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As Seen Solely From a Biblical Perspective
By Arlen L Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

“Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever.  The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this [Lord Himself, in a very zealous manner (Hebrew text rendering), will bring this to pass]” (Isa. 9:6-7).

The two preceding verses from Isaiah, or verses from the gospel accounts in the New Testament (e.g., Matt. 1:21; 2:1-2; Luke 1:30-33; 2:11-14), often appear on Christmas cards and other types of greetings this time of year.  And that’s all good and well.  But how often do people take the time to read and consider what these verses are really saying?

All of these verses present different facets of a common subject and goal, which is always salvation, with a kingdom in view.  But none off the verses can stand alone and present the complete word picture which God has provided in His revelation to man.

For example, Isa. 9:6-7 begins with Christ's birth and moves immediately into His coming reign.  Then Mat. 1:21 begins at the same point, though in connection with salvation

“And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shall call His name JESUS for He shall save His people from their sins.” (Mat. 1:21)

And Matt. 2:1-2, several verses later, connects His birth with His coming reign, as seen in Isaiah;

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem,

Saying, Where is He that is born King of the Jews?  For we have seen His star in the East, and are come to worship Him.” (Mat. 2:1-2)

Luke 1:30-33 is much like the Isaiah passage, though by using the name “Jesus” for the One being born, the thought of salvation appears near the beginning of the passage (the name “Jesus” means salvation).  But the passage, as in Isaiah, moves immediately from His birth to His reign:

“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary; for thou hast found favor with God.

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name JESUS.

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David;

And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” (Luke 1:30-33)

Then the same thing as seen in Luke 1:30-33 is presented a slightly different way in Luke 2:11-14:

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
(Luke 2:11-14)

The One Who will sit on David’s throne (Luke 1:32), “a Saviour,” would be born in “the city of David,” in the city of the great king (Luke 2:11). And He would be the One to bring about “peace” (Luke 2:14), as seen in Isa. 9:6-7.

(Note that the “peace” seen in Luke 2:14, contextually, is future—during Christ’s reign—not peace which can presently exist in a world ruled and controlled by Satan.)

And John, in his gospel account does the same thing, though in a different way yet.  Beginning this account, the Word (which always has been and always will be “God”) became flesh in the person of God’s Son:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The same was in the beginning with God…

And the Word was [‘became’] flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:1-2, 14a).

And, concerning the One Who became flesh, scripture states:

“He came unto His own [lit., ' His own things’], and His own [a reference to His own people, the Jewish people] received Him not” (John 1:11).

(The first “own” is neuter in the Greek text [a reference to things], and the second is masculine [a reference to the Jewish people].

By comparing Scripture with Scripture [1 Cor. 2:9-13]—comparing the different incarnation and birth passages in Scripture—only one thing can possibly be in view in the first part of the verse.  His own things can only have to do with "regality,” i.e. with the throne of David, His kingship, His coming kingdom, etc.

This would be in complete keeping with the One born King presenting Himself to Israel as their King, offering the kingdom of the heavens to the nation.)

Everything in Scripture—man’s creation, his fall, God’s provided redemption, the existence of Israel, the existence of the Church—moves toward one goal.  And this goal will be realized during that time seen in the many references to what is often thought of as “The Christmas Story” in Scripture.

Birth of our Savior

Here is the account of the birth of our Savior as recorded by Saint Matthew:

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.”   (Matthew 1:18-25 KJV)

Secure in Him
By David Jeremiah of Turning Point

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

A man-on-the-street poll to determine the most important event in world history would reveal a variety of answers. But for Christians, the answer is clear: the coming of God to earth. To consider the importance of that event is to invite wonder and awe. And there is no shortage of ways to consider its importance for us.

For example, Christ lived in complete dependence on His Father and trusted in God’s will for His life (John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; 8:28, 42). And even though He was tempted (Matthew 4:1-11) and at times suffered (Hebrews 5:8), He never questioned His experiences; He was always confident that the Father’s will for His life was perfect and His to obey. Christ proceeded from the Godhead to earth, bringing the will of God with Him. He was the will of God—and He never faltered. Now, the apostle Paul says, all who believe in Christ are in Him (Colossians 2:9-10). Therefore, as Christ fulfilled, and continues to fulfill, the will of God, so do we who live in Him by faith.

If you are a Christian, trust today that, in Christ, your life is secure in the purposes and plans of God.

In this world there are givers and takers.
Sadly the givers are outnumbered.

Merry Christmas!

Most Holy and Majestic Father,

There's so much "hype" around Christmas time. I have to admit that I enjoy all the jolly jingle and festive frolic as much as anyone.

But, Lord, as I enter into the fast-paced season ahead, help me walk slowly and quietly.

Let me stop and listen to the angels sing of the greatest news ever told!

Let my heart, mind and soul join the chorus. "Glory in the Highest! The Messiah has been born!"

Among all the bright sparkling lights and cheery holiday tunes, let my spirit travel once again toward Bethlehem to honor and worship Jesus, my King, The Prince of Peace, the Lord of Hosts, Mighty Counselor, Son of God, the Lamb.

All Your love, mercy and power somehow made flesh in the tiny form of a humble baby born in a manger.

Let me worship the only one who is worthy to take our sin away and open the gates of all eternity!

In the name of your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, I pray,

Amen 

Should Christians celebrate Christmas?
By Got Questions

The debate about whether or not Christians should celebrate Christmas has been raging for centuries. There are equally sincere and committed Christians on both sides of the issue, each with multiple reasons why or why not Christmas should be celebrated in Christian homes. But what does the Bible say? Does the Bible give clear direction as to whether Christmas is a holiday to be celebrated by Christians?

First, let’s look at the reasons why some Christians do not celebrate Christmas. One argument against Christmas is that the traditions surrounding the holiday have origins in paganism. Searching for reliable information on this topic is difficult because the origins of many of our traditions are so obscure that sources often contradict one another. Bells, candles, holly, and yuletide decorations are mentioned in the history of pagan worship, but the use of such in one’s home certainly does not indicate a return to paganism. While there are definitely pagan roots to some traditions, there are many more traditions associated with the true meaning of Christmas—the birth of the Savior of the world in Bethlehem. Bells are played to ring out the joyous news, candles are lit to remind us that Christ is the Light of the world (John 1:4-9), a star is placed on the top of a Christmas tree to remember the Star of Bethlehem, and gifts are exchanged to remind us of the gifts of the Magi to Jesus, the greatest gift of God to mankind.

Another argument against Christmas, especially having a Christmas tree, is that the Bible forbids bringing trees into our homes and decorating them. The passage often cited is Jeremiah 10:1-16, but this passage refers to cutting down trees, chiseling the wood to make an idol, and then decorating the idol with silver and gold for the purpose of bowing down before it to worship it (see also Isaiah 44:9-18). The passage in Jeremiah cannot be taken out of its context and used to make a legitimate argument against Christmas trees.

Christians who choose to ignore Christmas point to the fact that the Bible doesn’t give us the date of Christ’s birth, which is certainly true. December 25 may not be even close to the time Jesus was born, and arguments on both sides are legion, some relating to climate in Israel, the practices of shepherds in winter, and the dates of Roman census-taking. None of these points are without a certain amount of conjecture, which brings us back to the fact that the Bible doesn’t tell us when Jesus was born. Some see this as proof positive that God didn’t want us to celebrate the birth, while others see the Bible’s silence on the issue as tacit approval.

