Christmas… Santa Vs Jesus

A nativity scene has become like an Australian endangered species, while Christmas trees and coloured lights are decked all over the place. Our beloved Santa can be found in many department stores making children smile and laugh.

funny-santa

I was brought up believing that Jesus, the son of God, was born on Christmas day but the whole deal had been hijacked by commercialism and the guy in the red suit – which was fine with me because I scored lollies and presents from Santa. Jesus was less attractive to me as a child because he didn’t give me presents; also there was a distinct lack of reindeers.

Since becoming a Christian, I wanted to know the significance behind Christmas. Also, I needed answers to two questions: Is Christmas based on Jesus’ birth? And, as a Christian, is it appropriate to celebrate Christmas?

 

Firstly, where does Christmas originate from?

According to the Book of Luke from the Bible, it tells us that on the night that the shepherds were informed of Jesus’ birth, they were out in the fields watching their flocks. This happened in spring time during the lambing season. Knowing this  leads us to place Jesus’ birth in spring rather than in winter: many scholars say this occurred in March or April, with some saying October… but definitely not December. So if Christmas is not based on Jesus, on what then?

Here lamby-lamby, come here lil' lamb.. oh you're snap frozen.
Here lamby-lamby, come here lil’ lamb.. oh you’re snap frozen.

Historically, Christmas is based on pagan Sun Festivals. Basically, ancient peoples throughout the Northern Hemisphere celebrated nature festivals during the winter solstice (the beginning of the days lengthening and warmer weather), around December 22nd. During these December festivals people would light bon fires, decorate trees and celebrate.

Christmas goes back as far as early 300s. A Roman Emperor Aurelian proclaimed Mithraism: worship of the sun god as the official state religion. Often the religion of a king became the religion of the people. Also, by A.D. 337, the celebration of Christmas on December 25th had been firmly established. In that year, Emperor Constantine was baptised on Christmas Day and encouraged Christians to celebrate Christ’s birth during this time. The Mithraic cult and Nature Festivals like Brumalia and Saturnalia threatened Christianity, so this could have led to the churches throughout Europe observing “Christ’s Mass’, on December 25th, to combat pagan festivals.

So Christmas is a fusion of sun worship, pagan festivals, traditions, commercialism, with a religious significance: granted it is not the correct day, but nevertheless the day chosen to celebrate Christ’s birth. By the way, there is no Biblical directive to celebrate Christ’s birth or death.

Christians complain that Christmas is too pagan, non-religious people complain that it is too religious and everyone complains that it is too commercial.

jesus-vs-santa-armwrestle

Knowing the origins and meaning behind Christmas, I have decided to celebrate Christmas because it is a meaningful family celebration: presents are shared and everybody eats and drinks too much.

So what is the take home message here?

If you are a Christian then celebrate Jesus every day and not twice a year. Enjoy Christmas once a year, but enjoy Jesus every day.

Where to Find God?

Religion has caused wars, horrific crimes against children, is a front for fraud and now has links to terrrorism… Religion is a woeful advertisement for God.

Just as well God is not into religion… however, God advocates Christianity. Many people are fooled into following religion because it’s steeped in tradition, appears  ‘sacred’ with its stained glass windows and statues, and offers a palatable and superficial, yet empty version of God’s reality and power. Religion is far removed from the things of God. God, however has set out his plan and truth clearly, in the Bible.

 

You just have to open it up and read it.

God-Write-the-Bible

If someone knocks at my door professing to tell me the ‘good news’, I want that backed up by Bible passages and scriptures, because let’s face it, there is many a wacko and nut job in the name of God.

Getting right with God is easy:

Repent (which basically means to change your mind from your thinking and give God’s word a go), be baptised (fully under water, not sprinkled  – we will get into that in a following post) and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2: 38). This is why Jesus died: because we can’t get to heaven on our merits or goodness. The Holy Spirit: the free gift from God is your ticket to heaven (Ephesians 1: 13). How do you know if you have received the Holy Spirit? You will speak in tongues (Acts 10: 45, 46; Mark 16: 18; Zephaniah 3: 9) – just like Jesus’ mates did (Acts 2:4).

bible-god-quotes-38

Once you have obeyed God through repentance, baptism and receiving his Holy Spirit: it is God that makes you right with him – righteous. He becomes your Father and He will change your life and answer your prayers. Then upon His return you get eternal life… all this for simple belief, love, obedience and continuance in his word.

After you get right with God, you start living God’s new life: basically worship in spirit and truth at a church that preaches the full gospel. It is important to grow, learn and continue in your salvation experience because God is coming back soon. This Earth was not created to last forever and has a use-by-date (BTW, no one knows the time God is returning (Matt 24: 36), so all those religious loonies that say he is coming back at certain date and time always end up looking foolish and feeling embarrassed).

We, as Christians believe that God’s return is soon (Matt 24:44).

So, get yourself right with God because it is too late once He returns or you check out. Getting right with God is easy, costs nothing and you can enjoy a great relationship with God, also you get eternal life and miracles. But you do have to do it according to his word: the Bible – and not what you think or something that a person has made up.

Email me or leave a comment if you want to find out more.