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I received the following question:

You mentioned that you refuse to perform any rituals. Why then do you keep Christmas? Is it not much the same as any other ritual? My church has long been opposed to the keeping of Christmas, although perhaps lately they have been less strict about it.

You are right, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between these two. But what really sets them apart in my mind, I think, is the fact that no one (at least no one I associate with) thinks keeping Christmas to be something which God has commanded, or imagines that it will bring him favor with God. However, at most churches out there, it is believed that God has commanded the keeping of things like water baptism or confirmation or communion, and that by keeping these one is keeping God’s commandment and pleasing Him by doing so. This is the big sticking point for me. I see no reason to stop keeping Christmas, although it is of no use in my relationship with God. The fact is that I do not think anyone is being deceived or led astray by my celebrating Christmas in some way. So many who do not even pretend to name the name of Christ keep Christmas that it has almost come to the point where it would be a religious act not to keep it! But things like baptism are another story. Since many actually believe that this is commanded by God and is a thing pleasing to Him to do, or even the means whereby God saves men, I could never join in the keeping of this ritual, as I know this not to be the case. For me to take up an empty ritual in such circumstance would be for me to cast aside the freedom I have in Christ as being of little worth. In the matter of Christmas, though, I may keep it and exercise my freedom in Christ by doing so, because I do not believe that anyone will be led away from true relationship with Christ to empty ritual by my doing so. Read the rest of this entry »

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birth certificateHow exciting is the birth of a new baby! The thrilled parents eagerly make phone calls to friends and relatives letting them know of the wonder of a new child entering the family. Surely there is no prouder time in the life of a newly married couple than the birth of their first child.

So we would expect that God’s announcement of the birth of His Son would be grand indeed. Yet how did this great announcement of the birth of the Savior begin? Not with great fanfare and ceremony, nor with the inspired proclamations of a prophet or the songs of a psalmist. No, this announcement began rather with the visit of an angel to a young Israelite girl in the city of Nazareth. Read the rest of this entry »