A Voice in the
December 12, 2004
Scrooge in Denver
This is a paste from one of this past week's "End-of-Day" mailings
From: Gary L. Bauer, Chairman Campaign for Working Families Date: Friday, December 03, 2004SCROOGE COMES TO DENVER:
The effort to remove Christianity from "the Holidays" is going full speed ahead this year. In Denver, Colorado a 4,000 member Church called the Faith Bible Chapel was denied permission to enter a float in that city’s annual Parade of Lights. Why? Because the float would feature Christian themes and contain a Merry Christmas message! The parade officials explained that they turned down the float because they were trying to be "sensitive to the fact that there are other traditions" that might find the Christian religious display offensive.
But a review of other authorized participants in the parade seems to prove that parade organizers are worried about offending people only when it comes to banning Christian themes. One group that has been given the OK to be in the parade is the Two Spirit Society, which honors gay and lesbian American Indians as holy people, and the Lion Dance, a Chinese New Year tradition "meant to chase away evil spirits."
This would be funny if it weren’t so serious. The effort to ban a Christian float in a parade that obviously has been scheduled to take advantage of the Christmas holiday is just one more example of the nation- wide effort to force Christians into the closet.
The Faith Bible Chapel in Denver is not going quietly into the night. They plan to gather in downtown Denver an hour before the parade begins. No, they won’t be engaging in civil disobedience. But, they will be singing Christmas carols and offering passerbys hot chocolate. In today’s politically correct America, that almost sounds seditious!
However, this matter of "removing Christianity from the holidays" is also prophesied. This, too, is part of the destruction of "Babylon" by the world. (Rev17:16-17) They are not removing (true) "[C]hristianity" from the holidays. True Christianity never belonged, nor was ever part of it to begin with! They are removing Babylon! I've been reading various accounts similar to this one, but do not become anxious over it. It is part of God's plan; using the world to sift out the wheat from the tares. Don't anybody complain at me for saying this; I don't know the "Faith Bible Chapel" personally (there may be 'some' -true- [C]hristian -individuals- within it); but if they are promoting "Merry Christmas" messages, "by their fruits" (Mt7:20), as a -group-, it is Babylon!
For newer subscribers, if this kind of talk alarms you, please check out past discussions of "christmas" from the 'left' box of the TopicSearch at the website. Especially, last year's: "Christmas: who's responsible for it?"
"Good Holiday Spirit"
Hmmm...and then around this same time, I see a promo for a new TV series that is slated to begin in (??) weeks, called, "Medium"
They don't want God, but embrace things dealing with spirits and spiritism....satanism.
1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, being devoted to corrupting SPIRITS AND DOCTRINES OF DEMONS,
Any way, I did not want to drag this out, but when I read your last mailing (163) I was reading the first line... "But for Christians, we are exhorted:". I have got myself so worked up on this thing that I thought it read... "But for Christmas, we are exhorted:" Of course, when I started reading this, I thought "this doesn't sound like Paul" and of course it wasn't! Just another way satan (or santa, whatever) can play on your mind.
I happened to turn on the TV at about the end of one of the thanksgiving day parades....where the finale was 'santa'!!! stuff like that makes me wanna puke, this time of year.
Fixation on 'Christmas'? Come out of Babylon!
The Catholic Mass is an abomination, thought up by Satan himself. And you are correct in that Christ was never "in" that activity. But it is possible for a Believer (with a capitol "B") to acknowledge and celebrate Christ's birth, and even use the word "Christmas" without participating in a Catholic Mass. Maybe we could great each other during this time of year by saying "Have a blessed observation and celebration of the birth of Christ".... but 'Christmas' is just easier on the tongue.
It is great that you continue to point out the deceptions that Satan has perpetrated on the world through the Catholic church. When the media refers to the christian faith they generally mean the Catholic church. It is the 'mainstream' christian body (I guess they view protestants as a sect). But the body of Christ is made up of alot of different individuals. I have a friend who is very artistic and loves to decorate her home. She is a very Godly woman and has a beautiful fellowship with the Lord. However, if you go to her home this month it will be covered in green and red, with a beautiful evergreen tree in her living room. I don't know if she is aware of the pagan origins of having an evergreen tree in her house during this time of year, but she does not worship the tree. For her, the tree is not a pagan symbol, but has been redefined as a symbol of new life....and it's something to decorate.
My point in all this is that your constant denunciation of everything that is 'traditional' about this season is offensive. Should we pay alot less attention to the trappings of the world and more on our walk with the Lord, certainly. However, to imply that those who say "Merry Christmas", or those who have a Christmas tree in their home are christians "with a little c" , is not scriptural.
