What Does God Think About Christmas?

Posted: December 14, 2017 in Uncategorized

The exact date of Jesus’ birth is unknown, and the early Christians did not even celebrate Christ’s birth. Birthdays and their celebrations had always been Roman feast days. In about 350 AD, Pope Julius set December 25 as the date of Jesus’ birth to correspond with the pagan Roman feast of Saturnalia, the festival of the Unconquered Sun.Temples were decorated with greenery and candles. There were feasts and parades with special music, and gifts were exchanged with family and friends. Among the British Druids, mistletoe was worshiped, and the Saxons used holly and ivy in their winter religious ceremonies. As Christianity spread throughout Europe, many of these pagan customs and festivities of the winter solstice were absorbed into the celebration of the birth of Jesus.

God gives specific instructions warning us about using pagan practices to worship Him. (the exact thing Christmas does) God warns us not to teach or do any of the detestable things which pagans have done for their gods, “so that we would sin against the LORD your God.” (Deuteronomy 20:18; 12:30-32 )

Jesus also rebuked the religious teachers of his day 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)

Jesus’ words in Mark 1:15 come in the form of an urgent command: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Not only does Jesus come to announce the soon-coming Kingdom of God among humankind, but also to prepare the elect for their spiritual responsibilities within that Kingdom.

Believing in God and Jesus is not enough. Even the devil and his demons believe in God. (James 2:19 ) We must repent and believe. Repentance is a prerequisite for belief.  What is repentance? Its basic meaning is “to change” or “to turn.” Once a person hears the gospel and is convicted that his way of life is wrong, he must change his present behavior and “bear fruits worthy of repentance.” (Matthew 3:8)

Repentance is not merely feeling sorry or remorseful. There is a difference between being sorry for your sin and repenting of it. Many who claim that they are sorry for their sin are merely sorry that they got caught in their sin. Politicians caught in scandals have proven this to be true many times. But true repentance is being so stricken in one’s heart for the sin itself that one seeks the cleansing blood of Jesus and begins to live according to God’s standards—according to God’s law. Remorse without a corresponding change in conduct is not true repentance.

Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15; 21; 23) Was Jesus differentiating between his commandments and God’s? I don’t think so. In John 15:10 Jesus said, “If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.” Later, when requested to name the greatest commandments, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart. . . . And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself’.” (Matthew 22:36-40) When we put all these things together, repentance is simply living as Jesus did!

Many Christians today claim that because we are but human with a sin nature, we cannot help but sin. But the apostle John wrote, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3)

I believe that what the apostle wrote came from Deuteronomy 30:11-14 which states, “When you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off…But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.” Why would God tell us that we can obey His commandments if He knew that it was impossible for us to accomplish?

Faith then—true living faith, is trusting God’s Word and practicing it, whether in the face of hardship, sacrifice, the contrary opinions of friends and family, or even death.

While a man cannot earn entrance into God’s Kingdom—that is a gift that God must bestow, (Ephesians 2:8) it is plain from Scripture that willful rebellion against God’s standard of righteousness will keep a person from receiving God’s full blessings and possibly from entering His Kingdom.

James 2:10 warns us that whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all….” Jesus himself also warns, “Whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do likewise will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19)

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 Jesus’s death and resurrection. 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. God’s feasts mentioned in Leviticus 23 have enormous significance in God’s plan for humanity.  (Notice the Bible calls them God’s feasts—not Jewish feasts)

Christmas, in contrast, teaches us none of this. Because it is a hodgepodge of pagan customs and beliefs thrown together with traditions of men. It only obscures the true purpose of Jesus’ birth on earth and his ultimate return.

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?

But no matter what we have done in the past, we can repent and be forgiven and begin to truly follow God’s Word as a new creation.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)


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