8 Reasons Christian Holidays Should Not Be Observed

Those who tried to reform the church in the 16th and 17th century did an effort to go back to the biblical Truth and to the early followers of Jesus.

For centuries there had always been true followers of Christ, who did not believe in a triune god and did not want to partake in the heathen festivals of their region.

The pastors who came from the Roman Catholic church, like Luther and Calvin, did an effort to bring the focus back onto the Word of God, but never managed to go so far with their Reformation that their followers would come to agree to only keep to the days given by God. Today we can only notice that lots of their hopes and teachings are gone away, and that we can see again protestant churches with statues or graven images and traditional rites and festivals.

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To remember

The writers who try  to promote Presbyterian perspectives, as summarized in the Westminster Standards bring a summary of Reasons Against Holy Days, one of the five points of dispute written by David Calderwood and the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland in 1618 when King James forced the Kirk to adopt the Five Articles of Perth.

 

1. “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work” (Ex. 20:9).

six days of work = a command or as permission

some feel they have a moral right to have the day off from their employer + wrongly think the employer would be infringing on their Christian liberty if forced to work on one of these holidays

2.  Only God can make a day holy

Man made holy days + ceremonies = > Assigning spiritual significance to something Scripture doesn’t = epitome of will worship (Col. 2:23), i.e. idolatry.

Human beings have no authority to sanctify a day,

we must worship God how He has told us He wants to be worshiped

Unbiblical ceremonies = lighting of candles, waving of palm branches, + certain decorations with intended religious significance = violate Regulative Principle of Worship + subvert headship of Christ over His Church.

Occasional days of public fasting or thanksgiving

lawful + necessary, upon special emergent occasions, to separate a day or days for public fasting or thanksgiving

3. No one but God has ever appointed a holy day

Purim

= days of civil mirth + gladness > not a religious holiday, rather = civil celebration

The Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah)

commemoration of rededication of the second Temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt in the inter-Testamental period

> unduly instituted + ungroundedly

Pharisees added many festivals without divine warrant > feasts of the Tekuphas (equinoxes) and the Feast of Xylophoria, <= Feast of Dedication = Pharisaical tradition.

Jesus’ presence in Jerusalem during the Feast of Dedication

4. Annual holy days were part of the Ceremonial Law and abrogated with it

observation of days served to the people of God for a typical use and a rudiment of religion.

To substitute other days in place of the Jewish, a Christian Pascha [Easter] and Pentecost for the Jewish, is but to substitute rudiments + elements to the Jewish, and not to chase away, but to change the Jewish holy days…

Jews had no anniversary days

observation of anniversary days = pedagogical, rudimentary + elementary, + consequently ceremonial

5. Jesus Christ has not instituted any other holy day but the Lord’s Day

no Christian holy days other than the Lord’s Day, the Christian Sabbath

Holy days in the Early Church

conflicting accounts in the Early Church about where Pascha, or Easter, comes from.

Some reported that Philip + John kept the 14th day of the month (ed. = 14 Nisan), and others that Peter kept the first Lord’s Day after the 14th day of the month, which turned into a long lasting controversy.

6. Specific dates

If God wanted religious festivities for events of Christ’s life = would have recorded exact days of the year that those events took place

7. Even things indifferent, when they are abused and polluted with superstition, ought to be abolished.

Things indifferent, when abused + polluted with superstition, ought to be abolished

 

8. That which has lawfully been abolished cannot be received and put in practice again

After the attainments of the Protestant Reformation, wherein the Reformed Church cast off the superstitious, idolatrous, and arbitrary rituals and holidays of the Papal Antichrist, how can we justify slipping back into a lukewarm position?

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Preceding

Followers, protestors and reformers

Trying to Get Rid of Holy Days for a Long Time

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Further reading

  1. Holy Day
  2. High Holy Days 1
  3. High Holy Days 2
  4. The High Holy Days
  5. Just a holy day – not a holiday
  6. What is a holy day of obligation? When are they?
  7. Why Are There Holy Days of Obligation?

Purely Presbyterian

8 reasons christian holidays should not be observedReformed churches have historically been opposed to observing man made holy days such as Christmas and Easter. Even the Reformed churches on the continent, which left some holy day observance to Christian liberty in some of their confessions, did so because of either compromise with the stubborn people for the sake of further Reformation, or because the civil magistrates forced them to (c.f. John Calvin and Holy Days). Gisbertus Voetius, a delegate to the Synod of Dordt, relates that the Dutch Church had been trying to get rid of holy days for a long time, but the allowance of holy days by the synod was “imposed from the outside, burdensome to the churches, in and of itself in an absolute sense unwelcome; to which Synods were summoned, compelled, and coerced to receive, bring in, and admit, as in the manner of a transaction, in order to prevent…

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Trying to Get Rid of Holy Days for a Long Time

For real Christians it is clear that lovers of God should keep their hands of the many pagan feasts, like Christmas and Easter, which entered the Roman Catholic Church and several protestant churches.

Luckily we may come to see some changes in some protestant churches willing to debate the reason why to keep only to God given holy days.

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To remember

Reformed churches historically opposed to observing man made holy days such as Christmas and Easter.

on the continent left some holy day observance to Christian liberty in some of their confessions < compromise with stubborn people for sake of further Reformation, or because civil magistrates forced them to.

Gisbertus Voetius, (delegate to the Synod of Dordt), relates Dutch Church had been trying to get rid of holy days for a long time, but allowance of holy days by the synod was “imposed from the outside, burdensome to the churches,

In Why are Ecclesiastical Feast Days in our Church Order? Rev. Dr. R. D. Anderson gives

Article 65 – Ecclesiastical feast days
On Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Ascension Day, and at Pentecost the consistory shall call the congregation together for church services. The sacred events which the congregation commemorates in particular on these days shall therein be proclaimed
Already in 1573 we see the topic coming to the floor of the Particular Synod of North Holland, that year held in Enkhuizen.
Also decided in respect of feast days, that in common no feast days are to be held other than Easter (Sunday) and the day thereafter, Pentecost (Sunday) and the day thereafter, Christmas, and similarly New Year’s day and Ascension day.
The churches in South Holland were somewhat stricter. A year later their Synod gathered in Dordrecht
making the following pronouncement:
Respecting the feast days which are in addition to the Sunday: it has been decided to rest content only with the Sunday. Nevertheless, the normal material relating to the birth of Christ shall be handled on the Sunday before Christmas day together with an admonition to the people not to observe Christmas day. If Christmas day falls on a Sunday, the same material shall be preached on that day. It is also permitted to preach on the resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday, the which is left to the freedom of the ministers.
That seems clear enough. Behind the scenes, however, there was a political battle going on between the Roman Catholic forces and the Protestants. The celebration of these extra days came right in the middle of all that. It was the sort of thing that got people fired up. The Reformed churches needed to be careful to steer a righteous course between all manner of Roman Catholic superstitions which had become associated with these days and an over zealous extremism which could easily lead to political riots. We see that reflected in the decision of the Particular Synod of South Holland held in Rotterdam a year later:

As much as concerns feast days: The government shall be petitioned that they allow everyone to open his shop and to work 6 days in accordance with the 4th commandment of our Lord. And if the government desires to ordain any others besides the Sunday, the delegated ministers will petition parliament that they inform them in such a way that they may consider how much and how far one can permit in this matter, so that on the one hand people don’t fall into superstition as warned by Paul in Gal. 4, and on the other hand that people will not be led to fight too fiercely against the aforesaid government because of certain feast days.
Three years later a national synod was finally able to be held in Dordrecht. By this time it was slowly becoming clear that the political will to be rid of these extra feast days was weak.
On the 12th of July 1578 the government made a “declaration of religious freedom” in which the various Roman Catholic feast days were made compulsory for protestants. The synod in its response attempted to minimise the damage by steering the churches away from any special ways of celebrating these feast days, and keeping them as “normal” days.
1578 National Synod of Dort {Acta, Rutgers p.253 (art. 75, cap.4,23)}
It was indeed to be desired that the freedom from God to work 6 days be permitted in the church, and that only the Sunday be celebrated. Nevertheless since certain other feast days are maintained by authority of the government, namely, Christmas day and the day thereafter, likewise the day after Easter and the day after Pentecost and in some places new years day and ascension day; the ministers shall do their best to teach the congregation to transform unproductive and harmful idleness into a holy and profitable exercise by sermons especially dealing with the birth and resurrection of Christ, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and suchlike articles of the faith. The ministers of churches in those cities where yet more feast days are observed by authority of the government shall do likewise.
In the meantime all the churches shall work to make the use of all feast days except Christmas day (since Easter and Pentecost fall on Sunday) as normal as possible, and as soon as is fitting to abolish them.
By 1581 the goals of the churches had been reduced. It did not any longer seem possible to be rid of all the extra feast days.

