Christmas and the Christian

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JML

Puritan Board Junior
Without having the time right now to listen to all 7 of these and considering the quote you included, he is saying that it is not a matter of liberty but is wrong for anyone to participate, correct?
 

sevenzedek

Puritan Board Junior
I'm so sick of Christmas right now that all I feel I need to write it out of my life for good is little push. As we did last Christmas, my family is exchanging gifts equally among ourselves. I would be willing to bet that if I was to fail to give one if them a gift, there would be great offense taken. Well, this sense of obligation makes me sick. Is obligated giving really gifting? No! Christmas really feels like a charade; a dance I am forced to dance. I am the kind of person who enjoys giving throughout the year. I don't say that as an easy out for Christmas giving. I actually give.

Things that I really hate about Christmas are these:

1. The gratuitous sense of entitlement that misrepresents true grace.
2. The consumerism of season.
3. Santa. He is the moral watcher who usurps our God as the true giver.
4. The idea that there must be a season for giving while we spend the rest of the year on ourselves.

The list could go on. Right now, I think my participation in the Christmas season strengthens these strongholds in the lives of those around me. That is why I am really considering boycotting Christmas. Perhaps someone will pray for me and my family as I sort through this issue. My family very much enjoys Christmas and I would like for them to become sensitive to these major issues.
 

SolaSaint

Puritan Board Sophomore
I think we all need to just pick and choose our battles and Christmas celebrations are not high on my list of offenses. I think there are bigger enemies in the world than Santa.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
The priority of getting rid of the cultural observances is going to vary depending upon the circumstances in a given home; but the absolute priority is to get rid of superstition and will worship in the public worship of God. I don't "get" the focus on the pagan origins of things where folks no longer remember those pagan origins. Get it out of the church! The rule there is extremely clear. If you have the commitment and understanding there, the rest will be a no brainier. High Anglicans and RCs can complain of consumerism. :2cents:
 

Free Christian

Puritan Board Sophomore
Christmas is probably my best witness time of the year. Not like others who say it is because Christmas brings Christ to people but because I say when I am told "Merry Christmas". "Thanks for the well wishes but I am a Christian and don't practice it, I do hope your coming new year is a good one for you though!" That can really open it up. "Your a Christian but don't do Christmas?" Then I explain why I do not and ask them, among other things, to get a Bible to look up where the wise men are recorded as being at the birth like they see depicted everywhere? To read where they actually visited Jesus. For a record of the date, many other things which God wanted us to know He gave perfect detail, like saying the day and month in places in the Bible, but Jesus' birth date is not recorded in any detail at all! You can also tell them how the decorations used, especially angels and so on as well as nativity scenes, are making of idols and where in the Bible we are told not to do so. I would also tell them though how grateful I am that Jesus did come into the world and that I celebrate that in my heart every day of the year. I make sure though that they fully understand that I am not ridiculing them or running them down.
Good witness time but I would be happier if it did not exist all the same.
 

irresistible_grace

Puritan Board Junior
Without having the time right now to listen to all 7 of these and considering the quote you included, he is saying that it is not a matter of liberty but is wrong for anyone to participate, correct?

I listened to Rev Al Martin's sermons linked above & at the end of the day his basic argument is "not in the church." But, he leaves room for using the Christmass "evangelistically" even allowing for a special worship service on Christmass Eve.

I think the most consistent sermon an the topic is A Holy God & Holy Day by Pastor McCurley.
I just finished transcribing it this week. You can listen to it on Sermon Audio ...
A Holy God and Holy Days - SermonAudio.com
 

Miss Marple

Puritan Board Junior
All the true doctrine I knew as a child raised by an atheist was from Christmas celebrations (songs, tv specials, nativity set. . .)

and the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.

I consequently celebrate Christmas heartily.

I never taught my kids that Santa was real or anything - that would be lying. But whatever is not of actual sin I do so enjoy.

I really don't think Christmas is the problem with this world.
 

CJW

Puritan Board Freshman
Discovering the RPW, and that typical Christmas celebrations were not required of me to be a "good Christian" was one of the most liberating experiences in my Christian walk. No longer was I bound by tradition to gift giving on the 25th of December. I am now free to make or buy a gift for a loved one whenever I wish. Marvelous freedom we have in our good God!

