How do you celebrate Christmas?

Christian ethics and theology with an Anabaptist perspective
Bootstrap
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Re: How do you celebrate Christmas?

Postby Bootstrap » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:28 am

Wade wrote:
Josh wrote:Where does the Bible say you can’t have a Christmas tree?


Are we to read scripture for what it does say or for what it doesn't say?


Where does scripture say you can post on forums, drive a car, drink root beer, have a pet dog, wear pajamas, eat peanut butter, ride a bicycle, or make a pot roast?

If we really want to help people focus on Jesus and what the Bible says about him coming to us, I really like reading those passages and singing carols. The best way to put the focus on Jesus is to put the focus on Jesus.
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Bootstrap
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Re: How do you celebrate Christmas?

Postby Bootstrap » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:34 am

KingdomBuilder wrote:
Josh wrote:Where does the Bible say you can’t have a Christmas tree?


It's, in my opinion, a matter of conscience. If putting a tree up makes you feel Pagan or uneasy, then by all means don't put up a tree.
If it doesn't weigh on your own or your congregation's conscience, then I see nothing wrong with it.


I agree.
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Is it biblical? Is it Christlike? Is it loving? Is it true? How can I find out?

MaxPC
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Re: How do you celebrate Christmas?

Postby MaxPC » Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:26 am

Wade wrote:
Josh wrote:Where does the Bible say you can’t have a Christmas tree?


Are we to read scripture for what it does say or for what it doesn't say?

:up: :up:
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Max (aka Plain Catholic)
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RZehr
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Re: How do you celebrate Christmas?

Postby RZehr » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:18 pm

I’ll say this up front. I have nothing but respect for people that do not celebrate Christmas for reasons of conscience.

Adam wrote:I read a post recently entitled The Top 10 Reasons Why I Don't Celebrate Christmas. It is written by a pastor in the United Church of God. Setting aside the denominational background of the pastor, which of his points do you agree with or disagree with and why? Or if you agree with most of his points but disagree with his conclusion, why do you disagree with his conclusion?

https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/the-top-10-reasons-why-i-dont-celebrate-christmas

For summary and reference purposes, I am listing the ten reasons below, but please don't reply based on this summary. Please reply only if you have read the full article in which each point is clarified.



1. Christmas is driven by commercialism.


Depends whos Christmas you are talking about. Mine certainly isn’t, especially when you read where the writer is coming from. He lists reindeer, elves, Santa Claus as a God substitute, moving away from the babe in the manger to the babe in the shop window.
Looks exhausting to me too. It doesn’t have to be this way.

2. Christmas is nowhere mentioned in the Bible.

I guess it depends again on what Christmas means to you. Of course there isn’t any sort of Christmas as described in #1 above. But for another version of Christmas try Luke 2.

3. Jesus wasn't born on or near December 25.

Ya I know. That is just the day that we decide to celebrate the coming of the prophesied one.

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

Key word being largely. Okay, lets say the orgins were pagan. I don’t see a problem with turning a pagan holiday into a Christian one. Is there no way to redeem the day?

5. God condemns using pagan customs to worship Him.

I agree with this.


6. Christmas is worshipping God in vain.

So we ought to worship God only on the other 364 days each year? But seriously, I don’t think of Christmas primarily as worship. I mean I want my life to be a life of worship but I think the word “honor” might fit my thinking better. As in I want honor God in the way I remember and celebrate the miracle of Christmas.

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

I don’t argue that a pagan holiday was turned into Christmas. But is it a good thing or is it a bad thing to redeem a holiday?

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.

I agree. Not sure if that is important though.

9. Christmas obscures God’s plan for mankind.

If so, change the way you do Christmas. Or don't do Christmas. But some of us are not obscuring Gods plan at all.

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

I think Christmas is an outsized Christian holiday, no doubt.


What is the real issue here?
Is it the pagan orgins of the date? If so, would a random day set aside to commemorate His coming be acceptable?
Is it the pagan details such as lights and mistletoe? If so, would it be acceptable if the traditions of pagan origins were left out?
Is it the materialism? If so, would it be acceptable if nothing was bought?

What about the “duel use” things? My wife likes to decorate the house with the seasons. Is it okay to decorate with spring greens in the spring, summer décor, fall leaves etc., but not okay for her to like evergreens and poinsettias?

