Many believers have a question about whether or not they ought to celebrate Christmas. Is it scriptural to celebrate Christmas? Is it unscriptural, or anti-scriptural, to celebrate Christmas? First, we must understand that the celebration of Christmas is not scripturally mandated. Nowhere in the N.T. do we find the disciples celebrating the birth of Christ. It is more of a social holiday than a spiritual, or scriptural holy-day. We should not try to Christianize Christmas, or "put Christ back into Christmas," for He was never there, but there are some scriptures that will give us guidance in the matter. Paul tells us in Romans 14:5-6a, "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it...."

Secondly, we must realize that the celebration of Christmas is a stumbling block for many believers. The history of the religious observance of December 25th takes us to the celebration of false Roman gods that was transferred to Christ by the corrupt Roman Catholic religious system. "Christ's mass" may be especially a turn off to one raised within that corrupt religion, but has since been delivered. If our celebration of this day is a stumbling block to a weak believer, we should gladly set aside the observance. Or if one cannot "regard it unto the Lord," and do so in faith, he should not observe it. We are not in bondage to observe any holy-day, but are to observe every day unto the Lord, which takes us to our final point.

Lastly, if one is to celebrate Christmas, he must observe it scripturally. Paul plainly tells us that, "He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it…" Romans 14:10-23 gives us many scriptural principles that apply to the observance of any day. We are not to "set at nought" our brother, for we will all have to answer for ourselves whether or not we observe Christmas, and how we do it (or don't do it). In all these things we are to "serve Christ" (v.18), and not be an offense, or offensive, to our brother in Christ. If we are to celebrate, it must be of faith, or it is sin (v.22-23).

There can be many dangers in the observance of Christmas. The materialism and covetousness that is so rampant in our society's celebration of the holiday are snares that few Christians can avoid without a close walk with God. It is very easy to get so caught up in the traditions, that it is not observed unto the Lord, and is not done so in faith. We can rejoice that our Saviour was born, but the Bible nowhere tells us the date, nor mandates our observance of it. We rejoice that He came to save His people from their sins, that He did die for us, but is risen again! We serve a risen Saviour who will soon return for His servants. Will He find us watching?

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Paul wrote to Timothy, a servant of God, and told him to "watch thou in all things..." (2 Timothy 4:5a). To watch, means to be sober, and circumspect, understanding what is going on around you. Isaiah spoke harshly of the Lord's servants in Isaiah 56:10, stating, "His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber." What a sad indictment laid upon any of those who would call themselves followers of God, and yet that same charge can be laid against so many of us today, because we do not even understand what is going on around us, that we are in a spiritual battle!

Christian, do you understand the times in which you live? Do you understand that your Lord has given you a job to do, and that you need to be diligent in the performance of that job because He is soon returning and you will give an account of yourself? "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer" (1 Peter 4:7). The Lord has taken a far journey, leaving His house, giving authority unto His servants, and to every man his work, and has commanded the porter to watch (Mark 13:34). Will He find you sleeping when He returns? "And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch" (Mark 13:37). Christ Himself will gird Himself, cause you to sit down, and He will serve you, IF He finds you watching when He returns (Luke 12:37). What an awesome promise!

We are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-8 that we know that the Lord will return as a thief in the night, but as children of light, that day will not overtake us as a thief. We are not to sleep, but "watch and be sober." Put on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation (vs.8)! We have an adversary that hates us, hates the work of God, and hates the Lord's churches. How sad it is that so many believers are more concerned with their "liberty in Christ" than they are about being sober-minded. They take more interest in throwing off the restraints of the Word of God than they do in striving to please God by living a life of daily obedience. Christ warned the church at Sardis to "be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God" (Revelation 3:2). Do not stand ashamed before Him when He comes. Walk circumspectly, redeeming the time, for the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-16).

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Seneca, a Roman political figure living during the time of Christ, once said, "It is indeed foolish to be unhappy now because you may be unhappy at some future time." The sin of worry is one that is indulged in by most Christians today, it being brushed aside as, maybe a flaw, but certainly "nothing to be worried about." Worry is indeed a sin, just as lying, stealing, or adultery. Since it is a sin, we need to understand how the Bible tells us to deal with it. Paul, writing to the church at Philippi, gives us three steps to help us deal with situations that, if dealt with improperly, would cause us to worry and fret.

The first, and most obvious, step is to Pray. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6, "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known unto God." To be "careful" is to be anxious about a situation, i.e., full of worry. We are to be careful for nothing, not even one thing! We are to be in prayer about "everything"! When we pray, we are acknowledging that God is in control, and we are committing our ways unto Him. Our prayers ought to be exact, expressly stating what it is that concerns us. The Psalmist tells us to cast our burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain us (Psalm 55:22). What particular petition do you have to bring before the Lord? With that petition, we are to include our gratitude--"with thanksgiving." We should thank the Lord for trials and temptations that come our way, for it is through these that we are refined; it is through these that we learn to trust even more on the Lord. This first step is so important, but many times neglected, or accomplished improperly as we throw out a generalized prayer about our needs. When we faithfully bring our burdens before the Lord, the result is that the "peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep [protect] your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7).

Next, Paul tells is to Ponder. Philippians 4:8 instructs us to think upon things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. It is not enough just to pray, but we need to control our thought-life! This will take some discrimination on our part. We need to recognize what is going on. What is it that you are worrying about? Do you know for a fact that it will happen, or has happened (is it true?)? Are the things you are thinking about worthy of respect? are they right? are they clean? are they lovely? are they well-spoken of? We are to cast down imaginations, and anything that would exalt itself against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). Take control of your thoughts, and bring them into captivity to the obedience of Christ! You need to be decisive about this. Paul says, "Think on these things." You must make that choice.

Lastly, we are to Practice. Paul continues in verse 9 and says, "Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do..." The word "do" refers to performing something repeatedly and habitually. The reason behind this is that we cannot change tomorrow. We have today to obey God, and we may not know what we are to do in the future when, and if, we ever encounter the situation about which we are worrying. But we do have knowledge about how to live today. We are not responsible for tomorrow; we are responsible for today! Jesus said, "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (Matthew 6:34). God's mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22), and so we must use those mercies for the troubles of today, NOT tomorrow!

When we use the resources God gives to us today, in order to obey Him today, "the God of peace shall be with" us! When we pray, we enjoy the peace of God, which is wonderful. But when we pray, ponder, and practice, the very God of peace is with us! What greater peace could we have in the midst of situations that would otherwise fill us with anxiousness? Which would you rather have? Would you be full of anxiety and care over things that you have no control, or would you be full of the peace of God and enjoy His presence in whose hands is your very life? It really is no choice at all.

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