Back to top Go to bottom
Living Springs Institute
Shaqah Back Issues
Living Springs Home Page
Living Springs
Home Page
Free Subscription

Living Springs Institute
Where Sound Doctrine Endures
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men.  After the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Colossians 2:8
Issue #16 January & February 2005

Step into the Springs!

Well, here we are again at the start of a new year. It seems that everyone feels time is just flying by and there is never enough of it. This life we humans have created for ourselves is always pushing us to do more and more. Society is always telling us our technology is going to save us time, and all it ever seems to do is make us expect each other to get things done faster than ever before! The holiday season we just went through is the time of year we say we set aside for the sake of celebrating the Lord and for spending time with our loved ones, but many find themselves so busy with the preparation they never even enjoy the event.

In this new year, I want to encourage each of you with the fact that each passing year we draw ever closer to the return of our Savior, Jesus Christ! It should not be the things of this life which consume our minds. As believers in Christ, it should be the things of God. This world will run to and fro, and it will try to pull you along with it as much as it can. The result for many will be what Paul points out in 2 Thess. 2:8-10. In all of the things of this world, many will fail to receive the love of the truth. This point is also true of many of us who already have a love of the truth, but instead of failing to receive, we will allow ourselves to fall out of love with the truth!

We have no idea just when or how long it will be before we see the return of Christ, but we do know, the Bible warns us it will be a struggle to remain where we need to be with God. God's Word tells us the love of many will grow cold. (Matt. 24:12) Jesus told the story about the servants who decided their Lord delayed his coming and they began to smite one another. (Matt. 24:44-51) As this world waxes worse and worse we must always be on guard that we are not the ones who fall into such things! So, let us encourage each other with God's Word and be sure that we never lose our love for the truth! (Romans 12)

Now, the first thing I'm sure you noticed about this issue of the newsletter is the fact we have changed our format (not including the electronic version)! We no longer have long lines of text making you read all the way across the page and then lose your place trying to get to the next. The fact that a two column format would greatly improve the readability of this newsletter was pointed out by one of our readers. Because it is our privacy policy never to give out the names and addresses of our subscribers, I will not give the name of the reader, but you know who you are, and we thank you very much for the suggestion! I'm sure many of our readers will agree, the change is definitely a good one! It is our hope that year by year this newsletter will get better and better; and that brings me to a point I like to make every once in a while. We love to hear from you!

Before I close this news segment, it would be terrible of me not to take the time to say thank you, to all those people who make this newsletter possible! They all do what they do just because of their love for God. I'll never know how they put up with me. I guess it is just because God gives them the grace. I never give them the text for this newsletter as soon as I should but they still do a great job getting it done. They all know who they are as well, and I want them to know they are greatly appreciated!

It is my hope and prayer that each of you will have a God centered new year. I also hope you enjoy this issue of the Institute's newsletter. Thank you all for reading, and may the grace of God fill your hearts and lives!


Following the Biblical Stream:
By Philip Busby

Because of our shortened session last issue, we didn't even cover all of verse six in the third chapter of Genesis. So this time, we will start in that verse again. As we talked about last time, Eve is considering all the wrong things in this situation. She believes the tree is good for food, which there is no specific evidence for. She thinks the tree is beautiful, which I have no doubt it was. She also believes the tree is "to be desired to make one wise," which is just all off base. The Septuagint's translation into English uses the wording that she thought it was "beautiful to contemplate." The Septuagint English translation shows us yet another emphasis in the verse. Eve not only believed the tree was to be desired because it could make one wise, but it was also somewhat thrilling to think of the possibilities it could bring!

The possibilities knowledge brings, is something appealing to a great many humans or at least for many adults. Many children just want to play and do not realize the good in learning until they are much older. So, this shows us a point of interest. Eve was an adult in her thinking. She wasn't just of a, child like mind, skipping through the garden one day and decided it would be really cool to eat of the forbidden fruit. She was contemplating the possibilities!

