Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Thinking about Christmas

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, one of the most holy days in the Christian's calendar, or is it?

Our family chooses not to celebrate the ever popular, even among non-Christians, Christmas for a few reasons. The first is because of the associated consumerism that is difficult to do in moderation. The second is because we believe that we should speak the truth, and the truth is that Jesus Christ was not born on December 25th. And the third is because the Bible commands us to celebrate many holy days, but not Christ's birthday.

We have all see the displays of mass consumerism in relation to Christmas. Even in late September the major department stores have Christmas-related items out, all to condition consumers to do what they do best- to consume. To further the cause, they use tactics to suggest that buying buying buying from them is not only what you want to do, not only what your child wants you to do, but is also what Jesus Christ would want you to do. They play up, ever so slightly as to not offend those who do not believe in Christ, the 'joyous family memories' and 'traditions that will be passed down', all with the purchase from their company in the way of a special Hallmark card with matching Hallmark ornament, Pillsbury Slice-and-Bake cookie dough in holiday shapes, and the artificial dye and artificial flavor-filled candy. Parents are assured, through paid advertisements, that their children will love and cherish them into their old age if they just purchase the WII, the new Barbie, or the latest Dora and Bratz Dolls. This starts a vicious circle of giving, taking, and debt that we wish to avoid in our family.

" Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things." Phillipians 4:8 NKJV

To me, Christmas is a false truth. Ask most Christian children when Jesus was born, they will say December 25th. Wrong again. Most biblical scholars agree that He was born in the spring, which is nowhere close to December 25th. The date for Christmas originally came from the pagan "Victory of the Sun-God" festival after winter solstice (Dec 21st) and did not start being celebrated among Christians until 300 years AD. Christmas was not celebrated in Jesus's time or in the early church.

Lastly, I am a Christian who believes God's word is truth, and that is found in the Bible. The Bible Old Testament, also called the Torah, commands different feasts and holy days to be celebrated. If we do not have the 'time' or motivation to celebrate what is actually in God's word (sukkot, passover, feast of trumpets...), what business do we have putting so much effort into a man-made mock 'holy' day? Do I think it is sin to celebrate Christmas? No, I do not. But I question whether it is 'true, noble, pure, and praiseworthy' for all involved.


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