I've been musing on the whole season recently as it descends upon us, and was thinking how the West has been returning in so many ways to its ancient pagan past, (and I pray no one is offended, I am not saying that celebrating Christmas makes one a pagan!, but that a great many unbelievers enter into it quite whole-heartedly) with the great seasonal holidays of harvest, mid-winter, and spring continuing while casting off all their Christian trappings. There must be something within us that gravitates towards those times of year as "special". Anyways, just a rather random thought on the whole subject.
 

Hemustincrease

Puritan Board Freshman
I haven’t celebrated Christmas for a decade, but I found the above sermons by A.Martin incredibly helpful (in fact, the first I have ever heard that speak of Christmas in relation to Christian liberty) His teaching from Romans 14 (in the last three sermons) is excellent and will go a long way to preventing Christmas from causing unnecessary divisions. I only listened to 5 and 6 (so far) but will listen to the others shortly to see what his take is on Christmas in public worship. I would think that for him to be consistent, he would have to speak against that and limit the celebration of it (or not) to the privacy of each believer’s own home. That is certainly what I think needs to be done, in order for true Christian love and liberty to be maintained. Whilst Christmas in the church does not directly grieve my conscience (as in tempting me to live contrary to it) it does become at least as uncomfortable as it might be were a vegetarian to be served nothing but bacon sandwiches for a month. ;)

His sermons are worth listening to regardless of where you stand on Christmas. They offer some priceless instruction as to how Romans 14 should be lived out in the body of Christ, which is applicable to much more than Christmas of course.
 

Elizabeth

Puritan Board Sophomore
All the true doctrine I knew as a child raised by an atheist was from Christmas celebrations (songs, tv specials, nativity set. . .)

and the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.

This is me, as well!

How lovely that our Lord used this to draw us to Him. I remember most clearly, as a little girl, listening to the carols and wondering about the words. Looking out my window at night, watching the stars through the great oak tree, wondering about the story. A little girl pulled to joy on a winter's evening, walking through the snow to the sledding hill, "Oh, come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant..." Oh, come.

We celebrate it as well. No santa, only little gifts if any, but much joy and music, fellowship and food.

We have advent service tonight, and I am so happy!
 

Tirian

Puritan Board Sophomore
“A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, because they are no more"
 

hammondjones

Puritan Board Sophomore
It is immensely freeing to realize that it is not a requirement that we make this day the pinnacle of the year. Many people we know spend so much time and effort trying to make the day special for their children, and they and devote the entire month of December to it.

By all means, let's celebrate the incarnation, and let's even set aside one day for it if want. But, let's realize that it is a cultural thing, and that, ultimately, the customs of the nations are vanity. Meanwhile there is a day that is commanded to be observed.

We do participate, no Santa, etc., but we try to treat the day as if it were the 53rd or 54th most important day of the year, not the first or second.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
“A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, because they are no more"

Keep your voice from weeping,
and your eyes from tears,
for there is a reward for your work,
declares the LORD,
and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
There is hope for your future,
declares the LORD,
and your children shall come back to their own country.
 

Brian R.

Puritan Board Freshman
Brandon, Love your last sentence! That touches upon the part of Christmas I dislike- When folks elevate it above the Lord's Day. And, they think they're honoring the Lord in that way.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
God has used Christmas and Easter in my life. I wasn't raised in a Christian home and the only things scripturally that entered my house were the television programs that were played on the 5 channels of the television set we had. I learned about Moses and the Ten Commandments from them. I learned there was a person called Jesus Christ who came and died for the sins of the world. Besides that we had a yearly Christmas play the sixth graders did at school on the birth of Christ. I only know of two families in my neighborhood that were somewhat religious. One was Roman Catholic and the other was Disciples of Christ. They never ever talked about Jesus. The DofC family did invite us to Church. But we never went.

I do have to say that the movie the Ten Commandments played a big part in my life when I did pick up the Bible and read it for the first time. When I read John 8:58, where Jesus claimed He was 'I AM', I knew that Jesus was claiming to be the God who spoke to Moses from the burning bush. A lot of things fell into line and I came to understand the Gospel a bit more clearer due to that.

We don't celebrate Christmas at Church but we do focus a bit more on the Coming of Christ. There is no Christmas service. Our sermons are usually expositional from passage to passage. That doesn't change so if the Pastor was preaching on Isaiah 3 one week the next week will be Isaiah 4 if he passed out of that chapter.