Some Christians say that since the world celebrates Christmas—although it is becoming more and more politically correct to refer to it as “the holidays”—Christians should avoid it. But that is the same argument made by false religions that deny Christ altogether, as well as cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses who deny His deity. Those Christians who do celebrate Christmas often see the occasion as an opportunity to proclaim Christ as “the reason for the season” among the nations and to those trapped in false religions.

As we have seen, there is no legitimate scriptural reason not to celebrate Christmas. At the same time, there is no biblical mandate to celebrate it, either. In the end, of course, whether or not to celebrate Christmas is a personal decision. Whatever Christians decide to do regarding Christmas, their views should not be used as a club with which to beat down or denigrate those with opposing views, nor should either view be used as a badge of honor inducing pride over celebrating or not celebrating. As in all things, we seek wisdom from Him who gives it liberally to all who ask (James 1:5) and accept one another in Christian love and grace, regardless of our views on Christmas.

Got Questions - Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? 

Another that may be of interest:   Got Questions - Should Christians Celebrate Birthdays?

Also Should Christians Celebrate Birthdays? in this website.

"God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith;
the warmth of Christmas, which is love;
the radiance of Christmas, which is purity;
the righteousness of Christmas, which is justice;
the belief in Christmas, which is truth;
the all of Christmas, which is Christ."
~Wilda English

Emotional Music
By David Jeremiah of Turning Point

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" (Luke 2:13-14)

The French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte observed that you can tell a great deal about people by what went on in their life, and the world, when they were twenty years of age. Expanding that idea, most adults love to listen to the music that was popular when they were fifteen to twenty years old. There is a continuing connection between the music that moved us when we were at an emotionally-heightened age -- like adolescence -- and the music we still love. All music is emotional, but especially the music connected to important experiences -- like salvation.

That may account for why people love Christmas music. Part of the reason is the anticipation that builds up all year. But a better reason is that our salvation is an emotionally compelling experience. It seems that musicians and lyricists have done some of their best work through the ages when writing songs about one of history's most important events, the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

We sing with joy and tears at Christmas for good reason -- salvation came to earth 2,000 years ago and opened the door of eternal life for all who believe. Nothing could be more emotional and worth singing about.

Sing to the LORD, all the earth; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day (1 Chronicles 16:23)

Dr. David Jeremiah's Turning Point

Was Jesus born on December 25?
By Got Questions

Speculation as to the time of Jesus’ birth dates back to the 3rd century, when Hyppolytus (ca. 170-236) claimed that Jesus was born on December 25. The earliest mention of some sort of observance on that date is in the Philoclian Calendar, representing Roman practice, of the year 336. Later, John Chrysostom favored the same date of birth. Cyril of Jerusalem (348-386) had access to the original Roman birth census, which also documented that Jesus was born on the 25th of December. The date eventually became the officially recognized date for Christmas in part because it coincided with the pagan festivals celebrating Saturnalia and the winter solstice. The church thereby offered people a Christian alternative to the pagan festivities and eventually reinterpreted many of their symbols and actions in ways acceptable to Christian faith and practice.

December 25 has become more and more acceptable as the birth date of Jesus. However, some argue that the birth occurred in some other season, such as in the fall. Followers of this theory claim that the Judean winters were too cold for shepherds to be watching their flocks by night. History proves otherwise, however, and we have historical evidence that unblemished lambs for the Temple sacrifice were in fact kept in the fields near Bethlehem during the winter months. With that said, it is impossible to prove whether or not Jesus was born on December 25. And, ultimately, it does not matter.

The truth is we simply don’t know the exact date of our Savior’s birth. In fact, we don’t even know for sure the year in which He was born. Scholars believe it was somewhere between 6 B.C. and 4 B.C. One thing is clear: if God felt it was important for us to know the exact date of the Savior’s birth, He certainly would have told us in His Word. The Gospel of Luke gives very specific details about the event, even down to what the baby was wearing – “swaddling clothes”—and where he slept—“in a manger” (Luke 2:12). These details are important because they speak of His nature and character, meek and lowly. But the exact date of His birth has no significance whatsoever, which may be why God chose not to mention it.

The fact is that He was born, that He came into the world to atone for our sins, that He was resurrected to eternal life, and that He’s alive today. This is what we should celebrate, as we are told in the Old Testament in such passages as Zechariah 2:10: “'Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,' declares the LORD.” Further, the angel that announced the birth to the shepherds brought “good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10). Surely here is the cause for celebration every day, not just once a year.

Recommended Resource: The Case for Christmas by Lee Strobel.

Got Questions - Was Jesus born on December 25?

The old man sat in his gas station on a cold Christmas Eve. He hadn't been anywhere in years since his wife had passed away. It was just another day to him. He didn't hate Christmas, just couldn't find a reason to celebrate. He was sitting there looking at the snow that had been falling for the last hour and wondering what it was all about when the door opened and a homeless man stepped through.

Instead of throwing the man out, Old George as he was known by his customers, told the man to come and sit by the heater and warm up. "Thank you, but I don't mean to intrude," said the stranger. "I see you're busy, I'll just go."

"Not without something hot in your belly." George said.

He turned and opened a wide mouth Thermos and handed it to the stranger. "It ain't much, but it's hot and tasty. Stew ... Made it myself. When you're done, there's coffee and it's fresh."

Just at that moment he heard the "ding" of the driveway bell. "Excuse me, be right back," George said. There in the driveway was an old '53 Chevy. Steam was rolling out of the front. The driver was panicked. "Mister can you help me!" said the driver, with a deep Spanish accent. "My wife is with child and my car is broken." George opened the hood. It was bad. The block looked cracked from the cold, the car was dead.

"You ain't going in this thing," George said as he turned away.

"But Mister, please help ..." The door of the office closed behind George as he went inside. He went to the office wall and got the keys to his old truck, and went back outside. He walked around the building, opened the garage, started the truck and drove it around to where the couple was waiting. "Here, take my truck," he said. "She ain't the best thing you ever looked at, but she runs real good."

George helped put the woman in the truck and watched as it sped off into the night. He turned and walked back inside the office. "Glad I gave 'em the truck, their tires were shot too. That 'ol truck has brand new." George thought he was talking to the stranger, but the man had gone. The Thermos was on the desk, empty, with a used coffee cup beside it. "Well, at least he got something in his belly," George thought.

George went back outside to see if the old Chevy would start. It cranked slowly, but it started. He pulled it into the garage where the truck had been. He thought he would tinker with it for something to do. Christmas Eve meant no customers. He discovered the the block hadn't cracked, it was just the bottom hose on the radiator. "Well, shoot, I can fix this," he said to
himself. So he put a new one on.

"Those tires ain't gonna get 'em through the winter either." He took the snow treads off of his wife's old Lincoln . They were like new and he wasn't going to drive the car anyway.

As he was working, he heard shots being fired. He ran outside and beside a police car an officer lay on the cold ground. Bleeding from the left shoulder, the officer moaned, "Please help me."

George helped the officer inside as he remembered the training he had received in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed attention. "Pressure to stop the bleeding," he thought. The uniform company had been there that morning and had left clean shop towels. He used those and duct tape to bind the wound. "Hey, they say duct tape can fix anythin'," he said, trying to make the policeman feel at ease.

"Something for pain," George thought. All he had was the pills he used for his back. "These ought to work." He put some water in a cup and gave the policeman the pills. "You hang in there, I'm going to get you an ambulance."

The phone was dead. "Maybe I can get one of your buddies on that there talk box out in your car." He went out only to find that a bullet had gone into the dashboard destroying the two way radio.

