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Christmas Tree Or No?

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My church decorates for Christmas with greenery and decorations, but does not put up a tree. I'm glad of that - don't particularly care for trees in churches now that I know a bit more about their history. I still put one up myself, though. :wink  Most of the families in our church do celebrate Christmas; we might have one or two that don't and a couple others that will celebrate but not put up a tree.

 

You make me curious with the statement saying you are glad the church doesn't put one up because of what you know, yet you still put one up yourself?

I am not judging you at all, I condemn no one in what they do with christmas, I am just wondering, why is it 'bad' (my word) for the church, yet not bad (my word) for you?

All things being equal, you being one that makes up the church you attend, and the church you attend. Where is the dividing line? And should there be a dividing line?

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I guess... The church is supposed to be about God. Trees - if pagan and therefore to be avoided - are putting a pagan thing in a central location in God's house - and if fine - are still a distraction from the 'real' meaning of Christmas. Guess that partial shunning of trees is the result of me being unsure whether or not I should avoid Christmas trees altogether. :-P
Also, not having a tree in church helps to avoid offending any that are against them. And that's always a good thing - the whole not causing a brother to stumble bit.
And I guess my house is not the same as the house of God. Kinda like I'll play certain classical music or soundtracks or watch old movies in my house but would not consider them appropriate for use in the church.

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Salyan,

 

I am curious to know what you meant by, "distracted from the real meaning of Christmas". What do you consider the real meaning of Christmas?

Here's the thing -- if a Christian says the "real meaning" of "Christmas" is Jesus THEN it AIN'T about trees, holly, mistletoe, colored lights, garland, tinsel, egg nog, and a song written about the 2nd coming (Joy to the World).

 

If a Christian seeks to "celebrate" the Lord's birth on 25 Dec, dispense with the worldly trappings (akin to using colored eggs and bunnies at Easter, light and laser show during a song service or psychology mixed with Bible in Christian counseling).

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Here's the thing -- if a Christian says the "real meaning" of "Christmas" is Jesus THEN it AIN'T about trees, holly, mistletoe, colored lights, garland, tinsel, egg nog, and a song written about the 2nd coming (Joy to the World).

 

Very true OFP.  But that doesn't change the fact that it ain't about Jesus either. You know, sorta like calling a duck by another name, but.....  "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" may just come into play here.

 

Has God ever told His people that they can entertain a little heresy? Just because someone says Christmas is about Christ doesn't make it so.

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Oh, man. Seriously. As everything in the church is to focus on Christ, so Christmas in the church should focus on Christ. Is it his actual birthdate? Does it matter? Since we don't actually know, choosing one day to remember is as good as any other day - regardless of whatever other religions chose to mix their nonsense into it. And - oh, yeah - we have freedom to do so.

Colossians 2:16-17 - "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ."  Is Christmas about Christ? Yes - if we choose to make it so. Is it about family time and gifts too - a kind of cultural/seasonal custom? Yes - why not? Are their pagan/distractive qualities about some of the traditional trappings? Yes - that's why each person seems to find their own level of what to include and what not to include. I personally don't include the wise men in my nativity scene, or anything santa clause in the house. Someone else won't have a tree. Others won't so much as give presents.

Romans 14:5 - "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind."

Oh yeah, and Easter isn't traditionally about Christ either, but everyone still seems to use the name. Sometimes I think we IFBs are a little too good at looking for things to point fingers at.

 

Gotta say, though, that I do like 'Joy to the World'. Cause it's the only Christmas song our song leader lets us sing outside of December - cause it ain't really a Christmas song. I actually picked it a couple weeks ago for a favorite. :frog:

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Good morning Salyan. I am not sure if your last post was in response to my last post, or if it was simply something you wanted to just throw out there for consideration. That being said, I would like to clarify if your reply was in reference to my post.

 

It looks like the topic got a little off track at the point I asked you what you thought the real meaning of Chirstmas was. I was a little surprised that instead of a reply from you, OFP jumped in. So actually my reply was in reference to what he posted. I guess that made things a little confusing.

 

Please rest assured that I would never attempt to judge you, or anyone else in respect to what they believed. My post was entirely aimed at presenting the real meaning of Christmas as opposed to what people actually thought it was. I was in no way accusing you of heresy. The heresy I was pointing to was the whole idea of Christmas being about Christ was heresy. Where Christmas came from and even the date is pure heresy since it is all based in Pagan and RCC fables, none of it even implied in Scripture.

 

So please don't be offended if you thought I was judging you or accusing you of heresy, it just ain't so. I don't know if you have read the sermon I posted recently on this subject. If you are interested in reading it,  >Here is the link.

