Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wendell says the ground beef soup is superb!  I guess that means he'll eat it whenever.. :)  I finally canned 13 jars of it for him + 4 quarts and a pint.  That's a pot of soup for sure!
I'm looking for all sizes of canning jars now.. I just don't have enough to keep going, and the ham bone from Thanksgiving is on the stove simmering away.  The beans are on the back burner soaking till tomorrow when everything will come together and I'll can this batch too.  If nothing else, we will have soup this winter.
That reminds me that I have chicken bones in the freezer waiting to turn into chicken soup some time soon.  That's MY fave.  Yummo!

I have craft supplies now for when the grandkids come to visit me this week.. and .. cookie makings too.. This is gonna be a fun 2 days. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011


What is baptism?
Baptism is sign and seal of belonging to God's covenant community, His visible church. It involves the application of water in the name of the triune God, marking the recipient out as special in God's sight.

What is the covenant?
The covenant is the name of the relationship God has entered into with a people. "Covenant" is used to describe this relationship in both the Old Testament period and the New Testament period.

What does baptism have to do with the covenant?
There were two sacraments established by God related specifically to the covenant: a sacrament of initiation and a sacrament of continuation. The sacrament of initiation under the old covenant was circumcision and under the new covenant is water baptism. The sacrament of continuation was the Passover under the old and the Lord's Supper under the new. These covenant signs and seals have always been part of the expression of God's covenant relationship.

To what does baptism point?
Baptism is a sign of God's promises of eternal life and blessing found in Jesus Christ that are to be received by faith. Often it is misunderstood that what is pointed to in a person's baptism is his or her personal faith in Christ. It is said to be "an outward sign of an inward change." In this view the person's (subjective) faith is at issue. But, in the context of God's covenant, the issue is something objective—God's promise. So, baptism, as was circumcision, is actually an outward sign expressing the reality of God's promise.

Who is to receive the sign of covenant initiation?
Those who aligned themselves with the people of God and the children of those who were part of God's covenant family were to receive the sign. Or, to put it differently, the sign is for believers and their children.

Why are children set apart for the sign of covenant initiation?
God has always dealt with families and so the children of at least one believing parent are regarded differently from the children of unbelieving households. This sign was a pointed reminder of the need for the same cleansing from sin for the child that the parent had already received by virtue of faith in God's Savior. In Acts 2, Peter applies the same promises to new covenant believers as were given to old covenant believers in Genesis, both regarding families.

Does the sign save the child or indicate the baby is saved?
No, the sign points to the promises of God that are to be received by faith. If, by God's grace, the child grows up to believe, baptism becomes a sign of blessing of the promises of salvation found in Jesus Christ. Unbelief is a rejection of those promises. While it is the teaching of some that water baptism saves from sin, actually working a new nature in the recipient, this is a grave error. Many people have a false confidence in the fact that they were baptized, when in fact they are called to trust in Christ alone for salvation.

Did the covenant signs change with the new covenant?
Yes, they became fuller. The covenant sign was broadened from circumcision to water baptism to encompass females as well as males. Now the signs are unbloody rather than bloody in the case of both sacraments. But certainly God has not left His church without a sign of covenant initiation for children under the new covenant. That would be totally contrary God's design of His covenant.

Why should I baptize my baby?
Certainly not because of superstition or tradition or some idea that it in any way saves your child, but only out of concern for God's design and submission to God's command to give your children the sign of covenant initiation. Water baptism is not necessary for salvation, but it is necessary for obedience to our covenant Lord.

Is dedication of babies acceptable instead of baptizing them?
Dedication is not found in the Bible. It is the invention of man to fill the void created by neglect of God's sacrament of covenant initiation of children born into Christian homes.

Why sprinkle water instead of immerse in it?
The key factor is the water, as a symbol of the need of God's cleansing grace realized in Jesus Christ. Sprinkling was the method of ceremonial cleansing and the sign of the coming of the Spirit in the new covenant.

Our part of the organized body of Christ is known as the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America.

The “Reformed” in our name refers to our adherence to the biblical principles set down by the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Our spiritual fathers include Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Knox.

“Presbyterian” refers to our form of church government. Each congregation is under the oversight of those elected as elders, who are also part of the higher courts known as presbyteries and Synod.

Reformed Presbyterians have also been referred to historically as Covenanters because of their identification with public covenanting in Scotland, beginning in the 16th century. This act was a protest for Christ’s crown rights over the state and the recognition of Christ as King over the Church without interference from the government. Our roots also include those referred to as the Seceders, who share in the testimony for Christ’s Crown and Covenant.

In 1743 the first Reformed Presbyterian congregation was organized in North America. In this continent, too, the Kingship of Christ has been maintained as a foundational principle of our denomination. Today, congregations reach all across North America. We also acknowledge sister churches of Reformed Presbyterians in Ireland, Scotland, and Australia.

I am a reformed presbyterian

Our beliefs all stem from a full commitment to the authority of the Bible as the inerrant, infallible Word of God. This means that we believe in the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We acknowledge our total inability to save ourselves and, in faith, depend on Christ alone as our Savior. We acknowledge Him as Covenant Lord in every area of life, and we vow together to advance His Kingdom on earth.

We believe that God desires His Church to set forth clear statements of her system of doctrine that can be supported from Scripture. We therefore accept as our creed, or subordinate standards, The Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. In addition to these doctrinal statements, we adhere to the Testimony of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, which is our continuing application of God’s written word to the world and the church of today.

We believe that God’s Word clearly sets forth how He is to be worshiped. The reading and exposition of the Word of God are the central focus of our worship. Our musical praise employs God’s Word only, thus making use of the divinely inspired Book of Psalms of the Bible. In keeping with the New Testament Church’s directive for heart worship, we sing without the aid of musical instruments.

The Bible has been around for a long time. It is the Word of God and I believe it is true.

Fulfilled prophecy is a remarkable piece of evidence of that. Prophecy that was specific and often times came to precise fulfillment long after the prophet had died.

There is no other book with such accuracy, and no modern day prophets can begin to compare with scriptural fulfillment. It can be nothing less than divine revelation.

History also shows that what is written in scripture was also verified in the public writings of Egyptians and Assyrians as well as other early nations. Archeological findings have been totally correct according to Biblical references.

Another striking evidence of Divine inspiration is that many of the facts of modern science were recorded as facts of nature in the Bible long before science confirmed them.

For example,

Isaiah 40:22 says the earth is round

Isaiah 55:9 refers to the nearly infinite universe

Jeremiah 33:22 refers to the vast number of stars

Leviticus 17:11 mentions the importance of blood in life processes..

And there are many more . It is significant to note there has never been a mistake demonstrated in the Bible. Where there were questions, science has been able to verify in many cases, the veracity of the scriptures.

The Bible is a book that has a unique structure with 66 books written over a period of about 2000 years. One book- but consistent throughout. The individual writers had no idea that their writings would finally be incorporated into this book, yet each fits perfectly in its place.

Apostle's Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,

the Maker of heaven and earth,

and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,

born of the virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, dead, and buried;

He descended into hell.

The third day He arose again from the dead;

He ascended into heaven,

and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;

from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost;

the holy catholic church;

the communion of saints;

the forgiveness of sins;

the resurrection of the body;

and the life everlasting.


Friday, November 25, 2011

It's the day AFTER Thanksgiving... Black Friday they call it.  I just call it Friday .. :)  It's amazing to hear how many crazy people go shopping at midnight for BF sales.. it's just not worth the hassle.  But if YOU do this, feel free to go right ahead.  Just because I don't participate doesn't mean you shouldn't if you are lead in that direction.
I was pretty careful on Thanksgiving.. small portions and few bad snacks and a whole lot of good snacks.. fresh veggies especially made the day easy to handle.  But I'm not getting on the scales for a few days just in case.. *wink.
Had a little bit of ham for lunch and then for supper too.. my hands are pretty swollen, so I figure the rest of me is too.  Not so good.  I'll be much more careful tomorrow.  I suppose that's why the headache today.. hmmmm
I was blaming it on allergies .. really stuffy and congested.. coughing and feeling rather slow.  Growing old is one of the hardest things I've ever done.  Hubby thinks it has been a snap- just sit or lay down and don't do anything you don't want to.. "you're retired" he says.  Wish life was that easy.. not for this body.  Gotta move tomorrow.. and get the diet back to where it needs to be.  I don't think I even took my metformin tonite.. OH, Marilyn.. you nitwit.
Okay.. tomorrow is another day for sure. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Trying to get caught up with pictures.. These firstfew were taken when the kids came Trick or Treating at our house.  How cute they are..  Noticing my Impatiens....