 

Sadly, today, not only are many Reformed churches going back to observing Christmas and Easter, some are even beginning to observe Lent, Good FridayAdvent, etc. as well.

Exploring biblical worship from a Protestant Perspective “The Worship Blog” looks at

How little concern for the idea that what is done in the name of worship in so many churches has no warrant from the mouth of God! {About The Worship Blog}

Meg writes

The Scottish Presbyterians managed to remove observance of any pretended holy days other than the divinely prescribed Lord’s Day in their reformation. Indeed, the Reformed early on seemed ready to precede them in this; but due mostly it seems from desires of magistrates to preserve accustomed holidays, ie. days off for workers and servants, they retained various sets of days. This retained a set of other issues, and to ensure the riotous activities of the old days were not retained, the state churches prescribed that there be services and preaching at those times. {John Calvin and Holy Days}

In 1543–44 Calvin advised the church, that

“the observation of feast days was also to be rejected since it so easily led to superstition.”

“Calvin advised the ministers of Montbéliard to stand firm on these matters of principle but to yield wherever else their consciences would allow”. { Jill Raitt, The Colloquy of Montbéliard Religion and Politics in the Sixteenth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 21.}

As an aside — The Reformed church of Montbéliard continued as best they could even when the rulers imposed Lutheran practices. Later, the oppressed Reformed churches of France, ruled by Roman Catholic magistrates which prohibited working on the pretended holy days,

“left unto the prudence of Consistories to Congregate the People, on such Holy-Days, either to hear the word Preached, or to join in common publick Prayers, as they shall find to be most expedient” (2nd Synod of Vitré, 1617).

American Presbyterians were opposed to the religious observation of Christmas and other ‘holy days.’  > Read more: https://www.naphtali.com/articles/chris-coldwell/the-religious-observance-of-christmas-and-holy-days-in-american-presbyterianism/

Read also: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/91380-Three-Books-on-quot-Christmas-quot-and-a-33-off-Black-Friday-Sale, Comment 25

The Worship Blog

Purely Presbyterian:

Reformed churches have historically been opposed to observing man made holy days such as Christmas and Easter. Even the Reformed churches on the continent, which left some holy day observance to Christian liberty in some of their confessions, did so because of either compromise with the stubborn people for the sake of further Reformation, or because the civil magistrates forced them to. Gisbertus Voetius, a delegate to the Synod of Dordt, relates that the Dutch Church had been trying to get rid of holy days for a long time, but the allowance of holy days by the synod was “imposed from the outside, burdensome to the churches, in and of itself in an absolute sense unwelcome; to which Synods were summoned, compelled, and coerced to receive, bring in, and admit, as in the manner of a transaction, in order to prevent worse disagreeable and bad situations

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White Privilege Conference (WPC) wanting to keep the press out for obvious reasons

WPC organizers reacted very poorly to the discovery that this year’s conference was being reported on from inside. This is unsurprising, since WPC has attempted to totally ban reporters from covering its proceedings and has actively kept them out in the past.

It must not surprise you why it was kept secretly for the press the previous years. When you look at the debates it is clear we should seriously pose several questions by the speakers invited and by the set up of that conference.

Today there is a renewed attack (in the Western world) on anything to do with believing there is a God, a Creator of any kind!

There are even people who hold conferences to make it clear to others that almost every dysfunction in society, from racism and sexism to global warming and a weak economy, is united by the ideology of ‘Christian hegemony.’ That is at least what a lecturer at the 2016 White Privilege Conference (WPC) claimed.

Believers are again open to ridicule. Academics, who are confident they have the answer (or at least acceptable opinions) to everything about how the world began, compete among themselves for the “glory” they can receive from each other and from the public with their notions. Some also want others to believe that all more active believers would be creationists and do not seem to get the difference of believing that there has been a Most High Supreme being ordering everything  and being responsible for the creation.

Contingency, Hegemony, Universality

Contingency, Hegemony, Universality (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Certain people, like Paul Kivel, think Christians “colonize our mind.”
Paul Kivel, is a social justice educator, activist, and writer, who to our mind looks not so social at all but is perhaps an atheist socialist against religion and willing to attack it. Though he claims to be an innovative leader in violence prevention for 35 years, it either looks like he has changed gear or has always loved to set up non-believers against believing people .

He defines Christian hegemony as the

everyday, pervasive, and systematic set of Christian values and beliefs, individuals and institutions that dominate all aspects of our society through the social, political, economic, and cultural power they wield. Nothing is unaffected by Christian hegemony (whether we are Christian or not) including our personal beliefs and values, our relationships to other people and to the natural environment, and our economic, political, education, health care, criminal/legal, housing, and other social systems. {Christian hegemony}

For him

All people who are not Christian, as well as most people who are, experience social, political, and economic exploitation, violence, cultural appropriation, marginalization, alienation and constant vulnerability from the dominance of Christian power and values in our society. {Christian hegemony}

It looks like Christendom and/or Christianity (though he constantly refers to Christianity) is/are the badness of this world.

The internalization of dominant western Christian beliefs and values by individuals in our society seems to bring all badness into the world and being the cause of the present problems we have with fundamental Muslims. but it seems also to be in participial white Christian men who are dominating this world and causing inequality and injustice.

He writes

Another level of Christian dominance is within the power elite, the network of 7-10,000 predominantly white Christian men who control the largest and most powerful social, political, economic, and cultural institutions in the country. And finally there is the level which provides the foundation for all the others – the long and deep legacy of Christian ideas, values, practices, policies, icons, and texts that have been produced within dominant western Christianity over the centuries. That legacy continues to shape our language, culture, beliefs, and values and to frame public and foreign policy decisions. {Christian hegemony}

He even wants us tot believe, that we believers are blind. It is true that we cannot go without all those companies and organisations which have their say in our communities and that economical as well as political parties want to have everything in their hands. But we think it over the top, him saying

Christian dominance has become so invisible that its manifestations appear to be secular, i.e. not religious. In this context, the phrase “secular Christian dominance” might be most appropriate, Christian hegemony under the guise of secularism. Of course, there are many forms of Christian fundamentalism which are anything but secular. Often fundamentalists want to create some kind of theocratic state. But the more mainstream, everyday way that dominant Christian values and institutions influence our lives and communities is less evident, although no less significant and certainly not limited to fundamentalists. {Christian hegemony}

According to him Christian leaders have established an annual holiday cycle that extols US militarism/ triumphalism, the nuclear family, consumerism and whiteness. Perhaps he is so much focussed on the U.S.A. that he does not see the holidays of other countries and mistakenly takes many heathen holidays as Christian holidays, though it mostly are also the heathen people who celebrate those and try to lure Christians to celebrate with them.

The holiday cycle which he presents on his website present many secular holidays which he presents as so called holidays of Christianity though Christianity argues a lot against the celebration of those feasts. But we do agree in Christendom we see many people with the name Christian celebrating those heathen festivals as so called Christian holidays.

English: Painting of Christopher Columbus. The...