Now, most of the possibilities we contemplate or care about in today's world are connected to the ideas of what we can earn in dollar amounts. Most of our decisions about going to school are made from the aspect of what kind of job we can get. This is not totally wrong. This is foresighted in many ways, especially from the stand point schooling at the college level is very expensive, and it at least needs to bring benefits equal to its cost. However, the point here is, Eve had no such ideas. I believe we can say with surety, Eve never contemplated the complexities of economics. So, if Eve believed the fruit was beautiful to contemplate, the possibilities she was thinking of were human achievements. Since God told them not to eat of this fruit, the situation really boils down to this; Eve was contemplating the possibilities of what humans could do on their own after taking of the tree, verses what we could do by following God! This should shed new light on the verse which tells us, "for the love of money is the root of all evil!" (1 Timothy 6:10)

I said in our last issue, Eve was not going on the basis of solid teaching, and this is still true. However, this does not mean she wasn't thinking things through. This fact, is why the Bible tells us God's thoughts are not our thoughts. (Isa. 55:7-8) We talk about issues from the aspect of not looking before we leap. Though this is many times the case, it is not the whole explanation of what ails us. We may think things through and we may take the time to contemplate the possibilities, but the problem is that we are conformed to this world, (Romans 12:2) but we need to be conformed to God. We were made in the image of God, but we chose to form our minds after the fleshly things of this world. This makes us very lopsided. There are concerns in the flesh. There are needs, and sin has made those needs very great. However, when we choose to focus on the needs, much less the desires of this flesh, we take on a form which is, at the very least, not beneficial!

Kindness, or what we see as doing the "right thing" to help others, is not the guiding factor in a life truly lived for God. Jesus showed us an example; in that, He always looked to the Father to make decisions. Jesus was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. (John 1:14) Jesus was setting the example that He, in the flesh, was not the one in the position to make the good choices, it was the Father. As we have talked about before, the triuness of God, means God the Father is the one to make the decisions anyway, but this also sets the example that it's God, not man, who knows best. This is not just because God knows everything, but also because God is untouched by the temptations of sin. (James 1:13-14) This is why the night Jesus was taken by those who would crucify Him; Jesus sweat, as it were, great drops of blood, as He talked to the Father. (Luke 22:44) Jesus, being made flesh, was in great agony over the fact that horrible things were to come upon Him. Jesus would suffer great physical pain and torment. No one in their right mind would want to do this, thus Jesus prayed "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me..." (Matt. 26:39) However, Jesus shows us the greatest example of letting the Father guide Him, for He says "...nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." There was no other way, so Jesus would go to the cross! There at the end of His suffering, He cried, "Father into thy hands I commend my Spirit." (Luke 23:46) This is what each of us should do. We should commit our lives to God and no matter where or how the end comes, we should simply trust that we are still in the hands of God.

This kind of subjection to God was not where Adam and Eve were living. Again, Eve was thinking about what she could do, with what she believed the tree could bring. So, the last part of verse six tells us she took of the fruit and ate it. It also tells us she gave it to her husband, and he ate it too. I said in our last issue, we do not know if Adam was with Eve as she was looking at the tree to make the determinations that verse six tells us she made. I really should clarify that statement, and say we don't even know whether Eve made all her determinations at one time. Verse six may be laying out the end result of a longer time of contemplation, which may or may not have all taken place in one moment, standing looking at the tree. However, when verse six tells us that Eve took of the fruit, it says she gave also to "her husband with her; and he did eat." It would seem from this wording that Adam was with Eve at the time she actually picked the fruit and took a bit.

This point is where people have many questions. One of the most relevant is, did Adam know what Eve's thought process was? There is nothing in these verses which indicates Eve had a conversation or discussion with Adam about the issue. This question really branches into three more questions! Did Adam simply agree? Did he just go along with Eve, even if he did not agree? Or did he have no real thoughts of his own at all? Adam does not seem to be involved with the temptation, but we see no argument on his part either. It simply says, Eve took of the fruit, gave some to her husband and he ate it too.

One of the ways we find some answers to a question like this, is by looking at the latter verses and by having knowledge of the Bible as a whole. Later, when God is talking to them, Eve tells God the serpent beguiled her. So, her excuse is, she was tricked into it. Adam tells God, the woman you gave me, gave it to me and I ate it. Adam does not claim he was tricked, but he does indicate that he was simply taking the word of the woman. Adam's real excuse in the situation is the idea that God was the one who gave him the woman in the first place. So, it would seem that Adam simply went with the all for one and one for all theory, without considering the facts for himself, and we will talk more about this in a later issue!

