A friend sent me a booklet bemoaning Christmas (a favorite past-time of Russelites, Armstrongites, and certain Calvinist Baptists). The 23 Bible references, which were used to condemn Christmas, birthdays, gift giving, card sending, and Christmas trees, were stretched and misapplied beyond the wildest imagina- tion. The incredible interpretation of Jeremiah 10:2-4, as the worship of a Christmas tree (that did not yet exist), is the wildest exegesis that we have read since the "Plain Truth." The passage is clearly talking about a hewn heathen idol. No mention is made of the Christmas tree. Verse five says, "Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good." The Adventist, with his arbitrary allegorical interpretation, and Church of Christ, which condemns humanly devised church names and musical instruments, have nothing on these folks.
The one thing that they all have in common is that if you can't find it in the Bible (or the New Testament), it is automatically wrong. Of course, song-books, obelisk steeples, pews, and tract racks are to be excepted.
The main thrust of the anti-holiday argument is based on the Pagan origin of certain holidays and practices. The would-be defenders of the faith make better use of Hislop's "Two Babylons" and the "Encyclopedia Britannica" than they do the Bible.
This is to be expected from those who do not believe that the Bible alone can furnish the man of God "throughly," rebuking and correc- ting by itself. To be sure, many secular things can be used to reenforce the scriptures, to some avail, but to use the secular alone, for prohibitive dogma, is to fall into the Jehovah Witness pit. Little do these "touch not," "handle not" Pharisees realize the can of worms they have opened. To be consistent, they must abstain from the observance of the SUNday, the MOON-day, TIW'Sday (god of war Gr. Zeus), WODEN'Sday (Germanic deity), THOR'Sday (god of thunder), FRIGday (Woden's wife), SATURNday, JANUSary (two faced god), February (Roman festival of purification), MARSch (god of war), MAIA (goddess of increase), and JUNO (goddess of marriage - June wedding anyone?) They also might abstain from "MERCURY" driving, buying autos with certain hood ornaments, sending flowers /telegrams, and participating in the OLYMPUS-ics. We have observed that whether a person is enthusiastic or has disdain for festive occa- sions has, more often, to do with his or her personality or temperament (or pocket-book) than it does with bonafide religious convictions. Although, it is not always so. The stoic personality might find fault with placing flowers on a grave (certainly not a N.T. or O.T. practice). A sanguine temperament, however, might send a Columbus day card (if they made them).
The disciples had some problems with sentimentality (Matt. 26:79). It would certainly be wrong for a church to impose the observance of certain days on us. Individuals would also be wrong to observe certain days as a form of works (Gal. 4:10,11). Still, it must be equally wrong for a church or individual to impose blanket prohibitions of the celebration of certain holidays. Romans 14:20-23 states it another way, "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every men be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it to the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it." Why try to regiment what the scriptures already have loosened? Why demand unity in what the scriptures allow diversity? Is it not so that a Christian may even eat meat offered to a heathen idol, if it does not cause a weaker brother to stumble (Rom. 14:20-23).
Him that is weak in the faith receive ye ... For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, WHO IS WEAK, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth DESPISE him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not JUDGE him that eateth: for GOD HATH RECEIVED HIM. Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? ... One man esteemeth ONE DAY ABOVE ANOTHER: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man BE FULLY PERSUADED in his own mind. HE THAT REGARDETH THE DAY, REGARDETH IT UNTO THE LORD ... why dost thou JUDGE thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? -- Rom. 14:1-7, 10
Now as touching things OFFERED TO IDOLS, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but CHARITY EDIFIETH ... we know that an idol is nothing in the world ... Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their cons- cience being weak is defiled ...take heed lest by any means this LIBER- TY OF YOURS become a stumbling block to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the CONSCIENCE OF HIM THAT IS WEAK be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the WEAK BROTHER perish, for whom Christ died? -- 1 Cor. 8:1-13
If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, EAT, asking no question for conscience sake. But if any man say unto you, This is offered IN SACRIFICE TO IDOLS, EAT NOT FOR HIS SAKE that showed it, and for conscience sake ...Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my LIBERTY JUDGED of another man's cons- cience? -- 1 Cor. 10:27-29
Let no man therefore JUDGE you . . . in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days . . . why . . . are ye SUBJECT to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of MEN? Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in WILL WORSHIP, and humility, and neglecting of the body ... -- Col. 2:16, 20-23
We have taken and still take a position of "live and let live," regard- ing the pro-Christmas brethren, the anti-Christmas brethren, and all those in between brethren. We believe a position of scriptural neutrality
does exist, in certain areas, despite the objections and dismay of Pharisee judges, who try to intimidate the brethren. One certain judge has displayed an angry hostility to anyone that does not agree 100% with him on everything. Almost everyone, found in print, makes this judge's "apos- tate" and "heretic" hit list, eventually. We were recently castigated, again, regarding our ten year old plus "Christmas" comments above (which still gets under this judge's skin). We are quoted and challeng- ed as follows:
"The would be defenders of the faith make better use of the 'Encyclopedia Britannica' and Hislop's 'Two Babylons' than they do the Bible." -- Herb Evans
"Well, my friend, what do you use to document your defense, promo- tion, embracing and contending for Chri$t-Ma$$? Please send me the list of Bible verses that sanction and endorse this abomination of the earth." -- Our Judge
You see, Anti-Christmas Judges do not have one passage to sup- port their judging or scorching of the brethren, concerning Christmas, not even Gal. 4:9-11 (taken in its proper context of works and bondage versus grace). We would like to respond:
1. We do not use the "Bible" to support the "encyclopedia." We use the Bible (not the encyclopedia) to make dogmatic specific procla- mations and assertions!
