A Christmas message

by Jannie

My hope for your blessings, in love, is that they be permanent, in Jesus’ name (Phil 2:9-10; 3:9; Col 3:15-17); and not associated with mere temporal holiday fun; i.e. not like the fleeting anointings of the OT, but the lasting enlightened power the NT re-born Christian (Jn 3:3) is supposed to consistently and constantly be living in Christ (Col 1:10-22; 2:2-4).

If I suspect that we are missing the mark, but were to keep silent like a coward, I would be an accomplice [in part be responsible] for possible errors we hold and would I not live out the love of God (Rom 1:16-17; 2 Tim 1:7; 3:16-17; 2 Pet 3:9; even the first on the list in Rev 21:8; but note at this point, that the goal of a true Christian is not to [merely, in self-interest and self-righteousness] go to heaven and not hell!) This is expanded on in the meditation entitled “The Gospel”.

Refer to the APPENDIX at the end of this meditation, for a review on the history and customs of “Christmas”.

This meditation, like many others on www.gospel-truth.co.za, examines our indoctrination by religious ideas, even the typical over-confident defense thereof: “Don’t worry [about me], I know what it’s really about”. Let us test this big claim, shall we? This meditation will not even [technically] go into the issue of the uncertainty in Jesus of Nazareth’s date of birth, but rather the all-important crux of the matter that is summarized in Rev 22:10,18-19; even Gal 1:6-9. Refer to the summary below of even simple Biblical facts most “Christians” have wrong about the birth of Jesus Christ, such as the “magos” of Mt 2:1 that was sadly translated as “wise men”. The Greek word is in fact μάγος (G3097, magos), of foreign origin [H7248]; a Magian, that is, Oriental scientist; or Babylonian official, by implication a magician: – sorcerer. They were never at the crib with babe Jesus in Bethlehem, neither is it certain how many they were (not three just because they brought gold, frankincense and myrrh – Mt 2:11); and they did not exchange gifts but presented theirs only unto Him [as a King].  It is an irony that people love to believe they are following the custom of the wise men giving to Christ, when actually they are giving almost exclusively to each other! What hypocrisy! Christ is completely forgotten when in fact most people give to others on Christmas merely because they expect to receive gifts themselves.

Note how the ritual with a tree hung with ornaments sounds suspiciously similar to Jer 10:3-6,14-16.

We will do well at this point to carefully ponder Mk 4:2-9,11-20,23-26; even 2 Cor 6:14-16. Shall we read on?

So, what does it mean to say “Merry Christmas” or “A blessed Christmas to you and your family”? Do we [fully] grasp Rev 22:10,18,19? Really? Let’s examine the principle of “…Your [hypocritical] appointed feasts my soul hates…” of Isaiah 1:14 and see if we have not gone astray in superficial attempts of piousness…

Paul said to the Galatians, “You observe [particular] days and months and seasons and years! I am alarmed [about you], lest I have labored among and over you to no purpose and in vain.  Bretheren, I beg of you, become as I am [free from the bondage of Jewish ritualism and ordinances]…” (Gal 4:10-12a Ampl.)

And yes, we know that Christmas is certainly not a Jewish feast, but we should not be obtuse to the principle message here. Investigation will in fact show that Christmas is not [truly] Christian either! As a matter of fact, before being quick to say “A blessed Christmas to you!”, perhaps first carefully ponder Mt 18:18; Is 1:11-16; 5:18-20 ; Amos 5:21-23 with Gal 1:6-9; 4:10-12; Mt 7:21-23; 15:6-9 and 1 Jn 2:4? It shows of how little signification external rites of religion are, unless they be accompanied with a consistent living faith in, and sincere love to God and with an obedience to His will and precepts as taught by Jesus Christ. Ponder the crux of “the hypocrite’s worship” and “chosen their own ways” in Is 66:3 with Rom 10:1-4?  A closer examination will soon reveal that “Christmas” was not instated by God [Jesus Christ] and very unlikely by His Holy Spirit (Jn 14:23-26)!  Again, read the Scriptures above.  But, let’s look at this a little closer, shall we?

Why has Jesus Christ (or His disciples), nowhere given any instruction or hint to celebrate His birthday?  Well, in short, Jesus was sent not created (even mentioned in Micah 5:2, read with Jn 1:1-4 and Col 1:16-17); as a matter of fact, contemplate 1 Cor 1:18 – 2:2 for some serious thought. But we’ll get to this later in this short meditation.

