Friday, December 2, 2011

12 Gifts of Xmas

The origins of the 12 days of Christmas are interesting and many Christians will find that when they grasp where many of the historic events come from, they may celebrate with more wisdom, bringing more of their focus to the King's birth day, the day December 25 has come to symbolize. The time of year that Christians celebrate Christmas is not actually the date of Christ's birth. Scripture points to a spring birth time for the Son of God. If it were ordained by God that we celebrate the birth of His Son, He would have commanded it in scripture, noting dates, which are very clear in other Jewish celebrations. Remembering Christ's death, however, is commanded in scripture, (1 Corinthians 11:24-25), but many other societal holidays have little to do with Christ or his birth. Family gatherings and tidings of joy are certainly harmless celebrations, if Christians, truly keep to the rituals and focus on the events that are Biblically sound and tested. "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

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Originally, what is known as the societal celebration in December began in the ancient culture of the Roman Pagans. During the winter months, the time the sun shone daily was shortened until around December 25th. On the 25th and after, the sun began to shine for a longer time period each day. The Pagans used this pivotal day to worship the pagan sun god Nimrod. On the night before the 25th of December, a Yule (Chaldean word for infant) log was put on a fire to symbolize the death to their sun god, Nimrod. The next day, December 25th, an evergreen tree was erected and decorated in the homes to symbolize the resurrection of Nimrod through his son, Tammuz, and the coming of the sun again.

The first western churches celebrated Epiphany, as the day that the Magi arrived after Christ's birth, (this begins the 12 days of Christmas) and in other cultures, the King's day was January 6th. Over the course of hundreds of years, Christmas traditions have come to mean different things to different cultures, and have been celebrated among Christians and with pagan festivals, tied to the coming of a new year. The pagans used the days before the New Year to celebrate and performed rituals to drive away the old demons, to have good fortune for the New Year. When accepting certain events and routine without question, Christians might take the chance of passing questionable practices to their children. The Bible teaches that all can easily be deceived by the practices of the world. God often reminded Israel of the ease of falling into the traditions and customs of the pagans, and warned them against it. God completely understands how shortsighted humans can get caught up in practices that take all eyes off of Him. Click the link to learn about other traditions

Celebrating with family and having an activity that makes a countdown to a celebration of Christ's birth can be a wonderful way to teach children about the truth of xmas and what pivotal points Christians recognize and do not recognize. Also, researching other Christmas traditions and other teachings about the 12 days of Christmas will give families the opportunity to teach children within the family the important practice of testing everything against Scripture, the true way to determine what is accepted by God and what is not.

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