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Do We Need Christmas Anymore?


By stephen - Posted on 08 October 2009

Nativity Scene_0.jpgSounds almost blasphemous doesn't it? What a question! Of course we need Christmas - it's Biblical isn't it?

How could you not support Christmas? I hear you say! It's all about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ on the 25th December in Bethlehem, 2000 years ago!

Well, before you run me out of town, read on! I've actually been to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve expecting a spiritual night (I wasn't a Christian). I was assaulted in Manger Square, so I think I have something to say about Christmas and all that! Read on!

I have been a Christian for 30 years and I have always had a problem with Christmas. My views have not changed over that time as expressed in a song I once wrote and performed publicly (& can be downloaded free as an MP3 at: http://sites.google.com/site/stephencracknell/Home/my-talks-sermons.) The song lyrics are reproduced below:

I DON’T BELIEVE IN YOUR CHRISTMAS ANYMORE
(Like many people, I really struggle with what Christmas has become.)

The world keeps Him in a cradle; the church rocks Him to and fro
Unbelievers know that it is dangerous to let Lord Jesus grow
Can you imagine all of the damage? Imagine all of the strife?
If they realise that they have to surrender their self centred lives
Well they must go!

The dates are wrong, as is the song
That has flowed from unsaved lips too long
Another Christmas beckons, loudly as before
And I don’t believe in your Christmas anymore

Where is the saint who’ll take a stand and be counted for the Master?
Our sins are known for what they are but we cover them with plaster
Christmas carols sung by those with reservations in hell
While Jesus is kept marketed, a Baby fit to sell
Is the Son of God, is He fit to sell?

The dates are wrong, as is the song
That has flowed from unsaved lips too long
Another Christmas beckons, loudly as before
And I don’t believe in your Christmas anymore

Children exercise a growing greed, it’s covet time of the year
“I want this!” & “I want that!” I watch with eyes of fear
The booze flows & the Devil knows everyone does as he pleases
The hypocrites make their toast to God: “Happy Birthday Baby Jesus!”
Let’s raise our glass!

The dates are wrong, as is the song
That has flowed from unsaved lips too long
Another Christmas beckons, loudly as before
And I don’t believe in your Christmas anymore

As can be seen from the above song, I believe 'Christmas' has some serious errors. Briefly, they are as follows:

1. Jesus was NOT born 25th December - the date is a Christianised pagan date.

2. The 'Christmas Nativity Story' has some serious problems eg the number of 'wise men' (magi) is never mentioned in the Bible as 3 men. More of a problem is the oft repeated story told to children that Joseph and Mary were desperate to get a place to give birth to Jesus in a seemingly uncaring community.

Read your Bibles again - there is not a hint of this! All is in control! Joseph is a responsible parent-to-be. The whole "inn" episode is a myth. There were no "inns" in Bethlehem that resembled later day inns. The word "inn" can be correctly translated other ways eg small room in a house.

So Mary was looked after very well - not in a barn yard surrounded by smelly animals!

3. Therefore, I have a real issue with some of the songs we sing at Christmas services as they continue the myth. Some lyrics are clearly wrong and are relatively quite recent (and awful).

4. Let's face it - the world has stolen Christmas from the church. The world is happy with us if we share public stages with unbelievers who pretend to praise the Lord and Saviour of our planet - even though many of them could care less about Jesus. Jesus Who?  Oh yeh, the little baby in the manger! Cute kid.

They like "Christmas" on their terms - so don't mention 'sin' and 'hell' OK!

5. There is NO Biblical mandate that a Christian should celebrate Christmas. Christ - Mass was an invention of the church, not God. So stop pretending that Christmas is so sacrosanct - it's not!

So, let's peer review it!

OK, so you have read this far. Well done! Have I got you thinking? Good, because I want to say there are some great things about Christmas.

1. Can be a really great family time as we, as people (especially family) meet to share genuine love and care. Well, for some ... it can be extremely lonely for others.

2. Great time to evangelise non- believers. Churches should grab this opportunity to preach the gospel and tell them all about the REAL first 'Christmas'. Then the church can let Jesus grow up, teach as a real man, be killed on a cross, resurrected and seated at the right hand of the Father.

When He returns (which He will); He will gather His people and judge the rest. Hell is real but so is heaven.

God loves sinners - what a great message at Christmas - instead of patronising the world with Jesus Bubba stories we can tell them the GOOD NEWS!

3. Many Christians earnestly glorify God during this time to reflect on the grace of God, in sending His beloved Son into the world. I deeply honour these fellow Christians.

Finally, note well that my song says that I don't believe in 'your Christmas' anymore. Some of us have grown up in non-Christian homes and remember very clearly what Christmas meant on those days. Some of you relate to this don't you?

For more information see: Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels by Kenneth E. Bailey. Download and read Chapter 1 - The Story Of Jesus' Birth; it's fantastic and liberating.

