Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Steve Myers] I wanted to please God. I mean I was celebrating and trying to worship Him on Christmas, but is it okay? Is it okay for me to choose what days and seasons honor God? Or does God specifically tell me how to worship Him?
I used to love Christmas. For me Christmas was very special, what a wonderful time of the year. And it wasn’t just the lights, it wasn’t just the gifts and family but for me it was more, it was more. I felt it had a special spiritual significance and I remember lighting the candles at the midnight church service, especially meaningful for me. Now my family, we did some of the Santa thing but my mom, she was the door decorator. She loved to get out in front of our house on our front door and she would make this beautiful decoration, maybe a manger scene or a beautiful shiny paper with the star of Bethlehem. It’s a beautiful thing, she loved doing that. But at the same time she emphasized the point of the season was about Jesus, that’s what it was supposed to be about. Then there came a time in my life when my perspective on Christmas began to change. I was challenged. I was challenged to find a place in my Bible where it told me to celebrate Jesus’s birth on Christmas. And that’s where I began to have a little bit of a problem. I mean I had to face some pretty hard questions like these people I talked to.
> I was convinced that there was nothing unbiblical about Christmas when I first started researching it because I was really trying to prove my then boyfriend wrong, that I knew what I was talking about.
» And when I started to look into some of those traditions that went back even hundreds of years I started thinking more about whether or not I wanted to keep it.
> It definitely challenged my beliefs when I learned that he didn’t observe Christmas. It was something very left field for me and just not, you know, the norm.
» He went through the origins of Christmas and what God had to say on the topic. It really piqued my interest in to look into it a little bit more.
> To me it was a big family thing plus I really felt that I was honoring God. And it was very heartbreaking to find out that all those years that I was wrong.
[Steve Myers] Well it didn’t seem that I could be wrong I mean I love God, I loved family, I thought I was honoring Jesus. I mean everybody I knew celebrated Christmas, that’s just the way that it was. I mean it’s the birth of our Lord, peace on earth, goodwill toward man, what could possibly be wrong with that? Of course then I began to find that there were many passages in the Bible that tell about the birth of Christ and I went, “Aha! The birth of Christ, it is there.” That’s the Christmas story and there were plenty of scriptures that talked about His birth.
But you know even that, I found, was a little different than the story I was told when I was growing up. I found an interesting example that was in Matthew 2:11. We probably all know the story of the three wise men coming to see the baby Jesus. But in Matthew chapter 2 it tells us something a little different, that they didn’t come to a baby in a manger like I was taught. They actually came to a house. And so in Matthew 2:11 it says, “When they had come to the house, they saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and fell down to worship him.” A house? That didn’t match with what I learned when I was young. And so imagine here’s a little child that’s already walking around. Some speculate that Jesus may have been two years old by this time when they brought him gifts. And when I discovered that it was like, “Wait a second.” I mean I know the story, Joseph and Mary, no room at the inn, all those passages that tell me about Jesus’ birth, that’s definitely in this book. But why couldn’t I find passages that told me to celebrate Christmas and Jesus’ birth?
> I thought it all started around Jesus Christ’s birth. But then when I looked into it a little bit more I found all sorts of origins that were way before Jesus Christ’s time.
» We started looking in encyclopedias because back then there wasn’t really a much Google going on. And I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Christmas was established by a Pope on a day that was celebrating a pagan god. And it was really, really hard and I denied it for a couple of years probably.
> But there actually was a lot of clear traditions that turned out to be unbiblical traditions behind why people did certain things with Christmas.
» So I was very surprised to find out that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th, but He was born at a different time of the year and yet we’re celebrating it in December.
> How can this be in the wintertime, you know, when Christ was born? But always in the back of my mind that it didn’t make sense but it was such a happy and a family time, you didn’t wanna…so you just put it in the back of your mind, you know. And God allowed me to do that for quite a while. But eventually you know hey I had to face the facts that this was not part of God’s will, and He was not pleased with me worshiping Christmas.
[Steve Myers] I wanted to please God. I mean I was celebrating and trying to worship Him on Christmas. But is it okay? Is it okay for me to choose what days and seasons honor God? Or does God specifically tell me how to worship Him? In fact another thought came to my mind. Does the Bible teach that I can do what I want as long as I have good intentions? I mean I’d heard about the paganism, I’d heard about traditions involved with the holidays. I mean so many people know that Christmas traditions were around 2,000 years before Christ was even born. But you know at that time in my life that didn’t bother me. I mean wasn’t I free to worship the way I want? Now if you’ve wondered about that we have a free offer, it’s our study aid, “Holidays are Holy Days: Does It Really Matter Which Days We Observe?” I mean this is something I wish was around when I started to look into Christmas itself. There’s an interesting section on page 16 of the study aid and it says this, “Some recognize the paganism of the holiday, they believe they’re free to establish their own days of worship. Now, others believe that paganism’s most popular celebrations have been won over by Christianity and therefore acceptable to God.”