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I guess... The church is supposed to be about God. Trees - if pagan and therefore to be avoided - are putting a pagan thing in a central location in God's house - and if fine - are still a distraction from the 'real' meaning of Christmas. Guess that partial shunning of trees is the result of me being unsure whether or not I should avoid Christmas trees altogether. :-P
Also, not having a tree in church helps to avoid offending any that are against them. And that's always a good thing - the whole not causing a brother to stumble bit.
And I guess my house is not the same as the house of God. Kinda like I'll play certain classical music or soundtracks or watch old movies in my house but would not consider them appropriate for use in the church.

 

Very understandable answer, thank you. :D

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A little off subject...

 

We as a family in our own home do celebrate a 'holiday', sorta...we celebrate what we call "Family Day".

A day where we fix all kinds of desserts and snacks and different 'meal' type foods that we don't usually get for eating, and my wife and I buy gifts

for our children that are special to them from us. Maybe something we know they would love, or had talked about before and were never able to get it themselves.

 

The day is about celebrating the day my wife and I met.

 

The children love it, and we love doing it, and it gives us good memories that some people get from celebrating christmas.

 

We met while Christmas Caroling. 

 

I had just got a jOB where I worked with a lady from her church, and she invited me to caroling with their church

at the local nursing homes, of course my 'wife to be' was the real reason the lady asked me to go. We met

and we haven't stopped 'hanging around' each other since!

 

Our 'song' - "Silent Night, Holy Night".

 

When we celebrate? The date of our 'meeting' - December 12.

 

God has been very gracious in putting a great love for each other in our hearts.

That makes for a great marriage, for which I am very thankful.

Edited by Genevanpreacher

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We don't have a Christmas day service - unless it happens to be a Sunday (and then it is a normal Sunday servuce).
But we do have "Carols on the green" on the Sunday afternoon before.
There is no tinsel, no tree, no Christmas stuff.
But we do sing Hymns that relate to Christ. In fact we start with some that speak of His birth, move through those that speak of His purpose, and finish with a couple that speak of the finished work. I have a linking narrative that leads people through the Hymns in this way, quoting various verses that are appropriate.

There is no mention of Rudolph or drummer boys, and only Biblically supportable Hymns are used.
We give everyone a songbook that includes an explanation of the Gospel and a few other things. This is for them to keep.
We have snacks and drinks available.

The world "allows" us to speak boldly and loudly of Christ and actually accepts and expects us to do so at this time.
They feel it is their duty to listen at this time.
We should take that opportunity, without falling into the world's agenda for it.

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We don't have a Christmas day service - unless it happens to be a Sunday (and then it is a normal Sunday servuce).
But we do have "Carols on the green" on the Sunday afternoon before.
There is no tinsel, no tree, no Christmas stuff.
But we do sing Hymns that relate to Christ. In fact we start with some that speak of His birth, move through those that speak of His purpose, and finish with a couple that speak of the finished work. I have a linking narrative that leads people through the Hymns in this way, quoting various verses that are appropriate.

There is no mention of Rudolph or drummer boys, and only Biblically supportable Hymns are used.
We give everyone a songbook that includes an explanation of the Gospel and a few other things. This is for them to keep.
We have snacks and drinks available.

The world "allows" us to speak boldly and loudly of Christ and actually accepts and expects us to do so at this time.
They feel it is their duty to listen at this time.
We should take that opportunity, without falling into the world's agenda for it.

This is in the vein in which I was commenting in post #29. Not dealing with the "Christmas yea or nay" issue (a subject which is an annual winter hash/rehash event -- with an occasional summer edition tossed in), but an "IF you do, don't mix Jesus with tradition" statement.

 

Not to say that the Christmas legitimacy/illegitimacy issue is unimportant -- it just wasn't my address here.

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1) This is one of the catch teachings of the JW's

 

2) The context of Jer is Idols carved from trees.

 

3) While it is true that Christmas is not the day of Christ's Birth, it is the time of year that the sun (life sustaining force for plants and men) is the furthest away from the planet.  Meditate on that for a moment.  When my life was furthest from Christ that is the time in which he saved me.

 

4) Is there not freewill if you want to follow a secular holiday or not?  My only qualm with it is that it promotes greed and covetousness in peoples hearts when all they can say is I want, I want, I want.

 

5) If you want it to be the day that you give gifts and make merry with your fellow man then so be it.  should not we emulate God's giving of his son the ulimate gift that brings salvation?  What other day do you do that during the year?

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1) This is one of the catch teachings of the JW's

 

2) The context of Jer is Idols carved from trees.

 

3) While it is true that Christmas is not the day of Christ's Birth, it is the time of year that the sun (life sustaining force for plants and men) is the furthest away from the planet.  Meditate on that for a moment.  When my life was furthest from Christ that is the time in which he saved me.

