Friday, January 25, 2008


The Ironies of Christmas

The holiday season is gone but most probably people are still recovering from a lot of expenses or even debts due to gift-giving, to hospitalization caused by firecracker accidents or, worst, of deaths caused by stray bullets from guns fired by drunk men last New Year.

“Many Filipinos, largely influenced by Chinese tradition, believe that noisy New Year's celebrations drive away evil and misfortune, and the staccato blasts of powerful firecrackers could be heard all over Manila and other cities on Monday night and early Tuesday morning.”

In my previous posting titled HOME. SICKNESS. (Part 6) “I want and I’ll Share Life-Giving Gifts”, I expressed my thoughts on the relevance of Christmas exposing its hidden distorted nature. There I wrote about how people have become blinded by materialism and consumerism without really understanding the meaning of this celebration about the birth of our Savior Lord Jesus Christ. Equally blinding is the distorted belief that noise could drive evil and misfortune away!

Last Christmas I did not give material gifts and I did not expect to receive any (except a greeting card from artist-friends, a couple from the US). To me the most important thing of all is to practice true Christian love all year long for the rest of our lives. To treat people the way Lord Jesus Christ did is the best gift to them and the struggle to achieve this level in life is likened to saving a lot for the holiday seasons. But this time what I aim to save is Wisdom and Love, according to what pleases our Almighty God and Father, so that I can share and express these to others. These are the things that cannot be bought or hidden by the shallowness of cosmetics just to look nice from the outside for these gifts run deep in the very foundation of one’s Christian spirituality.

It is ironic that during this supposedly “season to celebrate and be happy” still others become depressed and entertained the thought of suicide. (Watch this video here about people depressed during the holiday season and read this article to learn the other meaning of the word SAD.) Obviously, these people who wanted to commit suicide were the ones who were not equipped with real Christian spirituality for they gauge everything in terms of material things just to be “in” during Christmas with the rest of society enslaved by materialism and consumerism.

“Christmas is the season of profound love” according to one article
Holiday Depression By Dr. Richard Boyum . Yet it misses the point about the real essence of Christianity. The profoundness of the love that Lord Jesus Christ taught is not confined only during Christmas season. It will not dissipate after Christmas and will not cause depression just because someone has no money to buy gifts or celebrate. Lord Jesus Christ conquered worldliness and materialism when He succeeded in fasting for forty days and forty nights in the wilderness despite the temptations of the devil who offered Him the wealth of this world if and only if He will bow down to this fallen angel.

Likewise it is ironic too that we celebrate the supposedly birth of Lord Jesus Christ on a date challenged by critics as not the real date of His birth but the date of an ancient pagan celebration to worship the sun. There are links of websites on the Internet discussing this topic. People might even feel sad to see a Christmas without Christmas trees, lanterns, Santa Claus and all those glittery gift-wrappers but won’t care at all to lift a finger and do their share of spreading the Gospels of Lord Jesus Christ. They have obviously fallen in love and in awe of the grandeur of paganism not to get rid of it rather than be joyful of the Good News of Salvation and embrace it.

To me the date is irrelevant because the real essence of His coming is the most important point of all. We may celebrate his birth and experience short-lived happiness but the rest of the year we are depressed, hateful, angry and vengeful among other wicked acts and thoughts because we are ignorant of His teachings. Therefore it is very important to understand the reason for His first coming here on earth to prepare us for His second coming.

If the reason for the birth of Lord Jesus Christ to be celebrated on a pagan holiday is to win converts and save souls then the real meaning of His birth needs to be inculcated in people’s minds and hearts first and foremost rather than for paganism and its original festivities to blind the people with the glitter of gold and bury the real essence of Christianity by materialism and consumerism and to hide the truth about the birth of Lord Jesus Christ from the spiritually ignorant and hungry people.

There is danger in devising dubious means in replacing pagan rituals by what we perceive as Christian yet questionable ways to save souls. The mere fact that with Christmas falling on a pagan holiday the real essence of Christianity lost to paganism and secularism, to materialism and consumerism so is true faith and worship in danger of losing to idolatry when the acceptance of hand graven images was introduced and widely accepted practice in the Catholic church despite the fact that there is confusion among the faithful about what differentiates blatant worship from mere veneration or devotion.

Helpful links:

Bible verses: IDOLATRY


Isaiah’s Polemic Against Idolatry (Isaiah 40-48)

Jesus Christ vs Santa Claus


The Great Christmas Crime

Bible verses: IDOLATRY

Reading the Holy Bible one will come across a lot of Bible verses about the written Word of God the Father Almighty against the use of hand graven images and about idolatry as He instructed to His inspired prophets of the Old Testament and the disciples of Lord Jesus Christ.

The following verses about idolatry are easily available from this website.

GEN 35:2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, "Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes.

EXO 20:3 "You shall have no other gods before me.

4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.

5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,

23 Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.

23:13 "Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips.

32:4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt."

LEV 19:4 "'Do not turn to idols or make gods of cast metal for yourselves. I am the LORD your God.

26:1 "'Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the LORD your God.

DEU 4:16 so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman,

19 And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars--all the heavenly array--do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.

28 There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell.

27:15 "Cursed is the man who carves an image or casts an idol--a thing detestable to the LORD, the work of the craftsman's hands--and sets it up in secret." Then all the people shall say, "Amen!"

1SA 15:23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king."

2KI 18:4 He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it.
(It was called Nehushtan.)

PSA 115:4 But their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men.

5 They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see;

ISA 42:17 But those who trust in idols, who say to images, 'You are our gods,' will be turned back in utter shame.

45:20 "Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations. Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save.

47:13 All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you.

57:5 You burn with lust among the oaks and under every spreading tree; you sacrifice your children in the ravines and under the overhanging crags.

JER 19:4 For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned sacrifices in it to gods that neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent.

5 They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal--something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.

EZE 23:37 for they have committed adultery and blood is on their hands. They committed adultery with their idols; they even sacrificed their children, whom they bore to me, as food for them.

ACT 15:29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.

17:22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.

23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.

29 "Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone--an image made by man's design and skill.

ROM 1:22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools

23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.

1CO 6:9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders

10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

8:1 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.

2 The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.

3 But the man who loves God is known by God.

4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one.

5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"),

6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

7 But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled.

8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.

10 For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol's temple, won't he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols?

11 So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge.

12 When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.

13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.

10:7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry."

14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.

20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.

12:2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols.

COL 2:18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.

1PE 4:3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do--living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.

1JO 5:21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.

REV 2:14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality.

20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.

9:20 The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood--idols that cannot see or hear or walk.

21:8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."


Idolatry of the church of Rome

Pope John Paul II Commits Idolatry

Falling statue kills toddler in Tondo