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All Roads Lead to Rome - A Christmas Meditation

Foreword

Greetings, everyone! I was born in the Caribbean and was born again in 2004 (I praise the God of my Salvation). I will be reflecting on Western holidays, Christmas in particular, since we are in the season. Who doesn't think the jingling bells, the music, the dazzling lights and the yummy eggnog are just wonderful? That and seeing friends and relatives you normally don't get to see? Most of all the mysterious spirit of Santa Clause who seems to posses God-like omniscience and speed as he judges the morality of our children, races around the world with God-like speed, delivering material gifts to the deserving and accepts food and drink offerings of milk and cookies... the dazzling tree that we lovingly decorate, sing to and present offerings under... WAIT... (Reads Jeremiah 10).

My Journey

Over the last couple of years, I started growing indifferent to Easter and Christmas. I never cared for Halloween from the start as I couldn't relate culturally or spiritually (it did nothing for my spirit at best and disturbed me at worst). After a while, these holidays just lost their shine and fed up with the confusion and meaninglessness, I dropped out altogether. Now I know how the author of Ecclesiastes feels! Fast forward to Christmas 2016.  I seriously started to ponder why Christmas, this beloved holiday I grew up with completely lost its luster to me. No matter how much family I was surrounded by, it left me cold and empty. Why am I celebrating this again? We are gathering in the name of what, now? Jesus? How? Where? After a while, it felt like the nativity and the tree were in some kind of competition for attention. Just last year, I put up a tree and it made me feel kind of heavy and wrong. Does anyone know that feeling? So this season I took on the task of finding out why I felt this way towards this holiday. This site is just an example of recurring information I have been digging up. Just know that I don't believe EVERYTHING on the internet. I supplement and cross-reference my search with library books. I only seriously dig into an issue when I've seen enough and my conviction has timely bubbled to the brim.

What is a Holiday?

From what I gather, the word "holiday" is just "holy day" smooshed together, right? In the Bible, to be "holy" is to be special and set apart, not mixed with things common or unclean. Holy days serve to set apart and memorialize a thing, person, place, or event. In the Bible God established holy days for his people Israel to bless them, memorialize his miracles, and keep them in the know about his ways. Even to preserve and convey true teaching and prophecy that ultimately saves lives and souls. God's Holy Days are gifts that just keep on giving in the way of blessing and revelation and they add no confusion or sorrows with it.  Does Christmas serve in this regard? Why do we have to dig SO HARD to remind people the reason for the season?  Why isn't the meaning just obvious like God's Holy Days Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashana, Passover, etc? If Christmas assists in Messianic revelation and the building of our faith, why aren't countries like Japan, which has widely adopted the holiday, seeing an increase in conversion? Why bother with the tree, wreaths and mistletoe?  What do those have to do with God or Jesus? Shouldn't a nativity and some light be enough? I used to believe it was a mere, creative cultural expression to praise God, a way the nations reflect his glory, but according to Jeremiah 10, God has ways he wants to be praised and celebrated and there were customs and cultural elements he wanted his people to depart from completely. Just because something is cultural, doesn't automatically make it good or beneficial. Ex. Some cultures find it acceptable to beat your wife and/or have more than one of them. God appointed Israel as a vessel to carry the hope of the Messiah for the rest of the world, this is why God was so strict with Israel and put so many laws and prophetic feasts on her. The fate of the world literally hung in the balance since the Light of the World was to come out of Abraham's seed. Israel and its Message had to survive no matter what and avoid being diluted by the destructive and demonic practices of her neighboring nations (most of which do not even exist anymore, go figure). I believe this also applies to the Church who is responsible for stewarding the Gospel. We cannot afford to lose our spiritual ear and prophetic voice. Culture can serve to either support this or erode it.

Dates

Does the real date of Jesus' birth matter?  Yes and no. Yes in that the real date, among other divine events in the Bible, helps the Church track critical prophetic fulfillment and believers need to be aware so we can be prepared like the parable of 10 Virgins. No in that you will not go to hell for not knowing or celebrating the real date.

