December 2017 Newsletter - "The Holidays" by Nathan Padilla
This is the time of year when many people who call themselves to be Christians celebrate the holidays that are pagan by origin and adopted into the church by Catholicism. This is a controversial time of year for some saints. I know this is a difficult time for us who don’t celebrate these holidays and are often persecuted by family members, being labeled religious for not celebrating these holidays with them. There are so many responses they give, none of which are biblical. I wanted to give some encouragement to help during this season. At times, we can be a bit overzealous and try to force the truth on them, which will actually prove to be counterproductive to what we’re trying to achieve, and that’s to share with them the truth. We can often get into heated debates, and instead of it being about truth, it becomes a “I’m right and you’re wrong” area that is unhealthy. What people need to see first is our fruit. When sharing this with family, most often things can get heated, but this is when we must show our patience and try to share in a way where they can receive it. People will not accept the truth from people who are prideful and arrogant, who think they know more than they do. Would you? This does not mean that we compromise but stand on the truth. We need help them think about what they believe and allow them to make the decisions for themselves. Make them question what they believe.
For one, we need to ask them where in the bible do we find that the we celebrate Christmas on December 25th, and that’s when Christ was born. We obviously know it’s not and they say, “Oh this is when the world celebrates when Christ was born.” Well the response those types of answers should be that first, if we’re not supposed to add or take away from the Word then why are we adding a holiday that’s not in the bible? Second, aren’t we supposed to be “not of this world”? These are just some basic and common responses to these inquiries. I encourage all of you to research for yourself and to have your own answers as for where these holidays came from. There is a wealth of information about the holidays. I will leave you with some gems from the beloved Early Church Fathers. I wanted to share some wisdom on how to share this because we often overlook on the importance of our character and letting the fruit of the spirit bare forth instead of giving them just information. It’s more important that they see the character of Christ within us.
With that being said, these holidays are pagan in nature and never had anything to do with the birth of Christ. It was around the time of Constantine when he started to put together beautiful cathedrals to attract pagans into the church. They started to adopt their holidays to get more people into the church, which was contrary to how the church evangelized. The way people decorate their homes with wreaths and lights was how they decorated a new brothel. So, you have to ask yourself, what does decorating your home have to do with Christ’s birth?
“On your day of gladness, we Christians neither cover our door posts with wreaths, nor intrude upon the day with lamps. At the call of public festivity, you consider it a proper thing to decorate your house like some new brothel.” ~Tertullian (1)
They also spoke of the tradition of Christmas or the festival of Midwinter when presents were given, which is where we get the tradition of Christmas today.
“all the presents of Midwinter and the feast of Dear Kinsmanship must be exacted; the schools must be wreathed with flowers; the flamens’ wives and the aediles sacrifice; the school is honored on the appointed holy-days. The same thing takes place on an idol’s birthday; every pomp of the devil is frequented. Who will think that these things are befitting to a Christian teacher,” ~Tertullian (2)
This last pearl I leave you with is Tertullian rebuking the church because they are not concerned with being mistaken as pagans by celebrating their holidays, and yet the pagan are more loyal to their sect and would not want to celebrate Christian holidays, such as the Lord’s Day or Pentecost.
“the Saturnalia and New-year’s and Midwinter’s festivals and Matronalia are frequented - presents come and go - New-year’s gifts - games join their noise - banquets join their din! Oh better fidelity of the nations to their own sect, which claims no solemnity of the Christians for itself! Not the Lord’s day, not Pentecost, even it they had known them, would they have shared with us; for they would fear lest they should seem to be Christians. We are not apprehensive lest we seem to be heathens!” ~Tertullian (3)
It’s disappointing to say the least how believers today are not concerned about looking and acting like the world rather than celebrating the feasts the Yah has already given us. Notice how Tertullian even mentions Pentecost, or Shavuot, not as a Jewish feast but a Christian holiday. We have holidays but the church refuses to accept the Lord’s feast as if they’re not good enough. As if Yah didn’t do a good enough job prophesying the coming of our Lord in them so we now have adopted these pagan feasts. The actions speak louder than words.
References: 1) Tertullian -Apology Ch. XXXV, Vol. 3 2) Tertullian - On Idolatry Ch. X, Vol. 3 3) Tertullian - On Idolatry Ch. XIV, Vol. 3