Celebrating Christmas, Traditional Customs and Being a Christian in Modern Day America - Handling tough questions
A Possible Biblical Solution To The Holiday Celebration Dilemma
What follows is a possible Biblical solution, simply a suggestion for Christians to consider, explaining my own personal approach to celebrating Christmas as the celebration of the nativity of Jesus Christ and how I personally have responded to the challenge.
Originally written in answer to a reader's question: After reviewing my article, Did You Know? The Danger of Turning Christian Apologetics into a Religion a visitor to this web site asked me to clarify my stance on Christmas. The following article closely resembles but is a rewrite of my original email response. As the original author I have taken full liberties and added freely to the original. So here it comes, out of the confusion ...
My Way Of Dealing With The Holidays
After first reading Hislop's, The Two Babylons celebrating Christmas and following modern day American traditions was extremely uncomfortable. Living in this world but not being of this world in the Biblical sense is hard. We celebrate the Birth of Christ at the wrong time of year. The excessive commercialism of the Christmas Celebration in today's modern world is far from a believer's rejoicing of how "the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us...." And! My family could not completely understand my delimma. Forced to confront this challenge, a possible solution to the holiday challenge started working it's way out in my life years ago.
I enjoy teaching and finding creative ways to meet a challenge; and this is where the story begins. My husband and I had not been married very long when his nieces came to live with us for little over a year. They were barely more than babies, one had just turned three, our other niece was four almost five years of age. My delimma? It is challenging enough to meet a Christian's responsibility to God to teach children in the ways of truth to equip them for their later years. But these were not my own children. I had to confront the challenge of living in today's world without over stepping the bounderies of being their aunt by marriage and not their mother. The children were the most important thing. Luckily, being open to opportunities to teach them about the God of the Bible seemed to come natural and the Christmas holidays proved to be just such an opportunity. To meet that challenge, I first made up a calendar with a verse/day countdown to Christmas Day. Starting with the very first promise that God gave to us in the Bible about the "Seed of a Woman", followed by such verses as "from the root of Jesse...," right on up to "In the beginning was the Word.....and the Word became flesh." Each day we would memorize that day's verse and discuss it. I kept the whole Santa thing in the background as much as possible.
How did I deal with the Christmas tree issue? Well for one thing going back to Hislop, his research seems to state that the Christmas tree is pagan in origin in that it symbolizes the false branch of the Messiahship, i.e., Cush. It stands to reason then, that if there is a false branch there is also a true branch. Christians know that, Biblically, that would be the branch of David. So once again, a way to use what may once have been used to undermine the Truth used instead to teach the truth. Actually, I wonder if the apostate religions really thought up those symbols, or if the "symbols" were originally used to teach the truth (much as we use flash cards to teach our children letters and their corresponding sounds) and then twisted. Historically, evil doesn't seem to have an originality of it's own, but usually takes an original truth and twists it out of shape. For example, the lie the serpent told Eve in the Garden of Eden; it was a lie founded on a truth.
To get back to the subject, the tree is often represented as a triangle, three sided, and a tree can also be viewed in three main parts, the roots, trunk, branches. I saw in this an opportunity to expose the children to the idea of the triune nature of God; of how He is but One, consisting of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but still only One. I used no commercialized ornaments, no cutsey Santas... I had paper mache balls decorated with scenes from Bible stories and little cards with various Bible verses...
Christmas gifts were exchanged on Christmas day in remembrance of the ultimate gift God gave of himself by entering into his own creation. In fact, the moment we opened our first gifts, we listened to a song by Reba McIntyre where she and the kids open their first gifts to the words, "Jesus, I open this just for you."
Perhaps, I am handling Christmas all wrong, and pray God will show me how he wishes for me to deal with it in truth. In His time, I am sure he will show me all things, but I don't think that it is in His plans for me to be that perfected while here on earth. I probably wouldn't be much good to him that way, because no one would be able to stand being around me. I just pray that all those imperfections I suffer from do not become a stumbling block for anyone else and that I carry those responsibilities that come to me as He would have me.
Here's A Strange Question - Could The Commercialism in Christmas, and Easter Holidays Actually be a Good Thing?
Sudden thought, the pressure of today's extreme legalistic approach to the seperation of Church and State is being taken way out of context. But that is not the point here and refusing to debate that issue any further I ask this question; could it be that God is using the commercialism in Christmas against itself. The Christmas holidays are the one time of the year that Christian's can share the Bible in public with some degree of tolerance in public. Yes, commercialism is smothering the Gospel message out to a soft whisper. But...
But! And question? If it were not for all the commercialism and the profits to be made during the holiday season, would Christians still be able to talk about the Birth of Christ today at all? Is God taking what was "meant for evil" and turning it to good, at least for a little while longer?