 David and Annabelle at my back door...
 Paul3 surrounded by siblings...

 Joyce dressed up too.. WOW!  Love the look!!
 Daniel.. he reminds me of a teenage heartthrob..
 Just a sampling of the hors doeuvres at our house today.. What a joyful time for us all.  The Zombecks hosted. . and what a beautiful job they did!!!

 Joyce.. she was playing with her Mom's new Kindle
 JJ and Keith helped get the dinner on the table.. You guys are the best!!   Wendell behind JJ
 Amanda Zombeck.. at John's back...
 Paul3.. John set up one of his game systems...
 Keith Vulhop... played against all the kids
 Paul3 and brother Daniel play against their Uncle Keith
 Such a princess... Annabelle..

After the big meal..Jane, Daniel and David..

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Our Father, giver of life and joy, who is like you, Oh Lord, that we should come to you with our praise? You need not these words, for you formed our lips. What is man that you are mindful of him? You own the lives of all that inhabit the earth.

Your power, might, and love are seen in the bounty of this season. We gather this day around a table laden with food that you have brought forth.
We gather as family and friends whom you brought into this world. We bow before you with humble hearts knowing we live because you brought us to life.
We celebrate this day as a nation of people who have been blessed more than any other people on the face of the earth and at any time. We acknowledge you as the giver of the good we so easily take for granted. Forgive us as we are a forgetful people.
Grant us on this Thanksgiving Day, the time to reflect on all the ways you have blessed each of us who has gathered.
Increase our understanding of your ways, defeat us when we use our blessings for selfish gain, and remind us to love one another.
Thank you for providing all that we need for life and godliness. Make us to be a light and a blessing to the nations of the world.
We acknowledge you as the only true and living God.
We pray this in the name of your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

To all who read, I pray you have a blessed Thanksgiving day .. that no cry or alarms would be heard in your homes, and thank the Lord for all He has provided for you this past year. 
I didn't get the bread made, but I did make an interesting apple pie.. I used 2 jars of the apple pie filling I canned a month or so ago.  Then it has a crumbly top instead of the traditional top crust.  Hoping it tastes okay.
If I can't sleep tonite, I'll be making the bread, but right now I'm just tired and I don't think fresh bread is in our near future..
I made veggie pizza.. I hope others like it.  132 cal/ slice.. but not all good calories :(
Hoping to make bread today in addition to cleanup and then preparing my trays for tomorrow.. my job is hors doeuvres.. I think I have some good healthy stuff in addition to some sorta healthy stuff too.
Awaiting Klings with oxygen refill for hubby..
All is well on the home front.
Wondering if Charlie is coming tomorrow?  Wondering if he knows he's to bring a pie?  I may bake one today anyway..
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be-- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
George Washington
It is rainy and cold and windy.. I need to get adjusted to this.. and count my blessings.  It's not snowing, there is no ice, and we have plenty of warmth  in our house.. plenty to eat.. plenty of good books..
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving day.. a day when our nation, the United States of America, stops to give Almighty God thanks for protecting us, providing bounty in our harvests, and for His son who died and was resurrected so that we might live eternally.  It's a celebration where families join together and feast..   The tradition is turkey.. but Wendell doesn't like turkey, and I'm not able to eat it, though I can't remember a Thanksgiving in years past without one.
The President annually makes the proclamation..

Presidential Proclamation — Thanksgiving Day, 2011

One of our Nation's oldest and most cherished traditions, Thanksgiving Day brings us closer to our loved ones and invites us to reflect on the blessings that enrich our lives.
One of our Nation's oldest and most cherished traditions, Thanksgiving Day brings us closer to our loved ones and invites us to reflect on the blessings that enrich our lives. The observance recalls the celebration of an autumn harvest centuries ago, when the Wampanoag tribe joined the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony to share in the fruits of a bountiful season. The feast honored the Wampanoag for generously extending their knowledge of local game and agriculture to the Pilgrims, and today we renew our gratitude to all American Indians and Alaska Natives. We take this time to remember the ways that the First Americans have enriched our Nation's heritage, from their generosity centuries ago to the everyday contributions they make to all facets of American life. As we come together with friends, family, and neighbors to celebrate, let us set aside our daily concerns and give thanks for the providence bestowed upon us.

Though our traditions have evolved, the spirit of grace and humility at the heart of Thanksgiving has persisted through every chapter of our story. When President George Washington proclaimed our country's first Thanksgiving, he praised a generous and knowing God for shepherding our young Republic through its uncertain beginnings. Decades later, President Abraham Lincoln looked to the divine to protect those who had known the worst of civil war, and to restore the Nation "to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union."
In times of adversity and times of plenty, we have lifted our hearts by giving humble thanks for the blessings we have received and for those who bring meaning to our lives. Today, let us offer gratitude to our men and women in uniform for their many sacrifices, and keep in our thoughts the families who save an empty seat at the table for a loved one stationed in harm's way. And as members of our American family make do with less, let us rededicate ourselves to our friends and fellow citizens in need of a helping hand.
As we gather in our communities and in our homes, around the table or near the hearth, we give thanks to each other and to God for the many kindnesses and comforts that grace our lives. Let us pause to recount the simple gifts that sustain us, and resolve to pay them forward in the year to come.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 24, 2011, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage the people of the United States to come together whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place of fellowship for friends and neighbors to give thanks for all we have received in the past year, to express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and to share our bounty with others.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I talked the issue over (one more time) with the person who thinks I am "putting on" the fact that I don't have any sense of direction.  I think I may have finally gotten through to him so he understands my flaw.. that, or it might have been the part where I said the next time he could walk home.. ??  Peace reigns.
I have this bar at the side of my blog.. and the IMM 101 blog as well.  It's curious to me why the majority came upon my page listed as Listerine does WHAT?  Just sayin'.. it's odd to me. 
After making our 2nd trip to Wexford to the endocrinologist, I had to google "people without any sense of direction" ... and much to my surprise .. I AM NOT ALONE  !!!!! The biggest problem with people like me is not that we get lost after the end of the driveway, but that other people think we should automatically go the right direction because THEY CAN.   Are you sensing that I'm a tad irritated?  Yeah.. I am.   Asking me to make a trip without help is like me asking YOU to walk on your freshly broken leg with compound fractures.   It just doesn't do anyone any good to get upset.. get over it!   Accept me as I am.   No apologies for my brain shortcoming- God made me this way and this way I'll be till I leave this world.
Yesterday was my day at the doctor's office.  Today is Wendell's.  He will see his new endocrinologist about his diabetes.. it's actually his 2nd visit.  One thing that is really encouraging is that Wendell has lost 3+ # this past 2 weeks and this morning his blood sugar was only 99.  That is NORMAL.  Amen.  He got up early this morning and had his bloodwork done.  His A1c should be excellent.  Can hardly wait to see what happens ..

Enjoying the last few drops of coffee #2 for today.  Something I really love.  I have several things needful today.. one is to get some bread made.. I think our home made bread is down to the heels.

