Friday, December 11, 2015

T'is The Season

Every year the saints in Christ are confronted with every religious holiday such as Christmas. They are confronted either by their own conscience or by others for their holiday practices and observances. Often the condemnation and justification for the observance of Christmas is filled with wrong information and outright ignorance by those who judge and those who are judged. I would like to take a brief moment to hopefully edify and encourage my brothers and sisters in the faith. You can apply this to Christmas, but it holds true of any holiday.
The apostle Paul in Romans 14 had something to say about those saints who feel compelled to judge their brothers and sisters who observe a holiday. He had something to say, as well, to those who feel compelled to judge their brothers and sisters who do not observe a holiday. Two of the searing charges made against the observance by Christians of the Christmas holiday is that 1) the holiday does not appear in the scriptures, and 2) the origins of Christmas are pagan.

Quite true on both counts. However, is this wisdom drawn from the scriptures? Does this wisdom enlighten and encourage the saints so that they might proclaim Jesus at Christmas?
We have, through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, an instance involving the practice and observance of a holiday in the New Testament. The holiday was Pentecost. The apostle Paul was the practitioner and observer in Acts 21. Paul had hurried to arrive in Jerusalem in time for Pentecost. Pentecost was not a pagan holiday. It was ordained by God for the Jews to observe. Paul was not a mere passive observer. He complied with the temple rituals before entering the temple to fully participate in the celebration of Pentecost.
Nothing of what Paul did was to suggest or to instruct Christians that they were to observe Pentecost. Rather what Paul did through his practice and observance of Pentecost was to exercise his liberty as a disciple of Jesus to observe a holiday. This was the liberty concerning the observance of holidays which Paul had declared to the saints in Romans 14.
However Paul's observance was more than a mere holiday party festivity. What Paul DID on Pentecost is what he always did in all circumstances and situations.He proclaimed Jesus. This is precisely the opportunity that was presented to Paul after he entered the temple and was falsely accused and apprehended by the Jews.
If Christmas, and any other holiday, is to be observed by Christians it is not because it is or is not a pagan holiday. The fact that Paul observed Pentecost was not because it was not a pagan holiday. His observance was because he knew he might have the opportunity to proclaim Jesus to the Jews who would be present. Let your observance of Christmas be an opportunity to proclaim Jesus, the Son of God risen from the dead through the power of the resurrection.
Merry Christmas to one and all. Peace in Jesus, the Son of God.

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