I was planning on holding my
tongue fingers until
after Christmas before I did my annual Scrooge post. But since I have
bronchitis and was given a major steroid injection, I am wide awake at 1:00 a.m.
this Christmas morn.
Usually by this time each year I have gone through my usual questions about the truth of Christmas. Then, a friend or pastor convinces me that Christmas is o.k. to celebrate. I quickly wave my hand over my forehead, wiping the sweat from my brow in relief because I just love shopping for toys to give to my kids. I love to watch them open presents on Christmas morning. Yes, my eyes would roll each and every time I heard a reference to Jesus’ birthday. But, for the most part, I enjoyed the holiday.
Well, this year is different. This year I read Deuteronomy Chapter 12. I’ll begin in verse 28 here, “Be careful to obey all these words that I command you, that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God. When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? – that I may do the same.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.
Not only does God tell us to worship Him only. He doesn’t even want us taking practices from other religions and using them for Him. His people have tried to worship Him in their own ways since Cain and Abel. Apparently Cain knew what offering he was supposed to bring for the LORD, but he chose to bring something else. When the Israelites were waiting on Moses to come down from the mountain, they knew that golden calf couldn't do a thing for them. They were planning on worshiping Yahweh the next day.
But let's think about something else for a minute. Would it be ok if we, today, each made our own golden calf, placed it on our mantel and said it was in honor of Him or His son? Would it be ok to use a Buddha statue in honor of him? What about a yin-yang? What if we took a holiday that was used by Muslims, scratched out all reference to "Allah" and replaced them with "Jesus." How would that make our God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob feel?
I’m pretty sure He feels the same way about Christmas. I'm also pretty sure that he'd rather us observe the Holy Days He Himself set forth. Christmas is not a Holy Day. There is nothing Holy (set apart) about it.
The practices of Christmas started looonnnggg before Jesus was born. I could write all about it here, but there are plenty of other blogs, websites and even books (check your local library) about the history of Christmas. Yes, tomorrow I will be woken by my children who are so excited to open their presents. My four-year old will probably tell us it is Jesus’ birthday. I’m sure my kids will sing Happy Birthday Jesus as they blow out the candles on a cake their grandmother made. And I’m fine with that. Why? Because I know when they get older and begin studying the Bible, they will be able to see the truth. I have faith that one day my entire household will be worshiping the LORD our God in spirit AND truth. We shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free.