Painting of Christopher Columbus. The painting Virgen de los Navegantes (in the Sala de los Almirantes, Royal Alcazar, Seville). A painting by Alejo Fernández between 1505 and 1536. It is the only state sponsored portrait of the First Admiral of the Indias called Don Cristoval Colon known today as Christopher Columbus in English. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For him those holidays downplays the violence in our history, holding up a few white Christian men, such as Christopher Columbus and his American presidents,

for uncritical praise and emphasizes faith, family and country.

he writes and continues:

For many in the US, this cycle has come to seem traditional, even though it is constantly recreated and most of the holidays originated within the last 150 years. For some, these holidays have come to feel familiar, unifying and just plain American even though for millions of others they can be painful and alienating. Most of our national holidays are seen as secular, even though their underpinnings are deeply Christian. Even Christmas and Easter are viewed as secular by many. (I have been told that the phrase Merry Christmas in bold letters on the public buses in my
city is not religious but merely a general holiday greeting.)

It looks like he does not know that Jesus was not at all born on the 25th of December and that all the traditions people flirt with have nothing to do at all with the birth of Christ nor with God, and are an abomination in the eyes of God, of which a real Christian should abstain.

That New Year’s day for Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Chinese, Vietnamese, Mayans and many Native peoples happens at other times of the annual cycle, has nothing to do with Christianity not with Christendom but with choosing an other calendar system.

The fact that western countries imposed this calendar worldwide, even though those in the West are a minority in the world, is never acknowledged.

he writes, but we do think that is a matter of choosing a time indication where the West has chosen to keep to that Gregorian calendar, even after some countries tried the Napoleonic calendar for some time, but whatever calendar they would choose always there would be people able to complain about the system chosen.

We do not see any reason at all why not to say “Happy Chinese New Year” or “Happy Jewish New Year”, like we do in the West of Europe? He should know that these other calendars are also culturally specific and that everybody is free to follow one or the other and that nobody would mind you saying “Happy New Year” when it is a new year for that person.
For us this article is written on the 12th of Nisan, 5776 but in the West most people would not know about which day we are talking therefore we also use the common general practised calendar indicating that it is today April the 20th of the year 2016 of the common Era (CE). For us on 22 April (Taanit Bechorot) Friday night we are looking at the 14th of Nisan, 5776 going to celebrate the Passover, the “Feast of Unleavened Bread” Erev Pesach and on the 23rd the 15th of Nisan, 5776 we look at the holiday yomtov, being part of the “Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread”or “Pesach I”, having on Sunday the 1st day of the Omer (or Pesach II) the period between Passover and Shavuʿot, the 16th of Nisan of the year 5776. {The holiday of Pesach, or Passover, is an annual week long festival commemorating the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt and slavery. Before the main festival begins for the Jews, the Christians remember the night that Jesus came together with his apostles for the Last Supper and announcement of the installation of the New Covenant. for us this 14 th of Nisan is the most important day of the year and precedes the Pesach festival which begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew calendar month of Nisan — which derives its name from the passing over of the homes of the Israelite slaves during the tenth plague. It is that liberation and the liberation by Christ that we should remember for ever.} Next year the Passover shall be on Monday, April 10 and in 2018 on Friday, March 30.
But this is all about arrangements and agreements and depending on which calendar you want to base your daily activities.

For economical and practical reasons an agreement has to be made to use what calendar and what to consider the first day of the week: Thursday (certain Hindus), Friday (like Muslims), Friday night – Saturday night or Sabbath (like the Jews), or the week beginning on Sunday or Monday, as such beginning the day at 00.00 hours or when the sun gets down. Here you may find calendars beginning the week with Sunday and others ending with the weekend (which I personally find more practical).
It is true that

holidays can be destructive when they celebrate war or colonialism, are promoted aggressively or when corporations use them to promote values hostile to our environment and us. {The Christian Holiday Cycle}

For sure we need to think seriously about what we celebrate and why, who is included or excluded in the celebration and what values are implicitly or explicitly communicated. But we never should condemn certain groups of people if they want to celebrate certain days, though it is our duty to point out to Christians what they are celebrating and which festivals are alright to take part in and which not.

For Kivel the choice of calendar use and the days celebrated shows the dominance of a certain group and the normalization of such a group.

It is said that WPC takes tremendous pains to protect everybody’s feelings, but this year many toes were stepped on. To ensure a gender non-conforming person isn’t labeled with a wayward “he,” attendees are asked to always introduce themselves with their name and their pronoun set. Presenters routinely ask for anybody to pipe up if they’re triggered by a presentation, and will apologize if such a complaint arises. Almost half the conference revolves around microaggressions and how to avoid them or defuse them.

A major part of WPC are the daily caucuses, where attendees segregate themselves by race and talk through their feelings on white privilege. They were assembled collectively beforehand and assigned to a specific smaller room ‘because of the large number of white people in attendance’. Organizers warned they could start physically exerting their white privilege by walking too aggressively and not paying heed to their surroundings. If attendees weren’t careful, they said, they risked getting in the way of non-white attendees who would have no choice but to shy away and debase themselves before these barreling vectors of overwhelming privilege.

Disaffected participants in the 2016 White Privilege Conference (WPC) have taken to Twitter to complain that the conference was, ironically, too white and was actually filled to the brim with white supremacy. Adopting the hashtag #WPCSoWhite, inspired by the recent #OscarsSoWhite campaign, Twitter users claimed the conference that was supposed to battle white privilege instead served to entrench it. The tag appears to have been started and pushed with particular vigour by Aeriel Ashlee, an education consultant who attended WPC and objected to several parts of a keynote address delivered by (white) historian James Loewen. Some of his comments where even described as “deeply offensive and traumatizing.”

More than 700 Barbie dolls are displayed during an exhibition which takes place from March 10 to September 18, 2016.       (MATTHIEU ALEXANDRE/AFP/Getty Images)Frederick Gooding, Jr., who styles himself as “The Race Doctor” gave a half-comedic, half-serious lecture intended to point out various moments of subtle white supremacy and white privilege throughout the past year. Near the end of his address, Gooding went after Hollywood for the recently-released film “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which features three Caucasian heroes in the form of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.

“I have a quota where it’s just a little too much whiteness, I gotta tap out,”

the Doctor said to a laughing audience.

“One white hero at a time, I can kinda take that, but you have two of them … but then, the White Man said, we gonna show you something. And they throw in a white woman!”

For people discussing other folks it may not be easy today how to call them. All sorts of new terms have to be looked for to talk about people with an other skin colour or with an other faith. In this time of many fleeing from the Middle East and from Africa for discussing different terms are looked for, and one term which could be right at one time a few weeks later may be considered totally wrong to be used.  Undocumented immigrants may still be called “illegals” despite the fact that this also could be a highly inaccurate and pejorative term.  Whether intentional or accidental, the use of such terms has shaped public opinion on immigration policy.  Of course, not everyone who uses these terms intends to colour undocumented immigrants with the stigma that these terms carry with them.  Today the phrase “illegal immigrant” is by many considered

decidedly not okay

During a workshop titled “Nativism 101,” on the topic of immigration and the groups opposed to it, one attendee objected to another’s use of the term “undocumented immigrant.”

Instead of illegal or undocumented, the woman proposed that such immigrants be labeled

“unauthorized immigrants.”

Unauthorised where those who brought out photographs and texts from this conference where very high income prizes where charged, as if the poor people and immigrants ever would be able to pay such fees.

Dividing the people in categories for the debates Kivel finds it are the Christians who divide people and put them in hierarchical order. For him it is in-acceptable that there would be a

“God over people, men over women, parents over children, white people over people of colour,”

inevitably creating systems that justify and even glorify oppression, but was he and the organisers not doing just that?

 

Please do read also:

  1. The 17th annual White Privilege Conference a militantly Christophobic conference held in Philadelphia
  2. White Privilege Conference Attendees Complain Conference Is Too White
  3. White Privilege Conference: Almost Everything Bad Is Tied To Christianity
  4. 7 Things That Offended People At The White Privilege Conference

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Framework and vehicle for Christian Scholasticism and loss of confidence

in the December issue of the Spectator questions where Christianity began to lose confidence (as he thinks it now has) that its teachings can offer a sure framework for day-to-day moral reasoning.

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sa...

