Legalism in Today’s Body of Christ –
Christmas in the Cross Hairs

By Nathan Leal – Original release December 27, 2013

Warning – this article is going to offend some, but it is also going to set others free.

Legalism is destroying the remnant church! I’m sorry that I have to say this but I believe that it is true.
Over the last few years, I have watched several theological trends gain traction in the lives of believers. One of the trends has to do with believers adding rules of the old law to their Christian walk.
There are many reasons that this is happening but in summary it has to do with a confusion of what holiness is over faith. The confusion goes even deeper where some are substituting an exterior of self-fortified walls based on law keeping and believe it to be an exhibition of inner sanctification.
These self-fortified walls are adorned with a devotion to amendments which harpoon Christianity and convert it into a religion of pious regulation and religious order.
Now folks, I am sure that what I’m about to say is going to offend some of those who are a part of this movement. But it must be stated because this trend is becoming a stranglehold for many people.
  • Inner sanctification will never be accomplished by outer works, or by the outer abstaining of things which are benign.
  • Inner sanctification will not be accomplished by the adorning of the outer garments of spirituality.
…nor will it be accomplished because a believer insists that one should use the name “Yeshua” instead of “Jesus.”
…or worship on “Saturday” instead of “Sunday.”
Nor will it be accomplished by whether or not a person celebrates…
… are you ready folks?
…whether or not a believer celebrates Christmas with their family.
Are You Still With Me?

I know that I just opened a can of worms but I felt the need to talk about this. Now ladies and gentlemen, please know that I have no ill will toward anyone but I really believe that I must visit this topic.
I know that it is dangerous ground and that some could argue against what I am going to say but please hear me out.
Folks, our faith has to do with our relationship with Jesus. It has to do with whether or not we have repented of the sins that were inside of us.
Our faith has to do with whether or not we have been born again into spiritual renewal.
It has to do with our understanding of the power of the Blood of Jesus.
Our faith has to do with our devotion to worshiping Jesus every day of the week, to the born again believer, every day is the Sabbath. Why? Because Jesus IS the Sabbath!
The Sabbath is not a day in the week. The Sabbath is the immersion of us with Him, our Lord and Savior.
The Sabbath in the days of old was a SHADOW of what is available to us now in the present. The Lord’s Day is every day. This is a great mystery and seems to have a segment of today’s believer’s confused.
Again, I know that these words are challenging but is it possible that there is truth in them?
The Annual Attack
I have noticed that every year around this time, I start seeing the bashing and attacks begin against those who celebrate Christmas with their families. I have witnessed that there are some who condemn those who are remembering and celebrating the birth of our Lord on this holiday.
Why is this?
“Well Nathan, it is because Christmas is a pagan holiday! I studied it. I can prove it, I watched the YouTube’s that showed me!.. It is very evil!”
My reply, … pagan to whom?…
And thus … It is as it is… in the eye of the beholder! In other words, I guess if someone is convinced that it is evil then that is their choice. We all have a conscience so let your’s guide you.
However, why is it that with this holiday, some of the enemies of Christmas become crusaders who enlist themselves in a campaign of condemnation to those with holiday cheer?
I have seen some of the arguments against Christmas. I have also seen that some of the anti-Christmas rhetoric generalize the holiday and likens those who acknowledge the day as participating in an abomination that has few equals.
To this I say, “Absurd!”
Folks, if you choose to not celebrate the holiday is it because of conscience or do you really believe that it is an unpardonable sin?
In my humble opinion, celebrating CHRISTmas is not equal to eating babies or stealing candy from crippled kids!
But based on the hatred that I see towards it on the internet, it would seem that having a nativity in one’s house is an evil of high proportions!
I am amazed that while I can see our Lord in the holiday, others only see the pollution of paganism. Perhaps I need better spectacles.
Or perhaps Jesus will show me my error and if this is in my future, I will mend my ways and seal the breach against Christmas.
I don’t know. If it is possible that I just need to come around, then why won’t the anti-Christmas people offer prayers for me, or encouraging words seasoned with love and grace to challenge me? Because this is not what I encounter during this time of year. Instead, I encounter passionate diatribes that inform me of my failure.
The accusations are colorful…
“You are a child of Babylon!”
“If you have Christmas with your family, you are a fraud!”

