Wednesday, December 23, 2009

About Christmas

How can I as a follower of Jesus not celebrate Christmas?  By celebrating I mean these things...not put up a tree or decorate, party or give gifts.  Many use Jeremiah 10:1-5 as part of their reason for not having a tree and I do agree it is a good argument, even though it is talking about making a tree into an it is:

Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:
Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.
They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good. 

And then there is this passage in Revelation 11,which speaks about the two witnesses being killed, makes me wonder what it means?

And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.

I do not mean that we don't get together with family, that we be rude to others who do not see it 'our way', or not talk about Jesus at all during this time because he wasn't born on Dec. 25th, that would be a wrong way of dealing with not celebrating Christmas and God does not want us to be this way at all!  We are however called to be set apart from the world, so we cannot do Christmas like everyone else.  At this point there is no difference between the Non-Christians and the Christians, they both set up trees and decorate, make cookies and give gifts to each other in the name of Santa virtually cannot tell them apart, what a shame that is!

Most people know that Jesus was not born Dec. 25th, but it has so been ingrained in us that this is when we celebrate, it is hard and uncomfortable to change and sometimes we hurt others unintentionally when we make the choice to end the madness of Christmas.  That is inevitable.  The truth is hard and not everyone will see it no matter what it is whether because of tradition or memories or they just do not care to know or whatever their reasons or blockages...we are all imperfect after all.  Thankfully, our salvation does not stand on these things but on Jesus Christ who died for our sins and rose again so we could be set free and there is grace for those who believe in Him!

Knowing it is not Jesus' real birthday and has become a time for spending money we don't really have, eating too much and talking about Santa coming to town is enough for me to not celebrate let alone the pagan roots which I won't go into here.  So what do I do about the time of year when most people are open to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  This is the dilemma we face when choosing to not celebrate Christmas.

For us, we have chosen instead to celebrate Hanukkah, which is the Festival of Lights and Feast of Dedication and falls in December, but not always during Christmas time.  The last two years we spent much time learning the root of this holiday and finding Jesus in it and acknowledging it (John 10:22).  He says that He is the Light of the world, the Menorah in the temple was also known to be called the 'light of the world' and the windows in the temple were built to shine the light out to the world.  He also calls us who follow Him the light of the world.  We have also found that He was sent of God more than likely during Hanukkah and was born during the Feast of Tabernacles, which is the reference Immanuel, God with us.  So Hanukkah has become very important to us now that we understand it better.

 What does celebrating Hanukkah look like?  It could be different for each family and even from year to year.  For us this year, we bought and hung up around our windows some white and blue snowflake lights, because white stands for purity and blue for loyalty and we want to be pure and loyal to God.  We made our own Hanukkah menorah, called a Hanukkiah, a few years ago and it sits in our window all year long.  So, each night of Hanukkah we light the servant candle which then lights one candle for each night eight nights in all.  Thus remembering the 8 days of the first Hanukkah in which the oil of one day lasted for 8, and remembering that Jesus (the servant candle) has made us the light of the world (the other candles)with his Holy Spirit (oil) and has given us enough 'light' to make it to the end.  We then have to chose to shine brightly for the Lord and not put our light under a bushel but set it out for all to see.

No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. Luke 11:33

 As for Christmas what do we do?  We get together with our family of course...God is not afraid of the ways of this world and neither should we be. Maybe they don't understand and maybe they never will understand us and what we do and they might even choose to think we don't celebrate Jesus coming, but we do each day in our hearts we are so thankful that God sent His only begotten Son because he loved the world, that whoever believes on His Son might be saved!  In our freedom from sin and death we celebrate!  Praise God!  How will they know if we avoid or ignore them on this day or any day?  We may not be of this world, but we are still in it, therefore, we must do what we can to shine the light of Jesus whether received or not. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-14)

Please check out this link as well, it is very interesting:

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