Our family has gotten together on July 4 too. But we aren’t celebrating our countries independence. Same with December 25, we are getting together, but we are not celebrating Saturnalia. We have redeemed the holiday.

Maybe the day will come when Christians redeem July 4th and turn it into a traditional day where we all make extra effort be reflective on our faults (Matthew 7:4)
or remember to keep the inside cleaner than the outside (Mark 7:4),
or being nice to our neighbors (Luke 7:4),
or remember to do things in Gods timing, (John 7:4),
or remembering that we are strangers and pilgrims (Acts 7:4),
or a day of remembrance that we are dead to the law by the body of Christ (Romans 7:4),
or love and please our spouse (1 Cor. 7:4),
or rejoice in tribulation (2 Cor. 7:4),
or a day or rejoicing that we are not servants, but sons (Galations 4:7),
or a day to praise God for the gift of grace (Ephesians 4:7),
or a day of solitude and meditation (Philippians 4:7),
or a day of telling each other how much we appreciate them (Colossians 4:7),
or to pause and remember that we are to be holy (1 Thessalonians 4:7),
a day to bless other churches (2 Thessalonians 1:4),
a day to repent from foolish rumors and conspiracys (1 Timothy 4:7),
a day to look forward to heaven (2 Timothy 4:7),
a day to bless someones faithfulness (Titus 1:4),
a day of prayer (Philemon 1:4),
or a day to set a good example for people yet to come (Hebrews 7:4),
or day to repent and submit to God (James 4:7),
a day to reflect on Christs return (1 Peter 4:7),
a day to claim Gods promises (2 Peter 1:4),
a day of Christian joy (1 John 1:4),
a day to bless our children (2 John 1:4 and 3 John 1:4),
a day to contend for truth against immorality (Jude 1:4),
a day choose Christ (Revelations 7:4).

We could call it Seven-Four Day. And others would remind us of the rebellion and killing and bloodshed that the day originated from and how we shouldn't do the things that we are doing.
In my opinion this is kinda what we did with Christmas. Turned a bad thing into a good thing.
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MaxPC
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Re: How do you celebrate Christmas?

Postby MaxPC » Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:10 pm

RZehr wrote:I’ll say this up front. I have nothing but respect for people that do not celebrate Christmas for reasons of conscience.

Adam wrote:I read a post recently entitled The Top 10 Reasons Why I Don't Celebrate Christmas. It is written by a pastor in the United Church of God. Setting aside the denominational background of the pastor, which of his points do you agree with or disagree with and why? Or if you agree with most of his points but disagree with his conclusion, why do you disagree with his conclusion?

https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/the-top-10-reasons-why-i-dont-celebrate-christmas

For summary and reference purposes, I am listing the ten reasons below, but please don't reply based on this summary. Please reply only if you have read the full article in which each point is clarified.



1. Christmas is driven by commercialism.


Depends whos Christmas you are talking about. Mine certainly isn’t, especially when you read where the writer is coming from. He lists reindeer, elves, Santa Claus as a God substitute, moving away from the babe in the manger to the babe in the shop window.
Looks exhausting to me too. It doesn’t have to be this way.

2. Christmas is nowhere mentioned in the Bible.

I guess it depends again on what Christmas means to you. Of course there isn’t any sort of Christmas as described in #1 above. But for another version of Christmas try Luke 2.

3. Jesus wasn't born on or near December 25.

Ya I know. That is just the day that we decide to celebrate the coming of the prophesied one.

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

Key word being largely. Okay, lets say the orgins were pagan. I don’t see a problem with turning a pagan holiday into a Christian one. Is there no way to redeem the day?

5. God condemns using pagan customs to worship Him.

I agree with this.


6. Christmas is worshipping God in vain.

So we ought to worship God only on the other 364 days each year? But seriously, I don’t think of Christmas primarily as worship. I mean I want my life to be a life of worship but I think the word “honor” might fit my thinking better. As in I want honor God in the way I remember and celebrate the miracle of Christmas.

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

I don’t argue that a pagan holiday was turned into Christmas. But is it a good thing or is it a bad thing to redeem a holiday?

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.

I agree. Not sure if that is important though.

9. Christmas obscures God’s plan for mankind.

If so, change the way you do Christmas. Or don't do Christmas. But some of us are not obscuring Gods plan at all.

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

I think Christmas is an outsized Christian holiday, no doubt.


