We don’t ‘do’ Christmas. Years ago when the children were small, we tried. But we would get a knot in the pits of our stomach. A few years ago, the commercialism of it all used to be a huge bother to me…now I’ve pretty much accepted that is the way it is and I’m not gonna change the world but I can impact or influence my own family so I’ll stick to that. 😉
We have no problem with anyone who does celebrate Christmas though. For us, it is not a divisive issue – we are free to visit people and receive a gift (at the risk of our refusal offending them) and we are free not to. It isn’t an issue of salvation – our salvation is not dependent upon whether we celebrate Christmas or not.
Everything we do should be expressly Christ-centered; God-honoring.
We don’t talk much about it either as it is our walk, our decision, our beliefs and as is isn’t salvation dependent, there are more important issues to preach about! I have many discussions on forums about this and after receiving a personal email about it I thought I’d post here.
a) Why did you make the decision to not celebrate Christmas.
Firstly because of the commercialism but then because it all seemed to so empty and meaningless. We tried hard to think of ways to ‘put Christ back into Christmas’. Some people have said that there is no scriptural basis for celebrating the birth of Christ, but I don’t see that…I see that God desires us to teach our children His ways and he is into object lessons in a big way, so I don’t have a problem with doing things to remember the birth of Christ as it is all part of God’s redemptive story! We teach God’s story but we do it all the time. Plus the whole white Christmas thing is a bit over the top, especially as Aussies! 😉 We did try a few of the unit studies centred around Christmas and the symbols of Christmas, just in case I was being a stickler, but the more often we did them, the more the whole things stuck in my side and I couldn’t get past it. We tried doing Advent readings but I lost track of it all. We have read some of the books by Arnold Ytree but these are beautiful books that can be enjoyed at any time of the year! We’re about to start another one real soon.
When I went researching this whole thing a few years ago, I found some real loopy sites (be wary of what you allow your mind and heart to ingest) …some real genuine sites, some real genuine articles…but the more I read, the more confused I could sense I was getting. One could find a thousand articles against Christmas or celebrating it and another thousand articles for it…a lot of Scripture is thrown in there on both sides. What is one to do? I reckon its like most issues – we each need to seek God, study the Word and trust that in this, the Holy Spirit will lead you in all truth – John 14:26
‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.’
It’s not something I think one can be convinced of – the Holy Spirit needs to convict us, we don’t need to be convinced by man. 🙂 I am glad that I am not saved because of this issue. I do believe that each person must seek God for themselves and not be lead my man’s teaching alone. God is our judge and He alone. I’m also glad that we are not bound by our stance with Christmas. Jesus gives us freedom, not bondage.
b) My family likes Christmas. I can’t not celebrate it. What can I do?
Rather than ask the question of should we or shouldn’t we, maybe we can ask God “how should we”? Sometimes a different question is the way that we can turn our ear and heart to hear His still, small voice. It’s really a matter of personal study, conviction and relating with God and His word. Do your own personal study. Learn the history of Christmas. It’s all very interesting.
If we take Christ out of everything Christmas, what would we do? What would we be left with? A get together, BBQ’s, presents, cards, holidays, lots of food, etc. If we take Christ out of everything Easter, what would we do? Take Christ out of Easter and you still have a holiday, eggs, chocolate, bilbies and lillies.
‘In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.’
I have taught my children how to bless me for Mother’s Day. I’ve taught them how to bless their Dad on Father’s Day. It is about honoring the person. (I teach my children to do this so they can bless and honor others- it isn’t all about me ;0) You wouldn’t honor me on Mother’s Day by giving me a drill and taking me to the hardware store! But you wouldn’t honor John by giving him a box of chocolates or a new PDA. 😉 You would consider the person who is due the honor. In what way would they want to be honored?
We should consider how God wants to be honoured. The things that are honoring to God are the songs we sing, the prayer we pray, the Scriptures we read, the talks we have, the way in which we live and breathe. But these things are to be done all the time or regularly as worship. If we want to have a get together with lots of food and give presents then we can- we don’t need to make an excuse which we think and the world says, is about Christ, when it really isn’t about Christ. The way the world treats Christmas (generalisation) is often nothing more than self indulgence! The world loves Christmas time with all its celebrations. Holidays, food, gifts, etc. Yet it denies the very one whom it is supposedly about! Oh it’s okay to remember Christ as a babe but not the Saviour of the Human race. For many, it is just about *me*. That is largely how the world sees it.
Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world?wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important?has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out?but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.
1 John 2:15-17
So, if Christmas is going to be something that you do, then how you do it needs to be considered. Who is it about? Why are you doing it? When are you doing it? What will you do? Where will you do it? And how will you go about it? (Sorry my little brain uses the 5 W’s and H) If it is the Lord you are seeking to honor, then go to Him and see how He would be honored? (Like the Father’s Day principle 😉 See, I did have a point in there somewhere)
I know these thoughts are not for everyone, and that’s okay. This is our walk and our journey. But I also want you to know that we don’t judge other’s for celebrating the birth of Jesus the Messiah.
A few links:
Spurgeon on Christmas
The Christmas Irony
What does Jesus want for Christmas
When there is crisis at Christmas
Christmas and Advent
The Babe who will not be tamed
We did this Christmas quiz a few years ago and we’ll go through it again this year.
Is Christmas Necessary?
Robin Sampson’s article: Holiday Dilemma’s.