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The Beginning to No End?
When Christmas was ushered in one of our most vital principles for spiritual freedom was ushered out. Mankind is on the verge of admitting this truth as it prepares day in and day out to meet the demands of the season’s arrival. There is an inescapable degree of bondage that has set in, making the stakes too high to ever think of forsaking it. Those perhaps at the highest risk are merchants.
It should be pointed out that most merchants depend on about 50 percent of their annual profits on this one season. This has generated a giant increase in promoting the spirit to its fullest, but even this never fully satisfies the wanton beast. For many unhappy, over pressured devotees, they place the blame for this rapid corruptive spread of commercialism on merchants. They cannot help believe it is the greed for material things to have it all that Christmas became the means for a wealthy gain. But why blame those that grabbed this golden ring? Merchants are fulfilling their part in this master plan as much as others are fulfilling theirs, in a less conspicuous way.
Time itself proves how the spirit of Christmas opened the doors to corruption, allowing it to flow in wildly with no restraints. Time has been the very breath of the spirit's life, nourished by the go-for-the-gusto attitude. Its influences, its powerful spells are like huge nets cast out to the sea filled with enticing bait to lure the blind-hearted, the weak, and the naive with hopes and dreams of a better world. In this way, the spirit has camouflaged its true intent, but as our hopes and dreams seem more and more impossible to fulfill, the spirit's intent becomes obvious.
Many wholeheartedly glorify Christmas as the most wonderful time of the year, yet many others secretly harbor resentment for what man has done to their beloved occasion. All the same, there are those who keep their feelings buried deep inside for the sake of true devotion and as long as they remain committed to Christmas, it will drift further and further into a situation where there is no end.
Perhaps it is easier to blame one another for all the corruption rather than admit the truth, but how can we deny what history has revealed? The spirit of Christmas latched onto a profitable opportunity to market itself for its own success, using us as puppets. Our brains have been conditioned to support Christmas in every conceivable way, we feed its life line, and, at this point, can we deny that mankind is destined to make Christmas successful at whatever the cost?
The merchants' reliable elaboration for gain is a splendid advantage for many, namely the Government. But other countries depend on the merchants' success, as well as stockholders. Christmas is "big business" not only for those with an eye on material gain but the majority of churches depend on the holiday harvest as much as lost souls to renew their bond with God. With so many people dependent on Christmas, what would our world be if Christmas were no more?
Various influences for the past made sure that Christmas would not fail. Many superstitions revolved around the holiday and they worked quite well to keep people firmly established in the spirit. Some of these tactics still work today. By employing manipulative mind techniques the spirit gained a dominant control over its followers, similar to what an occult uses to capture and retain its victims. From the earliest of times supernatural events have been tied to Christmas.
Demonic creatures were thought to awaken on Christmas Eve in many Northern countries. Ghosts, witches, trolls, and vampires are just a few malignant spirits that were carried over from ancient pagan times. Other popular superstitions, with a softer touch, included certain trees that yielded fruit the night of Christ's presumed birth; animals that received the gift of speech; bees singing; and cattle kneeling.
During the era when England accepted the Gregorian calendar in 1752, many of its people showed resistance toward any Christmas observance based on the belief that the Glastonbury hawthorn, known to have been planted from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea, failed to bloom on Christmas Eve. The numerous accumulations of folklore and superstition revolving around Christmas made it easier to pardon the mystic aspect of Santa Claus as "the magic spirit," and it is just as pardonable today.
The magic and ghost of Christmas have always held a mysterious fascination. They are legacy more seasoned than the fir tree glistening by the fire or the stocking hung by the chimney with care. Terror was known to be as much a part of Christmas as the charms of holly. During Victorian times a spook of Christmas past shared the holiday feast with guests overstuffed with roast goose and all the trimmings. People may have been visualizing a white Christmas but not without dark invidious images haunting their dreams.
Charles Dickens added much fame to the hair-raising holiday stories. His tales were said to have been inspired by the family nursemaid when her clever mind would fill his imagination with visions of evil innkeepers turning complaining guests into sausage pies with rats tormenting ill-fated travelers. These phantoms carried well through the years becoming annual tales to curl up by the warm fire ...- for a snug family gathering.
