The season of candelight


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It is the end of Advent. In speaking against it so late, my intention isn’t to be mean-spirited or spoil anyone’s joy, but to tell the truth, for our freedom from traditions like this was hard-won.

Yesterday, I remembered the following passage. It speaks about placing ourselves in bondage to things that should never be mixed with the Gospel. Advent is one of those things. It detracts from the simplicity of the Gospel, and it should not be celebrated by Christians who truly desire to worship the Lord only in the ways He has commanded. His ways do not include a wreath and lighting candles, and speaking certain passages from God’s Word over them in a yearly ritual.

Galatians 4:8-10

8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. 9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? 10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.

This passage may not settle the issue for you, and I realize that Paul was addressing those who were in danger of being severed from grace – from Christ – by coming under bondage to the law, especially in believing that circumcision is necessary for salvation. However, I believe this passage is important in relation to worship. Candles and wreaths, Advent, the Christmas season itself, are “weak and beggarly elements.” Aren’t we to grow up into maturity in Christ? Certainly we enter the Kingdom as little children enter, but we can’t remain children – we’ve got to grow up.

Because God delivered me from these things, going back to them would be disloyal of me, and it grieves me to see others taking part in them. May the Lord renew our simplicity of devotion to Christ – He Who was born, lived, kept the law in our place, exposed the traditions of men, suffered death for us, and rose again for our justification. Paul’s concern for the Christians at Corinth can teach us so much about all of this:

2 Corinthians 10

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

The Lord Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for making the Word of God of none effect by their tradition. The issue is therefore serious, and I ask that you consider it, going beyond what you like to what God likes.

Mark 7

Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. 10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: 11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. 12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; 13 making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

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26 thoughts on “The season of candelight

  1. I agree with you that the tradition of Advent is troublesome. It distracts our minds from the simplicity that is in Christ and our union with Him now through faith. We focus on His coming to earth, but as you said, He has come and accomplished all for us, praise His name. Thank you for this timely warning and exhortation. God bless you:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • God bless you too, Eliza! As you said, my concern is that Advent and things like it distract us from the only important thing – our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the simplicity that is in Him. There are distractions that come from both the world and from within the church, so we must determine to know Him, to be single-minded, remembering and being grateful for what He has done for us, and is doing in us, until He comes again. Nowhere are we told to remember His birth, but rather to remember His death until then.

      Romans 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

      Maria

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Maria
    I have never really thought about the subject of Advent. In the 7 years I have actually been in Church….never even heard it mentioned. How does it become problematic in churches? Just curious. I really enjoy your posts by the way.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good morning, Wally!

      The practice of celebrating Advent is a problem for many reasons, but chiefly because the Lord didn’t tell us to do this. Some denominations have always celebrated it, but some have been led to do this recently. My main concern is for churches and Christians who haven’t done this but are starting to do this, churches and individual Christians committed to preaching the Gospel and to missions, and which would never celebrate this season because of this God-given emphasis, and because of the origins of Advent in paganism and their emphasis on holiness and separation.

      The Lord saved me through the ministry of Christian Missionary Alliance church planters. At that time, I never witnessed in their churches the ritual of lighting the candles of an Advent wreath for the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. Advent was something that belonged to my Catholic past or to Lutheranism and the United Methodist churches. Some Alliance churches didn’t even display a cross behind the pulpit but rather a Bible verse, such as, “Holiness unto the Lord.” Now, in our local Alliance church, they not only have celebrated Advent but sponsored an annual outreach to the community, “Come to the Stable,” in which they display hundreds of Nativity Scenes. Discernment about and obedience to the commandment, commitment to separation, and love for the Gospel, are being replaced with ritual in these churches and things like sacred dance or skits. I know that many of the Christians in Bible believing churches (such as our own church) love the Lord but are starting to do such things. They display flags and put up a Christmas tree in the sanctuary, and do their own version of Advent, four weeks of preaching about the birth of Christ leading up to Christmas. I believe that they are being deceived into doing things that they formerly believed had no place in a Bible believing assembly governed by the regulative principle, that is, worshipping only in the way the Lord has commanded.

      Thank you for your fellowship, Wally, your kindness, and for asking a good question! I hope I’ve offered a little insight,

      Maria

      Liked by 1 person

        • Wally, hi! I can’t imagine Missionary Baptists celebrating it. My understanding of them is that they are focused on the Word of God and evangelism. We’re now attending a fundamentalist Baptist church, and though they don’t use an Advent wreath, we do have a tree in the sanctuary. We haven’t worshipped with them since November. Sad.

