Oh, Holy Night
Oh, Holy night, and Holy day, and Holy year! May God always be honored and worshiped as He desires to be. That is my heart’s desire. But my heart is struggling these days, as we enter into the Christmas season. What does it all mean? Are we really to be celebrating Christmas? It seems not, according to some. And not because some governmental agency wants to take down our display of the Christ child in a manger, but because those who are deeply devoted to God want to. What?...you might be saying. Yes, I say. After years and years of celebrating the birth of our Savior on December 25th, I am hearing more and more about how this is not Jesus’ actual birthday, and how He has never asked us to worship Him in this way. It is documented that December 25th started as a pagan holiday way back when, by a Roman Emperor by the name of Aurelian. It was a date set to worship the sun god. It is being claimed that the disciples didn’t celebrate any of the holidays we do today…so that being said, we aren’t supposed to either. Are we really supposed to cancel Christmas, and Easter, and many other traditions that we, as Americans, celebrate? I guess we can keep Thanksgiving…although that is being debated too, by some.
Where am I going with all of this, if you have continued reading to this point? Some of you are totally agreeing with what I have written so far, some have never heard of this, and some, like me, have heard of it, are hearing of it more, and wonder what to do about it? I mean, we have always gathered with our families, put up a Christmas tree, bought presents for one another, and celebrated Jesus’ birth with a big feast! Is there a right and wrong about it? That’s what I’m trying to get to the bottom of here.
Here’s what’s prayerfully coming to me on this day…because I have asked God to stop my fingers from typing if I am not honoring Him by what I am discovering on this journey…and I’m still typing, so take it for what it’s worth. The disciples didn’t celebrate as we do. Okay, well, they were Jewish, and we are Gentiles, for the most part, so their family traditions would already be different than ours. (We don’t celebrate Guy Fawkes Day either, because we aren’t English.) Secondly, Jesus hadn’t been revealed as the Messiah to them in their growing up years, so when they “met” Him, they wouldn’t have exactly been celebrating His birthday. Thirdly, they celebrated many things in their Jewish traditions, which are all wonderful. But when Jesus was born, the wise men did bring Jesus birth-day gifts, and they did worship Him. “Where is the new born king of the Jews? We have seen his star as it arose, and we have come to worship him.” Matt. 2:2 (NLT) They are not worshiping a sun god, or even the star; they have come to worship Jesus, the King of the Jews. They “…fell down before him and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts.” Matt 2:11 (NLT) That sounds like a wonderful celebration of Jesus’ day of birth to me!
Okay, so we have the date wrong. It is sometime in the spring actually. No one really knows for sure. And this December 25th date was used for some pagan rituals. So, should we just hand it over to the pagan worshipers, or should we take it back, take back every day that the Lord has made, since He was the one who made all days in the first place? And should we not also take back His trees, and His mistletoe that He made? The evergreen tree was chosen to represent Christ, because its green leaves were constant and never-changing, like Christ's love. Does Satan just get to keep these things since he took them? Satan is using them wrong, and he didn’t make them. Jesus did! “He was in the beginning with God. He created everything there is.” John 1:2-3 (NLT) It sort of reminds me of the Grinch, in “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” When his heart grew three sizes because of the love the Whos showed to him, he gave back everything to Whoville that he had stolen. The Grinch couldn’t keep Christmas from coming, because it wasn’t about the trinkets he had stolen, it was about love. Christmas, any day, doesn’t belong to the prince of this world, it belongs to the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.
Now Santa Claus was, from what I read, originally the god Odin, and eventually became St. Nicholas. Was this right or wrong - bad idea, or good? Well, “The light shines through the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it.” John 1:5 (NLT) I like that we took the “honor” away from the god Odin, and brought it back into the Light of Jesus…His gift-giving spirit!
Have you heard, or did you know, that Christmas has been outlawed in certain countries through the years? England outlawed it in the 1640’s. They said because it was directly contrary to Christianity…understandable, when worshiping other gods. But isn’t it interesting how today, in America, it is mainly considered a Christian celebration of Jesus, and it is slowly but surely being “outlawed” because of Jesus? We’re supposed to say, “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” so as not to offend anyone! It seems the Christians took the pagan holiday, gave the day the Lord had made back to Him to honor Jesus, and now that it is, Satan’s not happy and the easiest way for him to be rid of it is to take it back again, claiming the day is really pagan after all, so you Christians really don’t want it. It’s not what God has for you. Just some thoughts…
Charles Spurgeon, who I greatly admire, also spoke out against Christmas. He said it is vain and worldly. Let’s look at contrasts here. Probably in his day, the world was more focused on the things of God than this world today is. We are leaning way far into the favor of Satan than we are God, in many instances. So, I hate to admit this, but for us today, Christmas and Easter may be as godly as we can get as a country. For some, it is their only two days in church all year. If we cancel Easter and Christmas as Christian celebrations, some would just cancel church altogether. Is that what our Father in Heaven desires? If someone were only going to come and see you twice a year, would you say, “No, thanks; I don’t want to see you at all then.” Maybe with just those two days a year, it could work into a closer relationship with the Savior, having been given the opportunity.
