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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

C. H. Spurgeon on Christmas

SpurgeonFrom a sermon preached by C. H. Spurgeon on Dec. 24, 1871--

We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas. First, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be sung in Latin or in English. Secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior; and consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority. 'Superstition' has fixed most positively the day of our Savior's birth, although there is no possibility of discovering when it occurred. ... It was not till the middle of the third century that any part of the Church celebrated the nativity of our Lord; and it was not till very long after the Western Church had set the example, that the Eastern adopted it. ... Probably the fact is that the "holy" days were arranged to fit in with the heathen festivals. We venture to assert, that if there be any day in the year, of which we may be pretty sure that it was not the day on which the Savior was born, it is the 25th of December. ... Regarding not the day, let us, nevertheless, give God thanks for the gift of His dear Son.

Hmmm... any thoughts?

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December 7, 2005 in Notable Quotables | Permalink

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» The Artificial War Over Christmas from Rich Kirkpatrick's Weblog
This fight for Christmas is not a real fight. At least, not for evangelical Christians. I know that our emotions get worked up when a Christmas tree is called a Holiday Tree, when we hear of churches not having worship on Sundays (such as mine) and wh... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 8, 2005 1:13:57 PM

» The Artificial War Over Christmas from Rich Kirkpatrick's Weblog
This fight for Christmas is not a real fight. At least, not for evangelical Christians. I know that our emotions get worked up when a Christmas tree is called a Holiday Tree, when we hear of churches not having worship on Sundays (such as mine) and wh... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 8, 2005 5:04:08 PM

» The Artificial War Over Christmas: Part 1 from Rich Kirkpatrick's Weblog
This fight for Christmas is not a real fight. At least, not for evangelical Christians. I know that our emotions get worked up when a Christmas tree is called a Holiday Tree, when we hear of churches not having worship on Sundays (such as mine) and wh... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 9, 2005 2:57:09 AM

Comments

Well, gee.
I guess it is "Happy Holidays."
Ben E

Posted by: Ben E. | Dec 7, 2005 10:13:25 AM

I would have to agree with him, on this one.
Why? Because in Hebrews it says he would come after order of Melchizedek? Then in chapter 7:1-3. With no beginning or no end, but is a priest forever.
We do not know the exact date of Christ Birth. Myself I always thought it to be some where in March and April, somewhere between 5-7 B.C.

But to really get techinal about this think about. How could there ever be a B.C. when Christ was and has been with the Father since the Creation. Shouldn't Be B.B. Before Birth or B.A. Before Arrival.

Then when he was here living on the earth it was neither B.C. or A.D. Because for one he is living here and had not died yet. Shouldn't that be called. D.C. During Christ.

just food for thought. Can anyone help me please.

Posted by: Tiko Tut | Dec 7, 2005 10:25:35 AM

Tiko...

Actually, the distinction of B.C. is just fine. A.D. stands for "the year of our lord" not "After Death". And yeah, we got it wrong by 3 or 4 years, but still, that's pretty accurate!

But I think I agree with Spurgeon's comment, at least the spirit of it, when I look at how the commercialization of Xmas has stolen from the "reason for the season"

HE LIVES!

Peter

Posted by: Peter Hamm | Dec 7, 2005 10:36:52 AM

Thank you Peter. I agree with you. I just had a brainstorm there for a minute. I agree with him also... "It is the spirit of giving, because God was the one who gave the first Gift and that was his son to us."I love this time of year but my prayer is that it would continue all year not just once a year.

Posted by: Tiko Tut | Dec 7, 2005 10:42:43 AM

Ben, LOL!
My family celebrates Christmas knowing all this, but we do it anyway cause we like it. The Christmas season here in America isn't leaving our culture anytime soon. Can we apply Romans 14, and especially v.5 about esteeming one day above another here?

Posted by: bishopdave | Dec 7, 2005 10:46:39 AM

If we look at all of the traditions we all hold to, we will find a significant number of them are replicated and/or drawn from pagan sources. For example, in debating a RCC member, I was informed the wedding band was drawn from celtic pagan worship. (although the origin is disbuted, some say Egypt, etc - the point is that it wasn't Christian).

Now did I cast off the wedding band? No.

While Christmas is certainly born from non-Christian roots and no where does it state we're to celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, an account is given in the bible and the bible is sacred and holy.

If we look at scripture, we note that His birth is fullfillment of scripture, worthy of about three chapters (in Luke and Matthew). I would say that His birth was a significant and important event.

The unfortunate election of a date near or on certain pagan celebration days has tainted the origins of Christmas, just like the rampant commercialization in modern times have continued to taint the meaning of Christmas.

Other notable things in scripture include markers left in Isreal so people would recall what God did for them at a specific time and purpose.

In Luke 2:13, we see that a multitude of angels were praising God over this event. Matthew 2:11 we see gifts being given to Jesus and we see wise men coming to celebrate and worship at this event.

