“‘Tis The Season”
On Thursday, November 26th, many observed the National holiday, Thanksgiving Day! A vast majority of Americans take the day off from the normal work schedule and feast over a turkey dinner and all the trimmings, watch football games and visit with family and friends. I wonder how many on a daily basis offer thanks for the prosperity enjoyed by most of this nation. I believe it would be correct to conclude that the majority of people in this nation offer thanks only on Thanksgiving Day, if then; practicing “seasonal thanksgiving.”
Likewise, as we approach the traditional “Christmas season,” many will get the “Christmas Spirit” and practice “seasonal religion” and some will even claim that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” You will see various denominations presenting their “special Christmas Programs” in celebration of the birth of Christ; which is vain worship according to Jesus Christ himself (Matt. 15:7-9).
Concerning the birth of Christ, there are several facts that many either ignore or do not know: (1) No man knows the birth date of Jesus because the Bible does not reveal it! (2) Observing December 25th as a religious holiday began as a pagan festival connected with the worship of the sun and other idolatrous practices. (3) This day was later transformed into a “Christian” holy day by the Catholic church when Bishop Liberius of Rome adopted this day as the birthday of Christ in 354 A.D., therefore, celebrating a “Christ-mass” for the occasion. (4) There is no New Testament command, apostolic example or necessary implication that sanctions celebrating the birth of Christ. The following information is from the Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature, prepared by John McClintock and James Strong, pp. 276-277.
“The observation of Christmas is not of divine appointment nor is it of N.T. origin. The day of Christ’s birth cannot be ascertained for the N.T. or, indeed from any other source. The fathers of the first three centuries do not speak of any special observance of the nativity. The baptism of Jesus was celebrated in the Eastern Church by A.D. 220, but not in the Western until the fourth century; and the Eastern Church finally adopted the Christmas festival from the Western (about A.D. 330)....But it is historically certain that the Christmas festival proper is comparatively of late institution....In the first place, no corresponding festival was presented by the Old Testament....In the second place, the day and the month of the birth of Christ is nowhere stated in the Gospel history, and cannot be certainly determined. Again, the church lingered at first about the death and resurrection of Christ, the completed fact of redemption, and made this the center of the weekly worship....The heathen winter holidays (Saturnalia, Juvenalia, Brumalia) were undoubtably transformed, and, so to speak, sanctified by the establishment of the Christmas cycle of holidays; and the heathen customs, so far as they were harmless (e.g. the giving of presents, lighting tapers, etc.), were brought over into Christian usage.”
Aside from the fact that the observance of Christmas as a religious holiday is NOT divinely authorized, there are other concerns that must be mentioned. Many of the world, including some brethren, seem to get very “spiritual” during this time of the year. Of course, we are to be spiritually minded, but, our spirituality must not be “seasonal.” Paul commanded Timothy to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:2). It follows then, if the Word is to be preached at all times, then it should be practiced at all times, and not just seasonally!
It is also interesting to note that during this supposedly religious time of the year, the consumption of alcoholic beverages by some is at a peak! Greed wasteful spending and gluttony will abound and some people will trample other shoppers at stores such as Walmart in order to take advantage of special sales. Many “charitable organization” “armies” will have their coin pots strategically positioned at shopping malls around this time of the year and some become very “benevolent” during this season by unloading their loose change. Worse yet, some brethren will even cut their contribution back because of overspending on gifts!
True Christians though, pray and give thanks daily (Acts 12:5; Rom. 1:9; 1 Thess. 1:3; 2:13; 5:17; 2 Tim. 1:3)! Likewise, on the “first day of the week” (that is, every week, since each week has a first day) faithful Christians will observe the DEATH of Christ (not His birth) and they will “lay by...in store” as they have been prospered without fail (Acts 20:7; Matt 26:26-30; 1 Cor: 16:1, 2). Question, is your service to God daily or seasonal? And, which god will you be serving during this season, “our Father which art in heaven” (Matt. 6:9), or “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4)?