11 Comments

Sermon of the week: “Christmas Traditions” by Jim McClarty

Your sermon of the week delves into the origins of the Christ-Mass.

In this casual lecture entitled Christmas Traditions, Jim McClarty peels back the veil of our annual Christmas traditions to reveal the genesis of many of the practices of this holiday, which makes for a very interesting history lesson that you won’t want to miss.

If you’re looking for more information on this subject, you may be interested in the History Channel’s video on the origins of Christmas entitled Christmas Unwrapped.

You may also be interested in A radical approach to December 25th: Why we won’t be celebrating Christmas this year, (and its follow-up post found here), as well as A.W. Pink’s views on Christmas in the post Dreaming of a Pink Christmas.

HT: AiroCross

11 comments on “Sermon of the week: “Christmas Traditions” by Jim McClarty

  1. We don’t have a tree this year and won’t be “celebrating” Christ-Mass either. I watched this video last night: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53Z3NTbSsbc&NR=1&feature=endscreen
    It is full of the history information too….I have already listened to the Jim McClarty sermon…but this video goes into it even more. I just can’t see celebrating something that is truly so wrong. I can praise the birth, life, death and resurrection of my Jesus *every* day…I don’t need one day to do it. I may need to watch the video or listen to the sermons again so I can take notes. It’s so much to remember and there is soo much I want to explain to my friends and family about it. It’s hard to give up beloved traditions…but it’s much harder to celebrate something that truly doesn’t have roots in Christianity. If nothing else…I wish people would realize that it’s not biblical to set aside a day to celebrate Christ’s birth.

    Recently, Voddie Baucham was asked on his facebook ministry page how he celebrates Christmas. He answered “We don’t.”! When asked for more details, he went into more about it. :) Spurgeon was against it too. I am absolutely convinced….the only problem is explaining it to family around us….

  2. Ah, Jim McClarty, my favorite Bible teacher!!!!!!! Thanks for posting this so that people can visit his website. Go to the Listen button and he has a list of all the books of the Bible that he has gone thru verse by verse. It is amazing!!!!! This post could be the best gift ever.
    Thanks so much, Pilgrim!
    pam

  3. I just need to add…it’s difficult not celebrating Christmas….family and friends can really make you feel like scum about it…telling you that you are ruining wonderful memories for your children. :( It’s definitely an uphill battle….but one I am determined to follow. Thanks Pilgrim. :)

  4. Thanks for the links. God Bless all those who don’t succumb to this worldly affront to our Lord.

  5. Katy,

    Hello. I am not in disagreement or have any heartburn with Pilgrim’s (or yours and the others) convictions here regarding celebrating Christmas or not…I thought I’d simply state that my wife and I are continuing to joyfully celebrate Christmas this year. I understand the conviction and desire to not celebrate the holiday based on the history and roots and I’ll say nothing in that regard since I believe it to be a personal decision and a freedom in Christ issue for each of us to chose to celebrate or not celebrate.

    Regarding Spurgeon, I’ll lovingly beg to differ a touch. He did preach that they holiday was not Biblical but he also stated that he saw no downside to celebrating the birth of Christ one day a year and in fact he said it is always profitable to meditate on the birth of our Savior. Pastor Tom Ascol documents this very well from 3 or 4 Christmas time sermons from Spurgeon here:

    http://blog.founders.org/2005/12/spurgeon-on-christmas.html

    I hope everyone finds it as encouraging and edifying as I did no matter where you stand on this issue.

    In Christ’s infinite and perfect love,
    -atg

  6. atg,

    I appreciate your words…and always the kind and gentle way you say them. :)

    I read these quotes by Spurgeon…which made me believe he was not for celebrating Christmas:

    “We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or in English; and, secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior; and, consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority.” (Charles Spurgeon, Sermon on Dec. 24, 1871).

    “When it can be proved that the observance of Christmas, Whitsuntide, and other Popish festivals was ever instituted by a divine statute, we also will attend to them, but not till then. It is as much our duty to reject the traditions of men, as to observe the ordinances of the Lord. We ask concerning every rite and rubric, “Is this a law of the God of Jacob?” and if it be not clearly so, it is of no authority with us, who walk in Christian liberty.” (from Charles Spurgeon’s Treasury of David on Psalm 81:4.)

