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RELIGION, CURRENT EVENTS, TECHNOLOGY Subscribe to the breaking newsWhat is RSS?
FRONT PAGE  |  8/20/2014
FRIDAY, DEC 19, 2008  |  55 comments
Where is Christ in Christmas?
Merry Christmas. Seriously. And some people do mean seriously.

A vocal faction of believers, grumpy about Christmas gone wild, insist that Christians should get a theological grip.

"Christmas is being marginalized every day of the year, when pastors fail to preach who Christ really was," says Michael Horton, who blasts these trends in his new book, Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church.


CLICK HERE to Read Entire Article
www.usatoday.com

For Unto Us A Child Is Born
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· Page 1 ·  Found: 55 user comment(s)
News Item1/2/09 6:58 PM
Anti-antichrist | God's land  Find all comments by Anti-antichrist
Past discussion mentioned the invention of other "holy days" and I don't think anyone pro-xmas has responded. So, now please answer...

Can we invent other "holy days" and use your very own reasoning to justify them?

55

News Item1/2/09 6:36 PM
John UK | Wales  Find all comments by John UK
I remember back in mid-December, upon attending a car-boot market, a non-Christian trader said to me, as I was leaving, "Happy Christmas, John."

I said to him, "Roger, whatever do you mean? What exactly is 'Christmas'? Besides, why should you wish me happiness for just one day a year? A better thing to say would be, 'Have a happy life.' But even that would not be a good thing to say, because having a happy life is almost impossible in this world."

Ah yes, but there is a joy which knows no bounds. It is not dependent on mince pies, or partying with the relatives, or watching 'The Wizard of Oz' and all such. It is the joy of knowing and obeying the Lord Jesus Christ as a disciple of his.

Paul is one of the few Christians who ever talk about this form of joy, but we have his recorded words, praise God. Despite his incredible track record for suffering, see him in prison at Philippi, or even better, when he was thrust out of Antioch in Pisidia for daring to PREACH THE GOSPEL. What did it say?

"And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost." Acts 13:52.

Paul and Barnabas were filled, the new disciples in Antioch were filled, even though the two men who had brought them to Christ were departing.

FILLED with JOY and with the HOLY GHOST. It's needed.

54

News Item1/2/09 5:33 PM
Neil | Tucson  Find all comments by Neil
wherewithal,

The "joy" in the Christ-mass season is synthetic, & has become a duty in itself; hence it is no joy at all. Who likes being told that they ought to be happy, or else be blamed as a killjoy?

Taking "time off" from the shopping, baking, & decorating frenzy of December is a joy for me, since I have confidence that God never required this of His people, & that His yoke is easy & His burden is light, not heavy (costly & wasteful) like the man-made Pharisiac holiday traditions that have accumulated over the centuries.

One often reads complaints about the excesses of consumer culture, yet such scruples are quickly forgotten by all after Thanksgiving.

53

News Item1/2/09 5:28 PM
Next Page  Find all comments by Next Page
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. luke 2.7

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.(v12)

And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.Matt 2.8

Since the Inn and all other places were full then obviously the wise men would go where Jesus was.

Herod killed all UNDER two years.

"slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.Matt 2.16

52

News Item1/2/09 5:07 PM
Mike | New York  Find all comments by Mike
I may be missing something, but I find no Scriptural basis for the traditional holding that the magi visited the newly born Jesus in a stable/manger. Herod decided to kill all males 2 yrs of age and under in Bethlehem and surrounds, "according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men." Looks like some time after the birth had passed before the magi arrived. Further, they visited Him, not in a stable, but a house(Mt 2:11)

Even Herod had no need to kill 2-year olds if the One he wanted dead was a new-born.

51

News Item1/2/09 5:03 PM
wherewithal  Find all comments by wherewithal
Neil wrote:
"Without the birth and incarnation of Christ, - this would clearly have not existed."
#1] Of course, but adducing these as a reason we ought to celebrate Christ-mass is a non sequitur. Facts do not imply duties.
"I see no reason for not praising and commemorating God for the incarnation of His Son."
#2] Inability to see a reason not to isn't a valid argument, unless choice of days of public worship has been wholly delegated to human imagination. We are always free to *privately* praise God for His revealed truths, however.
"Christmas may have been usurped by the worldly concerns of mankind,"
#3] Begs the question. One can't *usurp* a holyday that (as I argue) doesn't Scripturally exist.
#1] It's not a duty to praise worship and celebrate the coming of Christ. It is a JOY. As the HOST of heaven expressed at HIS Birth.

#2] I still maintain that their is NO reason NOT to celebrate. This worship is not public imagination as you imply. It is an expression of Joy to the Lord and goodwill to all men.

