“Christmas time is also synonymous with a Christmas tree to most. One source claimed the tree to be the most cherished Christmas custom or ritual (tradition, ceremony, sacrament). These trees are idols placed in your home (Jer 10:3-5, Deut 7:26). They are decorated, reverenced and enjoyed all. These trees (and wreaths) have pagan origins associated with fertility (Baal, Jer 10:3-5). Fertility produces life, so this tree could easily symbolically represent the tree of life. Man was denied access to the tree of life due to his transgression against God – forbidden and denied to man (Gen 3:22-24). Man will only regain access to the tree of life through submission to and obedience of the commandments of Christ, but never through the flesh (Rev 22:14). These trees are faithfully erected with devotion every year. They are decorated with cherished images (emblems/symbols with personal meaning) to be adored by all. Perhaps incense candles will be lit around the room? No idol would be complete without offerings (as at an altar). Presents (gifts) are placed under the Christmas tree that contain all the things loved ones have coveted (lusted) after (things of the flesh). Many make wish list for the things they desire. These lists tend to be more “expectations” than hopes – so don’t disappoint. People gather around the Christmas tree in admiration and song. After partaking of the offerings (gifts) many will then celebrate in gathering (assembling) for a big meal. There is little difference here than how men have worshipped false gods through the centuries. Most would think it very petty of the author to call the tree an idol, yet most could not imag(e)-ine a year without one. God said in His word that we were not to make images, altars or groves and set them up in such a way (Deut 7:5, Ex 34:13, Num 33:52). Churches will set up trees in their sanctuaries and hang wreaths on their doors. Some may Christianize them by putting religious “images” on them. Imag(e)-ine that, an “image” set up in the midst of those who claim to worship Christ (Deut 16:22)! How could this happen if men are truly submitted to the Holy Spirit’s leading? We do not have to look far in biblical history to find that the children of Israel did these very same things. God sent Judges, Prophets and Kings, but it made little difference to the multitudes (majority). There is nothing new under the sun (Eccl 1:9). Consider the behavior of the children of Israel: Jeremiah 7:1-10, “The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these. For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever. Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?” They worshipped other gods (images – Baal, nature and fertility god) and then came into the House of the Lord to worship. God was not pleased and told them to amend their ways. He who hath ears to hear! This message did not make Jeremiah a very popular likeable person among the people. The author’s message will not garner him any praise either. Most people (religious or not) believe they are delivered to do these abominations. Its all so fun and innocent to those who have exalted their word above God’s. When Jesus came, He called us out of such things to follow Him. However, man as a whole (majority), in all his religiosity, has not change from his fallen rebellious nature. This is a message for the remnant that will receive the truth – and start “following.” Change starts with submission and obedience to what Christ said – read the gospels and stop considering them in an abstract way (as not strictly applying to you) – they are applicable to you now.

The symbology of the Lord is always God-centered. The symbology of man is always flesh-centered. All the symbology used in Christmas has pagan meaning and fleshly appeal (Eph 2:3). Everything about Christmas is directed toward the satisfaction of the flesh, yet those who do such cannot please God (Rm 8:7-8). Romans 8:12-13, “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” To seek the will of the flesh is to oppose the will of God and “thou shalt surely die” (Gen 2:17, Ez 33:14). We must mortify (die to) the flesh to find life in God. Christmas is known as a time to eat, drink and be merry; and a time to enrich yourself in possessions and indulge in worldly entertainments. What is the forbidden fruit of the Christmas tree (i.e. celebration in general)? idolatry, gluttony, lusts, depression, envy, jealousy, greed, partying, debt, bitterness, disappointment, drunkenness, obligating others, arguing, gossip, pride, arrogance, materialism, worldliness, guilt, anger, sloth, witchcraft, and a high suicide rate – the “spirit(s)” of Christ-mass. The author does not suggest that there are no good things can be found, but these fruits of the flesh are clearly and dominately manifested. The devil always tempts (and manipulates) through the desires of the flesh (i.e. the good things), these are just the burdens and bondages that result (same as with Egypt , Gal 4:3 – come out! Gal 1:4). These are the works/fruits of the flesh (Gal 5:19 -21). Christmas is a huge (tremendous) cash cow (golden) for the retail, food, travel, delivery, flower/card, etc. industries. The bulk of all yearly sales will be realized at Christmas time. In other words, there is a significant “money” variable (love of, 1 Tim 6:10 ) to all of this. People will be buying and indulging to unprecedented levels at this time of the year (lust) – filling the flesh to the full (please consider 1 Jn 2:15 -17). This did not Jesus and this is dishonoring to Christ’s very nature – He calls us out of this world. Does any business just “opt out” at Christmas time (greed)? Is it even possible to stop participating given that manufacturers print Christmas motifs (designs, patterns, images, themes, decorations, ornamentations, subjects) on all their products and people expect to find all such paraphernalia on store shelves? Could a store that doesn’t observe Christmas (if there is such a thing) even survive? What