BIBLE STUDY LESSON # 10...DECEMBER, 13 , 2009
“All In The Name Of Christianity!”
Hello, My name is Timothy Jon Barrett, better known to most of the world as, Scrooge. When I was a youngster, I too loved the anticipation of what Santa Claus was going to bring me every year. I loved Rudolph and all of the other reindeer, Santa’s sleigh, all the pretty lights, Frosty the snowman, Christmas carols, Christmas candy and really everything Christmas. As I grew older the allure of Christmas wore off quite a bit as I discovered Santa’s true identity. When I was twenty years old, I gave my life to Jesus Christ and began asking myself some serious questions about Christmas, Easter and other Christian related events that suddenly didn’t add up for me anymore.
When I was a kid back in the sixties and seventies, even though it was filled with Santa Claus and other secular things, the birth of Jesus Christ was still the overwhelming theme to the holiday. With every passing year until today, Jesus has been systematically removed from the celebration of his own birth. As I researched further, I found that Jesus was not born on December 25th and that Christmas actually sprang from Pagan rituals. Please read the article below…
No one knows what day Jesus Christ was born on. From the biblical description, most historians believe that his birth probably occurred in September, approximately six months after Passover. One thing they agree on is that it is very unlikely that Jesus was born in December, since the bible records shepherds tending their sheep in the fields on that night. This is quite unlikely to have happened during a cold Judean winter. So why do we celebrate Christ’s birthday as Christmas, on December the 25th?
The answer lies in the pagan origins of Christmas. In ancient Babylon, the feast of the Son of Isis (Goddess of Nature) was celebrated on December 25. Raucous partying, gluttonous eating and drinking, and gift-giving were traditions of this feast.
In Rome, the Winter Solstice was celebrated many years before the birth of Christ. The Romans called their winter holiday Saturnalia, honoring Saturn, the God of Agriculture. In January, they observed the Kalends of January, which represented the triumph of life over death. This whole season was called Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun. The festival season was marked by much merrymaking. It is in ancient Rome that the tradition of the Mummers was born. The Mummers were groups of costumed singers and dancers who traveled from house to house entertaining their neighbors. From this, the Christmas tradition of caroling was born. In northern Europe, many other traditions that we now consider part of Christian worship
were begun long before the participants had ever heard of Christ.
The pagans of northern Europe celebrated their own winter solstice, known as Yule. Yule was symbolic of the pagan Sun God, Mithras, being born, and was observed on the shortest day of the year. As the Sun God grew and matured, the days became longer and warmer. It was customary to light a candle to encourage Mithras, and the sun, to reappear next year. Huge Yule logs were burned in honor of the sun. The word Yule itself means “wheel,” the wheel being a pagan symbol for the sun. Mistletoe was considered a sacred plant, and the custom of kissing under the mistletoe began as a fertility ritual. Hollyberries were thought to be a food of the gods.
The tree is the one symbol that unites almost all the northern European winter solstices. Live evergreen trees were often brought into homes during the harsh winters as a reminder to inhabitants that soon their crops would grow again. Evergreen boughs were sometimes carried as totems of good luck and were often present at weddings, representing fertility. The Druids used the tree as a religious symbol, holding their sacred ceremonies while surrounding and worshipping huge trees.
In 350, Pope Julius I declared that Christ’s birth would be celebrated on December 25. There is little doubt that he was trying to make it as painless as possible for pagan Romans (who remained a majority at that time) to convert to Christianity. The new religion went down a bit easier, knowing that their feasts would not be taken away from them.
Christmas (Christ-Mass) as we know it today, most historians agree, began in Germany, though Catholics and Lutherans still disagree about which church celebrated it first. The earliest record of an evergreen being decorated in a Christian celebration was in 1521 in the Alsace region of Germany. A prominent Lutheran minister of the day cried blasphemy: “Better that they should look to the true tree of life, Christ.”
The controversy continues even today in some fundamentalist sects.
