Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Does Jesus Christ HATE Christmas?

Does Jesus Christ HATE Christmas?

Does God hate Christmas? Do God the Father and Jesus Christ hate Christmas no matter how it is kept?

Here is a quote from a post someone made in one in a forum: "To put it plainly, based on what God says in the Bible, I think God and Christ HATE Christmas with a passion. Figuratively speaking, I think it makes them want to vomit!"

Is that true?

To millions of people, Christmas represents the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. And the birth of Jesus was a wonderful event, and the angels announced it as tidings of great joy (Luke 2:8-14). To others who are more secular, Christmas may represent a time of eating, drinking, music, and the giving of presents. To children, it may represent the receiving of presents from Santa Claus.

What does Christmas represent to God?

First, a bit of background. Ever wonder what an evergreen tree has to do with the birth of Jesus Christ, or why Christmas falls on December 25, close to the winter solstice (at one time, December 25 was thought to fall exactly on the Winter solstice)? If you look up the origin of the custom of Christmas in the encyclopedia, you will find that both the date and the customs come from paganism. The evergreen tree is a fertility symbol, and the winter solstice figured in sun worship because that is the date when the days would start getting longer. The mainstream Christian church adopted the pagan customs and day and converted them into a celebration of the birth of Christ as a method of trying to make conversion to Christianity easier for the masses who were already accustomed to observing that day as part of their pagan religion. That way, the masses could keep their tradition, but with a different meaning. Instead of worshipping the sun, the pagan day would be used to worship Christ. That was the human reasoning.

But what does God say?

"When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it" (Deuteronomy 12:29-32).

Notice that God commands His people NOT to imitate pagan customs in the way they worship God, but only to worship God as He commands we worship Him. "Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it."

"Thus says the Lord: 'Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, For the Gentiles are dismayed at them. For the customs of the peoples are futile; For one cuts a tree from the forest, The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They decorate it with silver and gold; They fasten it with nails and hammers So that it will not topple" (Jeremiah 10:2-4).

God directly commands His people NOT to do what men have done with Christmas - appropriate pagan customs into the worship of God. God has given Israel and the Church seven annual holy days and festivals, days to be kept yearly, but the majority of Americans do not keep those days. Instead, they keep days like Christmas, days invented by men, adapted from false, pagan religions, and kept generation after generation by tradition, a tradition contrary to the will and commands of God. We have become like the ancient Pharisees, whom Jesus condemned for their hypocrisy, breaking the law of God to keep our traditions. "He said to them, 'All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition' " (Mark 7:9). God does not accept that kind of worship. When we worship Christ that way, we worship Him in vain. "...This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Mark 7:6-7). Jesus called those who do this HYPOCRITES (first part of verse 6).

We are hypocrites if we claim that Christ is our Lord, but do not strive to do what God says. "But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). We can call Christ our brother, ONLY if we do the will of the Father and obey God's word, the Bible. "But He answered and said to them, 'My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it' " (Luke 8:21). "But He answered and said to the one who told Him, 'Who is My mother and who are My brothers?' And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, 'Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother' " (Matthew 12:48-50).

What does Christmas represent to God the Father and Jesus Christ? It represents rebellion against God, because that is exactly what it is.

Do you think God accepts something just because you think your intentions are good? You think God is not concerned about the details of where Christmas originated?

Ancient King Saul thought he was doing the right thing when he offered sacrifices to God from the spoil he took from a mission God sent him on, spoil which God told him to destroy, not offer it as a sacrifice. God did not accept his sacrifice or his supposedly "good intention." God rejected him as king for not obeying exactly what God told him. "So Samuel said: 'Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king" (1 Samuel 15:22-23).

Christmas also represents hypocrisy, the same kind of hypocrisy the Pharisees were guilty of when they broke God's commandments to keep their traditions. We are hypocrites if we claim to honor Christ by disobeying God's command in Deuteronomy 12:29-32.

"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:17-20).

The quote from the forum post is from myself. I commented in a forum that God hates Christmas, because that is what I find in the Bible.

"But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46).

What is your answer?

Here are links to related sections in Preaching the Gospel:

Traditional Christian Holidays, Chapter 2


Matt said...

I disagree with this reasoning. Christianity is not about purifying oneself from ALL influences of a culture, even if it is a pagan culture. Paul says, "To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some." 1 Cor 9:22 (ESV) If one celebrates Christmas in a way that reaches others for Christ, then I don't see the harm in it. The Bible is silent on the matter. You do not have to worship pagan gods in order celebrate Christmas.

Did not Gideon use the wood from the Asherah pole to make a sacrifice to the LORD? (Judges 6:26) Again I say, there is nothing wrong with taking evil and using it for good.

Paul did say that we should be careful not to cause people to sin by engaging in activities normally associated with paganism. But do you seriously think that anyone would think that someone celebrating Christmas is going to cause someone who is weak in the faith to stumble?