What if man has instated many ceremonies, rituals and traditions that are actually no more than ignorant attempts to help God achieve what He has already done in Jesus Christ (Eph 1:3-12; 2 Pet 1:3-11)?  Please don’t be offended by this, but seriously consider the absolute truth; namely that religion is not a genuine relationship! Of course everyone has heard this cliché and use it copiously in speaking Christianese, but the fact remains that Jesus never wanted proselytes, but rather disciples (Mt 23:15; 28:18-20; read also Rom 8:14 and the introduction to www.gospel-truth.co.za?).  So why has Jesus Christ never asked us to have a Christmas feast? Why do we insist on celebrating this event [on a wrong date but as a convenient – albeit a family – holiday]?  Is it because we totally misunderstand and underplay and misrepresent what He asked us to do regularly – in communion? We will do well to understand the principle as mentioned in Is 1:14-15 (Gal 4:10-12; Mt 15:6-9).  We have seen in the past similar warnings in, for example, Jer 10:14-15; 57:17-19; and Hos 4:6 (and teachers, note Hos 4:4-9 with Jm 3:1, even Mt 18:6?); so let’s not rush over this (Heb 2:1-4…)!

We assume that you are aware of the basic fact that “Father Christmas” is as unrelated to Jesus Christ [God] as the “Tooth Fairy”.  Also, that it is not so “innocent” to mislead children about “good deeds” (Mt 18:6).

Is it not ironic how blatant greed and exploitation abound from even “Christians” during this “time of goodwill”? (Worldly-minded falsely call it by a type of euphemism, “supply and demand”).

Can true Christians (1 Jn 2:4) have [stick to] emotional, time-bound, fashionable hypes?  If December [25th only] is “a time of goodwill”, what about January, June or August? Is this to be a lasting glory or one just coupled to certain days (2 Cor 3:6,10-15; Gal 4:1-11; Heb 13:8)? Why do people insist on being “Christians” but show little more than sentimentality and frivolous, temporal holiday fun? Take careful note of the use of the word “always” [consistency] in 1 Thess 5:15. Sorry if this rains on your parade of “I’m OK and quite happy with my religion”.  You might even have taken the brazen stance of knowing all that this short letter is about.  Are you part of an organization [industry], thinking it is “church”?  Is it de-nominated?  Denominated from what?  What God nominated? Try Eph 1:20-23; 2:4-22; 4:5; 1 Cor 3:11-20.

In commemoration of the Lord’s Supper, we at the very least, are to remind ourselves of the fact that Jesus  was born as a Man, and paid the price for all sin fully and so has left us a New Testament (Heb 8:13,9:12-18; 10:8-14), and is now our Intercessor (1 Jn 2:1-2; 1 Tim 2:5-6), waiting on us (Heb 10:13; Rom 8:19) to follow His teachings (“be at His feet”) as our Lord …  He had to be born to legally represent mankind, because God gave all authority on earth [away] to man (Gen 1:26-28; Ps 115:16) but man gave it away unnecessary to Satan (Col 2:15; Js 4:7).  Now contemplate Mt 28:18; Jn 1:12; 3:17-21; Col 1:12-20 (Rom 5:12; 1 Cor 15:45; Phil 4:13; and so on).  Jesus is Lord.  Consider the meditations “Who is Jesus Christ?” and “Church” on www.gospel-truth.co.za, if you will.

ARE WE TRYING, WITH OUR MAN-MADE CHRISTMAS, TO PRETEND TO COMMEMORATE WHAT WE OUGHT TO IN COMMUNION?

In communion [commemorating the Lord’s Supper], we at the very least, are to commemorate the following:

  • The Body of Jesus Christ broken for us. Refer to Jn 6:31-51,63; Eph 2:6. “Bethlehem” means “Place of bread”.  We should consume that Bread so that He is inside of us permanently (Jn 17:15-24).
  • The Blood of Jesus Christ as the sacrificial Lamb of God, once for all, consumed by us so that we can be transformed [born again from above, God] with His DNA (Jn 6:53-63;1 Pet 1:18; 2 Cor 5:7). Don’t freak out like the hearers of Jesus did (Jn 6:60,66) – we are talking of a Spirit (Jn 3:3,5-6; 4:23-24)!  Connect Jn 6:53-56 with Jn 1:1-4,14; 5:38-47; 8:31-32 (Rom 8:2); 15:3-7; 17:15-18; 2 Tim 3:15-17; 1 Pet 1:17; Js 1:18,21; 1 Jn 1:1; Rev 19:13; but also compare Jer 15:16; Ps 119:50,104-5,130,160; Is 8:20; 40:8 (1 Jn 2:4); 51:16; 59:21… 1 Cor 11:30… So, eat [consume, digest, take up and follow] God’s Word [precepts] always to live (refer to “The Testimony”).
  • Jesus Christ is our only Savior and Sustenance (Col 1:17; Phil 3:9) and overcame death for us at His resurrection. Your death does not bring you eternal life, your faith in His sacrificial death and resurrection plus your following of His precepts does.  Jesus Christ is the Word, Life, Truth of God.
  • He will return in bodily form again (1 Thess 4:13-18; 5:5-11,23,28).

Note that The Bible has:-

  • No age restriction on partaking in the Lord’s Supper
  • No time restriction on partaking in the Lord’s Supper
  • No hint or instruction for Christians to observe feasts and festivals, such as “Christmas”, et al.

