Xmas — And Its Spinoffs

This is a time of the year that true Christians don’t greatly care for. Many have celebrated Xmas, supposedly in honor of the “birthday” of Christ, on December 25. Others, especially those in the Greek Orthodox churches, will keep Xmas on January 6. In addition, even for members of the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, Xmas celebrations are not over even yet. The Xmas tree and other Xmas decorations will still remain in many houses until after New Years. And then, January 6 will be kept by Catholics (and increasingly by Protestants) as the day when the “three holy kings” arrived in Bethlehem (who, according to the Bible, were neither three nor kings, nor did they arrive in January).

We have been bombarded with advertising about the Xmas period. Our children (or grandchildren) have been subject to the usual functions at school from which they have to be removed. We just cannot let them be involved in carol singing, advent calendars, drawing pictures of the gentleman in red with a white beard or of nativity scenes, and in all the other paganism associated with this time of the year. We have to set them the example and we, ourselves, should be above reproach in this area.

It can be easily proved that Christ was born in the autumn, but public acceptance of this festival seems to outweigh any ethical considerations. Tied up with this pagan festival season are a number of spin-offs There are at least four areas that come with the territory — four areas that we can be critical of the world, and the way they behave. The question is, are we, ourselves, guiltless in those areas? They are:

· Lying and deceit
· Hypocrisy
· Compromise, and
· The spirit of the time of the year

1. Lying and deceit.

There are many wrong things associated with the Xmas season but lying has to be at the heart of it. It’s a false celebration — a lie in itself — and it is compounded by more lying and deception in so many areas. Santa Claus is a mythical character but lied about to deceive innocent children. Deceptive advertising is a further example of lying. We know that Satan is the father of lies and deception. We do well to stay clear of all of it. But how do we do in this area of our Christian lives? Keeping the 9th commandment — not to lie — is far more important than having any association with this pagan season or the world’s ways, as we strive to live the way of life that will help us in our quest to make it into the Kingdom of God. Let us make sure that lying and deceit is not something that we ever practice — at this or any other time of the year.

2. Hypocrisy.

The churches and the clergy know full well that Jesus was not born on the 25th of December (or on January 6, for that matter). They know full well that these dates are totally associated with paganism; they know full well that they compromised in order to try and attract pagans to the faith. But, what does God’s Word have to say about it? He tells us not to learn the way of the heathen. God hates pagan customs and rites which today are practiced under a cloak of so-called Christianity.

In Matthew 23:13-29, Christ pulled no punches whatsoever. He told it as it was – and rightly so. Seven times in this chapter, the Scribes and the Pharisees were called hypocrites. In spite of their outward piety, however, the Pharisees imposed standards on others that they themselves did not keep — hence, the reasons why they received such condemnation from Christ regarding their hypocrisy and customs, which transformed God’s way of life into something tedious and burdensome.

Hypocrisy is, in no way, part of the Christian life. If these religious leaders were taken to task for it, how much more are we to avoid this – we who have God’s Holy Spirit? It is essential that at no time can we be accused of hypocrisy.

3. Compromise:

Too often over the years, church members have compromised because of family, business or other pressures. Of course it can be difficult if a member is:

· married to an unconverted spouse, or · is living at home with parents who do not share their religious convictions, or · is the only one in a large family that knows God’s truth, or · has family antagonism, or · has business interests that can make things difficult.

BUT…what is most important? Obedience to God and His way, without compromise – or giving in to keep the peace because of pressure?

It goes without saying that we have to use a great deal of wisdom in this area. Seeking the appropriate counsel or input from true ministers of God may be very necessary. We can all be put into a difficult position, but how do we react? We need to ask ourselves at all times, “What would Jesus Christ do in such a situation?” This is the first step to good decision making. But, conscientious follow through is vital. In Luke 14:25-33, Christ meant that we must place Him above all other relationships. These short stories are about considering the cost before doing various things and considering what it will cost to be a true Christian. The world compromises on so many issues at Xmas time where this spirit of compromise really does seem to escalate. With the truth we should never compromise. With Satan’s ways, we should never bow to any pressure from any quarter. We have been called to a way of life where compromise with the truth and the way we live should, and must, never be countenanced.

4. The spirit of the time of the year

It is a time of excess. Many children seem to get everything they want – which cannot be good for them. As they grow up in such an environment, they come to expect everything which is not the way it should be. Adults indulge themselves in many ways. It is an excuse for bawdy, riotous office parties where people can behave in a way that they would only do at this time of the year. There seems to be an excess of food, drink, riotous and wanton behavior. This all seems acceptable in this society. Well, it is Xmas, after all! But it isn’t just the two or three weeks where many countries seem to shut down. It is the long lead-in over several months.

We need to be focused at this time of the year — not on Xmas and what it means to the world — but on the right way to live. This time of the year is very worldly. Let us take the following verses in Romans 12:1-2 to heart:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world.”

We are not to be conformed to this world. Who, in God’s church, would want to be anyway?

Matthew 5:13-16 shows that we are to be a walking, talking commercial for God’s way of life.

By avoiding Xmas and its spin-offs, we can be just that!

©2024 Church of the Eternal God