"I don't know the "Faith Bible Chapel" personally (there may be 'some' -true- [C]hristian -individuals- within it); but if they are promoting "Merry Christmas" messages, "by their fruits" (Mt7:20), as a -group-, it is Babylon!"
Notice the difference between mentions of "individuals" vs "group".
However....addressing your concerns in an orderly generic way...
What does Scripture exhort? "...come out of her [Babylon] My people, so that you not share in her sins, and so that you not receive of her plagues." (Rev18:4)
Let us analyze that passage: 'what' is to be done? "come out of" Babylon. That means that there are those presently 'in' Babylon, who need to come out.
And second: 'who' is to come out? "My people" Who are God's people? [B]elievers. [C]hristians. In other words, there's some of God's people within Babylon, who need to "come out". This is not talking about the pretenders, changelings, wolves, false prophets, etc...or even [c]hristians.
Why are they -in- Babylon? Remember that John "marveled with great amazement"...and in the next verse he is chided by the angel, "Why did you marvel?" (Rev17:6-7)
To many people who haven't become informed, it -looks-, for everything, to be "[C]hristian".
When I was a child my dad, a missionary/pastor, a teacher of others in the things of God, explained "Christmas" to me, breaking it down into "Christ's" -- "mass". But apparently he didn't see anything 'wrong' with that reality (he's dead now, so I can't ask him 'what' his beliefs were back then); he never explained what "mass" was (I didn't come to fully understand it until the past decade; most of my adult life I was ignorant of its significance and implications; I just thought they were having "communion", only, just a bit differently than we do; I didn't know that they were claiming to be re-sacrificing Christ on their altar through transubstantiation, whilst -actually- paying homage to the ancient pagan sun god); as he would also show pictures at furlough deputation meetings of the ruins and museums dedicated to the Nagasaki and Hiroshima nuclear blasts, and would speak of the prior existence of the catholic church in Japan, never indicating anything 'wrong' with it, repeating the party line of the "christian" -missionaries- during feudal Japan. (Thing is: they were "catholic", not [C]hristian). As a younger adult, when I was doing some things within the catholic environment, myself not being any-the-wiser, or in the professional choral realm would sing the masses, he (the elder) never even looked at me askance, let alone express to me how I was in compromise. This was a man who was ultra-conservative regarding things like pop music, dress, dating, dancing, smoking, movies, playing games with a deck of cards, and was sure to let me know his displeasure at my breaking the Sunday 'sabbath' by having a sprinkler watering the lawn on that hot summer Sunday afternoon, etc. But never seemed to recognize the wrongs of the RCC enough to say so; and also when I was a child, we would listen to the weekly Mormon radio broadcasts that were aired over Armed Forces Radio in post-war Japan...his reaction, that their preaching was -mostly- good.
Thus, with such an ecumenical upbringing, even though looking back at those years, knowing that I was a True [B]eliever through faith in Jesus Christ, I was always wanting to "put Christ -back- into christmas" when the world was proclaiming "X-mas" this and "X-mas" that. I did not know the pagan roots of the O Tannenbaum (O fir tree). I did not know the utter paganism of the RCC. Not knowing any better, I assumed that, since I was not "catholic" that the 'opposite' must be true...I was "protestant". Not knowing any better, I believed in the reformation doctrine of OSAS. All these things... handed down from my father and the "inter-denominational" missions mentality (we were in Japan under TEAM), and the Bible school I attended in Portland (where Luis Palau also attended some years before me) right out of high school. We always looked at -those- "separatist" groups (like GARBC, Bible and Independent baptists) as being terribly extreme. I participated in Billy Graham style crusades, where all the churches were in 'cooperation'...and we 'pitied' those "separatists" who wouldn't join in with the "evangelism" of the 'big' meetings. I also married into an "unequal yoke", taking her at her word that she was a "Christian". I was going along with the so-called "christian" status quo...not being any-the-wiser... thinking I was obeying God.
It was what I was raised with; it was all I knew. It was the circles my father ran around in; and when I became an adult, I continued in those traditions...as I had been raised up.
As Paul says, in "ignorance". (Ac17:30, 1Ti1:13)
But notice what happened to Paul... God knocked him to the ground, got his attention, saved him through His "mercy". The world that does all its pagan things in ignorance, God "overlooks" when the sinner "repents". In my case, my unequal yoke was suddenly yanked away; and while I was already God's child, I learned what confession and repentance was, as He scraped me up from the bottom of despair...and I started seeing God's Word for what it -SAYS-, not for what all the -famous- church "fathers" taught and handed down through the denominations and seminaries....and also, began to learn what some of these Babylon-connections are.
