Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Traditions

I love Christmas and I love the traditions that go along with it. however never let us fall into the trap of thinking that our traditions are either true or even scriptural.

Take Mary riding on a donkey? I rather doubt that any nine month pregnant woman would submit to such a painful experience. it is also rather doubtful that she always dressed in a color that came to be known as blessed mother blue.

Look at the manger. we so often see a barn like structure made of wood (as well as the trough Jesus was laid in) but this is also a tradition from western thinking. excavations from the area show most were either built with stone or cut from stone and many were attached to the main house. this might explain how God could tell Israel to keep their chosen Passover lamb close by

We often hear and sing about choirs of angels at the announcement to the shepherds but scripture never tells us this. In fact Luke 2:12-14 tells us the heavenly host appeared and "SAID" "glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased". notice it says nothing of singing.

we often call the visitors to the stable "wise men" but we are never told this. they may well have been wise, we just are never told. scripture calls them Magi (magos) where we get our word magician like the man Simon Magus that Peter encountered. we are never told what country they came from although tradition suggests either Persia or Babylonia. this would support the tradition that they got their information about a future Messiah from Daniel's writings during the exile. all we are told is that they were from the East. We are also never told their number or their names (Casper, Mecheor, Beltshazzar). not in scripture or extra-biblical literature do we find their name or number. The number most likely comes from the number of gifts (Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh) but if Persian or Babylonian their number could have been dozens or greater. Almost every manger scene I have had or seen has the Magi present but this is also not scriptural. Matthew 2:11 says they came after the birth and visited the family in a house.

All of this is fun and tends to set the scene for the Christmas story we all love and think we know. Let us however keep the main thing the main thing. God became flesh and dwelt among us. that baby Jesus would one day be the savior of the world by His death and shed blood. Let no "Happy Holiday" or 'Seasons Greeting" ever detract from that truth. by the way, those who would separate Jesus from Christmas by saying "Happy Holiday" obviously don't know that the word Holiday comes from the Churches religious calendar for Holy Days of obligation where all Gods people were to assemble for worship so in fact they are wishing us "Happy Holy Days" and we thank them for this.

May this CHRISTmas find you in His Grace and Mercy and may the promise of His return always be the gift we share with others. Merry CHRISTmas and Happy Holy Days to you and your families

1 comment:

  1. I agree. It is amazing how many Christians put tradition ahead of the scriptures, including the ones you have mentioned to how many animals were on the ark to the trinity. Many unscriptural things taught in the body today.