#3] Taking time off from the daily routine to celebrate the greatest gift mankind ever received, is an excellent way to worship God and His gift of life to those who follow His Son.
I'm only sorry that so many here can't see that.

50

News Item1/2/09 2:13 PM
Neil | Tucson  Find all comments by Neil
DJC et al.,

No quarrel when the facts of Scripture are emphasized, whatever the season (John Gill's opinion: Jesus born in October). I prefer to avoid publishing my email, but here's what I came up with just now:
- Elizabeth conceives John in Judaea [other details omitted here]
- Mary betrothed to Joseph in Nazareth
- Mary learns from Gabriel that she is with child
- Joseph learns & is assured by Gabriel
- Mary calls on Elizabeth & recites/writes Magnificat
- John is born
- Augustan census decree [Mary is late term by this time?]
- J & M travel to overcrowded Bethlehem to prove "citizenship," resort to inn stable
- Jesus born!
- Annunciation to shepherds who visit & spread the news
- 8 days purification, then Jesus named [J & M still at the inn?]
- J & M to Jerusalem [short trip] for Temple duties with firstborn
- Jesus seen by Simeon & Anna
- [J & M back to Bethlehem. Hope the census crowd cleared out by this time]
- Herod visited by magi, learns of Incarnation
- At least 2 magi visit J & M in Bethlehem, bearing gifts
- Magi depart & avoid Herod
- J & M warned & escape to Egypt
- Herod's mass infanticide in Bethlehem. Possibly up to 2 yrs after Jesus born.
- [time elapses] Herod's death
- J & M back to Nazareth

Corrections/remarks welcome

49

News Item1/2/09 1:07 PM
DJC49 | Florida  Contact via emailFind all comments by DJC49
Neil wrote:
As an aside: how many of us have memorized the complex sequence of historical events surrounding the Incarnation? That at least is worthy of study, but I've heard few December sermons that ever get much into it.
Perhaps "Christmas" could be that very time when the complex sequence of historical events surrounding the Incarnation would be taught! Nothing wrong with that, is there?

If the Protestant world can observe Reformation Day (Oct 31), then certainly it could acknowledge the Incarnation -- even if it's called "Christmas."

Aside: I sure would like to be made aware of the complex sequence of historical events surrounding the Incarnation. Perhaps you'd be so kind as to email me with an outline? I'd really appreciate that!

48

News Item1/2/09 12:55 PM
John UK | Wales  Find all comments by John UK
wherewithal wrote:
Christmas may have been usurped by the worldly concerns of mankind, but that is not what the believer is communicating to God and His Son in that event.
You're upside down here, old bean. The first Christ-Mass was a Roman Catholic SPECIAL MASS, which was embraced later by so-called Protestants who ought to know better. The world only love it because it is NOT Christian.
47

News Item1/2/09 12:53 PM
Neil | Tucson  Find all comments by Neil
"Without the birth and incarnation of Christ, - this would clearly have not existed."

Of course, but adducing these as a reason we ought to celebrate Christ-mass is a non sequitur. Facts do not imply duties.

"I see no reason for not praising and commemorating God for the incarnation of His Son."

Inability to see a reason not to isn't a valid argument, unless choice of days of public worship has been wholly delegated to human imagination. We are always free to *privately* praise God for His revealed truths, however.

"Christmas may have been usurped by the worldly concerns of mankind,"

Begs the question. One can't *usurp* a holyday that (as I argue) doesn't Scripturally exist.

46

News Item1/2/09 12:48 PM
Anti-antichrist | God's land  Find all comments by Anti-antichrist
wherewithal wrote:
The crucifiction, the death and resurrection of Christ is the churches greatest memorial to worship praise and remember Christ's sacrifice for His elect.
Without the birth and incarnation of Christ, - this would clearly have not existed.
I see no reason for not praising and commemorating God for the incarnation of His Son.
Christmas may have been usurped by the worldly concerns of mankind, but that is not what the believer is communicating to God and His Son in that event.
If you pray to God as a non-believer God does not listen. Therefore there is a difference to God in who and why He discerns and listens to.
Jeremiah 14:11 Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good. 12 When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence" (also 7:16)
Alright, we'll compromise - just remember it one time and be done with it. And obviously that one time has already occurred, so let us move on.
45

News Item1/2/09 12:40 PM
wherewithal  Find all comments by wherewithal
Neil wrote:
if we don't even know the *day* Christ was born on, then such holydays are a non-starter anyhow, & nothing more than arbitrary human invention
The crucifiction, the death and resurrection of Christ is the churches greatest memorial to worship praise and remember Christ's sacrifice for His elect.
Without the birth and incarnation of Christ, - this would clearly have not existed.
I see no reason for not praising and commemorating God for the incarnation of His Son.
Christmas may have been usurped by the worldly concerns of mankind, but that is not what the believer is communicating to God and His Son in that event.
If you pray to God as a non-believer God does not listen. Therefore there is a difference to God in who and why He discerns and listens to.
Jeremiah 14:11 Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good. 12 When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence" (also 7:16)
44

