What’s a Messianic Christian to do About Christmas? Part 1

A Little Background on What We Have Come to Know as Christmas:

Christmas was first formally devised by the Catholic Church long after Yeshua’s birth, death, and resurrection.1 Most scholars agree that the winter date of December 25th is erroneous for several reasons. Yet for centuries December 25th has been celebrated as the day of Messiah’s birth.  And now it is a standard throughout much of the world today. Frankly, I don’t know how non-Christians are able to escape the Christmas season.

OK, so we knowingly celebrate the unknown birth date of Yeshua HaMashiach near the pagan time of Saturnalia in an attempt to turn our attention away from pagan rituals and turn our faces toward G-d. I can kind of work with that. And I can kind of appreciate the Puritan’s attempt at making Christmas a time to either solely focus on religious purity or ban it all together.2 But I, along with thousands of others, feel the Puritans went too far. For what better time to appropriately celebrate than the receiving of G-d’s greatest gift to us! More on that in Part 2.

In 1823, Christmas devolved back to a pagan celebration through the seemingly innocent publishing of a poem by Clement Clarke Moore, an Episcopal priest. You know this poem3:

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

In the first stanza, Moore’s poem refers to St. Nicholas, on whom today’s Christmas celebrants base their belief in Santa Claus. Given Moore’s religious background, I dare say he would shudder in horror at what we’ve done with his poem.

St. Nicholas was a real person.4 He was a Bishop of Myra who, after the death of his wealthy parents, took literally the words of Yeshua in Matthew 19:21 and Luke 18:22 that state, “…go and sell all your possessions [everything you have] and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. …”

Had we followed the example of St. Nicholas instead of the frenzied spending and debt-building secular ritualism we currently follow around Christmastime, I daresay even the Puritans would have been satisfied. Sadly, however, the intended goal of refocusing our lives on celebrating the Gift of Messiah has turned back into a pagan ritual after all.

Works Cited

[1] http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03724b.htm accessed 12-21-2019

[2] https://www.history.com/topics/21st-century/the-war-on-christmas accessed 12-21-2019

[3] http://pages.csdgs.net/~u119713267/christmas/twas-the-night-before-xmas.pdf accessed 12-21-2019 — NOTE: This link provides the full poem, as well as some interesting background about Clement Moore. This background seems incongruous to his intent with respect to what Christmas has turned into as we know it today.

[4] https://web.archive.org/web/20101010104847/http://www.stnicholascenter.org/Brix?pageID=38 accessed 12/19/2019


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