You are blind…!
Again folks, if I am blind about this matter, then why do some throw hatred towards me instead of grace? I have a theory of why the encounters are hate-filled. More in a moment…
But as I have processed this whole matter about the movement of legalism in today’s end time church I have to wonder at the logic that is used to isolate Christmas as being “pagan” but ignore the bigger reality.
Paganism is Everywhere!

My friends did you know that the names of the weeks and months in our modern day calendar are named after pagan gods? And every time that any of us reference the name to schedule our lives we are participating in paganism?
Every time folks! When we see the work schedule, the appointment is with pagan names!
…When you tell anyone a date for anything…the names are pagan!
…When you schedule the gathering for worship…again…it happens on a pagan day!
Did you know this?
So as I have watched the purists out there talk about the evils of Christmas, I have to wonder, and say to myself…but…but…don’t they know that they are acknowledging pagan days every day of the week?
Does this mean that every day of the week an abomination?
Is saying, “I worship on Saturday,”  really saying, “I worship on Saturn’s Day,”
because that’s what Saturday means and Saturn was a pagan diety.
Uh Oh, Now What?
Here’s another conundrum, how many times has an anti-Christmas advocate sent out a birthday card with a time and a date…
“Little Joey’s Birthday is this Thursday, January XX.”
Translation – “Little Joey’s Birthday is this Thor’s Day in the month of Janus..XX.”
Janus was the pagan god with two faces. So does this mean that little Joey’s Mommy is committing an abomination because she’s celebrating a party with Thor and Janus?
Is Joey’s mommy pagan?
Folks, can you see how absurd that this is?
Again my friends, how many of the anti-Christmas well meaning purists continue to schedule their lives and use the names on the calendar? I suspect it is all of them!
Here’s another disclosure, some of the months on today’s Jewish calendar are named after Babylonian false gods!
Tammuz was a Babylonian false god, he was the son of Baal
So what is one supposed to do with this quandary?
Some may rebut that this does not mean we have to join Babylon. And this is true, we are not to be immersed in Babylon. But there is a distinction between living while in Babylon and worshiping the ways of Babylon.
Aside from our Christian walk there are cultural traits, mannerisms and celebrations that do not add or take away from the Christian faith.
1. A Salute in the military.
2. A birthday party for the kids.
3. The celebration of country’s national independence. i.e – the Fourth of July.
4. Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc.
And this brings me back is my original point, how can anyone escape, when they hurl rocks at others about Christmas, when they themselves use the calendar to schedule their lives?
Folks, please think about this!
And thus, for me, Christmas is NOT about Santa, or elves or a tree.
…or pagan worship!
What Christmas is To Me
Christmas is about the celebration of the birth of our Lord.
“But Nathan, celebrating the birth of Jesus is not sanctioned in the Bible!”
That’s true…and neither is a regular birthday celebration, but we still do that.
“So how can you justify it Nathan?”
How about Colossians 3:17?
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
In our house, Christmas is a celebration of thanksgiving in the name of our Lord. I do not think that it gets any simpler than that.
In our house Christmas is also about family.
My friends, one of the most precious things that we have in this life is our families and our loved ones. For a mother and father to have a fruitful bounty of children and teach them about the birth of Christ is not evil!
For a family to engage in worship songs which are about the beautiful, magnificent and holy birth of Christ is not evil!
I have seen the accusations in social media, emails, forums and websites which condemn the tradition of Christmas and equate it with witchcraft and satanic paganism!
But ladies and gentlemen, to call the worship of our Lord, “paganism” is to navigate into an area of self-righteousness and dangerous judgment against the brethren.
Are you still with me? Or are you already writing the hate mail?
Folks, we are living in very perilous times right now. The coming future is not going to be easy for the Christian who desires to be a part of the remnant. But what is the remnant? The answer could also a long sermon, but in summary, the remnant is made up of people who keep the commandments of God.
Jesus summed up the commandments into the concise instructions of loving the Lord thy God with all our strength, soul and mind…in others words, everything in us, and to also love our neighbors as our self.
Loving your neighbor means that you have to love them even if they celebrate Christmas.
Loving your neighbor does not mean that during Christmas time, the stoning should begin!
For those who believe that celebrating Christmas places a believer’s salvation in jeopardy, I have to wonder why the outcry against it must be done with such venom?
Why the Hate?
