Merry Christmas 2015

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 10 months ago

Nativity

Christmas is a celebration of the incarnation.  From Matthew 1:21-23: “And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.  Now all this took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which translated means, ‘God with us’.”

It always seems to be a tactic of the detractors to charge Christians with co-opting pagan holidays and calling them their own.  This removes the joy of the Christian as he celebrates what no one else can, i.e., God becoming man.

True enough, celebrations of Santa Claus and Frosty miss the point.  But as for real celebrations of the incarnation in church history, a bit of fact telling is in order.  Don’t Google the history of Christmas.  Google will return all manner of bunk.  Here is your source.  When I studied church history, historical theology and systematic theology under Dr. C. Gregg Singer, who was one of the foremost church historians of his era, he relied heavily on Philip Schaff, “History of the Christian Church,” all 8 Volumes.  Oh, he used hundreds or thousands of other sources, some primary, some secondary.  But Schaff was the authority.  So be it for me too.

In Volume III, Schaff outlines the history of the celebration of the incarnation in the early Christian church.  I’ll let you read it for the details, but around the time of the Council of Nicea (325 A.D.), where the deity of Christ and the trinity was affirmed by Athanasius and the church council conta the heretic Arius, Christmas was being celebrated by the churches as a festival of food and gifts.

If you celebrate Christmas with feasting, the giving of alms, and the giving of presents to children, you stand squarely on the shoulders of the church fathers circa two millennia ago.  Enjoy it, Remember what you’re celebrating.  Football isn’t it.  Santa Claus isn’t it.  Frosty isn’t it.

The manifestation of the deity, God with us.  That’s what you celebrate.  Do it well.  Have a great festival.

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Comments

  1. On December 25, 2015 at 10:37 pm, Blake said:

    Herschel,

    Merry Christmas.

    No matter the trials and tribulations of the world, God sent his only begotten son to die on the cross for my sins.

    I am eternally grateful for the incredible grace shown by God toward a sinner like me.

    I may rail against the stupidity of people and our government, but, in the end, God is sovereign. And my allegiance is to Him, not this world.

    Amen and God bless.

  2. On December 25, 2015 at 10:58 pm, Pat Hines said:

    I won’t go into all of the issues that resulted in my choice to convert to the Greek Orthodox faith. It did involved reading about early Church history.

    One of the things that stood out starkly was that, in almost lock step, protestant faiths don’t think much about the Christian Church before the 16th century.

  3. On December 26, 2015 at 10:44 am, Fred said:

    What stands out starkly for me is the lockstep IRS incorporation in order to gain government favor with special status and tax free property. Read the 501c(3) code sometime. Your church can say anything it wants as long as it doesn’t bad mouth the regime. Ever wonder why your pastors and church leadership won’t apply the bible to today’s current events? It’s because the corporation is in debt for property it bought and can’t afford IRS fines for exerting free speech which the code prohibits. This was not the case in America until ’54. Churches in America are a creature of the state. The American church, from what I’ve seen, knows nothing of His natural law and has facilitated the destruction of the first amendment to go whoring after money and the favor of Caesar. When I got saved by the grace of Jesus the Christ several years ago this is not what I expected to find. Can you imagine what the churches of 1776 would preach on today?
    There is no greater threat to the lies and oppression of tyrannical
    government than Christ Jesus. He sets men at perfect liberty to order
    our affairs as we see fit which brings into sharp focus and
    understanding all of the propaganda, control, and petty rules by swarms
    of bureaucrats eating out our substance. If the American Church ever
    shakes off IRS incorporation and comes again unto the
    light of our Holy Creator then the Second American Revolution will be
    joined.

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