The Annual Christmas Debate

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Is it right for followers of Jesus to celebrate Christmas? It is filled with pagan traditions? Can it be honoring to the Lord? Should we celebrate Hanukkah instead? Should we just follow the biblical calendar? Or is it just a matter of personal conviction? Listen live here 2-4 pm EST, and call into the show at (866) 348 7884 with your questions and comments.


Hour 1:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: There are many who say Jesus is the reason for the season. If that’s the case then make it about Jesus. Either way, come to your own conviction before the Lord without judging your brother or your sister.

Hour 2:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: While it’s fine to debate whether we should celebrate Christmas or not, or how we should celebrate it, may I encourage you to rejoice in the fact that the Son of God came into the world, that the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. Let us exalt Him in a special way before the world at this time of the year.



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  1. Hi Dr. Brown and guests,

    It’s clear that many people have very strong feelings concerning this issue. Since this is not a salvation issue, I would say seek the Lord, and approach others with a heart of compassion, kindness, and grace. It breaks my heart when I hear people assume that others do not search the Scriptures for themselves just because they haven’t come to the same conclusion as us. Let us walk in humility and love in our quest for Truth, then we will be pleasing to Yeshua.

  2. Does Rachael really say ‘1st day’, ‘2nd day’? That does not aid comprehension at all! Would anyone really book an appointment with the dentist saying ‘4th month’? I had no idea that someone would really do that when I made a rhetorical point!

    Rachael wrote: “These blame game phrases really get old. If you are serious about scripture you are curious to learn. You don’t jump up and say that everybody that presents scripture is judging or pointing fingers.”

    My point regarding blame is that another believer out there, who considers themselves more holy or faithful than Rachael, would probably be able to use Scripture to accuse her of not being sufficiently abstemious, or careful in the observation Christian rites. One could, but that would be mashing up the Bible, pulling verses out of context.

    Dr Brown is very hot on holiness, and regular listeners will probably be of similar mind. I think that he has the balanced approach that is so necessary in our times. Christians need not celebrate Christmas/Easter/Mother’s Day if they feel that they want to honour Christ in another way. I have sympathy with that. But where I draw the line is in making assumptions about other believers’ spiritual maturity based on our responses to side issues.

    BTW, here are some other everyday practices/customs/inventions with ungodly origins:

    Mortgages with interest
    Wedding rings
    Using the Internet
    State schools not led by rabbis
    Cookery books (Apicus wrote the first)
    Carrying the bride over the threshold
    Saying “bless you” when someone sneezes
    The number 0
    Classical tragedy

    I COULD accuse another believer who had had dealings with any one of these things. Mind you, since I have been tainted by association with ALL of them, I’d be on a sticky wicket.

    Hands up who has had nothing to do with any of the things on this list?

  3. I applaud those that follow the biblical mode of defining the month of abiv. The barley being two weeks away from ripe. This was changed by Rav Gamliel II, when they foresaw that everyone was going to be exiled from Israel. But promised that when Messiah comes back we can go back to the old ways of doing things. The Karaite Jews endangered themselves every year to identify the barley stages to see if they needed to make a 13th month, then traveled back to their exiles by the 10th of the month to announce and give evidence of the barley that it was abiv.
    I applaud those that have returned to this format of calculating the first month of the year.
    Orthodox Jews today do not have a beit din that can surpass the beit din and ruling court of Rav Gamliel II. In fact there is no rabbi even, a real rabbi according to the Talmudic teaching. Until Elijah formulates and annoints a new rabbi and sanhedrin, this ruling of Rav Gamliel II, can not be expunged.

    The Karaite Jews follow their own ways, and are not enslaved to the logic of the rulings of the Sanhedrin of Rav Gamliel II, hence, they have been excomunicated and cut off from the rest of the Jewish orthodoxic Jews.

    Jewish solidarity is important to me. Yeshua spoke of those that “sit in the seat of Moshe”, we have to define if the sanhedrin of Gamliel II, qualifies in Yeshua’s teaching as “those that sit in the seat of Moses”. And the New Testament teaching of obeying the authorities over us in the epistle of Romans, does that Sanhedrin of Gamliel II qualify.

    Then there are the sin offerings brought by the Sanhedrin if they led the people to sin against Hashem, the people are not held accountable but the sanhedrin that sat in the seat of Moses is. If this Sanhedrin’s rulings have caused us to sin, we are protected because we led astray by the ruling court.

    The Gentile Christians had the same problem as the Jews, everyone had been exiled outside of Israel, thus why and hence the temporary exile calendar format ruled in by the sanhedrin of third and a half century of Rav Gamliel II.