(I say all this about my past, because it is not at all unlike what many of yours are. We-all have come through Laodicea and Thyatira's slime-pit...and so, it takes a bit of washing and rinsing to see through all the muck, to distinguish True Christianity from Babylon.)
Yes... -I- was 'in' Babylon. Albeit, unwittingly. In ignorance. I was "led astray". The mighty angel proclaims: "for by [Babylon's] sorcery all the nations were led astray." (Rev18:23) X-mass is a form of sorcery. As we said in the Q/A, the magic, the spirit...these things being in one's "heart". Santa does the magical 'miraculous'...fitting down chimneys, reaching -every- child in one night with presents, and he knows that which only God knows...."if you've been bad or good"
I CAME OUT!!!
If the exhortation is to "come out of", and it is given to "My people", is it not obvious that some [B]elievers are yet -in- Babylon; that's why the exhortation is given to "come out of" it. Notice that that exhoration is not for "salvation", to -become- Christians; but it is given to those who -are- God's people; they are already saved, but yet -in- Babylon.... to "come out of" it.
Am I harping? Yes. Do I have a "fixation"? Only, in that the world has a fixation -towards- all their paganism, they keep bombarding us with it, and there are yet many [B]elievers who don't yet know any better; or many who do know better (if they were to look deep into their hearts), but are balking.
Is what I say "offensive"? Well, I hope so. I hope when fellow-Believers learn the "true -meaning- of x-mass", that they will become sooo appalled with it that they will do as Christ says of Laodicea... to "vomit" the whole business out of their mouths. Vomit is offensive. It wreaks of putridity.
My understanding of things has been progressive. This year, finally, I've made the full connection in my mind between Babylon and xmass. I've seen it, and we've addressed it in past years...but I've never come right out and understood the -label- of x-mass for what it is...Babylon!
To quote you: "Should we pay a lot less attention to the trappings of the world and more on our walk with the Lord?"
When those trappings of the world are steeped in paganism, the [C]hristian should pay -NO- ATTENTION to participating in them!!! Seriously! Not merely "less", but -NOT- AT ALL!!!
How can we claim to be walking with the Lord "more", if we still cling to satan's paganism? Jesus did not command us to love Him "more and more", but what He said was, "No one is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. It is not possible to serve God and mammon." (Mt6:24) Yes, we do "grow" in our love for the Lord. (Eph4:15,etc)
But there is no "half-way" status, when one has come to understand the truth. One is either serving the Lord, or they are serving satan and their own lusts. A light is either 'on' or 'off'. A fire is either lit, or it isn't. Computer data is either '0' or '1'. An engine is either running, or it isn't. An airplane is either airborne or yet in contact with the ground. A person is either alive or dead. In these sorts of things there are -NO- "gray-areas". Get it...?
If a person has come to the understanding, and acknowledges that the catholic mass is an "abomination", then, why would such a person wish to excuse the use of the label, "mass", in -any- form? Putting the words "Christ" and "mass" together in the same word is an abomination. God commanded Israel, "..beware and make no mention of any other gods by name, nor let it be heard from your mouth." (Ex23:13) This is why I have come to reference this season with the "X".
God commanded, "You shall not take the name of Jehovah your God in vain..." And what are the consequences for "blaspheming that noble name"? "..Jehovah will not leave unpunished one who takes His name in vain." (Ex20:7, Ja2:7) When Christians utter this abomination, "...the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you..." (Rom2:24)
So...why must we even use a special 'greeting' at this time of year? We do not celebrate the world's lustful, sensual fertility paganism. Nor do we greet one another with the world's pagan greetings. Special mutual greetings are for those who are -of- the same 'club' and/or 'society' or cult. Secret societies have special secret greetings by which they greet each other, greetings that are not for non-members. The "Merry XXXX" greeting is for those who adhere to the world's paganism. [C]hristians are not of the world (Jn15:19,17:14,16) That greeting is -NOT- for us!!