Verse twenty of this chapter tells us, Adam gave Eve her name because she was the mother of all. This was a realization that I believe Eve understood as she contemplated the taking of the fruit. When she is thinking about the idea of the fruit making one wise, she was not just thinking of herself, she was thinking about passing on something to all her children. In this light, Eve would need Adam to go along with her so their children would have this same "opportunity." Of course, this was the worst possible decision they could have made, but God had given them the choice. We all have the opportunity to make decisions, but people should always be thinking about how their decisions will affect later generations. (Deut. 29:9-30:10) Adam and Eve knew immediately after taking from the tree that they had a problem. They knew they had sinned and done wrong. When God came into the garden, they recognized they had not done enough about the very first problem they encountered. In a way, you could say Adam and Eve learned their lesson, but God would still need to deal with the lasting impact their sin would have on all mankind. This is the true reason it was necessary for God to lay down the curses. Future generations would need to recognize there was impact from their father's sins. Remember, these curses are not bad in many ways, they are God trying to get our focus back where it should be, which would be beneficial for all. It's we, who chose to form a system under these rules which causes more harm to our physical existence instead! We see this right off. Man would go from dealing with stumbling block problems, like nakedness, (Romans 14:13) to the sin of murder!

Verse seven says, their eyes were opened. The word "opened" here means, they received the knowledge of good and evil, but it also comes with the sense that they became observant. This explains why the first thing they understood was the fact they were naked. Before this time, they really were not responsible for very many things. This meant they were not required, on too many issues, to think ahead about their actions and the effects. They were fully provided for, and they were in no danger. Now that they had taken of the fruit, they realized they needed to be conscious and observant of how their actions and choices would affect others on all levels and in all ways. This is interesting, in light of what we just talked about!

In many ways, Adam and Eve got just what they wanted. They did not receive wisdom, but they did receive the information and responsibility to be thinking of the consequences of their actions. They simply, never understood that it was, in for a penny in for a pound. If they believed they could think ahead enough to make a decision like taking of the fruit, that decision would lead to them literally being responsible for all their decisions and actions. They would not get to pick and choose as to what they wanted to be responsible for and what they wanted to go their own way on. They would not be able to simply go forward with their new found knowledge in just those things they felt benefited them, and then lean on God for the rest. They would have to deal with the whole ball of wax! This is the same struggle we have today. We don't seem to realize that we only have two choices. Go our own way or make the choice to yield our lives to God. It simply does not matter how good we are, or think we are, at making our own decisions, our lives will look far different if we yield to the ways of God! (Prov. 16:25)

We do not understand a point that really hurts, and that is, we can not serve God and mammon. (Matt. 6:24) When Jesus refers to mammon, many think of money, and though this may be specifically true, just as in the verse about the love of money, Jesus is telling us something more general. Mammon or money is a reference to the system man has chosen to create. As I said earlier, man's choices are what make this world worse and worse. We can not serve the system man has created and still serve God. They are at enmity with each other. (James 4:4) This is why Revelation tells us, people who do not receive the mark, or name of the beast, or the number of his name, would not be able to buy and sell. This is a reference to the idea of doing commerce in society in general. The mark of the beast is not a specific thing we do or have stamped on us. It is speaking to the fact that we are forced more and more to either yield our lives to the system man has created, or make serving God our priority. Serving God will come with consequences amongst men. Revelation talks about those who have the witness of God as, loving not their lives unto death. (Rev. 12:11) We think of this as an evil government putting us to death simply for our beliefs in the way communist did. Though this kind of death is part of the picture, death also refers to the facts of being left out in the cold from society. This is a sacrifice many will simply not make. Some will even use the excuse that they are trying to reach the lost by going along with the world's ways, and that idea just doesn't hold water. We are not called to simply go around handing out magical tickets of salvation. We have to live and be an example of what we say we believe, and that is the ways of God!

Getting back to Gen. chapter 3, the point is made in verse seven that it was both Adam and Eve's eyes which were opened. Even in a, bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh relationship, they still had an individual consciousness of the truth. So, it points out they both knew they were naked. As we talked about, there is no indication that Adam had much to say about the decision to take the fruit, but here the words make it clear they both understood they were naked and that was a problem! We can do things as a group but the consequences will come to each individual.