Consider God’s opinion, how He views mixing pagan practices and customs with worship of Him. So I had to ask, does it matter? I mean as an adult I was challenged and as I began to look into Christmas and its background, that was the question I had to ask. Did it really matter if it had roots in paganism, and roots in man’s traditions? I mean after all I felt I was choosing to honor God.
> As I started looking into Christmas more what jumped out was the pagan origins, and the fact that Christmas was never in the Bible actually. I actually asked my Lutheran minister, why? Why isn’t Christmas anywhere in the Bible? And she didn’t have a great answer for me. So that was something that really stood out to me, and was actually shocking to learn more about.
» I started thinking of why I was actually keeping it after I had read all of these things and I felt so guilty for no longer doing it, that I just kept doing it anyway.
> I think the thing that really upset me was when I read about it being pagan. And you cannot justify worshiping anything that’s pagan and saying that that’s, you know, that’s what God wants me to do. And that really bothered me.
» So there’re two main things of why I stopped keeping Christmas. One was the origins. I looked and they went way before Jesus Christ. There are a lot of connections with creation worship and worshiping the creation and where we know the scripture says you should worship the creator and not the creation. And secondly to partner with the origins was what God had to say on the matter. God tells us how He wants to be worshiped. And so those two main aspects are why I stopped keeping Christmas.
> When you look at the aspects of Christmas that’s the only way to describe it, is that these are traditions of man. It’s not mentioned to go drag a tree into your house, or to celebrate his birthday, and especially on the wrong day.
» Christ actually said, “In vain do they worship me, keeping the commandments of men and the traditions of men instead of the commandments of God.” So when I read that I thought, “Well there is a way then that we can think we’re worshiping God and we actually aren’t, and it’s not pleasing to God. So that was really the time that I started reading those things and thinking that I wanted to get in line with what God actually said to do and putting away some of the pagan practices and some of the unbiblical traditions.
> Reading through my Bible, just reading God’s commandments and His observances that He shows us several times throughout the Old and New Testament to be observed, you know Christmas isn’t among them. So I just felt very convicted, that that wasn’t what I should be doing.
[Steve Myers] Could I seriously consider quitting Christmas? I mean what should I be doing? So I decided I should begin with a prayer. And I prayed, “Help me to get rid of the things in my life that don’t honor you God.” And as I searched and I looked into it I began to find many issues about the origins of Christmas that just weren’t biblical. And I was surprised too to find those connections to sun worship, and unchristian, and unbiblical traditions. But I loved Christmas. The songs, the gatherings together, the giving presents, the stockings, the classic stories, the movies, and the manger scenes, all seemed so wonderful. But if I was going to find the answers where was I really supposed to look? I mean history told me a lot, I could talk to people and their opinions about things, I could look to traditions, I could go back to my childhood and what I taught and how I was brought up. But you know I had to go to the source, the Bible. I had to go to the word of God and ask, “What does Holy Scripture say?” Because you know, that is the standard.
> Yeah. There are a lot of new things that started popping out to me when I started just reading my Bible more.
» I felt it was the right thing to do. You know I’d read through the Bible of what God says on how He wants to be worshiped, and I committed through with that.
> There was a lot of questions brought up in my mind. So I started searching the Bible and finally, of course, it was God opening my mind and heart and calling me. And it took Him a while but He didn’t give up on me.
» Yeah. I’d also heard from people that you know, you can still follow the Bible and please God and still keep some of these other traditions. And so I thought a lot about that and then I started looking into it and seeing what Christ said.
> The world is full of lots of different beliefs, lots of different ways, so why is this one right, you know? And a lot of prayer and study just showed that Jesus Christ, numerous times throughout the New Testament, you know, He observed the Holy days, like Passover, Days of Unleavened Bread which I had never heard about. Christmas was never mentioned.
» When you find out Christmas and its origins are not biblical and they’re framed around worshiping other gods, to me I couldn’t help feel that God would be a little bit jealous for that.
