I want to begin by wishing everyone of you a Merry Christmas.
Today I want to speak to the argument of whether or not we, as Christians, should be celebrating Christmas on the 25th of December. There are those who argue that we have no evidence that this was the date. Many argue that the Catholics took this date from a pagan holiday and made it a Christian holiday. They say we shouldn’t be celebrating it because it has pagan origins.
Some have a big issue with the Christmas tree. They say we shouldn’t bring it into our homes, and certainly not into our churches.
I want to begin by what the Bible has to say about celebrating certain days.
One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day [alike]. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth [it] unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard [it]. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. (Romans 14:5-6)
Some say that there are certain days that are holy, and others say that all days are alike. Paul says, whatever your position, just be fully persuaded. Let your conscience and you mind be at ease.
If each is persuaded in his mind on the issue, he takes his position for the glory of God. The one who counts every day the same, does so because God is the Creator of all days, and he honor’s God the same on every day. The one who sets certain days apart, does so to give special honor to God on those special days. This does not mean that he doesn’t honor God on the other days, it simply means he has chosen certain days for special emphasis. I would like to point out that holiday breaks down to holy day.
The bottom line in this passage is that if you do celebrate certain days, do it for God’s glory. If you choose not to celebrate certain days, you should also do this for God’s glory. We are not to despise or judge others for their position holidays.
Those who celebrate Christmas are permitted to do so if they give God the glory on that day. Those who choose not to celebrate Christmas have every right not to celebrate it as long as they do so to the glory of God.
In Acts 17, Paul comes to Mars’ Hill. He addresses a cultural thing these Greeks were engaged in. In their worship of pagan gods, they had an altar to the unknown god.
Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, [Ye] men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; (Acts 17:22-26)
Notice how Paul used this pagan cultural issue to point them to the true and living God. Paul used something that was, in itself, ungodly. This altar to the unknown god was an idol, don’t we remember the second commandment that says we are not to make a graven image? Paul used their idolatry to point them to the true God.
The lesson for us is that we use cultural things to communicate the truth. While using the culture, Paul did not condone their idolatry. He pointed out the fallacies of their worship and used them to bring these people to the truth.
Christmas is part of our culture. Whether or not Christ was born on the 25th of December, this is the day that His birth is celebrated throughout most of the world today. It is a time we can use to teach unbelievers about the birth of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, some 2,000 years ago.
We know that the night of Jesus’ birth, the shepherds visited him. But, if we read the text carefully, we learn that the Wise Men didn’t show up until Jesus was a young child in a house. When the Wise Men came, they inquired of Herod and found that He was to be born in Bethlehem. Once Herod learned of Jesus’ birth, he ordered the killing of all children 2 years old and younger. This indicates that the Wise Men arrived quite some time after the birth of Christ. It could have been as much as 2 years later.
We don’t have any scriptural instruction to celebrate the birth of Christ. Some argue that because there is no such instruction, we ought not do so. However, the birth of Christ was such an event that the angels of Heaven could not contain themselves.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:13-14)
I think that if it was so important that the angels could not help but praise God at this event, it is quite acceptable for us to follow their example.
If you don’t want to celebrate Christmas, for whatever reasons you may have, and if you do so to honor God, God bless you. On the other hand, if you, like me, choose to take this day and celebrate it to honor God, God bless you also. We know that our Lord was born, and it had to be one of the days in the year. This has become the traditional day, and it is perfectly acceptable to use this day to celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ to save the world from its sin.
Which ever side you are on, don’t throw rocks at those on the other side. To do so is to violate the principle we saw in Romans 14.
Let me share some news with you concerning our friend, Ezra Levant, up in Canada. He lost his case in the Court of Appeals in Toronto. He was charged with defaming and slandering a Muslim who was part of an anti-semite group. The charges stemmed from Ezra calling him an anti-semite because he was part of a group known for it anti-semite stand. Ezra has been fined $160,000 plus court costs. He does have one more chance, he can take this to the Supreme Court in Canada.
This is an issue of freedom of speech. The freedom of speech is being destroyed in Canada.
Here is the email I received on this subject:
Today Ontario’s Court of Appeal ruled against me and sided with Khurrum Awan, the former youth president of the Canadian Islamic Congress who sued me more than seven years ago.
You’ve supported me so generously in the past — I wanted you to be the first to know, and to hear it directly from me.
