Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas and Christians

This holiday season, I am currently re-reading John Mac Arthur's book The Miracle of Christmas. It's a great little book for reflection that I highly recommend. Here is a small essay from the book that I found very interesting and wanted to share.

Christmas and Christians

Christmas as a holiday was not observed until well after the biblical era. The early church of the New Testament celebrated Jesus' resurrection, but not His birth. In fact, Christmas was not given any kind of official recognition by the church until the mid-fifth century.

Partly because so many Christmas customs seem to have their roots in paganism, Christians have often been resistant to some of the rituals of the holiday. The Puritans in early America rejected Christmas celebrations altogether. They deliberately worked on December 25 to show their disdain. A law passed in England in 1644 reflected a similar Puritan influence; the law made Christmas day an official working day. For a time, in England it was literally illegal to cook plum pudding or mince pie for the holidays.

Christians today are generally not opposed to celebrating Christmas. The holiday itself is nothing, and observing it is not a matter of right or wrong. As Paul wrote, "One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the LORD, and he who eats does so for the LORD, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the LORD he does not eat, and gives thanks to God" (Romans 14:5-6). Every day -- including Christmas-- is a celebration for us who know and love Him.

How we observe Christmas is the central issue. Do we observe it for the LORD's sake or for our own sinful self-gratification? Do we even think about why and how we celebrate it? That is the heart of the matter. Christmas is an opportunity for us to exalt Jesus Christ. We ought to take advantage of it.

post signature


Kim said...

Hi Karen, I'm a friend of Nancy Hoyer's and often (creepily) lurk... uh... I mean link to other blogs. Great post! Thanks for the exhortation! It is a blessing. (Crazy) Kim from CT. :)

Briana said...

I totally remember you talking about this recently... um maybe on New Year's Eve... I'm glad you posted it!