    The early followers of Yeshua were forbidden to teach in the Temple about Yeshua, their response was, “should we obey men or G-d.” So I see freedom to those that would rather follow a yearly canlendar setup of ancient Israel as permissible from thaf same logic of the disciples of Y’shua.

    This luxury has not been available until recently to follow the ancient calendar and I could foresee this ancient calendar growing in popularity if a mock Sanhedrin or a fake Mashiach comes.

    To those that are following this ancient Calendar format, I say to you, good job, I respect that. These exiles have really done its number, simulation among the Gentiles, rabbinical calendar systems.
    Jewish solidarity or freedom from ancient rabinical ordinances that can be overturned now that we can check the barley to see if is abiv and call by phone or email or tweet to anyone in the universe to know if its the first month or if its Rosh Chodesh. Does Yeshua want Jewish solidarity more or correct calendar calculations and who sits or qualifies as sitting in Moses’ seat today and the last 2,000 years plus?

    Since I am naturally haredi, I would just as well keep both, the Christian’s calendar is useless to me, strait Babylonian witchcraft roots, but I live in this world, so I use every opportunity for the glory of G-d as Paul used the idol of the unknown god to glorify Hashem.

  4. Again Anthea you make a stretch, none of which apply to my post. I would rather hear what you have to say about the scriptures that I presented???

    As I said in Israel…WE DO say first day, etc..but it is understood there.

    I hear all of your other points…but my post had to do with the biblical redemption calendar which I have heard no comments about. PLease read my post and research the WRITTEN word for yourself. This written word was not written by me as I said before…any defense that you have against this word you will have to take up with GOD not me.

    ALL the best to you,

  5. Rachael, I find it interesting that you assume that posters with a different point of view don’t care about, or don’t read, the Scriptures. (Ironically I read through Galatians yesterday, and found it very pertinent to the topic of the show.) In any case, Dr Brown’s programme would hardly be the listening choice for people who don’t care about the Bible!

    I don’t know why it has to be such a hotly-contested battle, especially between believers. The original radio show had an interesting presentation of the different ways people choose to honour the amazing Incarnation of Jesus. None of the callers implied that their way was the only way. BTW Dr Brown has already commented on the various proof texts that have been presented about this topic, so I don’t really need to add to his posts.

    Have people attacked you because you choose not to celebrate a Western-style Christmas? I hope not. I have occasionally heard of Christians being misjudged for choosing to opt out of Easter or Christmas. If that’s happened to you it’s a shame, and I hope that you don’t think I am telling you that you *must* celebrate Dec 25th etc.

    Of course, Jesus’ taking on flesh could be celebrated every day. (See my post number 4 above.) If we wanted to be precise, we could send celebration cards and invitations to evangelistic events in the Autumn — our unbelieving friends might even find it intriguing.

    Having re read Galatians, I would, however, reject an *insistence* on keeping feasts and rules from the Old Covenant (with an accompanying implication that Gentiles must do these things to be acceptable). It is also wrong to make Jewish believers abandon Biblical feasts and customs that they want to keep up.

    Like you, I also find it annoying when people misuse Mt 7 re judging. However, we are told there and in James to judge with righteous judgment. Dr Brown had a temperate approach that we would all do well to copy.

  6. I hope we never get to the place where a Christian who eats grits can only get along with another one who eats the same, or if a Christian prefers Malt-o-meal, then I hope that one does’t
    require himself to associate only with those who prefer Malt-o-meal.

    Our calling as Christians has nothing to do with trying to make little images of ourselves, as if we are the exact right standard of God. I think we all should know that we are not.

    There are many villages and towns people have decided to get comfortable in and none of them are the kingdom of heaven which is far above them all.

    What we can do is work to help each other get closer to the heavenly city above.

  7. Anthea,

    Although you speak well in form, again I did not hear any comments on Genesis 1:14 or any other scriptures I have posted.

    You said: “keeping feast and rules from the old covenant, (with an accompanying implication that Gentiles must do these things to be acceptable)

    My comment again is that Genesis 1:14 is the Creators Redemption calendar. There were no rules or laws or people when GOD created this calendar. Who created the gregorian calendar? You want to toss out GOD’S redemption calendar like OLD news …THe chance for redemption-Salvation came thru that calendar that you dismiss. Gentiles followed this calendar BECAUSE they followed Y’shua ALONE! Did Paul teach another calendar? Who changed the truth? Again I mentioned John 4:22 .. where did Y’shua point that gentile woman to salvation which correctly translates to “Y’shua”?
    HE pointed her away from pagan practices. Has that changed because the church today has adopted something else? That is an honest question?