Article On Christmas
So what did we learn from this article? We learned that Jesus most definitely was not born on December 25th and was probably born earlier in the fall. We also learned that many of the rituals we now participate in at Christmas was derived and adopted from Pagan societies and that those rituals were in honor of their false Gods. We also learned that in 350 AD, that Pope Julius 1 in an attempt to appease the Roman pagans, declared December 25th as the day to celebrate Christ’s birth so that the Roman Pagans wouldn’t have to give up their Pagan feasts that occurred at the same time. Please tell me, is it just me, or does anybody else see a problem with this whole Christmas thing? Like everything else, we have been told to shut up and don’t rock the boat so like a bunch of mindless robots, we do as we're told.
You see, I don’t think there is anything wrong with having a day to celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. So please, lays down those stones! My problems with Christmas are many. So I will lay it out for you in plain Tim English.
Nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to set aside a day to celebrate the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In my Christian walk, I choose to celebrate and thank him for these events on a daily basis. Why set aside one day to honor him while the other 364 days go without honor to him. And if we do decide to set aside a day to honor his birth, why don’t we Christians do it on our terms and tell the rest of the world who wants nothing to do with Jesus to butt out. We should let the rest of the world keep as their own, this so called day to celebrate Christ’s birth. Let them keep Santa Claus, Reindeer, Christmas trees and most of all the materialistic, commercialized spoof we now celebrate as Christmas. In this Country, they have removed God from our schools, our courts, our consciences and now from one of our most Holy Holidays, Christmas. We can’t say Merry Christmas now, it is Happy Holidays. We can’t put up a manger scene without the event making CNN’s headline news coverage and the ACLU and those that were offended by that Manger telling us how wrong we are for offending others with Christ. The sad part is, is that we just shut up and do as we’re told. How can Christ be offensive to so many when it’s his Birth we are celebrating? How do you think the Muslim world would react if we told them that Ramadan was offensive to us and that they needed to add our beliefs to their Holy Day so that we are not offended. Believe me, “HEADS WOULD ROLL”, literally. Do you think they would stand for anybody trying to commercialize one of their most Holy Days? But we, (appeasing the world Christians), allow these Holy days of ours to be high jacked by people who don’t even believe in Jesus Christ…How weak is that! Christmas has become so secularized and commercialized that it sickens my stomach every time it rolls around.
Do you think it pleases Christ to watch us Christians go deep into debt every year buying useless presents that people don’t even need? Then when Christmas is over we spend the next eleven months crying to God to help get us out of debt. When you put up and decorate your tree’s and houses with lights each Christmas do you truly believe he is glorified by that? Do you think he is honored as we give homage to Santa Claus instead of him on this day? Were there reindeer and snowmen gathered around the Manger the night our Savior was born? Were the Three Wise Men holding hands and singing Jingle Bell Rocks as they gazed upon the Savior of the world? Did the star in the east represent a King being born or the midnight madness sell at Macy’s? When the Angel’s of the Lord appeared to the Shepherds to tell them of the Saviors birth, did they sing (Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men), or did they sing (Here comes Santa Claus)? You can justify what you do in your minds as much as you want to, but the fact of the matter is, that Christmas was started as a Pagan holiday and has increased its pagan affiliation with each passing century. Sure, Pope Julius 1 was trying to do something honorable by proclaiming December 25th as the day to celebrate Christ’s birth, but at the same time, he compromised as he married this day with paganism. Just as we Christians today, in our hearts, celebrate December 25th as the birth of Christ, we at the same time compromise the very meaning of the day as we embrace pagan rituals as tradition on this Holy Day.
As I stated above, nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to set aside a "Holy Day or Holiday" for the birth, death or resurrection of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. So understanding that we are not commanded to do so makes these events "Man Made". Again, like I said above, I don't see anything wrong with celebrating His birth as long as that is our only focus. But it isn't, is it? Why are we as Christians, so Hell bent on observing a "Man Made" holiday, when the feasts that we are told to observe, we ignore? Let me prove my point with a little scripture....
