As I'm sure you know, the WMSCOG disagrees vehemently with the mainstream churches on the celebration of Christmas. I just wanted to share some of my own thoughts on the subject.
- There is a fantastic video called "The Star of Bethlehem." If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it. It's the kind of thing that makes you sit back in awe. Really, very interesting!
- The celebration of Christmas is NOT a requirement for salvation. The WMSCOG says we are following rules made by men, but no, it is NOT a rule that must be followed. We celebrate Christmas because we love the story of Jesus' birth and wish remember it, joined together in one accord.
- Of course we do not know the actual date of Jesus' birth, but there is nothing unusual in celebrating a birthday on a different day. In the UK, there is an official day set aside to celebrate the Queen's (or King's) birthday, and if it happens to be on the monarch's actual birthday, it's just a coincidence. How many times are you (or your children) invited to birthday parties held on a different day than the actual birthday? Does it make the celebration any less special? Should we avoid celebrating unless we can do it on the actual birthday? No, of course not.
- Isn't it interesting that in our society (in the United States), there are religious groups (not just the WMSCOG) who do not celebrate Christmas because of its secular or materialistic or non-Christian aspects. At the same time, there are atheists and other non-Christians who will not celebrate Christmas because of its distinctly Christian themes?
- Christmas is widely known as the celebration of the birth of Jesus, despite all its secular (Santa Claus) and materialistic (gift giving) trappings. We must admit that with all the focus on Jesus' birth, it is a fantastic witnessing upportunity. When so many people are willing to come to church for Christmas, who may avoid church all the rest of the year (except maybe Easter), refusing to acknowledge Christmas is also refusing a chance to explain the the wonderful story to people who may not want to listen any other time. Let's tell it with joy and excitement, not with condemnation that they shouldn't be celebrating Christmas Day. That's what I think.
You've probably heard about origins of the Dec. 25th celebration of Christmas and its various traditions like the Christmas tree. For one thing, Wikipedia indicates that it may not all be as pagan as the WMSCOG claims. Check out their articles on Christmas and Sol Invictus and the Christmas Tree. But what if it does have its beginnings in paganism?
Paul said, "Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings." (1 Cor. 9:19-23)
And when Paul was in Athens, he said, "People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you." (Acts 17:22b-23)
Paul used the people's own cultures to teach them about God, even if it was a pagan culture. Isn't it entirely likely that Paul and the other early Christian may have used the festivals in place at the time, showed the people truth about God using what they were already familiar with, and redirected them toward the one true God?
Why should Satan have permanent control over certain days? Can they not be redeemed for the Lord? I say, yes they can!
Merry Christmas to you all!
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”