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Lesson 4

The Bible prescribes in detail how and when to keep special days that have been set aside by God. However there are no days when the Bible directs us not to praise God. Because the Bible does not tell us exactly when Jesus was born, it leaves us free to choose any time we want to celebrate the fact Jesus was born as human. Arbitrarily deciding to celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas day is not wrong. Giving familiar ancient practices new meanings and themes to reflect Godly principles could have a wholesome impact on those first learning about Jesus. Shrouding the origins of Christmas practices, by not acknowledging their altered history, have alienated many who seek clear understanding. Full disclosure requires statements like, “This is when we choose to celebrate the birth of Jesus”, or “We use these traditions to celebrate the Incarnation of Jesus Christ”. Followers of Jesus are saved by grace and are free to proclaim him and his Kingdom through any relatable tradition. We can connect with those who haven’t heard about Jesus when we use a belief they are familiar with. Paul employed this strategy when first introducing Jesus to the people of Athens. How would you introduce Jesus to those who haven’t heard about him?

Acts 17:22-32 New Catholic Bible
22 Then Paul stood before them in the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens, I have seen how religious you are. 23 For as I walked around, looking carefully at your shrines, I noticed among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an Unknown God.’ What, therefore, you worship as unknown, I now proclaim to you. 24 “The God who made the world and everything in it, the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in shrines made by human hands. 25 Nor is he served by human hands as though he were in need of anything. Rather, it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and all other things. 26 From one ancestor, he created all peoples to occupy the entire earth, and he decreed their appointed times and the boundaries of where they would live. 27 “He did all this so that people might seek God in the hope that by groping for him they might find him, even though indeed he is not far from any one of us. 28 For ‘In him we live and move and have our being.’ As even your own poets have said, ‘We are all his offspring.’ 29 “Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like an image of gold or silver or stone, fashioned by human art and imagination. 30 God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, but now he commands people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world with justice by a man whom he has appointed. He has given public confirmation of this to all by raising him from the dead.” 32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some scoffed, but others said, “We should like to hear you speak further on this subject at another time.”

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