Jesus often criticized the Pharisees for inventing rules not contained in Scripture and imposing them others. In order for you to prove to me that Christmas is actually sinful, you would have to prove that it would still be sinful even if its traditions didn't have pagan origins. said...

As you correctly point out, it is not necessarily wrong to take something that has been put to a wrong use and put it to a good use, such as Gideon using the wood from the Asherah pole to burn a sacrifice to God, provided such use does not violate God's specific instructions. In the case of Gideon, God commanded him to use that particular wood (Judges 6:25-26). But in the case of using pagan customs to worship God, God gives a specific command NOT to do this, in Deuteronomy 12:29-32. Such use of pagan symbols and customs is not a case of taking evil and using it "for good" because disobeying a specific command of God is not good. Moreover, the keeping of Christmas and other man-made holidays are a substitute for obeying God by keeping the days He has made and ordained, the seven annual festivals given in Leviticus 23, and that is certainly not good.

Those who keep Christmas, Easter, and other man-invented days rather than God's holy days and festivals given in the Bible are saying that the customs of pagans and days invented by men, such as Christmas and Easter, are a superior way of worshipping Christ, superior to the days and customs God has given us, such as Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, the Day of Trumpets, Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day. When such people continue to keep days based in part on paganism rather than God's holy days, even after reading Deuteronomy 12:29-32 and Leviticus 23, they are telling God in effect, "We know better than you. The days we have invented and keep are a better way of worshipping you than the days you have invented and told us to keep. We are doing you a favor by disobeying you because we are wiser then you and we know what is best."

Christmas is NOT good. It does a lot of harm. It puts a wrong focus on our worship of God, focusing on Jesus Christ as a helpless tiny baby, but neglecting the important aspects of the plan of God, God's power, and God's authority. The celebration of Christmas includes the exchange of gifts between people as a mandatory custom, distorting the whole idea of giving as a voluntary act, and it neglects giving to God. It also involves for almost all families with children the deliberate telling of lies about a mythical Santa Claus who mystically watches the children to see if they are good or bad, then comes down the chimney to give them gifts. Sooner or later children find out that their parents lied to them, and this teaches them at an early impressionable age: 1) their parents cannot be trusted, and this can make it more difficult for those children later to trust what God, their spiritual parent, tells them in the Bible, and 2) it is ok to lie.

I know you do not see this, Matt. But a time is coming soon when God will punish this country with a fury you cannot imagine for the way we have abandoned him by ignoring what He says in the Bible, and this includes the keeping of Christmas. In a few years, probably in your lifetime, God will cause this country to go through such a catastrophe that about 90% of Americans will die in a three-and-a-half year period, and those who survive will go through such suffering as can only be compared with what the Jews went through in Nazi concentration camps. He will break our spirit of rebellion once and for all. And in the millennium that follows, Christ will teach us to observe the holy days in Leviticus 23, and none of us will be keeping Christmas. God will destroy that holiday forever.

Matt said...

First I will comment about the comment about the focus on Jesus being "a helpless tiny baby". The very fact that the Bible mentions that Jesus was a baby and that the shepherds and wise men came proves that this isn't a wrong focus. If it wasn't important that he was placed in a manger and given gold, frankincense, and myrrh, then it wouldn't be in the Bible. This is the weakest part of your argument.

As far as the other things, not all Christians who celebrate Christmas do those things. Even though most buy gifts, some only buy small gifts and make a concerted effort to make the gift something that will build the receiver up spiritually. Some give more to the poor at this time of year. A lot of Christian parents (including my own) teach their children that Santa Claus is a myth from the beginning.

Again, I think Romans 14:5-6 applies here. said...

Thank you Matt, for your reply. I am glad that your parents taught you correctly that Santa Claus is a myth. You never had to face being lied to about Santa Clause by your parents, as many children have to face, and that no doubt has helped your character. You are fortunate that way. Your parents have proved themselves trustworthy on that point, and being raised by trustworthy parents can help a child growing up to transfer that trust to God when he is an adult.

I want to clarify what I meant by "focus." I did not mean that God does not want us to know about the events and circumstances of Jesus' birth. I only meant that it is not a MAJOR focus that God wants us reminded of year by year. It is a matter of proportion.

God devotes two short passages in two of the gospel accounts to the birth of Jesus Christ. It is important that we know the main facts about His birth, because His birth was unique - He was fathered by God, not any human father, and that means He was the Son of God as well as the Son of Man. But the circumstances of His birth as a little baby is not a major focus of the Bible. The event and the details of His birth aren't even mentioned in books of Mark and John. And the accounts of the birth of Jesus take up about one-fifth of one percent of the entire Bible. That what I meant when I said that focusing on Jesus as a helpless baby is not the right focus. It is not a major focus God teaches in the Bible. God's focus is on the power, the authority, and the righteousness of Christ.

