Biblical Reflection

Jesus is not the reason for the season.

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

Luke 22:19

I was recently asked why I don’t celebrate the birth of my Savior given that it’s a Christian tradition. And that’s just what it is: tradition, a man-made one at that, too as Christmas tends to undermine the birth of Christ. It is not biblical, it will never be biblical for God never changes. Why didn’t the early church celebrate the birth of Christ? I was looking up something on birthdays recently (another post, another time) and I wondered where in scripture did the Jews celebrate birthdays? Why shop until we drop? Why snowmen, elves, trees, lights, and a chubby man in a red and white suit trespassing into people’s homes by going down a chimney? Why do we do many things in His Name that are based on tradition and not scripture? Why celebrate His birthday as a man when He is not?

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Someone else inputted, “But Jesus is the reason for the season”. For me, He isn’t. It sounds like a slogan drummed up by a pretty good marketing team to target Christians, so they can get into the Christmas spirit. 

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.

Colossians 2:8

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In “Do this in remembrance of me”, Jesus never directed anyone to celebrate or commemorate His birthday. Yes, I’ve heard the argument that “we give gifts for the giving of gifts comes from the wise men.” Yes, the wise men brought gifts, but they were not giving gifts for Jesus’ birthday. Rather, they were presenting gifts to a King and this event does not state that it was the King’s birthday. Rather, Jesus was already said to be a toddler when the wise men came to visit. 

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” 

John 18:37 (NIV)

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It’s hard to believe now, but I used to celebrate Christmas. I woke up one morning in search of the truth after celebrating it didn’t sit too well on my heart. I prayed and sought God’s guidance in the matter. All of this was before I got baptized by the way. The Lord led me to the conclusion that this holiday was not to be celebrated anymore, so I stopped. I don’t miss it at all. There are some pastors out here that also came to the same conclusion to stop celebrating the holiday, but they love to compromise by still placing lights as decorations around the church minus the tree. It doesn’t make sense. 

RELATED: That time of year

A great testimony & eye-opener by Sue Love!

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Christ was never in Christmas for Christmas did not originate with His birth. He is not a sun god or a fairy tale, and He doesn’t deserve the silliness surrounding the hype around this time. He is not the reason for the season. You are. Jesus is not caught up in the commercial hype of the season; you are. Jesus is not interested in which gift is His underneath the tree; you are. When Jesus came to earth, it wasn’t for Jesus, it was for us, so we can gain salvation and everlasting life. Saying that “Jesus is the reason for the season” is like saying “Jesus was born for Jesus”. And if He was the reason for the season? Then Christmas would’ve gone a little something like this:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”

Luke 4:18

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Jesus is the Word and the Word was always here. The Word is God and the Word was always with God and God has no beginning or end. No day, no month, nor year. He is Spirit, and He is Truth, and we must worship Him in such. The concept of Christmas seems like a golden calf to me.

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Bible Activity/Discussion, Origins

Did three wise men really visit Jesus?

The birth of Christ is wrapped up in folklore and tradition (man’s) and marketed to the world as Christmas. The nativity scene takes the center of attention in window displays, schools and offices, often misleading believers.

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The Nativity Scene Origin

The first nativity scene was created in 1223 in Greccio, central Italy by Saint Francis of Assisi. It is said to represent the true “spirit” of Christmas. However, many depictions of Jesus’s birth are filled with inaccuracies and it conflicts with the true Biblical account. We often see the little family, three wise men, sometimes a shepherd or two, a few animals, huddled around a newborn, the scene illuminated by the light of a lone star. Pretty wonderful and harmonic, right? But this is most unlikely.

Why can’t we be satisfied with the Biblical account? The true account?

The visiting Wise Men 

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The wise men came from the east to see the infant after following a star (Matthew 2:2). Magi or wise men originally referred to a class of priests from Persia. They were said to be students of astrology, hence why they noticed the strange star, to begin with, and followed it.