    Kindly,
    Katy :)

  7. Actually, ATG is correct in his assessment of Spurgeon’s views on Christmas.

    And while I know this may start a volley of Spurgeon quotes from both sides of the aisle, and at the risk of derailing and hijacking this thread (which is not my intention in the least), the one thing I have found is that Spurgeon was very balanced in his views on Christmas.

    He was indeed very careful and consistent to teach that Christ was in no wise born on December 25th, as evidenced by the quotes Katy listed, as well as this comment:

    We venture to assert, that if there be any day in the year, of which we may be pretty sure that it was not the day on which the Savior was born, it is the twenty-fifth of December.

    However, he also did not rebuke his congregation for celebrating it. Here he is, from a sermon on Isaiah 7:14-15, preached on December 23, 1891:

    Now, a happy Christmas to you all and it will be a happy Christmas if you have God with you! I shall say nothing, today, against festivities on this great birthday of Christ. I hold that, perhaps, it is not right to have the birthday celebrated, but we will never be among those who think it as much a duty to celebrate it the wrong way as others the right! But we will, tomorrow, think of Christ’s birthday. We shall be obliged to do it, I am sure, however sturdily we may hold to our rough Puritanism. And so, “let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” Do not feast as if you wished to keep the festival of Bacchus! Do not live, tomorrow, as if you adored some heathen divinity. Feast, Christians, feast! You have a right to feast. Go to the house of feasting tomorrow! Celebrate your Savior’s birth. Do not be ashamed to be glad—you have a right to be happy. Solomon says, “Go your way, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God now accepts your works. Let your garments be always white and let your head lack no ointment.”—

    “Religion never was designed
    To make our pleasures less.”

    Remember that your Master ate butter and honey. Go your way, rejoice tomorrow, but, in your feasting, think of the Man in Bethlehem—let Him have a place in your hearts, give Him the glory, think of the virgin who conceived Him—but think, most of all, of the Man born, the Child given! I finish by again saying—“A HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!”

  8. fourpointer – Spurgeon provides a good example of how we ought to handle this secondary issue. It fits right in with the teaching in Romans 14. We should not look down on one another on such matters, even though we disagree.

  9. Thank you for showing me exactly what Spurgeon said, fourpointer.

    I am still struggling with how all the pagan things have been used as Christian uses…I am just not sure what is the right thing to do. In explaining why I will not have Christmas photos on my blog, I got some very kind comments, but also some very nasty ones. :( I just can’t get it in my mind that decorating a Christmas tree is glorifying to God. I guess I should just keep my thoughts to myself on the matter, though.

  10. this is kind of funny but I realized that we often see that Jesus was said to have hung on a tree right? And we have Christmas trees. Now in no way should we worship a Christmas tree, that is preposterous, but we can marvel at the idea of the tree, what Christ’s birth truly means is our salvation and it came when the wrath of God is poured out on Christ and for most that picture becomes most clear on that cross where Jesus died. I say if we celebrate Christmas let us have this tree in our house and let it remind us of Christ crucified. If it has pagan origins then let them be pagan, we will not accept those origins to the glory of God to be of anything holy but I am sure that we can celebrate this holiday to God’s glory. Just think of how almost every family in America with a house or an apartment will have some sort of tree in there house with presents under it if they can afford it. Think of how Jesus Christ died on that tree and how he is the greatest gift of them all. I think it is not a stretch to celebrate this way. I truly am humbled and I think it is a God glorifying way to celebrate this day. We celebrate the coming of our savior and how this means salvation for the world and how it came in the package of this small baby boy. Here are some lovely things about Christmas by Paul Washer and Francis Chan’s church, I have been personally thinking of how I can celebrate Christmas differently with my family this year and I truly think we should serve others, the pagans of our country may go hungry on this day some of them or many of them, we can go into the streets and provide for them and they can see the love of Christ for them in a practical way can they not? We can tell people the true gospel and meaning of Christmas and bless their very souls. Here are the links:

    http://vimeo.com/8019797

  11. And please, dont get me wrong, I in no way support the materialism of Christianity, I basically hate it. Let us love others through this holiday. Let us love those with little or nothing. Let us love those in our communities and those brothers and sisters in Christ on the front lines and in the poorest nations where they have nothing. Christ would treat Christmas as no special day…of course it was created long after his birth, but I believe he would not treat it as special, I believe he would love people on this day as he did on the sabbath and any day. So let us do the same, if we celebrate this day let us not do it in materialism but let us do it to the glory of God to thank him for this gift of his son. God bless you :)

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