December 25 …..& the birth of our Messiah
Should we or should we not celebrate this American tradition, that has come to be renowned all over the world?
During the Festival of Sukkot (aka Feast of Tabernacles or Booths), we examined the actual timing of the Savior’s birth. This week, we shall briefly examine the historical facts concerning this winter holiday.
Did you know that “Christmas” was not a celebrated holiday in early America? In fact it was outlawed in Boston from 1659-1681. Moreover, Congress did not recognize the holiday as it was in session on December 25, 1879, which was the first “Christmas” under America’s new constitution.
Just as America was divided over the issue of slavery, the north and south were also divided over the celebration of Christmas. “Many Northerners saw sin in the celebration of Christmas; to these people the celebration of Thanksgiving was more appropriate. But in the South, Christmas was an important part of the social season. Not surprisingly, the first three states to make Christmas a legal holiday were in the South: Alabama in 1836, Louisiana and Arkansas in 1838 … By the last quarter of the nineteenth century, America eagerly decorated trees, caroled, baked, and shopped for the Christmas season.” (http://www.thehistoryofchristmas.com/ch/in_america.htm)
The highly influential preacher Charles Spurgeon, who was known as the Prince of Preachers, stated on 12/24/1871: “We have no superstitious regard for times & seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas.”
Are there other facts that we should be aware of?
- Centuries before the birth of Jesus, the mid-winter solstice was celebrated around the world. From the earliest times, Celtic and Germanic tribes held this season in veneration and the Norsemen believed that their deities were present and active on earth from December 25 to Jan 6.
- “By holding Christmas at the same time as traditional winter solstice festivals, church leaders increased the chances that Christmas would be popularly embraced, but gave up the ability to dictate how it was celebrated. By the Middle Ages, Christianity had, for the most part, replaced pagan religion. On Christmas, believers attended church, then celebrated raucously in a drunken, carnival-like atmosphere similar to today’s Mardi Gras.” (http://www.history.com/topics/christmas)
- “Unable to eradicate the heathen celebration of Saturnalia, the Church of Rome, sometime before 335 AD, designated a Feast of the Nativity to be observed.” James Taylor, “Christmas,” in The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church” (J. D. Douglas, ed,; Grand Rapids; Zondervan, 1974), p 223.
- “Christianity thus replaced a pagan holiday with a Christian one, while keeping the same symbolism – the birthday of Christ corresponds to the birth of a new year. Many of the pagan customs became part of the Christmas celebrations.” New Standard Encyclopedia. Chicago: Standard Educational, 1991. pC-320.
Deut 12:30-32 warns: “Be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, “how do the nations serve their gods? We will do the same.” You must not worship the L-rd your G-d in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the L-rd hates. See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.”
Clearly the meanings of this pagan holiday have been changed in their meanings to us – but does that mean that we can change what it means to G-d? Can we “Christianize” a holiday that G-d did not sanction, one that is not on His calendar?
We must contemplate whether we are building our lives on His Word or on the ways of the culture.
(For further study: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNuIz63zBjM)
“L-rd G-d, our Messiah – You are our King! Our desire is to worship You and You alone! Thank You that You have given us Your Word. We love You!!! Bless our families – help us to be a shining example of Your love and holiness to all those around us. Turn our country to You. Bring Your peace to J’lem. In the Name of our soon-coming Messiah, Yeshua.”
IMMEDIATE Prayer Requests:
- Pray for Israel!
- Prayer for ISIS to be stopped; protection of believers
- Prayer for the families and the co-workers of those who were victims of the San Bernardino terrorists
- Pray for America.
- 2-year old Grandson (Mary & Joe Benton): Dad has been assigned to David-Monthan!! Please pray little Joshua is well enough to travel to Tucson.
- Tere: healing and wisdom in direction
- Donna: new job
- Deb: victory
- Paul & Lynn Mann: total restoration.
- Shar: overcoming and sense of purpose