Oh the memories of a delicious roast dinner in the oven, Christmas Carols playing softly in the living room, the twinkling fairy lights on the tree illumitating the huge mound of colourfully wrapped presents seemingly begging for little hands to attack them, the warm summer breeze coming through the front door and the desire to go to bed as soon as dinner is over just incase santa dropped in early. Yes those were my childhood memories of Christmas eve. Here in Australia its usually hot and fine weather. I was raised in a family of no religion, therefore I had no Idea it was "Jesus' Birthday" It was just the time where we all ate too much, enjoyed each others company and felt the joy of giving and recieving. Oh and santa was pretty exciting...
UNTIL.... the day I was told Santa was not real. Oh the embarrassment. The shame. I felt so stupid for believing such a tall tale. My response to my mother? I asked between trying to stop tears, wide eyed and betrayed, "Why would you lie to me about this? Its silly. I believed you, what did you make it up for?" My mother looked at me, marvelling at my response. "Sweetheart it was all just for fun. It was nice to see you excited about santa, and the point was to give you something to look forward to, its the spirit of Christmas!" my reply at 8 years old was "But mum, my favourite parts of Christmas is when we get to see our family who we never see, and when you take us to kmart to buy a present to put under the wishing tree for poor kids. I didnt need you to make up a silly story to have fun at Christmas!"
Mum was taken aback to say the least. All she could do was apologise to me and fess up about the easter bunny and tooth fairy right away in order to save face. Though Id stopped believing in them a few years before, she thought she better just make sure I knew she wasnt trying to trick me any further. It took me a while to trust her again after that. My siblings reacted similarly, but perhaps not as dramatically.
So that is partially why I wont ever lie to my Children about Santa Claus. My children will know about the real man who the story was derived from. St Nicholas. His story is one of charity and kindness. Two things my children can learn and benifet from. But santa claus will not be making a false appearance in our home, EVER. And I made that decision before I ever came to know God. But after I came to Christ it did establish more strongly reasons not to do the santa thing. Main one being, if I say to my Children that santa, the easter bunny and the tooth fairy are real and let them imagine this wild and wonderful fantasy for so long...then one day "honey, santas not real" then "love, easter bunnys not real" and of course "sweetie, tooth fairy isnt real".... will my children be waiting for the day to come where I say "dear, Jesus Christ isnt real." Of course He is...but a child's mind is very forward thinking like that. All three false characters parents lie about have some things in common with our Savior. You cant see them with your eyes (unless you take them to the shop to see santa I guess), they are all supposed to be positive individuals, they are all supposed to be out for the childs best interests, they are all supposedly loving and generous. So, in these aspects, they have some things in common with our Lord. So, if we were lying about these "too good to be true" characters, a child could possibly and sensibly default to Jesus Christ being too good to be true also.
Now every child has the capacity and ability to personally know Christ. They can have a relationship with God, they can experience His presence, and many do. But for other children who havent known God yet, or are in the fragile stages of still coming to an understanding of the marvelous truth of God, a bomb like this can explode catastrophically destroying spiritual growth. It could even stop it completely. So, its just something to think about before you pull out the cookies and milk on Christmas eve. I know my decision is to stay honest, so that my children have no reason to doubt me in the important things.
Continuing on, once I gave my life to our Father in heaven, Xmas became CHRISTmas. I was a huge advocate of using Christmas to witness, i milked that chance for all it was worth. Attached to Christmas cards for family and friends id have the "story of the candy cane" or the story of the Christmas Wreath or whatever. When asked what Id done that morning Id say we sung happy birthday to Jesus, and Id use the opportunity at work, when leaving the day before Christmas, saying something like "seeya everyone! have a great time tomorrow and dont forget to say Happy Birthday to Jesus!" to which most would smile and laugh, and others would look confused lol. So you get what im saying. Christmas was an all out Jesus-fest. The tree, the presents, the food, the get togethers, everything I did at Christmas time was centered on Christ and the celebration of His birth.
Thinking I was totally doing the right thing...then BAM I realise Ive been lied to AGAIN! Except this time on a much larger and much more deceptive scale. In my seeking for truth, I sometimes find myself lookng into things further than I probably need to. I check out the history of things and see where it came from etc. In my Christmas research I was devistated to find out...that Christmas is NOT Jesus' birthday, nor does anyone know His actual birthday but some believe September may be alot closer to the truth. As if this wasnt enough... december 25th was originally a pagan celebration. Its the birthday of a rather nasty sounding pagan sun God. Way back the Catholic priests decided to hijack this pagan holiday and falsley label it the date of Christ's birth, naming it Christmas and spreading the abominable lie like wildfire. Many different reasons are speculated about why they did this, in my opinion, no reason is good enough. I dont think the Father would be too pleased that some self-righteous religious folk have stolen a pagan holiday and re-vamped it in honor of His precious Son Jesus Christ, spreading a lie to the world and making it seem like a Godly celebration.