We're not able to go to the manger to find Jesus and worship Him, but we can praise God. If it was worthy of praise and worship then, why would it be unworthy of praise and worship now?

Granted we don't know the date of the birth, but we do know it took place sometime during a year, if celebrating it on December 25th gives a person serious spiritual conflict, why not use January 6th like the Orthadox do or research the scholars who researched the date and pick the one which seems sound in history and research, led by the Spirit.

Another holiday is Easter (which, again, has serious pagan influence, more so then Christmas - bunnies anyone?). No where are we told to hold this specific day as a "Christian holiday", we're told to remember His sacrifice each and every time we break bread and commune together.

Does celebrating Jesus' birth on some day of the year detract or add to salvation?

I think the answer is no either way, but does it bring us into fellowship with friends and family and bring focus to Jesus Christ? Sometimes (on the family/fellowship part, holidays can be trying). If it does, the clear ending result of Jesus' birth is His sacrifice n the cross for us, which brings about the rememberance of the need for salvation.

Anything taken too far is wrong, I don't think the origins of Christmas are adequate to discount the celebration of Jesus' birth as being a negative thing. Certainly if one adopts pagan rituals, celebrates materialism instead of Jesus' birth and fails to see the result of the birth of the savior is a clear path to His death and ressurection, then, perhaps, its purpose is meaningless.

Posted by: Paul Davis | Dec 7, 2005 10:49:03 AM

Here's what interests me about all this.

I'm amazed at how we confuse Biblical commands with our cultural tradition.

Read the post on churches cancelling Christmas services. All this (to me) is extra-biblical if anything. And yet, people get really, really, really upset.

I'm afraid so much of our 'westernized Christianity' is much more tradition than biblical command. And we like it that way.

To be honest, it's all we know.

That's why we get upset when there are no Christmas Day services; or when the services go over an hour; or when the preacher doesn't wear a tie; or when anyone plays with the idea of what church looks like.

Am I the only one who thinks we many times confuse cultural traditions (and yes, cultural relevancy) with biblical mandate?

Todd

Posted by: Todd Rhoades | Dec 7, 2005 10:56:34 AM

"First, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be sung in Latin or in English."

I think this piece is more against Catholicism than Christmas. This is what you'd expect from a reformer. Today, Protestants lost the conviction of the perversion of Catholicism to the gospel.

Posted by: bernie dehler | Dec 7, 2005 10:58:15 AM

Now I'm confused. Last Monday, there was an article called "Is Your Church Open on Christmas?" Many post-ers expressed sincere disappointment that many large churches were closed on Dec 25 to accomodate people's family schedules. Now we're agreeing with a guy who abhors Christmas mass. What gives?

I don't know that any Christian would say that they are happy with the "current state" of Christmas in our culture. Especially with this year's Happy Holiday nonsense. Nevertheless, I believe most Christians would also tell you that amidst the seasonal craziness, this is one of their most contemplative and focused times of the year...focusing on the things that really matter, with their families and their faith.

Even Spurgeon says we should give God thanks for the gift of His son. The ancient festivals were all about remembering and praising and giving thanks, and Christmastime is as close as most of us usually get to one of those festivals.

And let's not forget that any discussion of calendars or specific days is meaningless. The modern calendar is a man-made convention, modified even since Christ's death. Different countries and empires were using different calendars as late as the 1700s. Is it really that important what the actual day is?

Posted by: Tim | Dec 7, 2005 11:23:54 AM

Well halleujah and pass the bacon. Man I am loving this one. Why? Because all of you hit it right on the head.
We celebrate Christmas and we hold it so dear to us, because of the importance of the fulfilling of the scripture's. We have joined in with the Old Testament believer's who looked toward the promise being fulfilled, but we look back at the promise of God being fulfilled. The whole point is this.

GOD IS FAITHFUL. HE DOES NOT LIE LIKE A MAN DOES, AND JUST AS HE KEPT HIS PROMISE TO ABRAHAM, HE KEPT HIS PROMISE TO THE ENTIRE WORLD, WHICH WAS AN OLDER PROMISE THAN THE ONE WITH ABRAHAM. BECAUSE THIS PROMISE WAS MADE AFTER THE FALL IN THE GARDEN.

But the greatest promise of all is the one when he Returns to get his church. This should bring us hope in a world that is full of sin and dying.

We do depend to much upon tradition and culture, but God does not. If he was going to do everything by tradition and curlture then I think Jesus would not had been born as he was, but would have came to the earth full grown, because when God made Adam he was a full grown man. Also he would have been placed in a Garden, but he was born inside a cave.

What touches my heart is this, sigh.... God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit loved me so much, that He left all the splendor and riches of heaven to come to this earth as a child, to live as one of us Minus sin. He came into this world born in a cave and laid in a manager, he departed this world through an old rugged cross and laid in the tomb. But the 3rd day walked out of that grave victorious for me as if (I) where the only one to die for.