Am working on a recipe for a cake made from scratch that is safe for a diabetic, yet low calorie.  I think I may have one.  It may need some tweaking, but we'll see.  Does anyone know the purpose of butter in a cake recipe?  Is it simply a flavor issue or does it really have a purpose?   Can unsweetened applesauce take it's place?  Hmmmm  One of the things I love about CalorieCount.com is that I can put all my ingredients in the log and it will analyze and calculate the calories for me per serving.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I had my first appointment with my new PCP today.  SHE was everything I expected.. and I had a good experience.  Managed care is good.
I showed her a page or two from my CalorieCount site and the receptionist was so excited about it, she took down the address.  The one thing the doctor pointed out to me was that the suggestions for amounts of minerals.. Ca++ and K++ ... where I am low daily , are not particularly criticals.. I do take extra Ca++ every day, but my intake via foods still can't get it up to the 1200mg suggested for women. 
In February I shall have more bloodwork done- this time majorly- and we'll see how things have been.  Anxious to see this myself.
In March, I'll have a complete physical and get my marching orders for various tests that need done.   I'm still fighting that colonoscopy, but she says if I don't, I'll still have to be tested for blood in my stools. 
Otherwise, she gave me a sheet with stretching exercises that I need to do daily.  What she told me was that my "intake" was excellent, but my "output" stinks.  Let me translate that.  My diet is nearly perfect, but I don't exercise enough.  What the goal is kind of makes me wonder.. 30 minutes PER DAY of exercise enough to leave me breathless.  I dunno.. right now, I can do 7 minutes of pleasure walking before the spasms hit.. hmmm 
She was reassuring though.. she said ANY exercise is better than none, and I didn't have to do 30 minutes of steady exercise, I could split it into 5 sessions of 6 minutes or even 10 minutes 3x/day.  Well, now it doesn't seem insurmountable.
I have a bone density in my future.. not yet, but next year.. and probably a stress test too. 
All in all, I was rather impressed.. and the office staff was wonderful too... very friendly and helpful.
OH.. I got my flu shot.  yay me.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


part 2 of Barry's article

Christmas (Part 2 of 2)

by Barry Isaacs
Here below are some more reasons as to why I don't celebrate Christmas. Please see Part 1 for a more detailed introduction and 'disclaimer' hahaha. Thanks and God Bless Y'All! And now for the start...We Don't Celebrate Christmas Because

the LORD condemns using pagan religious practices in His worship (Deut 12:29-31).
the LORD condemns adding to or taking away from His commandments (Deut 12:32).
the LORD condemns doing anything under green trees in His worship (Deut 12:1-4).
the LORD condemns the heathen use of decorated trees at a solstice (Jeremiah 10:1-4).
the LORD commands us to separate from and not touch pagan religion (II Cor 6:14-18).
the LORD commands us to come out of Roman Catholicism and her sins (Rev 18:4).
the LORD condemns turning to the left or right from His commandments (Deu 5:32-33).
the LORD told the apostles to teach us to observe only His commandments (Matt 28:20).
the LORD rejected David's worship for a small detail and killed Uzzah (II Sam 6:1-10).
the LORD rejected and killed Nadab and Abihu for offering different fire (Lev 10:1-7).
the LORD rejected Moses from seeing Canaan for a slight modification (Num 20:12).
the LORD rejected Cain's worship simply for bringing an alternative sacrifice (Gen 4:7).
the LORD rejected Saul forever for noble intentions in a modification (I Sam 15:22-23).
the LORD rejected Uzziah and gave him facial leprosy for a new idea (II Chr 26:16-21).
the LORD rejected and killed Ananias and his wife for fudging a large gift (Acts 5:1-11).
the LORD requires reverence and godly fear in worship to avoid His fire (Heb 12:28-29).
the LORD seeks true worshippers to worship Him in truth, not superstition (John 4:23-24).
the LORD commands us to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered (Jude 1:3).
the LORD requires us to esteem all His precepts but to hate all other ideas (Ps 119:128).
the LORD commands us to prove all things by Scripture and reject the bad (I Thes 5:21).
the LORD expects us to be noble and search Scripture to know true worship (Acts 17:11).
the LORD gave Scripture to perfect us, which does not mention Xmas (II Tim 3:16-17).
the LORD curses any gospel different than Paul's, and he didn't preach xmas (Gal 1:8-9).
the LORD condemns fellowship with men having only a form of godliness (II Tim 3:5).
the LORD condemns loving pleasure more than God as perilous times (II Timothy 3:4).
the LORD condemns anything different from His Word as dark ignorance (Isaiah 8:20).
the LORD abominates anything popular with the world and esteemed by it (Luke 16:15).
the LORD condemns friendship with the world as becoming His enemy (James 4:4).
the LORD condemns traditions in His worship as evil and vain hypocrisy (Mark 7:5-13).
the LORD hates the polluting of His glorious name with pagan idolatry (Ezekiel 20:39).
the LORD condemns the superstitious idolatry and blasphemy of the Mass (I Cor 11:26).
the LORD condemns bringing any item of false religion into our houses (Deut 7:25-26).
the LORD commands us not to set up any image, which He hates (Deut 16:22; Ex 20:4-6).
the LORD hates religion that goes under green trees (I Kings 14:23; Isaiah 57:5; Jer 3:6).
the LORD condemns adopting any practices of the pagans around us (Leviticus 18:1-4).
the LORD condemns sun worship (Deut 4:19; 17:3; II Kgs 23:5; Job 31:26-28; Eze 8:16).
the LORD endorses only apostolic traditions, and they never celebrated it (II Thes 2:15).
the LORD is honored by gifts to Him rather than a selfish exchange of gifts (Matt 2:11).
the LORD teaches us to remember His death rather than His birth (Phil 3:10; I Cor 15:3).
the LORD gave baptism and His supper to remember His death (Rom 6:3-5; I Co 11:26).
the LORD resents the hatred of pagans who exchange gifts against His men (Rev 11:10).
the LORD condemns "the spirit of Christmas" as another spirit He hates (II Cor 11:1-4).
the LORD condemns a mother and child wearing halos as another jesus (II Cor 11:1-4).
the LORD condemns a tradition glorifying sun worship as another gospel (II Co 11:1-4).
the LORD loves us to give up dear things as proof of our love to Him (Matt 10:37-39).
the LORD did not come to bring peace on earth but rather a dividing sword (Mat 10:34).
the LORD blessed giving over receiving, but Xmas is selfish exchanging (Acts 20:35).
he LORD calls Jewish holy days matters of liberty, but not pagan holidays (Col 2:16).
the LORD calls Jewish holy days matters of liberty, but not pagan holidays (Rom 14:6).
the LORD considers the birth of His Son worthy of honor rather than folly (Heb 1:6).
The two chief New Testament ordinances - baptism and the Lord's supper - pertain to His death, not His birth.
celebrating Christmas sincerely is identical to Jeroboam's two calves (I Kings 12:26-33).
Aaron led Israel to worship the LORD with a golden calf to their judgment (Ex 32:1-5).
it breaks the first commandment by having other gods - the sun god Mithra (Ex 20:3).
it breaks the second commandment by having images - a Christmas tree (Ex 20:4-6).
it breaks the third commandment by taking His name in vain - "Christmas" (Ex 20:7).
it breaks the fifth commandment by promoting children's greed over parents (Ex 20:12).
it breaks the tenth commandment by promoting covetousness to children (Ex 20:17).
many Baptist martyrs gave their lives to oppose Catholic superstitions and traditions.
it was a crime to observe Christmas in America, when our country truly feared God.
it was a crime to observe Christmas in England, when that country truly feared God.
all the God-hating, Christ-denying, and sin-loving pagans get excited about this day.
Santa Claus is a pagan mockery of God the Father with white hair, grandfatherly image, eternal, lives in the North, unlimited resources, omniscient of children's behavior, omnipresent for a night, hears confessions, comes as a thief, blesses children, and distributes judgment for works.
the name Christmas came from "Mass of Christ," and Christians hate the Catholic mass.
every sincere birthday party honors the one born that day rather than all the mere guests.
a gift exchange dictated by a calendar is not a message of love but a ritual of obligation.
a gift exchange at the winter solstice was invented by pagans to celebrate the sun god.
Christianity is giving gifts unexpected without obligation to reciprocate (Luke 14:12-14).
secular encyclopedias will gladly tell you that Christmas came from pagan sun worship.
the first state in our Bible-oriented country to make it a holiday was Alabama in 1836.
a little drummer boy did not travel to the manger to play his drum for the infant Jesus.
for the two centuries following the Pilgrims, Christians in America called it "popish."
English parliament under Oliver Cromwell outlawed it in 1644 and punished violaters.
loving Jesus Christ is keeping His commandments, not decorating a tree (John 14:15).
you cannot do unto the LORD what the LORD has condemned (Deut 12:1-4; 12:29-32).
Christmas is not a matter of liberty left up to our consciences and/or heart preferences.
true followers of God will not follow a multitude or majority to false worship (Ex 23:2).
a time of unbridled greed, covetousness, and materialism cannot honor Jesus Christ.
this unique holy day in the Roman Catholic calendar is exalted by three profane masses.
the world loves a jesus helpless in a manger, but God's Christ is the LORD and Judge.
on Christmas Eve the Pope of Rome conducts a special mass seen by much of the earth.
godly parents don't lie to their children about a Roman Catholic myth named Nicholas.
the Bible is totally silent about using this day or any such celebration to honor Christ.
the gospel according to Christmas tradition, cards, and plays corrupts the Bible facts.
the Pilgrims in 1620, seeking to worship God in truth, formally banned the holiday.
the Puritans in 1659, seeking to worship God in truth, set a 5 shillings fine for keeping it.
the modern Christmas tree was not introduced to this country by Germans until 1821.
Jesus was not born in December, for one-half year back from Passover is rather October.
Jesus was not born in December, for shepherds did not stay in the fields during winter.
Jesus was not born in December, for taxation would not have been in the dead of winter.
Jesus was not born in December, for wise taxation would have been shortly after harvest.
Jesus was not born in December, for careful calculation of the priest's courses exclude it.
the Roman feast at the winter solstice was to the sun god Mithras from the Persians.
the Roman, extended feast prior to the winter solstice was to Saturn, god of agriculture.
so many consider Christmas a "sacred cow" and beyond questioning or condemning.
our past lives suffice us for lusts, excess of wine, revellings, and banquetings (I Pet 4:3).
Emperor Aurelian picked December 25 for this holiday in 274 to worship the sun god.
pagan sun worshippers had a great festival to the sun at the winter solstice before Jesus.
it would be wrong to have a golden calf with candles to worship the Lord our Strength.
the public schools in Boston were still open for classes on December 25 as late as 1870.
the "birthday of the invincible sun" (dies natalis Solis invicti) was this date in Rome.
December 25 was chosen by being the date of the winter solstice in the Julian calendar.
Satan uses this pagan feast to steal glory from the Son of God for ignorant sun worship.
Christmas American-style is oppression of parents by greedy children (Isaiah 3:1-5, 12).
Jesus promised that the majority are on the wrong road leading to death (Matt 7:13-14).
Charles Spurgeon, the most popular Baptist minister, preached against it as late as 1871.
all the unique customs of Christmas may be traced individually to pagan religious rites.
using Scripture's silence to justify anything not expressly forbidden will lead to Coke and chips for the Lord's supper and ouija boards for difficult decisions.
it creates the most foolish, hectic, stressful, guilt-ridden, and unproductive time of year.
the LORD is a jealous God and will judge any playing with other gods (Ex 34:12-16).
New Testament charity may accommodate weakness, but it cannot error (Romans 14:1).
the moderation taught in the New Testament is temperance or self-discipline (Phil 4:5).
it would be identical to offering incense to the brasen serpent of Moses (II Kings 18:4).
the only day observed by the apostles was the Lord's Day (Rev 1:10; Acts 20:7; I Cor 16:2).
we choose to emulate Jacob, who put away family idols to worship God (Gen 35:1-5).
we choose to emulate Jehu, who defiled Baal worship to please God (II Kings 10:26-28).
we choose to emulate Josiah, who defiled all pagan worship to please God (II Kings 23).
we choose to emulate Asa, who defiled his mother's favorite idol (II Chron 15:12-16).

