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<< Luke 2:10   Luke 2:12 >>


Luke 2:11-14

The title "Christ the Lord" would probably have been said as "Messiah Adonai" in the Aramaic that these shepherds spoke. This is a not-so-subtle intimation that this newborn child was not only the promised Messiah, but also the One known as "the Lord" in the Old Testament. The angel is not merely announcing the birth of a special baby in Bethlehem but that God had been born as a human being (Matthew 1:23; John 1:14)!

In verses 13-14, Luke writes: "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!'" Here appears another BOOM! in the evangelist's narrative. Suddenly, there was not just one angel in the glory of the Lord, but a whole host of them all around the quivering shepherds. Not only were they visible, they were singing as only angels can, praising God. Their presence heightens the importance of the announcement.

The angels are obviously overjoyed that this greatly anticipated event in God's plan had finally taken place. Another huge step in God's purpose had been accomplished. Note, too, that this was not just a small, heavenly choir but the heavenly host that appeared in full force. God's vast army came to add their voices to the announcement that their great Captain had just been born!

The hymn they sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" requires some explanation. Glory is the Greek word dóxa, which means "praise, recognition, honor, worship"—the height of reverence and adulation that we could give or say to God. "In the highest" is a somewhat controversial phrase in that, as a superlative, it could modify either "glory" or "God." Thus, it could refer to the highest glory or the highest God (or even God in the highest heaven). There is a possibility that in the Aramaic, the words the angels sang may have been "Glory to the Most High God," since that is a common title of God in the Old Testament.

They also sing of peace on earth. One of Christ's titles is "The Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6), and He who had just been born would eventually bring peace on earth. He would do it first through His sacrifice, making peace between God and sinful man (Romans 5:1), and later He would return in glory, bringing peace to the earth with the sword (Revelation 19:11-21). He will have to impose peace at His second coming, but once He does, the earth will have real peace. Only through the birth of God's Son in Bethlehem could the process of bringing true peace to the earth begin.

The final words in the angels' song are "goodwill toward men," a long-disputed phrase. However, most modern experts in Greek agree that the whole clause should be translated, "Peace on earth among men of His good pleasure." This implies that God was bringing peace and joy especially and specifically to those to whom He had granted favor or extended grace.

During the Passover sermon Jesus gave His disciples, He says, "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you" (John 14:27). His disciples, numbering a mere 120 (Acts 1:15), were the only ones who could really experience peace because they comprised the extent of those with whom God had found favor. Yet, within days, thousands more had been converted, and God's peace began to expand. Real peace, a fruit of God's Spirit (Galatians 5:22), can only be produced in those in whom God's Spirit dwells (Romans 8:14). Right now, members of God's church are the only people on earth who can really have godly peace on earth because "unto us a Child is born. Unto us a Son is given" (Isaiah 9:6).

We are the "men of His good pleasure." Jesus tells His disciples in Luke 12:32: "Do not fear little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." We are the ones who have this favor from God. The angels' song is a declaration to us that God is with us, just as He was with Mary when He overshadowed her (Luke 1:35). As spiritual Israel and spiritual Zion, we are the apple of His eye (Deuteronomy 32:9-10; Zechariah 2:7-8), and He will do all He can to bring us to salvation and into His Kingdom.

These passages mean so much more than what we usually see in a Christmas pageant, a nativity scene out on the town common, or hear in a catchy jingle. What we see in these announcements are elements of the way God works, and they should strengthen our faith in Him and what He is doing. They should solidify our hope in the resurrection because, not only did the Father bring His Son into the world just as prophesied, but He also guided Jesus through a perfect human lifetime to His sacrificial death for us all, resurrecting Him from the grave exactly three days and three nights later, as Jesus had said was the only sign of His Messiahship (John 2:18-22).

That glorious Holy One ascended to heaven and now sits at the right hand of God as our High Priest. He is the Head of the church and our soon-coming King. He promises us, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5), as well as, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:3). He now awaits the word from His Father to return to this earth to set up His Kingdom. What great confidence we can have that all this will happen as planned, and we will be part of it!

As the angels sang to the shepherds in the field, "Glory to the Most High God and peace on earth among those He favors!"

