Do you plan on celebrating Christmas?

Discussion in 'Puritan Publications' started by C. Matthew McMahon, Nov 13, 2015.

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  1. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I think it would be helpful as I do see the objection that no one thinks that way about such observances, and I mean in the church.
  2. sfontel

    sfontel Puritan Board Freshman

    Hey guys! Its seems easy for me...but I do plan to accordly to this I do nothing wrong...

    Rm 14.5-6 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.

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  3. kodos

    kodos Puritan Board Junior

    sfontel - The context of Romans 14 has to do with ceremonial ordinances, which at one point was indeed ordained by God - but now had passed away. It is hard for those Jews who have had these things ordained by God to see them as passing away, particularly without the full canon of Scripture available to them (such as Hebrews, or even the book of Romans itself). I think we should look at that passage in context. This is why they would have to be convinced, not because these were days made by man - but they were days instituted by God Almighty, and they didn't understand the passing away of these things quite yet. They were immature in the faith, which is why the New Testament even has a book relating to this discussion (Hebrews).

    In many ways this is a very different thing from Christmas, which is not once to be found in the Word of God itself.

    Now, since you do bring Romans 14 to bear here - I do believe it shows us the proper frame in which are to treat our brothers who are in error; without despising them, being self righteous, etc. but seeking to build them up in the faith by helping them to see these things.

    Blessings, and welcome to the Puritan Board!
  4. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Is the violation of God's determination of how sinners are to approach him idolatry?
  5. Miss Marple

    Miss Marple Puritan Board Junior

    Question for those finding the celebration (at home) of Christmas to be idolatrous:

    Can you use the arguments against it similarly against birthdays? If not, why not?

    To set aside Oct. 1 as my birthday, to have traditions, presents, special foods, even a prayer(!), in Christian circles instead of the traditional Happy Birthday song they sing one with Jesus in it, family must get together, asking a blessing. . . special decorations, etc. . . . gifts. . .

    Is this wrong? Are we making a "holy day?"

    I would really like to know the difference in application of the various arguments as applied to Christmas versus a person's birthday.
  6. Nate

    Nate Puritan Board Junior

    The Church Order of my denomination commands the observance of Christmas. The elders issue an official call to worship every December 25th. The same is true for Good Friday, Easter (must be commemorated), Ascension Day, Pentacost, Prayer Day, Thanksgiving, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day...
  7. PointyHaired Calvinist

    PointyHaired Calvinist Puritan Board Sophomore

    Sure, but choosing to commemorate the Savior's incarnation at a certain Lord's Day, and celebrating a certain day of the year in commemoration of said event with family does not fall into this. That's where the disagrement is, and unfortunately brethren are busy calling each other "Scrooge" and "Idolater." If the extreme puritans are right I - and others such as Dr. Sproul - are unrepentant idolaters.
  8. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    What is an"extreme puritan?" Is that like a "radical jihadist?"

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  9. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    The accepted course of justice is to examine the facts of the case first, and then come to a determination of the case on the basis of the facts. It subverts justice to begin with the determination and then proceed to judge the facts so as to avoid a certain determination.

    Whether "unrepentant idolaters" is a determination warranted by the facts can only be ascertained by looking at the facts.
  10. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    Excellent question! The puritans (and early Christians) disapproved of celebrating birthdays due to the pagan religious roots of it.

    In my thinking, the celebration of birthdays is severed from religion almost entirely in our culture, so the danger seems to be gone. Not so with Christmas.
  11. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    What would Christmas need to look like for it to qualify as being 'severed' from religion?
  12. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    No, because you are not the Holy One.

    Civil respect is required by Scripture, so such days of man's appointing are permissible within reason.

    Also, I am gathering the date of your birth is not in question. The date of Christ's birth is not revealed. Celebrating it only canonises the tradition and perpetuates the falsehood.
  13. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    As per the OP "Do you plan on celebrating Christmas?"

