Another view on Christmas.

Thanks go to UCG for allowing me to post their article.

http://www.ucg.org/holidays-and-holy-days/top-10-reasons-why-i-dont-celebrate-christmas/

This is not my post but someone else’s. I am posting it in the hopes that it shows that I am not the only Christian who doesn’t celebrate Christmas.
I am not one of a kind, and I am not crazy or legalistic. I just choose not to celebrate it after learning of the origins of it.
I am not telling anyone whether they should or shouldn’t celebrate Christmas. I am only asking you to seek the Lord about it and ask Him if He wants you to do it.

People say that “Jesus is the reason for the season” or “Put the Christ back in Christmas”. Well, actually He isn’t and He was never in it in the first place.
I ask you to read this with an open mind and of course pray about what the Lord wants you to do.
If you do decide not to go ahead with Christmas this year, I have some tips on how you can break it to your children and family, as I went through this last year.
Of course each child and each family are different so my suggestions won’t work for everyone, but they worked for me, so they should work for others.

Here is the post by Scott Ashley.

“The Top 10 Reasons Why I Don’t Celebrate Christmas

article by Scott Ashley
It’s that time of year again! You’ll soon be barraged by the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas. Shoppers will soon go into spending overdrive, and when the bills arrive, some will wonder if it’s really worth it. Here’s a perspective from one who kicked the Christmas habit.

The Top 10 Reasons Why I Don

What’s the real meaning behind Christmas?
Source: Photos.com

Christmas is a hugely popular holiday celebrated by some 2 billion people worldwide. It’s become such an ingrained part of modern culture that even people in nations with little or no Christian history or tradition are celebrating it in increasing numbers.

Christmas is so big that it plays a key role in the economies of many nations. In the U.S. retail industry, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday is commonly known as “Black Friday”—not because it’s bad, but because this marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and stores that have been “in the red”—operating at a loss all year—suddenly see their sales shoot up so fast that they are now operating in the black (at a profit) the rest of the year. “Black Friday” is the biggest shopping day of the year due to its Christmas sales.

Christmas is big— very big. Schools and colleges commonly take a week or longer break at this time, some businesses shut down to give their employees time off, many families plan trips and get-togethers, and some people darken the door of a church for perhaps the first time all year.

So it’s not surprising that I get some pretty shocked looks when I tell people I don’t celebrate Christmas. That’s pretty unusual for anyone, much less someone who’s been an ordained minister for 15 years and edits a Christian magazine.

So what’s up with this? Why would anyone not want to celebrate Christmas like nearly everybody else? Are there valid reasons for not participating in all the holiday hoopla?

American Late Show television program host David Letterman is famous for his “top 10” lists in which he offers pointed commentary about popular culture and current events. So here I offer my top 10 reasons for not celebrating Christmas!

1. Christmas is driven by commercialism.

It’s not that difficult to recognize what really drives the holiday in our age. Cal Thomas, an American syndicated columnist who often writes from a Christian perspective, acknowledged uncomfortable truths about Christmas in a December 2003 column.

“I’m not sure it’s worth keeping Christmas anymore,” he began, lamenting that the holiday has become a “road show of reindeer, winter scenes, elves and the God substitute, Santa Claus, who serves as a front for merchants seeking to play on the guilt some parents bear for ignoring their kids the rest of the year.”

He asks a great question: “Why participate any longer in this charade where the focal point of worship has shifted from a babe in a manger to a babe in the Victoria ‘s Secret window? . . . No room in the inn has been replaced by no room in the mall parking lot.”

But perhaps his most insightful statement is this: “It’s instructive how just one season away from lusting after material things can break the habit. It’s something like liberation from an addiction or lifestyle choice. Being away from it can cause one to realize the behavior is neither missed nor needed for fulfillment and enjoyment.”

Having said good-bye to the Christmas habit several decades ago, I couldn’t have said it better myself!

