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Keeping our Christmas traditions

December 15, 2012
By Pastor Stephen W. Pyle - Elkins Church of God of Prophecy , The Inter-Mountain

Peter tells us that "we have a more sure word of prophecy." As a light that shineth in a dark place: as the Daystar (Jesus Christ) arises in our hearts. Pagan roots have intertwined within the celebration of Christ-Mass or Christmas. Jesus is the reason for the season. Reportedly our President and First Lady would like to call the Christmas tree a Holiday tree.

This pastor has never liked the term X-Mas. I enjoy the colorful lights, exchanging of gifts and the sights and sounds of the sacred Christmas and winter snowy themes.

We have always celebrated Christmas at our house. We are careful not to glorify Santa Claus. My Dad often referred to him as "Satan Claus."

St. Nick is a revered figure, based on the feast of The Bishop St. Nicolas and other European folklore. At one time, I was called upon to dress in his suit in a radio promotion called Christmas in July.

Needless to say, a 14-year-old boy, upon reciting his wishes for a gift, yanked my beard. I had to be escorted by our radio sales officials to keep from being assaulted by a potential mob. (Oh my beard!)

Christmas has only been a federal holiday (declared as such) since 1870. Seventeenth century puritanical colonialist reforming opinion avoided this celebration because of the Roman Catholic roots of Christ-Mass.

Many, after the American Revolution, did not celebrate Christmas Day because of the opinion that it was Mother England's holiday, and our nation had recently knocked the wind out of their sails while we brought forth our new nation.

Queen Victoria of England exploited and made popular the sale of Christmas trees during the 1850s.

Christmas cards have many origins. One popular origin regards Charles Dickens, who wrote many books which include the famous and endearing "A Christmas Carol." Dickens reportedly sent one of the first known Christmas greeting cards to Queen Victoria of England.

Christmas tree origins are considered pagan and heathen.

Jeremiah the prophet says in chapter 10:1-4: "Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O House of Israel:

"Thus saith the Lord, learn not the way of the heathen and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

"For the customs of the people are vain: For one cutteth a tree out of the forest, The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.

"They deck it with silver and with gold; They fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not."

A thought just occured to me. What did they do to Jesus on the cross (Old Rugged Tree)? They fastened him with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

My wife, Sallie, decorates a small tree with ribbons, white lights and plastic icicles, but not with silver or gold. Sallie suggests that her version is considered a winter tree.

Traditions are numerous: An open fireplace, hot chocolate and popcorn popping; sleigh bells ringing; and a "White Christmas" are my favorite things. Gotta have some Starbucks coffee. Our daughter, Stephanie, works at a Starbucks shop.

Remember, if you reside in Elkins Country, we start at an altitude of 2,000 feet Snow, snow and more snow.

If we could have a Christmas wish, it might be that my wife, family and I could celebrate in Austria in the town of Oberndorf, near Saltzburg, close to the Silent Night Chapel where the famous Christmas carol was written by Joseph Moore and Franz Gruber. From there, we might visit Switzerland and the Alps.

The next Christmas vacation might be Christmas in Vermont. We made several annual October visits there from 2001-2007. These roots continue to attach themselves from year to year to all of us

Regarding "White Christmas," Bing Crosby fans, there is no official place called Columbia Inn anywhere in Vermont.

The evergreen tree, hollies, wreaths and other green shrubbery used in ornamentation originates from pagan roots of the Babylonian culture which featured the unholy trio of Nimrod, Semiramis and Tammuz.

The Temple Virgins are weeping for Tammuz in the book of Ezekiel 8:14. Tammuz was the husband of the goddess Ishtar. This is similar to Ashteroth of the Sidonians. Semiramis is known as The Queen of Babylon, Nimrod's wife a.k.a "Queen of Heaven."

Mythology tells of Ashteroth being an ancient Semitic goddess of love and war; an equaling of the Phoenician and Canaanite counterpart Ishtar, which is also called Easter, which was a day that celebrated the resurrection of one of their gods named Tammuz. Easter is mentioned only once in scripture (KJV, Acts 12:4).

Tammuz reportedly died during an ancient wild boar hunt. After 40 days, Tammuz was resurrected.

His mother, Semiramis, was originally believed to be with child by Nimrod, who after Babel's tower, had become a spiritual sun god diety.

All three of this family are believed to carry the title of the sun god/goddess. Legends tend to become confusing and exaggerated.

This is a bogus, devilish doctrine which mimics the Holy Spirit's overshadowing of the Virgin Mary. They celebrated Tammuz's birth with evergreen trees and his resurrection with colored eggs. Bishop S. McDowell Shelton once stated, "This is a strange rabbit that lays these colored eggs," All the ancient heathen civilizations worshiped idolatrous deities of fertility, i.e. rabbits, chicks and other things.

Satan has a counterfeit for everything. Now our national government apparently wants us to become confused and irrational while changing religious ideologies, further distorting the issue. These customs have transcended to our present-day celebrations of Christmas and Easter. Our Lord is more Holy than these days of celebration. The Bible declares that almighty Jehovah God is not the author of confusion.

Sallie and I are becoming biblically narrow about these annual celebrations as we spiritually mature in the Lord.

However, everyone should keep Christmas and Easter in their conscience as the Holy Spirit leads them. If we regard a day, we regard it unto the Lord. If not, we still regard that decision as unto the Lord. "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind."

I love the Christmas holiday time of the year. It is an opening to witness our Christian faith to many who, perhaps the rest of the year, do not have open hearts. Jesus is the reason for the season. We do not need our government to deregulate our sacred holidays or to legislate and enforce new radical religious celebrations.

My grandfather told me a story about an immigrant who wanted to travel and reside in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.

He subsequently arrived to start his new life in America. Whether or not he liked Rudolph's shiny red nose, the immigrant walks up to a New York cop and punches him in the face The officer proceeds to haul him to the pokey.

As he was being arrested the new immigrant replied, "I thought I was in the land of the free and the home of the brave?" The assaulted policeman replied, "You are free only to the end of my nose."

Mr. President, leave our traditions alone. Jesus is still the reason for the season.

Christmas is one of the most joyful times of the year. We seem to forget that Jesus would want us to remember every day and keep it holy.

"And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with great joy. When they saw the star, they rejoiced. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with great joy, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy." The wise men, the shepherds, Joseph, Mary and the Christ Child, what a great celebration and hope for mankind.

Many pastors have congregants whom they see only at Christmas and Easter. So we might personally greet them on Christmas to have a Happy Easter and on Easter, we would wish them a Merry Christmas.

To my good friend, Tony, thank you for your email which gave me inspiration for the article and seasonal reminder of who we are in the nation, and in whom we trust: the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen and Amen.



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