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Dec 2009

Why It’s Okay to Celebrate Christmas
My cousin's Christmas Tree

Pagan or Christian?

1 Timothy 4:4-5…For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

Back in the apostle Paul’s day, people who had converted from paganism to faith in Christ had lots of difficulty determining which of their culture’s customs were inherently evil and which of them could be practiced in new ways that now honored God.

As a result, many people were saying that Christians had to abstain from marriage and from certain foods “that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:3). These things had been abused by pagans in their culture, and many Christians believed, therefore, that these things were now off-limits to believers.

The apostle Paul, however, reminded Timothy that the pagan abuse of something made by God should not cause Christians to reject those things.  “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.”

An evergreen tree (or a pumpkin, or anything else that God has made) can be abused. However, Christians are not forbidden the proper use of these things if they receive God’s creation with thanksgiving and seek to use his creation in a way that honors him.  

For me and my family, our Christmas tree is a symbol of the everlasting life that God planted among us when he sent Jesus into our world.  As we decorate that tree, I reflect upon the meaning of the greater tree–the Cross–upon which Jesus laid down his life for our sins.  

I know all about Saturnalia and what many call the “pagan origins” of Christmas but, for me, the origins of Christmas will never be pagan.  They will always be heavenly, because God sent Jesus down to us from heaven, and that loving act is the origin of Christmas.  

Everything that God has created is good and we can use all of those things in a way that honors him, even the evergreen tree.  Enjoy your Christmas holiday this year, and honor God in your hearts (whether you have a Christmas tree in your home or not).  May God bless you all.

imagrs

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