It’s unclear how many wise men were there as the Bible doesn’t speculate, but because they brought three gifts – gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11) –  it’s assumed that it was three wise men. It could’ve been two wise men bringing those gifts. It could’ve been as much as five, six or even ten wise men.

Manger or house?

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We’re told that the wise men visited Jesus in the stable while He was in a manger. Luke 2:8-20 shows that the shepherds who were watching over their flock in the field by night were given the news of Jesus’s birth by angels and they visited Jesus as He lay in a manger. It’s most likely that they saw the newborn Savoir before the Magi. And it’s no coincidence that the angels broke the news to the shepherds first, for it foreshadowed Christ as the good Shepherd.

In Matthew 2:11, by the time the wise men arrive, Mary and Joseph are not in a stable, but in a house. It’s likely that it took the wise men, days, months or even a few years to arrive on the scene.

The gifts the Wise Men brought.

The Magi brought three significant gifts that bore spiritual meanings. 

Gold recognizes Jesus as the King of Kings and the great High Priest. The Magi acknowledged that they were in the presence of a King. Gold was highly valued by kings as we see with Solomon in 2 Chronicles 9:20. Gold was also woven into the fabric of the high priest (Exodus 28). 

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Frankincense recognizes Him as the perfect Lamb sacrifice and it has a wonderful fragrance. It was used for making incense (Exodus 30:34), was an ingredient in sacrifices (Leviticus 2:1-2) and it was also an ingredient in perfumes (Song of Solomon 3:6; 4:14).

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Myrrh recognizes His death and resurrection. It was first mentioned in Genesis 37:25 where it was carried by camels in a caravan. It was used for burial embalming (John 19:39), as an ingredient in anointing oil (Exodus 30:23-25) and as a perfume (Song of Solomon 1:13; 3:6; 4:6, 14; 5:1, 5, 13). It was also used in Jesus’ burial (John 19:39).

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The frankincense and myrrh trees are cut and bruised to bleed out the resin to use for healing, perfumes, incense, and anointing. Do you see the spiritual symbolism when it comes to Christ, Who suffered and shed His blood for humanity? By His stripes, we’re healed!

In conclusion

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Matthew is the only Gospel writer that mentions the wise men visiting Christ after His birth. The account states that after Jesus’s birth, the wise men visit King Herod to inquire about Jesus’s actual location. However, Herod doesn’t have a clue though he’s troubled, and seeks the services of the wise men to locate the newborn Savior under the guise of wanting to worship Him. After leaving Jerusalem, the wise men see a star, follow it, and comes to worship the King of Kings in a house and not in a stable.

The Magi read and believed God’s Word, they sought Jesus, recognized His worth, and humbled themselves before Him in worship. We should come into God’s house with such reverence when we’re in His presence.

This is the account that is given in Matthew 2:1-12. The Bible doesn’t mention how many Magi (even if there was really 3) so we shouldn’t take away or add to the Word.

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Bible Activity/Discussion

Bible’s Most Asked Questions #4: Was Jesus born on December 25?

There’s a light that shines on every flower
And it shines every minute, every hour
And always guides me on my way
This light was born on Christmas Day
His name is Jesus.

Laughing Children by Lennox Grey

This used to be my favorite season song when I was really young. I grew up believing that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was born on December 25th when scriptures plainly do not state so. This question tends to pop up around this time a lot, but it’s hardly addressed in full for many are afraid of upsetting Christians. Today, we’re going there.

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It was the 3rd century, people started to speculate about the birth of Jesus when Hyppolytus (ca.170-236) claimed that Jesus was born on December 25. Much later on, Cyril of Jerusalem (348-286) said that Jesus was born on December 25th because of the original Roman birth census which he had access to said so. But did the Bible say so? And yes, I know the Bible does not have to record every event, but this was the birth of the Savior. This was the birth of the Man Who’ll eventually die for our sins. Wouldn’t the Bible have dedicated at least a portion in His honor telling us the exact date of His birth? Wouldn’t the disciples have celebrated His birthday? So if December 25th was not the birth of our Savior, what is the significance of the day? Let’s dig in deeper.