"Let it be a settled principle in our minds that the first and chief business of the Church of Christ is to preach the Gospel." ~ J.C. Ryle
This is another of Barry Isaac's articles he wrote on Christians and Christmas..

The following write-up is not mine, nor do I necessarily endorse and/or agree with every single point in it. I know we're not 'under the law', but for me, not having anything to do with Christmas is a matter of choice, conviction and conscience etc. Some of the reasons why are outlined here below, and more will be found in the other note that I will be putting up. This is done just so that people will know where I'm coming from; NOT to try and make anyone believe as I do. I'm NOT judging anybody! Thanks, All, and God Bless!!! B. OK, here goes... Christmas is Spiritual Adultery

"These be thy gods, O Israel ...

To morrow is a feast to the LORD."

Exodus 32:4-5

"Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot."
Jeremiah 3:6

For a Christian to have a Christmas tree and engage in Christmas customs around December 25 is the same betrayal as a woman making love to her husband while thinking about another past lover, or with treasured intimate mementos of his in her dresser, or using sexual techniques she learned from him. If you think this is extreme or harsh, read Ezekiel 16 and/or 23 carefully.

1. Adultery is horrible. When a woman gives her body and love to another man for intimate sexual pleasures, she terribly betrays her husband. He is defrauded by having his most personal and prized object treacherously shared with a competitor. Adultery is outrageously wicked (Lev 20:10; Num 5:11-31; Job 31:9-12; Pr 6:32-35).

2. Jealousy is the result. It is the anger, envy, and pain when something dear to you is given to another. It occurs intensely in a husband, when his wife gives her body and love to others. Adultery causes great jealousy, as Scripture and nature show (Num 5:11-31; Prov 6:32-35).

3. God is Jealous. He created and saved His people from serving the devil to be His very own bride. He expects total adoration and perfect obedience. The first and great commandment is to love Him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. He will not share your love or interest with other things. His name is Jealous, and He burns in jealous rage when His people even flirt with anything else (Ex 20:3-5; 34:14; Deut 4:24; 6:15; 29:20; 32:16; Josh 24:19; Is 42:8; 48:11; I Cor 10:22).

4. God hates idols and icons. God condemned all idols, any graven image or likeness of any thing, and any devotion given to them, because He is jealous of any flirting or distraction by His chosen bride with the false gods of paganism. Their gods are bugs, trees, stones, and stars. He is the invisible Spirit of eternity. He does not want any other object getting even indirect attention. He even hated Moses' brass serpent (Ex 20:3-5; Deut 4:15-26; 5:8; II Kgs 18:3-4; Is 40:25).

5. False religion is spiritual adultery. The Old Testament condemned association with false religion as spiritual adultery with false gods in the most graphic terms. Due to the ignorance of most Christians, they are unaware of these awful charges and descriptions in the Word of God (Ex 34:10-17; Lev 17:1-9; 20:1-8; Num 14:33; 15:37-41; Deut 31:14-21; Judges 2:17; 8:27,33; II Kings 9:22; I Chron 5:25; II Chron 21:12-15; Psalm 73:25-28; 106:34-43; Jer 3:1-5,9; 13:25-27; Ezek 6:8-10; 16:15-38; 20:28-32; 23:1-49; 43:7-10; Hosea 1:1-3; 2:1-5; 4:12-19; 5:1-7; 6:4-11; 9:1; Nah 3:1-7).

6. Props to worship God are condemned. The Lord knew His people would be intrigued by the customs of pagan religion, including the use of green trees. So He condemned any flirting with false gods by His people using their customs in worshipping Him. Their intentions or motives toward Him did not matter! He was extremely jealous of their use of traditions and/or objects from His competitors while professing to love Him only (Ex 32:1-6,26-29; Deut 12:1-4; 12:29-32).

7. Christians cannot flirt with the world. The blessed God plainly condemns friendship with this world as spiritual adultery. If you love the world, then you have betrayed and cheated on the Lord. He hates everything the world loves, and He demands His people to come out from them and not even touch their things, including Christmas, which is the world's favorite religious and commercial festival (II Cor 6:14-17; Luke 16:15; James 4:4; I John 2:15-17; Rev 18:4).

8. True saints are chaste virgins. Paul's ministerial work, based in godly jealousy and fear, was to present churches and saints as chaste virgins to Christ, pure from fornication with another Jesus, spirit, or gospel. There is another Jesus presented by Satan, but loyal saints will have nothing to do with this pretending seducer. Neither will they be moved by the Christmas spirit that infects so many during the final weeks of the year (II Cor 11:1-4; Eph 5:27; Col 1:28; I John 4:1-6).

9. Compromise is adultery against Christ. We are living in the perilous times of the last days, when an effeminate and compromising brand of Christianity threatens the true saints and churches of Jesus. Most so-called Christians today love the world and pleasure more than holy living and doctrinal preaching. They have no heart for earnestly contending for the faith once delivered to the saints. They prefer fables of Santa and Christmas dramas at church rather than hard preaching of God's inspired Scriptures. They have turned from the Lover of their soul to entertaining seducers (II Tim 3:1 - 4:5; Jude 1:3).