My friends, our faith is not determined by the outer garment. Our faith is determined by whether or not we allowed our heart to be torn and broken in repentance when we faced our sinful stains at the cross; the type of immoral stains that we can read about in the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 6:9,10
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
Brethren, I do not see the celebrating of Christmas in this list of iniquities.
By the way, if one desires to abstain from this holiday, God bless them. I will not condemn or judge. But why is the “grace” not returned?
Again, I am not sharing this article to create a firestorm, although there’s a chance it might. I am sharing this because right now all of us need to be examining the inside of our own hearts, not the hearts of others who do or do not celebrate Christmas.
For those who desire to throw stones during Christmas time, it makes me wonder what the motives are? Because throwing stones does not show love…
…instead it reveals bitterness!
Folks, I have received the emails! I’ve read them..
..they are mean and nasty!
Most of the hateful ones are from Hebraic Roots and Messianic belief systems. Which lends to the speculation that there are many in this movement that are full of anger and bitterness!
Why is this? I have a theory but I will hold on to it until a later time.
If you happen to be against Christmas and you are reading this, I have nothing against you as far as your desire to abstain. It is your choice and I will not condemn you, or cast stones at you.
But why is it that many of those who are anti-Christmas cannot return the favor?
Why is it that many in this group must condemn through words that are laced with anger and a spirit of “old fashion meanness!”
You know folks, based on this trend, I have to wonder if in the end times, some of those that will betray the brethren unto death will be in these ranks?
Again, if you happen to be in this group but do not have the anger that I describe, I apologize, but why is that many of your colleagues seem to have so much anger?
My friends, the anger of one’s heart is the tale of the tape! Anger reveals that there are unresolved issues within. And it makes me wonder, does this show that there is a connection?
Is the disdain towards this holiday a sign that there is un-forgiveness towards family members…or ex family members?
Again Nathan…Ouch!
I know folks, but someone has to say it!
…And since I have one foot in the grave, it might as well be me!
We Tried It!
Several years ago, my wife and I decided that we were going to become anti-Christmas. So we got rid of all things Christmas in our house. And for several years, Christmas came and went.
The one thing that I noticed during those years was that I did not feel any different inside. I did not feel holier, or more joyful, or more peaceful.
I did notice, however, that I felt sad and empty.
I also noticed that my flesh felt pious and self-righteous, almost like I was better than everybody else because they were being pagan and I was not.
After a few years of this, I noticed something else. I noticed that I had robbed my children of having holiday memories with their mother and father.
I was also guaranteeing that I would never again get to sing the beautiful carols about the birth of our Lord with my family.
…Those beautiful carols, there are many of them that bring a tear to the eye, and feed my soul with a rush of wholesome joy. For who can listen to the song, “O Holy Night” and not be moved?
Who can listen to the powerful words of “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem,” or “Away in a Manger” and not be blessed?
When I banned Christmas from my life several years ago, I was left empty, with no blessed memories.
And that’s another thing about Christmas; it’s the chance to make good memories with your family and your children. It’s the chance to imprint a setting where your children gather together and talk about the birth of our Lord.
I recently announced that I have in autoimmune disease that may someday – “do me in.” With this in mind, I want to make as many memories as I can with my wife and my children. Making beautiful holiday memories is not pagan nor is it evil.
Sitting at a Christmas table and eating a turkey with my family is not pagan, it is a gift!
Making beautiful memories is what we are all supposed to be doing right now.
Another privilege that we have during this season is to tell others about Jesus.The holiday season offers a free pass to those who want to invite a lost friend to a service or to Christmas dinner. It opens the door to the good tidings of great joy! How can this be an evil thing?
So this is why I have decided to celebrate Christmas. I do not do it to make the world angry. I do not do it to have stones cast at me.
I do not do it to anger my Hebraic Roots and Messianic brethren out there.
I do it simply for one reason, because I love Jesus and I love my family.
And making beautiful memories with your family is a privilege that will not always be available.
For those of you who may be wrestling with this whole Christmas thing which debates should you or shouldn’t you, please let the peace of God rule your heart, not condemnation or the peer pressure of others.
So my friends make the best of it, whether it is Christmas, Hanukkah or something else.
God bless you, and from my heart, Merry Christmas and Season’s Greetings.
Nathan Leal
Watchman’s Cry