My heart has overflown onto my blog page, so anyone who cares to know a little more about why our family is not so merry during christmas anymore read on...
This time of year is kinda tough for me. Not for the typical reasons that most people who struggle with the "holidays" have, but for a much different reason. This will be the fourth year that our family has not participated in this crazy mess that people call christmas. We have not observed it in four years! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would NOT be celebrating christmas! I loved it! I thought it was a religious celebration bringing honor to God. I had many nativity sets and displayed them proudly, talked to my children about the "true meaning" of the season, generously gave gifts while teaching my children it is better to give than to receive, and made sure to include lots of religious christmas carols in with the rest of the delightful mood lifting music of the yuletide season. I loved the shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking, special family time and good cheer feeling that christmas brought. I thought that the only thing that could be wrong with christmas was the commercialization of it all. The greed and the lies about Santa were wrong, right? Following the example of my parents, we never told our children that Santa existed as anything more than a make believe character. Also, it was SO wrong to call it x-mas! How horrible to "take the Christ out of Christmas"!! After all, HE was the reason for the season, wasn't He??! As long as I put an emphasis on the religious aspect of all this then everything was okay. Not only okay, but a good thing- a wonderful thing- in fact, the most wonderful time of the year!
So why do I no longer observe this magical time of year? Because, for some reason, God has given me a heart that longs to know the truth. My prayer has always been for His truth to break through at any cost. As much as I loved this season and all the fun and feelings, I love Him more. I wanted to know the truth. So, as a start, I went to the library and sat at a table with a stack of reference books, encyclopedias, and historical studies of holidays and customs. Upon learning the origin of this celebration, I found out that it has NOTHING to do with our precious Savior. He is not the reason for the season. It was being celebrated long before He was born in a manger, in Bethlehem, in the fall, during the Biblical fall feasts of God. He spoke through the prophet Jeremiah saying not to learn the way of the heathen. Upon studying the origins of what we call christmas I was appalled and ashamed at what I had been participating in. Today, the depth of the deception surrounding this "holiday" is unbelievable.
This time of year is hard now. It is hard to know what to say to a kind cashier wishing you a merry christmas when she doesn't really know what she is saying. It is hard when people pity your children because they miss out on all the gifty greed and other "at least do it for the kids" aspects of the season. It is hard when people actually get angry because we do not observe it, or instantly assume we are atheists or no longer believe in the Messiah. The irony of it all!
So here is the sticky part- here's the part I can't wrap my heart or my mind around- here's the kicker- the big question mark: How do I cope with loving the people- friends, family, and even strangers- who are happily celebrating a season that I DETEST, LOATHE, and ABHOR? It hurts. I get an ache in my heart seeing a tree in the window of my loved one's homes. How can I be angry with them? I was doing the same thing just a few short years ago without remorse or shame. They are not ashamed. They do not understand. I keep loving, keep praying, and keep clinging to the truth of His Word. What else can I do? In Him is the only true peace.