Please remain calm reading this, and remember Is 1:18; 5:18-21; and Hos 4:6…  but also Phil 4:6-7!  And God’s peace shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Jesus Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content in peace which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”.  Also ponder v. 8.  Consider Eph 4:12-25, but also 1 Cor 11:29,30.  It is thus ignorant to harbor any fear from God if you don’t act out this so-called “festive season” – God will not retaliate by punishing you in some form or another. See the meditation “The Gospel” and ponder 1 Thess 5:9, even 1 Thess 5:10 that state we could/should share His Life; what leads to 1 Thess 5:23 and this author’s meditation entitled “The Testimony” that explores this premise – why we all fall short (Rom 3:23); possibly not fully grasping Jn 16:9 with Jn 6:26-29,50-51; 8:51; 11:25-26)…

God never wanted religion [rituals, ceremony, tradition, self-righteousness, law], but an everlasting personal relationship in Truth.  Not emotional, time-bound, fashionable hypes, nor “visits” only in buildings of man, but a genuine living commitment.  The Bible nowhere recommends, hints or instructs Christians to have a Christmas feast/holiday.  Our Triune heavenly Father has a living organism [people, “stars”, City who shine His Light to the world], not religious organizations, as His Church.  Consider 1 Cor 4:20; 2 Tim 3:5.

Observe how one system keeps you in bondage of an Old, while the other frees you into a lasting new glory – but only in Christ!  This raises the valid question:  why do most “Christians” not see different results?  Why do people grope at cover-up answers by preachers and neglect the answer Jesus gave in Mk 7:13; 12:24?  Even Mt 15:6-9?

As a good example, test the popular statement:  “… Three wise men at the crib with babe Jesus in Bethlehem…”.  What is wrong in this statement?  It is amazing to see how many “Christians” have even all the basic facts around the birth of Jesus Christ wrong [due to wrong teachings/tradition].  A valid question then is, what about your ideas on what Jesus actually taught (Mt 15:6-9; Eph 4:13; Gal 1:6-9; 2 Cor 11:1-4)?

Here are some elementary [logical] Biblical facts around the birth of Jesus Christ:

