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Sunday, December 4, 2011

YES, I CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS!


Along with the gift buying, baking and tree trimming, another annual event is the "I don't celebrate Christmas because it's a pagan holiday."  sermon.  I wouldn't mind listening to it, if the preacher was truly telling me these things because he/she fears for my soul and on occasion I have heard some very sincere pleas,  but on the contrary, usually those people are using their argument to show us how better of a Christian  they are compared to us.  Sort of like measuring us up with a spiritual yardstick and pridefully  (what does the Bible say about pride?)showing us that they are much more pious. Of course, they always preface it, by saying "I'm not making any judgements, but...", but of course they are judging you, and rather harshly, I might add. By the way, if you hear the phrase "I'm not judging you", you can be assured that they are.  I have to laugh, because it is almost comical, like Dana Carvey's  Church Lady the way they like to make you feel small.  Oh!  The church ladies I've run into in my lifetime.  And friends, I am telling you now, that if you think you can evangelize by being one of these holier-than-thou, I'm-a-better-Christian-than-you type people, you have another think coming.  I know, because for many years, I was one of those running away from such people.  I've talked to enough non-believers to know that when they see this  judgmental example of a "good" Christian, they want nothing to  do with our faith. After all, are we all not sinners? This being said, if you truly believe that celebrating Christmas is sinful and you believe it is your duty to warn others, do it in a loving concerned manner. 


So yes, I celebrate Christmas for many reasons.  First, my family is spread out over the country.  Usually Christmas is the only time that we all have vacation days at the same time.  Secondly, there are a lot of traditions involved in Christmas. Those old ornaments on the trees have been in my family for generations.  Some are the only tangible things I have of  my grandparents.  Traditions and memories are  what sustain us when times get rough.  Thirdly, what's wrong with celebrating?  Even in the Bible there were celebrations. I truly do not believe that God gave us life so that we were to go around acting joyless.  On the contrary, being cheerful and kind can be two of the best example of being a Christian.  I once  had a substitute teacher, Miss Schmidt, that was the very personification of joy and patience.  I learned more about what it was to be a Christian from spending one day with her, then I learned in a year of sermons.  As for some of the customs being pagan, well the devil likes to take all that is good and make it his own.  I even read that putting a candle in your window is a pagan practice.  Really? How about it just looks pretty and I like the idea that it's lighting the way for anyone who is lost to come and I will feed you and give you a place to lie your head?  These things are just symbols anyway, what matters is what is written in your heart.

The finally argument is that Jesus was probably not born on December 25th.  What does it matter?  If God had wanted us to know the date, He would have given us it in the Bible.  What is important is that we acknowledge that "God so loved the world, He gave his only begotten Son to die for us. That he that believeth shall not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16.  As a Christian, everyday should be a Christmas celebration and Thanksgiving!

24 comments:

  1. Ha! I'm sure I'm going to anger some with this post Andrea!

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  2. I have long thought that if we were to sort out any of our Christian traditions according to what might have had pagan overtones we wouldn't be left with either Christmas or Easter as a religious 'holiday' [Holy Day]
    As to the effect of the 'holier-than-thous' one of my favorite quotations says it all:
    "We do not draw pople to Christ by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it."
    Madeleine L'Engle

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  3. Thank you so much for the Madeline L'Engle quotation, Morning! It says exactly what I am trying to convey in my inarticulate manner. If you don't mind, I'm going to copy it an put it on my sidebar. Perfect!

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  4. I just love Madeleine L'Engle...what a wise woman. I really like your post. I am not much of a church goer...used to be...but I am very spiritual. I actually like the mix with the pagan...it celebrates our earth and all the goodness God has bestowed upon us. And to light our way out of darkness falls into Earth centered faith and Christian faith...it's like poetry...all in how you look at it. Have a blessed day!

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  5. Hi Courtney! I believe our faith is for each individual to hash it out. Seek and find your own way. Just today as we were driving home, The Halleluiah Chorus was playing while we drove past the birch and evergreen forests and the big gray storm clouds were close to the earth. Jamie just said "wow!", but I know that he meant we were both feeling closer to God then we have ever felt inside a church. It was a wonderful experience for us both to share.

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  6. Well Jane...you did not anger me :) Thank you so much for sharing...

    Love,

    Maria

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  7. Well Maria, although you are a much better Christian than I should ever hope to be, I have never gotten the "holier-than-thou" vibe from you. On the contrary sharing your struggles with your faith has endeared you to me,so my little 'sermon" wasn't directed at you. It's mainly directed at certain ladies in my community that click their tongues and gossip about all those terrible "sinners" out there. And are the first to demand the minister throw them out as soon as anyone has run afoul of what they believe to be the true Christian life. They have driven away more people from the Church (with a capital C) than anything. I heard a non-believer say "I hate Christians, they are so mean." And sometimes I'm afraid and in the case of these ladies, it is true.

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  8. Dear Jane,

    Isn't it funny how we (not WE of course, just other the other "we's") spend so much time judging and criticizing others, when that was exactly what Christ was against? If we don't want to celebrate Christmas, that's fine, but what do we gain by telling others that they are sinning by doing so? Creating disharmony among Believers is one of Satan's favorite tricks, I think!

    I agree that every day should be Thanksgiving and Christmas; what a beautiful world we would have then.

    Love,

    Marqueta

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  9. You've written my own thoughts...how did you know? :o) I love Christmas (I was born a week before on the 18th)...the decorations, the food, the get-togethers, the music...it all tells me and the rest of the world that God loved us so much He gave us the ultimate gift, His Son. I think that's a great reason to celebrate!