What is the real issue here?
Is it the pagan orgins of the date? If so, would a random day set aside to commemorate His coming be acceptable?
Is it the pagan details such as lights and mistletoe? If so, would it be acceptable if the traditions of pagan origins were left out?
Is it the materialism? If so, would it be acceptable if nothing was bought?

What about the “duel use” things? My wife likes to decorate the house with the seasons. Is it okay to decorate with spring greens in the spring, summer décor, fall leaves etc., but not okay for her to like evergreens and poinsettias?

Our family has gotten together on July 4 too. But we aren’t celebrating our countries independence. Same with December 25, we are getting together, but we are not celebrating Saturnalia. We have redeemed the holiday.

Maybe the day will come when Christians redeem July 4th and turn it into a traditional day where we all make extra effort be reflective on our faults (Matthew 7:4)
or remember to keep the inside cleaner than the outside (Mark 7:4),
or being nice to our neighbors (Luke 7:4),
or remember to do things in Gods timing, (John 7:4),
or remembering that we are strangers and pilgrims (Acts 7:4),
or a day of remembrance that we are dead to the law by the body of Christ (Romans 7:4),
or love and please our spouse (1 Cor. 7:4),
or rejoice in tribulation (2 Cor. 7:4),
or a day or rejoicing that we are not servants, but sons (Galations 4:7),
or a day to praise God for the gift of grace (Ephesians 4:7),
or a day of solitude and meditation (Philippians 4:7),
or a day of telling each other how much we appreciate them (Colossians 4:7),
or to pause and remember that we are to be holy (1 Thessalonians 4:7),
a day to bless other churches (2 Thessalonians 1:4),
a day to repent from foolish rumors and conspiracys (1 Timothy 4:7),
a day to look forward to heaven (2 Timothy 4:7),
a day to bless someones faithfulness (Titus 1:4),
a day of prayer (Philemon 1:4),
or a day to set a good example for people yet to come (Hebrews 7:4),
or day to repent and submit to God (James 4:7),
a day to reflect on Christs return (1 Peter 4:7),
a day to claim Gods promises (2 Peter 1:4),
a day of Christian joy (1 John 1:4),
a day to bless our children (2 John 1:4 and 3 John 1:4),
a day to contend for truth against immorality (Jude 1:4),
a day choose Christ (Revelations 7:4).

We could call it Seven-Four Day. And others would remind us of the rebellion and killing and bloodshed that the day originated from and how we shouldn't do the things that we are doing.
In my opinion this is kinda what we did with Christmas. Turned a bad thing into a good thing.

Very well said! :clap: :up:
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Max (aka Plain Catholic)
Psalm 105

Valerie
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Re: How do you celebrate Christmas?

Postby Valerie » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:30 pm

Saw this posted by a friend:

The claim is often made that the celebration of Christmas is not found in the Bible, nor was it observed by the apostles and the early church. However, that is false, for anyone with eyes to see.

Jesus himself, as well as the apostles, observed the Jewish festivals, including the winter Feast of Dedication, also known as the Festival of Lights, or Hannukah. In John 10:22-23 we read:

"And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch."

Since the apostles continued to worship in the temple after Christ's resurrection and Pentecost as we read in the Book of Acts, then, being enlightened by the Holy Spirit, they would have understood the typical significance of not only the temple service, but also the feasts thereof. Thus the apostles indeed would have understood that the Festival of Lights would have prefigured the appearance of Christ, the Light of the world.

Because the Christian Feast of Lights or Epiphany/Theophany was very early established on January 6th, it is obvious that it arose from the Jewish Hannukah and was rooted in the understanding of its spiritual significance. Even though it was later (though certainly by the third century) that Christmas was separated from Epiphany in order that the events of the Nativity might be contemplated separately (even as the light of the creation was separated out into the sun, moon, and stars), it is spiritually all one festival which was observed by the Church even when it was celebrated in the temple.

The 19th century Jewish convert Alfred Edersheim explains this in more detail in this fascinating article (GREAT ARTICLE!):

http://eliskimo.livejournal.com/381976.html?page=1
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lesterb
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Re: How do you celebrate Christmas?

Postby lesterb » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:40 pm

Edershiem also debunks the common argument that no flocks would have been grazing outside during this time of year. He feels that the birth of Christ could have been at Christmas time.

See Life and Times of Jesus, The Messiah
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