Great and Unsearchable Things

Things the Lord gives me, and then I write them.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Christmas Revisited

As I was looking through the "Christmas edition" of my Oriental Trading catalogue this morning, I was wondering to God what characters would be acceptable for the winter season which is soon approaching. I like to do crafts, and I like decorating, and since some of my grandchildren live next door, we do crafts together from time to time during the year. It's something both myself and they enjoy. I decided that snowmen, reindeer, penguins, holly, snowflakes, cardinals, polar bears, pinecones, and gingerbread houses would be fine to represent the winter season. Santa, elves, and christmas trees and anything to do with them are definitely out. And, I know you'll find this hard to believe and probably objectionable, but so is the "nativity scene" and celebrating Jesus' birthday.
You see my husband and I haven't celebrated Christmas for about 7 years now, and we are followers of Jesus Christ.(Well, He is helping us follow Him) I'll have to admit that I did go through some withdrawal at first, making my case with my husband. Now, though, I am on the same page.
One practical result of not celebrating is that the stress of all the "things I have to do" is gone. You can ask me if I'm ready for Christmas anywhere from Sept-Dec. and the answer will be the same. I'm always as ready as I'll ever be, because there's not anything to get ready. So, the answer will always be "Yes." Sometimes I do mention that we don't celebrate it (as the Lord leads) and most, I'm sure, just feel sorry for us and think we've gotten off track.
So why don't we celebrate? Where are we coming from? The pagan roots of Christmas are but one of the reasons, but certainly not the primary ones.
Throwing santa out is obvious-the lying, the mistrust between parent and child that could result is not of Jesus. How about the tree? In the book of Jeremiah when the Israelites had compromised and were in an apostate condition, God spoke through the prophet mentioning that they were decorating trees with silver balls and bringing them into their houses like the pagans did. Sounds kind-of like a Christmas tree to me. Actually back in those days it represented the Asherah pole, which gave homage to a pagan god. God had told them not to adopt the culture of the pagans because they were holy; set apart. They were to be His "ecclesia" or "church"-His "called out ones." Isn't He still saying that to us today?
O.K. if you're still with me, then what in the world could be wrong with the nativity scene? That's just it-It's a scene and we are fixated on it. I think artisans have created beautiful creches, and I can appreciate them from that point of view. But it really did happen and it was supernaturally wonderful how God placed His seed in Mary and she became pregnant. I am thankful that God sent His Son to save us, but follow me if you will: He's not a baby anymore!!!! Jesus came to earth and died for our sins and defeated death and the devil so He could bring us new life. He is a victorious King now and He, by His Spirit, lives in me today. He's going to work in me today. He's going to commune with me today. I'm going to talk with Him and walk with Him. We can't reduce Him to that baby who came and keep repeating "the story" year after year putting us in a time warp. A baby is helpless and impotent. Seeing Him that way interfers with our relationship with Him now.
Doing Christmas makes us think that we are really doing something for God. If that's the case, why do the unbelievers celebrate it with such vigor? God is a today God and He wants us to stop our activities some times and just sit alone with Him, and hear what He has to say so we, His children, can fulfill His desires, not ours, on this earth. How much more time could we have to do that if we eliminated some or all of the activities of Christmas?
I'll go a step further and say that it's the devil's plan, this whole Christmas affair or is it an affair with Christmas? The money spent needlessly, the attempt to find the "perfect" gift for someone when the perfect gift, Jesus, has already been given by God to us, and probably the most subtle; the reading of the Christmas "story" thinking that we have honored God by doing that.
Let's don't even go into singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus.I shudder at the image of Jesus with a party hat on, sitting in the birthday boy seat and getting ready to blow out the candles? How many candles would there be? How would we represent eternal? Can you imagine that he would really want that? A cake? Presents? How about giving him our lives or our hearts? Is Christmas an idol? God calls that adultery.
It's not about a formula of "rights" and "wrongs," that would be legalism. It's about what brings honor or dishonor to God. If you think all that I've said is a bunch of baloney, than just ask our Father about it. Ask Him what He would have you do or not do. Ask Him what pleases or displeases Him. He, by His Holy Spirit, will guide you. He wants to show us what He desires, if we will only ask. "His ways are not our ways."
The question has been asked by well-meaning Christians, "What would Christmas be without Jesus?" The question should be, "What would Jesus be without Christmas?" The answer: He'd still be the same. He'd still be the Redeeming, Conquering King who is coming back soon!!!! He doesn't need Christmas and neither do His followers.
So, I think I'll order some craft items to work on with my grandchildren, and I hope they'll see Jesus in another way, instead of stuck in the manger, and that is through the patience, love, and attention that flows out of my heart as we create together.


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