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  10. I completely agree Jane, great post. I love celebrating Christmas, I think it is a wonderful joyful season, traditions are so important as well as time for family to be together. Your silver tree is beautiful!

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  11. This is so true: As a Christian, everyday should be a Christmas celebration and Thanksgiving!

    Thanks for this great blog!

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  12. I think you are right Marqueta! You exemplify that light that Madeline L'Engle was speaking of with your joy for life. That is why I love to visit your blog!

    Well, Happy Birthday in advance, Sandra! My son was born on Christmas Day and my birthday is on New Years Eve, so you see, we have a lot of celebrating to do in December. As you get older, you realize just how important traditions are.

    Ah! My silver tree, April! Usually I love everything to be organic, but when it comes to Christmas decor, I become Cher or somebody with all the glitter and silver! I think it stems from the fact that when I was a kid we had one of those tinsel trees with the color wheels. Have to say this tree is quite a step up from the old tinsel tree, it has both gold and silver branches. It's pretty even without the lights or ornaments.

    Thank you Jedidja! And Easter too!

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  13. Hi Jane,

    Very well said! I've come up against a few that have tried to make me feel guilty for putting up a tree!
    Agreeing here too - everyday should be Christmas! We do have a lot to be joyful for!
    Blessings to you,
    Anne ♥

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  14. Thank you Anne! I went through a melancholy very serious part of life, and I can attest that finding joy is a much nicer way to go about life. And joy begets joy!

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  15. dear jane ,
    i agree with you!i love celebration christmas.i love december,it's a joyful season.i celebrate my birthday one week before christmas.
    christmas blessings,
    regina
    btw.i feel me very good.....no pain at the moment

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  16. I'm so glad you are feeling better Regina! Christmas joy is starting to spread! Even the tax collectors (property tax due and the dog license) were in a good mood. I need to write down your birthday and Sandra's on the calender so that I can remember. Now just stay warm and don't overdo and maybe you can keep the pain away.

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  17. Well, Jane, I am shouting "AMEN! You tell it, sister! Testify!" from my little bit of heaven!

    You are soooo right... I have this running discussion with a friend about Santa Claus. She believes he is evil... that Santa is another word for Satan! Truly! I have tried to explain to her that St. Nick was a historical character who shared and gave to the children of his parish and that he was a holy man. She refuses to hear this. Sigh.

    Why do people want to make Christians perfect? Why is there a different standard for "Christians"? I just don't understand why people (read: non-believers or ultra-holy believers) want to sit in judgement!

    As for me, I am going to put Santa on the landing, watching for snow, decorate my tree with all the ornaments I have collected during the years, and sing "O, Come, Immanuel" as loudly as I can!

    Merry Christmas, Jane!

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  18. Goodness Jane, another post I could have written word for word! I had a friend for several years who preached this to me all year every year. I was intimidated at first... the last year that she lived here I invited her over and offered her a seat across from 'my idol'... I laughed and she laughed (she knew my heart for the Lord), there wasn't much more she could say. That's not to imply that she never thought of more to say... she did. :)

    Enjoy every moment of this beautiful time of reflection and witness~

    Blessings, Debbie

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  19. It seems that some believers equate being Christians with being Puritanical, Matty. As if having any fun is evil. Children have to grow up so fast these days, I say let them have a few happy years of believing in a bit of fantasy. Soon enough they will have to have the real world!

    Hi Debbie! This all came about because I had a neighbor that was nagging me. Like I said, I wouldn't have cared if she had preached to me because she had concern, but just the way she was saying it you could read between the lines that she was telling me that I wasn't measuring up compared to her. I don't know what is gained by sapping all the joy from life. How does that bring you closer to God? The times I've felt closest to Him is when I had those moments of unmitigated and unexpected happiness, personally.

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  20. Hi Jane! I hope you are having a nice afternoon. I can't believe how hot it was here today. We have been having wonderful brisk, late fall weather and today it went up to 80 degrees again! Blah. They say it will go back to normal in another day or too. I sure hope so. I have had enough of this hot weather for awhile. I saw a beautiful hawk sitting on my fence this morning. I ran and got my camera and caught a picture. It was incredible to see one up that close. I hope you have a nice evening ahead, take heart, those socks will be finished soon and when they are done they will be a masterpiece. You actually got me interested in looking in to trying some of these more complex patterns. When I was on my trip I got a book with about a million different chart designs for color knitting. I am looking forward to trying it! Delisa :)

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  21. 80s! We had snow today Delisa! I'm not sure that those socks will be masterpieces, but they will be done. They've kept me from doing much this year, because I didn't want to start any new projects until they were finished, but I didn't want to work on them either! You've inspired me dear Delisa! I have already decided that this coming year is going to be my year to create. Already have several projects lined up. Most discouraging not to live near any good yarn shops. I wanted to cast on the stitches for a hat, but I didn't have any yarn in my stash that was fine enough. I'm considering unraveling a sweater. But when I get to a good yarn shop, I always get overwhelmed by all the choices! Such is life!

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  22. I hear what you say and understand your feelings. I am a Christian that now doesn't celebrate x-mas. I will be posting how our family celebrates and why. Yes, I will do it in love too. There are ways to celebrate Jesus and not have to incorporate pagan roots. I wouldn't worry about putting a candle in the window because even the Jews put the Hanukkah candles in the window and it isn't pagan. I pray blessings on you and your family.

    Blessings in Him<><
    -Mary

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  23. There are lessons to be learned from everyone, Mary. I will gladly read what you have written.

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