 

4) Is there not freewill if you want to follow a secular holiday or not?  My only qualm with it is that it promotes greed and covetousness in peoples hearts when all they can say is I want, I want, I want.

 

5) If you want it to be the day that you give gifts and make merry with your fellow man then so be it.  should not we emulate God's giving of his son the ulimate gift that brings salvation?  What other day do you do that during the year?

 

That is what they say.  But I don't agree.

 

Who celebrates Christmas?  The whole world.

 

There is a page on the internet somewhere by a Jewish Christian, who said, in his family they celebrated Crhistmas, but when he became a Christian, he realized that it was wrong .

 

Many centuries ago, over a century before the pope discovered Christmas, Tertulian made an OBservation that "Pagans are faithful to their festivals."  Think on that!    If Tertulian was correct in his OBservation, whey do the pagans celebrate Christmas today?.  Remember that Yasser Arafat used to celebrate it in Bethlehem each year.  (Till the Israelis banned him.)

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Most people love any excuse to celebrate and don't really care, or often know, the reason, history or anything of a holiday other that it's there.

 

We have a Thanksgiving Day in America (as do some other countries) which originated as a day to thank God for the harvest and bringing folks through another year. Today most everyone in America celebrates Thanksgiving, but few actually truly use the day as a specific day to be giving thanks to God. Sure, some folks say a prayer before they have a huge feast, but that's about it. For many, there isn't even that. It's just an excuse to gorge oneself on a huge feast of food and then drink beer and watch football, or go out shopping for all the special deals.

 

It's odd to note the many different versions of "historical fact" that preachers have put forth, in book and sermon, regarding Christmas both pro and con. I've read many which proclaim Jesus had to have been born in the fall, others say spring, yet there are some that declare Jesus prOBably was actually born on or about December 25th. At the same time I've read several different versions of the origins of Christmas and various things dealing with Christmas, from Christmas trees to candy canes.

 

All this while the masses don't know, don't care and are neither celebrating any pagan god or Christ.

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God gives us liberty, as long as it isn't used for licentiousness.  If a family chooses to celebrate the birth of Christ, that is their choice. If a family chooses not to celebrate the birth of Christ, that is also their choice.  Using a day that the world has set to do so is not sin. Anymore than it is sin to call the days of the week and the months of the years - all named after pagan gods and goddesses - what the world has named them.  True consistency in rejecting all things pagan would mean that we make up our own days of the week...because it honors those gods when we say "Tuesday" or "March."...

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Jesus was born of august 13. There. I have as much authority as anyone in this matter, I suppose. So, next August 13, have a big festival, Jesus' Birthday, (no mass, thanks), and send me a check in honor of the great enlightenment I have bestowed upon the world.

 

Seriously, the conversation has been, overall, very good and polite, and even the little bit of indignation shown is, honestly, not unexpected in such a subject, and I think prOBably well-placed.  One year, at our church, just after I had really given up the whole thing, though still allowing others to do as they believed right, at the end of service, I wished them all Merry Christmas. One lady got so man she never came back. Of course, she holds to the Sabbath as well, so no real surprise there.

 

I make one admission, though--I LOVE Christmas specials on TV: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, ("I want to be a dentist!"), Charlie Brown Christmas,  the Grinch, even, (oh, the shame!), Nightmare before Christmas, (don't ban me, please!).

 

So now you all know my dark secrets.

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I had a woman get mad because we didn't have a Christmas eve service --- mind you, Dec 24th that year was a Thursday.

 

She said, "I've been an Indepedent Baptist for 11 years and have never heard of an IB church NOT having a Christmas Eve service!"

 

My wife said, "I've been an IB for over 35 years and have never heard of an IB church HAVING a Christmas Eve service."

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I should have thought that if we were meant to celebrate the birth of Jesus the scriptures would have recorded the fact as well as the day he was born.

 

The only thing I recall us being  asked to celebrate is Christ our passover, or the Lord's supper.

 

One thing that has always puzzled me is why people put a wreath on their doors at Christmas. A church I know in London does not usually decorate the building but one time I went there about that time, they had a wreath on the wall.  When I asked a member why?  They said they didn't know but one member had put it there.

 

Why?  When wreaths are identified with death?

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The circumstances surrounding His birth are given us in scripture...and nowhere are we told that we can't celebrate the fact that He was born. There is no command to celebrate. There is no command to abstain from it.  Simple enough. Liberty ensues there...

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I look at like this:

 

Jesus came, why? To seek and to save that which was lost.

 

Thus, the 'seeking' phase was accomplished, actively, while on earth in His ministry, specifically to the house of Israel, even though all the world was lost, as well, all His creation. So He had to live in the flesh, so he had to be born.

