Thursday, November 10, 2011

Some thoughts on keeping Christmas

Yesterday on Facebook, I posted this link to a post on the blog New Life on a Homestead about this particular family's decision to stop celebrating Christmas.  She makes a sincere and well-thought out explanation about the pagan roots of so many of our Christmas traditions by citing examples from the Old Testament about times when people have introduced these themes into their worship.

For example, the Golden Calf of Exodus 32.
"Moses had gone up onto the mountain to speak with God (and bring down the 10 commandments), but he took so long in coming that the people began to wonder what had happened to him. They asked Aaron to make a golden calf for them to worship, and he did so.
But, and I thought this was fascinating, in verse 5 of that same chapter Scripture says, “And when Aaron saw it (the golden calf), he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD.”
Do you see what he was doing? The people had fallen back into pagan practices, and were worshiping an idol, yet saying it was to honor God!!
The next verse goes on to say, “And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.”
Wow. Sounds like they were having a very fun celebration, huh?! Did the Lord look at the rejoicing of their hearts and feel honored? Let’s find out…
In verses 7-9, YHWH speaks to Moses and tells him what the people are doing. He says that they have “corrupted themselves”, and “turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them”.
Then in verse 10, YHWH says, “Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them…”
He was SO ANGRY! He was ready to destroy them all! Evidently, He was not pleased at the way they were trying to honor Him… mixing worship with pagan traditions. Mixing the holy with the unholy."
Mixing the holy with the unholy... Wow!  That does sound a lot like society's current holiday celebration with its rampant commercialism - the push to spend way too much money on things we don't need and don't want while speaking of it as a way to celebrate the birth of our Savior.  And when I look at my storage room and the 2 full-sized and 6 smaller Christmas trees and 10 or so boxes of ornaments and other decorations... I'm not sure I like what that says about me.

As of right now, I haven't decided if I will continue to celebrate Christmas (and many other holidays).  It's something that I'm still studying out and pondering.  At the least, however, I think it needs to be simplified and scaled back so that the real intent of my heart is evident to all who enter my home.  One doesn't need garish displays of ornamented greenery to keep thoughts of Christ in the forefront of conscious thought and give gifts that meet the needs of friends and family.  Truly, if serving God and emulating His love for mankind is my focus... isn't every day Christmas?


latter-daymom said...

Great perspective, Kathy. I have felt that way for a long time. In our family celebration, I have never spotlighted Santa, and if we did have Santa, I tried to point out the things about Santa that tie in with the real meaning of Christmas.

When I was on the Activities Committee I always vetoed having Santa come to our Christmas activity, and usually everyone agreed with me that there were plenty of chances for parents to take their children to see Santa if they wanted to.

I too feel it is important to pare down my holiday decorations. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

jweb711724 said...

That is quite a bit to think about. If one just uses the pagan tradition and druid tradition and keep the Christmas separate ...that is impossible ..Because the very words "Merry CHRISTmas" is to imply Christ like intent...maybe the Jahovah Witnesses arent too far off for not celebrating so called holidays.. I too have a few decorations and wonder to myself as well..