Note from Sunday, December 22, 2013
I usually hold a high respect for people with higher standards than me. I appreciate that some people can read the Bible, come to a conclusion on their own, and live by their Bible convictions.
However, I don’t have respect for higher standards with no biblical basis. There’s a difference. The standards we’ve set in our church and youth group might be higher than some other churches’ standards (in dress, doctrine, personal holiness, etc.), but we always have BIBLE reasons for living and acting as we do. I try to teach you to trace everything you do back to the Bible without taking Scripture out of context. No touch policy? I can show you why. Dress standards? Here’s why… Bible version choice? Church attendance? Movie choices? All these questions can be answered from Bible principles.
But what the people who have “higher” standards? Well, if they’re biblical, I want to learn and grow into that. If they are NOT biblical, I don’t want to go there.
Some people are against Christmas. Imagine… Christians against Christmas! Rather than elevate that position as a “higher” standard, evaluate it biblically. Now, it’s not like I know of people who are outwardly fighting against Christmas. No one I know is attacking Christmas, but I think there’s a movement of people who think holiness is somehow wrapped up in emphasizing what the Bible does not.
“But Christmas is so commercialized! We won’t celebrate it!” That’s ludicrous! Celebrate Christ! Don’t give in to the commercialism. Satan ruins everything. If you’re throwing out Christmas because it’s been changed from what it should be, throw out everything that’s tainted by sin. Oh wait, that’s everything, including you and me!
“The Bible doesn’t say we SHOULD celebrate it.” So? The angels and shepherds and wise men did. Sure, you’re right. It doesn’t say, “Celebrate Jesus’ birth every year.” But it also doesn’t say, “Have Sunday school, use hymnals, use projectors, use Master clubs…”
“It’s pagan and the Bible is against it.” No it’s not. Here’s my original issue. Taking Scripture out of context isn’t the answer. Jeremiah 10 talks about an evergreen tree being adorned with decorations. Some people have seen that as God condemning Christmas trees. It’s not. God is condemning idolatry, not Christmas trees. If you worship your Christmas tree, you’re in trouble with God (read Jer. 10 yourself and see!). Further, while a few ideas around the Christmas season had their roots in paganism, who thinks of that any more?! Why not allow the Christian meanings mean something? The evergreen tree can represent life in Christ through His tree, the cross. Gifts represent His eternal gift. The star on the tree represents the star over Christ. Pagan? No way! Not unless you let it be pagan. The days of our week are named after pagan gods, but we still use them, because the pagan connotations are gone. We can celebrate Christmas, no problem.
Don’t make an issue where there’s no real issue. Stand firmly on the Bible, but make sure it’s BIBLE that you’re standing on! Not just a verse here or there. Don’t focus on Santa… focus on Christ! Use Christmas as a time to reflect on the Saviour’s birth. Use Christmas as a time to make family memories.
I’m sad for families who don’t have the same joys at Christmas as I have had all my life. Fun memories. Good times. Great family bonding with brothers, sister, parents and everyone. What’s wrong with that?! Nothing. Enjoy this week! See you Tuesday night.
YOUTH WINTER RENDEZVOUS – January 2-3 in Wrightwood, CA. Leaving at 8am Thursday and returning Friday evening. The YWR is a 2-day camp in the mountains where we will enjoy snow play, indoor games, and, most importantly, 4 preaching sessions. Cost is $110 and includes all gas, meals and lodging. Money due next week.