> After reading my Bible more thoroughly and just reading more literature about Christmas it felt strange to think that I wouldn’t be observing Christmas when I was older, it was very different. But inside when I read the words on my Bible’s pages I felt that nudge in my heart, you know? I felt when I prayed that I just felt like I was going in the right direction even though it was different than anything I’d ever done, you know? I grew up doing Christmas, I grew up preparing for that time of the year so it was very strange but it was very right, and it just felt like a piece of the puzzle got put into place.
[Steve Myers] As I looked for God’s will in my life it was like a puzzle and I had to come to the conclusion that just because I love something, it didn’t mean that God approved of it. I mean even if I meant well, even if I thought I was honoring God. And you know it doesn’t have to be a puzzle, it is solvable. I realized my life and the way I felt just didn’t fit and if you feel that way, we’d like to help you. We have a study aid called “Holy Days or Holidays: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe?” This booklet will help you to really dig into your Bible and recognize what’s there in the Word of God. In fact on page 30 it says this, “God in His word shows a better way of life, with better days of worship, He’s appointed for His people.” Let’s take note of the days in which God revealed we should formally worship Him.
And so if you’d like to find out more about that call us at the number on your screen. Go to our website beyondtoday.tv. You can download this booklet right there or you can read it online. So get your copy as soon as you can because there’s so much recognizing the fact that, okay history tells us a lot, it tells us a lot of the true story behind Christmas. But you know you’ve got to add the most important part and that’s God’s instruction in the Bible. And when I read His word I began to notice pretty clearly what happened to people when they disobeyed God.
You know what story came to mind? That story of the golden calf. Now if you remember that story you’re probably familiar with it, Israel comes out of Egypt with a high hand they march out into the wilderness, Moses goes up on the mountain and he doesn’t come back, and what do the people do? Well you find the story over in Exodus chapter 32. They made a golden calf, and what did they say? They said, “This is your god, Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt.” You remember that story? And then Aaron built an altar and he proclaimed that the next day they would have a feast to the Lord.
Okay so what’s going on here? They were mixing wrong practices with the worship of the true God. And there is a Christmas connection here, it’s a similar thing. Taking something that’s unchristian, unchristian ideas, idols, practices, but calling them good and honoring God. So when I saw that I had to ask myself, is that okay? How did God respond to that situation? I mean you read that story, He was ready to destroy them. They were told, “You’ve committed a great sin.”
And you know that’s not just an Old Testament thing, Christ talked a lot about this as well. When we look what He taught in Mark chapter 7 in verse 6 says this, “These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” He says, “All too well, you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.” And when I read that I was like, “Wow, you mean, just because I love it and I want to honor God, that doesn’t mean God likes it or approves it. And just to say something’s Christian, I recognize that doesn’t make it so.” And I had to admit, this Word, the Bible was clear. And I had to follow my Creator’s directions, and worship God on His days and in His ways. And then I began to find more in the Bible.
> At first I thought there was nothing in the Bible about Christmas. And the more I studied the more I found that there actually was a pretty clear passage in Jeremiah 10 that warned against the tree, putting up a tree, and doing certain forms of worship revolving around this tree.
» Not observing Christmas you save a lot of money, for one thing, but you know you really stand outside of that circle of chaos that goes around the holiday season. It becomes more and more about materialistic things. And a lot of people try to put Christ back into Christmas but He was never really there in the first place.
> The scriptures came out to me about God telling and warning us not to worship Him as the others do the false gods. You know God really wants us to have a personal relationship built around Him and His laws.
» You know God says that He wants to be worshiped in spirit and in truth, and that’s something that I didn’t see God asking me to observe and it wasn’t something that was right by Him.
> He appreciates every single emotion that we’re going through, but also, not to let your emotions rule your decision.
» There’s no communion from light and darkness, you know? And worshiping God, it’s got to be all of the right thing, and we have to put out of our lives all the bad things. And what I saw in Christmas was a mixture of dark and light.
> You have to love Him more than your brother, and your sister, and your mother, and your father, and that gave me such peace that He would always have my best interest at heart. So I was then able to embrace the knowledge that I had found.
» You can’t straddle the fence, you’ve got to you know either really get in God’s way, or, hey…that I’m going to put you first and if that means giving up Christmas, then that’s what will happen.