  • The birth of Christ is misunderstood by many. Christ was sent[1], not created.  He pre-existed prior to His delivery as Son of Man; and was [is] simultaneously God – Jn 1:1-4; Col 1:15-20; Heb 1:9-10. The meditations “Who is Jesus Christ” and “The Trinity doctrine” on gospel-truth.co.za, refer.
  • The date is uncertain.  By the way, sun-worshipers believe their sun god was born on the 25th. The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was only in AD 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine.  A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25th December.  (Refer to the meditation “Church Part 2″ about the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church.) Note also, that the RCC apparently decided and approved how artists should depict any religious event or theme.  The meditation “Who is Jesus Christ” expand on the date issues concerned, and is well worth reading.
  • Those “three” were not wise men, but sorcerers, magos, in Greek.  They came because Daniel was put in charge over them just before 530 BC (Dan 5:11,29), and so fulfilled prophecy (Is 9:6-7). Jesus, the Star of Jacob (Num 24:17; and of David – Rev 22:16), Star of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Mt 2:3-6; Rev 22:16), has paid for all sinners with His Blood and is the only Ransom and Mediator between God and Man (1 Tim 2:5-6).
  • The “star” they followed, seems unlikely to be a sun [a geophysical star or once-of celestial body], for a single celestial body cannot physically be hanging over a point on earth so that a person on foot can visually pinpoint a five square meter spot directly underneath it! Travelling by foot on a rotating earth by following a single heavenly body millions of miles away with pinpoint accuracy to an exact spot as with a modern navigation system today (such as a GPS fed by multiple satellites to triangulate), will prove a preposterous attempt. No, these magos were into astrology. But they remembered Daniel being placed in charge of them (Dan 1:20; 2:24,44-49; 3:28-30; 6:3; 7:26-28 and note Dan 7:13,18 with Is 9:1-2,6-7); with a prophecy that Bethlehem would produce a magnificent star like no other (Num 24:17; Dan 12:3; Micah 5:2; Mt 2:5-12; Jn 7:42)!  The report of the magos in Mt 2:2 that “We have seen his star in the east at his rising” (KJV and Ampl) is more likely to be a manner of symbolical speech that is clear from verses 7 and 10; as well as the obvious logical assumption that these reports that must have reached them as well (Lk 1:65), namely what we read of in Lk 1 (note the extraordinary incidents of Lk 1:11-22,26-42,59-65 and also Simeon’s address to Mary mentioned below); so that the magos that saw “his star in the east rising” (KJV and Ampl), that were at the time East of Bethlehem, rather indicate that “seeing” this star that guided them Westward most likely merely was an acknowledgement, a salutation of this prophecy then being fulfilled.  As far as Simeon’s address to Mary mentioned in the meditation “Who is Jesus Christ” p.5/23, we note in Doctor Luke’s account (Lk 1:1-4), a yet another significant fact in Lk 2:25-40 where Simeon pertinently addressed Mary (Lk 2:34).  This is, in context and according to Jewish tradition at the time, highly irregular as the address were to have been made to the father of the child; which strongly indicates that (a) Holy Spirit was the Father (Lk 1:35) not Joseph, and (b) Holy Spirit is God as the child was to be called Son of God (Lk 1:35; Jn 4:23-24; Jn 10:30; 14:6; Lk 17:20-21).  The reports [rumours] such as (Lk 1:24-44; 2:7-11) and the declaration of Simeon (Lk 2:25-34) had probably reached the magos (in the east) as well, and so they set out to see this prophesied Star of Bethlehem.  Again, observe that the magos declared that they “saw his star in the east at his rising…” (KJV and AMPL) It makes sense then, that these were the reports they had received “from the west [Bethlehem], and why they only reached Him two years later in Nazareth (Mt 2:10-11).So then, Mt 2:9 very possibly is essentially just figuratively stating that they [eventually, after a search] arrived at the place where the prophesied Star of Bethlehem was and that God’s Holy Spirit was very likely to be involved. Remember that Biblical language is no stranger to symbolic or metaphorical expressions [1]. Observe that the astrologers first went to Jerusalem and had to ask (Mt 2:1-2) and then be told (Mt 2:7-8) where to go. Mt 2:10 (Ampl) tells us that “… When they saw the star, they were thrilled with ecstatic joy”. It therefore seems unlikely that they have been following a celestial star with certainty all along and certainly not directly to the manger where Jesus was born. By the way (pardon the pun), they came from the East, which was not modern Tokyo or Hong Kong some 10 000 km away, but probably Babylon or Persia perhaps less than 1 000 km away which from a global perspective is practically the same geographical area, and what we would call the Middle East today.  Apparently the entertainment world has the concept of a star in this application more right than the religious! The magos might even have believed they then had a “sign” [message, interpretation (Mt 2:2,9)] but more probably was this “sign” the report[s] that, for them, tied in with also their history and prophecies through an encounter with Daniel and his experiences 605 to 530 BC. It is thus more feasible that those magos simply then proceeded to first Jerusalem, then Bethlehem, and then Nazareth (Lk 2:39) to eventually find the prophesied Star of Bethlehem, Star of Jacob, instead of blindly following a geophysical star utilizing astronomy (even astrology) as if the celestial body had to reveal the message and location to them.  Paintings depict [interpret] this idea with an unusually shaped [bright] astronomy star hanging over the manger; it was not a photograph of that event!  Likewise are angels depicted as fat babies with stubby wings, not at all what Scripture says, but perhaps an image in many a “Christian’s” mind?
    Note Daniel 12:3 with Mt 13:43; Heb 9:26 (This is expanded on in the meditation “Rapture raptured”). Bear in mind as well, that Bethlehem was so crowded then because of the decree by Caesar Augusts that “The whole Roman Empire should be registered” (to pay taxes!) – Lk 2:1-5.  Note then, the reports mentioned in Mt 2:2-6. Therefore, reconsider Scriptures such as Gen 22:17; Num 24:17; Jer 23:5; Zech 9:9; Dan 12:3; Mt 2:7; even Phil 2:15; Jude 1:13; also Rev 5:1-14 and 12:1 and the meditation “Revelation, the book”.  The astrologers, therefore, more plausibly went to specifically see the prophesied Messiah born that would turn out to be The Star of Bethlehem, Jesus Christ (Mt 2:1-8; Mic 5:2); and were thus unlikely to have been directed [navigating] by a celestial body [luminous sphere of plasma held together by its own gravity, such as the sun]. This could explain rationally why the astrologers only reached Jesus later in a house almost two years after His birth and then they were ecstatic to see Him physically [for the first time in real life as a person] (Mt 2:10). Also contemplate 1 Cor 15:41-45 with Rom 8:11 as discussed in “The Testimony”…
  • [1] See examples such as Gen 22:17; 37:9; Num 24:17; Ex 32:13; Dt 10:22; 28:62; Judg 5:20; Job 25:5; 38:7; Ps 8:3; 136:9; 148:3; Is 14:13; Dan 8:10; Joel 2:10; 3:15; Jude 1:12-13; Rev 1:16,20; 2:1; 3:1; 6:13; 8:12; 12:1,4… Mt 24:29; Mk 13:25…
  • The number of those astrologers is unknown (they brought gold, frankincense and myrrh – Mt 2:11)
  • The magos visited Mary in a house (Mt 2:11) – not the manger where the Shepherds visited them just after His birth (Lk 2:8-20). Jesus was sent[2], and had to be born to genuinely represent mankind.  He also had to be buried so we can inherit a New Testament (Heb 9:16,17).  He also had to be resurrected to show that He is eternal Life and that He overcame death for us so we may/can continue to live; and also that our sins were forgiven. See on the issue of forgiveness [of our sins], Mt 6:12,14,15; Lk 23:34 (Jn 20:21-23; 2 Cor 2:10,11); Heb 9:12,23-28; 10:5-14,19-23; 12:2-3; 13:8-15! Sin is dealt with by Jesus Christ on His cross on our behalf, what sin now remains, is unbelief in His Salvation (Jn 16:9)!
  • The magos visited them in a house when Jesus was just under two years of age, and that is why Herod ordered all boys aged two years and younger to be killed.

