A Revival Celebration
The second part to my previous post will come later this week, but I thought this was a VERY important post. I wrote this Christmas 2008, it was a good reminder, with a couple of adjustments … we have an opportunity this season don’t miss it by blending in.
Recently I read in Plain Truth Magazine an interesting article, Jesus Christ – God Incarnate. It mentioned how originally December 25 was a pagan festival commemorating the birthday of a false sun god. It is believed, the church intentionally selected this day to celebrate Jesus’ birth to counteract the pagan feast of the sun god and turn people to the Son of God. Instead of Christianizing a pagan festival the church established the celebration of Jesus’ birth as a revival celebration.
And who do people remember today, Jesus or this sun-god? Seemed their plan worked.
Yet, interestingly after all this time we still have dual celebrations. One is a secular celebration with Santa Claus, Christmas trees, decorations, giving gifts, etc. The other is the celebration of Jesus’ birth.
I knew about the sun-god, that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th, and the pagan origin of many of the secular festivities and decorations, and for awhile these facts put a hiccup in my enjoyment of the season. If there was one thing that God didn’t like, it was His people taking on pagan practices as their own because it could lead them to sin. To top it off the description in Jeremiah 10:2-5 sounded like a Christmas tree to me. Whatever happened to being in the world but not of it?
What struck me in this article was the intention of the church – to have a revival celebration not to “Christianize” the pagan festival. What mindset do we hold today as Christians? When you look around it seems to be Christianizing something pagan. Therefore, the whole dual celebration seems silly, compromising, not what we should do as a people set apart. So, I’ve disengaged to a certain extent from the secular fanfare. (more on this later)
But with this deeper understanding that the intention was a revival celebration . . . my view altered a bit. This new awareness infused a new profound joy into everything about the season – for me it changed from compromise to revival. Compromise dishonors. Revival honors.
Revival is why we celebrate Christ. The word revival suggests new life, new birth, renewal, bring to life someone who once dead. We celebrate His birth and what His birth was the forerunner of, our spiritual birth. Jesus’ birth paints a picture of ours – as He was born of flesh and spirit, we are born of flesh and spirit. Once we are born of the spirit, His life of peace, power, strength, love, mercy, truth, and joy lives in us and gives new life to our mortal bodies. Romans 8:11 We are no longer one of the walking dead, but have become eternal beings experiencing true life. We no longer are who we were; we are free from our past destructive lives and all the pain, sorrow and trouble they manifested. We are no longer mere men but spirit beings having a human experience. 1 Corinthians 3:3
This true life that lives within us is the revival that we bring to each day and what we celebrate this time of year.
As for the pagan festivities. . . as I was praying over this situation I read 1 Corinthians 8. Everything in itself is pure. Romans 14:20 . . . we live with an incredible liberty that the Old Testament folks didn’t have because we have the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. They needed all sorts of rules because they didn’t have the spirit of truth and discernment guiding them like we do. Without this spirit it was easy for them to take on pagan beliefs, so they had to stay away completely.
Pagan artifacts become harmful when people attribute power to them however small. Otherwise they are just a tree or a piece of wood – God’s creation. The pagans put up greenery in their homes this time of year, winter solstice, to protect them from death. They attributed a false saving power to it and that is what is harmful. If I put up greenery in my house – I do it because I think it is something beautiful of God’s creation, nothing more. Nothing is harmful in itself it is what we attribute to it – and from His Word, I believe that is what God doesn’t like.
However, by standing out by doing something different this season like putting up different decorations, we would make a much bigger statement to the rest of the world who is in bondage. We blend in too much in my opinion, missing a great opportunity. And that blending in is what is harmful to others.
Most of us don’t attribute power to decorations – that is silly, but what about the gifts we give. If we give gifts to show our “goodness” or to prove our goodness, then we are attributing something more to that act than we should. Or what if we give certain gifts out of pride. All we do should be in love, not for self-glory. Or what if we get caught up in envy and want? Then we are not trusting in God’s perfect provision and we are intermingling with pagan thought practices (thoughts against His will). There are plenty of things during this season to lead us astray in our hearts . . . as with every day.
This is a wonderful and joyous time of year where we take time to celebrate Christ and the new life He came to give. I encourage you to infuse a spirit of revival with each gift you give, each family encounter, each party you attend and each decoration you hang. Stand out. Make a difference. Have people ask, why? Live in the freedom and newness of life and share that life with others by loving them with His love.
December 21, 2010 at 2:27 am
I’ve often wondered why christmas is so important,since we do not know when Jesus was born.A lot of Ministers preach againgst holloween but not againgst santa claus,and we know he is not real. We celebrate and remember Jesus the way he said through communion.Christmas is all about giving gifts and receiving them,in so very many ways Jesus is not being honored,not at all.We are just fooling ourselves.
