'Twas the Night Before Christmas!
by Everett Moore
Recently, while visiting a large department store, I observed a beautiful Nativity scene on display for sale. As one who views the observance of Christmas as the ultimate Baal worship, I had no intent of buying it. However, I do appreciate good workmanship and, indeed, this Nativity scene was one of great detail. It was easy to see why the store was selling a lot of them.
The memory of Christmas’ past suddenly came to me. I grew up in the Midwest where life-size Nativity scenes were quite common, typically on the court house lawns or other public places. It was still politically correct in those days! The weather was usually sub-zero and the scene was covered with snow. Although raised a good Southern Baptist, these displays seemed to have a negative effect on me. There was something grossly wrong!
The center attraction was the Christ Child, usually represented by a large doll, clad only in the minimum of clothing (sometimes naked!), resting in a makeshift "manger." Sometimes He even had the snow swept off him!
Next came Mary, Joseph and the three "wise" men. Naturally, they were well-clothed with heavy wraps. The "wise" men were, typically, carrying presents for the baby Jesus - gold, frankincense and myrrh, I believe the story went.
Let us pause for a moment and return to the miniature Nativity scene mentioned - This one had the best detail imaginable. The tiny faces of the characters were finely detailed - very lifelike. It was then I noticed that one of the three "wise" men was black!
Many people may have their knowledge of Christmas formed from Nativity scene images such as this, childhood story books and TV productions? I always remember the Christmas song we used to sing that went something like this:
"We three kings of Orient are,
Bearing gifts we’ve traveled so far.
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light."
With all the present day commotion about Christmas one can easily believe that half the Bible was about Christmas. If you will consult the scriptures you will be surprised to find only a handful of verses pertaining to this event. They represent a much different story than what you may have come to believe.
"And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them at the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." . . . . . . . . "And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child." (Luke 2:6-12, 15-17) [Emphasis added]
Here we have the actual event where the baby Jesus was visited by, not kings or wise men, but by shepherds. There is no mention of how many there were or of what race! Another thing to note is: they brought no gifts! God was using these shepherds as a news media to get the word of Christ’s birth to the people of that area.
"And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds." (Luke 2:17-18)
So, here we find out that these visitors to the "Nativity scene" were simple shepherds, not from the east, but from the local area!
The verses written in Matthew tell of the plot of king Herod to find the Christ child, not to worship, but to kill him.
"Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him; and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way." (Mathew 2:7-12) [Emphasis added]
In the Matthew account of Christ’s birth we find him, not a baby, but as a child upwards of two years old! While there were wise men mentioned, there still was no number given. This time there was mention of the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Notice, also, that they found him not in a manger but, in a house!
The actual events of Christ’s birth take up less that three pages in my Bible. Christ’s birth was a blessed event for which all Christians should be thankful. However, no where in the Bible is there the slightest hint of it becoming a Holy Day or that we should "celebrate" it.
The time of year, and all the trapping that are passed off as Christmas such as: Santa Claus, decorated trees, Yule logs, the eating of swine flesh (Christmas hams), buning of candles, etc. are of pagan origins. Too many people celebrate December 25 (no date is given in the Bible) by spending themselves blind to give gifts to each other to the extreme of office parties that sometimes turn into sexual liason if not outright drunken sex orgies. It is surprising to observe how most non-Christians go overboard for Christmas.God help us to see the truth!
Many people will react with "We're only doing this for the children - Christmas and Santa Claus mean so much to them!" Some of these people are, also, trying to teach their children about Jesus. In the child's mind, when he discovers the falsehood of Santa Claus, he will most likely question the story of Jesus!
"My Christian friend - leave this pagan ritual - you will be amazed and delighted at the serenity and rest that will come upon you as you pass by the tensions and false emotions of "Christmas." And teach your children the truth. You will see the new repect they have for you, and for Christ. God will honor those who honor Him. God will prove in your children and grandchildren His Promise, 'Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (From Sheldon Emry's booklet "Is Christmas Christian?")
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