Christmas is fast approaching and with it comes the infamous ‘Spirit of Christmas’. Most of us are going to be caught up spending a lot of money shopping for gifts and foods like pastelles, ham, turkey and even grog to celebrate the special occasion.And what is this auspicious occasion to commemorate? The birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
It is the time of year when people all around the world, choose to celebrate the day as the Lord’s birthday and it gives us pleasure to remember the Christmas story as recorded in the Bible.
However, some of us have strayed from that purpose over the years, as we have embraced many unholy practices with worldly customs and added them to our own agenda. It becomes a norm to indulge in overspending resulting in unnecessary debt as you purchase things you cannot really afford in order to spruce up your home for the occasion.
The materialism that surrounds this season is one of the most obvious.
However, there are others. Office parties, with the alcohol flowing freely certainly desecrate all that this special occasion stands for. Not to forget the Christmas tree, which has to be positioned as the centerpiece of the home, where it can be admired by all and in some cases idolized.
Personally, I was always caught up in the decorating of our home, as my wife would venture into town to purchase anything she found that was red, green or gold, which could be used as decoration. Every year it got a bit more extreme. Each room had a Santa Claus in it and icicle lights streamed from all around the house. When people saw us doing these things, they would remark “Oh boy, you are feeling the Christmas Spirit!” But what does all of this have to do with the birth of Jesus Christ? Absolutely nothing! Unfortunately, some children only know Christmas Day as the day Santa comes to bring them toys if they were good kids that year.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against having a day set aside to celebrate the Lord, but I believe that the purpose has been seriously obscured. People forget about Jesus and focus on themselves and others. They have thrown out the baby with the bath water. It’s now an attitude of “what am I getting or going to get for Christmas?” and not “look at what God has given me, His precious Son.”
Regrettably, we live in an upside down world, where the ruler of this world is Satan.
Man was supposed to be in charge, but sin caused him to pass the dominion on to the devil. The devil’s plan is to corrupt everything in the world, to make it look like it’s pleasing to God, but in fact it is really to please Satan.
Remember, Satan is referred to as the great deceiver. Even with the simplest thing as the start of the day he has distorted.
(Genesis 1:3-5) ” And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light day and the darkness he called night. And there was evening, and there was morning of the first day. We have grown accustomed to the fact that a new day begins at 12:00 a.m. However, that is not how God planned it. If we look again when God created the earth, you would see “And there was evening, and there was morning of the first day.”
From this we could deduce that the day starts in the evening i.e. around 6:00 p.m. But the devil twists things around to suit himself and we now have to live with it because this has become accepted by the world. It would be extremely difficult or even impossible to get this timing back to how it was meant to be. The point I am trying to make here is how cunning the enemy is.
Cleverly, the devil sneaks traditional pagan worship customs into Christmas celebrations.
Here in Trinidad there is a culture of incorporating soca music into everything. Over the years the soca parang has become more and more degrading and blindly it is accepted into our homes and business places. Do these songs bring glory to our Lord and Saviour? Think about this, if I was invited to your birthday party and I came, ate heartily, drank until I was drunk, behaved in a rebellious manner and not once acknowledged you, how would you feel? Then, if Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, I tell you, a lot of us are missing the point when we attend our various Christmas functions.
Do you not think that Jesus too would feel hurt? I can hear you saying that He is God and He is a forgiving God, and I agree, but only when we truly repent and turn from our displeasing ways, He is faithful to forgive us.
I will not get into the nitty gritty of how the traditions of the Christmas trees, holly wreaths, mistletoe and Santa Claus came about, but if it’s your heart’s desire to know the truth, these are all modern incarnations of depraved pagan rituals practiced on the earth in ancient times. I dare you to research it.
I will give you a couple of examples. Traditional ways to worship Saturnalia (the sun god) in the early centuries were: widespread intoxication; to go from house to house while singing naked; gift exchange among other things. Except for the naked aspect, to me, this sounds a lot like a true “Trini Christmas.” Again, I dare you to research how the traditions of Christmas originated.
Before I was born again, I was really blind. I used to think it was cool to celebrate every religious festival, from Eid to Divali to Christmas. And on these days we would have a big feast at home and invite the relatives over for the day. On Divali day, we used to make bamboo designs to light up deyas and then go and scarf down some good roti and curry, meat included, because we were not Hindus.
Although I knew the lighting of the deyas was to help the goddess of wealth “Lakshmi” find her way into homes, I innocently did it for the fun, not believing that there was anything wrong in doing that. Since I accepted Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Saviour, three years ago, the Holy Spirit has been showing me how much God loves us, that He sent His Son into this world to die for us so that we could be saved and live forever in heaven with Him. Not only that, but by Jesus Christ’s suffering and death on the cross, we are healed, made rich, made righteous, blessed and made acceptable to the Father. This convicted me and showed me that what I was doing was wrong.
Now I would not take part in lighting deyas, because I know what it stands for.
There was some doubt in my mind about the Christmas tree, hollies and other traditions and I had to asked God if these things were acceptable to Him. The response I got was in the form of a question and following this, I had no doubt afterwards. The question was “Now that you know, if the world told you it was okay to light deyas on Christmas Day to celebrate the birth of My Son, Jesus Christ, would you do it?” It is hard sometimes to separate ourselves from the ways of the world, but with the Lord’s help nothing is impossible. I thank God that He has since helped me to separate from these traditions. Jesus has already approached the Father on our behalf, we just have to receive it now.
He prayed for us:
(John 17:13-23) “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one, I in them and you in me, so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
I prefer not to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ once a year, but instead to celebrate it every day from now onwards.
He instructed us in His Last Supper, we should have communion as often as possible in remembrance of Him, until He returns.
This is how and when He commanded us to remember Him. I believe that this is the tradition He would have wanted us to keep and not some man-made ritual. I pray that the Lord will speak to your heart and you will receive the truth, as the truth will set you free. Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Thank you Jesus for setting us free from the bondage of sin, for sanctifying us and making us acceptable to the Father. Let us not be confused or misled by any deceiving Christmas spirit, but help us to allow your Holy Spirit to lead us. Help us Lord to truly believe in You and I pray that our faith in You will be increased from day to day, until you come for us, in Jesus name, Amen.
Image 1 Credit: Shutterstock/gpointstudio
Image 2 Credit: Shutterstock/Aija Lehtonen