Each year during Christmas I communicate the truth concerning Christ’s coming in flesh. This year I want to do something vastly different. I want to take the truths of Christmas and turn them into a Christmas tradition.As such, I did something I have wanted to do for years! I put pen to paper and produced The Heart of Christmas: A Twenty-five Day Devotional so that, just as you prepare your home for Christmas, you will likewise prepare your heart.
Let me point your attention to one of these devotionals. It’s the December 4th entry entitled, A Pagan Festival? The Scripture reading is from Colossians 2:16-17, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” I say in the devotional,
As we continue our journey to the heart of Christmas, let’s pause for a moment to consider a common concern raised each year regarding the validity of celebrating Christ’s coming---namely that when Christmas was originally instituted, December 25th was a pagan festival commemorating the birthday of a false god.
In response we should first acknowledge that this is substantially true. As noted by Dr. Paul Maier, eminent professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University, “The Romans of the time not only celebrated their Saturnalia festival at the close of December, but they also thought that December 25 marked the date of the winter solstice (instead of December 21), when they observed the pagan feast of Sol Invictus, the Unconquerable Sun, which was just in the act of turning about to aim northward once again.”
While this is indeed a historical fact, what if frequently overlooked is the reason the early Christian church chose December 25th as their day of celebration. The purpose was not to Christianize a time of pagan revelry, but to establish a rival celebration. As such, Christmas (Christ Mass) was designed as a spiritually edifying holiday (holy day) on which to proclaim the supremacy of the Son of God over the superstitions concerning such gods as Saturn, the god of agriculture and Sol Invictus, the unconquerable sun god.
While the world has but forgotten the Greco-Roman gods of antiquity, they are annually reminded that two thousand years ago Christ, the hope of humanity, invaded time and space. But as Christians we perceive an ever greater reality. Each year as we celebrate the First Advent of Christ we are simultaneously reminded of the Second Advent in which the old order of things will pass away and Christ our Lord will put all things to right. As the prophet Zechariah put it, “Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,’ declares the LORD. ‘Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.” (2:10-11).
If you cannot celebrate this, pray tell, what can you celebrate?
So, should we celebrate Christmas on December 25th? The answer is a resounding yes we should, we’ve taken a pagan festival and we have made Christ the prince of that day. There is an additional reading from Acts 17; and questions that take the information and impress it on your mind and then there are those wonderful carols. In this case for December 4th, it’s Angels From the Realms of Glory.
So often in our churches, we get pap and dribble and we never really focus on the words
Angels, from the realms of glory, wing your flight o’er all the earth,
Ye, who sang creation’s story; now proclaim Messiah’s birth:
Come and worship, Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the new born King.
The Heart of Christmas: A Twenty-five Day Devotional is a small token of my deep appreciation for your support of a ministry that has brought the Christ of Christmas into the hearts of people around the globe. This is only available through the ministry of CRI and quantities are limited, please log unto our website www.equip.org or call us at 1-888-700-0274.