In 1843, A Christmas Carol, written by Dickens, made him master of seasonal, spooky tales. But it was a tradition established long before Dickens. The eerie stories satisfied the growing craving quite successfully over the years and Christmas ghosts began to hover over the minds of many restless authors. They took great pride in their creations and their profit showed the great appreciation from their readers. Indeed, people became accustomed to such shaded stories after decades of demonic conditioning. From Victorian times until the invention of the picture tube, books and radio broadcasting gave way to television, and this became the source in which to gratify the need for the supernatural craving.
In 1834, close to a decade before Scrooge heralded his humbug message on Christmas, sixty-three competing annuals were selling on the streets of London. Many are known to have run 450 pages in length. Due to such a great success, the enormous demand for these gift books heightened prices therefore advancing the writers market. The rapid rise in literacy though out Europe exploded as the desire to tickle the ear increasingly itched. Even Sherlock Holmes and Edgar Allan Poe added much to the fulfillment of popular demand.
The ghost stores ran their course and began to slowly die down. The once shadowy images of desolate countryside with endless stretches of road, fog rising for the forest floor, and oceans brimming with the unknown seem to wash out when the new age of electricity set in. The once essential element for contacting the beyond was gone. Christmas may have then been a time for tales of the spectral kind because the days left more leisure. Life seemed short and perilous, so perhaps people felt more in touch with death and the spirit world.
With a history like this, it's not surprising the people believed in luck and evil spirits holding sway at Christmas time. No less meaningful were many other crafty tactics such as the belief that it was good luck for the first person up on Christmas day to open the door to ‘let Christmas in’. How closely related this belief is today when we think of the door to our heart and cling ever fondly to those words. Merchants on the other hand have found the doors to shopping stores as the way to "get into the spirit".
Candles are part of Christmas that has been one tradition that remains flickering every year. In the past when a candle was left burning all night in an empty room on Christmas Eve it meant light, warmth, and plenty all year. It may not be candles that signify our light, warmth, and plenty but a mesmerizing tree all lit up with mystical wonder does a have a way of accomplishing that feeling, especially if there are lots of presents underneath.
Bells were also an important sign. If they rang on Saturday the winter would be foggy, the summers cold. But bells and chimes held a greater purpose than just predicting weather, they were a must on Christmas Day. When a bell was placed by a child it would frighten evil spirits away. We can still hear those bells ringing outside department stores trying to chase the evil spirit of greed away.
Holly and mistletoe are two traditions that few realize how they became part of the holiday decor. People believed that if holly was placed in a window it would protect their homes from evil. They thought by placing a sprig of holly on the bedpost if would bring them happy dreams. As for mistletoe, peopled feared that if it fell to the ground this meant bad luck, but mistletoe continues to hold one magic hope from the past - kissing under it supposed to bring love.
A child born on Christmas day is a special event receiving public attention. In the past a person born on Christmas day was believed to possess exceptional powers to see and command the beyond. They were even deemed to predict the future. A person born on Christmas Eve between eleven and twelve o'clock was supposed to possess a remarkable understanding to interpret what animals say. What one might possess nowadays is no more than an extra gift tucked under the tree.
One thing we have learned in our uncertain world is not to let strangers in our home. For those in the past if they did not let a stranger in at Christmas it would mean bad luck for they never knew if it was the Christ child in disguise. It was also important that they be kind to cows since supposedly these animals breathed upon Christ giving Him warmth.
The Yule log crackles in the fire dwindling down to a pile of ashes. The ashes were believed to hold a magic potion said to cure may diseases. If by chance the Yule log refused to burn it was thought to be the dirty hands that touched it. But one thing was certain, the log was not to be burned before Christmas because, once again, it meant bad luck.
When we reminisce about the past, these things seems funny to us so we laugh with wonder. But to the people of the past such things were very real. Christmas was deeply affected by luck with evil spirits influencing the season. Luck is known to be the seemingly chance happening of events. In some mysterious way luck is believed to affect ones daily life and future destiny. Many objects are thought to bring good luck, and many take an outlandish risk in an already favorable situation crediting good luck. Bad or terrible things are credited to bad luck. The question is, do seemingly chance happenings exist? Or was it spiritual ignorance that held the people of the past ... and firmly hold may people captive today?