(The birth – and name – of Jesus is expanded on in the meditation “Who is Jesus Christ”).

The joy of the Lord is a lasting, never-ending joy that is your strength – all year round, everywhere.

That Tree (Gal 3:13; 1 Pet 2:24; Rev 2:7; 21:1-3,22-27; 22:14) has a Star on it, and lights shining from it, that should not be switched off for the whole year, to only be “on” again, next Christmas.  True Christians experience – and show [reflect] – a continuous Christ-feast of Life-Light.  So, be the salt of the earth [good], not the sea[3] (Mt 5:13).  WE are to continuously be His stars, not the [religious] dust of the earth.  The serpent of old eats the dust of the earth.  Shake that dust off you and be rather a star that shines…  continuously…

Observe how most “Christians” are obsessed [only] by whether they will go to heaven or to hell while it is, for them, not about the Person Jesus Christ at all but only about themselves [their own “destiny”]!  And so it is obvious to outsiders that for them it is not about God as a Spirit [anointing, authority, Christ] inside of them, but the self. This manifests in the many “denominations” and groups all intolerant of each other’s own ideas… and fail to see how this is in direct violation to what Jesus Christ commanded us to do and abundantly clear Scriptures such as Jn 13:34,35; 15:12,17; Rom 12:10; 13:8; Gal 5:13 (note vv 18-20 says factions are not of God!);  Eph 4:2 (again vv 4-6 says factions are not of God!); 1 Thess 3:12; 4:9; 2 Thess 1:3; Heb 10:24; 1 Pet 1:22; 5:14; 1 Jn 3:11,23; 4:7,11,12; 2 Jn 1:5…  perhaps consider 1 Jn 3:13-24 as well?

So, if you wonder whether participation in the Christmas or Easter [even Passover] commemoration frenzy is wrong or correct, rather consider the fact.  The fact is that Jesus Christ only commanded two ceremonies: (1) Communion, or commemoration of the Lord’s Supper and (2) Baptism. The author has written short notes on each entitled “The Lord’s Supper”, “Unclean Food”, and “Baptism”, should you be interested to read them (and correct him where he is wrong) in www.gospel-truth.co.za.

Do you see results such as Acts 5:15-16 (Mt 10:8; Jn 17:15-20)? And we are more than 2 000 AD??? Have this “church” – you are in – grown closer or further from the teachings of Jesus Christ?  Can you reiterate what Paul said in 1 Cor 4:20? Or Jesus in Mk 16:16-18, 20 – let alone Jn 11:26?  (again, Jn 17:15-26!)?  May you hear Jesus Christ (Jn 10:10, 27-28)!!!

A recap of these Biblical stars

(Perhaps taken too lightly? – Pardon the pun)

 

The artist depiction of the star [celestial body] hanging over the crib in Bethlehem, is not a photograph!

  1. The earth is round. Triangulation will show that one star some distance from earth can impossibly navigate you to pinpoint a small room on the planet.
  2. Daniel was appointed over the magos (Dan 2:46-49; 5:11; 6:3, 23-28) and so played his role in fulfilled prophecy (Dan 2:44; 7:13-18) – Bear in mind that Jn 19:30 (The book [gospel] of John) was written after John penned Rev 16:17.  This means that the Book Revelation is about what happened on Jesus’ cross!  This is expanded on in the meditations “Revelation the book” and “Rapture raptured”).   Read it?
  3. Contemplate Rev 22:16 with Is 11:1-10; Jn 3:10-15; 12:32-33.  This is profound.
  4. Ponder the stars of just Gen 22:17; Num 24:17; Dan 12:3; Mt 2:7; Jude 1:13; Rev 12:1… If Daniel knew about the prophecy in Num 24:17, changes are that his subjects also did.  So the magos went to the land of Israel to see the Star of Bethlehem, the Star of David; after receiving a/the “sign” in the form of reports/rumours/news that the Messiah has arrived as prophesied (Mt 1:18-23; Lk 1:1-43,57-79; 2:4-17,21,25-34).  They were therefore probably not guided there by a celestial body [geophysical star] as if that gave them a surprise message and direction, but by the fulfilled/fulfilling prophecies that they learned about from Daniel’s time in service of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 2:17-28,49).
  5. Direction, navigation and language are key here (Mt 13:51-52?). Mt 2:2 states that they (the magos) saw his star in the East and came to worship Him that was born in Bethlehem.  Bethlehem was to the West of them so that if a physical astronomical body [real star] were their navigational beacon, they should have to see it “in the West”.  Note that these astrologers in effect acknowledged Num 24:17 and Dt 4:19 (Rev 14:7) for they were “in the East” [to the East of Bethlehem] when they received reports of the arrival of the prophesied Messiah so that their “seeing” therefore implies an expression of what they realized, grasped and recognized as the prophecy fulfilled (even Dan 12:3 with Mt 13:43). Similarly, the “rising” of this “star” implies the growing popularity and prominence of that “star” (Rev22:16).
  6. Time [to] travel. If the magos were about 1,000 km East of Bethlehem, at 25 km per day, it would take around 40 days travel for the news to reach them soonest and another 40 days for them to get to Bethlehem. Factor in the lag for the realization to take effect and some other practical requirements and it makes sense that they eventually only found Jesus in a house in Nazareth when He was almost two years old already.