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; is not of the Father but is of the world." (1Jn2:15-16)
Mass is not -about- the winter solstice; mass is celebrated year-round; it is even an inappropriate label, even by catholic standards, for this time of year...-IF- they are claiming to be re-crucifying Christ. -IF- they were truly celebrating Christ and His crucifixion, the mass would be the domain of the spring celebrations; but you see, during that time of year they celebrate the Queen of Heaven, Ishtar, the queen of fertility, mother-earth, as the earth is springing to life with new buds, flowers, leaves, etc...not Christ. The fact that they specifically label this time of year as "mass" is proof-positive that "mass" has nothing to do with Christ, but ancient pagan sun-worship, where at the winter solstice the 'sun' begins its trek back up into the northern hemisphere. If you've ever watched the x-mass eve midnight mass from the Vatican on TV, have you noticed how they always begin the proceedings with the sung/chanted readings of the genealogy of the time of the passing years...and I forget the exactitude of their wording now (it's been a couple years since I last stayed up to watch it...it's the same every year), but it is related to the cycles of the sun and such things.
Scripture does not specify to us 'when' Jesus was born, like it does His crucifixion/resurrection; although there are some who think they know, based on historical records of the Roman census and little isolated words and references in the Gospels, according to which the general consensus tends to point more towards September...not the winter 'solstice' of the northern hemisphere! Scripture does not tell us to celebrate His birth....but His death and resurrection. (do you require chapter/verse?)
"x-mass is easier on the tongue"? Certainly. But whom do you serve? Why do you even wish to give the season's greeting? This season of the year has -NOTHING- to do with the birth of Christ. It's origins were pagan, and continues to this day to be pagan. Why must the Church of Jesus Christ compromise with the world, -pretending- to have an 'alternative' to the world's corruption, by suggesting they celebrate Jesus' birth, instead? Do they not have a back-bone? Why debase the memory of Jesus' birth by pretending it was in the context of the world's drunken orgies and debauchery? They have "harvest" parties to contrast helloween, so that they might have their own 'entertainment' (especially for the youth) while the world is going crazy; and they have "nativity" to have some sort of feeling of not being "left out" of the season's festivities as the world celebrates lasciviousness. Strong! you say? Indeed! But if you ponder with an honest heart, is this not TRUTH!
I'm sure that most Christians have no problem seeing ancient Japan with its Shintoism. Emperor worship. Yes..."tradition"...as being pagan. If a Japanese person came to Christ, would the missionary not exhort the new convert to renounce their pagan traditions? The young man in our village, when he would not renounce Christ, his buddhist father told him to "get out". Years later, upon seeing his conviction and the testimony of his life for the Lord, his whole family came to the Lord.
But in our western cultures, people come to the Lord, but they are not exhorted to renounce the pagan traditions. Like John was "amazed", it has the label "christian". How can anything be 'wrong' with it?? X-mass to our culture is every bit like any of the Buddhist, Shinto, Hindu religious 'culture' and 'traditions' are to their respective peoples.
It is not necessarily "sin" held accountable to us to have participated "in ignorance", having thought it was worship of God. God's mercy covers that; just as the O.T. offerings did their sins committed in ignorance. But when a Believer comes to understand the truth, then it behoves the person to do as the new converts at Ephesus did: Burn the books! (Ac19:19) and STOP buying the idolatrous trinkets (x-mass decorations) When people came to the Lord in Ephesus, it affected the economy of the idol crafts. (Ac19:23-41) Yes, they were "fixated" on being obedient to God, renouncing their past idolatry, burning the literature and disengaging its commerce.
But if a [B]eliever knows better, and continues in the world's paganism, well...all I can exhort is to: "Watch out!"
"For if we sin willfully after we have received the full true knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour those who oppose. Anyone who rejected Moses’ Law dies without mercy before two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled on the Son of God, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of Grace? For we know Him who has said, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord. And again, The Lord will judge His people." (Heb10:26-30)
After all, when the proclamation is made to "come out of her, My people" the reason given is "...so that you NOT SHARE IN HER SINS, and so that you NOT RECEIVE OF HER PLAGUES."
If you're still not convinced....
Supposing, for a moment, a man is married to somebody with the name "Julie"; but in the past a tramp by the name of Julie-Anne had been chasing him, and he was also enamoured by her. So, what does he do? Tell Julie that he loves her 'more', and Julie-Anne 'less'? Does he keep calling out "Julie-Anne!" everytime he thinks happy thoughts of her? After all, "Julie-Anne" flows off the tongue so well, and she always made herself up to look pleasant and alluring. She even liked to wear sparkly, twinkly dangly earrings, necklace and little shimmery things in her hair...the ornaments of her festivity. She was so much "fun" to be around, and you have pleasant emotional thoughts about her, singing songs about...
How is Julie going to react??? Enough said??