Leviticus 23: 1 - 4...And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.
Now I don't want to get into an Old Vs New Testament debate here because most Christians believe that when Christ came, those Jewish laws were done away with, which I agree. But note in Vs 1 & 4 that the Lord doesn't call these feasts, "Jewish Feasts", He calls them "Feasts of the Lord". When he gave these feasts to Moses, he didn't request that they observe them, he commanded that they observe them. In my mind, I see a clear distinction from the 613 laws that God gave to the Jewish people to live by and the "Feasts of the Lord". Again, here it is in the Bible where God commands us to observe "Holy Days", His Holy days and we ignore them, but let Pope Julius 1 declare a Holiday and we embrace it like Jesus Christ spoke this Holiday into exsistance himself. You see, we like to pick and choose what we want to embrace. I'll bet that a great majority of you never knew that there were 613 commandments either, did you? We Christians picked the "Big Ten", that we liked and went on our Merry way. Now I am not trying to advocate going back into the "Bondage" of Old Testament laws, I am only trying to point out that just because things have become tradition to us, that does not make it right and pleasing to God. I do not observe these "Feasts of the Lord" either, but I would rather observe a Feast of the Lord, rather than a Holiday proclaimed by Pope Julius that is polluted with paganism. If you have time, please read all of Leviticus Chapter 23. Here is another tradition we Christians follow that I find questionable. Someone please point out to me in the New Testament where God changed the "Sabbath Day" from Saturday to Sunday. Don't try, because it is not there! Again, the way I understand things is, because Jesus rose from the grave on Sunday, "Man", decided to change God's Sabbath day from what it was to what it is today. So we just accept these tradition and go on our merry way never daring to challenge our Christian leaders.
What kind of “Christmas” celebration would be pleasing in the eyes of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ? Let me make my list and check it twice. In My Opinion:
1.) That we use this “Holy Day” of ours to tell the world of the miracle birth of the Savior of the world. That this story be told not as a fairy tale story, but as a soul winning story, since salvation was the only reason he came into this world to begin with.
2.) That we use this day as a day of prayer for a dying World and Country that is Hell Bound without the Christ child who was born.
3.) That we take this day and not only celebrate his birth but incorporate his life’s ministry as part of this Holy Day. So many of us, in our minds, like to keep Jesus as a baby laying in a manger and forget the greater ministry of Jesus, that means so much more.
4.) If we choose to give gifts on this day, let them be gifts to the needy of our communities. What better way to show the love of God to someone than to provide them food and the necessities of life. Take the money we normally spend on useless Christmas gifts and spend that money on the homeless, the needy and the sick. Think of the impact we could have on the lives of these people. Uncle Frank might have one less pair of overalls and Aunt Jenny one less food processor, but the needy family down the road realizes there is a God who cares about them when you feed and clothe them. We then become living testimonies as to why this Christ child came into the world.
5.) Use this day as a worldwide Christian day of forgiveness. I think that nothing would please the Lord more than to see his Children actively pursuing and doing what his birth, life, and death was really all about.
6.) Use this day as a Family day. Use this day to mend fences in our families that have been torn down. Use this day as a “Love” day, to the special family the Lord has blessed you with. And finally, use this day to educate and teach your children the real meaning of Christmas so that they can carry on this good tradition to their families.
7.) Use this day to sing songs of praises and thanks to our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, and leave Santa Claus to those who don’t know Christ. Our lives are supposed to be examples to the world, to testify what wonderful things he has done for us, not singing praises to the fat guy in the red suit.
You see, today’s Christian honors the birth of Christ the same way we honor him in our daily walk, with a limp wristed, self serving attitude that in the end won’t mean a thing. Do you think that Jesus is smiling down as we give honor to a false God called Santa? I don’t! Do you think he is pleased as our greed consumes us with how many gifts we receive rather than sharing with others the ultimate gift? I don’t think so! Do you think it gives him a warm feeling all over to watch his Children become so secular and materialistic in that we can’t separate ourselves from a world that has changed the meaning of the reason for the season? I don’t think so! I think Jesus probably feels much the way I do as Christmas rolls around, he gets sick to his stomach and probably weeps for the lack of dedication to him from his children.