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sanzio, 1509, showing Plato (left) and Aristotle (right) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to us all went wrong when the church fathers agreed to Constantine the Great to adapt their faith to the Roman faith and to include their gods in the god of Christianity, creating a three-headed god like in the Roman and Greek culture. They also were very attracted to the philosophers of antiquity. One of the greatest intellectual figures of Western history got his philosophies in the teachings of the false teachers of Christendom.

Aristotle, Greek Aristoteles  (384 bceStagira, Chalcidice, Greece – 322, Chalcis, Euboea) his philosophical and scientific system that became the framework and vehicle for both Christian Scholasticism and medieval Islamic philosophy. Even after the intellectual revolutions of the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment, Aristotelian concepts remained embedded in Western thinking. For him

ethical questions were soluble by the application of logic and common sense that he could advise anyone seeking to determine the ‘right’ course of action to ask themselves what a respected gentleman would recommend; and if still in doubt ask what would be going too far, and would not be going far enough, and thereby locate the mean between them as the appropriate action. The Nichomachean Ethics do not speak to me of an age of aching uncertainty about the rules for human coexistence. From those times, only Pilate’s ‘what is truth?’ calls to us down the ages with a modern ring. {The question Christianity fails to answer: ‘Who is my neighbour?’}

Though he was the the founder of formal logic, devising for it a finished system that for centuries was regarded as the sum of the discipline, the 4th century church leaders did not seem to have much interest to keep everything logical and to keep just to what the words of the Bible said. Though the idea of the homoousios [consubstantial, of the same substance] used by the council of Council of Nicaea in 325, to define the Son’s relationship to the Father was not universally popular, different emanations from God looked much cooler and by transferring the god Zeus into the person of Jeshua corrupting his name to Issou or Jesus (Hail Zeus),they could go with the Roman emperor his ideas and keep the minds at ease, not confronting the Roman merchants with the instructions of followers of Jeshua to their believers not to buy figurines or sculptures to have them as representation of God or gods in their house.

The raising and discussing of doctrinal difficulties became a popular pastime. It also created the possibility for church-fathers to create writings and to gain popularity in certain circles. But because they agreed to certain Roman elements they became in difficulties with the Aristotelian use of deductive reasoning proceeding from self-evident principles or discovered general truths; and syllogistic forms of demonstrative or persuasive arguments. On lie or false teaching made they had to crate an other lie or a doctrine people had to take for truth, with the saying that it is something to difficult to understand for a human mind and therefore Christians had just to believe it as a creed of faith.

writes

Early Christianity strikes me as inheriting much from Aristotle’s ‘think about it: it’s obvious’ approach. The Roman Catholic church added layer upon layer of specific rules, all underwritten by a claim to divine authority — the big ‘Because’ — as handed down by a clear and certain hierarchy of human office-holders. The Reformation at first aimed to replace Roman Catholic certainties with certainties of its own. But in time the Reformation produced so many competing answers to the big ethical questions that in the schisms, sects and splinters — the rival certainties — modern Europe’s sense of one great, shared moral certainty was lost. {The question Christianity fails to answer: ‘Who is my neighbour?’}

The early Christians had already became distressed by heresies and by men who liked to have the pre-eminence over others. This resulted in schism and fragmentation. When the apostles were alive they still could call others to order. They made every effort to rebuke and educate those in error, sometimes with success and sometimes not. Those they could not bring to order or following the teachings of Christ Jesus grew in number and as such more and more people preferred those teachers which allowed them to keep the heathen rituals and to enjoy the human traditions. Still today we see that this is the main reason why many Christians do not want to convert to the truthful Christian groups which only want to keep to Biblical teaching and not to the human doctrines.

Some people are convinced that Aristotle is the most wise man who was keenly attuned to the realm of the divine. They also want to think that the divine the philosopher was talking about would have been the same divine Jesus and other Hebrew prophets were talking about.

He might have thought the divine being the origin of the human and the human at its best approaches the divine.

The latter is a paradoxical truth at the center of human existence {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

writes who thinks

the more perfect a human life, the more it stretches beyond the human and almost touches the divine. One who sees deeply into human greatness can as it were see through it, to something beyond. For men can become like gods. Such a profound truth Aristotle saw. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

Aristotle had confidence — though not certitude — that the gods will reward those who become like them, and the followers of Christ asked their disciples to become like Christ. For lots of human beings to become like God would be the most favourable and the climax in their life, the sum-mum. So, having Christ Jesus as their god would be better than the gentiles having their Roman or Greek gods, when they would equal Jesus with the God of Abraham.

All the preaching of the Hebrew prophets and rabbi Jeshua was about becoming one with the God Most High, building up a relation to last in eternity.

In some sense the possibility of God and men becoming friends does enter his mind. It enters his mind as a possibility to be rejected: “when one party is removed to a great distance, as god is, the possibility of friendship ceases” (also from the Nicomachean Ethics). It is not that the notion was inconceivable to him. Rather, there was simply no ground to consider it a real possibility. For God and men to be friends an apparently unbridgeable gap would have to be bridged. For as Aristotle often points out, friends share one life together, and there is nothing for which they so yearn as to be together. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

Such idea makes some Christian philosophers or Christian teachers, also today, placing Aristotle as the visionist who not only could tell what is  truly virtuous and what is mistakenly thought to be so, but also could tell the world what the meaning of Christmas is.

And this, then, is what Aristotle has to say about Christmas, about its deepest meaning.  If men are ever to become more than just somewhat-like the divine, if we are ever (tremble at the words) to live one life with him, and thus be his friends, then something very specific has to happen. And there is no human ground to expect that it ever will. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

As you see, it was thought of that one could live with the gods and to be befriended with the gods and with God. In Ethika Politika speaks about that happening in what he calls the “first Christmas”. With that “first Christmas” he refers to what lots of Christians have taken as the birthday of Christ.

That celebration which is still popular by many Christians and is even seen as a Christian holiday by many non-religious persons is a pagan celebration with lots of figures which have nothing to do at all with the birth of the promised saviour, Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

But we can see or understand why many want to bring Aristotle’s thinking to that pagan celebration and to bring it in Christendom. For man it has always been a question why they lived, why they had to suffer so much and how they could bring an end to suffering and get a better life.

Many have searched for happiness and came to the conclusion it must also have to do with having friendly relationships to living beings and perhaps also to divine beings.

According to John Cuddeback

Aristotle had the key to understanding Christmas. His master achievement was a profound understanding of human happiness. It is as though he grasped as much as can be grasped by human reason alone. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

Men are designed for greatness, a greatness that few ever achieve. True human happiness consists, simply put, in living virtuously. And virtuous living is the fundamental requirement and the necessary context for that deepest of human longings—true friendship. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

gods take an interest in the struggles of men? Here, writing in the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle is more tentative:

For if the gods have any care for human affairs, as it seems they do, it would be reasonable both that they should delight in that which was best and most akin to them and that they should reward those who love and honor this most, as caring for things that are dear to them.

Remarkably, he has confidence—though not certitude—that the gods will reward those who become like them.

But this is as far as far as it goes. Surely the possibility of God and men entering into some sort of shared life never entered his mind. Right?

This is a subtle matter. In some sense the possibility of God and men becoming friends does enter his mind. It enters his mind as a possibility to be rejected:

“when one party is removed to a great distance, as god is, the possibility of friendship ceases” (also from the Nicomachean Ethics).

It is not that the notion was inconceivable to him. Rather, there was simply no ground to consider it a real possibility. For God and men to be friends an apparently unbridgeable gap would have to be bridged. For as Aristotle often points out, friends share one life together, and there is nothing for which they so yearn as to be together. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

When for Aristotle the happiness meant to become wholesome, the early church argued people could become complete went hey became like Christ, though we do not know if they intentionally would say by that that people could become like God, because they came to take Christ Jesus to be God.

For Aristotle, eudaimonia was about living in accordance with reason; fulfilling our sense of purpose; doing our civic duty; living virtuously; being fully engaged with the world and, especially, experiencing the richness of human love and friendship. {Hugh Mackay, ‘Why we sometimes need to be sad’Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

Today we do not see many Christians who understand that living the life Christ calls us to live as Christians is a very logical exercise. Many Christians do not want to believe Jesus when he says who he is and who is grater than him.

