You can find part 1 of this series here. (We Are Christians…And We Are Not Celebrating Christmas)
You can find part 2 of this series here. (Is Celebrating Christ’s Birth Wrong?)
You can find part 3 of this series here. (The Pagan Roots of Christmas)
You can find part 4 of this series here. (The Worldliness of Christmas)
I thought that I was finished exploring Christmas in light of scripture, and then I came across a three part series on Sermon Audio. Of course, I don’t agree with everything discussed in these messages, but as a whole they bring up some great points. I’m sharing them below.
Christmass Condemned by Christ Part 1
Christmass Condemned by Christ Part 2
Christmass Condemned by Christ Part 3
After listening to Part 3 of this sermon series, I began to see that (although unknowingly), when we celebrate Christmas, we actually are questioning the sufficiency of scripture. Christmas is not found in scripture anywhere. Now before you call me a hyper-literalist, please hear me out. In Leviticus 23, the LORD appointed the festivals/feasts that His people were to observe before Christ came to earth. God Himself appointed His Holy Days. He did not leave this up to the authorization of man.
We have liberty in Christ to eat meat. We have liberty in Christ to drive a car. We do not however, have liberty in Christ to create our own feasts/festivals/Holy Days as if we were God. (Christmas was created as a sacrament in the Roman Catholic Church. Sacred celebrations are up to God alone to ordain).
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
Jesus is now our high priest. Has He authorized the celebration of Christmas? No. He alone has the right to do so. When we celebrate Christmas, are we saying that God’s Word isn’t enough?
From man’s fall in Eden, Satan and man have distorted this earth. Since the beginnings of the New Testament church, man and Satan have attempted to do the same thing. In our family, we try to look to the Apostolic church for our guide, because honestly, from that time forward the sinfulness of this earth has gotten in the way. Did the New Testament church institute Christmas? No. The corrupt Roman Catholic church did.
The sufficiency of Christ and His Word to rule us in matters of faith and worship is at stake if we celebrate Christmas. To celebrate Christmas is to directly attack the sufficiency of Christ and His Word. It is to make ourselves wiser than God.
Okay, now onto how our family plans on celebrating (or not celebrating) this coming holiday season.
I love the decorations and festivities of the Christmas season. At the beginning of my study, I was wondering Will I need to give that up in order to be pleasing to Christ? I don’t think necessarily so.
Although in scripture we are not told to remember Christ’s “birth”, we are commanded to remember His death and ascension. It is through the cross that we have hope in eternal life! This should be in our minds always. While praying as to how our family can remember Christ’s sacrifice during the winter season, and I was lead to Isaiah 1:16-18:
Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.
Cease to do evil, Learn to do good;
Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor;
Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Through they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.”
Praise God that Christ has come and washed our sins as white as snow! These verses will be key in our home over the next few months as we worship our Lord and Savior, and remember His sacrifice. They will become the memory verse in our homeschool, and I plan on designing a pretty printable with this verse on it to highlight our décor.
As far as decorations go? We will be decorating for winter, just as I do for fall. The color white and snow will be our theme. Snowflakes, snowmen, woodland animals, etc. will be my focus. I do plan on having a tree in our home.
The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, The cypress, the pine, and the box tree together, To beautify the place of My sanctuary; And I will make the place of My feet glorious.
We will decorate with white lights as well, since Jesus is the light of the world. Basically, when I look at a decoration, I will think, is this something that I can leave out all winter? If the answer is yes, it stays, if the answer is no, it goes. (No traditional Christmas decorations, stockings, Santa Clause, Merry Christmas signs, Happy Birthday Jesus signs, etc.) No presents under the tree either.
Only acknowledge your iniquity, That you have transgressed against the Lord your God And have scattered your favors to the foreign gods under every green tree, And you have not obeyed My voice,‘ declares the Lord.
Any winter decorations I have will stay in place until March!
What about presents?
I honestly researched different holidays around this time frame so that we could possibly still participate in some manner, ha! The thought of not giving my children anything on Christmas hurts my heart, but I cannot ignore my conviction on this topic. This is what I’ve come up with:
- On Thanksgiving, we will either give our children one nice gift each, or a decorated bag of smaller gifts. I am so very thankful to be their mother!
- We will be studying Chanukah this fall, and on the final day I plan on giving them each a “2013 Holiday Bear” from Walmart. I usually give them a red/green bear, but this time I will purchase the white/blue snowflake bears, which works out great, not just because of the snowflakes, but because Chanukah’s colors and Israel’s flag are blue and white. We aren’t “celebrating,” but rather studying this tradition.
- I purchased each of my children a small snowman pail at Hobby Lobby (similar to the one pictured below). They were on sale for $1.00 each! I am going to place them in a special place, and throughout the winter months we are going to use them as mailboxes. My husband and I will leave trinkets, candy and notes for the children from time to time, and they can do the same for each other!
- Sometime over the winter months (I’m thinking January), we are going to have a winter party with cupcakes, a movie, and possibly a gift.
- On Christmas Day we will probably stay home and find something fun to do around the house. We might go to the movie theater to watch Frozen, or visit our local aquarium which is open on Christmas.
- We will study the incarnation of Christ at a different time of the year in our homeschool.
- This is what we are doing as a family, in our home. My girls for example, are participating in a Christmas parade for dance, and are dancing in a Nativity Ballet (which might be a no-go next year). I’m sure we will pass numerous light displays of Santa Clause, etc. over the next month. We will be in Disney World before Christmas, and I’m sure the holiday light displays will be simply lovely! I will be sharing with them why we are doing what we do, and how in our home we are trying to create tradition and live out what would be most pleasing to Christ, while the rest of the “world” does otherwise.
