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The hijacking of a holiday?
If you're like millions of folks around the world, you're preparing to do something that-according to the Bible-Jesus and his family never did: Celebrate Christmas. Wait. It gets even more ironic. While you invite an infant Jesus and his parents into your home every December 25, if he were here as an adult with Joseph and Mary, they would turn away in disgust at your invitation to celebrate Christmas. (Feelings hurt? Poor babies. Oh boohoo.) I'm only telling you this because you deserve to know the truth. You've been lied to, tricked, and deceived long enough. Besides, it's not Santa Clause that's coming to town. It's Armageddon.
Christmas Minus Christians: In the 1640s the English Parliament banned Christmas completely (as did the Puritans in New England), calling it "a popish festival with no biblical justification," and, according to Wikipedia, "a time of wasteful and immoral behavior." For the skeptics and scholars among you, check out M'Clintock and Strong's Cyclopædia, (New York, 1871), Vol. II; Daily Life in the Time of Jesus (New York, 1962), Henri Daniel-Rops; The Encyclopedia Americana (1977), Vol. 6; and New Catholic Encyclopedia, (1967), Vol. III.
Gift Giving: Jesus warned: "Be very careful not to continually repeat righteous acts in front of people so that they can all see what you're doing. If you do, you can forget about being rewarded by your heavenly Father. When you help the poor or needy with nice gifts, don't announce to the whole world what you're doing. Hypocrites do that. They do it in both religious and secular settings so people can say how 'generous' they are. But I'm telling you the truth, that's as much of a reward as they'll get.-Matthew 6:1, 2, 5, Carr's Christian Translation.
The religiously pious wanted "to be watched, seen, or observed" (Greek, theathenai, from which the English word "theater" is derived). The root Greek word théatron means "spectacle in a theater." Jesus condemned the actions of hypocritical people who practiced righteous acts-as if they were giving a performance in a theater-"in front of people."
The Greek word for hypocrite is hupokrités. In ancient times, a "hypocrite" was simply an actor who worked in a theater, wearing a mask while on stage, pretending to be someone else. According to one source, the pious, hypocritical person Jesus criticized was "like a performer acting under a mask (i.e. a theater-actor); (figuratively) a two-faced person; a 'hypocrite,' whose profession does not match their practice-i.e. someone who 'says one thing but does another.'" Insofar as the trumpet was concerned, the playing of it in front of the Greek theater no doubt drew attention to the scheduled performance.-Modern Matthew: Good News for Today.
The self-righteous person Jesus censured 'trumpeted' his presence in some extravagant way so as to attract as much attention as possible to his acts of offering gifts of mercy to the poor and downtrodden. But unlike the stage-actor who performed in a theater, the pious hypocrite gave his 'two-faced' theatrical performance 'in all types of religious settings and anywhere he deem appropriate in public.'-Modern Matthew.
"Instead," encouraged our Lord, "when you help out the poor and needy, keep it to yourselves. In this manner your gifts of mercy will be done in secret and your Father, who sees even secret things, will reward you in secret." (Matthew 6:3, 4, CCT) How many are willing to give gifts without signing the card?
Death Day?: The Bible never prophesied that Jesus' birthday would be a holiday, nor did early Christians celebrate it. The anniversary of his birthday was, in fact, hijacked to be celebrated on December 25, a pre-Christian pagan holiday. The day he died was far more important than the day he was born. "The day you die is better than the day you are born." (Ecclesiastes 7:1, 8, New Living Translation) Therefore, faithful followers are more interested in his 'death day' than his birthday. Jesus revealed that being born as a human was a necessary step in the process of facilitating his highly significant death as a human. (John 18:32, 37) Moreover, he commanded the faithful to commemorate the anniversary of this death, not his birth.-Matthew 26:26-28; Luke 22:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
So, whether you realize it or not, yours will be a "Merry Tricksmas." And if you know all this and are celebrating anyway, well (dare I say it?), you're just being "naughty."
Peace and blessings to all. Amen.