A 22 year old Catholic woman writes

 if He is indeed God, then it is only logical that I need to center my life around Him. {Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

But than she makes a funny remark as if Jesus would not be saying who he is, but than says

On the other hand, if Jesus is not who He says He is, if He is not God, then He’s not a nice man, He’s a dangerous fanatic, and therefore I would do well to avoid centering my life around Him. {Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

what she does not seem to see that Jesus never told lies, because according to the Holy Scriptures, which we take to be the infallible word of God, being from the Most High God of gods Who does not tell lies, Jesus would not have sinned and as such would not have told lies. Jesus tells very clearly how he relates to God and how we like him have to relate to his heavenly Father.

As a Catholic she believes that our hearts are designed for union with God. She has reason to believe that, but she takes the wrong person to be her god. She has to be in union with her brothers and sisters in Christ and with Christ in union with God, like Jesus was in union with his heavenly Father. This will not make us to become Christ nor to become God, like Jesus was also not God, though one with God like we have to be one with Him.

This unity is the purpose of our existence that is inscribed into us; to love God and to be loved by God.

St. Augustine said,

“You have made us for Yourself, oh Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You”

And so, when we live in a way that we were designed to live, we experience a pervading joy and peace that the world cannot give. St. Catherine of Siena said,

“Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire.”

In other words, to be fully alive is to be who we are meant to be. {Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

These days in darker times of the year man tries to look at light and hopes to find in it happiness. He has taken the day of the goddess of light as the day to celebrate and present a Santa Claus, who has taken the place of Christ and the place of God. Man has become so materialistic and thinking happiness lays in the material goods one can get, that he is blinded not seeing the light of Christ and the Way to God.

All those false teachings were many became victim of give them a false hope of their spirit leaving their body and going to a sort heaven where they shall be able to find happiness. They do forget that Christ Jesus came to safe us and liberated us already some two thousand years ago from the penalty of death. thanks to him we are able to receive here already lots of happiness and hope in a marvellous new world here on earth.

Christian joy is living in accordance with reason, in a way that fulfills our sense of purpose, living virtuously, being fully engaged with the world and experiencing the richness of love and friendship with God.  {Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

A reason that follows with reason the words form the most sacred Book of books, the Bible and not from human dogmatic teachings and philosophies.

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Preceding

Focus on outward appearances

Marriage of Jesus 7 Impaled

Roman, Aztec and other rites still influencing us today

Irminsul, dies natalis solis invicti, birthday of light, Christmas and Saturnalia

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Additional reading

  1. Integrity of the fellowship
  2. Gainsayers In Apostolic Days
  3. Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:18-20 – John’s Teaching and Imprisonment
  4. Matthew 1:1-17 The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
  5. Politics and power first priority #2
  6. Politics and power first priority #3 Elevation of Mary and the Holy Spirit
  7. Altered to fit a Trinity
  8. Spelling Yahshuah (יהשע) vs Hebrew using Yehoshuah (יהושע)
  9. Americans really thinking the Messiah Christ had an English name
  10. Experiencing God
  11. A Living Faith #10: Our manner of Life #2
  12. Focussing on oneness with Jesus like Jesus is one with God

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Further related articles

  1. In the Family Way or Aristotle’s Ethics
  2. What Aristotle Says About Christmas
  3. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
  4. Deterring Determinism: The Freedom of Mankind
  5. 3 Quotes, 3 Days Challenge: Round 2
  6. The Birth of Science
  7. The Good Life: You Scratch My Back and I’ll Scratch Yours
  8. Four-Part Epilogue
  9. Aristotle’s Poetics and Sophocles’s Oedipus
  10. Interrogation
  11. Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism
  12. Imagination defines humanity
  13. Some Thoughts about Two Old Guys
  14. Happy Holidays
  15. The Smiths’ Christmas Letter
  16. A really lovely yet simple day
  17. Out with the old, in with the new
  18. Solving the Unwanted Gift Dilemma – With Love
  19. Christmas Party 2015
  20. It could only  happen at christmas
  21. Deconstructing Christmas
  22. This Christmas
  23. Tales of Christmas
  24. Christmastime
  25. Twelve days of Christmas
  26. One Last Look at Christmas, 2015
  27. Attachment and Holidays
  28. Prepare the Way for Christ
  29. grandchildren, love, and being a “gift-hero”
  30. Where is My Christmas Joy
  31. Not ‘Feeling’ Christmas This Year?

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Roman, Aztec and other rites still influencing us today

Days shortening and darkness coming over us

When we look at the weather we would not have the impression we are coming to the coldest season of the year. We can not ignore the shorter days, which remind us that we are coming closer to the longest darkness of the year.

That darkness has always frightened people and therefore they looked for ways to get more light again.

Saturnalia, a Roman feast celebrated in mid-December, provided the model for many of the merry-making customs we know now as ‘The time of the Year‘ or ‘Christmas‘. From this celebration, for example, were derived the elaborate feasting, the giving of gifts, and the burning of candles.

Seasons, storms, thunder, darkness and light

In other cultures we also find that many centuries before Jesus was born they celebrated the ‘birth of light‘. The Roman Catholic Church was not shy to take over many traditions from heathen people who celebrated such elements as the ‘turn’ of the position of moon and sun and the change of season. Even the Israelites came to feast such natural elements as the four teḳufot (Teḳufat Nisan, Teḳufat Tammuz, Teḳufat Tishri and the Teḳufat Ṭebet) by which also superstition became connected with the teḳufot. Hai Gaon, in the tenth century, in reply to a question as to the prevalence of the custom in the “West” (i.e., west of Babylon) that all water that may be in the house or stored away in vessels in the first hour of the teḳufah had to be thrown away in the belief that the water is then poisoned, and if drunk would cause swelling of the body, sickness, and sometimes death, said it was followed only in order that the new season might be begun with a supply of fresh, sweet water.

Jupiter Smyrna Louvre Ma13.jpg

Zeus, god of the sky, lightning, thunder, law, order, justice – The Jupiter de Smyrne, discovered in Smyrna in 1680

When the sun enters Capricornus; this is the beginning of winter, or “‘et ha-ḥoref”(stripping-time), when the night is the longest during the year.For several people it was the time something had to be stripped down or some things that happened in the past had to be done with. The bad things had to be forgotten or to ‘be over with’ and new paths could be taken again. It was the time of a ‘turn over’ or a rebirth. People looked forward to the rebirth of the sun and hoped that everything would go well. For that reason they offered the rest of their food to the gods of nature which had to bear them fruits and good weather, not making the god of thunder (sky and thunder god Zeus) angry by forgetting him or to have bad spirits around, lots of noise was made to get them away from the own house.

Also in Latin America we can find such very noisy parties. For many people the darker nights were there for getting the ‘good’ and ‘goods’ together. All badness had to be down away. On the 24th of December it was the big moment to look for the next day when the goddess of light would return in case they all showed the goodness and willingness to her.

From December 16 through December 23 in Latin America eight posada parties are held and on the 24th, Nochebuena (The Good Night)(Christmas Eve) is celebrated, and families make an effort to be together for a special dinner. Also in West Europe this custom of a Christmas meal has been long a favourite moment.

Roman influences

Statue of three figures, seated side by side

Capitoline Triad – the three godheads side by side transposed in the Roman catholic church and shims of that church to the Trinity, being a God the Father, god the son, and a god the holy spirit.

Constantine the Great had managed to got the church leaders to agree to many of his demands so that the Christians would not any more be persecuted. For that reason they had to agree to the three-headed Roman god and Jeshua could become the ‘counterpart’ or ‘alias’ for Zeus with his name calling ‘hail Zeus‘ or ‘Issou‘ ‘Jesus‘. And they had to keep to the Roman festivals and as such should place their Christian Zeus (Jesus) his birth on the same major feast for the ‘light’ in the Roman world. As such rabbi Jeshua became Jesus , and his birth day became the 25th of December instead of October 17. Constantine insisted that the mighty king of the gods (Jupiter) or the Roman god of the sky, thunderstorms, lightning, weather and air got honoured on his day (December 25).

