So I am going to jump on my soapbox and tell you what I think about the issues that are up for debate. What on earth am I talking about you may ask? Well, 3 things really.
1. Santa has no place in Christmas
2. The Christmas Tree has no place in Christmas
3. Christmas should not be celebrated by Christians
These issues have been debated over and over and over. I have chosen not to participate in any debates on such topics as I find the threads can get judgemental, critical and down right nasty.
My concern with these debates is that they do nothing to glorify God. In fact, some of them are downright embarrassing and make me cringe that Christians act in such a way towards each other. I don't think participating in such debates makes one a good ambassador for Christ. And whether we like it or not, unbelievers are watching us. Are we representing Christ well?
Paul says this to the Body of Christ:
Romans 12:10- Love each other like brothers and sisters. Give each other more honor than you want for yourselves.
Ephesians 4:2- Always be humble, gentle, and patient, accepting each other in love.Jesus himself tells his disciples and therefore us, if we are His disciples:
John 13:34-35- "I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other as I have loved you. All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other."I heard an amazing message in church today about how Jesus never said what He was against, just what He was for. And what was He for? He was for love, hope, freedom, truth and life through HIM! He didn't go around telling us what we are doing wrong. The Law already did that for us. But He came to free us from the Law to live in His Grace.
So why are Christians going around telling everyone what they are against? I tell you, unbelievers looking on at these debates would not see becoming a Christian as an attractive proposition, if this is the way we treat each other. If we tell other Christians how they should (or whether or not they should) celebrate Christmas, and everything that is wrong with Christmas, we are putting regulations and rules back on their life. Paul says:
Romans 14:1-5- Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.What seems wrong in the eyes of one person, can be completely harmless to another. One Christian family may find Santa offensive and be horrified by the fat jolly man that has hijacked Christmas, banning anything with Santa on it from their house. Another family may love Jesus with all their heart and teach their children that Christmas is a day to celebrate Jesus' birth, but still 'play' Santa to their children. So who is right? Well, both are really. Because they are both fully convinced in their own eyes.
In my own house, we have chosen not to 'play' Santa (or the tooth fairy, and Easter bunny) as we didn't want to lie to our children. On a personal note, I remember adults taking great pleasure in convincing me that things were real, (not Santa, but other things), knowing that children are gullible and trusting. I often found myself crushed when I found out that certain things that I was convinced were the truth, were only made up by an adult to make me look and feel stupid. I didn't want to lie to my children.
On saying that though, that is my personal experience. And I have no problem with other Christians 'playing' Santa to their own children. Everyone must make their own decisions for their families. I have no problem with my own children going and saying hello to Santa, if they choose to, at the shopping centre. The Boy Warriors know that he is just another fictional character. We even bought Santa hats just for fun the other day and the Boy Warriors have had a great time dressing up in them. Just like my children might want to dress up like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, they also thought they may like to dress up as Santa. In their eyes, they are both fictional characters.
As for the Christmas tree having it's roots in paganism as an object of worship - it doesn't matter to my family. In my house decorating the Christmas Tree has become a great bonding time for our family. It adds to the excitement and anticipation of the upcoming Celebration of Jesus' birth on Christmas Day. Looking at the tree each night with the lights twinkling and all decorated gives us such great pleasure!
Which brings me to the celebrating of Christmas. Yes, I know that December 25th is not Jesus' actual date of birth. And yes, I know that it was a Pope that decided the date of Christmas should coincide with a pagan feast day. I also know that there is nothing in the bible telling us to celebrate Jesus' birth. These facts are irrelevant to me, and do you know why? Because in our family, we set aside December 25th to celebrate Jesus' birth. When we celebrate Christmas it is not to participate in pagan worship. We don't worship the tree. Just the One who hung on a tree for us. Christmas Day might not be Jesus' date of birth, but it his party date for our family. Just like when one of my children's birthday may fall on a weekday, but we don't celebrate it with a party until the weekend.
So whether you choose to celebrate Christ's birth on December 25th or another day, or not - with or without a Christmas tree or Santa, I hope that you can respect the fact that not everyone will agree with your choices. I know that not everyone will agree with the choices my family has made. But please, for His sake - can we stop debating these topics and just love each other?
I'll get off my soapbox now.
I hope and pray that you and your loved ones have an amazing day December 25th, however you choose to spend it.
Still taking lessons from the King,
(To read more about these debates READ THIS.)