Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Hold Fast

“Any of you ready for a “Puritan Christmas”?” Andreas K√∂stenberger asked, in his blog, “A Puritan Christmas”.[1]

Sure, I thought. But, how did the Puritan’s celebrate Christmas? Continuing to read, I was surprised to discover the Puritans did not celebrate Christmas. In fact, in Scotland, from 1580 through 1660, the Puritan’s controlled Parliament actually outlawed Christmas. When the Pilgrims immigrated to the New World, they did the same. Christmas, they had decided, was a pagan corruption of the true birth of our Savior, believing the word holiday, a combination of two words – holy and day – implied one day more holy than the next. “They for whom all days are holy can have no holiday,”[2] became their condescending response to Christmas, “…nicknaming it "Foolstide" and banning their flock from any celebration of it throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.”[3]

Nevertheless, they may have a point.

Consider our western traditions. Even the word, Christmas, was coined by the pagan amalgamated Roman Church, forming it from a combination of two words:  Christ and mass.

Of the mass, “The Council of Trent (1545-63) declared that "The same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross, is present and offered in an unbloody manner" in the Mass.”[4] Although the writer denies this is a continual resacrificing of Jesus, that it is just His sacrifice “presented to us once more,”[5] their doctrine remains, “When the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, Christ is truly present on the altar.”[6] This, he calls a “re-presentation” of the crucifixion.”[7] Not representation or symbolic as I believe Scripture indicates, but a re-presenting of Christ for crucifixion in each and every mass, implying Christ’s “once for all”[8] sacrifice was not enough to save.

And that’s just one problem. The day itself, was the pagan worship of the sun god that predated the birth of Christ. It was celebrated with drunkenness, lewd singing in the streets, and intense revelry, etc. Pagan worship items such as the evergreen tree, red holly berries, mistletoe, etc. have lasted, making their way into our time and traditions. And, let’s not even mention St. Nicholas aka Santa Claus.

So what are we to do now since originally, Jesus was not the reason for the season? Should we abandon our Christmas celebration as the Puritan’s did because of the pagan roots? Or, can we continue, in our little corner of the world, to overhaul this “holiday” by choosing to hold fast to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? To focus on His incarnation and why He came – to die on a cross for our sin. To sing songs worshipping and honoring our Almighty, Triune God for His amazing Gift, while remembering “…the words of the Lord Jesus…’It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “[9]

I think we can. “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord…who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel… hold fast the pattern of sound words…[and]…hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”[10]



Have a Blessed Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year!




[1] http://www.biblicalfoundations.org/a-puritan-christmas/
[2] http://theweek.com/articles/479313/when-americans-banned-christmas
[3] ibid
[4] http://catholicism.about.com/od/worship/p/The_Mass.htm
[5] ibid
[6] ibid
[7] ibid
[8] Romans 6:10; Hebrews 7:27; 9:12; 10:10
[9] Acts 20:35
[10] II Timothy 1:8-13; Joshua 22:5

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