When my kids were little I taught them about the real St. Nicholaus and that he was in heaven with Christ his Saviour. St. Nicholaus wanted people to know Christ. We have used the seasonal occasions to witness the birth, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. It is amazing how many people grow up without any knowledge of God and the scriptures. I was one of those people and so I have some appreciation for the seasons as they were used by God to give me some knowledge about God. Without them I imagine the world would be a darker place. But that is just my experience as one who was raised without.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
We can appreciate that the Lord uses things the way they are in our lives without overturning the rule for His worship. Christmas etc. are our "high places." We should get rid of such corruptions. But when even these illicit observances are disparaged we should mourn like Elijah did, not because we approve of such things, but because even these corrupt witnesses to the true God are attacked rather than reformed. Poole notes (1 Kings 18:36): “Thrown down thine altars; those which were erected for thy worship in high places, which they did not destroy because they were to be abolished by thy command, Deu 12, but out of mere contempt and opposition against thee, and therefore they suffered the altars of Baal to stand.”
 
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R Harris

Puritan Board Sophomore
Discovering the RPW, and that typical Christmas celebrations were not required of me to be a "good Christian" was one of the most liberating experiences in my Christian walk. No longer was I bound by tradition to gift giving on the 25th of December. I am now free to make or buy a gift for a loved one whenever I wish. Marvelous freedom we have in our good God!

I've been musing on the whole season recently as it descends upon us, and was thinking how the West has been returning in so many ways to its ancient pagan past, (and I pray no one is offended, I am not saying that celebrating Christmas makes one a pagan!, but that a great many unbelievers enter into it quite whole-heartedly) with the great seasonal holidays of harvest, mid-winter, and spring continuing while casting off all their Christian trappings. There must be something within us that gravitates towards those times of year as "special". Anyways, just a rather random thought on the whole subject.

One could say the same thing about "Easter," "Ash Wednesday," "Pentecost," or anything else the RC, Anglicans, or Lutherans have put on the "church calendar."

There are 52 holy days (holidays) for the Christian every year, and they all fall on the first day of the week - the Lord's Day.

There is simply no scriptural mandate, explicit or implicit, for anything else, no matter how hard one might try to look or make something up.

Regarding Christmas, a couple of things:

1. It is no small matter that the birth of Christ is only explicitly mentioned in 2 of the 4 gospels - Matthew, whose purpose was to demonstrate Christ's fulfilling of several OT prophetic passages, and Luke, whose purpose was to explain to Theophilus everything about this Christ person he had been hearing about. Yet, the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ is explicitly detailed in all 4 gospels and throughout the epistles. The resurrection proved that Christ was the Son of God (Romans 1:4) - not his birth.
2. The probability that Christ was actually born on December 25 is pretty close to zero. The Gospels themselves don't provide a precise day, which is significant in itself, just like they don't provide a physical description of Christ, for a very obvious 2nd commandment reason.
3. The modern story of the birth of Christ still gets some things wrong, the most obvious being the wise men at the manger, when clearly they went into a house to see Christ, when he was perhaps already 1-2 years old. Matthew's point was that this was the beginning of the fulfillment of the promise of Psalm 72, where the kings of the earth would be bringing gifts to Him.

But getting the facts straight has never been important to those promoting the holiday.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
I was raised Dutch Reformed so, of course, our church had services on Christmas day. The Church Order actually insisted on it, as was common for churches in the continental Reformed tradition.

But I am grateful that the perspective on Christmas I was raised with avoided many of the traps that have been mentioned on this thread. We worshiped Christ, not Christmas. We celebrated his saving works, not the season. We eschewed versions of the "Christmas story" that weren't thoroughly biblical. There was no pressure to be extra spiritual for one day, no sense that the Christmas service had to be the high point of the church year, and no one ever called Christmas a Holy Day (we scoffed at the pope for doing that). We feasted with family and friends and enjoyed giving small gifts, but the meals and gifts were seen as tokens of all Christ has given us—not as pressure-packed attempts to concoct perfect Christmas memories and sentiment. And we were able to celebrate without getting wrapped up in greedy consumerism, just as we worked to avoid it the other 364 days of the year.

I do understand and respect the position that Christmas in the church is unwarranted. For centuries, Reformed believers have affirmed together the principle of regulated worship while disagreeing (respectfully) on this particular application. I also understand the desire many have to flee the consumerism, secularism, pressure, and worship-of-sentiment that Christmas too often becomes in America today. To flee Christmas for such reasons may be a wise act of repentance. I'm all for it! We need to be challenging each other, especially this time of year, to put away such sins.