But it were not only Roman customs which entered Christendom.

Aztec influences

Latin Americans should come to see that American Christmas customs are nothing but Aztec rites. El Universal, a newspaper in Mexico City, commented:

“Friars from different orders took advantage of the fact that festivities of the Indian ritual calendar coincided with the Catholic liturgical calendar, so they used this to support their evangelizing and missionary work. They replaced the commemorations to the pre-Hispanic divinities with festivities to Christian divinities, introduced European festivities and activities, and also took advantage of the Indian festivities, which resulted in a cultural syncretism from which authentically Mexican expressions have arisen.”

The Encyclopedia Americana explains:

Nativity plays early became a part of the Christmas celebration . . . The representation in church of the crèche [the manger scene] is said to have been begun by Saint Francis.”

These plays featuring the birth of Christ were performed in the churches during the beginning of the colonization of Mexico. They were organized by Franciscan monks in order to teach the Indians about the Nativity. Later the posadas became more popular. Whatever the original intention behind them, the way the posadas are held today speaks for itself. If you are in Mexico during this season, you can see or sense something that a writer for El Universal highlighted in his comment:

“The posadas, which were a way to remind us of the pilgrimage of Jesus’ parents looking for a shelter where the Child God could be born, are today only days of drunkenness, excesses, gluttony, vanities, and more and more crime.”

Traditional Nativity scenes

The idea of the nacimiento emerged during Colonial times from the original live representations in churches. While some find it attractive, does it correctly represent what the Bible says?
That is a valid question.

When the so-called three wise men — who in fact were astrologers — visited, Jesus and his family were no longer living in a stable. Time had passed, and the family was living in a house. You will find it interesting to note this detail in the inspired record at Matthew 2:1, 11. You can also note that the Bible does not say how many astrologers there were.

After Jesus had been born in Bethʹle·hem+ of Ju·deʹa in the days of Herod*+ the king, look! astrologers* from the East came to Jerusalem, saying: “Where is the one born king of the Jews?+ For we saw his star when we were in the East, and we have come to do obeisance* to him.” …  10 On seeing the star, they rejoiced with great joy. 11 And when they went into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and falling down, they did obeisance* to him. They also opened their treasures and presented him with gifts—gold and frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:1-2,10-11)

Another detail should not be ignored: In the Mexican nacimiento, the baby is referred to as “the Child God” with the idea that it was God himself who came to earth as a baby. However, the Bible presents Jesus as being the Son of God who was born on earth; he was not the same as or equal to Jehovah, the Almighty God. Consider the truth about this, presented at Luke 1:35; John 3:16; 5:37; 14:1, 6, 9, 28; 17:1, 3; 20:17.

35 In answer the angel said to her: “Holy spirit will come upon you,+ and power of the Most High will overshadow you. And for that reason the one who is born will be called holy,+ God’s Son.+ (Luke 1:35)

16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son,+ so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.+ 17 For God did not send his Son into the world for him to judge the world, but for the world to be saved through him.+ 18 Whoever exercises faith in him is not to be judged.+ Whoever does not exercise faith has been judged already, because he has not exercised faith in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.+ (John 3:16-18)

Three wise men, Santa and birthday celebrations

In Latin America, the three wise men replace the idea of Santa Claus. Still, as is done in other lands, many parents hide toys in the home. Then on the morning of January 6, the children look for them, as if the three wise men brought them. This is a money-making time for toy sellers, and some have made a fortune on what many honesthearted people recognize is just a fantasy. The myth of the three wise men is losing credibility among a goodly number, even among little children. Though some are displeased that this myth is losing believers, what can anyone expect of a fantasy maintained only for the sake of tradition and for commercial convenience?

Christmas, or the Nativity, was not celebrated by early Christians. One encyclopedia says about this:

“The celebration was not observed in the first centuries of the Christian church, since the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth.”

The Bible links the celebration of birthdays with pagans, not with God’s true worshippers.

But when Herod’s birthday+ was being celebrated, the daughter of He·roʹdi·as danced for the occasion and pleased Herod so much+ that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Then she, at her mother’s prompting, said: “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”+ Grieved though he was, the king, out of regard for his oaths and for those dining* with him, commanded it to be given. 10 So he sent and had John beheaded in the prison. (Matthew 14:6-10).

This does not, of course, mean that it is not beneficial to learn and remember the actual events involved in the birth of the Son of God. The factual Bible account provides important insights and lessons for all those who want to do God’s will.

Birth of Jesus According to the Bible

You will find reliable information about Jesus’ birth in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. They show that the angel Gabriel visited a young unmarried woman by the name of Mary in the Galilean town of Nazareth. What message did he deliver?

“Look! you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you are to call his name Jesus. This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; and Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom.” (Luke 1:31-33.)

Mary was very surprised by this message. Not being married, she said:

“How is this to be, since I am having no intercourse with a man?” The angel answered: “Holy spirit will come upon you, and power of the Most High will overshadow you. For that reason also what is born will be called holy, God’s Son.” Mary, recognizing that this was the will of God, said: “Look! Jehovah’s slave girl! May it take place with me according to your declaration.” (Luke 1:34-38).

An angel told Joseph about the miraculous birth so that he would not divorce Mary, which he was planning to do after he learned of her pregnancy. He was then willing to assume the responsibility of taking care of the Son of God. (Matthew 1:18-25).

Then a decree from Caesar Augustus forced Joseph and Mary to travel from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea, the city of their forefathers, to be registered.

“While they were there, the days came to the full for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her son, the firstborn, and she bound him with cloth bands and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the lodging room.” (Luke 2:1-7).

Luke 2:8-14 describes what followed:

“There were also in that same country shepherds living out of doors and keeping watches in the night over their flocks. And suddenly Jehovah’s angel stood by them, and Jehovah’s glory gleamed around them, and they became very fearful. But the angel said to them: ‘Have no fear, for, look! I am declaring to you good news of a great joy that all the people will have, because there was born to you today a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in David’s city. And this is a sign for you: you will find an infant bound in cloth bands and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there came to be with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying: ‘Glory in the heights above to God, and upon earth peace among men of goodwill.’”

The Astrologers

Matthew’s account mentions that astrologers from the East came to Jerusalem looking for the place where the King of the Jews was born. King Herod was very interested in this — but not with good intentions.

“Sending them to Bethlehem,

he said:

‘Go make a careful search for the young child, and when you have found it report back to me, that I too may go and do it obeisance.’”

The astrologers found the young child and

“opened their treasures and presented it with gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”

But they did not go back to Herod.

“They were given divine warning in a dream not to return to Herod.”

God used an angel to warn Joseph of Herod’s intentions. Joseph and Mary then fled to Egypt with their son. Next, in an effort to eliminate the new King, cruel King Herod ordered the killing of boys in the Bethlehem area. Which boys? Those two years of age and under. (Matthew 2:1-16).

What Can We Learn From the Account?

The visiting astrologers — however many of them there were — did not worship the true God. The Bible version La Nueva Biblia Latinoamérica (1989 Edition) states in a footnote:

“The Magi were not kings, but fortune-tellers and priests of a pagan religion.”

They came in line with their knowledge of the stars to which they were devoted. Had God wanted to guide them to the young child, they would have been led to the exact place without needing to go first to Jerusalem and to Herod’s palace. Later on, God did intervene to alter their course to protect the child.

At Christmastime this account is often surrounded by a mythical and romantic atmosphere that obscures the most important thing: that this baby was born to be a magnificent King, as was announced to Mary and to the shepherds. No, Jesus Christ is not a baby anymore, or even a child. He is the ruling King of God’s Kingdom, which very soon will eliminate all rulerships opposed to God’s will, and he will solve all problems of mankind. That is the Kingdom we ask for in the Lord’s Prayer.

44 “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom+ that will never be destroyed.+ And this kingdom will not be passed on to any other people.+ It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms,+ and it alone will stand forever,+ (Daniel 2:44)

“You must pray, then, this way:+

“‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name+ be sanctified.*+ 10 Let your Kingdom+ come. Let your will+ take place, as in heaven, also on earth.+ (Matthew 6:9, 10).