Read, and find, the golden thread in this magnificent Book (See the meditation “The Bible” for an explanation), and connect the following scriptures: Num 24:17; Judges 5:20; Job 25:5; 38:7; Is 4:2; Dan 12:3; Amos 5:26; Mt 2:2-10,23; Jn 6:27; 1 Cor 15:41; 2 Pet 1:19; Rev 2:1,28; 5:5; 8:10-11; 9:1; 12:1; 22:16; even Rev 2:25-29.  (By the way, note how the light blue “Star of David” on the Jewish flag today, is mentioned in Amos 5:20-26 and Acts 7:43!)

For more reading on this matter, open your Bible and your heart and talk to Jesus Himself about it, through His Spirit (Jn 14:23-27; Rom 8:14-17).  If this author could [can] do it, you can as well.  Feel free to ponder the other meditations on www.gospel-truth.co.za.

Love, peace and JOY to you in Jesus Christ – continually.  And yes, these are only thoughts (2 Cor 10:5)!

Have fun and enjoy [celebrate] LIFE EVERLASTING all year round, everywhere, continuously!

Amen!

[1]Sent” 1 Pet 1:20; Heb 11:10 with 1 Pet 2:1-10; Eph 1:19-23; 2:19-22; 1 Cor 3:11; and Col 1:13-23 with Jn 1:1-5,10-17.  No man has ever seen God (Jn 1:17), so Jesus could be the only Son of man Who could claim Jn 8:32,36; 14:6-27.

3 That sea can metaphorically depict the lowest on earth, not necessarily the literal oceans (Rev 21:1; 13:1; Is 57:20…).

Appendix

Pagan Origin

The reader can research (Google?) the origins of Christmas.
Following, copious excerpts from an article by David C Clark in The True Origin of Christmas (rcg.org)

“The realization to the real Christian should then be that instating such a feast as examined here as if it were a Christian feast to be so honored, would be adding to The Gospel of Jesus Christ; and more shocking, simultaneously take way from the same Gospel as given and demonstrated by Jesus Christ and His immediate disciples of our Lord’s accomplished work on His cross (1 Cor 1:18 2:2). The meditation “The Gospel” expands on this.

“A school board in Solon (Cleveland, Ohio) in 1990 banned all nativity and other Christmas scenes on any school property because they felt it violated the separation of church and state. They were challenged in court when outraged parents opposed them, feeling that Christmas was being stolen from their children and the community. The board lost the case! The citizenry had contended that Christmas was a worldwide tradition that was not part of, and transcended, religion. It was deemed to be secular—a part of virtually all cultures worldwide. The court decision affirmed that Christmas has no Christian roots! However, the court’s opinion also noted that Bible reading and prayer obviously are associated with Christ-ianity—a remarkable admission! The court concluded that Christmas-keeping and manger scenes could remain because they are not really part of either Christianity or religion—but prayer and Bible reading, which are, must remain excluded from schools!”

Nearly all aspects of Christmas observance have their roots in Roman custom and religion.

Can Christ Be Honored by Christmas?

The most common justification that one will hear regarding Christmas is that people have replaced old pagan customs and intents by asserting that they are now “focusing on Christ.” Many say that they are “honoring Christ” in their Christmas-keeping. The problem is that God does not say this is acceptable to Him! Actually, He plainly commands against it! (Mt 15:6-9). Christmas is not a command of God—it is a tradition of men. Every year, throughout the world, on December 25th, hundreds of millions ignore Mk 7:9; even Mk 12:24.

We will see that God plainly commands, “Follow not the way of the heathen.” But most people do not fear God, and He allows them to make their own decisions. Human beings are free moral agents—free to obey or disobey God! But woe to those who ignore the plain Word of God!

Was Christ Born on December 25th?

