Friday, December 27, 2013

Is the Christmas Holiday Truly Christian?



December 25 is, of course, the day that is widely observed or celebrated as Christmas Day. Yes, the day is officially over, but the holidays are still here and New Year's Day is almost upon us. That evening, on my Christ-centered Facebook page, I reposted a status update from another user, a poem depicting a professing Christian's anguish over being rejected by Christ on Christmas Eve, and that He had returned then. The imaginary professor of faith was aghast over being "left behind" because he had not been watching for Christ's return. I posted this on my Christian Facebook page; within minutes, users expressed anger at the post. After a barrage of angry comments, the original poster asked me to remove the post (as she had reposted it from yet someone else). So I did, posting a status update that confirmed that I did that. Over the past months, I have observed that there are sharp divisions amongst many brothers and sisters in Christ about whether this day ought even to be celebrated or observed. The passions run very strong about this in the Christian community, because it hits at core beliefs about God and what we believe the Bible says about holidays, tradition and Christian discipleship.

Why the Controversy About the Christmas Holiday Among Christians?

1). Pagan Origins. Research indicates that this day has roots having nothing to do with the Person of Christ.

2). Commercialism. It's self-evident that this time of the year incites greed, materialism and an excuse to indulge our lust to "lay up for ourselves" things, and to spend, spend, and spend on our families and ourselves. By showering many presents on our children, we teach them to think of themselves as consumers.

3). Hedonism. We use this time of the year as an excuse to "pig out" on food and alcohol. Is this not so? It isn't for nothing that we have coined the term "holiday food."

4). Traditions. We have practically made a religion of putting up lights, Christmas trees and organizing once-a-year family get-togethers among people we often see only at this time and may not even like. Those who offend by not adhering to this "religion" are often castigated as Scrooges. Never mind that they may not participate solely because of their own convictions.

5). The Santa Claus phenomenon. We parents tell children about this imaginary character, misleading them, and then wonder why, when we have to "break the news" that he is not real, that our children may struggle with believing that God and Christ are real.

6). Idolatry. We can't even pinpoint when God Incarnate was born into this world and nothing in the Bible indicates that we are called to celebrate Christ's birth. We ARE called to commemorate His death in the form of Holy Communion.

7). Causing unneeded stress because of unrealistic expectations. How many of us stress ourselves out trying to "find the perfect gifts" for loved ones? Hosting elaborate get-togethers? How many people, in pain to begin with over life situations, find their pain intensified at this time of the year?

How Then Should We As Christians Respond?

Those among our brothers and sisters in Christ who shun this holiday altogether have very valid reasons for their commitment and total abandonment to Christ. Even if we as Christians don't feel called to shun Christmas altogether, there are many lessons to learn where we can downsize our traditions and festivities, and greatly simplify this time of the year. We can still enjoy this time of the year, show our loved ones how much they mean to us, and please God. He does not want to be a "wet blanket" on our fun! Cut back on festivities. Lower expectations. Reduce spending. Simplify hosting preparations. Above all, respect our brothers and sisters in Christ who differ from us, and remember that it is all about the Person of Christ!

This is an unbiased article about the origin of this holiday.

This is an article, with links, outlining the actual origins of Christmas.

The photo at the top of this post is courtesy of MorgueFile.com and can be found here.

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