Love you and I enjoyed the read.
December 21, 2010 at 5:38 pm
Hi Pat – I agree I we compromise then justify and rationalize – and are quite good at it, but right who are we really fooling? What Christ did – the new life He brought is AMAZING… why water that down by getting mixed up in all the other stuff?
December 21, 2010 at 4:26 am
Great article, Rachel. You are so right — nothing left to say. 🙂
December 21, 2010 at 5:39 pm
Hi Cindy – thanks for your words .. hope you have a wonderful Christmas. 🙂
December 21, 2010 at 5:22 am
Lots to think about here Rachel.
I like the focus on compromise and how it can lead to less than stellar results. It is odd how we are trained by society to meet folks in the middle, yet Christians know how dangerous a practice that this can be.
December 21, 2010 at 5:40 pm
Hi Slamdunk — we are very well trained in so many aspects and with that we stop thinking – what are we really doing? What are we really saying? Hope you have a wonderful Christmas.
December 21, 2010 at 6:52 pm
Christmas. Jesus. Period. Let the pagans have their Santas.
I like what you’re cooking here, Rachel. Big deal if December 25th is a “pagan day”. I mean, who was first, anyways? Was Jesus first, or were false gods first? Exactly. So if the pagans want to claim that Christians “took” their day for pagan nonsense, so be it. Let them rant.
(Like Santa Claus, who came about when, exactly?)
I simplify both Christmas and Easter by laughing at the false gods who wish to flex their knowledge against God and try to exalt their imaginings above Him. Good luck with that.
Christmas is indeed about The New Covenant, the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ and Bethlehem, the star, and the wise men. It always has been and always shall be, this side of Heaven. It is about revival, refreshing, promise, hope, covenant, love, and power beyond power, the Sovereignty of our God.
Christmas, like Easter, should be every day for us as sons of God. Without either of these days of celebration, our faith would be worthless. Jesus is born; He dies, and is resurrected. Period. And oh so awesome!
Rachel, I enjoyed this post of yours. Thanks for writing it! Oh, and, Merry Christmas to you and yours, in Jesus’ mighty name!
December 21, 2010 at 11:12 pm
Hi – thanks for your comment .. Amen to that! I look forward to checking out your site. 🙂
December 24, 2010 at 10:38 pm
Wonderful thoughts, Rachel! Whatever the world is doing or why it came to be that this is a particular time we celebrate Jesus first coming, this is a special time, and we have so much to be thankful for. It’s special to celebrate Him now… and a great privilege that we get to celebrate His coming all the time.
Today, in thinking about His first coming, I’ve been thinking a lot about the next time He will come too and what a glorious hope that is to have! More thoughts on that in my latest blog.
Merry Christmas to you, Rachel!
December 27, 2010 at 5:54 pm
Hi Ruth – Merry Christmas to you as well! It is a tremendous time of celebrating new life – how much we have been given. I look forward to reading your insights 🙂
November 4, 2011 at 5:52 pm
christs mass or saturnalia is pagan sun worship,..of the sun worship of the sun deity,the IHS ..Isus,Horus Set,.of the Roman catholic pagan/christian church and its doctrine,that ALL, thats ALL mainstream protestant churches foolishly follow,..and keeps them in babylon in false worship
Its just the modern day babylonian baal worship,..Our Father hates ANY participating in it,..He warns us to stay away from it,..His Son warns us to ‘come out ‘…’to separate ourselves from them’…..to leave,..”to remember Lots wife”,..that means ,..leave !!! and dont look back.
saturnalia is worship of satan
satan and santa are one and the same,..father christmas/the father of lies,
if you tell you children lies,..its lies,..they come from and even about the father of lies,….
read Revelation 1,..it tells what Our Savior Looks like,..White Hairs/He Will Return in A Red Garment,…HELLO,..do you see a copycat impersonation ??
John the Baptist was born late March,..this (can be traced through Scripture),
Johns , Cousin,….The Son of The Almighty Father,..was Born to a Virgin 6 months after John was born ..late Sept possibly early Oct….no where even near December.
to all my ‘lost sheep Israelite’ brothers and sisters on the path out of Babylon,..it s narrow at the best of times,..come December it narrows and gets hard,the spirit of christmas is a very deceiving one..i urge all of you to avoid it, keep focused to the ‘path’ out,..remember Lots wife,..dont look back,..dont be like a pig, getting bathed ,..and then go back to the mire!
dear brothers and sisters take NOTHING to do with it,..we dont worship false idols or bring them or anything to do with them to our houses,..we dont worship the sun/son of the pagan queen of heaven of roman pagan/christianity…if you do in any way,your a pagan babylonian.
We Worship The Father, The Most High,.The Majesty of Heaven,..through His Son, King O’Israel, King of Heaven.