10. Roman Catholicism is the Great Whore. The Bible describes the church of Rome as a garishly dressed harlot with a chalice full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication, because she adopted many pagan customs to seduce her followers into spiritual adultery. This has been the near universal understanding of God's true saints for 2000 years. But she is not alone, for the churches of the Protestant Reformation are her harlot daughters by retaining many of her sacramental and liturgical corruptions (Dan 7:1-28; II Thess 2:3-12; I Tim 4:1-3; Rev 13:1-18; 17:1-18; 18:1-24; 19:1-4).

11. Christmas is Catholic. For Bible believers, the name of the winter feast is enough - Christ's Mass. The mass is a Catholic blasphemy in which they pretend to turn a cracker into God on their altars. They bow, worship, and talk to their cracker before eating it. Then they lock the leftover God in a little house made to keep Him safe. The Lord Jesus Christ died once for His elect, and He has never been on the altar of any Catholic Church. He is coming soon to vaporize it with the breath of His mouth (II Thes 2:3-12; I Tim 2:5; Heb 10:10-14).

12. Christmas is pagan idolatry. Superstitious pagans soon invented the worship of agriculture and the sun, for they realized their lives depended on both. Winter celebrations developed long before Jesus to celebrate harvest and the Invincible Sun. It was common to use evergreen branches, wreaths, and trees in their winter festivals. The Bible condemns green trees, even if they are used to worship God and celebrate the birth of Jesus (Deut 12:1-4; Jer 2:20; 3:6,13; 10:1-16).

13. Christmas is spiritual adultery. Taking an evergreen tree, putting it in your house, decorating it with twinkling lights, sitting in the dark, and adoring it to the tunes of Christmas carols is spiritual adultery. You are professing to love Jesus Christ, but you are doing so with the mementos and techniques brought from other lovers - the world and pagan religion. You are not content with Jesus Christ and His pure gospel found in the New Testament - for there is no Christmas there. You have added seductions of the world to keep you happy in your marriage. Jesus Christ is offended at your whorish ways.

14. Only total rejection will work. God is jealous. He will not let you flirt with His competitors. He will not let you keep mementos from past lovers, like an evergreen tree. He will not let you remember the important dates of past intimacy with paganism, like December 25. He will not let you use a blasphemous combination of His name, like Christ's Mass. He demands that you separate totally from your past lovers, the world, and false religion (Rom 12:1-2; 16:17-18; II Cor 6:14-17; II Thess 3:6; I Tim 6:3-5; II Tim 3:1-5; Titus 3:10-11; Rev 18:4).

15. There are many Scriptures to help. The Bible clearly condemns observing Christmas and other holy days of Rome's whitewashed paganism. We are Bible Christians, and our religion is based squarely on the Word of God without any regard for human tradition, popular opinion, warm and fuzzy feelings, or the countless compromises and inventions of contemporary Christianity.
Well.... this was an odd day.  I got up at 3am feeling like a new body, and decided to do some reading before I got ready for church.  My intentions were very good, and I was looking forward to another of Vince's sermons on the Psalms.  In good time, I had breakfast, showered and dressed... and went back to my reading.  It was not long after that point that I started to slowly feel like a hat was falling down over my eyes and my head.. it progressed until my eyes failed me..and I felt they were trying to cross.  This is tired.
After some heartfelt consideration, I realized it might be dangerous for me to operate  a vehicle under these circumstances.. especially since Wendell was not attending.  The decision made to stay home, I walked into the bedroom, applied my CPAP, and lay down on the bed with an article to read on Christians/Christmas.. That's what I remember until 2:30pm when I woke up.  WOW.  That was some sleep I just experienced. 
Now what?
So I got on my trusty computer and dialed up Kindle for pc, and read a bit about holiness by JC Ryle.. really , besides Spurgeon, becoming fast my favorite author.   A while later I brought up a John Knox "pamphlet" (really a small book) and read some of that too.. The First Trumpet.. written about women in public office- and why they should not be there.  I haven't finished this yet..

I've connected with my friend Deejay..as we usually do daily.. and am looking forward to her new enterprise to be unveiled tomorrow.
Add her to your prayer list please, not just because of her new business, but because she is a shut-in basically and a wonderful Christian woman.  She it is that has encouraged me to read the books I've been reading.  Take a look at my bookshelf on the right side of this page..  (smile.  I haven't read that many books in the last 10 years, and these are just the ones I 've read THIS year.)

Tomorrow, Monday, I have my first appointment with my new PCP.  I'm really excited to keep this appointment, as I feel my managed care will be so much better.. more organized and efficient.
"Sprinkle all my past sabbaths with the cleansing blood of Jesus, and may this day witness deep improvement in me.

Give me in rich abundance the blessings the Lord’s Day was designed to impart;
May my heart be fast bound against worldly thoughts or cares.
Flood my mind with peace beyond understanding;
may my meditations be sweet, my acts of worship life, liberty, joy, my drink the streams that flow from thy throne, my food the precious Word, my defence the shield of faith, and may my heart be more knit to Jesus." (The Valley of Vision)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I want to share this article by a FB friend, Barry Isaacs.  I thought it a very good discussion of whether the Christian should celebrate Christmas or not.. my opinion may be swayed.. Read on..:
Should Christians Celebrate Christmas (The 'Other Side')

by Barry Isaacs

The other day, I posted two notes that were against the celebration/observance of Christmas. This study (below) basically presents the opposite viewpoint and is well-written and put together. Although I side with the 'nay', the following is here for all to prayerfully consider and for fairness' sake. God Bless Y'All! Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?
Study By: J. Hampton Keathley, III


"Should Christians celebrate Christmas?" or, "How should a Christian celebrate Christmas?" These are questions of concern for many sincere believers. In fact, many believers dislike the season and have refused to celebrate it at all. A number of reasons are given, and while I might agree with some of their concerns and some of the reasons offered against the observance of Christmas, I would not necessarily agree with their conclusions.
One day I happened to catch a TV preacher denouncing the celebration of Christmas. He was saying it is pagan holiday, and that Christ could not have born in December. He used some Old Testament passages to show how the Christmas tree was idolatrous and an abomination. He quoted Jeremiah 10:2-4 which reads:
2 Thus says the LORD, "Do not learn the way of the nations, And do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens Although the nations are terrified by them; 3 For the customs of the peoples are delusion; Because it is wood cut from the forest, The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool. 4 "They decorate it with silver and with gold; They fasten it with nails and with hammers so that it will not totter.

Then he quoted Isaiah 44:14-15:
Isaiah 44:14-15 Surely he cuts cedars for himself, and takes a cypress or an oak, and raises it for himself among the trees of the forest. He plants a fir, and the rain makes it grow. 15 Then it becomes something for a man to burn, so he takes one of them and warms himself; he also makes a fire to bake bread. He also makes a god and worships it; he makes it a graven image, and falls down before it. (NASB)

Finally, he quoted Jeremiah 3:13:
Only acknowledge your iniquity, That you have transgressed against the Lord your God And have scattered your favors to the strangers under every green tree, And you have not obeyed My voice,‘ declares the Lord.
It seems that the points of reference for this preacher were to "wood cut from the forest," "they decorate it with silver and gold," "he plants a fir" (an evergreen tree), "scattered your favors . . . under every green tree," and "falls down before it." The preacher went on to say, that at Christmas people take an evergreen tree cut from the forest; they decorate it with ornaments of silver and gold, and then fall down before it when they place their presents under the tree. His conclusion was that this is idolatry.

If this weren't so sad, it would be hilarious, but sincere people hear this and become concerned. As a pastor, I have had people ask me questions such as, "Are we wrong to celebrate Christmas?" "Is this idolatry?" "What should we do about celebrating Christmas?"

It is this mentality that I will address in this study. How should believers respond to such questions and to the criticism leveled against the celebration of Christmas and the Christmas season? Is it scripturally wrong to celebrate Christmas? Is it pagan?

