Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas, The 25th, and The Bible.

I know a lot of you love Christmas and you ascribe to it as the day that Jesus was born and that He is the reason for the season and think that there are people who have no right calling it a holiday tree instead of a Christmas tree...

and if you are one of those people who wants to have nothing infringing on your traditions, then this probably isn't the post for you.

Because in this post, I am going to point out a lot of stuff from a Biblical perspective, and it is possible that what the word says may be offensive to some people in regards to Christmas.
I preface this post with this disclaimer not to be offensive, but to avoid offense.

In the past year or so, I think some weird switch got flipped in my brain because I started reading the news. I used to hate the news because it was all depressing, going on about who got shot today and how dark the world is and all that, but I digress. I was reading the news and I cam across This Article that had a quote directly from the Pope that says as follows:

"The idea that Christ was born on Dec 25 also has no basis in historical fact.
"We don't even know which season he was born in. The whole idea of celebrating his birth during the darkest part of the year is probably linked to pagan traditions and the winter solstice.""

The Man with the super tall hat is partly right.  The idea that Christ was born in Dec has no historical basis.

Also, The idea of his birth being celebrated in December has to do with an infusion of pagan customs.  What I disagree with is the notion that we don't know what season.

Luke 2
In the same region there were shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.

When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”
16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.

SO the time that the Light of the World was being born,  the Shepherds were still bringing the flocks out. I don't think that sheep eat snow...  but anyway.

Have you ever asked yourself how the "christmas" tree every came to be?  Who sat around one day and said," you know, the Savior died for my sins, so I am going to take a pine tree and
and dangle balls and and stream silver tinsel and gold garland and stuff on it to  commemorate his birth" 

Well, The Bible describes these actions:
Jeremiah 10:2-4

Thus says the Lord,
Do not learn the way of the nations, And do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens
Although the nations are terrified by them; For the customs of the peoples are delusion;
Because it is wood cut from the forest, The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool.
They decorate it with silver and with gold; They fasten it with nails and with hammers
So that it will not totter.

Deuteronomy 12:29-32
“When the Lord your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’ You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.

Now if you take these two passages together it says don't worship God in the ways of paganism, and the act of decorating trees is outlined as a pagan practice. 
How does that tie into December 25th?

"Saturnalia is a festival of light leading to the winter solstice, with the abundant presence of candles symbolizing the quest for knowledge and truth. The renewal of light and the coming of the new year was celebrated in the later Roman Empire at the Dies Natalis of Sol Invictus, the "Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun," on December 25

Without going too deep into historical accounts of Emperor Constantine  and Him thinking Jesus was the Sun god, instead of the Son of God... because really there is a LOT there...  I'd like to point out the fact that this is the very thing that the Pope just said.
You may ask yourself, "So what, what is the big deal? Its just a tree and it's tradition? Plus, there is a lot of love and giving and such so there is good coming from it"

At the heart of a question like that is a mindset that states "I'm only going to follow the parts of God that I like, and even then I am going to do it my way in my control" offense. 

But really, it's like ignoring passages about fornication and sexual sin and throwing orgies because you can say that the bible states to love your neighbor.  

Now I know a lot of you want to celebrate God dwelling coming and dwelling among men and you genuinely love the gift giving , many of you want to celebrate the coming of the King....

...and if that is genuinely in your heart, Instead of  taking something not biblical and worshiping God in ways that he has said that aren't ok.... why not try some of these Biblical days that have the very meanings that you are trying to ascribe?

1) Sukkot/ Feast of booths.

In this God appointed time, ( God holiday, I.E. Holy days) the whole thing is about God dwelling among His people after He has brought them out of bondage.

You want to celebrate little baby Jesus as God in man, there is much to be said about this. In this appointed time, People dwell in temporary dwellings.... You know, like Mary and Joseph were in the Manger.... or what could be considered a Sukkah

2) The feast of Trumpets  or Yom Teruah

This is the Biblical holy day in which declares the coming of the King 
It is called the day of blowing ( of trumpets) and there are trumpet blasts that signify deeply prophetic things of God

The way the shofar is blown can be defined in the following way:
“tekiah” - a long single blast that depicts the sound of the King’s coronation.
“shevarim” - three short wail-like blasts (signifying repentance).
“teruah” - several short blasts of alarm to awaken the soul.
“tekiah hagadol” - a long final blast that prepares the way for the coming of the King,

Celebrate the Birth of the King by the blowing of the trumpet announcing the coming of the king.

Interesting enough, those  two Biblical holidays occur in the fall, when shepherds would still be talking there sheep out into the fields.

The third one is the one that has probably the most symbolism is The Feast of Dedication, or Hanukkah. Most people don't even realize that this is mentioned in the bible.

2 Chronicles

Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house. 2 The priests could not enter into the house of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house. All the sons of Israel, seeing the fire come down and the glory of the Lord upon the house, bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave praise to the Lord, saying, “Truly He is good, truly His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

Then the king and all the people offered sacrifice before the Lord. King Solomon offered a sacrifice of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. Thus the king and all the people dedicated the house of God. The priests stood at their posts, and the Levites also, with the instruments of music to the Lord, which King David had made for giving praise to the Lord—“for His lovingkindness is everlasting”—whenever he gave praise by their means, while the priests on the other side blew trumpets; and all Israel was standing.
7 Then Solomon consecrated the middle of the court that was before the house of the Lord, for there he offered the burnt offerings and the fat of the peace offerings because the bronze altar which Solomon had made was not able to contain the burnt offering, the grain offering and the fat.
The Feast of Dedication
So Solomon observed the feast at that time for seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great assembly who came from the entrance of Hamath to the brook of Egypt. On the eighth day they held a solemn assembly, for the dedication of the altar they observed seven days and the feast seven days.

The second scripture is the actions of Jesus Himself being in the Temple at the feast of dedication.

John 10

22 At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; 23 it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon.

There is so much to celebrate in this. There is the fact that we are the temple and Christ dwells in us. The fact that there was the miracle of the Light continually burning in the Menorah during the Maccabees refusal to infuse with worldly oppression. Jesus is The Light of the World.. 

The point is, that there are far more biblically backed God orchestrated Holy days that don't have a bunch of practices that aren't ok.  We all have traditions that we have  that are passed down from our parents.... My parents had  a tradition of  addiction, and God said that wasn't ok. I think we should start some traditions of listing to Our Heavenly Father, and not even learning the practices or customs of paganism.

Edit: There is also this:

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