Sometimes the Truth is easier to deal with AFTER an event — particularly after a particularly emotional event! — than it is in the “heat of the moment.”
That is no doubt what many people have learned when it comes to certain “holidays“. And that is perhaps nowhere more obvious than when it comes to Xmas.
More and more people have come to realize that “Jesus” could not have been born in the depth of winter (there weren’t any “shepherds watching over their flocks by night” then) and that He was almost certainly born during the Feast of Tabernacles, or “booths” (not coincidentally, that Hebrew word “suka” for a temporary structure sometimes gets rendered as “manger” in the Olde English). Instead, it was the pagan sun-god, Mithras, Sol Invictus, et al, that was always said to be “re-born” on December the 25th…just after the winter solstice. Some even now know Xmas traditions owe far more to Saturnalia than anything remotely Scriptural, and that Jeremiah chapter 10 doesn’t seem too keen on Xmas trees, either.
But the problem has always been that people often love the “warm fuzzy feelings” associated with a “holiday” than they really care about what the Bible might really have to say about it. Especially when they don’t want to hear the answer.
And so instead, people often try to change the subject, and sidestep the issue. Better still, make it into an argument about something else, and then say, “can’t we all just get ALONG?” Did you hear the argument again this year about why it’s so IMPORTANT to say “Merry Christmas” rather than something less “polarizing” like “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings”? As if the ultimate irony was no longer true: that the pagans had “christmas” first.
No – it’s far more important, some claim, that we Believers be “unified” about a pagan so-called holy day, even if we really know better. And regardless of what the Bible says.
Is “unity” more important than obedience to the King and Master we claim to honor?
So, now that the emotion and stress and even commercial frenzy is over, perhaps we can do a “Christmas post-mortem” on what the Truth really is about pagan forms of worship, and whether we should participate or not. Maybe we can even take a look at what the Savior we claim to honor really Wrote — especially if He is the “Word Made Flesh”.
Let’s start with Deuteronomy chapter 7, and remember that the Roman Catholic Church does readily admit that “Christmas” traditions date to the era of Constantine, and sun-god worship. Since those folks wanted to keep their pagan gods, and pagan celebrations — why not just “Christian-ize ‘em”? Just relabel Saturnalia and the birth of Mithras and say it’s for “baby Jesus” instead. Surely God can’t object to “bringing more people to Christ”, can He? Even if we have to lie? Even if we have to break His Word to do it?
His warning would seem pretty clear, however. (Unless perhaps you’re a “church father” or have some other agenda.) He warned His people not to serve the false gods of the pagan people around them, “for that will be a snare to you.” (v 16) Furthermore, when it comes to their symbols and idols, we are not even to “covet the silver or gold on them…lest you be snared by it.” (v25)
But it’s the last line in the chapter that should really grab our attention, as people put away the silver and gold balls, and set the asherah tree on the curb one more time:
“Nor shall you bring an abomination into your house, lest you be doomed to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest it and utterly abhor it, for it is an accursed thing.”
You’d think that would be pretty clear. But we’ve already heard the inevitable reprise, “Hey, it’s NO BIG DEAL. God knows my heart, and He doesn’t really care about things like that.” (In spite of what He says, over and over again, presumably.)
And since the mind boggles at the potential responses to a Whopper like that from what is ACTUALLY Written, as opposed to what men no doubt say He SHOULD have Written, were He as smart, and tolerant, and Open-Minded as them…
(Deuteronomy chapters 12 and 13, 30:19, Isaiah 66:3-4, the exile stories of places like Jeremiah 3 and Ezekiel 23, and scores of others come immediately to mind)
…let’s just stick to one (OK, two — since He repeats it through multiple witnesses) easy rejoinder. And since pagan Xmas celebration pretends to be “all about Him” — why not quote what He said when it comes to “traditions of men”?
He said, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
‘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. (He quotes from Isaiah 29:13) — Mark 7:6-7 (and Matthew 15:2 as well)
That would seem pretty clear, even when it comes to things which He did not already say were “abominations” to Him, and a snare and curse to us!
Another pagan “holy-day” is past. The trappings may still be in living rooms, on rooftops, and in trash cans all around us, and the debts incurred (in more ways than one) are yet to be paid, but this may be the ideal time to address the issues, and maybe even learn the lessons. “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)
Indeed. Why not start now, while there’s still time before the next onslaught.
And if all else fails, perhaps we can refer doubters to what He said next to those same hypocrites:
“All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.”