Many people have asked the question of why it was a problem for Adam and Eve to be naked? They were the only humans on the planet, why would they need to worry as husband and wife. This, in reality, is a very good observation, and the answer tells us something. Adam and Eve were overwhelmed by the things they suddenly had to think about. Their innocence was gone, and they understood they were responsible for so many things at this point, they had to get right on the most obvious problems. The crush of responsibility led them to take on the fact they were naked. They did not know when this may become a problem, and they felt they needed to be prepared to do something about it when and if it did. Very soon they obviously felt it was a problem, because they hid when they heard the voice of God in the garden! So, immediately there was an urgency about their nakedness. This overwhelming rush of responsibility could have simply froze them in their tracks in fear of doing something else wrong. However, the nudity factor is something which compelled them to act in spite of it all! This fact shows us just how far we have fallen into sin. Adam and Eve had made a wrong choice, but their immediate reaction was to at least try and do something about it. If we are in tune with the truth, we are compelled to act on those things which may affect others, and we are compelled to act even before it becomes a problem.

Today men's hearts are darkened, and not only do we not act ahead, we try our best to find an excuse as to why things shouldn't matter. More and more today, even people confessing Christianity, will tell you they don't believe they should have to change their ways. If something, like the way they dress, causes another to be tempted, then it is that person's problem, not theirs. How much better example of God's Word could we be, if we were sensitive to that compulsion to act on issues that may be a stumbling block to others. Further, we should try to act ahead of an issue, not wait until the moment comes. Now, it is likely that just as Adam and Eve, we are not capable of dealing with what we need to deal with. So, we many times will not be able, on our own, to do what needs to be done. It is good advice that we spend our time in the learning of the ways of God at all times. We should not wait until the moment to cry unto our God for help and instruction. We should be compelled everyday to know more of the ways of righteousness and not the things of this world. (Matt. 6:31-34)

I'll see you next time!


Living Springs' Questions and Answers

Is it OK to replace Christ with an X in the word Christmas?

The full wording of the question submitted to the Institute is as follows:

I found this on the internet and was wondering if it was true. "Abbreviating Christmas as Xmas doesn't really "take the Christ out of Christmas." The X in "Xmas" stands for the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter in Christos, the Greek word for "Christ," and a commonly used symbol to represent the name of Christ in religious writings." Does this really hold true in today's world?

Oh what a tangled web we weave! The tangle we are dealing with here is the fact there is always debate when it comes to the "Holy Days" or simply holidays! However, the topic you have brought out also digs deep into the tangled web of language and its development. Further, there is the issue of symbolism, and it doesn't get any more complex than that! The good news is, that you have asked the intelligent question in the matter. The real debate here is connection and validity between the X used in Christmas and a possible symbol. The writer of the statement you found does not make the argument for connection, they simply make the flat statement that there is. We will talk about this fact more and answer your direct question before we're through; but yes, the first thing we need to look at is whether any of the information in the statement you found is actually true.

Now, as I was saying, this issue is so complex there is simply no way to go over all the points which play a factor here. So, without getting to complex, I will try to explain the main issues brought out in the statement you found. The first fact we want to check, is actually in the last part of the statement. It describes X as, "....a commonly used symbol to represent the name of Christ in religious writings." The truth is there are some examples of early Christians using the simple sign of X to denote the name of Christ. However, just how common it was, especially in writing, depends on who you are asking. So, the first thing we need to focus on is why this symbol was ever used at all!

The story is one which goes back to the earliest time of the Christian faith. It also is important that you understand the simple fact, The Messiah was promised to come through the children of Israel. Most Christian preachers are far to quick to make the statement, "the Jews rejected Jesus as The Messiah," and give no further information on the subject. The New Testament does tell us the Jews rejected Jesus, but it is not talking about all Jews. It is simply making the point that Israel, as a nation, was established as the people who would bring The Messiah to the world, and they did not accept Jesus as that Messiah. Thus, they did not, as a nation or people, proclaim The Messiah had come. However, a fact which is greatly lost on most people proclaiming Christianity, is the fact, the start of the church was still Jewish. From the twelve Apostles, to those who first accepted the gospel, Jews began the Christian church. Jesus said the believers would be His witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea, and in Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8) The progression laid out in this statement is just how it went!

