James R. Horne
P. O. Box 650
Bessemer, AL 35021
The Church of God
197 Tillie Road
Cleveland, TN 37312
The Attack on Christmas
James R. Horne, State Overseer
“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matt. 1:23). “And she brought forth her firstborn son” (Luke 2:7).
Our society has waged a war; an all-out attack, if you will, on Christmas. Its message of hope and simple beauty is found in the Word of God, yet is despised by those who mock and stand opposed to its life-altering truth. We expect that in these last days those who are opposed to this message of the birth and life of Christ will wax worse and more vile in their efforts as they refuse to accept salvation and harden their hearts to the gospel. We have witnessed in the news the outward attacks against public Christmas displays and a thrust to remove Christ from the verbiage of this holiday. Even so-called theologians have attacked the message by expressing certain personal views, citing what they deem are errors in the narrative or historical inaccuracies. I remember watching a documentary on Christmas where a so-called “Bible scholar” accused the Holy Ghost of committing adultery with Mary. How deplorable this is, that the beautiful story of redemption has been attacked in such measures and no doubt has resulted in some individuals oscillating in their faith! Placing all of this into perspective, it is the adversary of our soul who is the author of this attack and he uses numerous means to accomplish his goals.
The General Assembly has not made determinations outside of what is given in the Word of God concerning Christmas and so it is incumbent upon us to be prayerful and vigilant. In The Church of God, all four of our General Overseers since the Arise, Shine as well as untold numbers of our ministry have preached and written on the subject of Christmas from the Scriptures. This would seemingly be the safest place for us to be as members rather than delving into secular sources or institutions that we know seek to attack the message, or to trust in theologians who teach contrary doctrines or perhaps are in sin themselves according to God’s standard. There are certain published messages from the Church I would like to share with you for reference at this time of year: His Only Begotten Son, Exalt and Honor the Babe of Bethlehem, by A. J. Tomlinson, reprinted in the White Wing Messenger, December 22, 1956; Christ was born that We Might be Born Again, by M. A. Tomlinson, White Wing Messenger, December 18, 1976; The Baby King, by Robert J. Pruitt, White Wing Messenger, December 24, 1955; A Multitude of the Heavenly Host, Robert J. Pruitt, The Evening Light, December 1998; Are You Ready for Christmas?, Stephen E. Smith, The Evening Light, December 2006. These are all good messages to ponder. Our present General Overseer also wrote an adaptation of the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” entitled Twas the Sunday Before Christmas, Evening Light, December 1994 (page 9 of this paper), that is thought provoking.
Historical precedence is another matter to consider when we recognize this attack. We see in the late 1950’s that the world’s influence and a false view of self was an impetus for a man to leave the Church and the safety of theocracy to start another church in which he took charge as it’s “chief bishop.” Without accountability, it wasn’t long until Sunday services were being changed to Saturday, there was no observance of the holidays including Christmas, he was ranked higher in authority than the Assembly, established doctrine (including outward adornment) was changed and liturgical dancing in services were instituted in his church, to name a few. All I can say from this observation of history is that we must be careful. It is apparent that the enemy hates the message of Christ coming as a babe and he uses so many devices to drive wedges or shake people’s faith. There is so much more that could be added, but let’s consider it most important in this onslaught from so many sources without, that we prayerfully strive as The Church of God to keep Christ in our Christmas within and pursue wholeheartedly the worship of the King of kings. Jesus truly was the greatest gift to mankind and we want Him at the center of everything we do this season. In your personal devotions, it would be a blessing and beneficial to you to sit down with your Bible and read through the various passages of Scripture concerning the prophecies and birth of Jesus and all of the happenings around this historical account recorded in the Word for us today. If you have access to the messages cited above, these writings will also be a blessing to you. Whatever attack this world brings against this beautiful message of love and peace, let us never forget it’s true meaning. “For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people, for unto you is born…” (Luke 2:10, 11). God bless & Merry Christmas!
December 6, 2014 – BTI Workshop at The Church of God in Canaan
January 9-11, 2015 – Ladies’ Retreat at WorldSong Camp near Cook Springs
January 24, 2015 – District #3 Convention