His DVD on this subject can be purchased HERE.

Over to you - blog away!

Now, about Easter ...........

UPDATE: Top 5 Common Christmas Myths!

VIDEO

 

 

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The following links are worthwhile; in that they respectfully challenge the traditional view of Christmas:

The Inn of Jesus' Birth - Mitch Lewis

What are some of the most common misconceptions about Jesus Christ’s birth? ChristianAnswersNet

 

Hi – I found your comments about Christmas really interesting. It does bother me that if you ask people what is the true meaning of Christmas you are more likely to get a response along the lines of: “The importance of family,” or “giving” rather than a celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Just a few questions in relation to the specific things you mentioned:
1. Jesus was NOT born 25th December - the date is a Christianised pagan date.
To what extent does it matter if the date isn’t completely correct? Do we have any idea of the real date?
2. The 'Christmas Nativity Story' has some serious problems eg the number of 'wise men' (magi) is never mentioned in the Bible as 3 men. More of a problem is the oft repeated story told to children that Joseph and Mary were desperate to get a place to give birth to Jesus in a seemingly uncaring community.
 
How and why do you think that this story has changed over time?
3. Therefore, I have a real issue with some of the songs we sing at Christmas services as they continue the myth. Some lyrics are clearly wrong and are relatively quite recent (and awful).
I agree – but mainly about the songs that are just totally unrelated – i.e. santa, jingle bells etc.
4. Let's face it - the world has stolen Christmas from the church. The world is happy with us if we share public stages with unbelievers who pretend to praise the Lord and Saviour of our planet - even though many of them could care less about Jesus. Jesus Who?  Oh yeh, the little baby in the manger! Cute kid.
What should be done about this? Whose fault is it? Do you think people have deliberately subverted the message of Christmas – or do you think that over time the church has watered down the sermons and the message without deliberate intent to mislead?
 
I agree with your positive comments about Christmas and it is certainly a great evangelistic opportunity. I think people can have genuinely spiritual experiences at Christmas time – if they can avoid the materialism, advertising, debt and one-upmanship that characterises this time of year.
 
I also agree that Easter should have a bigger focus. I think that the reason it doesn't "in the World" is because it doesn't have the same gift giving aspect that can be commercialised.

 

The date is debated all the time - we don't know the date. I agree, I don't think it's that important - as long as the truth prevails (ie 25th December has no Biblical basis).

The story has changed so much due to, at least in part, 2 things: 1. Misinterpretation of the Matthew's and Luke's accounts (see link below) which become fixed traditions over time (a study of the history of the 'Christmas story' shows additions being added on to complement the Bible story) and 2. a desire to embellish the story of Jesus (as if it needs embellishment!).

I beg to differ about some songs other than Santa etc. Check the "Jesus Christmas" lyrics out carefully (are they totally Biblical?). The question is: Do we really want to worship God with clearly faulty lyrics? The song below is a quickly found minor example of error (we don't know how many 'wise men' there were. When did they arrive? How old was Jesus when they saw Him?)

EG "And by the light of that same star,
Three wise men came from country far;
To seek for a King was their intent,
And to follow the star wherever it went."
(The First Noel)

What can be done? Easy. Love everyone who comes to church on Christmas Day; sing accurate songs and preach the Gospel message about the crucified, risen Lord! With our friends we can discuss Christmas from a Biblical point of view over a bar-b-q.

For more information as to why I have this "bee in my bonnet" about Christmas I strongly suggest you check out: Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels by Kenneth E. Bailey. Read Chapter 1 - The Story Of Jesus' Birth; it's fantastic and liberating.

I really appreciate your feedback NEMO!

I, like you, get very frustrated at the whole Christmas drama, especially at this time of the year when supermarkets etc are busy putting up all the  paraphernalia designed to get consumers into a festive spending frenzy!  However I've got to say, I love Christmas for reason you mentioned in your second point - evangelism.  And I do love the fact that while our society is slipping further away from any form of Christian heritage, we still have Christmas as our number one public holiday.  While it might be crowded by Santa etc, almost every Aussie would know that Jesus' birth is the thing we're supposed to be celebrating.  In that way, I'm glad of any reminder, subtle and warped as it may be, that Jesus existed.

I would personally like to see us as Christians make a bigger deal about Easter.  Christmas is popular, I'm sure, partly because it's about a baby.  Babies are cute, babies don't confront or challenge us.  Easter, on the other hand, is about death - no wonder it's not as popular!  However it's Jesus' death that confronts us and challenges us at a whole different level.  I might be wrong, but I see Easter as the real outreach opportunity, and the one we should be using to challenge our community.

Enter LOOKOUT here:

Lookout.jpg

Christian Quotes

"Arguments about God are like pointing a flashlight toward the sky to see if the sun is shining."

N T Wright

HSC Studies of Religion. ENTER HERE

HSC Studies of Religion

 

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