Christians from the very beginning have had to decide whether or not to honor the holiday observations of religions other than that of Christ. That first generation of Christians, being Jews, were confounded by the insistence of some that they continue to observe the “laws and ordinances” of the law of Moses. But this was soon answered by the apostles (Acts 15:24-31; Ephesians 2 15; Galatians 5:6) who plainly defined the old law as dead. Therefore the observation of special days and practices under the old law were now only matters of indifference. Continue reading » Doing the First Works: Observing Religious Holidays?
The Bible records the birth of Jesus and some of the events surrounding it (Matthew 1-2; Luke 2:1-20). As other articles in this special issue of Watchman Magazine show, it was never the expressed will of God that Jesus’ birth be remembered in any way other than the study of it in his word. In light of this fact it is simply amazing how many traditions, religious and otherwise, have grown up around the supposed “birthday” of Jesus Christ. The limited research done by this writer revealed some interesting facts on this matter.
Continue reading » Christmas Traditions
A great number of people in our country have been taught for years that the birthday of our Lord is on December 25th. They have been taught that people must celebrate it in some form or fashion each year in order to please God. However, does the Bible teach us to celebrate the birthday of Christ on December 25th, or any other day of the year? The Bible teaches that all we do and say must be in accordance with the will of God (1 Peter 4:11; Colossians 3:17). Therefore, where has the Bible revealed that man celebrate the birth of Christ? If something has been said about it, what does the Bible reveal is necessary for the appropriate celebration of the Lord’s birth? Some people will attend special “church services,” masses, and the like on December 25th, others will do nothing. I know some who have decorated birthday cakes which said, “Happy Birthday Jesus” on it, and other such things. What is the truth? Are we to celebrate the Lord’s birth as some type of “holy day”? Let us spend some time in God’s book, and learn what the Bible says about our remembering Christ, as well as examine some misconceptions about Christmas.
The Wise Men
Many believe that there were three wise men that came to visit Jesus at His birth. Any “nativity scene” you see will portray three wise men standing around looking at a baby lying in a manger. People assume that there were three wise men present within a few minutes or hours of the birth of Christ, since this is what the majority of the world has said over the years. Yet, Matthew 2:11 reveals that the wise men came “into the house…” and not the stable! J.W. McGarvey (The Fourfold Gospel, p. 42-43) shows by the Bible and historical records that Jesus was no less than 40 days old by the time the wise men worshipped Him and presented the gifts. This is because Luke’s account of Christ’s birth shows that after our Lord’s birth, Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord and to offer a sacrifice (Luke 2:22-24). It was upon their return from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, that the wise men came and found Jesus (Matthew 2:9-11).
Continue reading » The History of Christmas