He went back in to find the policeman sitting up. "Thanks," said the officer. "You could have left me there. The guy that shot me is still in the area."

George sat down beside him, "I would never leave an injured man in the Army and I ain't gonna leave you." George pulled back the bandage to check for bleeding. "Looks worse than what it is. Bullet passed right through 'ya. Good thing it missed the important stuff though. I think with time your gonna be right as rain."

George got up and poured a cup of coffee. "How do you take it?" he asked. 

"None for me," said the officer. 

"Oh, yer gonna drink this.  Best in the city. Too bad I ain't got no donuts." The officer laughed and winced at the same time.

The front door of the office flew open. In burst a young man with a gun. "Give me all your cash! Do it now!" the young man yelled. His hand was shaking and George could tell that he had never done anything like this before.

"That's the guy that shot me!" exclaimed the officer.

"Son, why are you doing this?" asked George, "You need to put the cannon away. Somebody else might get hurt."

The young man was confused. "Shut up old man, or I'll shoot you, too. Now give me the cash!"

The cop was reaching for his gun. "Put that thing away," George said to the cop, "we got one too many in here now."

He turned his attention to the young man. "Son, it's Christmas Eve. If you need money, well then, here. It ain't much but it's all I got. Now put that pea shooter away."

George pulled $150 out of his pocket and handed it to the young man, reaching for the barrel of the gun at the same time. The young man released his grip on the gun, fell to his knees and began to cry. "I'm not very good at this am I? All I wanted was to buy something for my wife and son," he went on. "I've lost my job, my rent is due, my car got repossessed last week."

George handed the gun to the cop. "Son, we all get in a bit of squeeze now and then. The road gets hard sometimes, but we make it through the best we can."

He got the young man to his feet, and sat him down on a chair across from the cop. "Sometimes we do stupid things." George handed the young man a cup of coffee. "Bein' stupid is one of the things that makes us human. Comin' in here with a gun ain't the answer. Now sit there and get warm and we'll sort this thing out."

The young man had stopped crying. He looked over to the cop. "Sorry I shot you. It just went off. I'm sorry officer." 

"Shut up and drink your coffee " the cop said. 

George could hear the sounds of sirens outside. A police car and an ambulance skidded to a halt. Two cops came through the door, guns drawn. "Chuck! You ok?" one of the cops asked the wounded officer.

"Not bad for a guy who took a bullet. How did you find me?"

"GPS locator in the car. Best thing since sliced bread. Who did this?" the other cop asked as he approached the young man.

Chuck answered him, "I don't know. The guy ran off into the dark. Just dropped his gun and ran."

George and the young man both looked puzzled at each other.

"That guy work here?" the wounded cop continued. 

"Yep,"  George said, "just hired him this morning. Boy lost his job."

The paramedics came in and loaded Chuck onto the stretcher. The young man leaned over the wounded cop and whispered, "Why?"

Chuck just said, "Merry Christmas boy ... and you too, George, and thanks for everything."

"Well, looks like you got one doozy of a break there. That ought to solve some of your problems."

George went into the back room and came out with a box. He pulled out a ring box. "Here you go, something for the little woman. I don't think Martha would mind. She said it would come in handy some day."

The young man looked inside to see the biggest diamond ring he ever saw. "I can't take this," said the young man. "It means something to you."

"And now it means something to you," replied George. "I got my memories. That's all I need."

George reached into the box again. An airplane, a car and a truck appeared next. They were toys that the oil company had left for him to sell. "Here's something for that little man of yours."

The young man began to cry again as he handed back the $150 that the old man had handed him earlier.

"And what are you supposed to buy Christmas dinner with? You keep that too," George said. "Now git home to your family."

The young man turned with tears streaming down his face. "I'll be here in the morning for work, if that job offer is still good."

"Nope. I'm closed Christmas day," George said. "See ya the day after."

George turned around to find that the stranger had returned. "Where'd you come from? I thought you left?"

"I have been here. I have always been here," said the stranger. "You say you don't celebrate Christmas. Why?"

"Well, after my wife passed away, I just couldn't see what all the bother was. Puttin' up a tree and all seemed a waste of a good pine tree. Bakin' cookies like I used to with Martha just wasn't the same by myself and besides I was gettin' a little chubby."

The stranger put his hand on George's shoulder. "But you do celebrate the holiday, George. You gave me food and drink and warmed me when I was cold and hungry. The woman with child will bear a son and he will become a great doctor.

The policeman you helped will go on to save 19 people from being killed by terrorists. The young man who tried to rob you will make you a rich man and not take any for himself. "That is the spirit of the season and you keep it as good as any man."

George was taken aback by all this stranger had said. "And how do you know all this?" asked the old man.

"Trust me, George. I have the inside track on this sort of thing. And when your days are done you will be with Martha again."

The stranger moved toward the door. "If you will excuse me, George, I have to go now. I have to go home where there is a big celebration planned."

George watched as the old leather jacket and the torn pants that the stranger was wearing turned into a white robe. A golden light began to fill the room.

"You see, George ... it's My birthday. Merry Christmas."

George fell to his knees and replied, "Happy Birthday, Lord Jesus."

This story is better than any greeting card.

Merry Christmas! 

I looked for the Church and found it in the world.
I looked for the world and found it in the Church.
~ Andrew Bonar, 19th century Scottish minister

The Birth of Christ and The Birth of America Are Linked
By Chuck Baldwin of Liberty Fellowship and NewsWithViews
December 24, 2013

On this, the eve of the day in which we commemorate Christ’s birth, I am reminded of a quote by John Quincy Adams. On July 4, 1837, he spoke these words:

“Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the world, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day? … Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth. That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity, and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Savior and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets six hundred years before?”

Adams was exactly right. In fact, the United States of America is the only nation in human history established by Christian people, founded upon Biblical Natural Law principles, and dedicated to the purpose of religious liberty. This truth is easily observed within America’s earliest history.

America’s forebears first established a written covenant with God as early as November 11, 1620, when they penned The Mayflower Compact. It states in part:

“In the name of God, Amen.… Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and Honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the General good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.”

The sentiments and statements of America’s founders make it clear that this nation has enjoyed a love and appreciation for the rights and freedoms recognized in Natural Law that is unique in the annals of human history. No other people have such a heritage.

One thing America’s founders could not envision was that the time would come when their posterity would be denied the basic freedoms to publicly express their reverence for God. Never could they have imagined that the day would come when citizens of the sovereign states (each with a State constitution protecting religious liberty) would be denied their right to pray in school, place Nativity scenes on public property, or hang copies of the Ten Commandments on courthouse walls.

I am also confident that America’s founders would be completely repulsed by the way the United States has jumped headlong into corporatism, socialism, and globalism. At the national level, Democrats and Republicans alike have created a central government so large that it would be unrecognizable to any Founding Father (even Alexander Hamilton or John Adams). Big Business sucks feverishly at the teat of Big Government; the major media has become little more than a propaganda ministry of Big Government; and churches view Big Government as a god to be worshipped. Surely, our Founding Fathers must be turning over in their graves.

Therefore, at this Christmas season, let us recommit ourselves to the founding principles of these United States of America. Furthermore, let us renew with vigor the fight for freedom before our liberties and heritage disappear altogether.

Yes, John Quincy Adams was right. The birth of Christ and the birth of America are indissolubly linked.

From my family to yours: Merry Christmas!