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Birth of Jesus Christ (Part Two): Nativity



Luke 2:8-14

Jesus' birth occurred in September or perhaps early October. This could not have taken place in December because shepherds would not have been out in the fields at night then. In Palestine, the rainy season transpires between the end of October and early April, with the most inclement weather occurring between December and February. In fact, around Jerusalem, much of the region's 24 inches of annual rain falls during this winter period. Shepherds did not want to keep the sheep in the rain and cold anymore than they wanted to be there themselves.

Most translations tone verse 9 down a bit from its intended sudden majesty. It should read, "And BOOM! an angel of the Lord stood before them." The angel's appearance was instantaneous and shocking! One second they were peacefully minding their sheep, eyelids half-shut, and the next, right in their midst, perhaps hovering just over their heads, stood an angel in all the brilliance of angelic glory!

Luke writes that "they were greatly afraid." What understatement! Today, we might say they were terrified out of their skulls! Occasionally, we hear of a person's supposed abduction by aliens suddenly in the night. Television and movies have visualized this for us—but what if an angel actually did appear abruptly before our eyes, radiating light like a huge spotlight and looking directly at us? Most people would be on their faces in an instant, probably holding their heads, wondering if a thunderbolt was about to strike!

The angel says to them, "Do not be afraid" (verse 10), trying to shush their fears a bit, although it is hard to say what success he had. At least he was able to communicate to them what he needed to say. Evidently, they were calm enough to listen to his announcement, despite their terror.

What he says is quite interesting: "I bring you good tidings of great joy." The Greek word for "I bring good tidings" is evangelízomai, literally, "I evangelize you," and his good news is a matter "of great joy." In a way, this is the beginning of the preaching of the gospel, as this is the sense of the Greek term. He is informing the shepherds that God had sent him as an evangelist to let them know that the way of salvation was beginning to open to all people. This was great news indeed for the common folk, as these shepherds were, who have rarely been considered among the worthies of society.

That God sent the first announcement of His Son's birth to shepherds among their sheep has an appealing, symbolic connotation. Recall that these shepherds were in the field watching over sheep at night when the angel, a messenger from God, illuminated them with the good news of salvation. Shepherds are biblical symbols of spiritual leaders or ministers, and sheep are well known to represent God's elect. Jesus' parables often employ the image of a field to signify the world, and the darkness of night stands for the condition of being cut off from God. This scene is a beautiful foreshadowing of the pattern God uses to evangelize through the gospel message.

Another intriguing fact, hidden in the English translation, appears in the last phrase of verse 10: "to all people." In the Greek text, a definite article appears before "people," so it should read, "all the people." When the Bible reads "the people," it usually refers to the people of Israel. The birth of the Savior was to be great joy for all people, of course, but especially for Israel. If we understand this spiritually, His coming has its greatest effect on the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16), the church. Certainly, the church, to which God has revealed His way most fully, has both the fullest appreciation as well as the deepest understanding of Christ's coming in the flesh.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Birth of Jesus Christ (Part Two): Nativity



Luke 2:10-14

The terms "morning stars" and "sons of God" are biblical names for angels, who express joy when events in God's plan unfold. Not only God but also angels are thrilled when a sinner repents of his worldly ways. Prayer for forgiveness brings about joyous repentance and restoration of righteousness in a person's life.

Martin G. Collins
Joy



Luke 2:6-14

The vast majority of mainstream Christians celebrate Christmas on December 25 or January 6 (Eastern Orthodox), depending on their denominational allegiance. While a minority of these Christians insist that December 25 is the correct date of the Nativity, most people realize that proof for this early winter date is quite scanty, which we will see presently. Even so, very few of them think that the date is significant as long as one is celebrating the advent of the Son of God into the world for the salvation of mankind—and one experiences good cheer with family and friends and receives the expected number of presents under the tree.

In the run-up to Christmas, it is not uncommon for newspapers, magazines, and online news sites to publish articles revealing the errors and inconsistencies in the supposedly Christian holiday. A person would be ignorant indeed if he did not know that erecting Christmas trees, burning yule logs, hanging mistletoe, and putting up twinkling house lights have no biblical foundation, and in fact, hail from paganism. Santa Claus blends the fourth-century Saint Nicolas with old Germanic and Scandinavian traditions that probably have their roots in Odin worship, and his eight reindeer likely derive from Odin's eight-footed horse, Sleipnir. (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the ninth reindeer, was added in 1939, thanks to the poem of that name by Robert L. May written for the Montgomery Ward department store chain.) Santa's modern look comes courtesy of a Coca-Cola advertising campaign in the 1930s.