The angel chided John (the disciple whom Jesus loved), "Why did you marvel?"
I would ask a similar/related question: If you are a [C]hristian, and you now know that "mass" is pagan, and that RCC is Babylon....WHY??? Pray tell...would you even -consider- (even for a split-second) remaining in it's trappings??? The word, "trappings" coming from the word "trap" - what is the function of a trap??
Are you 'trapped'?
For anybody reading this, and you are balking at what is being said here... Do you -truly- "...love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." (Mt22:37) ??? If so, do your attitude and actions regarding this time of year reflect it?
Yes...the allure of the season is soooo strong. That is by design. Dress it up with pretty lights, festive decorations, expressions of good-will through the giving of gifts, singing of jolly and romantic songs. Just like Scripture says, "Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Pr22:6) Well, satan obviously understands that principle, too, as this season, like no other, trains up the 'children' into the -traditions-. Thus, IS IT ANY WONDER that people struggle sooo much to abandon it when they are older!
Like I've said at other times... I'm not proposing something that I haven't, myself, gone through. I will say that I haven't struggled with leaving x-mass, like I have some other things...things dealing with the traditional "church" -mechanisms-. When I was around 8, 9 or 10, I reasoned that, when one of us has a birthday, we give gifts -to- the 'birthday' person; but when Jesus has a birthday, we give gifts to each other??? That didn't make sense. As a child 'I' was the one who initiated the non-giving of gifts to each other, in our family, at x-mass time. After all...if you see truth, I was one to 'act' on that truth. Throughout my life I have been similarly-inclined about other things...like the discovery of the falseness of OSAS, or when I was given pamphlets to read regarding the issues of the 'manuscripts' from which our English translations of the Bible come...I -immediately- quit using the NASB. Because, although I had been brought up in Babylon, I truly loved the Lord...and so, when I learned 'this' bit of truth, I acted upon it. When I learned 'that' bit of truth, I acted on it.
That is all I implore any of you whom the Lord has led to read these humble offerings. In this I wholeheartedly echo Paul's words when he invited his readers: "join in being imitators of me" (1Co4:16, 11:1, Php3:17) I don't exhort the reader to do anything that I haven't done, myself. Just as Paul expresses to the Thessalonians how he was an example to them how to live...As a sign-maker I have lost customers in the past, because I would not do "Santa" and such things; my faith and obedience extends to how I conduct business. But, having taken the steps out of Babylon, I know God's peace in having been obedient to His call; I invite you to follow with me; that together, we might stand before our Lord with purified hearts and consciences. I yearn for God's "well done, good and faithful servant" (Mt25), not the "temporary pleasures of sin" (Heb11:25b) How about you?
This is the path the Holy Spirit has laid out as I follow Christ.... Please follow along! Do not harden your hearts, like Israel did.
"...if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts..." (Heb3:8,15, 4:17)
If you are a True [C]hristian, as you testify of yourself; based on your
own words you are yet 'in' Babylon, judging by your desires and actions.
How to Reply when greeted by "merry xxx"?
From my testimony, my neighbors, both at home and around work, know where I stand, so it is a non-issue; they don't greet me with 'the' greeting.
Of the rest, there are two categories: 1) ones claiming to be [B]elievers, and 2) the world-at-large.
You know...I have the least problems from the world. If I express that I don't celebrate the season, and they then ask 'why', it opens a door for testimony.
It is the ones claiming to be [C]hristian who usually get their noses bent out of joint; I suppose because, in not sharing their greeting, I'm not sharing their values; and in not sharing their values, they view me as 'judging' them.
I mentioned losing customers...that was years ago. And when it comes to refusing an order because of Santa or trees, etc, I've gotten scoffs from the world. But so far this year, there hasn't even been a request for something seasonal that way. The Lord seems to often work things out that way: that, when I've taken a stand for something, then further advances are kept away from me.
In a generic sense, there is a lot of truth to the concept of "let the sleeping dog lie", in terms of sort-of "hiding away" and not purposely going to mingle at places where one would expect to hear the greetings. Jesus spoke of the "pearls before swine" lest one be "trampled" and "torn to pieces" (Mt7:6) Most people will not receive anything one might say -during- this time, because they are all 'hyper' into the 'spirit' of the season. It might be wise to do as one subscriber expressed that they did with their various family members...explained their non-participation during one of the 'summer' months, when everybody's minds are far-away from the 'immediacy' of the season when emotions get charged up, so that the explanation can be given calmly, and hopefully received 'rationally'.