    As a practical matter of why we ought not to celibate the season would be to "plan on celebrating Christmas", as a religious season of joy, is presumptuous in that in The Lord's providence He may wish to take a loved one at this time. I say this from experience in that when my parents left this world to be with The Lord I did not feel like celebrating the season at all. Now the same does not go for the Sundays that immediately followed their death. I was able to act appropriately to the circumstance of the death of my parents. Let us face it the season can attempt to force joyfulness in the mist of sorrow for many in our church and culture.
  14. CJW

    CJW Puritan Board Freshman

    Myself, I don't celebrate my birthday either. Probably a personality quirk as I don't like being fussed over (and have rather strong anti-industrial economic model leanings), and not a religious conviction, although I do think marketing and the cult of the self have skewed birthday celebrations into something far different than it ought to be. I find the anniversary of another sinner entering the world to be an excellent time for mourning the many sins I have committed, rejoicing that there is mercy at the cross, and beseeching the Lord to grant me mercy for the year to come.

    Do I think its "wrong" that other people care about celebrating their birth day? No :) For my family and friends that would be offended if I forgot, I call them on their birthdays.
  15. Captain Picard

    Captain Picard Puritan Board Freshman

    No one is forcing anyone to be joyful, but surely a "season of joy" can transcend an individual's earthly circumstances?

    RE: an above post about the "Romanist tradition" of "Jesus being a helpless infant at the side of Mary"...

    Jesus was never a helpless infant at the side of Mary? I don't feel obligated by Scripture to believe he was supernaturally preserved from dependence on his mother, just to "avoid" a bunch of Romanist nonsense that has nothing to do with objective fact.
  16. kodos

    kodos Puritan Board Junior

    The point, which I probably failed at communicating, is the fact that Jesus is no longer a helpless babe at Mary's side. And yet, it pleases many folks to keep our Lord transfixed in a state of humiliation in the minds of the church. This theme of a small Jesus and a big Mary is found in many Romanist depictions of our Lord (and mind you, I was talking about a depiction - namely a nativity scene), and so this played into my making that comment.

    The fact of the matter is this though: Jesus is now at the right hand of God the Father in Glory (see Revelation Chapter 1 for John's vision of the risen Christ) and is not a helpless child any longer. It is good to remember Christ's humiliation because this is how we are saved. This is true. But we should use the proper means to do so.

    Regardless of this discussion on how our Lord is depicted in a nativity scene, the deeper problem is that all such depictions are forbidden by the express command of God (2nd Commandment), which is the root of the problem anyway. Since you subscribe to the TFU: HC 96-98.

    Now, it is rather interesting that you wish these things to be based upon objective facts - because even the date that Christmas is celebrated on cannot be said to be based upon anything objective, but rather upon the traditions of men. So I agree with you, let us have a discussion on objective facts, and let's leave the superstitions and traditions of men behind.
  17. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    If only we heard the words to the song "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" with "It's the most Wonderful Day of the Week" I might agree with you. :)
  18. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    It would have to cease being observed as any kind of religious holiday in a society. All religious associations with it would have to be put to an end for a long time on a broad scale, so that no even thinks of it as having anything to do with religion.
  19. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

  20. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    Its funny...I started out in the anti Christmas crowd- it is mostly Catholic pagan winter solstice traditions and so forth. I had to mellow over the years as my kids went to Christian school and had big Christmas programs with music and drama. I do like Christmas carols. We never had a tree, the Babylonian symbol of the resurrected sun God on the 25th was more than I could bear.

    But I have found myself the last few years getting almost pro Christmas as I see the attempt of secular forces trying to stamp out any religious expressions. Schools that can't sing a traditional Christian carol, lawsuits against mangers. Employees being told they have to say " Happy holiday" instead of Merry Christmas. So much of a push against any reference to Christ at all. I find myself reacting to want to defend Christian freedoms. Not sure where I'll end up, but I was in a mall that was playing the old hymns with all the great lyrics, and I can only thank the Lord for that.
  21. nick

    nick Puritan Board Freshman

    I am glad we have a place like the PB to dissect some of our reasoning on this subject.
  22. Captain Picard

    Captain Picard Puritan Board Freshman

    Let me celebrate a season for the Incarnation, if you will, and I will not judge you for having none! Neither attribute to me idolatry for a date for that celebration, and I will not attribute to you any unkindness. If people worshiped Christ at the Incarnation itself when the Word did not command it (and some of them may have been pagans) why does this not continue? There's a similar idea regarding the alleged "first thanksgiving"...did the Scripture command special worship there?
  23. Captain Picard

