With the passing of the holidays, many are packing up ornaments, carefully wrapping nativity scenes, and tossing out the dried up Christmas tree. This particular Christmas Hanukkah season I was struck with a call to worship the way our Abba Father wants to be worshipped, to be the light, and to cleanse our temples. The above graphic shared on a public Christian Facebook page compelled me to comment, which sparked many positive feedback as well as some seemingly foaming at the mouth. Truth changes the atmosphere as should our set-apart lifestyles.
Like preaching holiness while sharing the stage with a pagan Christmas tree or other pagan traditions re-marketed as all about Jesus. The Israelites did the same thing starting with the Golden Calf incident (Exodus 32) celebrating saying Yahweh was the reason for the season. Numerous passages throughout Scripture specifically tells us not to adopt the ways of culture/pagans/those who do not believe in the One True Living God (Deu 12; Jer 10; 2 Cor 6:14+; Eph 4:17+ are a few examples). May we test everything and be courageous enough to actually be set-apart, holy as led by the Spirit of Holiness (Holy Spirit). 💝📖🙏”
In response to those genuinely wanting to know more in addition to those whose Christmas traditions were challenged, I invited readers to re-examine traditions, worship, and lifestyles. I invite you, dear reader, to do the same. Blessings! 💝
Truth is absolute and therefore, cannot change otherwise it was never truth to begin with.
The original graphic above poignantly speaks to so-called truth ever-changing with the times and so-called worshipers adapting to accommodate culture. Truth is absolute and therefore, cannot change otherwise it was never truth to begin with.
For those interested in worshipping The One True Living God, do we get to define what worship is? Do we tell Him how He wants to be worshipped? Or does God, the LORD of Lords, King of Kings dictate how He wants to be worshipped, how He defines love, and how He wants to be loved? Is He looking for worshippers of an unholy spirit and error? Or is He wanting worshippers of His Spirit and His Truth (John 4:23-24)? How culture defines “truth”, “worship”, “holiness”, etc. is irrelevant.
With that said, where is God’s truth, worship, holiness, etc. defined? In His Holy Word inspired by His Spirit of Holiness, correct? 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
Does His Word talk about traditions, holidays, the birth of Christ, pagan customs? You bet!
I invite those authentically interested in being worshippers of His spirit and His truth, to examine their lifestyle, habits, traditions compared to what He says about the topics being presented. Before proceeding though, understand that I view this platform as teaching opportunity..an opportunity for each of us to be more matured in His love, His truth, His holiness so that we may bear His fruit and bear His Name as best as we can empowered to do so by the gift of His Spirit of Holiness dwelling within.
Let’s explore God’s Word, the source of truth. (This is by no means an exhaustive list of Scripture, but a few to seek Him on.)
1) Are traditions evil or not to be practiced just because it is not commanded? Not neccessarily. Hanukkah, also known as the Feast of Dedication, is a tradition not a commandment that Jesus evidently celebrated in the temple or at the very least did not rebuke (John 10:22-30). Surely if that tradition was offensive to God, He would have made it known (i.e. flipping tables). Rather, He used it as a teaching moment to reveal He is God and the Messiah. So, no, not all traditions are evil by default and they can be used to share God’s truth. Are we commanded to celebrate Hanukkah? No. Are we commanded to celebrate the birth of Christ? No. However, His word also says “Whatever is true, excellent, praise worthy, etc., to think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8). Is it a fact and praise worthy event that Jesus was born and the Messiah or that Judah Maccabees and his disciples persevered in honoring God’s commands despite the culture, overcame persecution, and reconquered and restored worship the way God defines it? Yes and yes! Those things are true, praise worthy, etc. So it would be acceptable to think about or celebrate such things.
2) Can we use traditions or other aspects of our lives to share God’s truth? Sure! We covered that above as Jesus used Hanukkah, physical objects, parables, etc. to convey truth.
3) Is it OK to mimic pagan practices, culture, or unbelievers and re-package it as a good thing..as redeemed…as holy…as worship…as truth as something of, from, or about Him? NO. God says over and over again to avoid any appearance of evil (1Thes 5:22), to not learn the ways of pagans/adopt their culture (Romans 12:2; Eph 4; Jer 10:2- Also, the Prophet Jeremiah specifically rebukes cutting a tree, bringing it in one’s home, and decorating it as the pagans do in Jer 10) and worship/celebrate Him that way even if you re-name or market it as having to do with Him(Deut 12:30-32; Exodus 32- the Israelites copied the pagans form of worship by putting up a decorated calf and celebrated it saying it was Him and all about Him..they made a feast/holiday of it), to not have anything to do with things that violate His Torah/commands/instructions/Word/lawlessness (2 Cor 6:14-7:1) and to not associate with anyone who claims to know Him and yet does not obey His word (1 Cor.5).
Please thoroughly investigate how you are celebrating/honoring/worshipping the Lord and His life for the practices of Christmas are undeniably pagan since atleast 500 BC repackaged in order to sell/promote Jesus. In theory, the customs in of themselves could have been OK had the pagan customs celebrating the birth of the sun god on Dec 25 the original winter solstice, human sacrifices being decorated on trees, gift giving to celebrate the sun god, partying orgies, lawlessness etc not been established first leading up to or surrounding that day. The church took the same exact custom practices and attempted to wrap it in Jesus’ Name to spread Christianity (in reality to spread their power and control). Another person attached (see link below) a thorough, non-biased, factual investigation about the history of Christmas. Please do watch it. I learned some things as well.
4) Is it wrong to put a tradition or doctrine above or instead of obeying what God says in His Word? Yes. Jesus rebuked religious leaders for putting more emphasis on their tradition than God’s commands (Mark 7). Are you celebrating traditions like Christmas, Hanukkah, 4th of July, etc, but not God’s commanded holidays like Passover/Unleavened Bread (John 22) or His other feasts (Lev 23)?
I say again, dear brothers and sisters, may we have the courage to examine our traditions, forms of worship, and lifestyle in accordance to God’s word and cheerfully be willing to submit to God’s Spirit of Holiness as He longs to teach us God’s truth, holiness, and the worship He longs for! Ultimately, we each must answer for ourselves (Rom 14:10-12), but love as defined by Him speaks truth, especially to those who claim to follow Him.🙏🙏🙏