You can read the full court ruling here.
I’m worried that this ruling sets a precedent, and it is now legally dangerous to call out an anti-Semite as anti-Semitic. Let me explain.
As you know, Awan was the former youth president of the Canadian Islamic Congress. And one of the reasons I lost was that the trial judge ruled that calling Awan an anti-Semite was defamatory.
But here’s why I had said it: Awan used to be the youth president of an anti-Semitic group — the Canadian Islamic Congress, which was led by a notorious anti-Semite, named Mohamed Elmasry. Elmasry went on TV to declare that any adult in Israel is a legitimate target for terrorism. You can see that video clip here:
And yet the trial judge ruled that it was defamatory for me to call their former youth president anti-Semitic. Because Awan denied he was an anti-Semite in court, and said he never knew about his organization’s infamous misconduct. Awan said he wasn’t anti-Semitic, and the judge ruled I did not prove it was factually true.
Even though Awan himself testified at trial that he agreed it’s reasonable for people to call certain statements by the Islamic Congress anti-Semitic.
That trial was in 2014. So I appealed — it cost me more than $30,000 dollars. And today, the Ontario Court of Appeal came out with their ruling.
The three judge panel — led by a Jewish judge, Kathryn Feldman — upheld the trial decision against me, and the $80,000 judgement, plus the $70,000 cost penalty, plus $15,000 more for the appeal. So $165,000 dollars — all for a Muslim activist who never told the court that he lost a single penny because of my comments.
Now, maybe you think that’s fine — it’s just me, I’m a big mouth. I dish it out, so I should take it.
But let me read to you a passage in the Court of Appeal’s ruling. And put yourself in the shoes of, say, a Jewish student on campus, being faced with anti-Semites like Mohamed Elmasry every day.
The Court of Appeal actually said the trial judge got something wrong — they agreed with me that calling the Islamic Congress anti-Semitic was an expression of my opinion; I didn’t have to prove it as some sort of scientific fact like the trial judge said.
But then the Court of Appeal wrote that Awan “pled malice. Based on the record, the trial judge concluded that the appellant transferred his animosity toward Dr. Elmasry to the respondent.”
As in, because I had hard feelings and animosity towards Mohamed Elmasry, that’s what the trial judge called malice. And she said I directed those feelings to Awan, so my defence of fair comment was thrown out.
So let me put that in plain English. If you campaign against anti-Semitism, and if you have hard feelings and animosity towards anti-Semites like Mohamed Elmasry — the Court of Appeal says those hard feelings and animosity take away your right to make a fair comment if they are directed at others associated with them.
So if you see a vicious anti-Semite like Mohamed Elmasry on TV, justifying the murder of Israelis, and if you feel ill-will towards him, and you call him an anti-Semite or something like it because of that feeling, get ready to pay him $165,000 dollars, because the courts could say you’re malicious — towards him, or if you feel that way about people associated with him.But bizarrely, if you’re someone who sees a video like that, and you aren’t upset by him, and don’t have hard feelings towards him, then the courts may let you call him an anti-Semite because they’ll say it’s a fair comment.That’s the new precedent.If you have hard feelings towards a bigot you have less legal right to say so than someone who has no problem with a bigot.
So people who are fine with anti-Semitism can speak out about it — but they probably won’t speak out, will they?
I’ll never shut up, of course. But what about a young kid on campus? The Court of Appeal has a simple message for them: keep quiet about anti-Semites — especially about the worst of them. Or face a huge lawsuit.
Obviously we’ve got to keep fighting this. I’m going to apply for leave to appeal this to the Supreme Court of Canada. That’s not automatic — we have to apply for the right to appeal there. My lawyer says that will cost approximately $10,000 dollars. We have to continue.
We just can’t let this precedent stand.
Imagine not being able to use the word anti-Semitic to describe activists with anti-Semitic groups.
If you share my belief that we cannot let this ruling stand, please help me cover the costs of applying to the Supreme Court by clicking here.I promise I’ll keep fighting.Yours truly,Ezra Levant
President Obama has just made us less safe. He has removed the registry of Muslims coming into the country. This registry registers Muslims from Muslim countries who enter and exit the United States. He has not used the registry since 2011, but now he has ordered the practice to end altogether. This will make it more difficult for the Trump administration to protect Americans from Islamic terrorism.
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