Everywhere we go during the season, the signs of Christmas are there with all their glitter, tinsel, lights, greenery, cards, festivities, carols, bells, Santas, manger scenes, angels, trees and presents--and the push by Madison Avenue and the gimmicks of the retailers. The Christmas season either makes or breaks many businesses.
Should we play the part of Scrooge and say, "bah humbug!"? Should we call attention to the fact that certain of our Christmas traditions such as the yule log, the decorated tree, and mistletoe each have their roots in pagan festivals? Should we assert that celebrateChristmas is to promote paganism and materialism and thus is just not the biblical thing to do?
I personally do not agree with that conclusion. In this short study, we will take a look at some of the arguments and issues and consider some of the biblical options open to us as believers.

Arguments Against the Celebration of Christmas

Argument Number 1: Christmas is Commercialized and Materialistic
It is said that because the birth of Christ has been commercialized and secularized the real meaning of the season been lost. For the most part this is true. Even the story about the birth of Christ is often distorted, mocked, or misrepresented. The meaning of Christmas is said to be the spirit of giving. However, the giving of the Son of God who became the babe of the cradle that He might become the man of the cross and one day reign on earth with the crown is forgotten, rejected, or ignored.

Answers and Considerations:
If we use this argument as a legitimate reason for discarding the entire celebration of Christ's birth at Christmas, it would follow that we would end up having to throw out everything--even our Bibles and our wives or husbands. Why? Because Satan and man distort and ruins everything in life--the Bible, sex, marriage, the church, food--everything. Name one thing that Satan doesn't ruin. We don't throw things out just because the world misuses or distorts them.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:22 Paul says, "abstain from every form of evil" (NASB). Because of the translation of the KJV, "every appearance of evil," some have taken this to apply to anything that even looks like it might be evil. As the NASB translation make clear, however, Paul's meaning is "to abstain from every genuine form of evil," not what might simply appear to be evil. We are to abstain from what is genuinely evil or wrong according to the index of the Word of God. To abstain from the mere appearance of evil would seem to contradict what the Apostle says in the second passage important to this discussion.
In Titus 1:15 the Apostle also warns against those who see evil in almost anything and condemn it. For these people, a lot of things have the appearance of evil, but purity is first of all a matter of the mind and conscience, not merely the external. "To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled." (NASB).

Just because the world distorts something, that does not make it evil if we avoid the distortions and use it as God intended or in a way that does not go contrary to God's character and holiness. A good illustration is the beauty of sexual love within the bonds of marriage.

Argument Number 2: Scripture Doesn't Authorize It

The argument is that since we are not clearly authorized by the Bible to celebrate the birth of Christ during such a season, we should have no celebrations or even special services to commemorate the birth of Christ. On the other hand, Scripture does tell us to remember His death in the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, and we celebrate His resurrection by assembling on the first day of the week, but there is no precedent for celebrating His birth.

Answers and Considerations:
This is what we could legitimately call hyperliteralism in the use of Scripture. Such an approach completely misses the spirit and intent of the Bible. Hyperliteralism (or letterism) is an intense devotion to the details of the Bible in such a way that one misses the spirit and essential thrust of a passage. Mountains are made out of mole hills and the truth is missed. One is busy counting the number of letters in a sentence rather than listening to its instruction.
If we applied this argument consistently, we would need to discontinue the use of overheads, musical instruments, hymnals, chorus books, the church building, pews, Sunday school, Christian schools, and many other things. Further, there could be no special services or seasons to commemorate things God has done as with Thanksgiving or a dedication service for a new building. Why? Because the only illustrations of such things are found in the Old Testament and not the New Testament. If the New Testament had clearly spoken on this matter, this argument would be correct because the New Testament does take priority over the Old Testament. However, since it has not, the argument from silence is not sufficient reason.
Some would argue that the New Testament has not been silent, and this is the third argument we need to consider.

Argument Number 3: Scripture Forbids It
Colossians 2:16-17 Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day-- 17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
Using this passage, it is claimed that Scripture actually warns and forbids the observance of any special months, seasons, days or religious festivals.

Answers and Considerations:

What Colossians 2:16-17 forbids is the celebration of religious seasons or holy days when they have been prescribed as religious duty and necessary for holiness or spirituality.
In this passage, the Apostle is talking about the Old Testament festivals which were shadows of the person and work of Christ--but Christ has now come. To continue to celebrate them is to dishonor the fact of His coming, or to act as though He were not enough for salvation or spirituality. Note what the Apostle says, "let no one act as your judge in regard to . . ." He is saying don't let anyone tell you these things are requirements for fellowship with God. They were only shadows of the person and work of Christ, and He has not only come and fulfilled those shadows, but He is totally sufficient.
Colossians 2:16 and 17 in no way forbids believers from commemorating something such as the birth of Christ if it is done out of love, devotion, and the joy the season gives when used as a way of focusing on the Savior and not as a religious duty. The issue is not the observance, but the reason, the attitudes and the spirit in which it is done.
Furthermore, I believe there is scriptural precedent for commemorating and remembering the birth of Christ. This is in keeping with the events that occurred around the time of Christ's birth These include:

1. The appearance of the angel of the Lord with the glory of the Lord to announce the birth of Christ to the shepherds (Lk. 2:10-12).
2. The response of the angels at the announcement of Christ's birth (Lk. 2:13-14).
3. The actions of the shepherds who left their flocks to go and see which was nothing short of a celebration (Lk. 2:15-20).
4. And the arrival of the men from the east bearing gifts as much as a year to two years later (Matt. 2:1-12).

There is, of course, the New Testament precedent for believers meeting together on Sunday. In essence this is a celebration of the Lord's resurrection. The early church automatically did this, but Scripture does not command us to do so. In fact, the early church at first met daily and took the Lord's Supper daily, but we don't do that today. Why not? Because these are not binding. We are not under the Law. Believers meet on Sunday because of its significance and because the early church set a precedent for it, but it was never commanded in the Bible. Believers did it out of love and adoration for the risen Savior.

The point is this: If the early church could celebrate the resurrection without a specific command from God, only the spirit of legalism or the letter of the law would forbid the celebration of Christ's birth as a special season of joy and adoration. Ultimately, the issue is not the season, its the attitude and reason behind it and the distortion of it. Let's not throw out the baby with the wash.

Argument Number 4: Christmas Traditions are from Paganism
Another argument against the celebration of Christmas as it has been done for years is the claim that many of the traditions found in the celebration of Christmas were brought over into Christianity from pagan practices. These include the yule log, the tree, special feasts or meals, and mistletoe. How can we justify these things? Isn't it just like celebrating Halloween? A number of Old Testament passages are sometimes used to condemn the use of Christmas trees such as: Jeremiah 10:2-5; Isaiah 40:19-20; 44:14-17. (See verses in introduction above.)

Answers and Considerations:
Some Historical Facts about our Traditions
The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible says:
Gradually a number of prevailing practices of the nations into which Christianity came were assimilated and were combined with the religious ceremonies surrounding Christmas. The assimilation of such practices generally represented efforts by Christians to transform or absorb otherwise pagan practices.

The Feast of Saturnalia in early Rome, for example, was celebrated for 7 days from the 17th to the 24th of December and was marked by a spirit of merriment, gift giving to children and other forms of entertainment. Gradually, early Christians replaced the pagan feast with the celebration of Christmas; but many of the traditions of this observance were assimilated and remain to this day a part of the observance of Christmas. Other nations, the Scandinavians, Germans, French, English and others, have left their mark . . . as well (pp. 804, 805).

Concerning these ancient elements, The Christian Encyclopedia says:
Various symbolic elements of the pagan celebration, such as the lighting of candles, evergreen decorations, and the giving of gifts, were adapted to Christian signification. Later as Christianity spread into northern Europe, the Celtic, Teutonic, and Slavic winter festivals contributed holly, mistletoe, the Christmas tree, bonfires, and similar items.

Finally, Unger's Bible Dictionary adds:
The giving of presents was a Roman custom; while the yule tree and yule log are remnants of old Teutonic nature worship. Gradually the festival sank into mere revelry . . . . The custom was forbidden by an act of parliament in 1555; And the reformation brought in a refinement in the celebration of Christmas by emphasizing it Christian elements.