Like they explained to family, that they would not even do the "dinner" thing...explaining that: there's 364 (other) days of the year in which they can-all get together for meals and have family togetherness. Actually, I would say "363". when one also removes the "easter dinner with ham". (Ishtar creates quite a stir for some, too!)
I know...this doesn't answer your 'immediate' question. I don't know that I have one, except the one Jesus gave. Peter says to "be ready" to give an answer regarding one's beliefs, to the one who asks. (1Pet3:15) And Jesus explained 'how' it happens: "it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak" through the Holy Spirit. (Mt10:19-20)
What could be simpler!
What about holiday gatherings?
(incidentally, that is one of the ways I know the Lord works through you, it seems like quite a few of your mailings come "just in time" for me *smile*)
My question comes here, what should I do with holiday gatherings? With, for instance, my mothers side of the family it is probably the only time of the year that all of us get together. I really do enjoy seeing them regardless of the occasion. I know we(I) should put the Lord first, but I wonder if attending such a gathering is "celebrating xmass". I was wondering if you could help me put this in perspective, as my personal wants are probably getting in the way of me seeing it clearly.
This is a very legitimate concern. And this also, like that other question, differs, depending on whether the people involved are professing "Christians" or not; and, if you've had the opportunity to explain to them, where they will hear it 'rationally', your stance on the season's festivities.
Due to the way society's traditions have made this season into "faaaaam'ly", and if a person were to not show up, they would be viewed as rejecting the "fam'ly", I see several sorts of (potentially) 'necessary' scenarios.
As in the preceeding question, the first option is to have meaningful communication with family, at some time 'other' than x-mass, where they are not emotionally enmeshed in the immediacy of the spirit of the season; explaining to them 'why' you no longer participate in the season's festivities.
However, at this late a date, where the 'plans' have no-doubt already been made, and you are 'expected' to be in attendance, I can tell you from personal experience (with professing 'christian' inlaws), that taking such a stand 'during' the season will likely (proverbially) break-all-hell-loose. (Although, I would not change what I did those 28 years ago, because in that case it was about more than 'just' the 'x-mass' season, but other things, as well) Thus, perhaps, attend.
Is there a Scriptural precedent to permit this? I believe there is. When Naaman was cured of his leprosy, he also came to Faith in the Most High, but was also returning to be in subjection to his pagan king. So he asks Elisha about the occasions where he is required to be at the king's side when the king goes to worship at his pagan temples, asking Elisha (essentially) if it's OK. And Elisha replies: "go in peace" (2Ki5:19) Perhaps this fits along with Paul's concept of being "at peace with all men" (Rom12:18) If a person makes a "stink" at the last minute, the unsaved will have no idea what the Christian is talking about; because they have no spiritual basis to be able to understand it (1Co2). Is it better to show up, making -the- requisit 'appearance', keeping things 'peaceful' for 'this' year....and then, once the season is over, make a special point of explaining to family how one will not be participating in future years...?
Just because you are in attendance, doesn't mean you have to participate in 'everything' that goes on. Food-is-food. Jesus, after all, did "eat....with sinners" (Mt9:11) And as those kinds of gatherings typically progress over the course of however-many-hours everybody is together, by your non-participation in certain things, and private conversations with different ones, your testimony can still come out....so that, when you have the opportunity (later) to explain why you won't show up in succeeding years, your testimony will have laid the ground-work for your later explanation and 'proclamation'.
Of course, if the explanations have already been made, and/or the people know what your stance is, especially if they make claims to being [C]hristian, but make the invitation anyway...perhaps even 'insisting' upon your participation, well, 'then' it becomes the time to put one's foot down.... And if things become 'ugly', well, let the chips fall where they will.... You have done your duty before God. They are answerable before the Almighty for themselves. And if things become bad for you, just remember that Ananiah, Mishael and Azariah went into the fiery furnace, rather than bow to Nebuchadnezzar's statue; and your situation is probably not that bad...
Not celebrating...but what about the good music?
Should we all quit the Christmas celebration? No more music or singing, no more lights, no more gifts, no more love, peace, joy and goodwill at least once a year in His honor?
Thanks for your faithfulness in your ministry, which I have enjoyed for so long. May God bless and keep you going strong until he returns.
