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15377Re: Christmas a pagan festival? Maybe not

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  • timmopussycat
    Dec 28, 2006
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      --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "gmw"
      <ragingcalvinist@...> wrote:
      >
      > --- 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?"

      Tim-Actually Gerry, given that all of what you said was...

      But who told us to celebrate Jesus' birthday? And who told us how to
      celebrate Jesus' birthday?

      How do you know that God is pleased with your celebrating Jesus'
      birthday?

      These questions, to me, are more significant than simply "how was it
      decided that December 25th was a likely date for Christ's birth?"

      Why is December 25th, the date of Christ's birth or not, to be
      called ChristMass, celebrated as a Holy Day, with lighting candles
      and putting up trees, and decorating with red and green, celebrated
      by giving gifts to each other, with tales of elves and fat trolls
      sneaking down your chimney?

      Or, to paraphrase Calvin... "Who told you it was Christmas, you poor
      beasts?"

      ...it is fair to read you as believing that Calvin supported you, a
      supprorter of the Scots view, in your questions. The problem is that
      he did not entirely do so.
      Calvin would answer your questions like this: "The early church told
      us that we may celebrate Jesus' nativity, and there is no second
      commandment reason not to. We may celebrate Jesus birthday in any way
      that honours God, but nobody in Geneva had ever heard of any of the
      19th and 20th century Anglo-American accretions that turned the
      celebration into a commercial racket, so don't attribute those abuses
      to us. Granted we have some of our own, which is one reason I don't
      entely approve of celebrating Christmas."

      And you should know that the festival was instituted about 100 years
      before the name Mass was first applied to the Eucharist in 397. And
      the content of that "Mass" included no heresies, the churches would
      not descend to the unbliblical doctrine of transubstantiation for
      another 700 years. So please drop the "guilt by association" fallacy
      of using "ChristMass" here, as such connotations were not present
      when the festival began, and need not be present today.

      And please note that you are confusing two questions which should not
      be confused. One is should we celebrate the Lord's nativity at all,
      the other (which I was not initially addressing) is how should it be
      celebrated? On the latter question, I agree with you that we should
      not celebrate with the santa myth. But once again that is not what is
      proposed.

      But I would like to see an answer to a question I asked which has not
      been answered. I would like to see someone address Englsma's
      challenge to provide a Scriptural justification of the Westminster
      view that we may set special services of public worship in observance
      of "notable judgments," "some special blessing," and "days of public
      thanksgiving," as allowed by the Westminster Assembly's "Directory
      for the Public Worship of God" and as actually held by Presbyterian
      churches in the Scottish tradition. But keep in mind, however, if you
      establish that the Directory is Scriptural at this point, you have
      also established that the church may set special services to mark the
      Lord's coming to earth.


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

      Tim-Nowhere. That clause was simply the conclusion of the sentence,
      but I included it to highlight the differing views among the Reformed.
      >
      > 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.

      Tim-This one sentence is why I say it is not wise to deploy Calvin in
      favour of the WCF nonobservance of Christmas. Although Calvin here
      says that the Genevans will hear the story of Christ's birth retold
      and consider all the good that has occured because of his coming on
      the following Sunday, he does agree that it is good to set aside one
      day out of the year in which to be reminded of these things. In doing
      so he allows what the Scots do not.


      Tim
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