But what about passages like Jeremiah 10? Some believe this condemns the celebration of Christmas and especially the use of the Christmas tree. Is Jeremiah telling us to avoid the customs of the nations? No. Jeremiah 10 is a denunciation of the making and worship of idols and not the decoration of evergreen trees in the home.
This passage is not a categorical denial of all the customs of the nations. It is only a command to avoid those customs that are contrary to the revelation of God to Israel. There were many customs that Israel and the nations had in common that were not wrong.
This passage in Jeremiah and others like it in Isaiah had to do with idolatry. First, Jeremiah warns against astrological worship--the worship of the sun, moon, and the stars. Second, he warns against going into the forest to cut down trees to be carved into an idol in some form whether human or animal, and then worshipped and prayed to for guidance, for protection, and blessing (cf. Isa. 44:14-17).
Some have tried to tie the reference to the green tree in Jeremiah 3:6, 13 to the reference in 10:3f to further justify condemnation of the Christmas tree, but this refers to the idolatrous groves of trees used as a place for idol worship and revelry.

Issues Facing Us Today

(1) The pagan associations were lost long ago

The names of the days of our week also had their origin in pagan beliefs. Thursday originally stood for the Germanic god of the sky or of thunder. Tuesday stood for Tiw, the god of war. And Wednesday is derived from Woden, the chief god in Germanic mythology. Sunday and Monday were related somehow to the worship of the sun and the moon. Saturday is from Saturnus, or Saturn, and Friday comes from Fria, the goddess of love.
All of these ancient meanings with their beliefs and associations were lost long ago. When Friday roles around we don't think about Fria, the goddess of love. On Saturday we don't think about it as Saturn's day, but as our day off! The same applies to the traditions of Christmas. If one observed the days of the week or the Christmas season with their ancient associations in mind, certainly it would be wrong. But many of these things, as with our Sunday, have been given Christian connotations.

The evergreen tree is a symbol of the eternal life which Christ, the Son of God, offers to man via another tree, the cross (Rev. 2:7; 22:2, 14).

The presents under the tree can remind us of God's gift and our need to give of ourselves to others as those who have received God's gift of life through Christ.

Even without seeking special significance in the traditions of Christmas, you could still celebrate this season for the joy and family fun the season can bring.

I would like to suggest that believers can capitalize on the Christmas season as a family tradition and as a learning experience much like the Old Testament Passover was to be used by Israel. It all depends on the spirit and attitude in which it is done. We can be very negative and critical, or we can be positive and use the season as a time to remember and commemorate the birth of the Savior. We can use it as a time to demonstrate love for others in a special way, and to be together as a family like we do on Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, or New Years. We can make something evil out of it or something good.

(2) Facts of Scripture Concerning the Celebration of Christmas

In view of what we have seen, the Bible is silent from the standpoint of our Christmas traditions. However, because of our freedom in Christ under grace, we are at liberty to celebrate Christmas. The important point is that the Bible simply does not condemn the celebration of Christmas even in the traditional form and we have liberty in Christ to choose to do so.
Scripture does, however, set down principles which should affect the way we celebrate it. These principles warn and protect us from the distortions we find in the world.
Today in many companies and offices, Christmas is celebrated with wild, drunken parties where there is no regard for the reason for the season--the birth of the Savior of the World. It becomes just a time of merriment and a time to tie one on.
Today people often spend lavishly on gifts and go deeply in debt. They buy things they can't afford, which nobody needs, and sometimes can't even identify. The response is "Hey, thanks. What is it?"
Children get caught up with the gifts and the toys and lose sight of the Savior--or never hear about the Lord as God's gift of His Son that we might have life.
Through the Christmas message, Parents often fail to teach the spirit of giving as an outworking of one's relationship with God through faith in Christ, God's gift to the world.

Finally, some may observe the season as they would observe lent, as a religious holy day that must be observed to gain points with God, or to become more spiritual.
But it doesn't have to be like this. Even the gift aspect can be done in such a way that it is instructive, meaningful, in keeping with one's budget, and in keeping with biblical teaching concerning Christian stewardship.

(3) Ancient traditions are often distortions of original revelation

Many of the customs of Christmas originated in ancient Babylonian paganism and were related in various ways to the mother-child cult. But an important concept is often missed here.
Originally, many of the ideas of these pagan practices may have had their roots in the truth of the Old Testament or divine revelation from God as:
In Genesis 3:15, we have the promise of the Savior through the seed of a woman.
In Isaiah 7:14, we have the promise that this Savior will come through the virgin birth.
A number of passages use the symbol of a tree to point to the promise of life through the Messiah. Genesis 2:9: 3:17, 22; Revelation 2:7; 22:2, 14 all speak of a tree of life, some historic, some prophetic. Isaiah 4:2; 11:1; 60:21; Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15 and Zechariah 3:8; 6:12 all speak of the branch of the Lord as the work of God.

These verses form a whole line of prophecies concerning the branch of the Lord, the shoot, that would spring forth and become a tree of life both to Israel and the nations. So, when we come to the New Testament, we find reference to a tree of life that is available to believers in Christ.
In view of these Old Testament prophecies, I believe four things are evident:
These ancient customs of the nations were originally introduced into the religious life of the nations by Satan to distort the original promises and truth of God which these customs would portray. For instance, in the mother-child cult of ancient Babylon, the mother was the primary object of worship, not her son. This was a distortion of the promise of Genesis 3:15.
These customs came from a basic need in man (one built in by God) for the truth and need of a Savior. The practices, though in perverted form, did portray a deliverer, the provision of eternal life, the gift of God through the seed of a woman, a divine branch from heaven as the means of reconciliation to God.

The principle is that these customs cast surprising light on the revelation of God's grace as they originally came from God in the beginning of human history. As with the story of the flood, the temptation, and the fall of man, they all became perverted from that which we find in the inspired Word. However, in many cases, they did point to original revelation from God and maybe even customs that were originally pure.

Today, our Christmas traditions have lost their original pagan significance or connotations. In some cases, the distortions were corrected by the reformers over two hundred years ago, but they did not see fit to condemn the celebration of Christmas.

(4) The celebration of Christmas falls under the category of doubtful things.
It is argued that since Scripture does not clearly rule out the celebration of Christmas; its celebration falls under the category of debatable or doubtful things covered by the principles of Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8 and 9. In summary, these passages teach us the following principles:
Every believer must become convinced in his or her own mind (Rom. 14:5).
We must not judge or look upon other with contempt who do not come to the same conclusion that we do (Rom. 14:3, 4, 13).
Just as there is nothing evil in meat sacrificed to idols, so there is nothing inherently evil in the traditional Christmas with the tree, presents, carols, and decorations. Such things become what people make them by their attitudes and beliefs (Rom. 14:22-23; 1 Cor. 8:4-8; 10:19).
The ultimate issue is our attitude, the reasons, and how if one decides to celebrate the Christmas season in some fashion.

(5) Some Options to Consider
If you have doubts or misgivings, do away with any observance of the Christmas season all together. But do not become a Scrooge and look down on those who do celebrate it (Rom. 14:-5).

Cut out some or all of the traditional elements like the tree, presents, etc., but spend the season reflecting on the birth of the Savior through the Word and the singing of carols.

Keep the season's traditions--the tree, presents, and decorations--but divorce them of any religious tones. Use this part of the season simply as a family tradition for fun and family togetherness. But remember the birth of Christ through carols, reading the Christmas story, and times with other members of the body of Christ.

Keep the Christmas traditions and use them to illustrate and focus on the truth of Jesus Christ. (1) The tree speaks of the Lord and the eternal life which He gives; (2) The presents speak of God's love and gift to us of His Son and of our love for one another. Make the emphasis more on giving rather than receiving. (3) The mistletoe speaks of the gift of God's righteous branch, and the kiss or hug stands for kissing the Son in faith--an expression of faith in Christ as God's means of salvation and reconciliation (Psalm 2).

The problem is that many believers are already carnal or marginal in their spiritual life and they get caught up in the rat race and secularization of the season. People spend far more than they can afford. They seek relief from their burdens and seek happiness in the glitter and merry making of the holidays, rather than in the person of God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. They look for the season to give joy, rather than the Person of the season. They expect from the season what only God can give. As a result, depression and suicide reaches its peak during the Christmas season and immediately following it.

