12/08/2009

Woe, Woe, Woe! Merry Mithras?

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.

9 comments:

  1. It's not that we don't understand...I believe that what matters is what is in the heart. My God knows my heart,he knows what I believe, there is no fooling Him. I choose not to judge how anyone chooses to celebrate the season. I know that regardless of how this celebration originated, what I am celebrating is God's most precious gift of love. It doesn't matter to me that Jesus wasn't born on the 25th of December. I feel confident God is honored by our remembrance of Him...just as you feel God is honored by your remembrances. I'm just thankful we live in a country where we are free to have such beliefs, as different as they may be.

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  2. Don't miss verses 15 and 16. Paul pretty much sums it up here.

    2Co 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
    2Co 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
    2Co 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
    2Co 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
    2Co 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

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  3. Heidi, I can understand your actions and I respect your decision to not celebrate with traditional methods. I would like to think that the honor that I choose to give during the Christmas season is more about my love for Jesus and a wonderful way to invite people to learn about my savior. I for one can't understand why someone would celebrate Halloween and my instinct is to not allow my kids to dress up and take part. But when I saw how many unsaved people came to my church for the "fall festival" and had a chance to see God's love on display, I feel like He is glorified. My belief is that if God is being glorified, then it is good. If you remember Jesus was persecuted by the priests for breaking traditions. But He broke tradition to bring honor to God. Whatever we do should be done for His glory and He will be pleased! Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath and this went against the "laws". He did so to bring honor to God and He gave us this example to know that honoring God is the supreme thing, not the "law" or "tradition". I think that even though the celebration of Christmas can be traced to a pagan holiday, God has changed the meaning to celebrate the wonderful gift of Christ!

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  4. Okay- let me start off by commenting on the example you gave of Jesus healing on the Sabbath. He may have broken laws or traditions of man by doing so, but He most certainly did not break God's law. He was sinless. 1 John 3:4 tell us that the very definition of sin is transgressing the law (of God). Jesus did not break God's law to make an example of doing your own thing in honor of Him.

    I completely disagree that God changed a pagan festival, celebrating the birth of pagan gods, into a festival celebrating the birth of the Messiah- the One true God in the flesh. He, Himself warns not to learn the way of the heathen! He has told us how to honor Him- by loving Him and obeying Him, by doing what is right in His eyes and not our own.

    There has to be a better way to reach the lost than to lure them this way. In fact, that is how Christians came to celebrate what we now call christmas in the first place- trying to bring the unsaved into the church by adopting their idolitrous customs and celebrations in the name of Jesus. The early church and the apostles knew better. The Bible says NOT to mix the Holy with the profain. Just because you put His Name on it doesn't mean it is not wrong. To me that makes it all the more wrong:-(

    Many people share your views. This season is shrowded in deception and excuses. My hope is that people who desire to know the truth- the historical facts surrounding how we as believers came to celebrate this most UNholiday- will dig deeper.

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  5. Heidi,
    I am very sorry to hear that your heart has been hardened so much. I am not going to continually try to disuade you from what you believe is right. I serve a God of love and I pray that the love that is displayed through His people can soften your heart. I am in no way saying that you are not a believer, I actually think that you must be a strong believer. Every person has to make decisions in how we will serve and honor our Lord and you have made a choice that fits for you. I hope that you find happiness and peace with your choice. As a parent, I hope that you have thought about the effects your choices have on your children and family. In your choice, you have chosen to alienate many and there will undoubtably be consequences for that. I am not saying that you are not aware and haven't thought about this, I just hope that you are prepared for them. I for one believe that as your children grow older they may resent the fact that they have not been allowed to join in with friends and family during this season. I know that as parents we make choices that we feel are best for our family and we hope as our children grow up they understand that our choices were made with the best intentions, but many kids disagree with these choices when they come of age. I will end in saying that as a sister in Christ I will love you and pray for you and your family and I ask that you do the same for me. If what you believe about the Christmas holiday is what God wants for all His people, I pray that He puts in in my heart. If not, my prayer is for Him to soften your heart! Either way I pray for His will and Him to have glory!

