Christmas cheer revisited
That time of year is here again. I
was most interested in the 'level of passion' displayed by our readers in
response to the Christmas topic raised at the end of last year and
thought it warranted revisiting.
In June 2002, I received the following article from a brother
in Christ in Christchurch. It's a good article and food for thought:
Tom starts out "In defence of Bro Andrew..." -– [I
really like that part!] - "...Omega Times, May 2002, I enjoyed the letter
of Penny Dixon in England re: Christmas.
However, In Defence of Brother Andrew, I believe he is right
in exhorting us all to be sure in our minds, thus exercise love in the form of
democracy. Xmas is sufficiently harmless a festival to allow us to make up our
own minds. I do not follow Xmas; if Andrew and his own wish to, God bless them.
I am sure Andrew would not exhort us to make up our own minds on Halloween,
which is clearly pagan & demonic is its celebrations, I suggest Andrew has
been most mature in his counsel to us. In a way I am glad he was described as
non-committal, Xmas can be that, Andrew celebrates it, I am sure Barry, May
& other's do, I don't, I think nothing less for them for doing so.
Xmas ... a tale
by Tom Bond
I am very glad the matter of Xmas is becoming controversial
through the Omega Times. Ethos is certainly rising against Ethos on this
I, for one, do not celebrate it; December 25 is a presumption
handed to us by the Catholic Church and followed by the Anglican, promulgated by
the Monarch with accompanying pomp and ceremony. For a long time, we, as the
Queen's humble & obedient servants, followed suit.
I am of the view we are entering times where we need to
worship God in spirit and in truth, truth being everything that comes from the
mouth of God, thus there is nowhere in the good book, where Jesus said,
"Xmas, do this in remembrance of me", we have made it up.
Years ago I watched my parents cutting up hot food in the
December heat, togging up in their Sunday best and trotting off to sweat in
church; I began to wonder what it was all for. Now I hear all and sundry
yelling: it was God's gift sure enough, John 3:16 tells us such, but remember
the gift was human with human feelings; Jesus had no choice in his birth, but in
his death he did, and to choose to die was an amazing decision, for which I am
In Gethsemane, Jesus, as could be viewed from the Word, did
not make a hasty decision on "..not my will but yours", this took a
long time of pure agony. Perhaps the most emotive time for me was reading the
process Jesus endured to get to the cross for us.
He had little time for Pilate and his examination; he was
determined to do the work ahead of him. Clearly Pilate was no fool and saw no
guile in Jesus, but to appease the Sanhedrin, had him whipped, not with your
average "Royal Navy cat" or "flagellum" or whip used on the
Roman Army to keep any insubordinate in line, but the "scorpion", a
whip not used for corporal punishment, but capital punishment, i.e., designed to
kill - an insignificant death, in the eyes of Rome, compared to the display
& humiliation of crucifixion which was reserved for the true enemies of
Jesus would have sustained some heavy pain from the scorpion,
no doubt administered by two stout Roman soldiers, laying-in with a will from
either side. Jesus would not have gone to many hamburger joints in Jerusalem, so
he would have been a trim young man; there would be little to soften the whip's
impact. No doubt tired from lack of sleep and interrogation, I am astonished at
his ability to endure the onslaught; no wide belt to protect the kidneys; no
doctor to monitor his well being, or blood pressure.
Recently, at a church meeting I was chatting to a friend
about this. My friend suggested Jesus' sheer love for us enabled him to endure
the scorpion whip to get to the cross. After all, if he "died for our
sins", dying by the scorpion would have sufficed, but his blood, as we all
know, broke the curse. The cross was the culmination of all the places he had
bled prior to the crucifixion, undoing all the places Adam was cursed, and with
the cross, performing a "Yom Kippur" full-and-final destruction of the
devil's work; no if, buts or maybes, but completion.
To me this was amazing; I feel many churches overlook it.
Therefore I believe the Passover, Nisan 14, the Jewish New Year, when the
crucifixion took place, has such a deep significance for all who believe what
Jesus did. Santa, holly and snow seem almost an insult by comparison.
There is more accurate information on the Passover, the
crucifixion, the beginning of sorrows and the great tribulation than there is on
Jesus was approximately four months younger than John the
Baptist; John's Birth can be easily reckoned. In Luke, we are told that
Zachariah, John's Father, was told by divine intervention that his wife,
Elizabeth, would give birth to John. Zachariah was conducting the once a year
offering for sin. The only time a once year offering was made was on the
"day of atonement": Tishiri 10 - late September. After Zachariah's
return to his home, Elizabeth hid herself for five months after finding herself
"In the sixth month after that," Gabriel visited
Mary. With some study the "sixth month after that" was found to be
Nisan, the Jewish New Year; interestingly this was the same time when Jesus died
33 years later. There is no time given, in "the sixth month after
that" when Gabriel visited.
Mary then went to Hebron to join Elizabeth, who was now 6-7
months pregnant with John, to assist & support her.
Later, Joseph & Mary went from Nazareth to Bethlehem for
the census and Jesus' birth, which was, historically, in the first year of
Cyrinius, about 4BC (as based on the proclamation of Cyrus the great to liberate
the Jews from the Babylonians, the coming of the messiah, temple restoration,
and the seven year covenant of the man of perdition). Jesus' birth can be
estimated at the end of December, or early January, however certainly not
Perhaps a festival of significance, we should acknowledge is
This is a time of remembrance, when the Temple of Solomon was
restored after its defilement by Antiochus epiphemis, a type of antichrist.
Antiochus was part of Alexander the Great's latter empire; he bulldozed his way
into the temple and set up a sacrifice to Jupiter. A chap called Mattius and his
son Judas Macabee revolted. They retook the temple, cleansed it and
re-established the sacrifice. As a reminder, the Jews celebrate the
"festival of lights" around December 20 - eminently more sensible, in
As Andrew Smith has said, we need to make up our own minds,
it is wonderful God allows us much latitude in our walk, but as for me and my
... point of view, I will not celebrate Xmas and certainly do not feel my
salvation is in question as a consequence.
Final word from Andrew: We continue to enjoy Christmas as
a family -– a time of giving and receiving and discussing the birth of our Lord
Jesus Christ. We wish you all the blessing of the Lord particularly in your
relationships over this period.