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The Alex McFarland Show-88-Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland
The Truth Network Radio
December 14, 2023 6:00 pm

The Alex McFarland Show-88-Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland

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December 14, 2023 6:00 pm

On this week’s episode of the Alex McFarland Show, Alex answers the question that people have about Christmas, which is, if we as Christians should celebrate it. During this podcast he shares three scripturally based reasons why it is absolutely legitimate to celebrate Christmas because of the need to tell people about Jesus. Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season!


Three Reasons to Celebrate Christmas:

  1. The Bible does not forbid it.
  2. It can be a great object lesson for children to learn about the birth of Jesus.The lost world needs to know about the Savior.
  3. It can give us joy and take us down memory lane.


Scriptures:  

Romans 14:4, 5

Revelation 11:7-12, 12:5

Luke 1:30,31 & 2:7-9 (read chapters 1 & 2)

Matthew read chapters 1 & 2

Titus 3:4

1 Timothy 1:15,16

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The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About Christianity

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The spiritual condition of America, politics, culture, and current events, analyzed through the lens of scripture. Welcome to the Alex McFarland Show. Should Christians celebrate Christmas?

Hi, Alex McFarland here. I want to address a question that we get asked very frequently. You know, Christmas can be worldly.

So much of the focus is on commercialism and crass, ungodly things. And should a Christian celebrate Christmas? I'm going to look at some scriptures and we're going to talk about this subject. And I will tell you unabashedly, I and my family, we love Christmas. We celebrate Christmas. And the things that, well, they take me back to my boyhood in rural North Carolina on a farm. We lived with both grandmothers in a house my grandfather built, in a house where my dad was born. That was really kind of how I grew up. And I well remember on Christmas Eve, after church, going down to the barn to feed the cows with my dad, and on a cold Christmas Eve with my father, thinking about being in a stable in Bethlehem. And even, this was years before I was a born-again Christian, but I just wondered if the barn that I was in was like the barn Jesus was born in. And so I've always been enamored with Christmas.

I love Christmas. But really, as a minister and writer, researcher, professor, you know, I've been to the Holy Land to almost all of the most famous Bible places, some 72 biblical sites. Angie and I have visited. And then I've interviewed people and worked on 20 books. And the reason I say that, I give God the glory.

But here's the point. It is the most documentable fact of the ancient world, the life of Jesus, and how God left heaven, came to earth, entered the stage of human history, the perfect, righteous, sinless Son of God, in fulfillment of Bible prophecies, Jesus was born to go to the cross to be our Savior. It is the greatest story ever told.

It really is. G.K. Chesterton, who had a great influence on the life of C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton said, Christmas is a beautiful, intentional paradox that Jesus was born homeless so that he would be celebrated in every home. And Jesus, who was sinless, became sin for us.

And he entered the world so that ultimately he could enter every heart. It really does stretch the mind to try to take it in. And yet this is real.

This is history. In fact, this is the meaning of reality itself that God created and God is the Redeemer. And Christmas reminds us of that. But I understand that some people have misgivings.

So let's talk about this. Should we celebrate Christmas? I say yes, but let me look at the Bible, which is where we need to go for all questions of faith and practice. The Bible doesn't tell us to celebrate Christmas, but it doesn't tell us not to. It doesn't forbid it. You know, and it doesn't really say that we can only observe holidays that are initiated by God. In the book of Esther, the Jews were celebrating Purim. And that was not one of the Levitical holidays given back in the books of Moses.

It was on their own. And so it is, within reason, possible to celebrate holidays not overtly specifically prescribed by scripture. Birthdays, you know, Thanksgiving, things like that. In the gospel, we see Jesus observing all of the relevant Jewish holidays, some of which began in the intertestamental period from Malachi to Matthew. There was a 400-year period. And so Jesus celebrated the cultural holidays. We see that in the gospel.

And so I really don't think there's anything wrong with celebrating the birth and the resurrection of Jesus. And I want to look at Romans 14 for just a moment. And Romans 14, 4, and 5 ask the question, Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls, and he will stand for the Lord is able to make him stand. Now listen to Romans 14, 5. One person regards a certain day above others, while someone else considers every day alike.

Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes a special day does so to the Lord. He who eats does so to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God. And he who abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. So I really believe whether or not you celebrate Christmas, it's a matter of your own conviction and of your heart.

But I will say there are benefits certainly in instilling in the hearts of your children a love for Christ, the wonderment. You know, somebody wrote, Don't be upset if you don't have a perfect Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, all Christmas trees are perfect.

I would agree. Christmas is a great object lesson, a great teachable moment to talk about selflessness, generosity, giving gifts, because God gave the greatest gift of all, his Son. And I've had so many families talk about how they get out the manger scene, the nativity set, and the kids play with it. And yes, I'm keenly aware, many Christians don't like Santa Claus, even though St. Nicholas was a Christian bishop and very significant in the life of the early church. But I really think that we need to leverage the beautiful imagery, the reality of Christmas to show the gospel. And let me just say as a cautionary word to the parents out there, and I've had parents that just zealously tell me how they don't, they want, they wouldn't, they couldn't celebrate Christmas. That can be counterproductive because the rest of the world is experiencing joy and happiness.

And very often, you know, kids, once they get out of the house, they kind of, sometimes the things that have been withheld from them, they kind of go crazy and, you know, it can backlash. Obviously every family, every parent's, every pair of, you know, parents, mom and dad, you need to do as the Spirit of the Lord leads you and be godly. But I really think it's a matter of the heart. And knowing this, that in the Christian life, there is no sacred, secular divide. We often think about, you know, while I'm doing this in church, this compartment of my life is sacred, the rest of my life is secular. What I do Monday through Saturday is separate from what I do on Sunday going to church. No, in the Christian life, really all of life is under God, like it says here in Romans 14, 5 and 6. Someone eats a feast and does it unto the Lord. Someone else doesn't and gives thanks to the Lord. And so Christmas is one of those things. All of life for the believer is sacred, is an act of worship.

We're not owners, we're stewards. But the reality is Jesus came, the Bible devotes lots of biblical real estate to recounting the birth of Christ. And so to talk about it, to thank God for it, to stop our world and worship the newborn King, who is the King of Kings, and he's coming again soon.

I think it's a wonderful thing to do. When we come back, we'll talk about some of the verses, some of the scriptures relevant to Christmas, and we'll talk about America, and we'll talk about what we can do to be grateful and to make a difference truly. You know, people talk about the meaning of the holiday, the reason for the season. We'll talk about the true foundation on which it all stands, Jesus, when we come back. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert.

Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. You know, at Christmas time, you think about how grateful you are for the past year. And I share a letter that we just got, a teenage girl that was in one of our camps.

She said, Mr. McFarland, I've never read a book for more than five minutes. But since going to your biblical worldview camp last summer, I read my Bible 45 minutes every day. Praise God. And as Christmas time comes, I want to say thank you to all the people who pray and financially support our ministry as we call people to Christ and youth to serve God and country.

But what about you? Do you know Christ? You know, Jesus is as close by as a prayer. And if you need help in your walk with the Lord or encouragement, you can go to my website, which is Alex McFarland dot com.

And there's a tab there. What does God say about my relationship with him? In the meantime, stand strong, be bold. Thank you for your prayers and support. And in the new year, let's do great things for the sake of the gospel.

He's been called trusted, truthful and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show. Laura Ingalls Wilder, famously of the Little House on the Prairie books. And she was a Christian. She was.

There's been a book written about the faith of the prairie girl, Laura Ingalls Wilder. She said, quote, We are better throughout the year for having in spirit become a child again at Christmas. End of quote.

Hi, Alex McFarland here. Welcome back. I do want to say on behalf of Angie and myself and our board and our staff, we do wish you a very merry Christmas, a joyous, Jesus filled Christmas. And yes, I do believe Christians should celebrate, be invested, be a child again, be childlike and just remember in awe and amazement that as Francis Schaeffer said, God came near.

Francis Schaeffer, maybe Christmas is a reminder of what Schaeffer said. God is there and he is not silent. God has spoken.