Thankfully, many in my fellowships already know December 25th is not even Jesus' real birth date. No, I don't think this sends people to hell or cancels our salvation, not one bit (I'm not telling anyone what to celebrate, I am just giving my reasons) but I do believe it creates confusion, distracts and even blocks deeper revelation; what I call "Hidden Manna".  You are no less Christian for NOT celebrating it because we are not even commanded in the Bible to observe Christmas. To me, labeling December 25th without caring if it's the real day is like changing the date of my birthday, thus changing my personal history. Even if I end up celebrating my birthday days before or after because it falls on a Monday, people never fail to acknowledge the correct date on my birth certificate. People still acknowledge my true date because it is the accurate way to track my age. In the same way, God's Holy Days serve to track God's history, nature and time tables leading into the End Times. This brings me back to Jeremiah 10. I looked at this passage then looked at my tree and frankly, I couldn't tell the difference. I now know the origins therefore I am now responsible for what I know. I am committing idolatry and to continue despite this would be rebellion. Christmas has SO MUCH distracting BAGGAGE as does it's founders.

Separating from Darkness

As I prayerfully kept finding more information about Christmas' origins, this passage rang clear in my mind:

Revelation 18:4 .....'And I heard another voice from heaven saying, come out of her (Babylon) My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues.'

In the Bible, you see great dualities opposed to each other.  You have Babylon vs. Jerusalem and the Bride vs. the Prostitute. Jerusalem is God's Holy City he set apart for himself. It is where Jesus will return to for his 2nd Coming. Babylon was a conquering force unlike anything the world had ever seen before. It's to the point that this empire's place is CEMENTED in Bible history and turns up again in Revelation with one final showdown.

Babylon is named after the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11) and Babel means "confusion." Babylon was an empire built on many gods, it didn't care which god or how many; they took they ones they liked and worshiped them all, keeping all their kidnapped, conquered subjects happy and subservient. They literally collected the cream of the crop from every people group they conquered, assimilated them and made them lose their identities. (They tried to do it to the prophet Daniel in Book of Daniel). The same went for all the religions the captives came with (confusing indeed!). Mixing evevrything in one pot was just easier than bottle-necking everyone to convert to one God (with SO MANY LAWS, how dare he require things of us!) but ironically their spiritual TOLERANCE backfired on the Jews, or any other monotheistic people group, because "How dare they be faithful to their one, measly god and ignore all the rest?!"  Behind all these gods is a certain fallen angel that hates us yet selfishly wants our worship. Satan is not like God who cares about us knowing him personally. Satan doesn't care if we know him, he prefers that we don't know his plans because it serves his deception. His goal is not to know us but to kill as many souls as possible and be his own god.  Under Satan's influence were the leaders of Babylon who used all these deities to keep people in line and serve their purposes. As long as people serve ANYONE but God, he's fine with it.

Babylon's polytheistic spirituality is likened to the practices of a prostitute in Revelation because of a lack of care/discernment about who she sleeps with. As long as she gets her pay and riches in return, keep the clients coming! This can be found in modern systems of paganism, occult, and new age--all of which wear a spiritual guise but are ultimately grounded on carnality/materialism/pride. "Screw the truth, as long as I feel nice." On the flip side, the worship of the One God, YHWH, is likened to a monogamous marriage of a bride and groom. A married person cares about who they are sleeping with as that is also their friend. The two become one and they forsake all other lovers, sacrifice for, and strive to be faithful to each other, 'til death do they part. Like marriage, God remains faithful to his people and his people remain faithful to God, refusing any other lovers ie. idolatry. In other words, idolatry is spiritual adultery. An idol is anything that steals our time, energy and affections away from our creator and seeks to replace him.

