Like my mother and father before me, I tried to raise my children right. Being a born again believer gave me a slightly different mind set then my parents had. Slightly.
At Christmas we tried to down play the roll of Santa but he was still there. We liked to wear red velvet hats with white furry brims and a jungle ball. We attended candle light service on Christmas Eve, we thought we knew things like, “…the reason we put up a tree is because Christ is evergreen” (where did that come from?) We tried to down-play santa by reading Luke chapter 2 before we opened gifts (and totally forgot about the baby Jesus)
No matter how hard Ray and I tried to make “Jesus the reason for the season” it became painfully clear that Jesus was a story to be endured until the real reason for the season, unwrapping gifts, happened. What went wrong?
But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, … therefore the anger of YHVH burned against the sons of Israel.
Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, ” Go up and spy out the land.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. They returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up; only about two or three thousand men need go up to Ai; do not make all the people toil up there, for they are few.” So about three thousand men from the people went up there, but they fled from the men of Ai. The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men, and pursued them from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water.
Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of YHVH until the evening, both he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads.
No kidding, this is the lesson I was teaching when one of my students asked, “Why do some people say that Jesus was born on December 25, but other people say that he was born on a different day?” As a Messianic, I am one of those “other people.”
An answer began to flow from my mouth. All the information came from the knowledge I already had, but the Ruach –the Spirit of the Almighty started putting verses and concepts together in ways I had not thought of before. I’d like to be impressed with myself, but honestly, it was a “God Thing” as my Pentecostal friends like to say.
I told them about Constantine, an Emperor of Rome, a man the church likes to call a “christian” because of a vision he had of a cross and conquering in the power of that symbol. Constantine was not a believer in YHVH, not by a long shot. He outlawed all things Jewish. Under his firm hand it was illegal to worship on the Sabbath Day. Everyone in Rome’s domain would be required to worship on Sunday, the day of Constantine’s god. The god of Rome was a sun-god, reborn every December 25, a day the new “Catholic” (meaning “all-embracing) church of Rome declared the birthday of god, by a virgin mother who immaculately conceived. This just happens to be the story of Constantine’s deity. Satan is the great deceiver.
I told them of Christians and how they decided to make the best of a bad situation by taking over the day for Jesus, a concept that excited my students. I let them bask in that excitement. They were planning a school “Christmas” party (I teach at a Christian School and usually have very few conflicts with their doctrine). At my request, they dis-invited Santa and all his magical friends from the North Pole. No secret-santa gift exchange (they changed it to anonymous angel), no red and white hats or ugly sweater contests, no red flashing noses or headbands with antlers, just a party please…. and if you can find a way to invite Jesus, then lets do that! They played different games, ate candy and pizza, but I’m not sure that Jesus ever came to our party.
There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12
This has been a long story so I’ll try to get to my point. When Joshua decided to “take over Ai for Jesus” he did not consult the Almighty, he spoke to men who knew that “Team Israel” could easily do the job. God was on their side… except that he was not. Before Jericho fell, and by “fell” I mean it “fell” to Israel, Joshua met a soldier as he was looking at the huge city of Jericho. Drawing his own sword he confronted the angelic warrior and demanded to know, “Are you with us?”
Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?”
“He said, NO”
By the end of the book of Joshua, the question has changed. “Who is on YHVH’s (The LORD’s) side?”
The Almighty does not choose sides, people do. Christians determined to take over christmas for Christ. Do you know that they determined the same thing for halloween? That did not work out too well. As far as I can tell, neither did christmas. Children everywhere kinda put up with baby Jesus until they can get to the real Joy, presents for themselves! We say silly things like, “we give gifts because the wise men gave gifts to Jesus” and candy canes represent his purity and his blood and a shepherds staff.
Jesus is not the reason for the season. I challange you to practice December 25 with out the gifts, the pretty tree or the advent candles. Why, you may as well celebrate the actual day Y’shua -Jesus WAS born if you are going to eliminate all the evergreen alters and magic.
Who is on YHVH’s side?