It’s that time of year again. When thoughts of Santa Claus, reindeer and winter boughs clog up our highways, malls and minds. Our local paper just printed their yearly paean to peace on earth and good will to men. They began by listing Psalm 133:1: “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” But then the article’s lead paragraph took things far afield. “Even though the Christian church is made up of different denominations, believers are one body, the body of Christ.”
Really? Does Christ have a “body” with one head, a huge giant torso and hundreds of pairs of arms and legs – a monstrous and unwieldy being? Like a statue from some long lost temple or something out of Hollywood. Was this the plan of God and Christ, or is it that of a third-grade class rainy day assignment?
Personally, as far as the Santa side of things goes, the more commercial Christmas gets – the better I like it. That’s because it is now so far removed from anything that has any connection to the scriptures that it has no relationship to worshipping God or Christ at all. So, I can enjoy its celebration alongside my family without fear of confusing it with the religion of the bible, or of having any conflict with what is commanded or expected of me as a Christian.
There is no scripture for worshipping the infant Jesus. No one has a command concerning the birth of the child Jesus, not to worship the baby Jesus, his mother, brothers, sisters, cousins, companions or friends (just to take things to an extreme). And, this time of year, if our intent is to do so despite his own words, and the scriptures and apostolic or biblical commands, all historical information, and even some plain good sense – it demonstrates a deep ignorance and that we are very poorly studied.
We are also poorly dated and off on the calendar by several months. In fact, we might get closer if we flipped the dates for the Catholic inspired celebrations of Easter and Christmas. And, do not be fooled, they are both purely Catholic creations. The Catholic sects and the inventors of this extra-biblical fantasy, who are now awaiting judgment (just like the rest of us will be someday), and who ought to be cringing at the notion that their construct has cut so deeply into the fiber of every single protestant sect and in all of mankind’s denominations. For they have distracted the weak into following these useless and pointless doctrines and fables. Unfortunately, it has also distracted some Christians and led them astray too.
Men have corrupted the form of worship and changed every single command. And to be redundantly redundant… I repeat: there was or is no command for believers in any age to herald the birth or to worship the infant Jesus. Except, that is for the heavenly host and a few souls in that day and time, all found in the scriptural record. First, some Magi, or wise men who had come out of the East, and who followed a unique star, decided to journey to see the infant Christ. And then there were two persons in Jerusalem, mentioned by name: a devout man named Simeon, who had been told in a vision that he would not die until he should see the Messiah; and the second, Anna, a prophetess. Finally, those shepherds watching their flocks and who had witnessed and heard the heavenly chorus that night, were told to rejoice. And they decided to go to Bethlehem to see the result of the angels’ report (as an aside, they certainly had not been out with their flocks on a cold winter’s night). But only these few witnesses, some strangers and the families noted Jesus’ birth before God and men. And they had all been chosen by God. So, it seems his birth was not announced down at the public square or in a circular; and went largely unheralded for a reason. It just was not on the social calendar. I believe God planned it that way.
We are to worship Jesus, the Christ, at home and in his assemblies – the assemblies of Christ – the churches that Christ established, meeting on each and every Lord’s Day: a maximum of fifty-two times per year. We are to partake his memorial supper while we are together. It is the celebration of his death “until he comes.”
More time ought to be spent on getting the commands we can identify done fitly. To hear his words. To believe, repent, confess and be immersed into Christ and: “to rise and walk in newness of Christ,” as the Apostles put it. Then to “…do good unto all men, especially those of the household of faith.” And perhaps: “do not neglect the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is, and so much the more as you see the day approaching.” These and just a few others might help. (And I would take “the day approaching” to mean “…on the first day of the week.” That really is the only context that matters, now isn’t it?).
Enjoy the holidays.