There is an urgency for Jesus' Bride to separate from darkness, forsake her idols, and the Babylonian Prostitute System that sits upon many waters. By many waters, Revelation means Babylon's influences reach all over the globe and her seeds are planted everywhere, right down to our calendars, holidays, customs and even some personal items in our homes.  My research only served to confirm what my spirit was picking up--that these little Babylonian items, holidays and customs act like antennae for Babylon's spiritual frequency. Those frequencies will be music to the ears of those who love it and a horrible noise to those who listen for the Holy Spirit. My hearing gradually changed as I grew in my walk with Christ (we are to have grace and patience for each other who are in different places). The Bride is to have discernment and not behave like the indiscreet Prostitute. Pay attention to the frequencies as God leads. Christmas and other Roman holidays started becoming noise in my ears because of the baggage, confusion, distraction and sin. God's clear, simple Holy Days now ring like a clear note in my ears because they are about him and always HAVE BEEN about him.

Rise of Babylon and Her Fruit

Christmas, formerly Saturnalia and several other holidays we celebrate in the West come from Roman idolatry which morphed into the RCC (Roman Catholic Church). This massive, opulent system sits on seven hills and has some interesting fruit: from the very start, she has (in order to attract converts, never mind true repentance) adopted pagan images and doctrines, calling unclean things holy while turning around and persecuting/killing true believers throughout history (Ex. Inquisition). Revelation says the Great Prostitute Babylon was drunk on the blood of the saints. Instead of reconciling people to God, they made access to him even MORE difficult by way of layers of red tape, religious bureaucracy, guilt, repetitive rituals and the breaking of God's commands (Ex. 2nd Commandment). To this day, most nice Catholics I meet do not study the Bible. Mentioning Moses or Elijah to them is like talking an alien language. I am talking about the institution, deceptions, abuses, and corrupt leadership, not the common laypeople who are caught up in it. Because of the Biblical illiteracy, Satan operates best in ignorance. It is to them God issues the warning to come out of Babylon because she is a sinking Titanic. This is not just the RCC but any church congregations that still adopt Rome and ultimately Babylon's adulterous practices. Every time a church observes Christmas, Easter, etc. they may as well face east, raise their arm and hail Rome and ultimately the demonic gods/goddesses lurking under the guise of patron saints and angels. This is in direct violation to Jeremiah 10. Some things can be redeemed for God's glory, some things are a stink in God's nostrils.

The RCC's Babylonian system deceives people into sinning by not only opposing but replacing true revelation from God's Word & Holy Spirit. Babylon practically steals from Jesus Messiah, his revelations, history, holidays and PAVES over them in probably the biggest act of plagiarism in History. The Vatican in Rome even boasts that they are the real and original Church, when the center of geographic spiritual power belongs to Jerusalem. This is theft from the Enemy who seeks to "steal, kill and destroy" (John 10:10). The Pope now becomes God's Infallible Word on Earth instead of the Holy Spirit living in each believer (we are each priests of Christ). This is only a few of MANY heresies. This a trait of an Anti-Christ spirit which always seeks to oppose and replace Christ, getting us to depend on men. There are many little anti-Christs but according to its long history and practices, the RCC wins the prize for being a huge, proud MONOLITH of the title, as foretold by Daniel 7 and Revelation.

Christmas is man-made, Roman and ultimately Babylonian. Why do you think we have to keep digging and straining to remember the "true meaning of Christmas" every year? Why do we have to constantly remind the kids "This is about Jesus, not Santa!" I grew up celebrating Christmas and not once do I remember the festivities of Christmas bringing me closer to God. The glitter, lights and presents crowded my vision, there was no room for revelation about the Savior. Jesus was off to the side somewhere.  This is why countries with little Christian culture readily adapt Christmas.  At the core, it is a materialistic and pagan holiday that appeals to the flesh. It does not plainly and simply present its message the way God's Holy Days do.