2. Christmas is nowhere mentioned in the Bible.

This is rather obvious, but most people never give it a second thought. The books of the New Testament cover 30+ years of Jesus Christ’s life, then another 30+ years of the early Church following His death and resurrection, but nowhere do we find any hint of a Christmas celebration or anything remotely like it.

Yes, the Bible does give us quite a few details of His birth—the angelic appearance to Mary and then Joseph, the conditions surrounding His birth in a stable in Bethlehem, the heavenly choir’s performance for the shepherds in the fields outside the town. But nowhere in the Bible is there any record of anyone observing Christmas or any hint that God the Father or Jesus Christ expects us to do so.

3. Jesus wasn’t born on or near Dec. 25.

Surprising but true! Remember those shepherds who were “living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night”? (Luke 2:8).
December weather around Bethlehem is often miserably cold, wet and rainy. No shepherd in his right mind would have kept his flocks outside at night at that time of year!

The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary says this passage argues “against the birth [of Christ] occurring on Dec. 25 since the weather would not have permitted” shepherds to be out in the fields with their flocks then.

And Celebrations: The Complete Book of American Holidays tells us that Luke’s account of Christ’s birth “suggests that Jesus may have been born in summer or early fall. Since December is cold and rainy in Judea, it is likely the shepherds would have sought shelter for their flocks at night” (p. 309) rather than keeping them outdoors.

Also, Luke 2:1-4 tells us that Jesus was born in Bethlehem because his parents came to that town to register in a Roman census. The Romans were well known as highly efficient administrators. It would have made no sense to have conducted a census in the dead of winter, when temperatures often dropped below freezing and traveling was difficult due to poor road conditions. Taking a census under such conditions would have been self-defeating!

4. The Christmas holiday is largely a recycled pagan celebration.

Again, surprising but true! Read it for yourself in just about any encyclopedia.

Consider the customs associated with Christmas. What do decorated evergreen trees, holly, mistletoe, yule logs, a jolly plump man in a fur-lined red suit, sleighs and flying reindeer have to do with the birth of Jesus Christ?

None of these things have anything to do with Him, but they have a lot to do with ancient pagan festivals. (Read the eye-opening details in our free booklet Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Keep? )

And what about the date of Dec. 25? How did it come to be assigned as the supposed date of Jesus Christ’s birth? Historians Gerard and Patricia Del Re explain:

“The tradition of celebrating December 25 as Christ’s birthday came to the Romans from Persia. Mithra, the Persian god of light and sacred contracts, was born out of a rock on December 25. Rome was famous for its flirtations with strange gods and cults, and in the third century the unchristian emperor Aurelian established the festival of Dies Invicti Solis, the Day of the Invincible Sun, on December 25.

“Mithra was an embodiment of the sun, so this period of its rebirth was a major day in Mithraism, which had become Rome’s latest official religion . . . It is believed that the emperor Constantine adhered to Mithraism up to the time of his conversion to Christianity. He was probably instrumental in seeing that the major feast of his old religion was carried over to his new faith” ( The Christmas Almanac, 1979, p. 17).

It’s difficult to determine the first time anyone celebrated Dec. 25 as Christmas, but historians generally agree that it was sometime during the fourth century—some 300 years after Christ’s death. And then a contrived date was chosen because it was alreadya popular pagan holiday celebrating the birth of the sun god!

Similarly, virtually all of the customs associated with Christmas are recycled from ancient pagan festivals honoring other gods.

5. God condemns using pagan customs to worship Him.

Since Christmas is supposedly a day to worship and celebrate God the Father and Jesus Christ, wouldn’t it be a good idea to look into the Bible to see what it says about how we should worship God?

The answer is quite clear. God gives specific instruction about using pagan practices to worship Him— the exact thing Christmas does! Notice what He says in Deuteronomy 12:30-32

: “. . . Do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way . . . Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (emphasis added throughout).

