Sunday, January 8, 2012

Christmas and its truth

According to wikipedia, Christmas is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, celebrated generally on December 25 as a religious and cultural holiday by billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it closes the Advent season and initiates the twelve days of Christmastide. Christmas is a civil holiday in many of the world's nations, is celebrated by an increasing number of non-Christians, and is an integral part of the Christmas and holiday season.

But the truth is the Bible never intends to command us to remember the birth of Jesus Christ but His death and long for His second coming. A few doubts on whether Jesus was born in winter. 

1.  Weather condition at the time of Jesus' birth indicates that it could not have taken place in December. Luke 2:8 tells us that when Jesus was born, the shepherds were watching over the sheep at night. The cold weather in the evening during midwinter is very piercing; it is the custom of shepherds in Judea to bring home their flocks before the start of November, prior to the onset of the cold winter months. Hence, the birth of Christ could not have been in December.

2. In 4 B.C. the Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar issued a decree for a census to be taken in order to know just how many subjects he had and how much taxes he could collect. Quirinius, who was then governor of Syria (where Judea was then part of the great Roman-controlled province), implemented the decree to take the first enrollment for census of Judea that same year. There were no historical records to indicate that the inconvenient harsh months of winter was the time the authorities scheduled for the tax enrollment, which necessitated the population's traveling from all parts of the land to their natal districts to register in the electoral roll, for storms and rain make journeys both unsafe and unpleasant in winter. It was in compliance to this decree for registration that Joseph went up with Mary from the city of Nazareth in southern Galilee to his hometown Bethlehem in southern Judea (Luke 2:1-5). It is also unlikely that Mary, who was pregnant, would travel 190 kilometers from Nazareth to Bethlehem because it was considered not fit for a pregnant woman to travel during winter (Matt. 24:20; Mark 12:18).

You may ask, "so? Even though Jesus was not born in winter, but since everyone is celebrating, why can't I do so too?" 

A friend of mine gave me this explanation - we, christian should not be thought by others that Christmas is what a christian about, it is the matter of testimony. 

In his message REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS, Brother Watchman Nee said, 'According to the opinions of many believers, it is a good thing to have a day each year to remember the Savior's birth....Apart from one's opinion, God's Word, the Bible, is still the only standard and the highest standard. Our concern lies not on what man speaks, but on what God has spoken....Does the Bible have a command to remember the birth of Christ?...Only one who believes in the Bible will know that the things God did not command and the things God did command have the same significance ....Many say that God never put a stop to the celebration of Christmas....It is sad when Christians search the Scriptures to give a basis for their sin and an occasion to the flesh....May God give us more strength to enable us to say, 'How do we dare do what God has not commanded?''

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