[Steve Myers] I began to realize those unchristian practices were all a part of Christmas and I began to how it was really a mixture of good and bad, light and darkness, and it became such an issue for me that ultimately the real question, the hard question — what was I going to do about it? And I had to conclude that no matter the tradition, no matter how much I loved it, no matter if I thought it should honor God, no matter what excuse or justification I might use, the word of God was clear. I was supposed to follow God’s directions, worship on His days and in His way of worship. Now was it hard to quit celebrating Christmas? Absolutely. No doubt. I mean I didn’t walk away because I didn’t enjoy it or because I didn’t find value in it. Yeah something was missing when I didn’t do the Christmas decorating, and the gift giving, and the holly, and all of those kinds of things. But you know I knew I wanted to follow God. I mean I had prayed, “Help me get rid of the things in my life that don’t bring you honor, God.”
So, I needed to step out in faith and you can too, you can step out. We’d like to help you with our study aid, “Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe?” If you feel like this is you, if God’s moving you, get your booklet. On page 47 there’s such a good reminder here as you work through what God says about His ways and His days. It says on page 47, “As creatures of habit, we can find ourselves following traditions that are contrary to God’s instructions, but we have a choice. We can choose the feast days instituted by God, or the holidays substituted by men. The choices we make affect our destiny and impact our relationship with our Creator.” And it is a choice. For me, wow, what a choice it was. If you find yourself torn between the choices, call the number on your screen, go to our website at beyondtoday.tv, get your copy. This will help you get into the Bible and understand what God is really wanting for your life.
Now making that choice, for me, was a tough one and just because I stopped didn’t mean I was deserting Christ. Some make that wrong assumption. Certainly Jesus is my Lord, He is my Master, He is my Creator, He is my soon-coming King. I believe I’m a child of God, a Christian. But at first it was like trying to get this heavy weight off of my chest. It was a difficult process and it definitely was not fun at the time. But you know afterwards, relief. I mean I felt so much better, closer to God celebrating Him on His days.
> A lot of times people focus on the negative with not keeping Christmas, because Christmas is a big deal in our society. But what I’ve found is, there’s many blessings to not keeping Christmas.
» Find God’s ways and obeying Him, and not observing Christmas, and that as well has definitely strengthened my relationship with God and brought me a lot closer to Him.
> I had many people tell me that I was going to be depriving my kids of Christmas, and I was a little concerned that they would really resent me for it. So I’m not depriving them of anything, I’m giving them the freedom of not being weighed down with the lies that we were given.
» Once I moved away from that in my life I started realizing that God wants me to fill it with days that He sanctioned, days that He ordained to be kept. And I started learning more about those which became very positive and very much a part of my life. And I felt like I knew I was doing the right thing in God’s eyes and that I could move forward. And now I have my own family, and my wife and I are raising our kids in a Christmas-free life and teaching them the real roots of it and also teaching them the right things to do in worshiping God.
> The Passover and the Holy days were big ones that jumped out to me that Jesus Christ Himself observed, something that I had heard in church before but hadn’t really learned a lot about.
» It’s a challenging thing, it’s not going to be easy but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. A lot of times in life the real things, the things that are true, sometimes are hard.
> It was challenging to step out in faith when I read that the Bible says to worship God in the way that He wants to be worshiped.
» So I think the biggest benefit, even though it was really hard initially to stop keeping it, it’s really over the years paid off a lot of benefits in terms of just drawing closer to God and making sure that I’m doing the right thing.
> I tell you what this really did for me was give me peace. I have a peace now that I did not have before. I feel that I’m closer to God’s will in my life and I feel like I’m pleasing Him.
[Steve Myers] There are countless benefits for following and obeying God. I too felt a peace with God, a peace with His instruction in the Bible. God gave me a peace of mind that I didn’t have before. And you know not only that there was a confidence, a confidence knowing I was trying to truly draw closer to God, wanting to obey Him and demonstrating my love to Him. Now if you would like an even closer relationship with God, ask Him. Ask Him to help you to get rid of the things in your life that don’t honor Him.
[Narrator] Call now to receive the free booklet offered on today’s program, “Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe?” Our free study aid reveals the fascinating truth about the origins of manmade holidays such as Easter and Christmas. This booklet also makes plain the rich meaning behind the days God set apart. Understand the truth straight from history and your Bible, order now. Call toll free, 1-888-886-8632, or write to the address shown on your screen. When you order this free study aid, we’ll also send you a complimentary 1-year subscription to Beyond Today magazine. Beyond Today magazine brings you understanding of today’s world and hope for the future. Six times a year, you’ll read about current world events in the light of Bible prophecy, as well as practical knowledge to improve your marriage and family. Call today to receive your free booklet, “Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe?” and your free 1-year subscription to Beyond Today magazine. 1-888-886-8632, or go online to beyondtoday.tv.