News Item1/2/09 12:15 PM
Neil | Tucson  Find all comments by Neil
That's all very well, but that still doesn't prove there's warrant for the organized church to designate holy days beyond what Scripture expressly prescribes. And further, if we don't even know the *day* Christ was born on, then such holydays are a non-starter anyhow, & nothing more than arbitrary human invention, which in the domain of worship, is repeatedly condemned in Scripture. The lyric "Jesus Christ was born today" is a falsehood unless we can prove what day it originally was!

The Puritans weren't perfect, but they were sound on this point:
"THERE is no day commanded in Scripture to be kept holy under the gospel but the Lord's day, which is the Christian Sabbath. Festival days, vulgarly called Holy-days, having no warrant in the word of God, are not to be continued."
- Appendix to Westminster[!] Directory for Publick Worship

As an aside: how many of us have memorized the complex sequence of historical events surrounding the Incarnation? That at least is worthy of study, but I've heard few December sermons that ever get much into it.

43

News Item1/2/09 11:54 AM
DJC49 | Florida  Contact via emailFind all comments by DJC49
Neil wrote:
Jesus is reigning on His throne in Heaven (Heb. 12:2), so it is physically impossible to worship Him as did the magi. That was a singular event from which no precedent can be inferred.
True enough. However ...
I like to think that the focus of our attention on Christmas should not be merely the birth of Christ, but rather the contemplation of the mystery of the Incarnation, i.e., God becoming Man. So profound a reality that it deserves a day of special consideration.

So, religiously speaking, the day shouldn't be all about a babe in a manger, but about one of the fundamental articles of the Christian Faith: Jesus Christ -- the God-Man -- coming into the world. No profounder an event has happened in history. Why should it not then be celebrated? (And I'm not talkin' Santa Claus)

42

News Item1/2/09 11:44 AM
Creation Blessed that Day.  Find all comments by Creation Blessed that Day.
Michael Hranek wrote:
The wise men also DID NOT go back year after year and throw Jesus a birthday party (well at least there is no record that they did is there?
There was only one "BIRTH" to celebrate.
Xmas is about that ONE birth - NOT His subsequent birthdays.

Seems like the host of heaven thought it worth commemorating......

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

41

News Item1/2/09 11:35 AM
Neil | Tucson  Find all comments by Neil
Well said! We remember His resurrection every Lord's Day (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor. 16;2). That makes 52 holydays a year. And we already offer Him gifts in the offering tray or box.
40

News Item1/2/09 11:27 AM
Michael Hranek | Endicott, New York  Protected NameFind all comments by Michael Hranek
John Yurich wrote:
What is with some of you on here who have a problem with celebrating the Birth Of The Lord Jesus? If the wisemen(More then 3) celebrated the Birth Of The Lord Jesus by paying Him homage then celebrating the Birth Of The Lord Jesus is not unscriptural.
John Yurich
The wise men also DID NOT go back year after year and throw Jesus a birthday party (well at least there is no record that they did is there? )

But Jesus did instruct us to remember His death (and I believe it is safe to say His resurrection from the dead) until He comes!

39

News Item1/2/09 11:10 AM
Neil | Tucson  Find all comments by Neil
Jesus is reigning on His throne in Heaven (Heb. 12:2), so it is physically impossible to worship Him as did the magi. That was a singular event from which no precedent can be inferred.
38

News Item1/2/09 6:34 AM
John Yurich | USA  Find all comments by John Yurich
What is with some of you on here who have a problem with celebrating the Birth Of The Lord Jesus? If the wisemen(More then 3) celebrated the Birth Of The Lord Jesus by paying Him homage then celebrating the Birth Of The Lord Jesus is not unscriptural.
37

News Item12/27/08 9:33 AM
John UK | Wales  Find all comments by John UK
Arthur from Scottyland

Is that really you, old buddy? My Covenanter Presbyterian Pal of "William the Baptist" fame?

If so, greetings to you brother.

If not, greetings to you anyway, from an old Sassenach Turnip!

Some folk here are worried about the use of pagan day words, so how about this for a weekly Scotland.

Hoots Mon Day
Tulip Day
Wedding Day (or Westminster Day)
Thirsty Day
Fry-up Day
Batter Day
Shoe-shine Day

Think it'll catch on, eh?

36
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