Merry Christmas from the Vermillions!
Nevertheless, we did not want to miss the opportunity to wish our website readers a very Merry Christmas, and to remind everyone that the season is about Jesus Christ, the Messiah! 😀
A Savior was born! And it is this fact that we celebrate at this time of year, although family festivities and gift-giving are certainly a wonderful parts of this season.
So let’s all keep Christmas Christ-centered, even as we enjoy the fellowship of our family and friends.
The Real Christmas Story
Let me note for the benefit of our readers that Jesus was not born on December 25th. More than likely, He was born sometime in the month of September when the shepherds would still be in the fields at night with their flocks. (It was too cold to do that in December.)
However, Dr. Carl Baugh has published an article containing some research performed by a cosmologist on this issue that is very interesting. (I will give you the link to that in just a moment.) Therein, he makes a good case that the wise men (which the Bible never numbers, so it was likely more than three people) may have arrived at Joseph’s house on December 25th the following year after Jesus’ birth:
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”
Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way….
Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.
(Matthew 2:1-12, 16, NKJV, emphasis added)
Please notice from the above passage that Jesus was a “young child” and not a baby, by the time the wise men showed up. Herod had determined that Jesus was between one to two years of age, and thus, he had all the children under two killed in an effort to extinguish the life of the Messiah. Please also notice that it was a “house” at which they arrived, for by that time Joseph had obviously been able to secure better arrangements for his wife and her new virgin-born son.
(By the way, Joseph and Mary had children together after this the natural way that husbands and wives do. Compare Matthew 1:25; 13:55-56; and Mark 6:3. So Mary was not a virgin for very long after she gave birth to the Messiah, for this was not the only child that she had, and the others were fathered by Joseph.)
Click here for the link that will take you to Dr. Carl Baugh’s article that I mentioned above. Therein, you will see some fascinating facts about the timing of the Bethlehem Star. You will also discover toward the end that Jesus was NOT born in a barn or stable, as people mistakenly think due to nativity scenes and other traditional imagery. No, Jesus was born exactly where it was prophesied in the Scriptures that He would be born: The “tower of the flock” outside of Bethlehem, where all of the sacrificial lambs used in the Temple in Jerusalem were born. Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), was born where the Levites inspected lambs for Temple sacrifice. So the Christmas story is even more wonderful than what is commonly portrayed in even the most sincere manger scenes.
Is Christmas Really Christian?
Let me note in closing that I know that there are people who take the view that Christmas is actually a pagan holiday. I have heard the arguments thereof, and have researched the matter sufficiently in the Bible. In so doing, we have determined that their case is very weak. The passages to which they refer with respect to Christmas trees are actually describing the making of idols out of wood and covering them with gold or silver, not the decoration of a tree in the manner which many do at Christmas time.
In our home, therefore, we see and teach the following biblical symbolism in the Christmas tree:
- The tree itself represents the “tree” (cross) upon which Jesus would die for our sins (Galatians 3:13).
- We use an “evergreen” tree to represent everlasting life, which Jesus alone can provide humanity (John 3:16; 14:6).
- The lights on the tree represent the fact that Jesus Christ is the light that God the Father sent into the world (John 1:9 & 3:19), but also that through Him, we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). We are to shine in the darkness with the light of God’s Word! (Psalm 119:105 & 130; Isaiah 8:20)
- The star on top (if that is the topper that is chosen) represents the Bethlehem Star that guided wise men to where the young child was staying.
- The angel on top (if that is the topper that is chosen) represents Gabriel, announcing the birth ahead of time to Mary, and then later to the shepherds in the field after the child was born (Luke chapters 1-2).
- The ornaments on the tree represent the adornments of salvation, the fruit of the spirit, solid character, and faith, which all Christians should demonstrate within their lives (Isaiah 61:10; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Peter 3:3-4, etc).
- The gifts under the tree represent first of all the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ, and the Salvation He brings (John 3:16). However, they also represent the Gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-11), the ministry gifts (Ephesians 4:11-16), and the many gifts of God’s grace that He bestows upon us throughout our lives, as we live and walk with Him (Romans 8:32; 2 Peter 1:2-4).
- & Etc. 🙂
In short, there is NOTHING inherently idolatrous about a Christmas tree (although we have banned the song “Oh Christmas Tree” from our house since people are actually singing to the thing). While others may have a different viewpoint, this is the approach that we have taken in our own home based upon our research of the subject through the years.
That said, one cannot do anything that violates their personal faith without sinning (Romans 14:23). So if you have a different view and cannot celebrate Christmas in the same manner that we do, please do not try. However, please follow my example here by not condemning others for not holding the same views that you do. If you cannot celebrate Christmas in faith because you consider it a pagan holiday, then please do not do so. We do not consider it to be pagan at all, however, so we can celebrate it in faith. To each, his or her own, as even Paul explained:
Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.
(Romans 14:22-23, NKJV)
So to avoid contention, I will not approve comments that are critical of this post, since our intention is to wish everyone cheer and God’s blessing at this time of year. Thank you for understanding.
The Key to a Merry Christmas is JESUS!
If you do not have family or are alienated from them, then cozy up to the Lord just the two of you, and spend time in prayer and His Word. You will find He is very much interested in spending time with His children when they express genuine faith in Him:
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”
(John 14:23, NKJV)
And frankly, there is NO BETTER COMPANY that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit! 😀
So we wish you all the best this time of year, regardless of what your individual circumstances might be. Put your faith in Jesus, and focus on Him this time of year, and you will have a blessed holiday season. Of course, the key to doing this is to KNOW Jesus Christ personally. So let me please share three points on this subject with you before closing:
- If you do not know Jesus, then please take the time to read my testimony article The Supreme Value of Righteousness.
- You can also download my FREE audio teaching entitled The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel.
- You can also find many answers to many questions at NeedHim.org.
Obviously, a person needs to know the Savior in order to truly understand and enjoy Christmas, for it was for our salvation that He came. So please seek Him right away if you are not already in close fellowship with God through His Son, Jesus. 🙂
Now, once again, from the Vermillion household, Donna and I would like to wish all of our readers a VERY Merry Christmas season! 😀
Please stay safe during any traveling you may be doing, and please keep your eyes on Jesus to celebrate Him this time of year.
Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
(Ephesians 6:23-24, NKJV)
Always in Jesus,
–Rich & Donna Vermillion