If chance happenings do exist, then one must claim that life has no direct purpose - no true spiritual meaning. The word luck denies the power of God in every sense. The Bible teaches that life is meaningful with a predestined purpose in mind. One either trusts that God is in complete control because life is too vital, or they rely on the game of life filled with chance happenings with no God hold the reins. The problem is, Christians have come to mingle the two together with little thought at what they are doing. It is the little thought of such a critical factor that has given the spirit of darkness one of its greatest advantages toward mocking God.
Material objects exercising power to influence events or change peoples moods stem from the world of occultism. People may not hang holly on the bedpost for peaceful dreams or use the Yule log ashes to cure diseases (then again, some still may), but each little special ornament or precise ritual has its own lucky incantation. These objects are used to draw closer to the Christmas sprit, s spirit assumed to be God's. Even today, people have allowed old superstitions to influence them. Perhaps when these things are looked at in there true light, one can better understand what idolatry is and how it affects their life.
When comparing heathen relics (used for religious purposes) and Christmas relics, they have an identical similarity. Throughout the course of history man has never tired from showing his adoration and worship toward God with various forms of visible objects. If anything, mankind's desire to do so has increased. People in the Old Testament were in constant contact with heathen idolatry and God found it necessary to repeatedly remind His people not to learn heathen ways.
The sacred bull, or calf was symbolical of the principle of reproduction and procreation, as it is with the life eternal Christmas tree. Likewise, as the hawk, the eagle, and the falcon represented wisdom and insight, the Wise Men's star represents God's illuminating light.
Warnings against such practices are unlimited. In the simplest of terms God has laid down the law. Images formed by the mere handiwork of man are sheer folly and in no manner whatsoever are these ways to be used to represent God or used as a source in which to draw closer to Him. Since God is spirit He cannot be pictured, worshipped, or praised by material wealth and beauty.
One outstanding example was when Moses' came off Mount Sinai and found the Israelites bowing down in worship to God in the image a golden calf (Exodus 32). When we look at this act it is clear to see just how wrong it was, but we fail to notice how this is still happening in the world today. Perhaps the images have changed, taking many different forms, but the purpose of the intent never has. Man still craves to worship God in visible form despite the warning to forsake such foolishness.
Paul points out in Acts 17:29-30 that God overlooked times of ignorance, but no more. God has spoken His final word making His way known to all mankind. He will not be misunderstood on this principle. Mankind will suffer the consequences for estranging himself from God by allowing objects to be placed between (and before) his Creator. There cannot in this way ever be a true unity. Imagery, idolatry, and ignorance are the roots of evil, the Bible clearly and boldly states, and they lead to every kind of corruption of religion and morality - without exception, without excuse.
So why have we allowed ourselves to become captive under these luring effects that are leading us down the path of spiritual destruction? How is it that we can see the superstitious folly of those in the past but cannot see the comparison in our own ways? There is no denying that it is the sentiment we hold toward these relics that give Christmas special significance. We love to boast of their greatness and beauty and it is our over stressed pleasure in serving them that brings us a sense of warmth and contentment. It was this same warm sentiment that made them so alluring to the heathens that caused them to seep into the house of God. Now, Christians have become just as polluted with the same idle ideas the heathens believed, except the Christian’s ways are masked behind the name of Jesus Christ, giving these objects an imaginary divine purpose.
How can anyone believe that it is possible to take an abomination to God and glorify it with selfish, passionate reasoning? How can a Christian honestly believe that by rededication the purpose of diabolical ways, even for Christ's sake, that it will change what they have always meant to God? This kind of thought can measured against what Jesus said, "You cannot put new wine in old skins". One would have to change the way God felt first before people could change how they felt, if indeed it is God they desire to please. The church may not think so, but God firmly stated, "I am the same yesterday, today and always". There is no pulling the wool over His eyes.
The clergy calls this subject a "gray area". They don't quite know how to answer these questions. They tell us the same story that has been passed down from generation to generation - as long as we dedicate them to Christ. If this explanation makes any sense then why not dedicate all of Satan's ways to Christ? Then we would have no need to discern from what is right or what is wrong. Why are only a few of Satan's ways acceptable?
The intent for Christmas is said to be one of good, but not all intentions in the name of Christ bear the fruits of Christ. Man has proven too many times how convenient it is to use Christ's name for fulfilling selfish desires. So successful has this trick been it continues to be played over and over - like a favorite song that never grows old.
