Saturday, December 22, 2007

An Ever Present Issue At Christmas

A lot of us probably have loved ones who do not celebrate Christmas or maybe just not some of it's traditions, whatever the reasons may be. Even my husband and I have to find a happy medium with each other in regard to some of the Christmas traditions. This issue seems to have been around forever, so I don't see there being perfect harmony about it any time soon. Whether I agree with someone else or not I keep in mind that their self denial or celebration may be sincerely committed to the Lord. Romans 14 tells us that we are not to judge or regard with contempt anyone who finds joy in observing some days as special or those who do not regard some days as special.

There are some who do celebrate, as well as some who do not, who have become so critical and bitter toward
those who don't share their convictions that they have no spirit of kindness and make this into a matter of more importance than it really is. And then we also see others really indulging in greed and waste, and encouraging this in their children. These bad sides of the holiday can stir up in us reactions of frustration or criticism. We do not have to let all this get us down or go along with any of these practices, but keep our hearts and minds focused on our own reason for celebrating (or abstaining from) and the example of Christs love that we are setting before our children, and others who watch our lives.

There will always be discord in the brethren, none of us have grown so much that we are perfect yet, so I do think we have to keep our motives constantly in check, and let your soul be in true worship and love for Jesus who, by loving each of us, with our baggage and everything, shows us how to love each other. We are less likely to criticize others when we love and pray for them. Christ wants us to be known foremost for our love, and to consider how we would want to be treated with patience (that does not mean to be tolerant of blatant intentional sin). So count the cost of that stand you are taking, and if it truly is worth any unintended discord it may cause.

Here is a good audio Q&A on this topic (click on Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?),

Keep in mind also that, for some, the coming of Christmas stirs up memories of a painful event. Here is what one Christian author wrote to a friend in pain at Christmas:

" It's not at all surprising that Christmas is hard for you this year. The reason for Christmas is the same as it ever was, and nothing is more essential to our lives than the incarnation.

What's different for you, I expect, is that the traditions we wrap around Dec. 25 to make it different from other days, those traditions and activities are as nothing to you this year. In fact, the thought of them probably weighs like a lump of lead in your belly. That's okay!

Trees are nothing. Feasts are nothing. Lights are nothing. Music is nothing.
Only Christ matters. He is the only reason that you can be on any sort of journey with God, that you can have anything at all to do with God.

Only Jesus matters. Hold on to that. One time I told someone in hard times, "Just hang in there." But she corrected me, "I'm not just hanging in there. I'm trying to hang on to Jesus."
So please, just keep hanging on to Jesus. "

May our decorations, gifts, and festivities—or lack of them—never block our view of Him, but always point us toward Him.

Adapted Noel Piper's book, Treasuring God in Our Traditions

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1 comment:

Cherdecor said...

Linda, Send me your email. I have a really nice ecard to send to you. Since you like your puppy dog, you will like it.