's guilt. 11 Now make confession to the LORD, the God of your fathers, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives. 12 The whole assembly responded with a loud voice: "You are right! We must do as you say. 13 But there are many people here and it is the rainy season; so we cannot stand outside. Besides, this matter cannot be taken care of in a day or two, because we have sinned greatly in this thing.

The "ninth" Hebrew month is "Kislev" occurring in November/December on the Gregorian calendar and is indeed the beginning of the rainy season.

[Song of Solomon "Songs" 2:11] 11 See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.

Livestock to this day are not left out to pasture much past October in the Holy Land. The time of the birth, more realistically, would be during the Fall Festivals of The Lord.

Thank you for you post, Douglas.

36 posted on 12/09/2006 11:48:19 PM PST by Diego1618
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To: Diego1618

That should read "your post"....Duh!


37 posted on 12/09/2006 11:49:34 PM PST by Diego1618
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To: DouglasKC

Scripture indicates that Jesus was conceived not born circa Channukah, Chislev 24/25 in 5BC. I'd be willing to bet that the Jewish month of Chislev overlapped what we now call December of that year of 5 BC. The celebration of the day of His conception and the day of His birth on December 25 seems quite appropriate, especially when it overlaps with Hannukah.


38 posted on 12/10/2006 4:09:00 AM PST by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: Logophile

***As it is, when images of Santa Claus first appear in the stores, I know that Halloween will soon be here.***

Too much Christmas can kill the enjoyment. I saw the first decorations go up August 31 several years go.


39 posted on 12/10/2006 4:11:51 AM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (ISLAM "If you donít know what you have to fear, you will not survive."---Hirsi Ali)
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To: DouglasKC

MERRY CHRISTMAS, SCOTT!! MERRY CHRISTMAS, DOUG!!


40 posted on 12/10/2006 4:17:07 AM PST by TADSLOS (Mohammed was the L. Ron Hubbard of his time.)
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To: kstewskis
Merry Christmas!

This is silly. What shall we do? Ignore Christmas, and Advent? He doesn't mention the Holy preparation in Advent.

True... we don't know the exact date of the birth of Christ, so we what, just forget it?

The meaning of God becoming man truly seems to be lost on the author.

41 posted on 12/10/2006 5:11:37 AM PST by Northern Yankee ( Stay The Course!)
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To: Diego1618
[Ezra 10:9-13] 9 Within the three days, all the men of Judah and Benjamin had gathered in Jerusalem. And on the twentieth day of the ninth month, all the people were sitting in the square before the house of God, greatly distressed by the occasion and because of the rain. 10 Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, "You have been unfaithful; you have married foreign women, adding to Israel's guilt. 11 Now make confession to the LORD, the God of your fathers, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives. 12 The whole assembly responded with a loud voice: "You are right! We must do as you say. 13 But there are many people here and it is the rainy season; so we cannot stand outside.

Thank you for that scripture Diego. I had never noticed it before, but clearly wintertime in Judea wasn't a cakewalk.

42 posted on 12/10/2006 5:26:03 AM PST by DouglasKC
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To: Uncle Chip
Scripture indicates that Jesus was conceived not born circa Channukah, Chislev 24/25 in 5BC. I'd be willing to bet that the Jewish month of Chislev overlapped what we now call December of that year of 5 BC. The celebration of the day of His conception and the day of His birth on December 25 seems quite appropriate, especially when it overlaps with Hannukah.

Although Hannukah (feast of dedication) is not a God created holy day, it is mentioned in the bible in a fashion that is not condemned. If Christ were born in 4 BC then I would also bet that he was conceived during the feast of dedication. But still that's a far cry from observing Christmas with it's problematic pagan origins, customs and practices.

43 posted on 12/10/2006 5:59:35 AM PST by DouglasKC
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To: TADSLOS
MERRY CHRISTMAS, SCOTT!! MERRY CHRISTMAS, DOUG!!

It's a little late, but I hope you enjoyed a wonderful feast of tabernacles this year!

44 posted on 12/10/2006 6:00:46 AM PST by DouglasKC
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To: Northern Yankee
True... we don't know the exact date of the birth of Christ, so we what, just forget it?
The meaning of God becoming man truly seems to be lost on the author.

On the contrary. The author, as do I, celebrate the biblical feast days created by Jesus Christ and observed by him when he became a man. These feast days teach wonderful truths about our Lord and saviour. Passover observes his sacrificial death, the feast of unleavened bread pictures him leading us out of sin, Pentecost pictures the formation of his church, the feast of trumpets pictures his second coming, the day of atonement pictures his binding and putting away of Satan, the feast of tabernacles pictures his millennial rule and the last great day pictures the general resurrection he presides over.