People can't understand what is wrong with decorating a house, setting out a manger scene, or trimming a Christmas tree. They don't ask themselves, "Who is it hurting? What harm is there?" They tell themselves, "I want to show tribute to God by glorifying His Son". Their purpose is to "Let us praise Him, let us adore Him". The same kind of reasoning one might compare to decorating for human celebrations such as baby showers, retirement parties, birthdays, or weddings. Of course it only seems natural to do the same for God, doesn't it?"
When it comes to glorifying God with material wealth and beauty the Bible says there is no comparison. God is a divine and Holy Spirit and material objects do not give God justice. Until the time comes when Christians will admit that material objects degrade God's nature instead of symbolizing His majestic glory, they will continue to defy what Jesus said, "Worship Him in Spirit and in Truth". Paul stressed this point when he declared: “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we could command ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case of the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God ( 2 Cor. 4:1-4).
The Expository Dictionary of Bible Words by Lawrence O. Richards explains:
The primary Hebrew word translated glory in the English Old Testament is kabod. It comes from a root that means heavy or weight. In the Old Testament, the glory of human achievement is an ascribed glory. It exists in the eye of the beholder. But the glory of God is objective. It is rooted not in the evaluation of others, but in his very nature. When God's glory is unveiled and recognized, all those things which human beings take pride fade to nothingness.
The Greek word is doxa. In the New Testament it is the Old Testament concept that is generally reflected. The temptation in which Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor reveals what men consider splendor and fame, fades into insignificance when compared to the true glory of God.
The New Testament speaks of two differing expressions of divine glory. One expression is visible, yet is perceived only by the eyes of faith. These expressions force us back to our basic concept to discover a beautiful and wonderful fact: God's glory is displayed in His acts in our world. Because God is present in believers today, he is able to display His qualities in our lives and so to glorify Himself in us.
The world is impressed by appearances. Wealth and position are equated with glory, and fame, the admiration of others, is eagerly sought. The Christian has a different set of values. To the believer, true glory is found only in the splendor of God. It is recognized as the character is displayed in His actions, and it is reflected back to Him as praise. We glorify God by recognizing His Presence in His actions and offering Him our praise. And we glorify God by being channels through which the Holy Spirit, who lives with us, can communicate God to those whose love we touch. (Taken from Expository Dictionary of Bible Words by Lawrence O. Richards. Copyright 1985 by the Zondervan Corporation. Used by permission.)
Throughout history billions of dollars have been spent on material beauty to glorify God, yet every investment has and will continue to lie waste. The only worthwhile investment that gives God glory is feeding His people, giving them warmth and shelter, educating them, cleaning up the environment, preserving animal life, and making God's world a better, peaceful place to live in every single day. This is how mankind can truly show glory to God, the other is done in vain. Again, it is senseless to glorify God with glitter and glamour because this is an abhorrence to God and He refuses to reward such foolishness.
The world of the occult has lured millions of people into a way of life forbidden by God. Christmas has many of the same forbidden occult aspects. Perhaps this fact may cause mouths to drop open and lungs to gasp for air in a state of shock, but whether such a claim causes anger, it no doubt is still true. What is an occult? The mystic arts have been researched for centuries and if we analyze these findings, comparing them to Christmas, the resemblance between the two becomes quite clear, if not just plain alarming.
We are told that the occult deals with hidden matters mixed in and around magical powers. It is a religion within itself, a way of life that, if having become well-established, can appear typical and common, such as astrology has become. The occult represents forces connected to the supernatural world and those involved in occult practices feel a strong pull toward their source of power, much like people drawn to Christmas relics. Such influences as the fortuneteller’s crystal ball, the astrologer's zodiac and the clairvoyant's mind-over-matter are prime examples in comparison with the Christmas tree. Without these, the occultist lacks direction, purpose, and in a sense, their god.
Christmas objects measure up quite comparably to those of occultism. Consider what power source supplies the Christmas spirit that somehow, unknowingly, manifests itself through the rituals one performs and the relics one possesses that pulls people into another world? When these things are no longer present, doesn’t that vital force seem missing?