God has directed our major focus through seven annual feasts and holy days which He has commanded for His people. Each of these feasts or holy days focuses on a major theme of the Bible, and each is a greater theme that the fact that Jesus was a little baby in a manger.

(continued next comment) said...

Passover focuses on the suffering and death of Jesus Christ as a sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sins. The fact that we have encurred the death penalty for our sins, that we need the forgiveness that is only made possible by the sacrifice of Christ, that Christ was willing to suffer and die for us because of His love for us, the fact that God the Father loved us enough to sacrifice His Son for us, is a MAJOR theme and focus of the Bible, far greater in importance than the events surrounding Jesus' birth as a baby. The sacrifice and suffering of Christ and our need for forgiveness made possible by that sacrifice is addressed in all four gospels and in many other books of the Bible in far greater depth and detail than His birth as a baby. That is the focus that God has given us.

Likewise, the Feast of Unleavened Bread focuses on our need to repent of sin and begin keeping the commandments of God, which is covered extensively in the entire Bible and is a major theme God wants us to focus on.

The Feast of Pentecost focuses on the gift of the Holy Spirit, without which we cannot be Christians. How important is that?

The Feast of Trumpets focuses on the return of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of the saints to immortality. Again, this is a major theme throughout the Bible, and something God wants us to focus on. This annual feast and holy day pictures the power and authority of Christ, not his helplessness as a baby.

The Day of Atonement has a two-fold meaning. Like Passover, it also shows that Christ paid the penalty for our sins so we can be reconciled with God, but it also shows that Satan must and will be put away because it is he that leads man into sin. Again, these are important themes God wants us to focus on. Many places in the Bible, from Genesis through Revelation, expound on Satan and His evil influences and warn us to be on guard against them.

The Feast of Tabernacles represents the coming kingdom of God and the peace and happiness that will reign over all the earth during the millennium when the kingdom of God is ruling the earth. There are a tremendous number of scriptures that cover this time, in both the old and new testaments, including much of Psalms, and many places in the major and minor prophets. This is a major theme of the Bible that God wants us to focus on, and is one of the principle aspects of the true gospel that Jesus preached, the gospel of the kingdom of God.

The Last Great Day is an annual feast and holy day that pictures the general resurrection of mankind, the white throne judgment, in which all the billions of humans who have ever lived will be resurrected and will have a chance to be saved. This tremendous event is also described in many places in the Bible and is something God wants us to focus on by being reminded of year by year.

In Leviticus 23 God commands us to keep HIS annual feast and holy days. Then in Deuteronomy 12:29-32 He commands us to be careful to observe anything He commands us, and He further gives a command against adding anything to His instructions in how to worship Him, specifically using the imitation of pagan customs as an example.

(continued next comment) said...

What kind of mentality would keep a man-invented day like Christmas, but not keep the God-ordained annual feasts and holy days? I know of no one who keeps the annual feasts of God who would keep Christmas also. Christmas and Easter are counterfeits, substitutes, for God's holy days, days designed to shift the focus from the themes of the Bible that God wants us to be aware of to a focus on man-invented themes which God has not commanded. It is as if professing Christians say to God, "We know you commanded us to keep days that focus on the sacrifice of Christ, forgiveness, repentence, your law of love, the gift of the Holy Spirit, the return of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of the saints, the dangers of Satan's influence, the kingdom of God, and the general resurrection of humanity that will give all mankind the opportunity to be saved. But we have a better idea. We won't keep those days, but rather we will invent a better day, Christmas, which will focus on Jesus Christ as a helpless baby. We are wiser than you and know better than you how to design a day to remind us year by year what our focus should be."

Christmas is a custom not invented by God fearing men. It was not kept by the original first century Church of God. It came later after the main body of those calling themselves Christian had drifted farther and farther away from the customs and doctrines of the true Church of God. It is a custom of this evil world. One of God's annual holy days, Atonement, helps illustrate and remind us of Satan's influence and his deception of all mankind, and false Christianity and false customs like Christmas are some of devices Satan uses to draw us away from the God of the Bible. Those men who invented Christmas, like those who keep it today, may be very sincere men, people who do not think they are doing anything wrong, but Satan is the deceiver and tempter of mankind, and he knows full well that Christmas does not honor Christ.

You might choose to keep God's annual holy days which He has commanded, and also keep Christmas without Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and mandatory gift giving. You might even keep it in the autumn, not December 25, to avoid association with the winter solstice that was important in sun worship, and because Jesus was apparently born in the autumn, not winter. That is your choice. But in light of God's command to avoid adding anything from pagan origins to our worship of Him, and because the very day and idea of Christmas as an annual day originated with pagans who had long ago abandoned the true worship of God, I will stay far away from that holiday. I will trust God that He has more wisdom than man, and if He wanted us to have a yearly reminder of the birth of Christ He would have ordained a holy day to commemorate it. He did not.