Traditional Christmas Customs
December 11 2009 by D.E. Parkerson

On December 25 Christians around the world will once again celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, God’s promised Messiah, into the world. That is why the day is called “CHRISTMAS” (CHRIST-MASS). The incarnation of God is very significant to every Christian. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).

No one has to be told that many of the customs and observances surrounding Christmas are unsupported by scripture, and have no intended relevance for the living of the Christian faith. Even so, though they are not specifically Christian, they provide us an annual day when we can celebrate the fact that “God sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:9).

One of the customs observed at Christmas is the tendency to have family reunions and community gatherings. These gatherings provide needed time for communicating with old friends, and for reconciling differences between family members, church members, and others. On these occasions, should we take the opportunity, we can remember that Christ has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19).

Even though the spirit of commercialism and covetousness tends to intrude, the practice of exchanging gifts at Christmas is a good time to be reminded of the One who “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him would not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

In homes all across America and around the world many gifts will be exchanged on Christmas morning — to and from family members, friends, co-workers, classmates, etc. While we are giving gifts to one another, it will be singularly appropriate to give a special gift to our Lord and Savior — first “ourselves,” and then special gifts that will minister in His name and for His glory.

Another wholesome custom at Christmas is to give special emphasis to children. This reminds us as parents, and as a community, of our responsibility to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

The Christmas tree and other Christmas traditions have been adequately divested of their original pagan connotations so that Christians can, in good conscience, utilize them to encourage the spirit of love and reconciliation that honor Christ.

It is unlikely, of course, that December 25 is the actual birth date of Christ. The precise date is not as important as the fact that we celebrate the birth of Christ, “Emmanuel“ (God with us). May you and all your loved ones have a Christ-blessed Christmas!

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Parkerson is a native of Georgia, a graduate of Mercer University (B.A.), Southeastern Seminary (M. Div. and Th.M.), and Campbell University  (D.D.). He has served as pastor of one church in Georgia and five churches in North Carolina. Following retirement as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Sanford on September 30, 1996, he has served nine North Carolina churches as interim pastor. His column, The Paper Pulpit, has appeared weekly in a few newspapers and other publications since 1958.  He and his wife, Jessie, live in Wilmington near their daughter and family.)
12/11/2009 3:39:00 AM by D.E. Parkerson | with 0 comments

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