rules (dominates) at Christmas time: the selfless nature of Christ (and His denial of the world) or the indulgences of the flesh (the retail numbers do not lie)? Should you ever see clearly to come out of such things, you will quickly realize what an incredible bondage and burden it is. You will never forsake the celebration of Christmas without significant resistance from everyone. This is the sole reason that most will flow with the world (Pharaoh/Satan does not release his subjects without a tremendous fight). Some will say there is great joy in seeing their children’s happiness over gifts (toys) received. This joy is found in the lusts of the flesh (will keep your eyes on the world); leads your loved ones opposite of God to the things of the flesh; and you have missed the point of this whole book. No doubt, there will be great tears one day if you continue along this “broad path.” Some will quote: Ephesians 4:8, “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” The gifts Christ gave are: 1) Himself – perfect love (sacrifice for others, Jn 10:15 , 15:13 , Gal 1:4, 2:20 , Eph 5:25 , 1 Tim 2:6, Ti 2:14 , 1 Jn 3:16 ) for the intent of reconciling man to God. This reconciliation is accomplished through faith, which is a forsaking of self-will and surrender to God’s will and surrendering to the Lord’s working in your life (Jn 12:25, 1 Pt 1:5). 2) The Holy Ghost – given for the purpose of leading, guiding, teaching and empowering one to walk as Christ walked and to conform to His image (Lk 11:13). 3) Eternal life for those who obey Him (Mt 19:17, Jn 17:3, Rm 5:21, 6:23, 2 Thess 1:8, 1 Pt 1:22, 4:7, Jude 1:21). John 17:2, “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” The gifts Jesus gave are God-centered. The gifts man gives (or expects) are mostly flesh-centered. The author has talked to many religious people who “profess Christ,” about such things as Santa Claus and Christmas trees. These will not receive the truth no matter how convincing the use of scripture (neither would the Jews depart from the worship of Baal or Ashtaroth – what has been shall be again). Some will acknowledge parts of the truth, but their actions will not follow. The deep-seated tradition of Christmas is instilled (rooted) in most by symbology through the self-satisfaction (filling of the flesh), songs, stories, foods, candies, decorations, sentimental attachments, family, strong peer pressure, memories, obligations, festivities, emotions, time off, etc. This may be likened to the children of Israel leaving Egypt (and its wickedness and idolatry). We are being called out of the wickedness and “into the wilderness” by God. Sure there were bondages in Egypt, but some will also see a good side that they feel outweighs the bondages inflicted. Jesus once said during a deliverance: Mark 5:8, “For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.” The Lord also said in a conversation regarding being unequally yoked with unbelievers (fellowship of righteousness and unrighteousness; light and darkness, 2 Cor 6:14) and idolatry (2 Cor 6:15-16): 2 Corinthians 6:17-18, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” The “unclean thing” is that which transgresses the will of God and is in rebellion to Him (whether spirits, idols, or men). Uncleanness comes through following the lusts in your heart (Rm 1:24, 2 Pt 2:10) – those who live in error (2 Pt 2:18, Eph 5:5). The English word, “church” is ekklesia in the Greek which means, “called out ones.” Followers of Christ are called out of such things (i.e. Egypt – representative of). God is calling us out of the world, but many do not want to leave Egypt. Some have traveled to the wilderness and now want to return to Egypt. We will either seek Egypt (the world) or God. Those who seek both are still in Egypt bowing to an idol (golden calf) of their own creation. God is in the wilderness calling – who will respond? Leaving Egypt includes all that opposes God – those celebrations and attachments of the flesh. Egypt certainly had celebrations and festivities (complete with foods and traditions) which had to be completely forsaken. We must be prepared to leave the flesh nature and your own authority (control, being as a god). The wilderness is harsh on the flesh, but the spirit will survive if it yields to God’s authority. Folks, its easy to profess a Christ when the flesh is in control. This book has raised the issue of two enormous idols – the television and Christmas. Many reading this book have probably thought, “how incredibly dumb and stubborn the children of Israel had been toward God.” Perhaps you are no different if you cannot give up your own idols and unbelief – confused, idolatrous, double-minded, obstinate, opinionated, and froward. Its easy to cast judgment on the children of Israel, but are you clinging to your own rebellion and idolatry? The children of Israel’s flesh was denied in that wilderness and they rose up in great complaint and protest. Their unbelief produced disobedience which always brings death (their carcasses dropped in the wilderness). How will you be when your idols are taken away? God will try your heart in this life and the results will be eternal (1 Pt 1:7). Your stubbornness toward God’s attempts to reach you (call you out) will be your own undoing at Judgment. When the children of Israel entered into the Promised Land they were told to destroy the idols and altars; pictures; and high places of the wicked nations (peoples of the land, Num 33:52, Deut 12:2-4). Israel was not to learn their abominations (Deut 18:9); they were to learn God’s commandments (i.e. fringes on the garments, put Words on stones, Deut 27:2-4). In other words, it was unacceptable by God to incorporate other practices (devotions) into their lives in addition to Him. Nothing has changed for the follower of Christ. All the idols and altars in your life must be torn down, no other gods – period (Deut 5:7, 6:14 ). Modern man is completely blind to his own idolatry.”

—David Neal