The more serious-minded publications, however, tend to focus on the date, the place, and the biblical and historical sources of Jesus' birth. In 2012, "Bible History Daily," an online publication of the Biblical Archaeology Society, published "How December 25 Became Christmas," written by Andrew McGowan, Warden and President of Trinity College at the University of Melbourne, Australia. McGowan collates the findings of numerous scholars who have looked into the issue, concluding that, frankly, no one can really be sure how Christmas came to fall on December 25.

In typical scholarly fashion, McGowan brushes over the biblical information, mentioning only the detail of the shepherds being out with their flocks at night (Luke 2:8). He snootily dismisses it, writing, "Yet most scholars would urge caution about extracting such a precise but incidental detail from a narrative whose focus is theological rather than calendrical." He quickly hurries on to extra-biblical findings, clearly believing them to be more credible.

In spite of his less-than-comforting dismissal of what the Bible says on the subject, McGowan rounds up the historical facts with rigor. He shows that Christian leaders well into the late-third century did not celebrate Christ's birth, citing the well-known "Early Church Father," Origen: "Origen of Alexandria (c. 165-264) goes so far as to mock Roman celebrations of birth anniversaries, dismissing them as 'pagan' practices—a strong indication that Jesus' birth was not marked with similar festivities at that place and time." Note that Origen lived into the latter half of the third century.

Earlier, around the year 200, Clement of Alexandria had written that Christian teachers had proposed various dates for the Nativity, but December 25 was not among them. In fact, most of them fall in the spring. But by the fourth century, December 25 in the Roman West and January 6 in Egypt and the East had become widely recognized as competing dates for that unique day in Bethlehem. How had the people of that time come to decide on these dates?

McGowan posits two theories—and that is all they are. The first is the one most members of God's church are familiar with: that December 25 is borrowed from Roman paganism, particularly the Saturnalia festival kept in late December. As the author notes in support of the idea, "To top it off, in 274 C.E., the Roman emperor Aurelian established a feast of the birth of Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun), on December 25."

While collecting the facts assiduously, he stumbles in interpreting them. Finding no historical proof that the Roman church in the late-third or early-fourth century intentionally syncretized the pagan holiday into Christianity, McGowan fails to see any plausibility in this theory. However, he later contradicts himself: "From the mid-fourth century on, we do find Christians deliberately adapting and Christianizing pagan festivals." For this, he blames Constantine, who "converted" in AD 312. We can only conclude that he is being either naïve or purposely disingenuous about the Roman church's penchant to ignore God's Word in its quest for converts.

The second theory makes a great to-do about the date of Passover (Nisan 14) when Christ died, which at the time was believed to have occurred on March 25, exactly nine months prior to December 25. The ancients apparently considered such symmetry to be divinely ordained. "Thus," McGowan writes:

Jesus was believed to have been conceived and crucified on the same day of the year. Exactly nine months later, Jesus was born, on December 25. . . . Connecting Jesus' conception and death in this way will certainly seem odd to modern readers, but it reflects ancient and medieval understandings of the whole of salvation being bound up together.

Despite this theory being based on supposition and "divine symmetry," McGowan considers it more likely than deliberate syncretism—before the mid-fourth century, of course.

Belief in the general historicity of God's Word would solve his dilemma, but trusting the Bible is rare among critical scholars these days. Our article, "When Was Jesus Born?" uses the biblical details to narrow the possible dates to a two-week period in the early autumn, aligning well with the fall holy days, particularly the Feast of Trumpets. It is far more likely that the divine symmetry would align Christ's birth with God's feasts than with the short days of early winter.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Dating Christ's Birth



Luke 2:6-14

Jesus was not born on December 25. While the Bible does not give an exact date for His birth, John Reid, in the Forerunner article, "When Was Jesus Born?" tells us that the Bible leaves clues that point to His actual birth date. The article provides a method of calculation starting with John the Baptist's father, Zacharias. Based on when Zacharias would have served in the Temple during his priestly course, John the Baptist's birth would have occurred in the latter half of March. Since he was six months older than Jesus (Luke 1:32), we can extrapolate that Jesus would have been born in the second half of September, around the fall holy days.