The significance of December 25

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At the time of Christ, the Romans celebrated a holiday in December known as Saturnalia that honored the god Saturn from December 17-24. Later, the Romans began celebrating Sol Invictus/”Unconquered Sun” (sun worship) on December 25. This was associated with the winter solstice. In the 4th century, Rome instituted Christianity thus converting Saturnalia and Sol Invictus to a Christian holiday. This provided a spiritual alternative to the pagan celebration and it was called the Feast of Nativity.

But did Jesus asked for a commemorative birthday which had its origins steeped in paganism? A few gods are celebrated on or associated with December 25th including Apollo, Attis, Tammuz, Helios, and of course, Nimrod (the Christmas tree can be traced back to him). Some of these so-call gods were born to “virgins” including Ra.

In Luke 2:7-8, we see the shepherds in the field watching over their flocks at the time of Jesus’s birth. Scholars and historians agree that this couldn’t be December for Judea were cold and rainy around this time and it’s most likely that the shepherds would’ve sought shelter for their flocks. In Luke 2:1-4, Jesus’s parents came to Bethlehem to register in a Roman census and such were not taken in the winter. Luke 1:24-36 tells us that Elizabeth, John’s mother was in her 6th month of pregnancy when Jesus was conceived. Zacharias, John’s father, was a priest serving in the Jerusalem temple during the course of Abijah (Luke 1:5) and according to historical calculations, this service took place on June 13-19 in that year.

If John was conceived at the end of June, and you add 9 months, that’ll bring us to March when John was most likely born. John and Jesus have a 6-month age difference between them, so if we were to add 6 months after John’s birth, Jesus would’ve been born in the month-end of September. But it’s all assumption, for He could’ve been born in October as well. 

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In conclusion

The early Christian church did not celebrate the birth of Jesus. We do not know the exact date on which He was born and if God wanted us to know, He would’ve told us in His Word. And if December 25th was really the birth of our Savior, why is it people do the most unholy things on this day such as being gluttonous, debauchery, selfishness, etc?

To put, this is a tradition of man. Rome did not celebrate Christmas until 300 years after the death of Christ. 

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#amwriting ✍

A guide for those who don’t celebrate the holidays.

I think the heading might be a little misleading, but please, read on.

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I frequent many blogs on a daily, and I know that some of you may have noticed that I haven’t been liking your posts recently. I have nothing against any of the blogs I follow. It’s just that, I don’t celebrate Christmas (or any holidays for that matter), so I tend to stay away from posts regarding the season, although I’ve liked a few. 

This brings me to earlier this week: a student wanted to purchase a gift for another, but when he was told that the to-be receiver did not observe the holiday, he was flabbergasted and decided that he was still going to purchase the gift in hopes of her accepting it while someone suggested that maybe the girl was a Jehovah’s Witness. This brings me to…

What NOT TO DO for those not observing Christmas

I honestly can’t seem to get the wording right at the moment, guys!

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* If you know someone who doesn’t celebrate the season, don’t wish them season greetings; it may not sit well with them.

* Don’t buy them Christmas gifts in hopes that they’ll accept it. There is no rule saying that you can’t buy someone a gift, but it doesn’t have to be a Christmas one. And if you just happen to get someone something that you know they’ll like, give it to them after the season as a friendly token/gift. That means no Christmas cards/fancy Christmas gift wrapping. 

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* If they’re not forcing you to not celebrate Christmas, then don’t force them to celebrate it. Forcing your customs upon them is rude. Some of them were there, done that, and there is a reason why they don’t want to go back. Also, bear in mind, there are some who might see the Christmas season as a traumatic experience (a past tragedy), and they want to quietly get through the season without past reminders.