The Birth of Christ and the Birth of America are Linked by Chuck Baldwin

The Night Before Christmas - Texas Style

T'was the night before Christmas, in Texas, you know.
Way out on the prairie, without any snow.
Asleep in their cabin, were Buddy and Sue,
A dreamin' of Christmas, like me and you.
Not stockings, but boots, at the foot of their bed,
For this was Texas, what more need be said,

When all of a sudden, from out of the still night,
There came such a ruckus, it gave me a fright.
And I saw 'cross the prairie, like a shot from a gun,
A loaded up buckboard, come on at a run,

The driver was "Geein" and "Hawin", with a will,
The horses (not reindeer) he drove with such skill.
"Come on there Buck, Poncho, & Prince, to the right,
There'll be plenty of travelin' for you all tonight."

The driver in Levi's and a shirt that was red,
Had a ten-gallon Stetson on top of his head.
As he stepped from the buckboard, he was really a sight,
With his beard and moustache, so curly and white.

As he burst in the cabin, the children awoke,
And were so astonished, that neither one spoke.
And he filled up their boots with such presents galore,
That neither could think of a single thing more.

When Buddy recovered the use of his jaws,
He asked in a whisper, "Are you really Santa Claus?"
"Am I the real Santa? Well, what do you think?"
And he smiled as he gave a mysterious wink.

Then he leaped in his buckboard and called back in his drawl,
"To all the children in Texas, Merry Christmas, y'all!"
 


New Born's Prayer

Dear Lord, I am so newly come,
I do not even know my name.

I do not even know yet, Lord,
If I am glad I came.

Grant me the time to grow in love,
Rejoice that I am here.

Bless those who make me warm and dry,
Lord, keep my mother near.

 

 

You are cordially invited to
A BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION!

Guest of Honor: Jesus Christ

Date: Every day. Traditionally, December 25 but He's always around, so the date is flexible.

Time: Whenever you're ready. (Please don't be late, though, or you'll miss out on all the fun!)

Place: In your heart . . . He'll meet you there. (You'll hear Him knock.)

Attire: Come as you are . . . grubbies are okay. He'll be washing our clothes anyway. He said something about new white robes and crowns for everyone who stays till the last.

Tickets: Admission is free. He's already paid for everyone - you wouldn't have been able to afford it anyway. It cost Him everything He had, but you do need to accept the ticket!

Refreshments: New wine, bread, and a far-out drink He calls "Living Water," followed by a supper that promises to be out of this world!

Gift Suggestions: Your life. He's one of those people who already has everything else. (He's very generous in return though. Just wait until you see what He has for you!)

Entertainment: Joy, Peace, Truth, Light, Life, Love, Real Happiness, Communion with God, Forgiveness, Miracles, Healing, Power, Eternity in Paradise, Contentment, and much more! (All "G" rated, so bring your family and friends.)

R.S.V.P. Very Important! He must know ahead so He can reserve a spot for you at the table. Also, He's keeping a list of His friends for future reference. He calls it the "Lamb's Book of Life."

Party being given by His Kids (that's us)! Hope to see you there! For those of you I will see at the party, share this with someone today! 

What Does the X in Xmas Mean?
By R.C. Sproul
Dec 11, 2013

The X in Christmas is used like the R in R.C. My given name at birth was Robert Charles, although before I was even taken home from the hospital my parents called me by my initials, R.C., and nobody seems to be too scandalized by that.

X can mean so many things. For example, when we want to denote an unknown quantity, we use the symbol X. It can refer to an obscene level of films, something that is X-rated. People seem to express chagrin about seeing Christ’s name dropped and replaced by this symbol for an unknown quantity X. Every year you see the signs and the bumper stickers saying, “Put Christ back into Christmas” as a response to this substitution of the letter X for the name of Christ.

There’s no X in Christmas

First of all, you have to understand that it is not the letter X that is put into Christmas. We see the English letter X there, but actually what it involves is the first letter of the Greek name for Christ. Christos is the New Testament Greek for Christ. The first letter of the Greek word Christos is transliterated into our alphabet as an X. That X has come through church history to be a shorthand symbol for the name of Christ.

We don’t see people protesting the use of the Greek letter theta, which is an O with a line across the middle. We use that as a shorthand abbreviation for God because it is the first letter of the word Theos, the Greek word for God.

X has a long and sacred history

The idea of X as an abbreviation for the name of Christ came into use in our culture with no intent to show any disrespect for Jesus. The church has used the symbol of the fish historically because it is an acronym. Fish in Greek (ichthus) involved the use of the first letters for the Greek phrase “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.” So the early Christians would take the first letter of those words and put those letters together to spell the Greek word for fish. That’s how the symbol of the fish became the universal symbol of Christendom. There’s a long and sacred history of the use of X to symbolize the name of Christ, and from its origin, it has meant no disrespect.

ligonier.org/blog/why-is-x-used-when-it-replaces-christ-in-christmas/

Adapted from Now, That’s a Good Question! ©1996 by R.C. Sproul. Used by permission of Tyndale.

What sort of New Year’s Resolution should a Christian make?
By Got Questions

The practice of making New Year’s resolutions goes back over 3,000 years to the ancient Babylonians. There is just something about the start of a new year that gives us the feeling of a fresh start and a new beginning. In reality, there is no difference between December 31 and January 1. Nothing mystical occurs at midnight on December 31. The Bible does not speak for or against the concept of New Year’s resolutions. However, if a Christian determines to make a New Year’s resolution, what kind of resolution should he or she make?

Common New Year’s resolutions are commitments to quit smoking, to stop drinking, to manage money more wisely, and to spend more time with family. By far, the most common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, in conjunction with exercising more and eating more healthily. These are all good goals to set. However, 1 Timothy 4:8 instructs us to keep exercise in perspective: “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” The vast majority of New Year’s resolutions, even among Christians, are in relation to physical things. This should not be.

Many Christians make New Year’s resolutions to pray more, to read the Bible every day, and to attend church more regularly. These are fantastic goals. However, these New Year’s resolutions fail just as often as the non-spiritual resolutions, because there is no power in a New Year’s resolution. Resolving to start or stop doing a certain activity has no value unless you have the proper motivation for stopping or starting that activity. For example, why do you want to read the Bible every day? Is it to honor God and grow spiritually, or is it because you have just heard that it is a good thing to do? Why do you want to lose weight? Is it to honor God with your body, or is it for vanity, to honor yourself?

Philippians 4:13 tells us, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” John 15:5 declares, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” If God is the center of your New Year’s resolution, it has chance for success, depending on your commitment to it. If it is God’s will for something to be fulfilled, He will enable you to fulfill it. If a resolution is not God honoring and/or is not in agreement in God’s Word, we will not receive God’s help in fulfilling the resolution.

So, what sort of New Year’s resolution should a Christian make? Here are some suggestions: (1) pray to the Lord for wisdom (James 1:5) in regards to what resolutions, if any, He would have you make; (2) pray for wisdom as to how to fulfill the goals God gives you; (3) rely on God’s strength to help you; (4) find an accountability partner who will help you and encourage you; (5) don’t become discouraged with occasional failures; instead, allow them to motivate you further; (6) don’t become proud or vain, but give God the glory. Psalm 37:5-6 says, “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:

He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”

Got Questions - What sort of New Year's Resolution should a Christian make?

