Lev. 10 (ESV) Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. 2 And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. 3 Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’” And Aaron held his peace.
Jeremiah 32 (NLT) 33 My people have turned their backs on me and have refused to return. Even though I diligently taught them, they would not receive instruction or obey. 34 They have set up their abominable idols right in my own Temple, defiling it. 35 They have built pagan shrines to Baal in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing. What an incredible evil, causing Judah to sin so greatly!
Malachi 1 (ESV) 6 “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ 7 By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord‘s table may be despised. 8 When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts.
This may be the first time you’ve read any of these passages. They may seem random, and they may not seem to make much sense. But, there is a common theme in these passages, and a very important lesson…Yahweh cares about HOW we worship Him, so much so, that, in the first passage, Yahweh killed Nadab and Abihu for presenting an offering in a way that was not commanded. In the second passage, it is understandable that Yahweh would see, as evil, setting up “abominable idols” in His Temple, building “pagan shrines”, and, most certainly, sacrificing “sons and daughters to Molech”. But notice, in the third passage, Yahweh also considers their deeds to be evil. The people were presenting offerings and sacrifices to Yahweh (which he commanded), however, because they were “polluted”, “blind”, and “lame or sick”, Yahweh considered their worship to Him as evil. Yahweh cares HOW we worship Him!
In the book of John, chapter 4, we can see what Yeshua has to say on this matter…23 “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
We discovered in the previous studies that there is very little, if any, biblical truth to the celebration of Christmas. If this is the case, how can we worship the Father in the way that He seeks to be worshipped–in spirit and in TRUTH?
In Mark 7, we see Yeshua speaking on the subject again…6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,
“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
7 in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”
9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!
Could Yeshua speak these same words to Christians today? Are we rejecting Yahweh’s commands in order to continue in our beloved (man-made) Christmas tradition?
Deuteronomy 12 (ESV) 29 “When the Lord your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, 30 take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’ 31 You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.
Jeremiah 10 (ESV) 2 Thus says the Lord:
“Learn not the way of the nations,
nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens
because the nations are dismayed at them,
3 for the customs of the peoples are vanity.
A tree from the forest is cut down
and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman.
4 They decorate it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so that it cannot move…”
This generation of Christians (you and I) did not inquire how anyone was worshipping their false god, so it is rather easy for us to remove the celebration of Christmas from its four thousand year old pagan roots, “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8)
I will end with this–very often, Yeshua would speak in parables. He would tell a story about something that his audience could identify with, and then he would tell them the deeper, spiritual significance behind that story. I heard a man tell a story once that has stuck with me. I cannot recall what the man’s purpose was in telling this story, but it has stuck with me because of the point Yahweh wanted to make to me, through it.
The story is as follows…
In my neighborhood, just a few houses down from mine, lived a woman and her teenage son. She got home from work one day, opened the garage, and found her son dead; he had hanged himself. Some time later, a young couple moved into the house across the street from this woman. This couple loved decorating for the holidays. One of their favorites was Halloween. Every year they would set up Halloween scenes in their front yard. Among other Halloween decorations was a dummy hanging from their tree. It seemed like an innocent decoration, but, every time the woman would look out her window, or step outside, for the couple of weeks around Halloween, she would be painfully reminded of her son’s tragic death. The couple didn’t know of the woman’s past, or that of her son. They certainly were not deliberately offending her, or in any way trying to hurt her. Nevertheless, every year, for that woman, old wounds were made fresh again.
I know that you are not deliberately trying to offend or hurt Yahweh. But because of where Christmas came from, because of all the traditions attached to it, and because of the date it is celebrated on, Christmas is a painful reminder to Yahweh. It is a painful reminder that those, chosen by Him, chose to worship another. It is a painful reminder of innocent lives being sacrificed to false gods. It is a painful reminder of abominations, horrible deeds, and incredible evil.
Please pray that Yahweh would reveal His truth to you on this matter.