A. As another year draws to a close, we face the holiday season know as Christmas.
1. We all are affected in one way or another by the events surrounding this day.----NO WAY TO TOTALLY IGNORE IT!
B. Since Christians want to serve the Lord, naturally questions arise as to their relationship to this supposed birthday of Christ.
1. In this study we want to show that Christians should not observe this day as a religious holy day.
2. In doing this, we reveal why there will be no special services before, during, or after this day at this building.
A. Denominations = “Spirit of Christ” - ($$$)??
B. Also: “Remember the reason for the season.”
C. Christ’s birth IS important....
1. Matt. 1:20-21, “But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ''Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins. "
2. We are to remember and honor Christ, the scriptures tell us HOW!
a. We wear His name and no other.
Acts 11:26; "disciples were called Christians…..”
Rom. "churches of Christ salute you..."
3. We honor and remember Him by adhering to the only memorial that He left.
a. The observance of the Lord's Supper upon the first day of the week is the only memorial that He left.
HONORING HIS DEATH - 1 Cor. 11:23-26; Acts 20:7
b. Many things were accomplished by His death.
(1) Abolishment of the Old Law. Co!. 2:14-16
(2) Atonement for sin. 1 Pet. 2:24
(3) Establishment of the New Covenant. Heb.9:15-17
c. Such things are blessings that come as result of His death.
They were not given at His birth.
(1) Thus, Christ only ordained a memorial to remember His death.
(2) Man, while emphasizing His birth, fail in their respect toward Him because they do not do only as He ordained.
II. CHRISTMAS AS CHRIST'S BIRTHDAY ---??
A. The Bible does not give the actual date of Christ's birth.
1. It only says that He was born in the days of Herod. Matt. 2: 1
2. It shows the general time in which John the Baptist began His work.
3. Many different dates have been suggested by men through the years.
a. The Eastern Orthodox church celebrates it on Jan. 6th,
others on Jan. 19th,
March 25th, etc.
4. Dec. 25th is not a logical date for the birth of Christ.
a. Luke 2:7-8 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (8) In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.
b. Those knowledgeable of the Bible lands tell us that shepherds brought their sheep into the sheepfolds in the winter; thus, the birth of Christ was not in the winter.
c. Read Matt. 2:1-11.
d. They were already away from the stable; however, the nativity scene has the shepherds and the wise men together in the stable.
(1) Those who have the nativity scene (the little statues or images) in their homes are practicing idolatry. Ex. 20:4-5
(2) Two things were forbidden with regard to idols: "shalt not make... " and "shalt not bow down... "
5. Since we are not told the day of the year when Christ was born, and not told how to celebrate His birth, we must conclude that Christ does not want us to commemorate His birth.
B. We do not celebrate Christmas as Christ's birthday because it violates the very principles He established...
1. IS IT A "GOOD" WORK??
2 Tim. 3:16-17
2. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON'T ABIDE IN THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST???
It causes one to not have God. 2 John 9
3. David warned about presumption. Psalms Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I will be blameless, And I shall be acquitted of great transgression.
4. Doctrines of men Jesus warned about in Matthew 15:9 'BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.'"
5. It is adding to the Word of God. (Principle taught in Rev. 22:18)
Revelation I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;
6. It is another gospel. Galatians 1:8-9 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! (9) As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
C. We do not celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday - it was begun by an apostate religion, namely the Roman Catholic Church.
1. Any reliable encyclopedia will give the true origin of Christmas.
THE EXCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGION by Fern: "According to authentic records, no church festival was held in celebration of Christ's birth, until the first half of the forth century."
THE WORLD BOOK ENCYCLOPEDIA: "Bishop Liberious of
THE BRITANICA ENCYCLOPEDIA: "Liberius gave this reason for having Christmas: ‘We have a Mass for every Saint, but there is no Mass for Christ'."
a. From the above came the name "Christmas" -- "Christ & Mass."
b. It was borrowed from paganism.