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  6. My family would totally disagree with you that I have a hardened heart. Anyone who knows me knows that my heart is anything but. I re-read my earlier comment to see what you interpretted as hard. If you will read my blog post and earlier comments carefully you will hopefully see that my motivation is coming from a place of love. If you found it to be harsh that was not my intent, but sometimes the truth hurts. Please know that I never wanted to come across that way.

    My husband and I realize the weight of responsibility it is to be parents. Of course we know the concerns you have expressed about our children. Much prayer covers them and we are very careful to teach them what the Bible says, rather than the doctrines of man that we were raised on. Nothing was hidden from them about the origins of this season. Upon hearing the truth, they too were sickened by it and ashamed of our behavior when we were ignorant of what we were doing. I would say that is pretty incredible since they were only 4 and 7 at the time. We have treaded lightly and dealt carefully with our children- presenting truth as we learn and allowing the Spirit to do the rest in their hearts. The more we learn, the more we realize how much we don't know. He is always faithful to continue His good work in us. His promises are true, even while the teachings and doctrinues of man crumble.

    It is kind of you to consider our children and have concern for them. Truly His love is in your heart. But please rest assured that my husband and I could never express the love we have for our precious children. We consider them in all things. God's Word is clear about how to teach and His promise is true about training the blessings He gives us- Deut. 6:4-9 and Prov. 22:6

    Publishing this post on my blog was not easy for me. I do not enjoy debating, arguing, or controversy of any kind. This subject is heavy on my heart, so after praying about it and my husband encouraging me, I poured out my feelings here on my blog. I am glad you read it and shared your comments. I am joyful to hear that you have a heart that seeks our heavenly Father. As I stated in my blog, I always ask Him for truth at any cost. It doesn't matter the worldly cost if I am walking in His truth. It is true that my children do not get a pile of gifts and they do not marvel at a sparkling tree. Our family sees the emptiness in what we used to greatly enjoy. They are now 10 and 7 and they truly love the Word of God and take it very seriously. I think that is amazing. We take no credit for it because Scotty and I know that is the work of God in their hearts.

    Thankyou for sharing and praying. Thankyou for caring about our family. We will pray for you, also, that as His people seek His Truth it will gently come. It is not an easy road by the standards of the world. Praise Him that we are not of the world!

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  7. Thank you for your prayers and thoughts Heidi! The comment about the hardened heart was in regards to the feelings of "coping" with loved one's celebration of Christmas, not your overall love for God or people. I am sorry if it came out that way. I know that there are many ways for people to honor God and I above all thank you for sharing your heart with others and raising your family in a God loving environment. I am sure that neither of us are perfect and without sin in our daily lives, or else we wouldn't need Christ to carry us! So I will leave with one piece of encouragement; I hope that you can continue your walk in Christ and that He continues to fill you up with Himself and He works through you and your family for His glory! Whether that plan involves celebrations with others or not, you can share God's love and bring those in need to Him!

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  8. First of all, I'd like to commend you, Heidi, for searching out and seeing the truth regarding Christmas. It's one of those highly reverved, yet Pagan practices that people in the church and in the world choose to remain blind to for a variety of reasons.

    I discovered Jeremiah 10:2-5 way back in 1973. "Thus says the LORD (Yahweh):"Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are futile; for one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammer so it will not topple. They are upright, like a palm tree, and they cannot speak; They must be carried, because they cannot go by themselves; Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, nor can they do any good."

    I never wanted a tree in our house or the acknowledgement of "Christmas", but I, like many others disobeyed the direct command of Yahweh and did it anyway. I'm now very sorry for not being obedient to that command and many others over the course of my life. I truly believe that I allowed Satanic influences into our home which lead to much destruction personally and within our family. I'm so thankful that Yahweh is full of grace and redemption.

    In our world we are taught to get around God's commands by re-defining them in our own minds. It would have been like the three Israelites bowing down to the image of Nebuchanezzar and pretending we were bowing down to Yahweh to avoid the firey furnace. I'm looking forward to the true church realizing that we are God's people by faith in Yeshua Hamashiach!

    Thank you for standing strong in God's word and not putting tradition and religion before the word and laws of the one true God, Yahweh. Baruch haba B'Shem Adonai! I love you.

    Dad

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