The Christmas Message Reconsidered

christmasI received some e-mails reacting to an article I wrote on, The Christmas Message. Okay, it’s no longer Christmas but I thought I should give a little bit of reply through this article. The e-mail writer totally missed the point of the message and instead focused on the date of the birth of the Lord Jesus and how pagan Christmas is.

In another article about Christmas trees, I showed how so many Christmas detractors are in error in their biblical interpretation of Jeremiah 10:2-4 to say that Christmas trees are evil and pagan. They need to study some rules on exegesis.

Christmas Reconsidered

For those who are yet unaware, I thought I’d let you know that Ralph Woodrow, author of Babylon Mystery Religion, has completely changed his position on Christmas and Easter. Although this book is earning well financially but he decided to remove it from publication. For many years, Woodrow, an evangelical author, was quoted in various books and booklets as an “authority” on the anti-Christmas position. Well, in 1979 he clarified what his position was on these issues. He said that he wrote the book in 1966 when he was about in his early 20s. According to him, when he changed his view and removed the book from circulation, he received countless hate letters from those who are against Christmas in his book, Christmas Reconsidered. Check this book and you’ll be surprised!

New Year Firecrackers and Stray Bullets

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Having lived in Davao City for some seven years back in 2001-2007, I got used to new years without firecrackers. Former city mayor Rody Duterte totally prohibited its use during new year celebrations. And I think most city folks agree with it.

There is also a city ordinance prohibiting smoking in public places except in some few designated areas. If you’re flying to Davao City, flight attendants would normally warn smokers of the city-wide smoking ban lest they end up in jail while visiting Davao. While some daring, unruly city folks may break this rule once in a while, these two city-wide ordinances are generally accepted by the Davao city dwellers.

Nationwide Firecracker Casualties Yearly

What really is so perplexing to me is this: Despite the all out campaign nationwide by the Health Department along with the police authorities, there is always a lot of casualties—lost limbs blown away, bloodied faces and deaths—every year nationwide caused by both legal and illegal firecrackers. Why is it that so many of our countrymen continue to buy firecrackers in huge numbers? Some even buy illegal firecrackers filling up their cars with dangerous explosives!

The usual reason I hear for all these is “for fun” and also, “for luck.” Nothing wrong with having fun but people traditionally want to make noise every new year to kick the evil spirits out, to scare them away, this is the usual reason I hear. And this is the belief of many, I would suppose. The reason behind this tradition is something that I cannot agree with totally—at least to me. Could this be a wrong foundational belief leading to wrong practices? Faith and practice go together.

I don’t mind welcoming the new year. It’s good to be optimistic and hopeful as we face another year. Hopeful for a bright new year, a new beginning, a new start, leaving the past behind. But the casualties—that’s another story.

Some sectors in society have been strongly urging the government to take stronger measures to end the yearly casualties. Is a total ban possible nationwide? That’s going to be quite an explosive issue!

Stray Bullets from Wicked Men

What boggles my mind is this: why do people who own firearms—despite the total ban!—continue to fire their guns every new year? Have they forgotten that what goes up, eventually comes down? To date, there are 20 casualties hit by stray bullets. Many of the casualties have been accidentally hit while inside their homes! Bullets came through the roof and through the ceiling. What kind of a mind can do this?

Truly the mind of man is desperately wicked. “Who can understand it?” asked Jeremiah (Jer. 17:9).

  • “Change my heart oh God, Make it ever true, Change my heart oh God, May I be like You.”

Speaking the Truth in Love

In their enthusiasm to share the truth, some people knowingly or unknowingly offend other people’s feelings. As they attempt to share the gospel, they speak out their heart without caution—without regard if they are hurting or putting down the other person—calling them names which oftentimes are filled with sarcasm, prejudice and ridicule. They are quick to correct people’s attitudes. Sometimes it’s intentional to retaliate from an insult received or sometimes one speaks out of pride to show off one’s biblical superiority over others.

speak truthThis is bad news—not good news. We’re supposed to share the gospel—the good news! We’re not looking for someone to argue with and fight with. We are supposed to share God’s good news and give an answer to those who are truly seeking and hungering for God’s Word. Sad to say, it would seem to me that some people only enjoy debating and arguing for the sake of having fun and to boost their ego.

God Loves Everyone

The Lord reminds us to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). God loves every human being (John 3:16). Whether we know it or not, all of humanity is beloved of God and we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. When we look at people this way—with love because after all they’re all our brothers and sisters—we can speak the truth to them in love, with kindness, with gentleness, with compassion, with understanding, with humility.

Let’s all speak the truth in love.