And lest some think this is simply an Old Testament command that no longer applies, the apostle Paul makes the same point in 2 Corinthians 6, where he addresses whether unbiblical religious customs and practices have any place in the worship of God’s people:

“What fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial [the devil and/or demons]? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?For you are the temple of the living God . . .

“Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.’ ‘I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.’ Therefore, having these promises, beloved,let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 7:1).

Rather than relabeling pagan customs as Christian, or allowing members of the Church to continue their old pagan practices, the apostle Paul told them in no uncertain terms to leave behind all these forms of worship and worship God in true holiness as He commands. Jesus likewise says His true followers “must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24
)—not revel in recycled pagan customs and symbolism.

6. Christmas is worshipping God in vain.

Since Christmas is a jumble of ancient pagan customs invented by men, and a holiday found nowhere in the Bible, does God honor or accept such worship?

Jesus provides the answer in His stern rebuke of the religious teachers of His day, men who had substituted human traditions and teachings for God’s divine truths and commands: “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites . . . ‘in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ . . . All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition” (Mark 7:6-9).

In the 17th century Christmas was actually outlawed in England and some parts of the American colonies because of its unbiblical and pagan origins. They knew something most people today have forgotten or have never known!

7. You can’t put Christ back into something He was never in.

Some people admit the many problems with Christmas. But rather than face up to those problems, some assert that we should “put Christ back in Christmas.”

However, it’s impossible to “put Christ back in Christmas” since He never was in Christmas in the first place! He never so much as heard the word “Christmas” during His lifetime on earth, nor did His apostles after Him. You can search the Bible cover to cover but you won’t find the words “Christmas,” “Christmas tree,” “mistletoe,” “holly,” “Santa Claus” or “flying reindeer.”

Putting Christ back in Christmas may sound like a nice sentiment, but it’s really only a misguided effort to try to justify a long-standing human tradition rather than what the Bible tells us we should do.

8. The Bible nowhere tells us to observe a holiday celebrating Jesus Christ’s birth —but it clearly does tell us to commemorate His death.

As noted earlier, the Bible nowhere mentions Christmas or tells us to celebrate Christ’s birth.

This is not to say that the Bible doesn’t tell us to commemorate a highly significant event in Jesus Christ’s life on earth. It does —but that event is His death, not His birth.

Notice what the apostle Paul, conveying the instructions of Jesus Himself, tells Christians: “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’

“In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes . . . Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (1 Corinthians 11:23-28).

And yes, many believers do what they consider a form of this today in taking communion or “the Lord’s supper.” They fail to realize, however, the full significance of these acts, or that what Paul is actually describing here is the Passover — which is what Jesus Himself called this observance (Matthew 26:18-19; Mark 14:14-16; Luke 22:8-13, 15).

And many have no idea of the real date of Christ’s death and the annual Passover observance, but that’s an issue for another time. (Hint: It isn’t “Good Friday” prior to Easter as so many mistakenly believe. See our booklet Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Keep?   for details.) The point is: Jesus clearly expects His true followers to commemorate His death—not His birth—by observing the Passover.

9. Christmas obscures God’s plan for mankind.

Passover, mentioned above, has enormous significance in God’s plan for humanity. The Old Testament Passover, described in Exodus 12, was symbolic of Jesus Christ’s future role and sacrifice. As the blood of the slain Passover lambs on the Israelites’ houses spared them while the firstborn of the Egyptians were slain, so does Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on our behalf spare us from death— eternal death.

Paul alluded to this great truth when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 5:7
that “Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” Similarly John the Baptist, speaking under divine inspiration, said of Jesus, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

Peter wrote that we are redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19)—a clear reference to the Passover lambs (Exodus 12:5).

A central key to God’s plan for humanity is Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on our behalf. He is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8)—meaning His death for our sins was planned before the first human beings were ever created (1 Peter 1:18-20). Only through His death to pay the penalty for our sins can human beings receive God’s gift of eternal life (John 3:14-17; Acts 4:12; 1 Corinthians 15:20-22).