Visions of Christmas: Seeing Gold
By David Jeremiah of Turning Point

The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. (Rev. 21:18)

Three times in Revelation 21 the apostle John uses the word "gold" to describe various aspects of the eternal city (verses Rev. 21:15, 18, 21). That's because, in the ancient world and still today, gold remains the most sought-after symbol of wealth and purity. The only way John knew to assign ultimate value and beauty to the New Jerusalem was to describe it as "pure gold" (verses Rev. 21:18, 21).

The combination of gold and white is often seen at Christmas, especially in ornaments on "Chrismon Trees" -- trees decorated with symbols depicting Jesus Christ. White (for purity) and gold (for value) are two appropriate colors by which to depict Christ. Combining those with John's vision of gold reminds us of the ultimate meaning of Christmas: God's eternally valuable gift to us. Yes, Christmas is about Christ's birth. But it is ultimately about why Christ was born -- to live a perfect life before God and qualify as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)

Let every gift, every card, every festive occasion this Christmas be a reminder that the eternal celebration is yet to come in the city of gold!

Worldlings make gold their god; saints make God their gold. ~Matthew Henry

Dr. David Jeremiah's Turning Point

During Thanksgiving, as American toiling masses traditionally give thanks to the government for what it has distributed to them, all conscientious members of community are required to experience the following emotions:

(a) deep gratitude to the government for letting them live;

(b) utter unworthiness compared to the magnanimity of the state;

(c) everlasting guilt for consuming what they have not produced, as well as for not giving back to the community according to their abilities.

If you do not experience said emotions, you are not a conscientious member of community and shall be disposed of according to the Party Manual (Page 894, Paragraph 5) with all your belongings confiscated by the state and redistributed to the more worthy members according to their needs.

Have A Glorious Progressive Thanksgiving!

(It's mandatory)

Red Square

Director of Unanimity

Turning the Page
By David Jeremiah of Turning Point
December 31, 2013

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul. (Psalm 19:7)

One day John Strait (father of singer George Strait) distributed Gideon Bibles in a prison in Dilley, Texas. A prisoner accepted one, but later when another worker, Jerry Horn of San Antonio, visited, the inmate needed another copy. The pages were all gone from the old one; only the covers remained. "What happened?" Jerry asked. The prisoner replied, "I used them to make cigarettes."

Jerry brought him a new copy and witnessed to him. The prisoner received the Lord as Savior and signed his name in the book, indicating his decision. After getting out of prison, he went to school and became pastor of a Texas church. "He had a new Bible, a new life, and a new way of living," said Jerry.

Tomorrow turns the page on a new year. The liberating message of God’s Word is ours every moment. The devil may attack us, but we have the Sword of the Spirit. The world may tempt us, but we can hide God's Word in our hearts. Let's turn the calendar with our Bibles in our hands and the joy of the Lord in our hearts.

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man. ~Benjamin Franklin

Dr. David Jeremiah's Turning Point - Turning the Page

Valentine’s Day, Should Christians Celebrate It?
By Got Questions

The first Valentine was posted around 1806. Almost one billion Valentine's Day cards are sent each year on or near February 14 with females purchasing 85% of the cards. This is second only to the number of Christmas cards sent. The history is somewhat murky as to how Valentine's Day has come to be what we now know and celebrate. Saint Valentine served in third-century Rome. Emperor Claudius decided that single men made better soldiers. Therefore, Claudius banned soldiers from being married. One version of the story is that Valentine continued to perform the weddings of young soldiers who were in love, and Claudius had Valentine imprisoned. While imprisoned, Valentine reportedly fell in love with the jailer's daughter. Valentine sent her a card and signed it, "Love, your Valentine." Another version is that Valentine defied Claudius by helping Christians escape the torture of the Romans.

Valentine died in approximately A.D. 270. Others claim the church may have decided to celebrate in mid February to "Christianize" the pagan Roman celebration Lupercalia. The first Valentine sent in the United States was in the 1840's by Esther Howgald. Most of us enjoy "spoiling" a loved one on Valentine's Day. Sending gifts and cards conveys love, affection, and friendship.

There is no biblical reason why Christians should not celebrate Valentine’s Day by giving their loved ones flowers, candy and/or cards. As with celebrating any holiday, the decision should be between the individual and God. Some people feel very strongly that observing any secular holiday is wrong, while others see it as harmless. The important thing to remember is that celebrating or not celebrating holidays should not be a cause for pride or division among Christians.

Got Questions - Valentine's Day 

Fat Tuesday / Mardi Gras
By Got Questions

Mardi Gras, which is French for “Fat Tuesday,” is the last day of a season called “Carnival.” The Carnival season is characterized by merrymaking, feasting, and dancing. Mardi Gras is the culmination of festivities and features parades, masquerades, and, unfortunately, often drunkenness and shameless debauchery. Carnival is typically celebrated in Catholic countries of southern Europe and Latin America.

The excess of Carnival may not seem to have much in common with the austerity of Lent, but the two seasons are inseparable. The day after Fat Tuesday is Ash Wednesday; therefore, the end of Carnival is followed immediately by the beginning of Lent. Lent is a time of fasting and penance in preparation for Easter. Carnival, then, can rightly be seen as the indulgence before the fast. It is one last “binge” before having to give something up for 40 days.

What does the Bible say about all this? There is nothing in the Bible that in any way suggests that early Christians observed either Lent or Carnival. And, of course, there is no biblical support for the kind of fleshly indulgence generally practiced on Fat Tuesday. The Bible expressly forbids drunkenness, carousing, and sexual fornication. Romans 13:13-14 says, “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

In general, Mardi Gras revelers engage in a binge of sinning before a time of consecration to God. The celebration of Mardi Gras fosters the notion that you can do whatever you want on Fat Tuesday, as long as you show up in church on Ash Wednesday. It’s the bender before the benediction, and it’s utterly unscriptural.

Got Questions - Fat Tuesday / Mardi Gras

Sinko de Mayo, a Solemn Celebration
May Fifth

It’s that time of the year again for a little history lesson!

Many people think the fifth day of May commemorates the Mexican victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862 and call it Cinco de Mayo, but they’re wrong.

Exhaustive research into history reveals that back in 1912 Hellman’s mayonnaise was made in England.  In fact, the great ship Titanic, when it sank, was carrying 120,000 jars of the condiment scheduled for delivery to Veracruz, Mexico, the next port of call after New York.  The people of Mexico, who were crazy about the stuff, had been eagerly awaiting delivery.  They were so distraught a national day of mourning was called, which they still observe today.  It is known, of course, as Sinko de Mayo!

Now you know the “real story”!

Saint Patrick and Saint Patrick's Day
By Got Questions

The man eventually canonized as Saint Patrick by the Catholic Church was born to a wealthy family in 387 A.D. in Kilpatrick, Scotland. His real name was Maewyn Succat. It was his extensive missionary work in Ireland for which he is famous. During the thirty years of work there he supposedly converted over 135,000 people, established 300 churches, and consecrated 350 bishops. He died on March 17, 461 A.D.

History records that Saint Patrick, at age sixteen, was captured by Celtic raiders and spent several years as a slave in Ireland. It was during this time that he learned the various rituals, customs, and language of Celtic Druids. It was these people that he eventually converted to Catholicism. He apparently had a dream in which God spoke to him saying “Your ship is ready.” Saint Patrick was then able to escape by ship back to Britain. Shortly thereafter, he experienced another dream in which he received a letter which claimed to be the “voice of the Irish.” When he opened it, he heard the voices of all those who he had met in Ireland begging him to return.