    With out Y’shua KEEPING these feast appointments there would be no fulfillments! SO “NO” SALVATION-NO Passover Lamb, NO feast of Shavuot-Pentecost so “NO” HOLY SPIRIT. You say the word “acceptable” in your above comment. Is that what the creators calendar implies. HE calls everyone and HE alone decides who is acceptable. It is not about gentiles must do these things to be acceptable. This is about what GOD created to reveal HIMSELF TO MAN and to bring SALVATION to all men. HE said it ONE WAY and it has been changed. To restore what Paul taught in the beginning and to do what Y’shua himself did and taught…we would have to return to those hebrew roots that the scripture says we were grafted into. Should we take out those scriptures…they are already dismissed today and the understanding has been removed for centuries now via our church fathers. The information is documented for your own research.

    You said: Dr Brown had a temperate approach that we would all do well to copy.

    You defend Dr. Brown Well. TO be honest withholding truth is not something I look up to. I respect the truth because the truth sets us free. BUt it has to be spoken from the scripture alone. The road of least resistance is not where the treasure is or the truth!!! I expected more from him.

    Its sad because the church has been programed to beleive that the appointed times are laws and they are just for the Jews. Did the Messiah Y’shua, the Passover Lamb, Just die for the Jewish person? So if you except salvation from Y’shua, who is Salvation, AND the Passover Lamb, why would you choose to dismiss the Passover and switch to a gentile pagan holiday that does not offer salvation, by origin or by definition? Inclusive in the Passover is the feast of unleaven bread..HE became our unleavened SINLESS sacrifice and then First fruits, HE became the first fruits of ALL living things. ALL died in Adam but ALL live in Y’shua….nothing else can tell this story and nothing else has this meaning. I don’t know why anybody would NOT want to follow HIM, as HE tells HIS story? We do not keep these feast under the law of the levitical priesthood because we are not under the law of the sacrificial system. Y’shua was the perfect lamb..HE is PERFECT TORAH and the requirements of the law was fulfilled in HIM ALONE! Y’shua came thru the order of Melchizedek where HE could be BOTH High Priest and KING forever.

    I pray that some would see this and want to know more.

    All the best,

  8. Purim and Hanukkah are chagim deRabanan.
    The rule of do not add to the Torah commandments have not been added by these rabinical days of remembrance. Michael Rood himself celebrates these rabinical man made festivals.

    It would be highly hypocritical for a Michael Rood or likeminded to condemn someone who wants to remember a man made festival every year under the scripture verses “do not add to the Torah Law.

  9. However, these are referenced in the bible. They are not of pagan origins. Y’shua did not teach against the Feast of dedication. HE is the DEDICATED ONE…showing up in John 10: 22-25 on this feast!
    22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25 Y’shua answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe.

    Shabbot Shalom, Rachael

    “I told you and you did not believe” references the old coventant

  10. Rachael or Bo or anyone who might know Michael Rood’s instructions.

    Michael Rood claims that the verses in Matthew “the scribes and Pharisees that sit in the seat of Moses, do everything they command you”, really bothered him, and that it simply could not be the words of Yeshua so he asked Nehemiah Gordon to find a way to solve this problem. Nehemyah Gordon found the Hebrew Matthew known as Shem Tov, which says, “the scribes and Pharisees sit in the seat of Moses, do what he tells you to do”, Nehemyah Gordon saying that he refers to Moses not the scribes and Pharisees. Michael Rood, then by claiming the Hebrew Matthew Shem Tov of the 14th century over all the unanimous ancient Matthews in Greek, is now free from obeying the calendar of the scribes and Pharisees.

    But in another teaching, Michael Rood claims that the geneology in Matthew of Yeshua is from the mother Miriam, that her DNA goes through Shlomo to David. Because in the aramaic Matthew it says that Joseph is the father of Miriam, thus explaining the 14 generations, any other reading you would have only 13 generations.

    The Hebrew Matthew Manuscript that Michael Rood claims as more athentic than all the Greek Manuscripts disagrees with the Aramaic Matthew and but agreed with the Greek manuscripts in saying that Miriam was the wife of Joseph. The Shem Tov says that Matthew is the geneology of Joseph. Here it is right here.
    ]16[ ויעקב הוליד את יוסף. הוא יוסף איש מר”ים הנקרא משיח ובלעז קריס”טוס.
    That is what the Hebrew Shem Tov Matthew says. It says that the geneology of Matthew came from Joseph the husband of Miriam. And once again we have the 13 generations problem.

