Christmas Observance and Christmas Gifts.
A GIFT TO GIFT GIVERS AND GIFT RECEIVERS
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17.
For over nineteen centuries the institution of Christmas, the popular gift-exchanging day, has been acclaimed throughout Christendom as one of God’s good and perfect gifts. And this sentiment has been glorified and perpetuated in the face of the widely-known facts that Christmas is not the birthday of Christ, that He was not, in truth, born in December at all, that the observance of the day is simply a Christianized heathen custom perpetuated in charming Christian guise, and that it is not a gift from God.
“The Christmas Spirit was traced back in history today,” says an associated press dispatch under date line of Chicago, December 23, 1935 “and identified as a one-time ‘public enemy.’
“Branded a pagan outlaw, it was banished from New England by the Puritans in 1659.
“Yule gaiety and feasting so irked those solemn pillars of the church, declared Prof. William Warren Sweet, University of Chicago church historian, that they passed a law in the general court of the colony of Massachusetts saying:
“ ‘Whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way, as a festival, shall be fined five shillings.’
“Only during the last half century was the Christmas spirit generally accepted in America, even in the church, Professor Sweet asserted.”
In view of these widely-known historical facts, this phase of the subject needs no further treatment beyond the Lord’s simple warning involving
Christmas Observance and Christmas Gifts.
While to a multitude of Christmas-observers, Christ means scarcely more than any ordinary man of fame, to an even greater Christmas-observing multitude of “not-at-all-Christians,” He is but a storied figure by which to conjure holiday revelry; although they meaninglessly lip His name in conventional acknowledgment of the supposed origin of the religious occasion of the season! Thus to many, like a light in the darkness, stands out the fact that Christmas is not, in reality, observed to the honor of the Saviour, but to the glorification of a heathen custom and to the gratification of the carnal heart. Consequently, “altogether-Christians” cannot therefore consistently participate in celebrating the Christmas myth. Indeed, to do so is openly to set at naught the Word of God, for “thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.
“They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.” Jer. 10:2-5.
And the traditional gift-exchanging which is part and parcel of the spirit of Christmas observance, is a jealousy-breeding custom, all too often only cankering the receiver’s heart and emptying the buyer’s pocketbook. Thus while it goads one multitude to display of pride, even luring them into revelry, debauchery, and immorality, it drives another, the multitude of poor, either to envy or discouragement, or to both, also not infrequently to despair, and sometimes to insanity – even to committing murder and suicide.
The whole Christmas institution consequently being but a species of heathen worship that is demoralizing the nations, the Lord’s servants will invariably shun the exchanging of Christmas gifts, shun the evil attendant upon the occasion’s pretentious spirit and spurious humanitarianism. Christians cannot, indeed, take part in its unholy traffic of gift-trading and reveling, and at the same time be “altogether-Christians.”
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