Lawrence Kelemen, a Jew, brings up several points about the problems people face when they attempt to justify their keeping of the holiday. He affirms that the Bible does not list the actual day of Jesus' birth anywhere. He infers that, since Mark, the earliest gospel (written a half-century after Jesus' birth) begins with the baptism of Jesus as an adult, first-century Christians cared little about His birthday.

The roots of Christmas are found in Saturnalia. Pagans in Rome celebrated this weeklong period of bedlam and lawlessness between December 17-25. During this period of anarchy, no one could be punished for their vandalism and mayhem. An "enemy of the Roman people" was chosen to represent the "Lord of Misrule." Each community selected a victim and forced him to gorge himself on food and other indulgences throughout the week. On the last day of the festival, December 25, they took vengeance against the forces of darkness by brutally murdering this victim. Kelemen writes that besides this human sacrifice, there was widespread drunkenness, public nudity, rape, and other forms of sexual license.

After Constantine converted to Catholicism, many pagans followed him once they were allowed to maintain their celebration of Saturnalia. They solved the problem of Saturnalia having nothing to do with Christianity by declaring December 25 to be Jesus' birthday, replacing the celebration of the birth of Sol Invictus (the Invincible Sun), but little changed in practice. These practices are blatant violations of God's command in Deuteronomy 12:30-31.

Many of the trappings of Christmas are directly imported from paganism. For instance, the Catholic Church shamelessly welcomed the pagan tree worshippers into their fellowship. They simply called their trees "Christmas trees." Mistletoe is another example of such syncretism. The ancient Druids used its supposed mystical powers to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck. In ancient Norse mythology, mistletoe was used to symbolize love and friendship. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe is a later blending of the sexual license of Saturnalia with Druidic practice.

The Catholic Church says that the practice of gift-giving was begun by an early bishop, Nicholas, who died in AD 345 and made a saint in the 1800s. Nicholas was a senior bishop who convened the Council of Nicaea in 325. Some 750 years later, a group of sailors who idolized him moved his bones from Turkey to Italy, where he supplanted a favor-granting deity called the Grandmother, who used to fill children's stockings with gifts. In his honor, his followers would give each other gifts on the anniversary of his death, December 6.

From there, his cult spread to the German and Celtic pagans. Many of them worshipped Woden, who wore a long, white beard and rode a horse through the heavens each fall. Through the process of syncretism, Nicholas and Woden were combined. Nicholas now sported a beard, rode a flying horse, wore winter clothes to battle the elements, and took his trip in the last month of the year instead of in the fall. As it evangelized in Northern Europe, Catholicism absorbed the Nicholas cult and persuaded its adherents to give gifts on December 25 instead of December 6.

In 1809, novelist Washington Irving satirically wrote of this Saint Nicolas using his Dutch name, Santa Claus. Thirteen years later, Clement Moore wrote a poem based on this Santa Claus, The Night before Christmas. The poem incorporated the giving of gifts, added his descent down the chimney, and replaced the horse with a sleigh and eight reindeer.

Our modern image of Santa Claus was provided by a Bavarian cartoonist, Thomas Nast, who drew over 2000 pictures in the late nineteenth century for Harper's Weekly. Before Nast's cartoon, Saint Nicholas had been depicted as "everything from a stern looking bishop to a gnome-like figure in a frock." Nast provided many of the traditional details: He gave him a home at the North Pole and a workshop with elves who made toys.

The creation of Santa was completed in 1931 when the Coca-Cola Corporation developed a marketing campaign for a Coke-drinking Santa. Swedish commercial artist Haddon Sundblom modeled a chubby Santa, dressed in a bright Coca-Cola red outfit. Kelemen states, "[The modern] Santa was born—a blend of Christian crusader, pagan god, and commercial idol."

December 25 has traditionally been the day when pagans marked the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. It is a day venerated every year by worshippers of the sun god. Egyptians celebrated Horus' birthday on December 25. Other cultures also worshipped their gods on this day: the Mesopotamians, the ancient Greeks, and the Persians. Winter solstice traditions stretch back long before Jesus Christ entered the world.