Argument Number 5: Uncertainty of the Date of Christ's Birth
As one who has specialized in biblical chronology, Dr. Harold W. Hoehner, professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, wrote:
Jesus Christ entered into the history of our world, Christianity, therefore, has historical basis. The backbone of history is chronology. Whereas history is a systematic account of events in relation to a nation, institution, science, or art; chronology is a science of time. It seeks to establish and arrange the dates of past events in their proper sequence. Thus chronology serves as a necessary framework upon which the events of history may be fitted (BIB SAC, Vol. 130, # 520, Oct.-Dec., 1973, p. 338).
The argument is that Christ could not have been born on December 25 or even in the winter, so the entire celebration is wrong, even the time of the year.

Answers and Considerations:
By considering the chronological notes in Scripture such as Luke 2:1, "it seems that the evidence would lead one to conclude that Christ's birth occurred sometime in the winter of 5/4 B.C." (Hoehner, p. 350). Our concern here is not with the year, but with the month Christ was born--or at least the time of year, i.e., winter or spring. Is a winter date out of the question? Is it possible or maybe even probable?

1. Hoehner points out that the traditional date for the birth of Christ as December 25th dates back to as early as Hippolytus (A..D. 165-235). In the Eastern church January 6th was the date used for Christ's birth. But this is still a winter date and not far removed from December 25th.

2. Chrysostom (A..D. 345-407) in 386 stated that December 25th is the correct date and hence it became the official date for Christ's birth except in the Eastern church which still retained January 6th.

3. One of the main objections has been that sheep were usually taken into enclosures from November through March and were not out in the fields at night. However, this is not as conclusive as it sounds for the following reasons: (a) It could have been a mild winter. (b) It is not at all certain that sheep were always brought into enclosures during the winter months. (c) It is true that during the winter months sheep were brought in from the wilderness, but remember, Luke tells us the shepherds were near Bethlehem rather than in the wilderness. This indicates, if anything, the nativity was in the winter months. (d) The Mishnah tells us the shepherds around Bethlehem were outside all year and those worthy of the Passover were nearby in the fields at least 30 days before the feast which could be as early as February (one of the coldest, rainiest months of the year). So December is a very reasonable date.

James Kelso, an archaeologist who spent a number of years living in Palestine and who has done extensive research there says this:

The best season for the shepherds of Bethlehem is the winter when heavy rains bring up a luscious crop of new grass. After the rains the once-barren, brown desert earth is suddenly a field of brilliant green. One year when excavating at New Testament Jericho, I lived in Jerusalem and drove through this area twice every day. At one single point along the road, I could see at times as many as five shepherds with their flocks on one hillside. One shepherd stayed with his flock at the same point for three weeks, so lush was the grass. But as soon as the rains stopped in the spring, the land quickly took on its normal desert look once again.

Since there seem to have been a number of shepherds who came to see the Christ child, December or January would be the most likely months (James Kelso, An Archaeologist Looks At The Gospels, p. 23-24).

Argument Number 6: The Timing of the Magi's Arrival
It has been claimed the Magi could not have arrived in Bethlehem at the time of Christ's birth. It would have taken months to travel to Bethlehem from the East. The family was living in a house when the Magi arrived, and Herod had children killed up to two years old when he heard about the child.
While none of this really affects whether one should celebrate Christmas, this argument is often used to throw further doubt and contempt for the entire tradition of celebrating Christmas.

Answers and Considerations:
The argument concerning the time required to travel from the East assumes a great deal. It assumes they were in the East when the star was seen, or even that God had not revealed information to them which could have caused them to begin their journey before the star was seen.

Let me just quote Hoehner from BIB SAC again (Vol. 130, # 520, p. 349).
The question arises whether Matthew is speaking of the same time as Luke or a later time. Madison attempts to demonstrate that the Magi visited Christ when He was about two years of age by noting that the Lukan narrative uses the term brephos (2:12) which is used to refer to an unborn, a newborn child, or an infant whereas Matthew uses the words paidion (2:8, 9,11, 13, 14, 20, 21) and pais (2:16) which are used of a child that is at least one year old rather than an infant. The fact that the wise men came to the house (in Matthew's account) rather than a manger (in Luke's account) would also indicate that Jesus was older when Herod slew the children. Thus Luke is talking about the time of Christ's birth whereas Matthew is talking about two years after Christ's birth.

However, the distinction is not so clear-cut as Madison would have one to believe. The term padion is used of infants (Luke 1:59:, 66, 76; John 16:21; Heb. 11:23) and brephos is used of a young child (2 Tim. 3;15). The word pais is used in the N.T. of a child six out of twenty-four times (the other eighteen occurrences speak of a servant). In the O.T. the meaning "servant" is almost unanimous. In Matthew 2:16 pais would fall into the same age category as paidion since the latter term is used nine times in the same context. Furthermore, to say that Jesus was no longer an infant because the magi visited Him in a house rather than a stable is quite weak. Certainly they would have moved to a house as soon as it was possible. Indeed the tone of Matthew 2:1 is that the Magi visited Christ soon after His birth. That Herod killed children up to two years old was only to be sure he got Jesus. This is not out of character with Herod. Therefore, the slaying of the children soon after Christ's birth is tenable.

Please note what Charles Ryrie has to say on Matthew 2:11 in his Study Bible, p. 1447.
into the house . . . the Child. These words need not indicate that the wise men came some time after the birth of Christ. The family would naturally have moved into a house as quickly as possible after Jesus was born, and "child" can mean a newborn (John 16:21). We do not know how many wise men there were, gold and frankincense and myrrh. These were gifts worthy of a king. The early church fathers understood the gold to be symbolic of Christ's deity; the frankincense, of His purity; and the myrrh, of His death (since it was used for embalming).

Argument Number 7: Christmas means "Christ's Mass"
The name Christmas is objected to because it means Christ's Mass. This is supposed to be a reference to the Roman Catholic ritual involving the Eucharist or the Lord's Supper. Roman Catholic tradition holds that by the priest's consecration the bread and the wine are changed into the literal body and blood of Christ; that this consecration is a new offering of Christ's sacrifice, and that by partaking of the elements the communicant receives saving and sanctifying grace from God.

Answers and Considerations:

Christ + mass, can also mean "a large number or quantity." It can also mean simply a mass of religious services in commemoration of the birth of Christ. In other words, mass stands for festival involving a number of religious activities, and is not a reference to the Roman Catholic ritual of the Eucharist.
Further, even if the term originally referred to the Roman Catholic ritual of the Eucharist, it long ago lost that connotation and is really not an issue.

Argument Number 8: What about Santa Claus?

Christmas can involve children in the belief of Santa Claus, a mythical figure, which detracts from the person of Christ. The objection is that the emphasis is turned from Jesus Christ to Santa Claus as the giver of gifts for good behavior rather than God's gift of His Son by grace through faith.

Furthermore, young children sometimes confuse Santa with Jesus Christ since "he knows when you've been sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good, . . .

The idea of gifts for good behavior can connote a "reward for good deeds" mentality which is opposed to God's gift of His Son through faith. Scripture does promise rewards for obedience.

Answers and Considerations:

The Santa Clause idea originated with a man by the name of St. Nicholas who was the Bishop of Myra in Lycia in the area of present day Turkey. He went about, often at night, giving gifts to poor and needy children. He later became the patron saint of children in the Roman Catholic Church. From here the story grew and became legend in country after country with various details were deleted and added as the legend of St. Nick grew.
So, how should believers handle it? Santa may be taken as a fairy tale idea like Alice in Wonderland, or Jack and the Bean Stalk. Children normally understand that Alice in Wonderland is only make believe--a fairy tale. However, for many children Santa is real. In many ways it is probably harmless. But because of the confusion between Santa and Christ, parents need to be careful in their use of this part of Christmas.

We also need to remember that Scripture does promise rewards for godly behavior or faithfulness for believers in Christ. Salvation is a gift through faith alone in Christ alone, but crowns, metonomy for rewards, are promised for faithful and obedient living (1 Pet. 5:4).


As with all of these doubtful things, each family needs to make up their own minds. In my opinion parents can explain the traditions and have fun with them, but make sure your children understand the historical roots and use these things to teach the truth behind the traditions.