|The Reason for the Season?|
|By Douglas S. Winnail|
Billions of people are caught up in Christmas celebrations each year, but do they really understand the truth about Christ’s birth? The answer is right in the pages of your Bible!
At year’s end, busy shoppers and party-goers turn their attention to annual Christmas celebrations. But how often do they stop to ask: Why?
What do trimming a tree, decorating the house with lights, stockings, pine boughs and flying reindeer, hanging mistletoe and taking the children to see Santa Claus have to do with the birth of Jesus Christ—the supposed "reason" for the season? Why do sleigh bells and carols about "peace on earth, good will toward men" ring hollow as headlines report increasingly violent crimes, international terrorism, spreading droughts and famines, continuing wars and declining morals? Why do so-called Christian nations perpetuate anti-Christian customs that make life an endless round of momentarily pleasurable, but largely meaningless, social activities?
The Hidden Dimension
It may come as a surprise, but the Bible outlines a specific series of festivals or feast days that the people of God are commanded to observe. While many have been taught that these festivals were Old Testament practices and are no longer relevant to Christians, nothing could be further from the truth! The festivals outlined in Scripture (see Leviticus 23 and Deuteronomy 16) are extremely significant and packed with meaning. They outline God’s plan of salvation for humanity, and reveal the major steps or events in that plan. The sequence of the festivals reveals the true purpose of human life! That purpose is exciting, inspiring—and humbling—yet it has been obscured by pagan holiday traditions professing Christian churches have absorbed! Church services—commanded assemblies—on each of the Holy Days review the meaning of the festivals. Notice what historian W. D. Davies wrote about early Christian practices:
Revealing the Future
The Feast of Trumpets pictures a soon-coming event that will change the course of human history forever—the return of Jesus Christ. Bible prophecies associate the Second Coming of Christ with the blowing of the seventh trumpet (Revelation 11:15). Trumpets are used to make announcements, mark the feasts and sound alarm during times of war (Numbers 10:1–10). Cataclysmic events will precede the Second Coming of Christ (Matthew 24; Revelation 6; 8; 9). Jesus will return to a planet torn by war and tribulation to save mankind from utter self-destruction (Matthew 24:3–7, 21–22). He will conquer human armies that will resist His return (Revelation 19:11–19). At His return the saints (the "firstfruits") will receive immortality (1 Corinthians 15:51–54) and reign with Christ on this earth (Daniel 7:26–27; Revelation 5:10). The annual observance of the Feast of Trumpets keeps us mindful of these incredible events. It supplies real hope in a world filled with bad news.
Warnings and Hope
"That sounds interesting," you may be thinking, "but what does it matter if I observe Christmas instead of those Old Testament festivals?" You may feel that you "love the Lord" and that you are honoring Jesus by celebrating His birth. "I’m just ‘baptizing’ those old pagan customs by offering them to the Lord," you may think. Well, what does the Bible say about this approach?
Thursday, November 26, 2009
The Reason for the Season?
Posted by David Ben-Ariel at 6:24 PM