My bees are swarming fella's... Can I preach some more...

Jesus did not come to earth with a lot of set legal rules and regulations. No, when he came he brought LOVE. Why? Because he is love. The biggest thing he taught was loving God and each other. This is the whole meaning of Christmas.

LOVE ONE ANOTHER. I close with this. Peter said "Love will cover the multitude of sins."

Posted by: Tiko Tut | Dec 7, 2005 11:26:58 AM

Spurgeon represents what the last "modern" evangelical leaders think and feel. We love him for that--but our world has changed beyond us, as well as him. I grew up in a city in California where people had to be taught what Christmas was since their country of birth did not have any equivelant. I cherish the memory of these I grew up with.

Christmas is about the incarnation of Christ, which should be celebrated. Who even knows what the word "incarnation" means anymore? Yet, without it there is no cross, grave, resurrection and new life for all who would believe. Let's not look for another thing to draw a line in the sand and fight over. Let's present Christ instead this season and leave the holiday tree vs. Christmas tree stuff to others.

Posted by: Rich Kirkpatrick | Dec 7, 2005 11:43:59 AM

I considered the closing for Christmas was more over "attendance is down anyway" than tradition or Christian rights... (a business "culture" influence)

I happen to agree with CHS but hope we could use all opportunities to talk about Scripture, God and His Christ...

ie... "I can't tell you much about the red suit but I can tell you about the crown of thorns"...

The Lord Be Glorified!

Posted by: BeHim | Dec 7, 2005 11:50:51 AM

"I grew up in a city in California where people had to be taught what Christmas was since their country of birth did not have any equivelant. I cherish the memory of these I grew up with."

I an not one that is upset by people celebrating Christmas as a holiday. However many know what Christmas is these days,

It is a time

where stores make most sales
for taking a few weeks out of school
for parties were we can get drunk, etc.
for recieving and giving presents

I encourage everyone to use this holiday to swing from the natural to the spiritual and share the true love of Christ.

This love that says even while they are yet sinners, Christ died for them, and if only they would repent and trust in Him they would live eternally in Hevean otherwise they will spend eternity in hell.

Posted by: Franklin Reeves | Dec 7, 2005 1:51:47 PM

Yes, let us give thanks give God thanks for the gift of His dear Son.

I personally don't think it was in December that the Lord entered into this world, but perhaps in the Spring when the shepards would be in the fields guarding the sheep, and not the cool winter nights, as we suggest.

Perhaps it coincides with Saint Nicholas' death on Dec 6, 376, that we get the idea from the Holy Roman Church's attaching a holy day to a pagan feast of the winter solace.

I don't know, but I do know that Jesus the Christ came into our world, the one He created for us and became a man to deal with out sin debt and pay it off so we could have everlasting life with Him in His heavenly home, Heaven.

All the commercialism that has been attached to the holiday takes away from its significance of being the day that the "Christian" world has placed upon it.

We are to be truly thankful to God for His only begotten son and whatever day He came to this cursed place to set us captivates free.

Posted by: RevJay | Dec 7, 2005 5:36:40 PM

Eaxactly RevJay,

I think that while we should be thankfull everyday that He came to earth in the form of a man (baby), it is okay if we set aside one day a year to especially focus on that thing.

I actually do not mind the secularization of the holiday because if the world is particpating in it it allows me a springboard tot he gospel that is already built in.

Posted by: Franklin Reeves | Dec 8, 2005 12:26:30 AM

While I do agree with him. I feel that
we need to and can use it to open many doors to the oppertunity to reach the lost for the Master. so, lets not shun it as evil, but turn it to magnify Him. To God be the glory.

Posted by: Daniel | Dec 8, 2005 9:55:46 AM

"How many observe Christ's birhtday! How few, his precepts! O!'tis easir to keep holidays than commandments."


Bengamin Franklin

Posted by: Franklin Reeves | Dec 9, 2005 11:45:16 AM

"How many observe Christ's birhtday! How few, his precepts! O!'tis easir to keep holidays than commandments."


Benjamin Franklin

Posted by: Franklin Reeves | Dec 9, 2005 11:45:34 AM

I say a hearty "AMEN!" since Christmas is an abomination! (http://christmascondemned.blogspot.com) and is a serious part of the idolatry and immorality we must repent of to avert national defeat, destruction and deportation.

Posted by: David Ben-Ariel | Jan 12, 2006 9:52:09 PM

In my opinion Christmas is A great big pain! As for me and my family we do without it. I could careless about it ,In my opinion if someone wants to celebrate it that's fine for them, but its not for me. Work out your own salvation. The thing about it is that everyone expects you to give them A gift they just assume that everyone celebrates it. Not everyone does and when you tell them you dont they look at you like you committed A crime.

Posted by: DotDot | Apr 3, 2007 12:42:16 PM

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