Try feeling the Christmas spirit (which most claim is God's) when the tree is gone, the lights turned off, the decorations packed away, the candles burned out, the holly and mistletoe withered away. It just isn't there. Only one link ties our hearts and minds to the spirit all year: past memories. Consider where the fortuneteller would be without their various objects of rituals’? Where would the astrologer be without theirs. So, likewise, where would Christmas be? The world of the occult depends on these objects to conjure up what the occultist needs: a feeling of direction and purpose. The Bible says a follower of Christ Jesus needs only the Word of God and draws their direction and purpose from that.
The word cult can also be weaved into Christmas when one thinks of what that word means. It is not unusual to find cults that tap into the dark mysteries of the occult, and as a matter of fact, it is becoming more common to see. What is a cult? It is a particular system of religious worship with special references to rites and ceremonies. Cult’s are known to be established by employing deception, tantalization, and cunning brainwashing techniques. Many people are becoming aware of how hard it is to pull someone from the reins of a cult. For one reason, a cult fulfills certain needs and desires one feels is lacking from what has been termed, "the traditional religion". A person can become violent when their belief is threatened. Members are said to be held captive by the spirit of the cult and often appear happy and content.
A cult consists of a worship formed around ritualism with a distinct devotion toward a god or saint. This charismatic character, usually a male dominant figure, is the center of attention. Cult members' behavior is greatly manipulated by fear from disobedience but rewarded for obedience. For many cults, human sacrifice is usually the price one pays as their pledge of devotion, faith, and loyalty to their principals.
Christmas was originally established by using deception, tantalization, and various brainwashing techniques, and these ways still continue to possess power over us today. Christmas was taken in as a means to fulfill the needs and desires of the people that seemed to be lacking what they could not obtain form the traditional ways handed down by Christ. The behavior of its members have been greatly influence by fear of disobedience and greatly rewarded for obedience. The main charismatic character (Santa or the image of Christ) is the male dominant figure - the center of attention. People make tremendous human sacrifices in order to serve the spirit in any way possible.
Now, with this perspective in mind, Christmas very clearly proves to be a mixture between both a cult and the occult. Christmas is the one place where people from every walk of life can join hands, lift their eyes, and hail glory to the same spirit in whatever form of worship the believer chooses. Christmas would be the perfect religion that could meet every person's needs if the spirit had not become so overly greedy that it now risks being exposed.
Still, all year long people draw close to the warm memories of past Christmases and focus on the next one to come. For most devotees the bond between these two emotional attachments (past memories and future hopes) have made Christmas a blind spot. Many people seem almost eager to greet the spirit so they can let barriers down and allow suppressed feelings out to flow with one another. Something they cannot do without the powerful influence of the spirit.
For a lot of people they think in terms of Christmas being a once-a-year event, when actually Christmas is an all-year effort. Perhaps an effort that may be no more than a passing thought, or picking up a gift to tuck away, but throughout the year people serve the spirit continuously as they prepare themselves for the next one. This effort might begin as soon as the past one is over, such as stocking up on wrapping paper while it's on sale. No matter what, we are determined to find a way to serve it better and easier for a more emotional, spiritual, and material reward.
The Bible teaches an entirely different set of values for the lusts, the boasting, and the cravings that Christmas exhibits. We are told not to be squeezed into the world’s mold but instead to be "Transformed" but the renewing of our minds. Keep in focus that the world represents the systematic expression of human understanding and reasoning, and this is the same expression of understanding and reasoning the clergy uses to support Christmas. Jesus, however, warned against becoming part of the world's system by never basing our reasoning on a worldly focused foundation. He said: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you (John 15: 18-19)
Christmas is a "worldly" tradition, meaning it was not established by Christ. To turn away from Christmas is to turn away from the world, not Christ (like so many have come to believe). By joining in with the world for a Christmas celebration you are loved and accepted by other Christians. By not taking part, you are considered a traitor.
Ever since the spirit of Christmas used Christ's holiness as a means for social and financial gain, the celebration has become enriched spreading greed throughout the world. In closing, if these words had been remembered and upheld then we would not be suffering the pangs for our earnest devotion toward Christmas, since if these words had been obeyed there would be no Christmas:
If any one teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching which accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit, he knows nothing; he has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, and wrangling among men who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.
There is great gain in godliness with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world; but if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and hurtful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs (1 Timothy 6:3-10).
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Copyright 1990 / ISBN: 0-533-08812-7 / Library of Congress Catalog Card No : 89-90466 (Out-Of-Print)