Time Magazine (An article on Christmas, Dec. 10, 1965): "Christmas never completely belonged to the church. It began as a pagan festival and it has slowly been changing back into one for the past half-century. Long before the birth of Christ, Dec. 25 was celebrated in pagan societies as the day on which the sun began its yearly rebirth (astronomically they were only three days off)...When the Christian missionaries began to comb the country side for converts, they found that few were willing to give up their pagan rites. Figuring that pragmatism was called for, they combined the two holidays into the mixture of religious customs that remain today."
THE NEW CHAFF-HERZOG ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE:
(Vol. 3, p. 48): "The pagan festival (Brumalia, Dec. 25) with it riot and merry making was so popular that Christians were glad of an excuse to continue its celebration with little change in spirit or in manner. Christian preachers of the West and the nearer East protested against the unseemly frivolity with which Christ's birthday was celebrated, while Christians of Mesopotamia accused their Western brethren of idolatry and sun-worship for adopting as Christian this pagan festival. Yet the festival rapidly gained acceptance and became as last so firmly established that even the Protestant revolution of the sixteenth century was not able to dislodge it..."
a. The reformation was not able to dislodge it, but the restoration was.
3. Our denominational friends say, with the best of intentions, "Let's put Christ back into Christmas."
a. However, they need to realize that Christ was never in Christmas.
III. WHAT ABOUT THE NON-RELIGIOUS ASPECT OF CHRISTMAS?
A. Christmas is both religious and secular in nature.
1. The same is true with Halloween and Valentine's day.
2. Even our days of the week once had religious significance (Sun Day, Moon Day, Thor's Day, Setern's Day, holiday = holy day).
3. The Sabbath, or Saturday, once had religious significance and still does to many, e.g., Jews and Adventists.
B. In this regard, Christians can do certain things of a secular nature on Christmas day…..THE FOLLOWING IS MY OPINION BASED UPON MY KNOWLEDGE OF THE SCRIPTURES
1. It is a time when most have a day off and a good time to visit friends and relatives. For family enjoyment with the Children, Christians can put up a tree and exchange gifts if they wish.
2. Those with knowledge who understand there is no religious significance to these secular things can do them if they want.
3. This same principle was stated regarding meats sacrificed to idols.
1 Cor. 8:4-8
a. Those with knowledge could eat meats that had been previously dedicated to an idol in the market places and not sin.
b. Those who ate it as a thing offered to an idol sinned.
C. Christians must be careful not to attach any religious significance to Christmas.
1. It isn't religious until made so by the participant. This is true of Easter, Thanksgiving, St. Valentine's Day, etc.
2. We must be careful not to be part of any religious services in observances of it -- candlelight services, religious plays, etc.
a. We must be alert to school activities because they will have our children participating in religious things before we realize it.
3. We must be careful not to leave an impression of believing it to be Christ's birthday.
a. In sending religious greeting cards. If one wants to send cards, he should send the non-religious type.
b. In singing the religious seasonal songs (God Rest Ye...vs. Jingle Bells) .
c. In decorating with religious ornaments (stars, angels vs. pixies and candy canes).
d. Also, there is considerable danger in going all-out for the decorations outside the house, a Santa Clause on the roof, a tree in the window, etc.
(1) As we have said, we can have decorations, exchange gifts, etc., for the enjoyment of our own families who understand their significance, but we need to be carefullest we leave the impression on others that we are observing it as Christ's birthday.
(2) As always, as we have opportunity we need to teach our mends and neighbors the truth on this and all other Bible subjects.
A. We can do the non-religious things on Christmas if we so desire.
1. Even in the non-religious things, we need to be alert to wrong impressions, and walk wisely before God and man.
B. If we practice the things of Christmas to commemorate the birth of Christ, we do so without Bible authority, and this brings the curse of God.
1. It is wrong to do even the non-religious things if we do them to commemorate Christ's birth.
2. Let us be content to observe the Lord's Supper on the first day of the week as Christ ordained. Thereby, we demonstrate that we truly love and respect Him. John 14:15, 21; Matt. 15:9