Saint Patrick then began a course of study to become ordained a bishop in the Catholic Church and returned back to Ireland to establish the church. Though the task was difficult and dangerous, he persisted and was able to build a strong foundation for Christianity. The Irish people were very receptive to his teachings especially in light of the fact that he was able to take several of their Celtic symbols and Christianize them. The most prominent of these is the green shamrock, a certain type of clover. He used this plant, which was held sacred by the Druids, as a symbol of the Trinity. Additionally, Saint Patrick was instrumental in bringing alcohol to Ireland which eventually had a significant impact upon the Irish culture.

Each year millions of people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It is a national holiday in Ireland when people do not work, but observe it in worship and family gatherings. In the United States, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York on March 17 of 1762. It consisted largely of Irish soldiers. Today, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by wearing green which symbolizes the return of spring as well as the Irish culture. Also, prominent in this celebration is green beer, pointing back to Saint Patrick’s introduction of alcohol to Ireland.

What initially started as a Catholic holiday became an official feast day in the 17th century. Since then it has become a secular celebration of the Irish culture. Neither Saint Patrick or St. Patrick’s Day is mentioned in Scripture. While we would strongly disagree of some of the aspects of Catholic theology that St. Patrick taught, the fact that around 1600 years ago a man dedicated his life to proclaiming the Gospel, resulting in tens of thousands coming to faith in Christ – that is most definitely worth celebrating (Luke 15:7-10).

Got Questions - Saint Patrick and Saint Patrick's Day

The Origins of Easter and Why Easter Sunday
By Got Questions

The origins of Easter are rooted in European traditions. The name Easter comes from a pagan figure called Eastre (or Eostre) who was celebrated as the goddess of spring by the Saxons of Northern Europe. A festival called Eastre was held during the spring equinox by these people to honor her. The goddess Eastre’s earthly symbol was the rabbit, which was also known as a symbol of fertility. Originally, there were some very pagan (and sometimes utterly evil) practices that went along with the celebration. Today, Easter is almost a completely commercialized holiday, with all the focus on Easter eggs and the Easter bunny being remnants of the goddess worship.

In the Christian faith, Easter has come to mean the celebration of the resurrection of Christ three days after His crucifixion. It is the oldest Christian holiday and the most important day of the church year because of the significance of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the events upon which Christianity is based. Easter Sunday is preceded by the season of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting and repentance culminating in Holy Week and followed by a 50-day Easter season that stretches from Easter to Pentecost.

Because of the commercialization and pagan origins of Easter, many churches prefer to refer to it as “Resurrection Sunday.” The rationale is the more we focus on Christ and the less we focus on the pagan holiday, the better. As previously mentioned, the resurrection of Christ is the central theme of Christianity. Paul says that without this, our faith is futile (1 Corinthians 15:17). What more wonderful reason could we have to celebrate! What is important is the true reason behind our celebration, which is that Christ was resurrected from the dead, making it possible for us to have eternal life (Romans 6:4)!

Should we celebrate Easter or allow our children to go on Easter eggs hunts? This is a question both parents and church leaders struggle with. There is nothing essentially evil about painting and hiding eggs and having children search for them. What is important is our focus. If our focus is on Christ and not the eggs, our children will understand that the eggs are just a game. Children can participate in an Easter egg hunt as long as the true meaning of the day is explained and emphasized, but ultimately this must be left up to the discretion of parents.

Got Questions - The Origins of Easter


Easter Sunday
By Got Questions

There is a lot of confusion regarding what Easter Sunday is all about. For some, Easter Sunday is about the Easter Bunny, colorfully decorated Easter eggs, and Easter egg hunts. Most people understand that Easter Sunday has something to do with the resurrection of Jesus, but are confused as to how the resurrection is related to the Easter eggs and the Easter bunny.

Biblically speaking, there is absolutely no connection between the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the common modern traditions related to Easter Sunday. As a background, please read our article on the Origins of Easter [previous above]. Essentially, what occurred is that in order to make Christianity more attractive to non-Christians, the ancient Roman Catholic Church mixed the celebration of Jesus' resurrection with celebrations that involved spring fertility rituals. These spring fertility rituals are the source of the egg and bunny traditions.

The Bible makes it clear that Jesus was resurrected on the first day of the week, Sunday (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1,19). Jesus' resurrection is most worthy of being celebrated (see 1 Corinthians 15). While it is appropriate for Jesus' resurrection to be celebrated on a Sunday, the day on which Jesus' resurrection is celebrated should not be referred to as Easter. Easter has nothing to do with Jesus' resurrection on a Sunday.

As a result, many Christians feel strongly that the day on which we celebrate Jesus' resurrection should not be referred to as "Easter Sunday." Rather, something like "Resurrection Sunday" would be far more appropriate and biblical. For the Christian, it is unthinkable that we would allow the silliness of Easter eggs and the Easter bunny to be the focus of the day instead of Jesus' resurrection.

By all means, celebrate Christ's resurrection on Easter Sunday. Christ's resurrection is something that should be celebrated every day, not just once a year. At the same time, if we choose to celebrate Easter Sunday, we should not allow the fun and games to distract our attention from what the day should truly be all about—the fact that Jesus was resurrected from the dead, and that His resurrection demonstrates that we can indeed be promised an eternal home in Heaven by receiving Jesus as our Savior.

Got Questions - Easter Sunday

Mother's Day, Should Christians Celebrate?
By Got Questions

Mother’s Day—called Mothering Day in the U.K.—can be traced back to ancient pagan practices, but it has gone through a lot of changes and names to get to what we know today. The history of Mother's Day can be traced back to celebrations of ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the mother of the gods. During the 1600s, the early Christians in England celebrated a day to honor Mary, the mother of Christ. By a religious order, the holiday was later expanded to include all mothers. Mother's Day occurs in the U.S. once a year on the second Sunday of May, while Mothering Day in the U.K. is celebrated the fourth Sunday of Lent. Traditional ways to celebrate Mother’s Day are to take mothers out to dinner and/or honor them with cards, flowers, or candy. Biblically, honoring mothers (and fathers) is commanded by God in both the Old and New Testaments (Deuteronomy 5:16; Ephesians 6:2).

The Bible does not command us to dedicate a special day to honor our mothers, nor is there anything in the Bible to condemn it. So the question is whether, considering the pagan roots of the holiday, Christians should celebrate Mother’s Day. The key is found in Romans 14:5-8:

“One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”

As Christians, we should be fully convinced that we are doing what God wants us to do. If we choose to celebrate Mother’s Day and we see nothing wrong with it, then we should celebrate with a clear conscience. If, however, celebrating is against one’s conscience, then celebrating is not appropriate. On the other hand, if one does not celebrate Mother’s Day or any other holiday for reasons of conscience, that is fine, as long as he/she does not become prideful, looking down on those who do celebrate. As with all issues not specifically addressed in Scripture, we have the freedom to celebrate or not celebrate Mother’s Day, according to personal preference.

Got Questions - Mother's Day

Should Christians Celebrate Birthdays?
By
Got Questions

There is no specific prohibition against celebrating birthdays in Scripture, nor is there anything to indicate we should celebrate them. Scripturally speaking, it is a non-issue. The Bible does mention two individuals celebrating birthdays: the Egyptian Pharaoh in Joseph’s time (Genesis 40:20), and King Herod in the time of Jesus (Matthew 14:6; Mark 6:21). Some point to these non-believing individuals as evidence that celebrating birthdays is wrong, some form of pagan ritual. However, the Bible does not state, or even hint, that it was wrong for Pharaoh or Herod to celebrate his birthday. Neither does Scripture anywhere discourage anyone from celebrating a birthday.

