Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year! (Part 1)

For years my family and I have celebrated the Christmas Holidays with friends and relatives. For me, this time of the year is very special. I love the lights, the preparation for welcoming family and friends, sharing my time and gifts with others. I look forward to the harmonizing Christmas carols and lighted house on various streets. The focus, however, seems to be on material things, rather than on our Savior. We say we are celebrating Jesus’ Birthday, but what do we really do for Jesus during this season? I know, “we love on one another and shower one another with our presence and presents.

Some time ago, I heard that Jesus was not born in December, but how was I supposed to prove this? I did not stop to think that I could do some research on this topic. What I did do though, was to minimize my activities during this season. I stopped stressing myself out about buying gifts to the extent where I would use my charge cards, stopped buying Christmas decorations, sending out cards in huge volume, and I even also stopped lying to my children about Santa Clause.

I thought about the six things listed in proverbs 6 that God hates, and realized that three of them were about lying: (1) a lying tongue, (2) a heart that devises wicked schemes and (3) a false witness who pours out lies. John 8:44 records these words spoken by Jesus: For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. Also Revelation 12:9, tells us that satan deceives the whole world. Satan’s deceit binds people to lies, rather than truth.

This year, I asked myself, "Why do we really celebrate Christmas. I decided to find out the origin, history and true meaning of the Christmas traditions. After all if I am celebrating something, I owe it to myself to know the reason why. I have heard many, including myself say, “Christmas is the best time of the year.” For me I have always celebrated Christmas, because that's what I have seen people do since I was a child.

In my research I have found that the first mention of Christmas observance on December 25, was in the time of Constantine (A.D.325) (the same pagan Roman Emperor) who four years earlier had passed an edict to substitute Sunday for the commanded Saturday/Sabbath. The Strong’s Concordance states that the word “Christmas is formed of Christ plus Mass, meaning, a religious service in commemoration of the birth of Christ.” There is no doubt in my mind that the Christmas celebration is a ritual rooted in paganism. Jeremiah warned: Thus says the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen (Jeremiah 10:2).

Early church leaders incorporated idolatrous practices and relabeled them Christian. God warned the Israelites. Take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them [the inhabitants of the land], and that you 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; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods ... Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it  (Deuteronomy 12:30-32).

Grace, Peace, and a very prosperous 2012 to you.

Pauline Lewinson.