    Can you have it both ways in both teachings. That the Shem Tov is more reliable than the Greek manuscipts and not as reliable as the Aramaic transcripts picking and choosing when we want the certain parts of certain manuscripts to be the one lean are whole weight on. Maybe more research needs to be done on these issues. How much can we really put all our doctrine on a 13th century Hebrew Shem Tov Matthew, Michael Rood disregards it account of the geneology but accepts its account on “seat of moses” verse where it says he instead of they, “do everything he commands you”, but have you seen the ancient seats of Moses, only one person can sit in it at a time. How much does Michael Rood really trust the Shem Tov Matthew when he does not even accept its geneology but prefers the Aramaic version instead. Seems like quite alot of the entirety and weight of the demand to follow the biblical calendar rests on the shoulders of the Shem Tov Matthew, on a he instead of a they.

  11. Eliyahu Moshiach,

    I do not know much of Michael Rood. Most of what I do know does not lead me to put much stock in what he teaches. As concerning the calendar, I think that Col. 2 states that Messiah stripped the principalities and powers of their authority. Matthew 28 says that all authority was given to Y’shua and He then gave authority to the apostles to teach and decide in matters of observance. See also Mat. 18:18. So whatever Messiah was speaking of as to Moses’ seat seems to either be moot because of later authority changes or that we should listen to Moses read by the Pharisees but not follow the teachings of the Pharisees, because the rest of the passage sure paints them in a bad light.

    But just to stay on topic, Neither the Pharisees, Apostles, Messiah or Moses taught that we should celebrate Xmas.


  12. Marcus,

    You’re censuring my posts? “Awaiting Moderation?” Half a dozen have disappeared altogether and I don’t even know if this will go through. I had recently downloaded IE9 browser and perhaps that’s the problem, I don’t know. It’s disconcerting is what it is. I thought to pick up the Israel Debate but my posts are missing.


    p.s. If you find them somewhere in the ethospere don’t worry about posting them, but for future I’d like to figure out what’s going on.

  13. The deeply personal question that every believer must ask his, or her, self, is what does G-d require from me. I have a friend who is adopted, and I’ve been encouraging him to find his birth mother.
    He responds,”I’ve got no need–I’m good with the idea of being grafted in.”

    This is truly what adoption is–being grafted in. You take on the standard of the household that you are adopted into. My family struggled with this Christmas celebration for years (mainly because of the association of families around us that were so firmly entrenched in this tradition of man).

    This is what Christmas is; a tradition of man, and it fails miserably. I wood rather remain grafted in, instead of trying to bring my mistletoe to the Righteous Branch that I am so thankful to be grafted in to.

    God gave us a number of Holy Days to be kept for those that want to keep scripture (Pessach, and Sukkot); He gave us His traditions which the world has offered a cheap substitute for in exchange.

    Our resistance to hold on to tradition is mostly fueled by pride, and this is the hurdle that everyone faces whether they be Jew, Christian, or Muslim. The Tanach tells us in Job who it is who is king of the sons of pride. This is a powerful warning. We are all born with this deadly tendency to want to be right in our own eyes. By our own efforts we will fail every time. It is only by absolute submission to Ha Shem and Yeshua ha Mesiach that we can be lead out of the darkness of our own understanding. I let go because I want my branch to be grafted in so that it may not be removed; I’ll let go of anything in order to keep myself safe in Him!
    This is my prayer for everyone.

  14. Michael W Cuber,

    Good post above.

    Let me encourage you to rethink the idea of replacing YHWH’s name with the term “Ha Shem.” It is another tradition of men like Xmas. If we are not supposed to say His name, David, Abraham, and Moses were all in error.


  15. Bo

    I have no problem with calling on my Father by any of His names. I try and respect as many others as I can, who are from a variety of backgrounds, so that we may reason together without offending unintentionally, so I choose to use Ha Shem, or Adoni. I know it seems contradictory to use these, and then use the name Yeshua, but we all know when someone is trying to genuinely be polite, and it goes a long ways in mending relationships.
    I have no problem with you calling me out on this, and to an extant I agree, and I’m glad that there are such forums as this for us to reason together.

    Toda Raba


  16. Michael W Cuber,

    I just didn’t want you to be inadvertently following traditions of men, because I could see your heart. I would attempt to never replace YHWH’s name when reading scripture no matter who it offended, because it would be adding and taking away from His word and possibly causing people to forget His name for Baal(lord). I still cut and paste English translations word for word. Then when I discuss it, I use YHWH’s name. I replace “Lord” with “Yahweh” and “God” with “Elohim” when reading aloud.

    Jer 23:25 I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed.
    26 How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart;
    27 Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.

    Rosh kodesh sameach


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