* Don’t accuse them of being a Jehovah’s Witness or not being a Christian just because they refuse to associate with something they want no part of. Bear in mind that not every Christian observe the winter solstice or believe that Christ was born on December 25th.

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I don’t celebrate the holidays anymore because quite frankly, I see nothing that connects Christ to it, but I don’t go around telling people not to celebrate it. God gave us free will and we can choose to not to celebrate something we don’t see Christ in. I celebrate Christ coming into this world to die for us every day. For those who ask why not put up a tree, lights etc. I tell them that our Lord and Savior came without fanfare and it won’t make a difference if I participate in the festivities or not.

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If I can stay away from all the festivities, I’ll go to places like Algeria, Israel, Thailand, the Maldives, Saudi Arabia and even mainland China where Christmas is not a formal holiday.

But I have the most amazing friends and family because they respect my decision. To those who celebrate the holiday, have a good one. To those who don’t, make the most of this time doing what you do. Keep safe everyone.

Musings

Reblog: No matter the gift, appreciate it.

I don’t celebrate Christmas, but keep in mind that you should be grateful for whatever gift you may receive this month.

LPM WordPress

Red and White Heart Print Box

I don’t celebrate Christmas.

When I was younger, I used to celebrate it with my family and friends although I’ve never liked it. I’ve never liked the excessive spending, the blinking lights, the festivities, so when I grew up, I simply stopped celebrating it. It just never felt right with me. 

Lately, many parents say that they don’t celebrate Christmas, but they do it for the sake of their children. They enjoy buying presents to see their little happy faces.

Here is where I want to talk about gift giving. There are some people who look forward to Christmas because they look forward to the gifts that they would be receiving instead of giving.

It is better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).

Blue and White Polka Dot Gift Box With Blue Ribbon

And not only on Christmas Day. We should be giving every day. And speaking of gifts, I recently came across an article in one of our dailies…

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Musings

No matter the gift, appreciate it.

Red and White Heart Print Box

I don’t celebrate Christmas.

When I was younger, I used to celebrate it with my family and friends although I’ve never liked it. I’ve never liked the excessive spending, the blinking lights, the festivities, so when I grew up, I simply stopped celebrating it. It just never felt right with me. 

Lately, many parents say that they don’t celebrate Christmas, but they do it for the sake of their children. They enjoy buying presents to see their little happy faces.

Here is where I want to talk about gift giving. There are some people who look forward to Christmas because they look forward to the gifts that they would be receiving instead of giving.

It is better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).

Blue and White Polka Dot Gift Box With Blue Ribbon

And not only on Christmas Day. We should be giving every day. And speaking of gifts, I recently came across an article in one of our dailies about the best and worst of Christmas gifts one has ever received. A few responses particularly caught my eyes. A fifteen-year-old student said her best gift was a bottle of her favorite perfume (Nicki Minaj) and a Victoria’s Secret gift set given to her by her sister. Her worst gift? A costume jewelry necklace that “looked real, but turned in no time.” I mean, what if the friend didn’t have enough money to get her a really cool and expensive gift? Didn’t she think about this? She should’ve still been appreciative of the fact that her friend thought of her to get her something.

Another one said that his best gift was a new touchscreen phone his then-girlfriend got him and his worst was a black t-shirt. Huh? What’s wrong with a black t-shirt? It may not be a brand name, but it’s still clothing. 

Black Box With Green Bow Accent

And then there is the woman whose best gift was a pair of filigree gold earrings (some sort of family heirloom). Her worst gift was a pair of shoes from a foreign relative? Why? Because it was the wrong size. I know she was looking forward to wearing it, but what’s the harm in giving it to someone who really needs a pair?

I am not saying that there isn’t something called a bad present, but just as you’re happy for the good presents, still find room in your heart to appreciate the bad ones. Appreciate the fact that you’ve been special enough to be thought of to receive a gift no matter how cheap or useless it might be.