Christmas is all about commercialism. Many people struggle with low wages and debt, yet they spend hundreds of dollars to buy Christmas gifts. The average American family will spend $882 this year on Christmas presents. An article in US News and World Report, "Commercialism Only Adds to Joy of the Holidays," avers that Christmas is a spiritual holiday whose main theme is personal, selfish pleasure and joy, claiming that the season's commercialism is integral to it. The article cites Ayn Rand, who said that Christmas' best aspect has been its commercialization: "The Christmas trees, the winking lights, the glittering colors . . . provide the city with a spectacular display, which only 'commercial greed' could afford to give us. One would have to be terribly depressed to resist the wonderful gaiety of that spectacle."

This supposed worship of Christ is based on falsehoods. From rebranding pagan sun worship as worship of the Son of God to people telling their children that Santa will withhold their presents if they are not good, everything is a fabrication. Try as they might, people cannot make the unclean clean or the unholy holy.

John Reiss
Reasons for Not Celebrating Christmas



Luke 2:8-14

The One we call Jesus Christ gave up His prerogatives and privileges as God and became flesh (Philippians 2:5-7) to be born of a virgin, Mary, who was betrothed to an upright Jew of David's lineage named Joseph. As announced by angels, Mary gave birth to Jesus in Bethlehem of Judea in a stable or grotto used as a stable, and she wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger. Soon, shepherds came from the fields to see Him and spread the word of His birth, praising God. Sometime later, star-following wise men from the East visited, presenting Him with gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrrh—and worshipping Him. All these details can be found in the first two chapters of Matthew and Luke.

Now, let us turn to the Scripture where God tells us to celebrate His Son's birth: —. Yes, that is correct. No place in either Testament tells us to honor our Savior by having a birthday bash for Him each year. Strangely enough, Jesus Himself tells us to remember, not His birth, but His death (Luke 22:14-20; I Corinthians 11:23-26)! Certainly, it is important that He was born, but the fact that He died—and how and why He died—has farther-reaching, more eternal consequences!

What about some of the other minor details of Christmas? To begin with, the date is all wrong. Late fall and winter in Palestine is the rainy season, and it can get quite cold. The best sources say shepherds bring their flocks in from the fields by October at the latest. Also, the details of John the Baptist's conception and birth preclude a winter birth for our Savior (see the Forerunner article, "When Was Jesus Born?"). At best, this time of year might qualify as the time of Jesus' begettal by the Father.

In addition, where does Santa Claus fit in? Was he one of the wise men? No, he is merely a gift-giving, fourth-century Saint Nicholas of Myra known for his piety and generosity. And what about Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, mistletoe, Christmas trees, Yule logs, twinkling lights, stockings on the mantle, and the other paraphernalia of this merriest of seasons? Even a perfunctory investigation will show that most of them derive from overactive imaginations or pre-Christian—that is, heathen, pagan, idolatrous—traditions and practices. It is an open secret, as it were.

To recap, then, the true biblical story of Jesus' birth has been syncretized into a non-Christian festival, and even that has been obscured by a wrong date and a phony crèche scene (no halos, the wise men came later, Mary was not dressed like a nun, etc.). Everything else is a lie, including the need to celebrate it.

This begs the question: Why do people think they can worship and honor God through a lie? The Old Testament says, "God is not a man that He should lie" (Numbers 23:19). Paul tells us, "God . . . cannot lie" (Titus 1:2). Jesus teaches that Satan the Devil "is a liar and the father of it" (John 8:44). David, in Psalm 5:6, declares, "The LORD abhors the . . . deceitful man." Of course, the commandment says, "You shall not bear false witness" (Exodus 20:16; Matthew 19:18). Surely, a God who will not lie and detests lying people would not wish to be feted in a lying way.

The answer to our question, however, resides in human nature. First, the Bible says, "The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be" (Romans 8:7). Men simply do not want to obey God and His will. Second, the human "heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9). We trick ourselves into believing that we can use a defiled means to worship a holy God. Third, "the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so" (Jeremiah 5:31). People actually like to be lied to because, they think, they can enjoy the sin while they can and point the finger of blame at someone else for deceiving them. This approach will not score any points with the Judge (II Corinthians 5:10-11).