 

The 'save' phase has been being accomplished since His resurrection, which was stretched out to all the world, for whom he was ultimately sent. So he had to die. To die, he had to live, so he had to be born.

 

So, the birth of Jesus is important, but really, if you think about it, it was an incidental necessity for Him to accomplish His ministry. His ministry and mission was not to be born, but to live and, ultimately, die and resurrect. So, while, I agree, with no specific prohibition to celebrate His birth, seeing as we have no date, and really, not even a close time period to make an educated guess, it is His resurrection we should be celebrating, because it was the completion of His entire ministry, the reason he was born in the first place.

 

Then there is the fact that we see no indication that birthdays were ever celebrated for anyone, except Herod, and we know that didn't go well for believers.

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God gives us liberty, as long as it isn't used for licentiousness.  If a family chooses to celebrate the birth of Christ, that is their choice. If a family chooses not to celebrate the birth of Christ, that is also their choice.  Using a day that the world has set to do so is not sin.

 

With all due respect HC. I couldn't help but think that what you wrote here may just fall under the heading of "presumptuous sins" as opposed to "sins of ignorance." If we know that something is not right, unscriptural, or just plain Pagan and still persist in doing it anyway, this is "presumptuous sin." As Christians we should always endeavor to conform our life, teaching and beliefs to the truth of God's Word.    Jas 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

 

Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

God bless you as you serve Him HC.

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We do also celebrate His resurrection. :-D

One of the songs we like at both times is "Born to Die Upon Calvary."

I disagree, actually, that His birth was an incidental necessity (I know you weren't saying unimportant). His birth was prophesied, rejoiced in at the time, and the fact of His being born of a virgin vital to the efficacy of the work He would later do on the cross.

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With all due respect HC. I couldn't help but think that what you wrote here may just fall under the heading of "presumptuous sins" as opposed to "sins of ignorance." If we know that something is not right, unscriptural, or just plain Pagan and still persist in doing it anyway, this is "presumptuous sin." As Christians we should always endeavor to conform our life, teaching and beliefs to the truth of God's Word.    Jas 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
 
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
 
God bless you as you serve Him HC.


If God has convicted someone of this -or even Iif one is doubtful -then they ought not do it or they would be sinning. However, if soneone has sought God on the matter and God has allowed, we cannot gainsay it. If no Christian should ever celebrate the burth if Christ simply because of paganism, then Thanksgiving is wrong, too. Oh, it started here as a way to thank God, no doubt. But, see, in other countries harvest fests were celebrated thankibg pagan deities...

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However, if soneone has sought God on the matter and God has allowed, we cannot gainsay it.

 

HC, once again with all due respect. I find it extremely difficult to reconcile the part you wrote above with the clear command to not be conformed to this world.

 

I also cannot fathom a situation  where God would "allow" His people to OBserve something that He said was an 'abomination." I can't repost all that I wrote before on the subject of Christmas, but there are elements of Christmas that are directly connected to the  worship of Baal. See the sermon I submitted recently for clarification of this connection.

 

 Jer 32:34 But they set their abominations in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it.
 35 And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.

 

Please understand that I am in no way trying to be argumentative with you HC. I am just responding with my thoughts to what you wrote in a conversational manner. I feel no need to be right in this, or even to convince you of anything you may disagree with me on.

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Well, Jim, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. We don't celebrate Baal when we celebrate the birth of Christ any more than we celebrate Oden when we make plans to go to a party on Wednesday (Wodin's Day) night. Nor did my son worship Janus (the two-faced god) because he got married in January.

Nor, when we celebrate Thanksgiving, do we recognize or worship any of the pagan gods of the harvest. And when we celebrate Resurrection Day, we don't worship Ishtar.

I'm honestly not trying to be a smart aleck. I'm just pointing out that there are a lot more things that have pagan links - and that we associate with every day - than we might realize.

I do know of people who have changed the names of weekdays and months because they don't want their kids to associate in any way with paganism. Laudable goal, no doubt about it. But is that really practical? When no-one else in the world - even other Christians - would know what they are saying? Of course, practicality doesn't enter into OBedience. But...the basic thought is the same. If one doesn't celebrate the birth of Christ simply on the basis of a link to paganism, what does one call the days of the week or the months of the year? SWIM?

I'm not trying to change your mind - far from it. Well, heh - maybe we are trying to change each other's minds...that's usually the end goal of a conversation in which folk disagree, right? :-D.

If you feel celebrating the birth of Christ would be a presumptuous sin on your part, don't do it, by any means. Rest assured, though, that we glorify Christ and not Baal when we remember the birth of Christ.

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