It would not take long before there was a great number of non-Jewish believers. However, it was not a group of Gentiles who first predominantly made up the church. This means many of the things which were done by those first Christians, even before they were known as Christians, were done after Jewish tradition. This idea, by the way, was far more appropriate than the traditions which the Gentiles brought to the church, but that subject is a whole other book in itself! There was one problem though. Stricter and more religious Jews like the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees, used strictly Hebrew in their religious practices. The more common Jew, like those who made up the disciples and a greater part of the first followers of Jesus, may have learned and spoken Hebrew, but their everyday language was mostly Greek!

Where this became an issue, was in the fact the majority of the world they were trying to take the gospel to also spoke Greek, among other languages. This meant, in order to take the message to the Gentiles and the rest of the world, they would need to lean on the Greek language. They would need to translate certain practices, not only into the Greek language, but specifically into a title for Jesus, whom they believed to be The Messiah. They may have had some help, on bringing certain practices from Hebrew to Greek, by even those Jews not believing in Jesus. There were Jews who, because of their upbringing, only knew Greek. This fact is the reason we have the Septuagint. However, the early Christians would have to deal with the title for Jesus on their own.

I will attempt to put this title issue in more basic terms. Basically the church had three main choices. First, they had what we would call the proper name. In English, we translate it as Jesus. However, this designation alone was not good enough to define, to the world, that Jesus the man, was and is The Messiah, therefore God! Their second choice was the word we crudely translate into "Lord." In more of an English letter and pronunciation form, the word was "Kyrois." However, this word had fallen in the exclusiveness of its meaning. The early Christian Jews were looking for a word which would stand Jesus out in the high honor He deserved. In Hebrew, God had a name which was held in such high regard that it was not to be written. Jesus, being God, needed a title that designated such in Greek and other languages as well. "Kyrois" was not going to do it because this word had "came on par" with words like "Emperor," making it a common word for rulers. If that were not bad enough, the word continued to fall in meaning from there. This point is shown even in the fact, we, centuries later, translate this word as "Lord" in English. In America, at our time, we may believe "Lord" is high praise because we use it mostly to talk about God. However, we also will use the word in very common ways. Such is the case when we call someone a "landlord." In this sense, the word "Lord" to the English speaking people of King James day was a title of higher respect, than to us; but even then, it was not on par with a word like "King"!

All this meant was, the church would need to emphasize a word for Jesus which held more exclusive and higher meaning. The third word was the one chosen to be emphasized. It was, and I spell it here to the best of my ability without using actual ancient Greek letters, "XPICTOC." This is the ancient word for "Christos," which simply means "anointed." This is why we put the name Jesus with this word and say "Jesus Christ" or "Christ Jesus." It is to say, Jesus The Anointed!

Now, this is where we get back to the issue at hand. I mentioned above, the fact the Jews, in Hebrew, had a name for God which was not to be written. If the word "Christ" was going to have the respect the Jewish Christians needed and wanted it to have, they were going to have to hold it, much as the Hebrew word for God was. This meant they would refrain from writing the word and just use a couple of letters from the word. So, in some places there was the use of just the first and last letters, "Chi" and "Sigma" (XC). There was also the use of just the first two letters, "Chi"and "Rho" (XP). This, in reality was the true, common way of doing things. However, in some places, at some times, [this is where the facts get very hard to trace] some Christians would simply use the first letter, "Chi" pronounced khee. Chi does look very much like our modern English letter X, but when Chi was used alone, it really had become a symbol, not a letter!

All that being said, we can now move on to a direct discussion about the wording of this information you found. The first thing, which strikes me, is the blunt statements it makes. It starts out by making two statements, both of which, there is really no evidence for. First, they tell you, using an X in place of Christ in Christmas is an abbreviation. The statement reads, "Abbreviating Christmas as Xmas doesn't really "take the Christ out of Christmas." There is little to no evidence that using an X in English originated as a simple attempt to "abbreviate" the word Christmas.