Christ was born in the fall of the year. Many have mistakenly believed He was born around the beginning of winter—December 25th! Not so! It was custom among Jews to send out their sheep to the deserts about the Passover [early spring], and bring them home at the commencement of the first rain. The first rains began in early-to-mid fall. During the time they were out, the shepherds watched them night and day. As…the first rain began early in the month of March-esvan, which answers to part of our October and November [begins sometime in October], we find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole summer. And as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could He have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night. On this very ground, the nativity in December should be given up. The feeding of the flocks by night in the fields is a chronological fact…See the quotations from the Talmudists in Lightfoot. Lk 2:8 explains that when Christ was born, “there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” Note that they were “abiding” in the field. This never happened in December. Both Ezra 10:9-13 and the Song of Solomon 2:11 show that winter was the rainy season and shepherds could not stay on cold, open fields at night. Numerous encyclopedias plainly state that Christ was not born on December 25th! A lengthy technical explanation would prove this point.

Since we now know that December 25th was nowhere near Christ’s actual birthdate, where did the festival associated with this date come from?

Now read this quote under “Christmas”: “In the Roman world, the Saturnalia (December 17) was a time of merrymaking and exchanging of gifts. December 25 was also regarded as the birthdate of the Iranian mystery god Mithra, the Sun of Righteousness. On the Roman New Year (January 1), houses were decorated with greenery and lights, and gifts were given to children and the poor. To these observances were added the German and Celtic Yule rites when the Teutonic tribes penetrated into Gaul, Britain and central Europe. Food and good fellowship, the Yule log and Yule cakes, greenery and fir trees, gifts and greetings all commemorated different aspects of this festive season. Fires and lights, symbols of warmth and lasting life, have always been associated with the winter festival, both pagan and Christian” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed., vol. II, p. 903).

A final quote about the selection of December 25th as the birthdate of Christ, from an article in The Toronto Star, December 1984, by Alan Edmonds, entitled, “We owe a lot to Druids, Dutch”: “The Reformation cast a blight on Christmas. By then, of course, clever ecclesiastical politicians had adopted the Pagan mid-winter festival as the alleged birthdate of Jesus, of Nazareth, and thrown in a few other Pagan goodies to make their takeover more palatable.” (sic)

December 25th was not selected because it was the birth of Christ or because it was even near it. It was selected because it coincided with the idolatrous pagan festival Saturnalia—and this celebration must be carefully examined. In any event, we do not know the exact date of Christ’s birth. While God certainly could have made it known, He chose to hide it from the world’s eyes!

What About Santa Claus?

Parents reason that they owe the whole Christmas myth to their children! Christmas traditions are focused primarily on kids, and they are certainly the center of most of what happens —and it all started with the Santa Claus lie.

Some years ago, a priest in New Jersey told his Sunday school class that Santa was a myth. The outrage from parents and his supervisors was swift. He had “killed Santa!” He had “destroyed family tradition!” He had “usurped family authority,” the article continued. He was officially censored by his superiors for being “overzealous and insensitive.” His crime? He told the truth! (Mt 18:6 with Jn 16:9… Jn 6:26-29?)

According to Langer’s Encyclopedia of World History, (article “Santa”), “Santa” was a common name for Nimrod throughout Asia Minor. This was also the same fire god who came down the chimneys of the ancient pagans and the same fire god to whom infants were burned and eaten in human sacrifice among those who were once God’s people. Today Santa Claus comes from “Saint Nicholas.” Washington Irving, in 1809, is responsible for remaking the original old, stern bishop of this same name into the new “jolly St. Nick” in his Knickerbocker History of New York. (Most of the rest of America’s Christmas traditions are even more recent than this.) “Old Nick” has long been recognized as a term for the devil. In Rev 2:6,15 we read about a “doctrine of the Nicolaitanes,” which Christ twice tells His Church “[He] hates.” The word Nicolaitane means “follower of Nicholas.” Nikos means “conqueror, destroyer.” Laos means “people.” Nicolaitanes, then, are people who follow the conqueror or destroyer—Nimrod. If you have believed that following Christmas is an innocent Christian custom, let this truth sink in!

Is It Scriptural to Exchange Gifts?

Merchants regularly report that over 60% of their annual retail sales occur during the Christmas shopping season. This represents a tremendous amount of gift buying. Most today believe that gift-giving comes from the Bible example of the “three wise men” (although the Bible gives no number) presenting gifts to Christ. Is this true? Where did exchanging gifts come from, and what does God’s Word say about it?

The Bibliotheca Sacra states, “The interchange of presents between friends is a like characteristic of Christmas and the Saturnalia, and must have been adopted by Christians from the pagans, as the admonition of Tertullian plainly shows” (Vol. 12, pp. 153-155).  Like every other aspect of Christmas, the shocking truth is that even this supposed Christian custom does not come from the Bible. It is an irony that people love to believe they are following the custom of the wise men giving to Christ, when actually they are giving almost exclusively to each other! What hypocrisy! Christ is completely forgotten.  In fact, most people give to others on Christmas merely because they expect to receive gifts themselves!

Let’s briefly return to the “wise men” who gave gifts to Christ. The scripture describing this is  Mt 2:1-11. It is commonly supposed that these were birthday presents for “baby Jesus.” But is this what the Bible actually says? Absolutely not! First, it is important to note that they did give the gifts to Jesus. They did not stand in his presence and exchange gifts among themselves or give them to others. The gifts were “presented unto Him.” Also, they arrived well after his “birthday.” This is another reason these could not have been “birthday presents.”