          Like

          • Maria…Yes we are um..pretty conservative LOL. Stodgy sometimes to tell the truth. But on the other hand, it’s all motivated by trying to stick to the Word of God. I hope you all find a church to become part of.

            Liked by 2 people

            • Thanks for this about our finding a church, Wally! We want to go back after the decorations come down and just are praying about our involvement there.
              Stodgy has its good side! And, perhaps because you are a newer Christian they can benefit from your fellowship, as iron sharpens iron.

              Liked by 1 person

      • I just wanted to comment on your observations. Thank you for sharing the history of what you have seen and are seeing. This just reinforces in my heart and mind that Christmas is a very ecumenical holiday and is leading many to observe a religious holiday established by the Catholic church and so is a means of bringing the “erring brethren” and those outside of Christianity into the Catholic fold. This belief is reinforced by the fact that many Protestant denominations are indeed returning to the Catholic church, that the Pope has met with Muslims and has prayed in a mosque and also has an international day of prayer where any and every religious belief system joins with the Catholic church to pray to their god. Christmas is celebrated by the entire world! God bless you:) Thank you for your stand.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Eliza, yes, it is a worldly/ecumenical holiday, and I have noticed what you’re saying, things like the unity with those of the Muslim religion. It’s all pretty amazing but we shouldn’t be amazed because it is a fulfillment of the prophecy of the apostasy. The Mother of harlots has many daughters (churches) that she is calling home – this what she calls this, coming home. What you say is true. And yes, it is another gospel and another jesus that they preach. The True and Living God revealed to us that He is light and that there is no darkness in Him, so they cannot be the same jesus. This was a frightening revelation to me but it helped me to understand that the Lord had and was separating from this darkness, and what that darkness actually was. The cruel and wicked thing is that the images she “paints” and puts up all over the place become a stumbling block at times in trying to pray. The Word is what to pray then, for it is the opposite of these horrible things, which look beautiful but are evil.
          It’s good to talk to you! Lord bless you!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Strange, isn’t it, how we”ll fight for tradition or the notes in some “study Bible,” yet the Word Itself seems to get lost in the shuffle? As an example of the latter, I had a friend who held up a Scofield Reference Bible in a church meeting and said, “This book contains the Word of God. Take out the notes and IT IS the Word of God!” Upset the people quite a bit..

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I have never heard of Advent either but reading your comment explaining it I can make sense of it now. The church is a very sacred place and should be taken in aspect of something very holy and dangerous especially being one being behind the pulpit. The church should be respected and treated as that of God’s and not disrespected. I agree that this should not be condoned within church. I personally think that all the Christmas decorations should not find way into the church either. They do not relate anything to God and we can see in Jeremiah 10 how it is declared as ways of the heathen. One of my wife’s friend’s recently invited us to their church for a Christmas play and that the first half you wouldn’t even have thought you were in a church. Everything was modernized with lights going on like you were in a concert or something. One could call it a megachurch, it felt so to me anyways. Not there is anything wrong with having tons of people but what is being preached that counts. It has to be 100% God’s Word not even 99.9% will count. I know all this that is related to Christmas is done to remember His birth but frankly we do not have an exact date of his birth and it always pops in my mind that the only thing he ever mentioned (to my knowledge anyways) of doing so in remembrance of Him is communion and foot washing.

    I also wanted to say the verses you have brought out are really good. I really enjoyed this and God Bless.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for reading and commenting, Revelation Unfolding!
      It’s true that we should respect the place in which we worship. It is set apart for prayer and preaching of God’s Word and for the singing of hymns.
      I’ve heard people say that there is no connection at all between chapter 10 of Jeremiah and Christmas trees, but I know it relates to Christmas trees at least in one way, that is, that we are not to adopt the customs of the nations (the world) around us.
      Yes, we must strive for 100% faithfulness to God’s Word! We will miss the mark but must keep aiming for it.
      You’re right that the things Jesus told us to remember to do are Communion and washing one another’s feet. I believe that foot washing was meant to signify the lovingkindness and servant heart we are to have toward the brethren, but I have worshipped in a church that practiced foot washing during the season when the Resurrection is celebrated.
      Yes, there’s nothing wrong with a large congregation, and yes, it is the preaching that counts. We are obligated to know God’s Word and handle it in the way He tells us to, with reverence – to tremble at it.
      May the Lord bless and lead you and your wife as you walk the narrow way!
      Maria

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, Wally, you’ve made me laugh, and yes, I will read these passages from the Word.
    Here they are:
    1 Corinthians 10:28 But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof:
    Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
    Thank you! I will pray and study these in reference to this topic. God bless you!!

    Liked by 1 person

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