|Posted by Pastor Jono on December 19, 2012 at 3:00 PM|
I confess I have a love-hate relationship with Christmas. I love the extra motivation it gives me to meditate on the coming of the God-man, our Saviour Jesus Christ - our gift from the Father! I love the opportunites it presents to share the gospel with others. I love the family time we enjoy, as an immediate family and also the dinners and reunions with others.
But when it comes to Christmas it is a case of "nevertheless I have somewhat against thee"! The materialism especially irritates me. I don't like seeing the selfishness in my children when they ask if there are more presents for them when they've just had ten! I don't like seeing the self-centredness in myself when I feel any discontentment over this or that gift. The traffic, the crowds, the consumer debt, the drunkeness and wife-beating - my list of negatives could go on and on!
Then there is the issue of the pagan elements and blatant mistruths in the usual celebration of Christmas. I know Jesus wasn't born on the 25th of December, it is the winter solstice feast day of the pagans! I know what Jeremiah chapter 10 says (and I don't think it is a reference to Christmas trees) and I know the Scriptural warnings about not touching the unclean thing etc. So what is the Scriptural response to Christmas? Should we not celebrate it? Should we condemn it, and by association those Christians who celebrate it? Or is it perfectly acceptable for the Christian to involve himself in it?
The conclusion I have come to is basically this: I repudiate the pagan elements of Christmas. I don't pretend December 25th is some sort of holy day. I tolerate the Christmas tree but I don't like them in church lest we offend some (plus they are messy things!!). I don't lie to my kids pretending Santa is real. I teach my children that Jesus is the greatest gift ever given and that a man's life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses. I use the extra opportunities Christmas presents to witness of the saving grace of Jesus. I educate people when I can that the real cause for celebration is not a baby in a manger but the Man on the Cross who died for our sins and the empty tomb He left behind. To me, Christmas is one of those grey areas to which we can apply the timeless and cultureless principles found in Scripture. For instance;
Romans 14:1-6 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
If you are not sure what to do with Christmas, be convinced in your own mind from the Scriptures, don't follow any other person's conclusion without searching the Scriptures yourself. That said, here is my own personal conclusion: whether you choose to regard the day or not, be careful not to offend one another, despise one another nor judge one another. Whatever you choose to do with Christmas, do so for the glory of God.
- Pastor Jono