Through the angels’ declaration to the shepherds, we learn that the opportunity for salvation is open to all who are willing to hear the message of the good news. Those who gain the favour of God become “men of goodwill.”
There are marvellous prospects for peace in all the world under the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, but people must be willing to do God’s will. Is the Christmas season conducive to this, and does it reflect that desire?
Many sincere people who want to follow the Bible feel that the answer is obvious.

10 But the angel said to them: “Do not be afraid, for look! I am declaring to you good news of a great joy that all the people will have. 11 For today there was born to you in David’s city+ a savior,+ who is Christ the Lord.+ 12 And this is a sign for you: You will find an infant wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army,+ praising God and saying: 14 “Glory in the heights above to God, and on earth peace among men of goodwill.”* (Luke 2:10, 11, 14).

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Preceding articles:

Irminsul, dies natalis solis invicti, birthday of light, Christmas and Saturnalia

Winter Solstice 2015: Shortest Day Of The Year Celebrated As Pagan Yule

Holidays, holy days and traditions

Focus on outward appearances

Autumn traditions for 2014 – 1: Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet

Traditionalists Vow to Fight Charges of Racism in Netherlands

The imaginational war against Christmas

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Additional reading

  1. Altered to fit a Trinity
  2. Americans really thinking the Messiah Christ had an English name
  3. Spelling Yahshuah (יהשע) vs Hebrew using Yehoshuah (יהושע)
  4. First month of the year and predictions
  5. Hosea Say What?
  6. Matthew 1:18-25 – Genesis of Jesus Christ
  7. Matthew 2:1-6 – Astrologers and Priests in a Satanic Plot
  8. Matthew 2:7-12 – Pawns of Herod, the Magi Find the ‘Child’
  9. Matthew 2:13-15 – Escaping the Slaughter by a Flight to Egypt
  10. Matthew 2:16-18 – Slaughter of the Innocents
  11. Matthew 2:19-23 – Out of Egypt to Nazareth
  12. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:26-38 – Gabriel’s Appearance to Mary
  13. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:39-40 – The Young Child Grows
  14. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:41-50 – Twelve Year Old Jesus in the Temple
  15. Truth, doubt or blindness
  16. Getting out of the dark corners of this world
  17. The place where Jesus was brought up
  18. A Living Faith #7 Prayer

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Further reading

  1. Is Santa Real, Or Is He Really You, Dad?
  2. “Islam may have bad stuff. But …” – What of the other Bronze Age Invented Gods?
  3. Did Electricity kill Religion?
  4. Should we forgo happiness here for the sake of happiness hereafter?
  5. Life Comes in Threes
  6. The three gifts
  7. Wassail Ancient holiday tradition that involves drinking, singing, and making introverts nervous.
  8. A Christmas Wish
  9. America’s First “War on Christmas”
  10. A Breath of Fresh Air
  11. Lapland baby #blogmas day 19
  12. Snowflake Tea Light Cozy
  13. Christmas: The Giver’s Feast
  14. O Christmas Tree!
  15. Christmas Music Matters: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
  16. Preparing for Christmas
  17. Living in the Moment
  18. Jesus is the True and Better David (6/12)
  19. Last Minute Gift Idea
  20. Christmas Tree Farm
  21. A Christmas round up
  22. Mr. Santa’s Boogie
  23. 7 Events Which Turned Our Christmas Upside Down
  24. Jane Austen and old friends to the rescue
  25. 7th and 6th day of Christmas! !
  26. Once Upon a Holiday

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Winter Solstice 2015: Shortest Day Of The Year Celebrated As Pagan Yule

Having natural bodies and hoping to get spiritual bodies in this system of things we do have to live in this world but that does not mean we have to live according to this world or according to man’s system.

Most parents get confronted more with life questions as soon as they get children and when those go to the primary school they are questioned even more about life and religious matters.

English: Santa Claus with a little girl Espera...

Santa Claus with a little girl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When those schools celebrate the pagan festivals and have the children dress up and parade with Halloween and when Saint Nicholas is celebrated begin December and afterwards the Christmas tree is put up in class and Santa Claus becomes the subject of the day, parents have to be strong not to go against those worldly fashions in the wrong way but have to deal with it diplomatic.

Though they should not be afraid to make it very clear to their child what is pagan and contrary to the Will of God. Such pagan festivals are the time of the year to show the right way to children and grandchildren. Such occasions we may not miss to witness about the Gospel of the real Good Tidings and how we have to prepare ourselves to a much better world than this one.

We have to show our children and/or grandchildren how we have a much more precious gift than all the material gadgets this world is offering our greedy consumer eyes.

Male and female essences shall receive their righteous place in a new universe and shall come to to operate fully as renewed beings, but only those who are justified and shall be allowed by the God given judge, Jeshua, the master teacher and saviour Jesus Christ. On him we should put our hope and look forward to receive him as our most important gift of the year.

*

To remember

English: Illumination of Earth by Sun on the d...

Illumination of Earth by Sun on the day of winter solstice on northern hemisphere. A view to eastern-hemisphere showing noon in Central European time zone (ignoring DST) on the day of winter solstice (on northern hemisphere – this is summer solstice on southern hemisphere). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • In 2015, the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere will begin on Dec. 22 at 4:48 a.m. UTC. To calculate the turning point in your time zone, click here.
  • Officially first day of winter > winter solstice > North Pole tilted 23.5 degrees away from sun => longest night of the year => days get progressively longer after winter solstice until summer solstice.
  • winter solstice celebrated by many people around the world as beginning of return of the sun = darkness turning into light.
  • Talmud > winter solstice = “Tekufat Tevet” ==== [Teḳufat Nisan, the vernal equinox (March 21) Teḳufat Tammuz, the summer solstice (June 21), Teḳufat Tishri, the autumnal equinox (Sept. 23), Teḳufat Ṭebet, the winter solstice (Dec. 22), when the sun enters Capricornus; this is the beginning of winter, or “‘et ha-ḥoref”(stripping-time), when the night is the longest during the year. Each teḳufah, according to Samuel Yarḥinai, marks the beginning of a period of 91 days and 7½ hours.]
  • China, Dongzhi Festival >Winter Solstice celebrated by families getting together + eating special festive food.
  • Until 16th century winter months = time of famine in northern Europe =>Most cattle slaughtered = wouldn’t have to be fed during the winter => solstice time fresh meat plentiful => merriment + feasting.
  • pre-Christian Scandinavia > Feast of Juul, or Yule 12 days celebrating rebirth of sun god and giving rise to the custom of burning a Yule log.
  • ancient Rome winter solstice celebrated at Feast of Saturnalia > honouring Saturn, god of agricultural bounty > characterized by feasting, debauchery + gift-giving = With Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity => customs absorbed into Christmas celebrations. >>> Emperor Constantine appropriated Pagan holidays for Christian ones ostensibly to make them more palatable to his people who had been Pagan for generations.
  • winter solstice in ancient ruins of Stonehenge, England > Thousands of druids + pagans gather there to chant, dance + sing while waiting to see spectacular sunrise.
  • solstices chance to still ourselves inside, to behold the glory of the cosmos, + to take a breath with the Sacred.
  • connecting with natural world (honouring sacred immanent in all things) => establish resonance with seasons
  • Ritual helps to shift our consciousness => reflect outer world inside our inner landscape
  • daughter  of 4 wants practically everything she sees toy and clothes-wise => real historic figure St. Niklaus who would bring gifts to children at Yule-time.
  • Christmas only been celebrated in the US since about the 1800s > In it’s current manifestation = more like a holiday invented by toy manufacturers to increase their profits.
  • the writer of the article underneath believes that the dying god, the male esssence, is sacrificed (or dies in the winter) and goes into the Mother (Earth) for the winter in order to be reborn again in the spring => thinking of a figure like The Green Man.
  • Incidentally a full moon this year on the Winter Solstice

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Preceding

Holidays, holy days and traditions

Focus on outward appearances

Autumn traditions for 2014 – 1: Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet

Traditionalists Vow to Fight Charges of Racism in Netherlands

The imaginational war against Christmas

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Additional reading

  1. Politics and power first priority #1
  2. Eostre, Easter, White god, chocolate eggs, Easter bunnies and metaphorical resurrection
  3. Jesus begotten Son of God #1 Christmas and Christians
  4. Solstice, Saturnalia and Christmas-stress
  5. Christmas customs – Are They Christian?
  6. Christmas in Ancient Rome (AKA Saturnalia)
  7. The Advent of the saviour to Roman oppression
  8. Christmas trees
  9. Manna from Sint Nicholas
  10. Ignorance of Today’s Youth (and Adults)
  11. Sancta Claus is not God
  12. Brits believe Santa present at Jesus’ birth, new poll reveals
  13. Wishing lanterns and Christmas
  14. Christmas in the 1950s
  15. Continued nostalgic Christmas memories
  16. The Proper Place of Excess
  17. Looking for the consummation of presents
  18. One can buy a lot in the supermarket, but not hope
  19. Objects around the birth and death of Jesus

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Further reading

  1. Winter is Coming!
  2. The Dark Side
  3. Darkness to Light
  4. Winter Solstice
  5. Winter Solstice by Luna Beam
  6. Long nights’s moon
  7. Winter Solstice and Yule
  8. Yule
  9. Personal Festival of Lights
  10. Celebrating the Winter Solstice….
  11. Great Yule: The ancient and present holiday
  12. Winter Solstice Festival
  13. The Yule Countdown
  14. In Praise of the Invincible Light
  15. Hail the Return of the Sun
  16. Yule is upon us!
  17. Yule Fillable Ornament Magick
  18. Yuletide Tunes
  19. Saturnalia
  20. Christmas
  21. Christmas is Pagan!
  22. From Sukkot to Saturnalia: The Attack on Christmas in Sixteenth-Century..
  23. By Jove! It’s Christmas: Did the First Christian Roman Emperor Appropriate..
  24. Christmas is Tammuz’s Birthday?
  25. War On Christmas Memes: Saturnalia
  26. War On Christmas Memes: The Yule Tree
  27. A Little history on the holly tree
  28. How to bring some real Christmas spirits into your Yule-tide
  29. Santa Claus, Krampus,The Wild Hunt and Me.
  30. Christmas, the Weridest Holiday of the Year; Part one
  31. Christmas — Who gives a rip HOW we came up with the date we use?!?
  32. Christmas: it’s all about money, not messiahs.
  33. Jan 17 – Antony of Egypt
  34. Tanguyan
  35. Christmas Day Reads
  36. Cheers to Hot Cocoa and Peppermint Schnapps
  37. Set to Purpose
  38. Yule 2015#18
  39. Merry Yule!
  40. Online Winter Solstice / Yule Ritual by Spirit’s Edge Shamonial Temple
  41. Yule, Light, and rare events
  42. Following the Yule Star
  43. Cranberry & Hazelnut Peppermint Honey Cake: Hail To The Mothers!

 

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Mystic Myrelle

“Something in us needs to know that at the end of the longest night, there will be light.”

  • HuffPost Religion EditorsThe Huffington Post
12/16/2015 02:35 pm ET

In 2015, the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere will begin on Dec. 22 at 4:48 a.m. UTC. To calculate the turning point in your time zone, click here.

Officially the first day of winter, the winter solstice occurs when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. This is the longest night of the year, meaning that despite the cold winter, the days get progressively longer after thewinter solstice until the summer solstice in 2016.

The winter solstice is celebrated by many people around the world as the beginning of the return of the sun, and darkness turning into light. The Talmud recognizes the winter solstice as “Tekufat Tevet.” In China, the Dongzhi Festival is…

View original post 805 more words

Who Gets to Say What the Bible Says?

Who Gets to Say What the Bible Says?

Alex Crain

bible_dusty600x300

When asked about the way popular periodicals portray Christianity, Pastor Rick Warren once observed: “I think it’s disingenuous that magazines like ‘Newsweek’ know that their circulation goes up at Christmas and Easter if they put a spiritual issue on the cover, but it’s always bait and switch.”

Newsweek magazine cover, 19 April 1982. HMS He...

Newsweek magazine cover, 19 April 1982. HMS Hermes pictured. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, this week’s cover of Newsweek is no exception. It bears the appropriate title The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin by Kurt Eichenwald. In the article, Eichenwald highlights the problem of biblical illiteracy but then proceeds to make a stunning display of his own selectively presented and—there’s no better wording I can think of—downright ignorant attacks on Christianity. Among Eichenwald’s more obvious errors are (1) overstating Bible manuscript discrepancies (which do exist, but are minor… for more detail on that begin here and here), and (2) completely ignoring the credible historical testimony of Apostles and martyrs who were killed for refusing to deny Christ‘s teachings, deity, and claims. (C.S. Lewis’ apt phrase “chronological snobbery” comes to mind here.)

Eichenwald’s attacks have been responded to time and again throughout the centuries along with every other charge levelled against Christianity. They keep getting recycled because of two perennial facts: #1 they appeal to natural human doubt and #2 they make lots of money. It’s no secret that publishers know controversy sells. In his own words, Newsweek editor-in-chief James Impoco states: “In case you haven’t noticed, The Bible is news.”

Well, of course it is, Mr. Impoco… the way you tell it. Of course, this begs the question: “Who gets to say what the Bible says anyway?”

Having a Megaphone Isn’t the Same as Having Authority

Certainly, many who self-identify as “Christian” in the broadest sense are disqualified, as Eichenwald rightly points out. Many of the world’s worst examples of professing Christians are lampooned in the Newsweek article, as well they should be. They don’t speak for Christianity. Faithful Christians recognize them as frauds. That’s half of the solution. The other half is working with and supporting credible ministries that care about the truth. How do we recognize the good ones? Fortunately, the Bible spells that out. There are certain kinds of leaders to follow, and they are the ones who get to say with authority what the Bible says. All other voices—including Kurt Eichenwald’s and even that of the mighty Newsweek magazine—are mere passing novelties.

Those who use the Bible to persuade others actually put themselves in a very dangerous place. They presume to speak for God as one of His spokespeople. (And, yes, I include myself here.) According to James 3:1, such people are considered “teachers.” Teachers are subject to strict judgment both for their character and for how well they handle Scripture. Because biblical literacy is at an all-time low, the naïve give equal weight to every opinion about the Bible. Many are unable to spot illegitimate teachers who sow confusion. A true teacher of the Bible, however, has certain observable character qualities. Titus and 1Timothy tell us they are…

“…above reproach, the husband of one wife… He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” Titus 1:5-9

And

“…above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach” (1 Timothy 3:1-5).

In other words, those who declare “This is what the Bible says…” without meeting the above qualifications—be they writer, farmer, judge, professor, or president—put themselves under God’s condemnation as false teachers. Wielding a big megaphone like Newsweek isn’t the same as having true authority. The Christian faith is not a stand-alone artifact that’s subject to being picked apart by skeptics with an axe to grind. It’s a body of truth that is guarded and maintained by a community of the faithful who are led and taught by faithful men of God. Such qualified elders stand in an unbroken chain extending from the present day all the way back to Christ and the Apostles (2 Tim. 2:2). They may be hard to find, but they do exist and are far more worthy of attention than the cacophony of false teachers that are found in such abundance today.

Your turn: Are you often stumped by doubts or unable to respond to charges levelled at the Christian faith? Ask yourself this: Are you under the sound teaching of God’s Word by qualified elders? Could that be one of the reasons you are so easily tossed about with every wind of doctrine? (Eph. 4:14) What’s keeping you from seeking out and submitting to biblical pastoral leadership?
Alex Crain is the editor of Christianity.com. You can read more posts by Alex at his blog and follow him on Twitter @alex_crain.

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Naturally the Bible says nowhere that Jesus is God but in it, the Maker of all things and Only One true God says clearly that Jesus is His only begotten beloved son. Jesus himself also very well knew his position which at first was lower than angels and that God is, was and always shall be, the Most High.
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