KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS
We've all seen this bumper sticker, and most of us probably used the expression at one time or another. Unfortunately, it does not reflect truth beyond a human tradition in Roman Catholic history when an uninformed (if well meaning, well intended) effort to Christianize a pagan holiday was decreed as the date which Jesus Christ was born. On or about December 25th. It was the pagan fertility feast of Saturnalia frot with pagan ritual and sexual orgies. The current holiday is much better by far... but it is not really about Jesus. For he was born (according to the time of years that shepherds would be out in the fields watching their flocks by night) before winter set in. Going by the timeliness of Jesus' life according to the Jewish feasts (which God implemented, by the way) Jesus was most likely born during the feast of booths / tabernacles. The Apostle John gives us a hint in the Greek in verse 1:14 of his Gospel account that Jesus "tabernacled" among us.
Another point is that Jesus did not tell us to remember his birth, or even his resurrection for that matter, but to remember his death in the communion / last supper / Passover Seder till he returns. Interesting how little we hear when God speaks and how trifling is our obedience to his commands. We don't even know what day of the week he died... not really. If we go by the traditions of men (which Jesus said nullify the Word of God Mark 7:13 and other places in scripture) then Friday is the day people throw God a bone with the gesture of good Friday. If you go by the biblical account it would be with either Wednesday or Thursday (depending on how one actually counts three days and three nights).
As I said, the human tradition holiday Christmas is better than Saturnalia by leaps and bounds. But it is not about Jesus even when it was far less commercialized and selfish. At best it was a time of uplifting one's countenance seasonal cheer in a bleak time of year... the hope for wellness and peace. A good time for family and friends to fellowship. But it was not about Christ even then... not really.
Don't get me wrong, I am not saying people never genuinely believed it was about Jesus Christ... good heavens, people sincerely believe it is about Jesus Christ (I certainly did 30+ years ago when my beloved wife and I set our wedding date December 25th). So I a not coming at this from the angle of bashing believers or ridiculing them. I only hope to educate all what the Bible teaches and what the Bible does not teach. "God helps those who help themselves..." is not found in scripture. Neither is Christmas truly about Jesus Christ.
God could have started Christianity from the get go, but instead he set out to teach the world there is no other way. Going through the various dispensations and governments of man (beginning with the familial patriarchy and matriarchy through the time of the prophetic / judges to the monarchy and Judaism itself to teach the world that these things especially religion and religious practices do not work and can become corrupt tainted and opposing the very God originally set out to serve). And God does not want these things from us. He wants fellowship with us. 1 John 1.
God is not interested in platitudes, lip service, naming things as Christian though they really are not.
We fight a spiritual war (waged quite often in our own hearts) with means that transcend this world. Christmas and creches are traditions of man that other men can take away. Atheists tell us we cannot have a creche on public property and the crosses that dot the America landscape should be removed.
God is not about these things.
God is about what man can never take away from us. And for us to do our ministerial part (each and every believer is a priest before God 1 Peter 2:5 Revelation 1:6) using our spiritual gifts which no one can take away from us... laying up for ourselves treasures in heaven...
Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV)
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.