The second flat statement they make is, "The X in "Xmas" stands for the Greek letter Chi,...." Well, this is just all wrong. Later in the statement they want to tell you that X in Greek or religious writings was a "symbol" for Christ. Well, is it a symbol or a letter? In today's world, this is a pretty important point! When it comes to Christmas, you would be hard pressed to find more than a handfull of people who would agree they are writing a symbol; they are writing the English letter X. This is true especially of those who believe they are "abbreviating" the word Christmas! It may be an interesting fact to hear that religious writers sometimes used the Greek letter X as a symbol for Christ. However, even if everything else they say in this statement were true and correct; today there is little evidence anyone using X in place of Christ in Christmas understands a connection to Greek or early Christian tradition!

Further, I would like to pick on one more point in their statement. Their assertion that Chi is "the first letter in Christos, the Greek word for 'Christ,'..." is definitely not an attempt to be scholarly, and it would seem they are simply wanting to trip the reader up. Chi is a letter in the Greek alphabet, not to put to fine of a point on it, and it does look like our English letter X. However, Chi is not the first letter in the word "Christos"! C is the first letter in the word Christos, and before you think I'm simply trying to be a smarty pants, let me qualify my remark! You must understand there is a very important correction which needs to be made to their statement. Christos is not a pure Greek word! Now, this is not picking at a point; this is of particular importance. Remember, the writer of this information is the one trying to make a point about spelling! Non-Greek speaking people have difficulty pronouncing the letter Chi. That is why, in many modern languages of European descent, we have combinations of letters like the C and H which begins Christos. The "Ch" combo comes primarily out of German. So, Christos is not really a pure Greek word. Christos in many ways is already a translation of the Greek. The purpose being to spell out a word in, what is at best, modified Greek letters, which when pronounced by non-Greek speaking people would sound similar to the word used in the Greek. To truly understand that an English letter like X has even a possible connection to the word Christos, you need more info than they have given. Christos, in reality, is a perfect example of how pronunciation and spellings morph and change from one language to another, especially when it comes to names!

This leads us to another important point in this discussion. The primary section of the church which established and brought Christmas to the western world, did not and does not use Greek as its official language. They use Latin! So, when it comes to European languages, it is a real stretch to reach back into early Christian tradition and combine possible old Greek language based symbolism with the name of a holiday established using the Latin language. Especially, to make the argument it's appropriate to "abbreviate" that holiday's name, when it already has been translated from Latin to English. After that, we may all need a nap! The question is, unless the idea is widely taught, how is anyone supposed to recognize or be privy to the idea, X has even the remotest relation to the name of Christ?

Another fact to consider, without going into a full blown linguistic study, is this. Even the argument that our modern letter X came from the Greek letter "Chi" supports what I'm saying. The statistics of a few years ago, tell us the letter X averages only 2.00 per thousand letters. In our most recent years, its use may have gone up to some degree due to the popularity of terms like "generation X" and "Extreme sports." However, the point still stands that in general writing, the letter X is the least used letter of the alphabet. Further, it is a letter whose every sound can be produced by using another letter or combination of letters. The very fact we use the word Christ, in modern English, and spell it with a Ch combo instead of an X is exactly the point. The very existence of a word like Christos or Christ should show us something. We non-Greek speaking people gave up on the letter "Chi" a very long time ago!

I want to emphasize the point again, the use of only two letters was not for convenience, it was out of great respect for the name of God. This is where we can talk directly about not only if it is appropriate to use X in Christmas today; but whether it has ever really been proper to do so. The name "Christmas" is a melding of the words Christ and mass. If you had the kind of respect for God's name that brought about the use of only Chi, there is no way you would combine the word Christ with mass in the first place. Therefore, it makes no sense to take "Chi" as the symbol for Christ, which is done out of great respect, and meld it with a word like mass, which arguably could not be more basic. In today's world, there seems to be a real loss of respect for God and His name. So, even some people who call themselves Christians may see nothing wrong with the abbreviation of God's name simply for convenience. There is little doubt in my mind that this fact is why you were able to find this statement we are talking about. People are always trying to come up with excuses to justify their liberal ways!

Now, after everything we've talked about, if you still feel like saying, "it's all Greek to me!" Let me simply say the real point is this! The statement we are talking about should use the word "was." Even if you want to say X was commonly used, you still have to say "was" not "is," and time changes things! A symbol, a letter, a designation, or whatever you want to call it, has no meaning if people do not understand it! The irony of the X as a symbol is that some of the use you find by the early Gentile church, was likely for the sake that only they would know what it meant. They were being persecuted for their faith, and at times they needed a way of communicating with each other in a covert manner. Today, Christians may be facing persecution in some parts of the world. In other parts, Christians may face a fair amount of discrimination; but if we replace Christ with an X in the name of our holiday, we are in a large way defeating the purpose of even having that holiday!

