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15375Re: Christmas a pagan festival? Maybe not

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  • gmw
    Dec 28, 2006
      --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "timmopussycat"
      <timmopussycat@...> wrote:
      > I was cautioning against citing Calvin as authority for the point
      > the original poster wished to make, which relied on Calvin opposing
      > Christmas to the same degree as the Scots.

      Actually, that is not at all what the original poster wished to make.
      I asked you who told you to celebrate Jesus' birthday, and who told
      you how to celebrate it?

      Or, "Who told you it was Christmas, you poor beasts?"

      Where did I even imply that Calvin's view was the same as the Scots?
      Where did I even mention the Scots?

      I've seen many a discussion on Calvin's view of Christmas, none of
      which consider the following quote taken from his December 25th Sermon
      on the Book of Micah, wherein he clearly blasts the idea of Christmas,
      and yet concedes to reading the Nativity story on the following Lord's
      Day -- I believe this shows what his view is, and what his concessions
      were (Christmas keeping is nigh unto devil worship, but because it's
      good to set aside some time to think about the Lord's birth, they'll
      read the nativity story on God's Holy Day):

      "Now, I see here today more people than I am accustomed to having at
      the sermon. Why is that? It is Christmas Day. And who told you
      this? You poor beasts. That is a fitting euphemism for all of you
      who have come here today to honor Noel. Did you think you would be
      honoring God? Consider what sort of obedience to God your coming
      displays. In your mind, you are celebrating a holiday for God, or
      turning today into one. But so much for that. In truth, as you have
      often been admonished, it is good to set aside one day out of the year
      in which we are reminded of all the good that has occurred because of
      Christ's birth in the world, and in which we hear the story of his
      birth retold, which will be done on Sunday. But if you think that
      Jesus Christ was born today, you are as crazed as wild beasts. For
      when you elevate one day alone for the purpose of worshipping God, you
      have just turned it into an idol. True, you insist that you have done
      so for the honor of God, but it is more for the honor of the Devil.

      Let us consider what our Lord has to say on the matter. Was it not
      Saul's intention to worship God when he spared Agag, the king of the
      Amalakites, along with the best spoils and cattle? He says as much:
      "I want to worship God." Saul's tongue was full of devotion and good
      intention. But what was the response he received? "You soothsayer!
      You heretic! You apostate! You claim to be honoring God, but God
      rejects and disowns all that you have done" [1 Samuel 15:8,9].
      Consequently, the same is true of our actions. For no day is superior
      to another. It matters not whether we recall our Lord's nativity on a
      Wednesday, Thursday, or some other day. But when we insist on
      establishing a service of worship based on our whim, we blaspheme God,
      and create an idol, though we have done it all in the name of God.
      And when you worship God in the idleness of a holiday spirit, that is
      a heavey sin to bear, and one which attracts others about it, until we
      reach the height of iniquity. Therefore, let us pay attention to what
      Micah is saying here [Micah 5:7-14], that God must not only strip away
      things that are bad themselves, but must also eliminate anything that
      might foster superstition. Once we have understood that, we will no
      longer find it strange that Noel is not being observed today, but that
      on Sunday we will celebrate the Lord's Supper and recite the story of
      the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. But to all those who barely
      know Jesus Christ, or that we must be subject to him, and that God
      removes all those impediments that prevent us from coming to him,
      these folks, I say, will at best grit their teeth. They came here in
      anticipation of celebrating a wrong intention, but will leave with it
      wholly unfulfilled."

      -- Sermon (20) upon Micah 5:7-14, Preached Thursday, December 25th, 1551.

      To sum up, my intentions are not to say that Calvin opposed Christmas
      to the same degree as the Scots (though they both apparently held
      Christmas-keeping to be satanical), as clearly Calvin in some way
      acknowledged what people's minds were on that time of year (might as
      well read the Nativity story this Lord's Day, since everyone is
      prepared to hear that anyway), which is more than I understand the
      Scots to have done. Rather, I'm simply asking you Christmas-keepers
      the same question Calvin asked...

      Who told you it was Christmas?

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