Christmas, in contrast, teaches us none of this. Regrettably, because it is a hodgepodge of unbiblical customs and beliefs thrown together with a few elements of biblical truth, it only obscures the incredible purpose of Jesus Christ’s coming—as well as why He must return to earth a second time! (For more details, request our free booklets Jesus Christ: The Real Story and The Gospel of the Kingdom . )

10. I’d rather celebrate the Holy Days Jesus Christ and the apostles observed.

God in His Word sets out many choices for us. Will we do things His way or our own? Will we worship Him as He tells us to, or expect Him to honor whatever religious practices we choose regardless of what His Word says?

It’s always good to ask the question, What would Jesus do? The answer, from the Scriptures, is quite clear as to what Jesus did. Jesus didn’t allow His followers the option of adopting pagan practices in their worship. He and the apostles plainly kept God’s Holy Days and festivals that we find recorded in Leviticus 23.

As noted above, they kept the Passover (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Scripture shows they also observed the Days of Unleavened Bread (Acts 20:6; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8). The New Testament Church itself was founded on the Feast of Pentecost (Acts 2:1), another biblical festival they clearly observed (Acts 20:16). They likewise kept the Day of Atonement (called “the Fast” in Acts 27:9) and the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2, 10).

Christmas, meanwhile, is totally missing from the biblical record.

Most people don’t know that the Bible includes a whole list of festivals that God commanded, that Jesus Himself observed and that the apostles and early Church were still keeping decades after Christ’s death and resurrection. And unlike Christmas, these reveal a great deal about Jesus Christ’s role and mission.

Each one teaches us a vital lesson in what Jesus has done, is doing and will yet do in carrying out God’s great plan for humankind. The differences between these and the tired old paganism and crass commercialism of Christmas is truly like the difference between day and night. Why not look into them for yourself?

I’ve given you my top 10 reasons for not celebrating Christmas. What do you suppose God thinks of your reasons for continuing to observe it? GN”

**Please note. I do not necessarily endorse all the articles, their authors, the comments or the beliefs of everyone on the UCG website, I am only posting this article as it has some very good points in it.**

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Should we have to have proof of God’s existence?

‎”At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.” Matthew 18:1-5

We are called to have faith like a child. A child believes things without needing proof.
For example; children believe in Santa or the Tooth Fairy because their parents/society teaches them that, even though we (adults) all know they aren’t real. But the children believe because they trust that we are telling the truth. (even though they are big fat lies)

I admit, at first I wanted some hard and fast facts or evidence in my life that God was working, but over the last year or so, with lots of prayer and wanting to change, God has revealed Himself in my life more and more.
He has really helped me out by answering a few prayers, one of them quite major, and I’m so grateful.
I think also, that the more I see Him working in my life and the more I fellowship with other believers, the more I am learning to trust in Him.
“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” Mark 11:22,23

I am learning more and more not to trust myself and my actions, but to believe that God has a plan for me and my life, and if I try to get ahead of Him instead of it being in His perfect timing, it will be disastrous.

Do you need proof to believe, have you got a testimony, or do you (for whatever reason) just believe?

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

Come out of her my people.

“And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” Revelation 18:1-5

It is commonly thought that Babylon is the current world system, and I tend to agree.
I know most of you probably won’t agree with what I’m about to say, (and that’s ok, it’s between you and God) but look at all the pagan influences in the world today. Christmas, Easter and Valentines Day are just some examples that are thoroughly pagan in origin.
I personally don’t celebrate and of those things anymore since learning of their pagan nature.

As Christians, God tells us not to be like the world:
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:” 2 Corinthians 10:3

We are to be different than all the worldly people.
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15

If we are acting just like the world, how are they going to know that we are Christians, and how can they see the love of God in us? They won’t want to aspire to what we have because they will not see it if we are just like them.
“For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.” Acts 13:47

Christians please, come out of the world system so that unbelievers may know the light and love of God through us.

