Ah yes, it’s that time of year once again – when just about all of America, one way or another, gets caught up in the rush, pressure and joy that is Christmas. Below is a re-post of some of my thoughts from the 2008 holiday season…
…on the Giving of Gifts, etc. at Christmas
For those of you who may have read my recent Christmas posts, I direct this, uh, warning: my next words will make it appear that I’m doing a complete 180′ on the whole ‘keeping Christ in Christmas’ theme. Be assured, that is not my intent at all! I just have a real problem with religiousness. Some don’t realize, so did Jesus…
Years back, I listened to a Christmas Eve message, via radio, broadcast by Jack Hayford, at that time pastor of the Church Along the Way (I think that was the name) in California. ‘Born-again’ celebrities attended his church. I think he is a very cool guy.
Pastor Jack was saying something like this: he had a real problem with ‘religiousness’, too, meaning, persons who had a thumbs-down ‘tude towards the celebratory aspects of the Christmas holiday, giving gifts, etc., and having parties. For the rest of my life, may I always remember what he declared next, with emphatic joy – Jesus BROUGHT the party!!!
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1)
This right here is a huge reason to celebrate, not only at Christmas but every time you realize that you are free. In Christ, under His blood, you cannot be legitimately accused before God. (And, for the record, I know what the second half of that verse says, and I also know that you’ll find those words in italics in some Bibles. Which means that those words are not in the original manuscript. Bible scholars added them, over time.) (That’s a story for another day.)
Now, some may say, the Magi ( the three wise men) brought gifts to the Christ at His birth…so,there is our example, proving that God intends for men to commemorate that birth in a solemn, holy way, etc., etc. Let me burst your bubble – Jesus the ‘babe’ was born in a ‘manger’ (Luke 2: 15,16) , everybody knows that – but the wise men brought gifts to the ‘young child’ in a ‘house’. Time had elapsed. Not everybody knows that. Matthew 2: 9-11. Check it out. Also, the phrase ‘young child’ is used six times in that section of Scripture, so…it occurs to me, (and I stress that this is just my opinion) that the Lord, knowing future generations would condemn ‘worldly’ Yuletide tradition while insisting on religious custom, delayed the arrival of the Magi ’til well past Jesus’ actual birthday, deliberately not setting a precedent. I don’t see the Lord instituting this particular religious holiday, in any way, anywhere in the Scripture. Other than the magnificent, extraordinary appearance of the angels to the shepherds in the field, it seems like God the Father kept this whole event on the down-low. Other than the principle players, we have…let’s see…cows? Sheep? Donkeys? And if there would have been any pomp and circumstance, it arrived way late.
Which is not at all to say, Christmas shouldn’t be celebrated, in whatever fashion you choose. It is to say, however, (short of the ludicrous, dangerous, or bizarre) don’t condemn others for the fashion they choose! As stated in an earlier post, (link) I believe God has placed an awareness of Himself in the hearts of men, (regardless of their conscious belief or not in Him), so…one way or another, Jesus Christ is celebrated.
“I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)