Keep Christ in Christmas?

Let me think this through. I don’t have all the answers. I’m still trying to figure out Christmas.

That may sound a bit strange. Christmas is after all a celebration of Christ’s birth, right? Not so fast.

Here’s a poem and thoughts about why not Christmas posted by A Godly Maiden. Also why Simple Living AK are celebrating Hanukkah instead of Christmas this year.

Like Easter and Halloween, Christmas is an overlay holiday by the Catholic church of a pagan festival. They took the festival celebrating the birth of the sun god and transformed it into the birthday of the Son. It’s not mentioned in the Bible to remember the day of His birth. In fact, the day is a bit vague, unlike the day of His death. I’m no Biblical scholar, so I won’t go into detail.

The fact that Christmas is celebrated widely in almost identical ways by both Christians and non-Christians yet isn’t a patriotic holiday should give Christians pause. Also, Christmas isn’t mentioned anywhere in the Bible. Yes, the angels came to celebrate on the day of His birth, but after that, no one celebrated this day in later years.

Christmas for many Christians is a tradition with very little personal religious meaning anymore. It’s about having fun, the joy of Christmas, shopping. Indeed, in today’s modern consumerist society, the pagan traditions are gaining importance (tree & decorations, bon fires, expensive presents, parties) as it moves from Christ’s Mass to X-mas. It’s become a selfish holiday. A holiday instead of a Holy Day.

The Christmas tree is more of a tradition for tradition’s sake and I’m beginning to believe that is wrong. Family traditions are great. It just needs to be understood the meaning behind the tradition. I’ve looked into the history of Christmas trees and find they are similar to Easter eggs. And why not, if they are both originally part of pagan festivals? What is the modern reason for keeping Christmas trees? How can they relate to the Birth of our Savior? I fail to see a connection in this way. I see more of a connection to the consumer/selfish gift exchange tradition.

What about the presents? Surely there’s nothing wrong with that? Giving is an unselfish Christian act, right? Not quite. Not when giving a gift they tell you to buy. It’s nice to get something another person likes, but the outright selfishness of “get me this for Christmas” and the Christmas wish lists are wrong. I like families who keep the gifting a secret. But this is a form of deception, which is also wrong. We give nice gifts but also expect nice things too. If you say different, you are deceiving yourself.

We don’t have Santa at our house. Santa is a god of consumerism, plain and simple. It is teaching kids to be selfish. Some object to Santa because of magical associations. I see Santa as a form of deception and lying, which is a sin. It’s not fun. I’ve seen too many young kids screaming and crying in terror as they sit in Santa’s lap the first time.

We treat Christmas more as a birthday party. It is a way for me to remind the kids of Christ’s teaching, why He came, etc. I also tell them Christmas isn’t truly the day of His birth but rather the traditional day it is celebrated. I’d really like to replace the tree and trimmings with a nativity next year but not sure what we’ll do.

So what really is Christmas? If you take away the tree, Santa, the consumerist/selfish gift giving, the false manger scene with 3 wise men (where did that number come from anyway?) bringing expensive gifts what is truly Christian that’s left? Even the date is wrong (animals are born in spring not mid-winter). It is a starting to seem more and more like a false holiday.

I still don’t know the answer. Keep Christ in Christmas? Shouldn’t it be put Christ into Christmas since it wasn’t really His holiday? Are we to become purists and just abandon it? Are we to replace it with a more Biblical holiday? Are we to adapt it to be more Christian and less worldly? Is it to be a birthday party with a religious theme? Should we just go with the flow and celebrate? Is it even Christian to question? Better yet, is it Christian to NOT question why Christmas?

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5 Responses

  1. As Christians we have been given the opportunity–even a strong nudge–to question what we see, hear, and do. I think it’s great to keep thinking about what we do, and why.

    ~Luke

  2. Luke,

    In junior high, my friends’ motto was TFYQA: Think For Yourself, Question Authority. We didn’t mean rebel, just find out why before following the crowd. As Christians, we are called to be separate from the world. I don’t think this is a literal total separation, but rather to question why. Is it Biblically appropriate to do X or Y? Or are you simply doing it just because everyone else is? It has been on my heart a lot to question things this past year. If I don’t like the answer, I try to figure out how I can change it for the better. If I can’t then I try to get rid of it. It hasn’t always been easy, but in the end I think I’m better.

  3. We stopped doing christmas years ago, to the dismay of grandparents and family members. We actually feel freer since we do not have to participate in this worldly holiday! 🙂

    ~ Lacy

  4. The whole think for yourself concept is what started our family on the search about these holidays and determine that we will no longer be participating. There is so much that Christians “do” because everyone does it or because it has been dressed up or doctored up to sound Christian.

    But I do agree that these changes are not easy. Tradition and emotion and warm fuzzies drive deep and want to help you make excuses. When you can step away emotionally from things and really look at what you’re doing and why, it’s amazing how freeing it is to say no.

  5. Quietmom,

    It’s wonderful to be able to say this is what we believe and that is why we do or do not celebrate certain holidays. Yes, change that goes against long standing tradition not to mention national social pressure isn’t usually easy. Although for us giving up Halloween was. We simply were so busy we literally forgot for several years then it was just another day from then on. My husband was the one who wanted to give up Easter. That took me awhile. We celebrate Holy Week instead. Lately, it’s been the kids actually starting questioning Christmas. We’re still unsure what to do about that one.

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