If you remove all the presents, the Christmas tree, Santa Claus, Father Christmas, the tinsel, the lights, the family get-togethers, the roast lunch/dinner can you still celebrate Christmas? If the answer is no then Christmas is not a Christ-centred occasion. In this paradigm, Christ becomes the accessory not the essence of a tradition that feigns genuine religion but in reality is in total opposition to it. It is my contention that the average Christian seeks to squeeze Jesus into the Christmas story when in reality it has never really been about Him. It is apparent that most Christians believe that a five minute Bible reading in Matthew and Luke can miraculously transform this entirely secular tradition into a spiritual occasion which pleases God. The great tragedy of Christmas is the inclusion of Christ, not the exclusion. There is nothing wrong with exchanging presents and spending time with family but why do it with the false pretense that is all about Christ?
There is also a great theological battle to be fought at Christmas time. Cards are sent which state things like ‘Jesus is the Reason for the Season’ and that is simply not true. Jesus is NOT the reason for the season; He is the reason for LIFE! The carols and the nativity scenes are often a substitute for the message of the gospel. The little Lord Jesus in a manger has never brought a sinner to salvation. The shepherds peering over the cradle has never brought everlasting life. The wise men and their gifts never justified a sinner and yet these aspects of the narrative are the focus of sermons, cards and even a secular world will attest to these traditions. The church as a whole is saturated with a weak, watered down gospel which gets excited by a culture that is willing to speak of Christ at Christmas time. This should be a warning signal for the Christian. If a culture accepts an aspect of Christianity there is something seriously wrong with our message. 1 Corinthians 1:18 tells us that the ‘preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness.’ It is absurdity, an offence and will not be tolerated. If our culture is willing to embrace an aspect of Christianity like the nativity, it is because only part of the gospel is being preached. Let me encourage readers of this BLOG to check out the following link: http://www.gty.org/video/study/christmas2/the-real-christmas-story
As Christians we can cruise through life and its socially acceptable aspects without ever asking ‘why’ or ‘how’ something came to be tradition. For example: when someone sneezes our immediate response is to say “bless you.” If we truly understood the origins of such a phrase we would never say it again. Another example is our birthday call and response traditions. One person cries “hip, hip” and the crowd responds with “hooray.” At the core of this birthday tradition is anti-Semitism. Christmas like all man-made traditions, requires careful and diligent studies regarding its origin and emblems. Let me encourage you to not simply ‘go with the flow’ but determine for yourself (and your family) the meaning and message of Christmas and the carols we sing. Let’s not sing carols like “Mary’s Little Boy Child” which states that “man will live forevermore because of Christmas day.” The theology that we sing is of great concern. This year, I read through the carols section of all my music books and found that there were only about five songs that I could still sing and be theologically accurate.
For those that feel I am the ‘Christmas Grinch’ let me bring to light a positive aspect of this season. Christmas is one of the best times to engage a sinner in discussion regarding Christ. This is a terrific opportunity to proclaim the TRUE GOSPEL and challenge a lost person regarding their position before God. Although I have strong feelings about celebrating Christmas in my home, I am not at all opposed to handing out tracts, publicly reading passages of Scripture or involving myself in community events where there are opportunities to speak of Christ.
May God grant you wisdom as you seek to worship Him in Spirit and in TRUTH!
Because of Calvary, (not Christmas)