I also read this quote, “Why is it necessary to drag His holy name in connection with what takes place at the season of carnal jollification?” Okay, let’s think about that. Where did Jesus go when He walked this earth? He went right into Matthew’s house for dinner - a known sinner/tax collector. He spoke to the woman at the well, a known adulteress, living with someone who was not her husband. He was where He “shouldn’t” have been, most times. Why? Because greater is He wherever He goes, than is he (Satan) in this world! Satan’s has no power when Jesus enters in. Praise God and Hallelujah!! And joy comes from our Lord, and no where else!!
But the shopkeepers, they make so much money this time of year. Isn’t it about greed? Well, we all have high seasons in our businesses. Even the tax accountants are super busy leading up to April 15th each year. And most times when we are out shopping, we are buying for ourselves. Isn’t it refreshing to have other people’s names on our list, and to think about what would bring them joy? Taking the focus off ourselves, and putting it on another’s needs is usually a good thing. Love God and love others! It may be a stretch here…but I’m fighting to take Christmas back for we Christians. Can you tell?
Some want to compare our worship of Jesus on Christmas, to those that worshipped the golden calf at Mt. Sinai, when Moses took a little too long coming back down from the mountain. Okay, focus…where is our focus? They were bowing down, and dancing around, and feasting about a golden calf. Do we think they had the slightest inkling that they were in the wrong? They would have to have been totally stupid not to truly realize it. But it’s a choice they decided to make. Are we so in the wrong to put our focus on Jesus, and feast around His birth, and give presents to each other in honor of His gift to us in this world? We Christians aren’t worshiping Santa Claus…at least I hope not! Even for those that don’t know Jesus, maybe this is as close to thinking about the Savior of the world as they will get in the year? Who knows? But if we give Christmas back to the pagans, then what do we do on December 25th…sit and twiddle our thumbs making a point that THIS IS NOT ABOUT JESUS!! What message does that really convey to the non-believers? We should be saying, OUR LIVES ARE TOTALLY ABOUT JESUS EVERY DAY!! And we have the freedom to celebrate Him any day of the year!! Do we want to “appear” to be in bondage, while they “appear” to be free?--when exactly the opposite is true! We have been set free in Christ! That’s to be celebrated! The world didn’t recognize Him when He came. “Even in his own land and among his own people, he was not accepted. John 1:11 (NLT) John pointed him out to the people. He shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about…” John 1:15 (NLT) We, like John, want to be there on Christmas day to say, “This Jesus is the one we are talking about!!”
There are certain things we should and shouldn’t do. We all know that. But if our greatest crime is that we celebrate Jesus’ birth on an originally pagan holiday, taking that day away from Satan and putting it back as the Lord’s day in our hearts and minds, is that so terribly wrong as Christians? My husband Jim said, “I don’t mind if someone gets Phil’s birthday wrong, or even spells his name with two “l’s. What really matters is that they are remembering our son who died.” I have to agree. If you get some of the facts wrong in remembering him, it is okay, but at least attempt to honor that he lived! One friend recently said, “I am so very thankful to have this season with my family. It is one of the few times I can lift up the name of Jesus and feel that they may be listening. I can actually read from my Bible the story of the Lord’s birth. It is amazing. It is a precious opportunity.”
It may be a proven fact that Christmas “time” is tied into the winter solstice, sun worshipers and Saturn, meaning Satan. Didn’t God make winter, the sun and Saturn too…and even Satan himself? What Satan takes away to mean for harm, God can take back and use for good, every single day!! I feel like we are bowing down to Satan, and giving him what he wants. I don’t want to do that. “For the law was given through Moses; God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17 (NLT)
As you can see, this SAND Room message is longer than normal. There was a lot to cover, and I tried to keep it short. Some will agree with what I have to say here, and some will not. But it makes me think about Mary after the birth of Jesus, and how she, “quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often.” Luke 2:19 (NLT) I think about this often, and I treasure the gift of Jesus every day in my heart. I wanted to share these thoughts with you, so you can think about them too. Maybe, just maybe, our Father in Heaven is asking us to celebrate His Son each day, including December 25th, because He is so deserving of all of our attention, our worship, and our praise always!!
Have an Oh, Holy Night, and a Holy every day, too. And when Searching And Noticing the Divine this year, let’s let it be Jesus that the world notices about us, at all times, and in all ways, as we honor His Holy Birth every single day!! Amen