::the winter solstice + why, as a christian, i am ok with christmas::

in
some circles, christmas is disdained by christians on the premise that
christmas was an adaptation of pagan holidays revolving around the
winter solstice. earlier this month this troubled me and i wondered ‘is
what we’re doing legitimate?’. afterall, the hebrews were constantly
reprimanded for consistenly adding pagan religion to their own worhship
of YHWH. after some conversations with other believers and a sermon
from a knowledgable pastor i’ve concluded that i’m ok with 21st century
christmas celebrations. here’s why:

while the hebrews and
later, the early christians, were guilty of adding pagaism to judaism
and then christianity, those additions were illegitimate. they
often added pagan sex practices, worshiped polytheistically or added
things forbidden by YHWH. modern christianity does not add anything
illegitmate to the celebration of X’s birth. christmas trees and other
decorations and traditions of this season are not illegitmate or
sinful. nothing about the current celebration is done in a detestable
way, except perhaps the greediness of some, although that is not at all
condoned by true believers. nor is that greediness practiced during
worship services.

secondly, i think it’s important tha paul
did not condemn the believer who ate food offered to idols, but rather
admonished the weaker brother not to, if he felt that was unacceptable.
i think there’s a correlation to christmas here. perhaps some struggle
with the pagan history that eventually lead to the current celebration
of christmas, and for those, then perhaps they should leave the holiday
and its season be; but there is no condemnation for those who choose to
celebrate.

one other side note: oftentimes the argument comes
up that according to the fact that the shepherds were keeping watch at
night Jesus could not have been born during winter. this is not true.
bethelem ephratah was a town known for its farming and shepherds.
shepherds there kept watch outdoors year round. whether or not Jesus
was born in december is unclear, but it cannot be ruled out based on
this argument.
—-
and on to a slightly different topic: what
happens to babies when they die before reaching any sort of tangible
consciousness? dispensationalists would argue that there has been
created a dispensation that allows all those who “cannot believe” to be
“saved”. therefore babies who die before reaching a tangible
consciousness would go to heaven. on the other hand, if this is true,
then the most merciful thing to do would be to kill all babies. they
would be guaranteed salvation based on the fact that they had no
capacity to believe. this would be one of the many possible arguments
for those who would not accept that babies are guaranteed salvation.

i personally have not been able to come to a conclusion on this topic.
it seems that both sides seem to make quite valid points. and perhaps
this issue is mostly irrelevant because the bible seems strangely
silent on it, save the verse in first or second samuel when king david
laments the death of his child born of his adulterous affair with
bathsheeba.

what we think is justice is not necessarily just.

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