In his epistle to the Romans, Paul is addressing the issue of which day should be the day of worship, but this could also apply to birthday celebrations: “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord” (Romans 14:5-8).

The bottom line for Paul is that each man should be fully convinced that he is doing what God wants him to do. If one person chooses to celebrate birthdays and he sees nothing wrong with it, he should celebrate with a clear conscience. If, however, he feels celebrating is against his conscience, he should not celebrate. Conversely, if one does not celebrate birthdays for reasons of conscience, that is fine, as long as it does not become a source of pride and he does not look down on those who do celebrate. As with all issues not specifically addressed in Scripture, we have the freedom to celebrate or not celebrate birthdays, according to personal preference.

Got Questions - Should Christians Celebrate Birthdays?

May be of interest: Got Questions - Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?

Also see Should Christians celebrate Christmas? in this site.

Halloween, Should Christians Celebrate?
By Got Questions

Whether or not Christians should celebrate Halloween can be a very controversial topic. Some Christians celebrate Halloween simply by dressing up in a costume and having fun, seeing it as innocent and harmless. Other Christians are equally convinced that Halloween is a satanic holiday established to worship evil spirits and promote darkness and wickedness. So, who is right? Is it possible for Christians to celebrate Halloween without compromising their faith?

Halloween, no matter how commercialized, has almost completely pagan origins. As innocent as it may seem to some, it is not something to be taken lightly. Christians tend to have various ways to celebrate or not to celebrate Halloween. For some, it means having an “alternative” Harvest Party. For others, it is staying away from the ghosts, witches, goblins, etc., and wearing innocuous costumes, e.g., little princesses, clowns, cowboys, super-heroes, etc. Some choose not to do anything, electing to lock themselves in the house with the lights off. With our freedom as Christians, we are at liberty to decide how to act.

Scripture does not speak at all about Halloween, but it does give us some principles on which we can make a decision. In Old Testament Israel, witchcraft was a crime punishable by death (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27). The New Testament teaching about the occult is clear. Acts 8:9-24, the story of Simon, shows that occultism and Christianity don't mix. The account of Elymas the sorcerer in Acts 13:6-11 reveals that sorcery is violently opposed to Christianity. Paul called Elymas a child of the devil, an enemy of righteousness and a perverter of the ways of God. In Acts 16, at Philippi, a fortune-telling girl lost her demon powers when the evil spirit was cast out by Paul. The interesting matter here is that Paul refused to allow even good statements to come from a demon-influenced person. Acts 19 shows new converts who have abruptly broken with their former occultism by confessing, showing their evil deeds, bringing their magic paraphernalia, and burning it before everyone (Acts 19:19).

So, should a Christian celebrate Halloween? Is there anything evil about a Christian dressing up as a princess or cowboy and going around the block asking for candy? No, there is not. Are there things about Halloween that are anti-Christian and should be avoided? Absolutely! If parents are going to allow their children to participate in Halloween, they should make sure to keep them from getting involved in the darker aspects of the day. If Christians are going to take part in Halloween, their attitude, dress, and most importantly, their behavior should still reflect a redeemed life (Philippians 1:27). There are many churches that hold "harvest festivals" and incorporate costumes, but in a godly environment. There are many Christians who hand out tracts that share the Gospel along with the Halloween candy. The decision is ultimately ours to make. But as with all things, we are to incorporate the principles of Romans 14. We can’t allow our own convictions about a holiday to cause division in the body of Christ, nor can we use our freedom to cause others to stumble in their faith. We are to do all things as to the Lord.

Got Questions - Halloween, Should Christians Celebrate

The History of Christmas: Is It Pagan?
from the December 13, 2011 eNews issue

________________________________________

Christ.mas n.

-A Christian feast commemorating the birth of Jesus.

-An annual church festival (December 25) and in some States a legal holiday, in memory of the birth of Christ, often celebrated by a particular church service, and also by special gifts, greetings, and hospitality. [Dictionary - Christmas]

The celebration of Christmas has caused some controversy in recent years, for a variety of reasons. Many have been concerned that Christ is too often left out of Christmas; replaced by trimmings and presents and fudge. Others have battled over whether we should allow manger scenes on public property or allow the school choir to sing Christmas carols that actually contain a message about Jesus Christ. On the other hand, a growing number of Christians have been arguing that we should not celebrate Christmas at all because there is no command to do so in the Bible and because the celebration has pagan roots.

What stand should we take? How should we approach Christmas in the light of history and in the light of the Bible? This week we'll look at the history of the winter solstice and other pagan celebrations, and continue next week with the Jewish and Christian roots of this favorite of holidays.

The Pagan History:

Many pagan religions throughout the millennia have worshipped the sun as the source of light and warmth and life. As darkness deepened in the winter and the shortest day of the year approached, many pagans of yesteryear feared that the light might die altogether. Once the winter solstice hit, however, and the hours of sunlight began to increase once again, there would be great celebrations over the return of the sun and the accompanying hope for a future spring. In the northern hemisphere, these celebrations would occur toward the end of December.

Tammuz, the son of Nimrod and his queen, Semiramis, was identified with the Babylonian Sun God and worshipped following the sinter solstice, on about December 22-23. Tammuz was thought to have died during the winter solstice, and was memorialized by burning a log in the fireplace. (The Chaldean word for "infant" is yule. This is the origin of the yule log.) His rebirth was celebrated by replacing the log with a trimmed tree the next morning.

The Roman god Saturn's celebration fell on December 17 and lasted for seven days. Romans would gaily decorate their homes in evergreen boughs and candles, and would give gifts to one another. It was a time of visiting with family and friends, and of often-rowdy merry-making.

December 25 was also considered to be the birth date of the Iranian mystery god Mithra, the god of light and contracts. A once-minor god of the Persian pantheon, Roman soldiers adopted Mithra as the manly man's hero, a divinity of fidelity, manliness, and bravery. Women were excluded from the caves where men worshipped Mithra through secret rituals.

Mithra came to be identified with the sun-god Helios and became known as 'The Great God Helios-Mithras.' Several Roman emperors formally announced their alliance with the sun, including Commodus who was initiated in public. Emperor Aurelian (AD 270 to 275) blended a number of pagan solstice celebrations of such god-men/saviors as Apollo, Attis, Baal, Dionysus, Helios, Hercules, Horus, Mithra, Osiris, Perseus, and Theseus into a single festival called the 'Birthday of the Unconquered Sun,' celebrated on December 25th.

There are a few rumored similarities between the legends of Mithra and the story of Christ. Mithra was said to have been born in a cave, with shepherds attending, (although there were no men on earth at the time (?)). Other legends have him being born from a rock by a river under a tree. According to Persian mythology, Mithra was a moral god, upholding the sanctity of the contract even when the contract was made with one who was sure to break it. Initiates into Mithraism would be 'baptized' with the trickle of the sacrificial bull's blood that would flow into a pit. This blood was said to cleanse the initiates from any impurities.

The few actual similarities between the Persian Mithra and Jesus Christ are superficial and are nothing compared to the major differences between the two. The comparisons that are fairly close - that Mithra was born of a virgin, that he was buried and rose again, are based on Roman versions of Mithra that post date Jesus Christ and not the original Persian stories of the god. That a god who was (in the Persian tradition) born from a rock could also somehow be born of a virgin demonstrates the adaption of the story by the Romans after the time of Christ.