Changing Dates and Laws

The RCC gave rise to a socio-political church system that sought to change God's dates and laws. It has to do with the predictions of Daniel 7 and the Mystery Babylon in Revelation. We in the West run on the Roman calendar (even our weekdays are named after pagan deities!) We have no choice but to use it at the moment as it is how we currently track our time and do business. Even so, I have found it so important to keep track of the Hebrew calendar because that is God's own calendar that tracks prophecy and signs of the times. It is a hot knife that will cut through the cloud of deception cloaking the planet. So we are 2016 according to Roman calendar, but we are the year 5777 on the Hebrew calendar. Hanukkah and Christmas directly converge on the same day this year and that really rings some bells in my heart. I believe God is bringing his people together and preparing them, Jew and gentile as we are grafted into Messiah's tree. The Dark will get darker but the Light will get brighter.


Conclusion

This is not an attempt to shame or put down those that observe Christmas or any other Roman Holiday. If someone wishes me Merry Christmas out off a place of love, I thank them and bless them.  If they want to give me an innocuous gift or offer me some eggnog, I receive it with enthusiasm.  Paul called missionaries to different countries to exercise this courtesy with care. This gentile's transition away from Christmas has really taught me to have grace for others who do not share this same conviction. At the same time I do believe as followers of the Messiah, we should be purposeful and informed about the things we choose to glorify and partner with as we teach the next generation. If others don't want to hear it, I certainly won't force the issue but if people want to take a hard look, let's chat! Being wise as serpents and gentle as doves, we must fervently guard our witness and be sober and alert (not paranoid, mind you!). We ought to be aware of the roots of the things we glorify because the roots determine if a tree is fruitful or rotten. It's imperative, especially in these times, to be students of prophecy and watch for the signs and seasons Jesus talked about. I am human and I can be wrong about things, but I do believe believers are called to wrestle, pray and watch. Over the years, when the Holy Spirit waves blazing red flags, I learned to listen. Please take what I say with a little or a lot of salt, wherever you are in your walk with Christ the Lord. May he be glorified, even despite all the distractions and may he bless us, his Bride, and knit us all tight together.

Grace to you and those who have ears, let them hear. Myself included.

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Comment by Brien Sparling on December 26, 2016 at 11:40am

All (man-made) roads lead to Rome…but it’s still not our home.

1.  Your blog, and especially its conclusion, regarding Christmas  has repeated calls for thoughtful consideration and non-judgement for those who value the holiday differently.  Very wise, in light of Paul’s writings in Romans 14:5-8,17; 1st Tim 4 and 1Corinthians 10:30-31, which appeals for believers to not sacrifice unity on the issues of religious holy days or special foods.

 2.    Romans 14 might cause a casual reader to believe there is no benefit to valuing certain days or foods above others; not so.  In your blog, you use the analogy of birthdays, a special day to value a special person, and note how that affects the recipient. Like a birthday celebration, Christmas honors Christ in direct proportion to how focused it is on him. Focused celebrations of Jesus can be spiritual experiences for the born again, awaking experiences for seekers on the edge of the kingdom…and simultaneously, boring religious exercises for the self-centered.  Jesus didn’t ignore cultural Holidays, he harnessed them (Luke22:15, John7:1- 38).

3.   Religious holidays in general, and Christmas in particular, are battle grounds of ideas and values loaded with ironies and casualties; no surprise they are a source of stress. In his 33+ years our lord Jesus was in the middle of parties (Mark2:15, John2:1-11) religious celebrations, funerals and suffering, getting involved with every level of society. The winter months were busy times in Israel: Romans with Saturnalia celebrations, the Greeks and Syrio-Phonicians with their celebration of Sol invincta (Sun King) vied with the Jewish celebration of Hannukah, proponents of each culture wanted to “call the tune”(Matt11:17-19) for the others. Our Lord came in conflict with culture-authorities repeatedly (Matt11:19, 12:3-8, 12:32-33), and the way he handled himself in instructive for us. Throughout the Gospels you see Christ alternately pulling away from humanity (Luke 5:16, John2:23-25), then later standing up in the middle of an event(John7:37-38) and rocking-the-house.  We are instructed to minister to others while at the same time watching the sanctity of our own spirits(Galatians 6: 1-4); a both daily and during festive holidays(Galatians 5:1,6,16). 

Merry Christ's Mass, and may it continue to rock comfortable people around the world!

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