Isn't this wonderful? In this tired old world where I was just recently reading that even secularists and agnostics believe the world might have come to just about the end of its journey. Well, Christmas is a promise that not only did God come the first time, he's coming the second time.

Now, I want to talk about some of the verses of Christmas, but I want to do something that is probably not a scripture you associate with Christmas. In Revelation 11, something very dark and I believe this is during the tribulation, after the rapture of the church, the seven year tribulation, literally hell on earth breaks out. And as you probably know, there will emerge a religious political leader, a false Christ, an anti-Christ that deceives the world and brokers a peace treaty for the Middle East. But midway through the tribulation, the anti-Christ shows his true colors and demands to be worshipped as God or people will be executed. So in Revelation 11, there's really just the upside down opposite of the real Christmas. That the two witnesses come, perhaps it's Moses and Elijah, we don't know, but there are two witnesses and they prophesy and preach against this evil world system.

And they are clothed in sackcloth. They're kind of like John the Baptist, maybe like Moses and Elijah. But what happens is they preach and they proclaim righteousness and the world hates them. Now, I am sure that these two witnesses, let's say the grand new world order is, you know, utopia. And the world is probably going to say, oh, you all are utopia-phobic, where you don't like, you know, cryptocurrency and you're homophobic and you're transphobic and you're Islamophobic and you witnesses are backward and fearful and you just hate what you don't understand. That's what cancel culture says of Christians nowadays. But here's the thing. It says in Revelation 11, 7, after they have completed their assignment, finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the abyss will attack them, overpower them, and kill them.

Now listen to this. Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. People ask me sometimes, is America Babylon of Revelation 17 and 18?

No, I don't think so. I think Babylon, the mystery Babylon, Revelation 17, 2 says the kings of the earth commit fornication with the harlot, the mystery Babylon. I think there's going to be this great world system of economic, political, and yes, religious powers that control the lives of all the people on the earth. But Babylon, where is that city from which the work of the Antichrist emanates?

I don't know. But here is Sodom and Egypt that are symbolic names of Jerusalem because Revelation 11, 8 says where the Lord was crucified. Well the Lord Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem.

Now this is the amazing thing. This is just dark and satanic. The two witnesses, Moses and Elijah perhaps, maybe John the Baptist, and Moses, an Old Testament and a New Testament prophet, we don't know. But the beast, the Antichrist, has them killed. Now verse 9 of Revelation 11, and this is the upside down satanic Christmas ceremony almost from Revelation. For three and a half days, people of every tribe, language, and nation will gaze on their bodies, refuse them burial. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. But after three and a half days, the breath of life from God enters them. They stand up on their feet and terror strikes those who see them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying, come up hither, and they are raptured up to heaven in a cloud while their enemies look on. Well and of course Revelation goes on. It says the second woe is past, the third woe is come.

Now you think about this. Here are two preachers of righteousness that are calling the inhabitants of the world to repent, don't follow the Antichrist, turn to the real Christ. The real Antichrist has them killed. And as the two prophets lay dead, the people exchange Christmas presents, almost anti-Christian presents, and celebrate. That's just this perverse upside down of the true celebration of the coming of Christ. Folks, isn't this something that just as Jesus got raptured up to heaven, he ascended into the clouds, so these two witnesses will. So one day the church will, and the people will be terrified. And isn't it something that the two prophets preaching righteousness during the time of the Antichrist, it says that they were a torment.

To people that are bound and determined to turn away from God, they don't like truth. That's why so many people say the season, quote unquote, or the holidays, or winter solstice. It's almost like it would just break their jaw to say Christmas.

Christ. I was watching some old videos of the David Letterman show back in the 90s, and he had Pat Boone on. And David Letterman said, Pat Boone, you're going to have a Christmas special on the Christian Broadcasting Network. They wouldn't say the word Christian nowadays.

It's just 20 years ago. They would say Christian. They wouldn't say it now. And just like the witnesses of Revelation tormented the people during the future tribulational time, even now the sound of scripture bothers some people. The content of scripture bothers people. The reality of Christmas. People might be okay with Jingle Bells and Frosty the Snowman.