And yet....Handel did not compose all elements of the Messiah, specifically, -for- the Messiah. If one hears many of his other works for chamber orchestra and so-forth, one hears many of the tunes that are in the Messiah. He did not so much "compose" the Messiah...as if, from 'scratch', as much as he "compiled" it from all the many tunes that he had already been working with in his other compositions. And, to be honest, this is something that most composers do, and have done over the years. Their musical minds are continually brimming with various little tunes and motives, and as they compose this or that, if one knows their other works, you will usually hear some theme or motive in one composition that is also present in some other work. This would be especially so for the Baroque period, as it was a period of neat little musical formulae. There was a way in which music was expected to be formulated, and so for the composer, it was a matter of plugging the various elements together to come up with a greater work.
I really believe that the grandeur of the "Messiah" is not so much Handel's 'genius', nor the music. A good deal of Baroque music, as a genre, is intrinsically 'grand'; a lot of it was composed specifically for king's courts and their entourages; the composers often having been hired by the kings for the specific purpose of writing music for them. That period in history was full of regal pomp, so royalty had their own resident musicians/composers. Like already stated, much of the musical themes appear all over the place in his other works. I believe the unique grandeur of the "Messiah" -is- MESSIAH...God's Word...JESUS CHRIST (Jn1:1) the KING of kings and LORD of lords. (Rev19:16) If God used Nebuchadnezzar to discipline Israel and called him "My servant" while he did so, (Jer25:9, etc) even though at the time he hadn't yet met God (Dan4:37)...He certainly could also use Handel. Or Vivaldi, or Bach, etc.
But the fact that many unbelievers perform God-honoring music is obvious. But just because they are performing it, doesn't mean they in their hearts are honoring God...other than, IN SPITE OF themselves. In their minds, as 'musicians', they are -performing- (historical) music. And if they have a bent towards perversity, they will be perverse, also towards Godly music, just as they might be towards secular music. e.g. In college when the four of us who were doing the solos for Messiah would get together to rehearse, the baritone/bass would make jokes about one of the alto solos, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bare a Son..." He would mockingly change the words into something impure...not going to repeat it here.
Each year public TV airs performances from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. Their doctrine is all messed up as a denomination, but boy oh boy, the Lutherans are surely well-known for good music! But as a person observes the performers as the cameras pan across the vast multiple-choir setup...how many of them, singing God's praises... actually -know- the Lord? For that matter, if one were to pan the members of a musical production from Bob Jones or Pensacola, even though called "christian" schools, how many of them truly know the Lord? Even the Mormon choir, a cult that worships demons, when they sing praises to God, if a person gets past the fact of 'who' is performing... the music and words often transcend the performers; particularly when the text is Scripture (Is55:11)
Although, I would not say this of rock/jazz musicians who whine and swoon "christian" songs into their own image of rebellion and sensuality. The birth of Christ is not something over which to utter orgasmic sighs and groans! Sorry to be so graphic...but that's what such vocal utterances are! And such people should lay off, entirely, anything hinting at "christian" themes. I dare say their blasphemy wracks up more points against them in the 'books' recording their works. Rev20:12 When I hear a rock or jazz musician performing a "christian" song (I said "christian", not CCM or 'worship' music), in the 'whining' and 'muttering' I hear I often sense it is their conscience knowing they are not qualified for the words they are singing, but since their fans expect if of them, they sing it...but in their spirits they are -terribly- 'uncomfortable' with it. So great is their discomfort at having to sing it, you will often notice that they will mumble the words into oblivion such that they cannot be discerned by the hearer, unless the hearer already knew the song and its lyrics. That is often the "witness" (Rom8:16) within my spirit whenever I see/hear such events.
The other day somebody sent me the URL to an article addressing X-mass' pagan roots...and when I went back to the website again later to see better 'who' they were, realized they are also a cult. But the article contained much useful historical information, including Babylon's pagan roots, coming from Nimrod...and how he married his own mother, who was the first "Queen of Heaven", and when Nimrod died, she had another son, claiming miraculous origins for him. And besides the Teutonic "fir tree", prior to Europe, there was something about a dead son being buried in a tree stump, which resulted in the tree growing.... or something like that. (This season is the first I've read of 'that' story regarding the tree. I don't know its authenticity. Each telling seems to have its own variations. My mind tends to question: if it's true, why have I not read it from other sources in other years past?)
But all that...to observe this: In all these traditions of the Queen of heaven, they all have a "madonna and child" pair, whether Nimrod and Semiramis, Isis and Horus, or "Mary and Jesus". Since Rome it is often called the "madonna and child". Prior to that it was simply a "mother and child" pair.