    Captain Picard Puritan Board Freshman

    Please don't hold me responsible for the words for that song. Not saying you do, but don't make that part of my argument. I don't wish to appear unkind about your original point! I sure hope you don't take any offense. However, I do enjoy the season I celebrate the Incarnation in, just like other seasons of the year. If you believe I am violating the command of God in "bringing strange fire before the Lord", I ask you to pray for me, and I will pray for me. And that goes for everyone. But frankly, I don't believe HC 86 and following obliges me to exclusive psalmody or negation of celebration of the Incarnation in Winter. Sorry.
  24. kodos

    kodos Puritan Board Junior

    Is it your claim that you cannot find a command in the Scriptures to worship God in His very presence?
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
  25. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    I was in no way saying that song was attributed to you directly but only used that to respond about the idea that no one forces another to be joyful in that season as we hear it in the malls and around the trees at our brothers and sisters houses when we gather for Christmas meals. Now please understand I do say it is a sin to celebrate the season because it is IMPOSSIBLE to separate the season from a religious context. I say the above "is a sin" in a most the most humble manner I can without compromising my position knowing how far I fall short....even in this area we are discussing. I will pray for you, and I hope you will pray for me. :)
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
  26. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    It is not about US. It is about HIM; it is about worshipping God as He commanded and being satisfied with the fact He commemorated His Redemption of us by moving His prescribed day of worship to the first day of the week. Now, when He has so honored a day it is presumption to act like God and think we can carve out various acts such as Christ's birth to highlight on some other fixed day as more important to US than another part of our redemption in Christ. If God wished to be honored in highlighting Christ's birth, we'd have a book in the bible called 'calendar.'

    “Shall we suppose that Christ and his apostles, in abrogating those days which God himself had appointed to be observed, without instituting others in their room, intended that either churches or individuals should be allowed to substitute whatever they pleased in their room? Yet the Christian church soon degenerated so far as to bring herself under a severer bondage than that from which Christ had redeemed her, and instituted a greater number of festivals than were observed under the Mosaic law, or even among pagans.” M’Crie on Esther.

    “Yes, some will say, to observe the Jewish days after they were abolished by God, was sinful and dangerous, but we do not keep Jewish days. But mark what these men say, God abolishes his own, and yet they think he gives liberty to man to set up others. If upon God's abolishing his own, men have liberty to set up theirs, then Christians are under a more heavy bondage, and grievous pedagogy, than ever the Jews were, for it is better to have a hundred days of God's appointing, than one of man's, and more honourable. Further, if God appoint, there needs no scruple, as if man appoint: yea, if God appoint, we may expect a special blessing, and efficacy, and presence of God; we cannot expect such things in man's appointment. Now, if when God has taken away Jewish ceremonies and days, man might lawfully appoint others as he pleases, we may pray to God with good reason to bring us under the bondage of the law again, rather than to be thus under man's power.” Burroughs on Hosea.
  27. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    Not that I agree with this entire defense but even Scrooge is entitled to one. ;)
  28. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    So, if it was only Santa without the Nativity, it would be 'severed' from religion. It appears to be moving in that direction.
  29. 2ndViolinist

    2ndViolinist Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes, to an extent. My family gets together and makes music, exchanges gifts, and enjoys delicious homemade food.

    Sproul has no authority to declare Christmas as a holy day. God does, and He made the Christian Sabbath (Genesis 2:3). In all likelihood, Christ's incarnation was not on December 25th and if I remember correctly, some pope had made it coincide with some sun-god celebration.

    I leave with a Spurgeon quote:

    And another one...

    I would be wary of churches that regard the day or season as holy and institute traditions pertaining to its 'holiness' (e.g. advent candles, wreaths, etc.).
  30. Miss Marple

    Miss Marple Puritan Board Junior

    It is mystifying to me.

    We are usually in the mode of "taking all captive for Christ."

    Having a birthday party? Sing the Jesus oriented birthday song, have a time of devotions, pray for the birthday boy.

    Having a baby shower? Have a devotional time, a time of prayer for mother, have everyone pass around a book putting in their favorite Bible verse as a keepsake.

    Starting a business? Dedicate it to the Lord, put Scripture on the walls, print a Bible verse on the receipts.

    Sanctify everything by the word of God and prayer. . .

    except Christmas, which must be made holy in a reverse way, by keeping it all snowmen and seasonal holly.

    It is contradictory, to me.
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