I like those songs too. But let's even go beyond Jingle Bells and Frosty. Talk about Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Oh Holy Night, Joy to the World, Angels We Have Heard on High, Oh Little Town of Bethlehem, and a hundred more that I could name. We need to tell people about Jesus. And that's one of the reasons that I think it's absolutely legitimate to celebrate Christmas.

First of all, the Bible doesn't forbid it. Secondly, it can be a great object lesson to children. Thirdly, it can give us joy, take us back to memories that maybe are long gone. But also Christmas is a time to tell a lost world about the Savior, to tell a fallen world about redemption, to tell a hopeless world about the one who is hope, and to tell a people that have no purpose, that God sent His Son to be our Savior. History is going somewhere.

History does matter. We actually set our calendar by the birth of the baby Jesus. How could we ignore such an undeniable reality that Christ has come? Stay tuned.

We're back after this. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert. Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. Over the last several decades, it's been my joy to travel the world talking with children, teens, adults, people of all ages about the questions they have related to God, the Bible, Christianity, and how to know Jesus personally.

Hi, Alex McFarland. I want to make you aware of my book, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About Christianity. You know, we interviewed hundreds of children and parents and families to find out the questions that children and people of all ages are longing to find answers for. In the book, we've got practical, biblical, real-life answers that they have about how to be a Christian in this modern world.

My book, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask, you can find it wherever you buy books or at resources.afa.net. He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show. Luke 1, 30 and 31, the angel said, do not be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you. Look, you will conceive and give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus. Welcome back to the program. Before we resume our talk about should Christians celebrate Christmas, let me tell you about some things coming up. If you would please keep us in prayer. The first weekend in January, January 4, 5, and 6, I'll be in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Equip Winter Blast.

This is for youth to teach worldview to youth. It's going to be a great event. We've got great speakers. I'll be there.

Great music, great food. Inflatable, like obstacle courses and jousting, fun and games. But what we're trying to do over the Christmas break, this first week in January, we're telling kids about defending the Christian faith and standing strong for what they believe. Also, February 6, if you happen to be in Greensboro, North Carolina, an Evening of Impact. It's a fundraising banquet for Alex McFarland Ministries, Truth for a New Generation.

We've got a summer of camps, conferences, publishing. Folks, the Gospel is free, but it takes a lot of resources to deliver this message. And every year, the people that hear us on radio and television, countless millions. The people that I'm in front of face-to-face, I and our staff and quality speakers we use, thousands and thousands. We are telling kids about God and country.

So the February 6, Evening of Impact. Please pray for that. And consider sponsoring a table or coming to the banquet, bringing people with you. If you want information about that, all of this is at my website, alexmcfarland.com. Or if you need more information, you can email info at alexmcfarland.com. One final thing, our summer camps for youth, equipretreat.org. And grown-ups, you're not left out.

You can join me at the Cove, July 12-14. I'll be teaching 1 John about your identity in Christ. So much going on. Thank you for your prayers.

Thank you for your involvement. And together, we can partner to call our nation and our world back to Christ. Well, let's talk about the time we have left. And I'll be piggybacking on this next week as well with more verses about Christmas and celebrating the birth. Let me encourage you to read Matthew chapters 1 and 2. Let me encourage you to read Luke chapters 1 and 2. And you know, I was talking about the book of Revelation in Revelation 11. But I think about Revelation 12, which talks about the woman, Israel, that gave birth to the man-child. Revelation 12-5 says that Israel, the woman, because Christ came through the Jewish nation, the woman gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. And her child was caught up to God to His throne. That's the story, the birth, the ascension of Jesus.

But in Luke 2, going back to Luke 2, 7-9, it says that Mary gave birth to her firstborn, a son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch by night. And the angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them. And of course, you know the story.