What about family gatherings?
My family moved to Georgia when I was six-years-old, so all of my extended family lives twelve hours away! My brother is very hostile towards Christianity, and unfortunately has gone behind my back in the past to talk to my children about views that differ vastly from ours. Therefore the only person on my side of the family who is around my family is my mother.
As far as my husband’s family goes, they usually have a big gathering the weekend prior to Christmas. We eat a meal, and then they play a present game. We usually leave prior to the present game anyhow, and are only there for the meal. I don’t see any problem with eating a meal with family days before Christmas, so most likely we will continue with this tradition. Now if the gathering was on Christmas Day, and a large amount of gifts were given to celebrate such? I’m not sure what we would do. No matter what our convictions, we need to remain kind and considerate to those who do not share our convictions. If my children receive “Christmas” gifts from others, I expect them to graciously accept the gifts. If we walk around with our noses in the air, would that represent Christ well? In our scenario, we do not give gifts to those other than our children and mothers. If we routinely gave gifts to others, it might be kind to let them know that you feel like celebrating Christmas isn’t honoring to Christ, and therefore you will no longer give gifts to commemorate such.
In matters of faith and worship, I believe wholeheartedly that man should not decide what is best without the direct teaching of scripture. Christmas is a matter of faith and worship. But what if we “divorced” the holiday customs from Christ…would that be okay?
Celebrating Holiday Customs without Calling It “Christmas”
Honestly, this was my first thought when conviction really set in. I believe that this can be done to an extent, but the line can get blurry as to what is acceptable, and what isn’t. My main problem with this holiday is the taking of pagan/idol worshipping customs and putting Christ’s name on them. I believe that most of the customs can be done with a clear conscience since they have long lost their pagan connotations. A few things that I would definitely advise against would be:
The name “Christmas” (Christ’s Mass)
As a protestant, I do not believe that mass (especially the Roman Catholic mass, from which Christ’s Mass originated from), is biblical. “Catholics always believed that the Sacrifice of Calvary is renewed on the altar at the Holy Mass. By means of the sacrificing priest, the bread and wine is changed into the very Body and Blood of Our Lord at the moment of the Consecration. The words that the priest says at this moment constitute the Transubstantiation, a change of substance.” credit In Roman Catholicism, the pope is the “Vicar of Christ,” meaning, as the original notion a vicar is of “earthly representative of God or Christ” but also used in sense of “person acting as parish priest in place of a real parson” credit
As a protestant, I fully reject this teaching. Unfortunately, I have also fully accepted and embraced the term, “Christmas” for the past 33 years of my life! This quote is from Charles Spurgeon (prior to preaching a sermon about the birth of Christ…the birth of Christ can be and should be taught at anytime of the year. However, given the history of December 25th, I hope that more pastors would begin preaching this message at other times of the year as well.)
We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or in English; and, secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior; and, consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority.” -Charles Spurgeon, Sermon on Dec. 24, 1871
If we abhor the thought of our Lord and Savior’s very Body and Blood being partaken by a congregation, and for the Sacrifice of Calvary to be renewed time and time again as the Roman Catholic church sees to it, why do we delight in the word Christmas (Christ’s Mass)?
The concept of “Santa Clause” has evolved from many different cultures throughout time. The roots of Santa are not only grounded in Saint Nicholas as you might have heard in the past. My friend shared the following thought on her blog awhile back. “ Is Santa just a harmless tradition, or is he a creation of the jealous one (Satan….S-a-n-t-a, S-a-t-a-n….um, you can’t overlook that) to cause children to love an omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, benevolent being other than the TRUE Omniscient, Omnipresent, Eternal, Benevolent Being Who is Jesus Christ?”
I would also like to touch on another one of Santa’s names, Kris Kringle. For example, Santa sings these words in the well-loved classic, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.
“Jingle, jingle, jingle. You can hear those sleigh bells ring. I am old Kris Kringle. I’m the king of jingling.”
The name Kris Kringle is derived from the word Christkind, who is Austrian and German gift-giver, and means “Christ Child.” I find this to be blasphemous to our Lord and Savior’s name. Kris Kringle is also the main character’s name in the film, Miracle on 34th Street.
If you tell your children that there is in fact a “Santa Clause,” you are being dishonest. No matter if you are playing “Santa” in good fun, it is being deceitful, which the Lord commands us not to be. Also, if you say that Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy are real, why should they believe you when you tell them that Jesus Christ is real?
Please be mindful of Christmas Carols that do not teach the truth of our Savior’s birth. For example in The First Noel, it is stated that shepherds were keeping their sheep, “on a cold winter’s night that was so deep.” Is this scriptural? No. What about the songs that talks about three wise men? Scripture talks about three gifts, but never mentions how many magi gave them.
Friends, this is how human tradition gets entangled with scriptural truth.
We are taking the stance that in all things, we should glorify God. Although the pagan customs can be fun and harmless, if they do not scripturally glorify God is some way, we are staying away from them.
…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31
Trees are a beautiful creation that Lord speaks of decorating His sanctuary. Snow and gift giving are also biblical, so we are focusing these things during the winter months.
I hope and pray that this series has been a blessing to you. If this is the only post you have read about this topic and are feeling some conviction, please take the time to read the other posts noted at the beginning of this one. I might share some winter homeschooling resources with you all before too long. Also, there is an article which I’ve been sent many times over the last few weeks as to why the celebration of Christmas is good. If I find the time I would love to dive into the article, and share why I believe most of it isn’t about seeking God’s truth.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
We must worship Him in truth, and not according to human tradition.
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.