But I also want to point out that it's possible to celebrate the birth of Christ this time of year without getting wrapped up in those excesses and pressures and misplaced worship, and that it would be incorrect to assume that everyone who celebrates Christmas does so in all these bad ways.
 

Elizabeth

Puritan Board Sophomore
Anglicans, or Lutherans have put on the "church calendar.

I do have to say...I enjoy following the church year quite a lot. I find it interesting and lovely, really. Not as a requirement, for sure, but as a frame-work to study and think on various things throughout the year.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
We can appreciate that the Lord uses things the way they are in our lives without overturning the rule for His worship. Christmas etc. are our "high places." We should get rid of such corruptions. But when even these illicit observances are disparaged we should mourn like the Elijah did, not because we approve of such things, but because even these corrupt witnesses to the true God are attacked rather than reformed. Poole notes (1 Kings 18:36): “Thrown down thine altars; those which were erected for thy worship in high places, which they did not destroy because they were to be abolished by thy command, Deu 12, but out of mere contempt and opposition against thee, and therefore they suffered the altars of Baal to stand.”
I agree with Chris. And let it be known that this is not easy when something has been so culturally engrained into our lives that it is so abnormal to think this way. Especially when it has been engrained in our supposedly confessional Churches after they had a firm foundation at one time. I would say that probably 90% of the Church has little knowledge about this issue. I remember chiding the idea of not celebrating Christmas thinking it was due to some pagan influences. That is even where the battle lay today. We constantly hear 'Keep Christ in Christmas' as a battle cry against these outside influences when he wasn't in the Idolatry known as Christ Mass in the first place. As the scripture states, "My people perish for a lack of knowledge." This is so true today.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
I was brought up as a child in the old Scottish Presbyterian tradition of getting presents on New Year's Day and having a meal of roast pork on that day. We also attended church for the annual New Year's Day service, which some ministers focussed on 1893 and the testimony of the FPCoS.

I'm not impressed by the annual Christmas hoopla, which is becoming more of a slavish burden for those who take it seriously as the years progress, although I enjoy the food, any good quality sermons about our Lord's entry into this world, and to some extent go through the motions, while knowing that this brother is free, and it's how he's glad to be.

Sent from my HTC Wildfire using Tapatalk 2
 

Free Christian

Puritan Board Sophomore
Good post Josh. I was saved in a Charismatic church, and whilst there I did learn things about Jesus and many good things. But would I ever return there just because of that. No, because amongst the good was bad. People say worship should be kept pure, and rightfully so, and yet allow corruption in other places!
Some of the prettiest things in the world are the most dangerous. Just because it looks good or feels good does not always mean that it is good.
Could anyone who practices Christmas, in any way acknowledging it, quote any scripture passages that shows clearly that it is ok?
 
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sevenzedek

Puritan Board Junior
I listened to the first sermon tonight on the way to prayer meeting. Very good preaching! I can tell Pastor Martin has been influenced by those Puritan expositors—he doesn't leave you anywhere to hide from the weighty truth of God's holy word.
 

Tirian

Puritan Board Sophomore
We can appreciate that the Lord uses things the way they are in our lives without overturning the rule for His worship. Christmas etc. are our "high places." We should get rid of such corruptions. But when even these illicit observances are disparaged we should mourn like Elijah did, not because we approve of such things, but because even these corrupt witnesses to the true God are attacked rather than reformed. Poole notes (1 Kings 18:36): “Thrown down thine altars; those which were erected for thy worship in high places, which they did not destroy because they were to be abolished by thy command, Deu 12, but out of mere contempt and opposition against thee, and therefore they suffered the altars of Baal to stand.”

Help me out here brother because my brain isn't connecting the dots clearly for me. Are you suggesting that we should mourn Christ being taken out of Christmas (even though He was never in it) in terms of it being an attack on Christ per se, and yet at the same time not defend the false witness?
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
I listened to the first sermon tonight on the way to prayer meeting. Very good preaching! I can tell Pastor Martin has been influenced by those Puritan expositors—he doesn't leave you anywhere to hide from the weighty truth of God's holy word.

Al Martin'll make you feel that you've been dragged through a hedge backwards - in a good sense.

Sent from my HTC Wildfire using Tapatalk 2
 
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