These days that Jesus Christ created are there for a reason.

45 posted on 12/10/2006 6:07:15 AM PST by DouglasKC
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To: DouglasKC
It's a little late, but I hope you enjoyed a wonderful feast of tabernacles this year!

What does tabernacle taste like? Please don't tell me, "like chikin'".

46 posted on 12/10/2006 6:28:24 AM PST by TADSLOS (Mohammed was the L. Ron Hubbard of his time.)
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To: DouglasKC
Some things that are attributed to being pagan are not, for example the evergreen trees and evergreen decorations at Christmas time.

Isaiah 55:13 records: "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off".

The fir and the myrtle trees are evergreens, which literally means everliving or everlasting or never dying because they were evergreen all year round, especially during the time when everything else was dead in the dead of winter. And those red berries at Christmas time --- several kinds of evergreen myrtle trees have them. Not everything is what it appears on the face of it.

47 posted on 12/10/2006 6:54:27 AM PST by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: DouglasKC
This chr*stmas business has become so complicated (and my position doesn't mesh with any of the ones that get all the publicity) that I've decided not to comment on the issue this year. That was until I saw this post.

While I obviously don't agree with the Judaeo-chr*stian syncretism of the author I nevertheless applaud him for his stand based on the Word of G-d. This time of year the liberals' war on chr*stmas tends to completely obscure the issue as to whether the observance of that holiday is pleasing to G-d. This time of year Fundamentalist Protestants tend to return to the Catholic womb, forgetting all about the hostility of the Catholic Church toward them (and toward Biblical inerrancy). Sentimentalism and liberal hostility by themselves cause Fundamentalist Protestants to switch dance partners during this time of year.

For the record, I do not believe in political correctness or multiculturalism. I regard the notion that the majority religion must be suppressed while minority religions must be openly celebrated is hypocritical in the extreme and smacks of patronization as well. Furthermore, the liberal "multicultural" assault on chr*stmas completely ignores the issue of what G-d has to say about the matter. Quite frankly, I believe chr*stmas should not be celebrated--not because it is "politically incorrect" but because it is forbidden by G-d. But then, I believe all false religions and their holidays should be abandoned in favor of the One True G-d.

We should not base our beliefs on positions on what the liberals are doing.

48 posted on 12/10/2006 7:57:48 AM PST by Zionist Conspirator (VeYa`aqov 'ahav 'et-Yosef mikkol-banayv ki-ven-zequnim hu' lo; ve`asah lo ketonet-passim.)
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To: Uncle Chip
Isaiah 55:13 records: "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off".
The fir and the myrtle trees are evergreens, which literally means everliving or everlasting or never dying because they were evergreen all year round, especially during the time when everything else was dead in the dead of winter. And those red berries at Christmas time --- several kinds of evergreen myrtle trees have them. Not everything is what it appears on the face of it.

Because something is mentioned in the bible doesn't mean that it's automatically sanctioned to be part of religious worship of God. The problem with evergreens at Christmas IS that they were used in the same fashion in pagan origins.

King Tut never saw a Christmas tree, but he would have understood the tradition which traces back long before the first Christmas, says David Robson, Extension Educator, Horticulture with the Springfield Extension Center.

The Egyptians were part of a long line of cultures that treasured and worshipped evergreens. When the winter solstice arrive, they brought green date palm leaves into their homes to symbolize life's triumph over death.

The Romans celebrated the winter solstice with a fest called Saturnalia in honor of Saturnus, the god of agriculture. They decorated their houses with greens and lights and exchanged gifts. They gave coins for prosperity, pastries for happiness, and lamps to light one's journey through life.

Centuries ago in Great Britain, woods priests called Druids used evergreens during mysterious winter solstice rituals. The Druids used holly and mistletoe as symbols of eternal life, and place evergreen branches over doors to keep away evil spirits.

The fact that traditional Christianity later used these same symbols and practices doesn't make it okay.

What would Jesus do? What did Jesus do? The practice of using evergreens in worship was ancient? Do we ever read where Jesus commanded his disciples to go and collect evergreens and use them in worship toward God? No, and the thought to me is ludicrous.

Rom 1:25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Doesn't this about sum up Christmas? We have the truth of God exchanged for the lie of Santa. We have those who don't know God practicing the same things as those who profess to worship God.

49 posted on 12/10/2006 9:45:41 AM PST by DouglasKC
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To: DouglasKC


Ba HumBug!


50 posted on 12/10/2006 3:47:23 PM PST by dcnd9
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