This time around when I read that last little bit about "mother and child", I found myself sucking in my breath and gasping in dismay. The words go, "Round yon virgin MOTHER AND CHILD". Tucked, even into the most beloved of all the season's songs, there it is... the Babylonish "mother and child". I bet none of you ever thought about that before did you. It certainly hadn't gotten my attention to make that connection!
(Is NOTHING pure??!! Is NOTHING sacred??!!) See how sneaky satan is?
(But then if one googles "Franz Gruber" to Wikipedia one finds that Josef Mohr, who wrote the lyrics was a catholic priest; and its first performance by Gruber and Mohr was at "christmas mass" at St.Nicholas church of Oberndorf, Germany. Babylon! Hmmm! I hadn't ever taken note of these little details before... All in one event you have a priest of Babylon, writing and singing about the mother and child, at Santa's namesake church. With this new understanding, I'll likely never sing that song ever again! Just like "Amazing Grace" since 9/11, this famous little song has suddenly become even more loathesome to me!)
Back to the article, even though from a cult, truthfully reminds the reader that Scripture nowhere commands the celebrating of Jesus' birth. The fact that December is typically the 'rainy' season, sheep would have been corralled, and they would NOT have been out in the open fields; thus Luke ch2 likely occurred at some time other than December. But that associating the "birth of Jesus" to the northern hemisphere's winter solstice pagan fertility rituals, where the sun "dies", and then comes back to life, was the doing of Rome. After all, in past writings we have observed on occasion how Rome does not in truth celebrate the crucifying of Jesus, but their worship is actually to the sun (please see: Link there's also some supportive photos) The church of Rome, characteristically through the centuries, has 'adapted' many cultural fetishes from whatever part of the world it was invading, in order to make the "christianizing" process acceptable to the natives. From all the centuries, and the various mutations of the Queen of heaven, if I am not mistaken, the only source for the word "mass" is in Rome. That is its context. X-mass is a -totally- Romish Babylonish tradition. And Christ's Church is commanded to "come out of her, My people" (Rev18:4)
The only way we are Scripturally commanded to remember Jesus is in His -death-, through the Lord's Supper. (Lk22:19, 1Co11:24-25) And then we also proclaim the Resurrection. (Ac4:2, Rom6:4-5)
And as Coach Daubenmire reminded us on 12/28/06,
Jesus didn't come to be sweet and 'nice', He came to "destroy the works
of the devil" (1Jn3:8) And something the coach didn't include... He
also came to destroy the devil, himself, who "had the power of death"
(Heb2:14) Right now satan has authority over the kingdoms of the world,
in sin (Lk4:5-6); but ultimately Jesus' work includes the wresting away
of them from satan, and it will be fulfilled "The kingdoms of this world
have been made those of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign
forever and ever!" (Rev11:15b) Satan is of the realms of death. Jesus
said, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it
more abundantly." (Jn10:10) He provided that by shedding His blood on
the cross to redeem us. (Rev1:5) Thus, we do not remember the "mother
and child", but the "Christ who died for your sin".
Also... think on how much -angels- are praised. Songs about angels, angel decorations and pictures in greeting cards. Why, quite often, the top decoration of the tree will be an angel. Never forget that satan and his demons are angels. He "transforms himself into an angel of light" (2Co11:14) So in reality, not only does satan have humanity worshiping Nimrod's "mother and child", but also himself and his demons. He's got humanity worshipping himself. When he also tried to get Jesus to do so, Jesus retorted, "Go away, Satan! For it has been written, You shall do homage to the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve." (Mt4:10)
Godly angels will not accept human reverence; when John bowed to the
angel, he was given strong reprimands: "Look out! No! I am your fellow
servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Do homage
to God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." and when
John did it again: "Now see here! No! For I am your fellow servant, and
of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the Words of this
Book. Do homage to God." (Rev19:10,22:9) Angels are "ministering
spirits" (Heb1:14), not objects of adoration and worship.
"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; think on these things." (Php4:8)
As for the music, and the pagans when they perform much of it... well... I don't have an answer, other than to suggest a reading of Psalm 148.
Nevertheless, that has nothing to do with, nor should be confused or deliberately used as an excuse against the fact that unbelievers should not be part of the fellowship of Believers in worship and exhortation. Remember the recent Psalm, who is allowed to "stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.." (Ps24:3-4)
But the world can and will praise God in various ways, but it doesn't mean they will spend eternity in Heaven. They -will- all eventually bow the knee.... Either voluntarily, in spite of themselves with other motives, or forcibly at the Great White Throne.
And if you are still sputtering with "B'but, B'but...what about???" and... "Don't you thiiiiink??"