We need to ask what Jeremiah does as he concludes his musings on man's deceitful heart: "But what will you do in the end?"

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Celebrating a Lie



Luke 2:6-14

Lately, Christmas-keeping Christians have been forced to stand up for Christmas. Atheists and agnostics have been clamoring for the removal of religion from Christmas celebrations. They want advertisers to market the season without reference to "Christmas," instead using the innocuous "Holiday" moniker. They want businesses to ditch playing traditional Christmas carols over their in-store audio systems in favor of "winter music." Countless courts have weighed in - some on one side, some on the other - concerning Christmas crèches on public property. Christian groups have had to file lawsuits to force school systems to allow their students to sing "Silent Night" - and not some wintry parody - during winter concerts!

This is all extremely ironic - even hilarious at times. Christmas-celebrating Christians rush to the barricades to defend this most sacred holiday from the godless hordes, all the while totally missing the fact that they are defending the indefensible! Where is their authority to keep the day in the first place? Rome? Probably. Jerusalem? Nope. Bethlehem? Hardly. The Bible. Not a chance!

In reality, by its materialism and syncretism, this world's Christianity has helped the modern, secular world sanitize - not Santa-ize - Christmas. This supposedly Christian holiday has been systematically disinfected of its biblical "taint" simply because it is fundamentally unbiblical! Its only scriptural basis is the Gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus, and they prove that the traditional Christmas teaching sits on foundation of sand.

The Nativity - a fancy word for "birth" - of Jesus Christ is found in two of the Gospels, Matthew and Luke. Try as one might, a birth date for our Savior cannot be found in either, and in fact, honest, objective scholars and theologians admit that a winter date is perhaps the least likely time. December, as any biblical geographer will attest, is the beginning of the rainy season in Palestine, and shepherds would have stopped leaving their flocks in the fields at night a good month or two before then. Majority opinion places Jesus' birth in the autumn, probably on or near the fall festivals of Trumpets or Tabernacles.

Other aspects of the traditional Nativity also fail the test of biblical authenticity. For instance, the Gospels do not say that there were three wise men, nor are their names anywhere recorded in history. In this case, the number three has its source in the number of gifts the wise men gave to Jesus: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. It is certainly possible that He received other gifts from them, but Matthew decided to highlight these particular three for symbolic reasons.

Many of the manger scenes even get details wrong, like the fact that when the wise men showed up, Jesus was no longer a newborn lying in a manger, but as Matthew writes, a "young Child" living in "a house" (Matthew 2:11). Traditional Christmas crèches also tend to combine Luke's account of the shepherds' arrival almost immediately after His birth with the coming of the wise men, which evidently occurred perhaps weeks or months later (see verse 16: Some contend that it could have been as long as two years later!). And, of course, none of the Nativity participants wore halos!

These few scenes are the extent of the Bible's information about Christ's birth. Neither Mark nor John saw fit to add to what Matthew and Luke had already written. Both Mark and John begin their narratives about the time of Jesus' baptism three decades later. Why? In the grand scheme of Jesus' life, His birth is of less importance than His ministry, death, and resurrection. Certainly, it was a wonderful day when God-in-the-flesh appeared among us, but it pales in meaning to what He taught, what He sacrificed for us, and what He now does for us as our living High Priest. Why dwell on His past, helpless infancy when we can rejoice in His present, powerful advocacy?

The Christmas controversy does not hinge on whether it is politically correct to wish someone "Merry Christmas!" but on a factor that is far more significant: truth. Is Christmas true? The biblical facts shout a resounding, "NO!" Then why celebrate a lie? Falsehood is never good, never beneficial, never right. Keeping a false holiday in dedication to Jesus is still a lie. Do we really think He feels honored by a lie, which is sin (check Exodus 20:16 and Revelation 21:8; 22:15)? He receives much more honor when we, instead, keep His commandments (John 14:15; 15:10).

We can only hope that today's swirl over this holiday wakes Christians up - not just to America's eroding Christian values, but to the sad fact that what most assume to be ever-so-Christian is nothing of the sort.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
A Sanitary Christmas


 
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