Okay, we all know the Christmas cliches; it’s for the children, it’s so commercial, it’s lost it’s meaning etc. etc. But what about Jesus followers, are we allowed to have fun at Christmas? After all isn’t it really a reincarnation of the winter festival where we thank the gods for getting us through the longest night as we look forward to Spring? Doesn’t the Bible forbid us to have a green tree in our house and isn’t the Yule log and mistletoe to do with pagan practices? Oh and I nearly forgot, the wish-bone in the turkey; surely Christians don’t wish, or at least not publicly. Should we really be buying presents, aren’t we just as much consumer zombies as the rest of the world, and what about the drinking and gluttony, that definitely is a sin? Wait a minute what about all the Christmas TV, hardly any of it remembers the true meaning of Christmas, should I be watching it? Then there are the poor and the homeless, the orphans, the lonely and the abused children..
With all the above racing through our minds we will be sure to have a miserable, oppressed and guilt ridden Christmas. The thing is, if all the above is true, and it is, why do we even bother? It seems to me that Christians can get caught in a no mans land in between the desire to enjoy themselves and the fear of sinning against God. In this place they are paralysed and unable to operate in any sort of meaningful way when it comes to having a good time, and believe it or not this makes for a terrible testimony to the world.
My take on Christmas or any special day for that matter is to do what you want. If you want to shelve it as a a monumental waste of time then do it, but do it to the glory of God. Don’t become a Scrooge “bah humbugging” everywhere just do what you do as unto the Lord and bless others in their decisions. On the other hand if you want to decorate everything from the tree to the dog, do it as unto the Lord. If we want to, we can even choose to remember the mind blowing miracle of God being born in human flesh, open presents and eat turkey. I can burn a Yule to the glory of God and entrap my wife with mistletoe as long as I do not attribute them with any power. I can go and spend the season in a homeless shelter to serve those less fortunate than me as long as I do it with thanksgiving. It is worth remembering that guilt fuelled service isn’t really any better than overindulgent festivities; they both come from the flesh and are born from unbelief.
Nehemiah’s advice works for me, “eat the fat, drink the sweet and give a portion to those who are without”. Add that to the truth that Jesus has bought us freedom, which means we don’t have to owned by either the Christmas madness or the Christmas miseries; we are free to serve God according to the strength of our consciences and in the way that works for us.
For me, there will be family, friends, food and drink but whichever we choose lets have a wonderful time and glorify God in it.
Merry Christmas everyone 🙂