Friday, December 17, 2010

Philosophy Friday Article 1: Jesus Wouldn't Like Christmas

I've had many debates about Christmas and only a few of them have been peaceful. 

Christmas is supposed to be a Christian Holiday. Christianity is a religion based upon one's dedication to Jesus Christ. Jesus was a simple man who is reported to have performed many miracles and taught people how to live their lives in ways that please God.

The Christmas traditions consist of several things that I'm forced to deduce that Jesus would not approve of. To prove that I'm not just being a scrooge, I will support my assertion with the words of Jesus from the Bible.

First of all, the Christmas season brings with it a commercial war zone. Christians and non-believers alike spend billions on gifts and decorations each year to celebrate the day dedicated to honor the birth of Jesus.
But Jesus warned us all about being concerned with material possessions.

"You cannot serve God and mammon." (Matthew 6:24) He goes on to explain that we should not concern ourselves with trivial things like clothes, food, nor drink.

Christmas shopping is the exact opposite of this teaching.

Christmas decorations are another aspect of the Holiday that Jesus would not approve of. Jesus would not approve of such gaudiness. Nor of the wasting of money to produce it. He never spent money on himself, and encouraged all to give everything they didn't need to charity.

The pivotal decoration of the season is the Christmas tree itself. Ironically the Bible itself prescribes that this tradition be avoided because it's roots are pagan.

"Thus says the Lord: 'Do not learn the ways of the Gentiles; Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven. For the Gentiles are dismayed at them. For the customs of the peoples are futile; "For one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with the axe. They decorate it with silver and gold; They fasten it with nails so that it will not topple. They are upright, like a palm tree ..' "  (Jeremiah 10: 2-5)

Many have argued that this admonition was listed in the Old Testament because the tree described here was an idol. It has also been said that since Christians today don't worship the tree as an idol it is okay for us to have Christmas trees now. However, there is a problem with this logic. Throughout the Old Testament God condemned the Jews for being harlots. This was not done because the Jews sold their bodies. It was because whenever the Jews conquered a land and occupied it they adopted some of the customs of the people. They were harlots in mind and spirit.

In fact Jesus made it very plain that the laws of the Old Testament should be preserved. "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill...Whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:17-19)   He also states at Matthew 7:21-23 that he will reject those who have done great deeds in his name because they were lawless.

In fact, it is the form of harlotry described above that allowed Christmas traditions to penetrate Christianity in the first place. The responsibility for this evolution is attributed to the Roman Catholic Church. In the Catholic Church's eagerness to spread religion to other cultures, they compromised with the peoples who had many rituals and celebrations that they refused to forfeit. The compromise consisted of allowing the heathen pagans to keep their traditions, but the traditions were renamed and rededicated to important events in Christian history.

This applies to more than just Christmas. The Easter bunny evolved from the worship of a God of fertility whose symbol was the rabbit because the animal was noted for it's reproductive efficiency. The moving of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday was done because of the worship of a sun god.

Now we come to the issue that plagues my heart the most. There is no way I can accept the tradition of lieing to children about the existence of Santa Claus.  How can a person who seeks to please God lie to their own children in such a way and call it Christian behavior? Is lieing not a sin? Are we not bearing false witness against someone if we attribute their hard work and sacrifice required to buy gifts to a fictional character?

The ninth of The Ten Commandments states: "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."

There are many who would refute everything I've said here by saying that the traditions that have been added to Christmas hold no significance, and that the important thing is that we remember this is a season to show love and bring joy to others.

I'm almost inclined to agree, but I can't even agree with this fully because aren't we supposed to do this all the time anyway.

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

I will rest my case for now though I could write volumes on this subject. I beg you to bear in mind that every prophet that God has sent to man was rejected because he was opposed to the people's traditions that ruled their hearts and culture. This is not to say I am a prophet. I know that it is my responsibility to share this truth however. I know I will be hated for what I have written here, but I've been hated and loved alike for worse things.

Always real;
Supaman Tion Terrell


  1. DearTion,
    Greetings in Christ. Thanks for linking me to your post. Since you invited me to comment, I'll share a few thoughts. First, I'd like to commend you for your desire to follow the teachings of our Lord, no matter how challenging they may be. Second, I appreciate the honesty of your expression. I think many Christians struggle with thoughts about how far they should go in celebrating or remembering the birth of the Savior. While some might say, "Go all out!" others see a more reserved celebration as more reverent. I grew up in a family that emphasized more simplicity and the services of the church as the highlight of the season.

    I'll offer one possible point of improvement to your post. I invite you to compare Jeremiah 10:1--5 with passages from Isaiah, which describe the process of making idols (41:6--7; 44:9--20; 46:1--2). It is likely that Jeremiah was describing how the nations would cut down trees for carving idols. Examples of such carved idols, overlaid with precious metal foil are well known from Egypt, where the dry weather preserves the wood. It seems unlikely that he was describing actual Christmas trees or prohibiting the use of trees for decoration. (For example, the temple of Solomon was decorated with pictures of trees overlaid with gold; see 1 Kings 6.) We can discuss this more next time we get together. Blessings on your blogging!

    In Christ,
    Pastor Ed