The terrible thing is even things like the Christmas tree, are traditions that have been stolen from the pagans and made out to be okay. Infact Jeremiah 10 speaks blatantly and clearly against NOT cutting down trees and placing them in your house all decorated, as it is a pagan tradition. Goodness me how culture has fooled even true believers!
Nowhere in the bible does it say to celebrate the birth of Christ, let alone a false birthday originally belonging to pagans. Infact I find a number of verses that completely shut down the idea of keeping the traditions of men. (two examples Matthew 15:2-9 Colossians 2:8) I see God disapproving of man-made traditions and only condoning His own traditions. Therefore If we want to be biblically sound and celebrate God, we ought to do it when HE says He wants us to. Namely the sabbath, and the 7 feasts of the Lord which include Hannukah and Passover (not easter, passover is different). Now there is alot of debate as to weather or not we as new-testament believers should have to celebrate the feasts still. One could argue that after Jesus rose from the dead and the work of Christ was complete, the disciples were STILL keeping the feasts. Including Paul the Apostle who mentions the feasts more than once in His writings. (Acts 18:21 being one example). I personally have never celebrated the feasts, but I would consider it after further study.
Regardless of weather we think we should or shouldnt celebrate the feasts, the sure thing here is that we should NOT celebrate pagan holidays hijacked by Catholics. The traditions of men are in God's eyes not worthy of our celebratory attention. Therefore if you want to celebrate, you may as well pick up the feasts because at least God does not disprove of them. Either that or just drop the Christ from Christmas. Weird as that sounds, the uninformed, foolish statements we make as decieved believers trying to defend the special season from the athiests who put it down, are now kind of a smack in our own faces. "Christmas is all about Jesus", "dont forget the reason for the season, Jesus!" "Its called CHRISTmas for a reason you know" "dont forget to wish the birthday boy a happy birthday!" "its not about presents and a fat man dressed in red, Jesus is the reason for the season" etc.... all these statements can now be swallowed by ourselves with some humble pie.
So how do we keep the peace with family, seeing as were not all going to be on the same page. Well, my husband and our home, do not have Christmas trees, christmas songs (save a few we believe are lovely for worship any time of year) or christmas decorations. We do not celebrate the holiday in our own home. We do however still attend the family get togethers, share gifts with one another and enjoy ourselves. We still use the day as an opportunity to spread the love of Christ. We just dont pretend its His birthday in order to do so. We still talk about the birth of our Savior and what it means to us within our family, but we dont pretend Christmas day is the correct historical time of His birth, nor do we celebrate His birth because culture tells us its the day to do so. We honour God every day, therefore we will still gather with our Church to fellowship, not because its a "Christmas duty" but because we do it every week.
God is a family man, therefore getting together with family is wonderful any time of year. If they want to do it Christmas day, no worries! The act of giving and recieving is still a wonderful biblical thing and we have no problem participating in sharing presents. We just dont use this as a day to honor the birth of Christ. We use it as yet another day of the 365 days a year that we honour Christ Himself. We dont put Christmas on a pedestal as a holy holiday. We dont post out cards and wear Christmas decorated attire. Seeing as we worship Christ with our whole lives, and He is a part of everything we do, we dont need a pagan holiday to stop and reflect on the goodness and miracle of Jesus anyway. We appreciate Him every day. Every week, every month.
I suppose you could say, once again, Christmas has become what it always was to my family when I was a little girl: "the time where we all ate too much, enjoyed each others company and felt the joy of giving and recieving" ...minus santa.
As this is our first year in knowing the truth of the origins of Christmas we are obviously still making prayerful decisions on how to "do" or "not do" this day. This year, this is what were doing. By next year we may tighten the reigns or loosen them depending on what we find in scripture and in prayer. Every true believer is on a journey for truth. I want to obey and honour God in all ways possible. Knowing what to do in this season is just one way that I am learning about. I hope you do too :-)
Have a happy holiday and a merry....somethingmas haha.
May your belly be full, your heart be merry and your families be blessed by your presence and loving countenance.