A long-standing, ancient custom of the East was to present gifts when coming before a king. These men understood they were in the presence of the “King of the Jews.” The Bible carries many examples of people sending gifts to kings or presenting them upon arrival into their presence. This custom is common today when ambassadors or others come into the presence of a world leader. The people of the east never approach the presence of kings and great personages, without a present in their hands. This custom is often noticed in the Old Testament, and still prevails in the east, and in some of the newly discovered South Seas Islands.” Gifts were customarily presented to kings.

Origin of the Christmas Tree

No mention about Christmas is complete without some explanation of the “Christmas tree.” The modern Christmas tree originated in Germany. But the Germans got it from the Romans, who got it from the Babylonians and the Egyptians. An old Babylon’s fable told of an evergreen tree which sprang out of a dead tree stump. The old stump symbolized the dead Nimrod, the new evergreen tree symbolized that Nimrod had come to life again in Tammuz! Among the Druids the oak was sacred, among the Egyptians it was the palm, and in Rome it was the fir, which was decorated with red berries during the Saturnalia!” (Walsh, Curiosities of Popular Customs, p. 242). Frederick J. Haskin’s Answers to Questions states, “The Christmas tree is from Egypt, and its origin dates from a period long anterior to the Christmas Era.” Did you know  that the Christmas tree long preceded Christianity?

Even most aspects of Christmas are not referred to in the Bible. Of course, the reason is that they are not from God—they are not part of the way He wants people to worship Him. The Christmas tree, however, is mentioned in the Bible in Jer 10:2-5!  This plain description of the modern Christmas tree is clear. God directly refers to it as “the way of the heathen.” Just as directly, He commands His people to “learn not the way of the heathen,” calling these customs “vain.” Jer 10:23 adds a remarkable and powerful statement – God must teach people how to live. Man simply cannot figure out God’s ways for himself. There is no room in Jeremiah 10 to believe, as some have tried to suggest, that because these trees are powerless of themselves, it is not really forbidden to have a Christmas tree. God condemns the putting up of pagan (Christmas) trees with this plain Bible command!

The Source of Holly Wreaths, Yule Logs and Mistletoe

The Encyclopedia Americana states, “The holly, the mistletoe, the Yule log…are relics of pre-Christian time.” In other words, paganism! The Yule log was commonly used in a rite of Teutonic nature worship. Frederick Haskin further states, “The use of Christmas wreaths is believed by authorities to be traceable to the pagan customs of decorating buildings and places of worship at the feast which took place at the same time as Christmas.”

The Encyclopedia Britannica, under “Celastrales,” exposes the origin of the holly wreath: “European pagans brought holly sprays into their homes, offering them to the fairy people of the forests as refuge from the harsh winter weather. During the Saturnalia, the Roman winter festival, branches of holly were exchanged as tokens of friendship. The earliest Roman Christians apparently used holly as a decoration at the Christmas season.” There are dozens of different types of holly. Virtually all of them come in male and female varieties—such as “Blue Prince and Blue Princess” or “Blue Boy and Blue Girl” or “China Boy and China Girl.” Female holly plants cannot have berries unless a nearby male plant pollinates them. It is easy to see why the holly wreath found its way into pagan rituals as a token of friendship and fertility!

Christmas is incomplete to many unless it involves “kissing under the mistletoe.” This pagan custom was natural on a night that involved much revelry done in the spirit of drunken orgies. Just like today, this “kissing” usually occurred at the beginning of any modern Saturnalia/Christmas celebration. Mistletoe was considered to have special powers of healing for those who “reveled” under it. The Encyclopedia Britannica, under “Santa ales,” states, “The European mistletoe is thought to have had special ritual significance in Druidical ceremonies and lives in folklore today, its special status as the Christmas mistletoe having come from Anglo-Saxon times.” Mistletoe is a parasite that lives on oak trees. (Recall that the Druids worshipped in oak tree groves.) The ancient Celtics (associated with the Druids) used to give mistletoe as an herbal remedy to barren animals to make them fertile. It is still referred to as “all healer” in Celtic.

Like mistletoe, holly berries were also thought to be sacred to the sun god. The original “sun log” came to be called the yule log. “Yule” simply means “wheel,” which has long been a pagan representation of the sun. No wonder people today commonly speak of the “sacred yule-tide season.”

Rom 8:7 essentially states that human beings do not want to obey God but would rather follow their own “imagination.” They do not understand that God wants their lives to go “well.” He wants happiness, joy and blessings to flow into people’s lives permanently, not merely at certain self-appointed times.

God inspired Moses to warn parents of the grave responsibility that they have in what and how they teach their children (Dt 6:1,6-7,20-21,25).”
Hear Jesus in Mt 18:6.

We will do well at this point to again carefully ponder Mk 4:2-9,11-20,23-26; even 2 Cor 6:14-16.