Yeah, I think it's so beautiful. I've seen this probably 55 times, but a Charlie Brown Christmas, when Charlie Brown shouts out exasperated, can anybody tell me what Christmas is? And of course Linus goes out onto the stage. I remember this, I was about four or five, and we saw it on our little black and white television. And I was just so transfixed by Linus, and there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And you know, I was fascinated by that Christmas story then. I'm continually enamored with it now, and how special it is not only to know the story of Christmas, but to know the Savior of Christmas. And I hope that's the case with you, because Christmas, Titus 3, 4, it says, When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Christ Jesus our Savior. 1 Timothy 1, 15 and following.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst, said Paul. Only time I've ever been tempted to disagree with the Apostle Paul, he felt like he was the chief of sinners.

Most days I felt like it was me. But here's the thing, as 1 Timothy 1 says, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. That's what Christmas is about, that the dear Lord Jesus came to be our Savior.

Now Christmas is very special. I do think it's interesting that at key points in our nation's history, in America's history, God has done things at Christmas. And you know, I teach on the Constitution, and every now and then students, even at Christian universities, and certainly journalists will say, Well, what about it? America's founders were not Christians, and there's no real divine transcendent purpose in America.

No. Well, our founders weren't secularists. And I do think there's a very special divine plan for America. In 1845, the journalist John O'Sullivan talked about what he called the manifest destiny, that we would go from sea to shining sea. And folks, this Christmas, and God has done so many things at Christmas. You know, Christmas in 1776, and Valley Forge in Washington, crossing the Delaware.

I mean, there's a lot, but I want to go back farther. Christmas of 1747. You see, this is 20 years before the American Revolution, and France was at war with Britain. And the King of France had threatened to torch the colonies, just to humiliate and harm the King of England. And so all throughout 1746, there were rumors of war, and I believe God did miracles to spare the colonists from French acts of war against England. But in December of 1747, a certain printer in the city of Philadelphia organized a couple of things. Pennsylvania's first volunteer militia, and also this printer urged people throughout the region to fast and pray.

And the call to fast was approved by Pennsylvania's president and council. Now, the two poster children that secularists love to point to are Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. They were not secularists, I assure you. We can talk more about that, but listen to this, and you tell me if this is the word of one who doesn't believe in God.

December 12, 1747, the Pennsylvania Gazette published these words of Benjamin Franklin. Quote, the calamities of a bloody war seem every year more nearly to approach us, and there is just reason to fear that unless we humble ourselves before the Lord God and our ways, we may be chastised with yet heavier judgments. We have thought it fit to appoint a day of fasting and prayer, exhorting all both ministers and people to join with one accord in most humble and fervent supplications that Almighty God would mercifully interpose – in other words, intervene – and still the rage of war among the nations and put a stop to the effusion of Christian blood.

In other words, the spilling of blood. Well, God answered the prayers, and Philadelphia was not attacked. But right now at this Christmas, like 280 years ago almost, we need to pray that God would stop the war, God would stop the terrorists, God would protect Israel, God would stop the violence, the killing, the godlessness, that God would move. And God is able to come into the stage of human history. Once again, we need God to come onto the stage of the world right now.

We need God to invade America. So celebrate Christmas, observe Christmas, spread the news of Christmas, pray this Christmas, and may God use you to be like the shepherds and make known abroad the truth that Christ has come. If we can help you in that regard, we're here to do that. May God bless you. Merry Christmas.

We'll pick this subject up again on the next broadcast. Alex McFarland Ministries are made possible through the prayers and financial support of partners like you. For over 20 years, this ministry has been bringing individuals into a personal relationship with Christ and has been equipping people to stand strong for truth. Learn more and donate securely online at alexmcfarland.com. You may also reach us at Alex McFarland, P.O. Box 10231, Greensboro, North Carolina 27404, or by calling 1-877-YES-GOD and the number 1.

That's 1-877-YES-GOD-1. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you again on the next edition of the Alex McFarland Show.

Do you have a desire to deepen your faith, better understand Christian apologetics, or to get a biblical perspective on current events? Well, I've tried to make it simple for you to do just that. On my website, alexmcfarland.com, there's a new section called Ask Alex Online. It's simple, it's clean, and you can read my answers to common questions about God, faith, and the Bible. So visit the website alexmcfarland.com and look for the section that says Ask Alex Online.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-19 02:23:32 / 2023-12-19 02:34:37 / 11

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