2. We do not defend, promote, embrace, nor contend for "Chri$t- Ma$$" (or Christmas) nor the debauchery connected with it, any more than we defend, promote, or embrace the 4th of July and the debauch- ery connected with it nor do we endorse the sons of our revolution and their early persecution of our Baptist brethren. We do not con- tend nor endorse the week-days and their gods, Sun-Day, Moon-Day, Tiws--Day, Woden's Day, Thor's-Day, Frig-Day, and Saturn-Day. We do not endorse the months and their gods Janus(uary), Mars(ch), Maia, Juno, nor Caesar Augustus' and Julius' months. Still, we use them (but so do anti-Christmas judges). We ignore the gods of the Olympus(ics) sports/games. Also, we would never judge a brother for buying a Mercury or Saturn automobile or call them an abomination.
3. The Bible demands only discretion, in this matter, only in the case of the conscience of a weak brother being wounded by our liberty. To our knowledge, neither the world nor pro-Christmas brethren have ever declared to us that Christmas foods, festivities, decorations, or gatherings are presently offered to idols. The Bible grants liberty, even in things sacrificed to idols, if it does not cause a weaker brother to stumble (trifler and Pharisee judges need not apply).
4. If the Bible condemns a practice, we condemn it also. The scriptures do judge and condemn both brethren and non- believers, who revel, adulterate, sacrifice to devils, are drunken, are idolatrous (during this time of year or any time of year). But that is not the issue. The issue is "will worship" and being subject to "men's ordinances" and having our liberty judged.
5. We have listed our plain easy to understand scriptures. We don't have to manipulate, strain, exaggerate, read into, supplement, nor inter- pret them nor call anything an abomination, without justification.
Plainly, What Is Our Position?
We do not observe Christmas religiously. We do not even try to put Christ in Christmas, except as we try to put Him in each and every day. We do not believe that He was born on December 25th. We do not drink, dance, party, or even possess a Chri$t-Ma$$ tree (for the sake of other consciences). We have never lied to our children nor grand- children about Santa Claus nor Saint Nick, for no lie is of the truth.
On Christmas, we do love to gather with the family (believers and non- believers - 1 Cor 10:27) and feast on that "evil and hateful bird" and "Jack O' Lantern" pies. We also love gift giving and receiving (not necessarily confined to that particular day).
We observe this American tradition, as we do many other American traditions, apple pie included and forbear others, who incorporate their own national traditions, into this holiday. We do not apologize for our position nor do we judge those, who see "Christmas" differently. We do not celebrate the Roman Catholic Mass on that day, but we do celebrate the mass in the sense of Webster 1828 as a cessation from labor, as a feast or meal, taken from the older biblical word "mess" for food or meal.
Chri$t-Ma$$ judges purposely ignore "intent," in this matter! It does not matter, to them, if a brother does not do Catholic mass, filthy lucre, strong drink, dance, or revelry, during this holiday. It does not matter, if a brother doesn't bow down to any idols nor believe that the Lord Jesus Christ was born on the 25th of December, lie about Santa Claus, have a yule log or Xmas goose or tree. All that matters, to such "faith defen- ders," is that some folks did or do such things, during Chri$t--Ma$$ (and there must be a Roman Catholic in the wood pile somewhere). Chri$t- Ma$$ must bear the word etymology, which they insist upon, though such a construction is not found in most of the predominately Catholic, European tongues, which stay with "Happy Christ's birthday" or an equivalent. The word "mass" is (closely related to the word "mess" - food or meal) and primarily signifies leisure, hence a feast day. The catholics incorporate the word into their cannibalism but DID NOT invent it.
Certain anti-Christmas judges do not realize
that their sentiments have a Calvinist and Jehovah's Witness connection,
due to their hatred of Christmas (Satan casting out Satan). Anti-Christmas
judges boast, love, and remember the Calvinist/Puritan anti-Christmas influence
that prevailed in early America. Albeit, they do not remember the Puritan's
neglect to evangelize the indians, in early America (because it was im-
possible for indians to be among God's elect). They do not remember the
Puritan influence that caused Baptists to be beaten and imprisoned, in
early America. They do not remember the Puritan influence, which banished
those, who believed, in freedom of conscience, and that hanged a Quaker,
in early America. We have no intention of allowing the Christmas conscience
of another (Chri$t-Ma$$ Judge) to judge us or our liberty or to set us
at nought. We are fully persuaded in our own minds. Are you?