The joy and excitement of this time of year is unfortunately often accompanied by stress. May I suggest that you not allow yourself to become pressured by the holidays. Slow down. Spend some precious time alone with the Lord. Take quality time with family and friends. Or find others to reach out to in ministry. Enjoy this time of year and keep your focus on why you’re celebrating.
What about the traditions of celebrating Christmas? In my early adult years I often asked the Lord what was the right way and the right time to celebrate religious holidays. I wanted to know what He desires from us…what pleases Him. I was especially concerned about the right way of handling Christmas and Easter with our growing family–two very important spiritual celebrations.
Many Christians in the ‘remnant’ Church are concerned about these same things. It’s true that some of the dates and some of the traditions in current use may have been influenced by pagan religions. So this may bring some confusion as to how to handle these events as responsible Christians and parents. We do need to be aware–but at the same time we must not lose perspective.
Let us remember that God is the One who instituted the concept of holidays in the first place. For example, God instructed Israel to have feasts and special memorial celebrations under the Old Covenant. God knows it is beneficial for men, women, boys and girls, to continually remember and praise God for the many good things He has done for them.
Let’s not be swayed by anyone or anything that imitates and twists what God originally instituted. Remember, however, that this is exactly what Satan is working very hard to do. So if anyone is doing the imitating in regards to celebrating holidays like Christmas, it is the ungodly. Let it not affect us–who are quite literally the children of God. As Christians we need not make apologies for wanting to commemorate and thank our Lord for the greatest gift He ever gave mankind. That gift is His precious Son, Jesus, Who was sent not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
The Bible has not provided instructions for celebrating the birth of Jesus. However, as always, there are certain principles we can follow. Colossians 3:17 says, “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” I believe that Colossians 2:16-17 makes it abundantly clear that we are not to let anyone else judge how we choose to celebrate a holy day or special religious festival: “Therefore let none sit in judgment on you in matters of food and drink, or with regard to a feast day or a new moon or a Sabbath. Such [things] are only the shadow of things that are to come, and they have only a symbolic value. But the reality–the substance, the solid fact of what is foreshadowed, the body of it–belongs to Christ.” (The Amplified Bible).
As believers we should give honor to the Lord Jesus every day. We ought to give honor to Him in everything we do, regardless of the day designated as a holiday by this world or even by the Church. As long as we are celebrating the reality of the One Who is the real reason for the celebrations we should not feel condemned. Whether we have a Christmas tree or not, whether others are celebrating at the same time for reasons other than to glorify God, should not affect us. Our reasons and motivations are between us and the Lord. We are not to be controlled by our culture or popular opinion but by the Spirit of God as we pursue our relationship with Him.
First and foremost, take time to spend alone with God, thanking Him for Who He is and what He has done. That is what it’s all about, isn’t it? Thank the good Lord for loving you. He wants only good to come to you. His very nature is Love. He sent His Son to redeem mankind and be the Light of the world. And now Jesus is alive and lives with us. Take some time and thank Him for Who He is and what marvelous things He has accomplished.
The real story of Christmas is the story of Jesus–God’s precious gift to us. Our Heavenly Father is the real Gift-Giver. The greatest gift of all is the gift of Jesus Christ to all who will receive… from God the Father. Jesus is our hope. He is our victory. He is our advocate with the Father, our blood-covenant Friend, Who will never leave nor forsake us. In Him, we have the joy of living a heavenly life on earth. He is the meaning of Christmas.
If you go back to the original word Christmas, or “Christ mass,” it means, “an anointing celebration.” It is the story of the Savior-Jesus, sent to redeem mankind. It is the celebration of “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power…” It’s the celebration of how the anointed Jesus “…went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed…” (Acts 10:38). It is the awesome story of Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, Who will reign forevermore! His birth began the series of spiritual events that have provided us everything we need in this life and the next.
That’s why I encourage you to say it boldly, with confidence. Say it from a grateful heart–Merry Christmas! It is a time to rejoice in celebration! Then enjoy this season.
Let’s place our Lord first this Christmas and make it the best ever. With God nothing is impossible.
Dale and Paula
P.S. Feeling lonely? Feeling alone and depressed and unloved? Try to do something special for others. Whatever you feel like you need (like fellowship, love or belonging, etc), give that something you need first. Why? Because as you give, so you will receive. So give exactly the thing you are needing.
Need Healing from the Lord? Don’t give up. Keep asking and He will answer. Remember to praise Him generously. Stay focused on the Good Lord. Keep your gaze on God…only glance at the problem. He is faithful. His promises are true.
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