We need to stop and consider the facts of today. Mass is a term used to describe those times when people, or specifically Christians, would come together and take part in rights and rituals as prescribed by the church. When it comes to the political church the Gentiles created, one thing is for certain, they did not follow the example of God's law given to the Jews! Some will argue the church tried to set "Holy Days" on the date of the actual event the holiday was to celebrate, but this never really was the driving factor. As I said, it was and is a political church we are talking about. So, they took a very political path. Instead of following the Bible's example, they mostly tried to overlay existing pagan celebrations with Biblical stories. The big pagan celebrations were based on the solstices and equinoxes. The existing pagan celebration based on the winter solstice was the time chosen by the church to proclaim "Dies natalis Domini" or Christ's Mass. This was a mass specifically to celebrate and remember the birth of Christ. The Spanish translate it La Navidad, the Italian - Il Natale, the French - Noel. In Old English it was Cristes maesse. Today we English speakers know it simply as, Christmas!

Christmas would have specific rites and rituals relating to the birth of Christ. However, the attempt by the church to overlay existing pagan celebrations with a Christian theme, resulted in many traditions being observed during "Christian Holidays" which were not originally Christian at all. Thus, people who do not believe in the doctrines of Catholicism have taken various stances on these "Holy Days" and their traditions. Some churches do many of the same rituals the Catholics do, and some have very little which resembles the Catholics. Still, others believe we should not recognize any holiday originally proclaimed by the Catholic church at all!

I do believe, with all my heart, it is wrong for any true believer in Christ to celebrate something like Christmas simply because a man, group of men, or organizations tell you to. If we celebrate the birth of Christ, it should be true in our hearts, not just a religious ritual! True believers in Christ Jesus understand, we are sent into the world to proclaim the gospel, not hide it under a bushel. (Matthew 5:14-17)

Today, many scholars believe Jesus was not born anywhere close to the month of December. In fact, many believe Jesus was born on or around April 1st. When we celebrate Christmas, we do not do so as a continuance of that night the shepherds were told by angels to find and worship the child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. (Luke 2:8-18) We celebrate the event of Jesus' birth on a man designated day. It is only going to be a special day to remember Christ's birth because we make it so, in our hearts, our homes, and as many lives around us as we can!

So the question is, in today's world, should we accept the vague possibility, that some old archaic religious symbolism is an OK excuse to replace the name of Christ with an X? NO! I believe the bottom line is this. Whether past or present, Christmas is not a day or a time to send covert messages or use non understood symbols. (Ecc. 3:1-8) It is a day and time to openly declare to the world, our joy and belief, that God sent His only begotten Son to this earth to die for our sins! (John 1:14) That God Himself has provided a Lamb! (Gen. 22:8) Jesus is that Lamb. He is the "Anointed One," which is to say He is The Messiah!

If we do not believe the name of Christ should be openly and understandably a part of what we celebrate, let us truly toss the celebration aside as unclean! (I Thess 5:22) We must never forget that everyday is the day the Lord has made and we should rejoice and be glad in it! (Psalms 118:24) "Whatsoever ye do, do it as unto the Lord." (Colossians 3:22-24) The Bible tells us at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Phil. 2:5-11)

In closing, I will simply say this. Whether at Christmas or anytime of the year, as long as you have breath, never allow anyone to talk you out of proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, the King of Kings the Lord of Lords, The Messiah, the Saviour of the whole world!

Questions submitted to the Institute, answered by Philip Busby.

Return to Top of Newsletter

      P.O. Box 271 Loveland, Colorado  80539
(970) 593-9468      
Copyright © 2005, Living Springs Inc.

Living Springs Institute's symbol
P.O. Box 271
Loveland, CO
Q & A
Learning Center
Resource Shop
About Us
Current Issue This symbol means the link is to a PDF file.
Browse Questions
Planning Calendar
We Believe
Get A Subscription
Submit A Question
Our Perspective
Back Issues
Calendar Project
Our History
Distribution Locations
Featured Sections
Our Director
What We Do