Tertullian (AD 160-220), the early Church writer, noticed that the pagan religion utilized baptism as well as bread and wine consecrated by priests. He considered Mithraism to have been inspired by the devil, who wanted to mock Christians and lead others to hell.

While Tammuz and Saturn, Mithra and the Unconquered Sun may have once been celebrated at the end of December, few people even are aware of them anymore. There are no shrines to Tammuz set up in town squares, nor are carols being sung around the neighborhood in honor of Mithra. Whatever celebrations that pagans once had (and still have) at the end of December, Christmas is a decidedly Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of our Savior.

As the Christmas season gets into full steam, let's certainly avoid the temptation to worship pagan gods (wherever those temptations might yet lurk), but let's do focus on rejoicing that God sent His Son to be a man like us. He was laid in a manger as a baby and later had no place to lay his head (Matt 8:20), yet he is the King of Kings (Rev 17:14) and God the Father has given him a name above all names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow (Phil 2:8-11). Rather than fearing the pagan history of this time of year, let's take advantage of the current cultural opportunity to worship and bring glory to Christ at a time when people are most open to his being the "reason for the season".

Related Links:

The Origins of Our Christmas Traditions - Koinonia House

Jesus is Not a Mithras Redux - The Invisible Things

Mithraism - NewAdvent.org

K-House eNews by Chuck Missler - The History of Christmas: Is It Pagan?

The History of Christmas: Its Biblical Roots
from the December 15, 2014 eNews issue
________________________________________

Last week we looked at the pagan holidays that were celebrated at the end of December. Because of these pagan roots, many Christians believe we should avoid Christmas as an ultimately pagan holiday. Yet, does the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ itself have anything to do with pagans? Or is it truly a Christian holiday that is simply celebrated at the wrong time of year?

The Hebrew Roots

Jesus birth was foretold centuries prior in the Hebrew Scriptures. In the fullness of time, God sent His Son to redeem mankind. He sent Jesus as a little baby to become God With Us.

… he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Israel and bring back those of Jacob I have preserved. I’ll also make you as a light to the nations, to be my salvation to the ends of the earth.”— Isaiah 49:6 ISV

Therefore the LORD himself will give you a sign. Watch! The virgin is conceiving a child, and will give birth to a son, and his name will be called Immanuel. — Isaiah 7:14 ISV

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the growth of his government and peace there will be no end. He will rule over his kingdom, sitting on the throne of David, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of the Heavenly Armies will accomplish this.— Isaiah 9:6–7 ISV

The Christian Roots

“Then the angel told her, “Stop being afraid, Mary, because you have found favor with God. Listen! You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.”— Luke 1:30–32 ISV

About 1,950 years ago, the well-educated and faithful physician Luke wrote to one Theophilus, detailing the life of Jesus Christ. Luke explained that he had done research on the subject so that Theophilus could know with certainty that the things he had been told about Jesus were true (Luke 1:4). Luke must have spoken with Mary herself, for he describes things that only she would know.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart,’— Luke 2:19.

Luke tells Theophilus of the birth of Jesus; how he was born in Bethlehem during a time when the entire Roman world was being taxed. Shepherds out in the field were surprised by a host of angels that filled the sky, singing, ‘Glory to God in the highest!’ and found the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Those shepherds then told everybody they could find about the incredible things they had seen (Luke 2:8–18).

The child grew up and went on to have a short, three-year ministry that ended in His death on a Roman Cross. Yet, the man born in Bethlehem rose again from the dead, as witnessed by over 500 men (1 Cor 15:6). And He is still changing the hearts and lives of people living today.

Church History

The early Christians are not known to have celebrated Christ’s birth, and the actual date of His nativity has been lost to history. The first recorded mention of the December 25 date is in the Calendar of Philocalus (AD 354), which assumed Jesus’ birth date to be Friday, December 25, in AD 1. Pope Julius I officially proclaimed December 25 to be the anniversary of Christ’s birth in AD 440. Giving December 25th Christian significance has been understood to have been an effort to help the pagan world embrace Christianity and trade in their worship of pagan gods for the One True God. Originally called the Feast of the Nativity, the custom spread to Egypt by A.D. 432 and to England by the end of the 6th century. The celebration of Christmas had spread all the way to the Scandinavian countries before the year 800.

Christ’s birth is honored on January 6 in the Orthodox Church, on Epiphany or Three Kings Day, the day that celebrates the arrival of the wise men who gave the Christ child their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Christmas did largely win out over the pagan holidays, but was still celebrated with rowdy festivities and practical jokes - more like Mardi Gras than anything resembling the character of Christ. Puritans in England outlawed Christmas for years, and the holiday was not popular in early America. In fact, Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday in the United States until June 26, 1870.

Today

The holiday then underwent a conversion. Christmas was ‘reinvented’ into the more moderate holiday we know today. Washington Irving and Charles Dickens both wrote tales that presented Christmas as a holiday of caring for the poor and bringing families together. As the angels sang above the shepherds that first night, Christmas was about ‘peace on earth, good will toward men’.

The Season is still a mixture of traditions pulled from a multitude of sources. While many of them have little to do with Jesus, most are morally neutral activities. However, even while Santa Claus “Ho Ho Ho’s” down Main St. on a fire truck, and Hershey makes a killing on aluminum-wrapped chocolate bells, the reality of Christ’s birth does break through. Nativity scenes bring to mind the great gift of God — the King of kings lying in a manger, attended by shepherds. Christmas carols that cry ‘The Lord is come’ and ‘Come let us adore Him’ are sung from door to door, reminding us all of what God has done.

It is a time of year when people can speak more freely of Jesus the Savior — when even the faithless are willing to attend a Christmas Eve service. It is truly a precious slot of time God has given us during which to spread the Good News of His Son. Glory to God in the highest!

May your celebration of the birth of Christ honor Him who gave Himself to us as the ultimate sacrifice of love. May everything we do reflect the love and compassion of our Savior, and bring glory to His name.

Related Articles

The Origins of our Christmas Traditions --- Koinoinia House
History of Christmas in America --- Free Republic

K-House eNews by Chuck Missler - The History of Christmas: Its Biblical Roots

Thanksgiving in Scripture
By Charles Strong of Bible One

And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD, offer it of your own free will. (Leviticus 22:29; cf. Leviticus 7:12-13, 15)

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. (1 Chronicles 16:34; cf. 1 Chronicles 16:4, 8, 35; 23:30)

And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD . . . .  (Ezra 3:11a)

For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chiefs of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. (Nehemiah 12:46)

That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Your wondrous works. (Psalm 26:7)

I will give You thanks in the great assembly; I will praise You among many people. (Psalm 35:18)

Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. (Psalm 50:14)

I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving. (Psalm 69:30)

We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks! For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near. (Psalm 75:1)

It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High. (Psalm 92:1)

Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalm 107:8; cf. Psalm 107:21)

Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing. (Psalm 107:22)

I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD. (Psalm 116:17)

Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever. (Psalm 136:3; cf. Psalm 136:4-26)

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. (Daniel 6:10)

But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD. (Jonah 2:9)

He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. (Romans 14:6)

For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 4:15)

Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:20)

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)

We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you . . . giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. (Colossians 1:3, 12)

As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7)

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:17)

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2)

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men. (1 Timothy 2:1)

Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. (Hebrews 13:15)

The Millers' and the Groves' Anniversaries,

50th and 17th, respectively,

 celebrated June 27, 2014 at IHOP.

 [Disclosure: The banner image at the top of this page is from a website inspired by the late Gary Whipple, one of my mentors.]

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