TIM! Where is all of the scripture that backs up what you are saying?
Well, since the Bible never, ever, gives us a command to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, I guess the scriptures will be few and far between. But, since God’s word is what we Christians are all about, I will provide you with a few.
Acts 20: 35...In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "
1 Corinthians 13: 11...When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
With the birth of Christ needing to be our sole focus on Christmas, then we need to make this scripture our only focus…
Luke 2: 1 - 20...In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
I know that there are some of you out there who are offended by this message and my attempt to stifle you Christmas jollies and redirect your Christmas focus. I am not trying to steal your joy or take away the happiness that this season brings you. I am only trying to get Christians to understand how far from God this holiday has become and just because it is tradition, that doesn’t make it right. There are those who will leave this group because Santa Claus, materialism and commercialism has become a mainstay for your Christmas season and you’re not about to change because Tim said so. If you choose to do so, I leave you with this final thought. We will shortly be celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on another Holy Day we call Easter. I’m sure the Lord will be looking down with a huge smile on his face as we color Easter eggs, have Easter egg hunts, eat tons of chocolate bunnies and pay tribute to the all knowing, all seeing Easter Bunny, and do it all in his Holy name.
I have written a few poems about Christmas if you care to take a peek, the first called “Dear Santa“ and the other, “Twas The Day after Christmas”.
Twas The day After Christmas
I will not add a prayer at the end this week but know I will be praying for each of you during this Holiday season. Instead, I leave you with a poem I wrote called, “A Shepherd Boy”.
God Bless You all and have a Merry Christmas
A Shepherd Boy
My Brothers and I were tending our flocks,
on a clear and peaceful night.
When up in the sky, a star appeared,
it's brilliance strong and bright.
As we gazed upon this glorious star,
an Angel of God appeared.
And spoke these words in the glory of God,
there is nothing to be feared.
I bring good tidings, the Angel said,
good tidings filled with joy.
For on this day a child is born,
yes a precious baby boy.
A Savior is born upon this day,
your Savior, Christ the Lord.
In the city of David, you will find,
this child to be adored.
Then our Angel was suddenly not alone,
but was joined by his Heavenly kin.
Glory to God in the highest they sang,
peace on earth, good will to men.
Then the Angels of God were gone away,
the ones that God had sent.
Filled with excitment, we gathered our flocks,
and to Bethlehem we went.
We told everyone we passed that night,
even telling a total stranger.
Til we found Joseph and Mary his wife,
and the Christ child in a manger.
As we stood by the stable door,
Mary spoke to me so mild.
Please come closer, don't be afraid,
come close and see the child.
I knelt before the manger bed
and in awe my silence fell.
As a feeling swept straight through my soul,
no words could ever tell.
I took the child's little tiny hand,
and I kissed his finger tips.
And with each kiss, his precious touch,
brought praises to my lips.
The Savior child looked in my eyes,
and I knew that moment's worth.
My lips had touched, my eyes had seen,
the Savior of this earth.
Then to visit the child, came three wise men
of this we all concur.
They praised the child and gave him gifts
of frankincense, gold and myrrh.
We had no gifts to offer the King
and my sadness slowly grew.
Then Joseph said, with a loving voice,
he is Heaven's gift to you.
My Brothers and I, then took our leave
and we spread the word around.
We told everyone the things we saw,
we told everyone in town.
But no one we told, believed our words
and the witness that we bare.
They laughed at us and called us mad,
and no one seemed to care.
But we Brothers know the things we saw
and the child we adored.
And how the Angels came to us,
proclaiming Christ the Lord.
My life will never be the same,
my heart so filled with joy.
It humbles me, that the Father God,
chose me, A Shepherd Boy.
Written by..Timothy Jon Barrett
Written under the direction of God's Holy Spirit
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