Is Jesus God?

I see a lot of people say they believe in God but not that Jesus was God in the flesh, that Jesus was just a really nice man who happened to be a prophet.
If Jesus were not God and was just a good man and prophet, that would make Christianity and all it stands for a lie.
So basically, that is saying that God lies.
“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Numbers 23:19

I choose not to believe that. I choose to believe that God cannot tell lies and that everything in the bible are His inspired words.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16

If you look into the history of the bible (see post called Is the Bible Reliable) you will see that God has been able to keep His word intact and whole, just like He says in many verses. (although not all versions are good as some are corrupt {see post on Differences in Bible Versions})

Here’s an example:
“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” Psalm 12:6,7
And another one:
“But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” 1 Peter 1:25

Now, if you look at what the bible says about Jesus being God, you should see that He is.
Here are some verses which prove it.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1 (another name used for Jesus is the Word)

“And the Word was made 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.” 1 John 1:14

“I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” John 8:24

As you can see in these verses, God came to earth in the flesh as Jesus. There are plenty more, but I won’t post them all here. You can do a bit of research yourself. 😉
(I use biblos.com and/or the Blue Letter Bible)

I hope you pay special attention the the last one, as that is very important. If you do not believe that Jesus is God, then you will die in your sins.
I take this to mean that if you do not believe Jesus is God, you will not be led to repentance (feeling a godly sorrow for your sins) and you will not be saved.
“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:31;

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:9,10

It’s up to you what you do with these words, but there really seems to be no option (unless you want to die in your sins) but to believe that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh on earth.
My prayer is that those who do not believe Jesus is God, see these words and understand that He really is.

P.S. I don’t know what has happened with the spacing between paragraphs, but it didn’t want to work properly, so please excuse the layout.  Thanks. 🙂

God provides.

“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” Ephesians 5:20

I attend meetings every so often with the charity/op shop I volunteer at and they always involve food. They are usually lunches or morning teas, which is lovely. It’s nice to catch up with the other volunteers outside of the shop.

I remember asking once, before we were about to eat, if we were going to say “grace”. I was told that we don’t need to as it wasn’t dinner.
I must admit I got quite annoyed at that. As you can see in the verse above, we are to give thanks to God for ALL things, not just dinner.
I’m not having a go at the people themselves as they are all lovely people, all with a servant’s heart.
Maybe I blame the churches for not teaching the right things at the pulpit, or maybe people should pick up their (non corrupted) bibles a bit more often to see what God would like us to do and to be like. (I admit I need to do that too.)

I try to say a quick prayer of thanks before any meal I eat and I make sure I remember to thank Him for everything He provides for us every day (just in case I forget to do it at the time. lol)

I have been rewarded by Him on so many occasions. The Lord has not only supplied things that I’ve needed, he has also supplied things that I’ve wanted.
For example, a couple of years ago I mentioned on facebook that my bed was really old (It was second-hand when I got it and I had it for about 18 years) and that I’d like a new one.
Not long after that an old friend messaged me and said that her mother in law had one she needed to get rid of. It was near new and had only been used a few times as a spare bed in a spare room. It came with the base, frame and mattress, and even sheets and pillowcases that were all near new. (And my friend and her husband brought it over to me and he even assembled it for me)

The next year, my couch (which was also second-hand when I got it) was starting to tear. Out of the blue, I got a message from that same friend whose sister-in-law had a modular lounge she was going to throw out in the street bulk rubbish collection and would I like it.
You bet I did. It was a bit dirty, but I soon Bisselled it and it was as good as new.

And all these things happened before I started thanking the Lord for all things.

He truly does work in mysterious ways, and He knows the desires of our hearts and our daily needs.  “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Psalm 37:4
All we need to do is be thankful and tell Him so.   🙂