Thursday, October 30, 2008

About that Christmas Tree...a comment

Thank you for all chiming in. I didn't expect everyone to agree at all and I have enjoyed the conversation and thoughts shared.

Well, we have spent countless dollars on 'doing' the tree every year here as well. I am very particular about my tree selection...ask Dewey and he will tell you stories about trudging through the dark tree farm with cold fingers and toes because I can't find that 'perfect tree' without heading through ALL of them first. I have a vision of what I want a tree to look like, I have a vision in my minds eye that has pretty handmade ornaments, some childhood special ornaments for each of my children, tiny lights that create a nice effect. It's all very dreamy and it brings back a lot of childhood memories for me.

For me, that tree is a problem, obviously. Sounds a bit like it could be for you, Anonymous, if you really be open and honest with yourself. You can remember those fond childhood memories without the tree. You can have wonderful family times without a tree. By saying what you did, whether that was the way you meant it or not, it does come across that you are pacing a good deal of worship and idolatry into the tree and the whole process of Christmas. Trust me -- I know it's got a draw to it. That's why we still struggle with it all. It evokes dreams of my history and of all those Currier & Ives moments in my mind.

But you mention wanting to make 'a pretty display of my childrens gifts under the tree' as being something you are going for. That's pride and vanity. It's a 'show' to those who enter your home, look over at my glittery tree, look at the gifts laid out nicely and wrapped pretty we bought for our children. It yells vanity...which in turn whispers 'idol'.

The comment about kneeling down to the toilet and not praying to it makes sense, don't get me wrong, but most Biblical stories of idolatry have little to do with bowing down to the given idol...it's mostly about the vanity and pride of those placing the idol and calling to it the worship.

I am far from a scholar in Theology and I'm probably one of the most ignorant folks you'll find when it comes to Biblical history or having a decent conversation of some depth with all of that, but I have a brain and I have a good level of comprehension and I can read. Christ never celebrated a 'birthday' and plain and simple, if it wasn't a big enough deal to point out to us in His Word, why add to it by giving him some fictitious day? Worship of a 'day' was never involved in any story of the Bible that I've read. It is man-made. We are never once called out in Scripture to connect worship of any kind to something man-made. We are only called to worship HIM.

Debi is offering me comments in the background here...God made the trees, Deanna. Yes, He did. But He never said to worship them, or anything else He created. And he didn't grow it in the middle of my living room by the front window for everyone else to see.

We have family gatherings for Christmas. We get a chance to see one another and spend family time. You can gather together any time during the year. You can visit with family and friends any time of the year. And, gathering as a family for a meal and visitation time has nothing whatsoever to do with Christ, let alone His Birthday (which isn't this time of year, as established already). There is no Christ involved in that.

We give gifts to one another to remember His Birth and the gifts brought to Him. Yeah, well, that's hardy what I've ever seen anyone doing in real life. Christmas is totally a commercial, material event in our society, hands down. There are already Christmas 'things' going on in nearly ever store. Not the music yet, but all the trees, all the decorations, the plants and pretties, and so forth. The 'season' is pushed earlier and earlier every year for businesses to make more money on a holiday that evokes worship and dreams to families all over the US and then some.

Oh wait -- I get it now.

Christ was most likely born sometime during October (given our current calendar standards) and we have pushed all the 'Christmas stuff' now to the point it is in the stores now...in October.

There. See? I connected the dots of it all. Go ahead and play with the snowmen and lights now.


As for me and my house.....

14 comments:

Ante Family Agrarians said...

Deanna,
I'm enjoying you posts on this topic. I'll tell you from experience it's going to get really long winded. People today don't want to stop serving the god of this world. The only way they'll see what Christmas really is, is if God our Heavenly Father opens their eyes to His truth. Christmas is to much fun and it gives them a warm fuzzy feeling. Who cares what the true origin is, that we can prove it's not biblical, that the early reformers, pruitans, and pilgrims didn't celebrate it. That the pilgrms saw the heresy in such a holiday and religion that created it that they separated and founded a new land to escape persecution from such. They will still come up with their own excuses and use "god" as their reasoning. It's all about obedience once again to His Holy Living Word. Once again it's about leaning on His understandings and not your own. No, people don't want to see it because it's easier to follow the traditions of the ungodly world! Then stamp it with a "christian" label. People today have no knowledge of the true meaning of christian nor their heritage and history. Keep your chin up.
Blessings, Kris Ante

Brenda said...

Deanna, you indicated in your last post about Christmas, that you initially have plans to not celebrate, but end up being drawn in every year...it sounds like you are more determined this year, is that the case? Just wondering, because of your comments about the tree.

I think that I might post about this topic in awhile, so I'll save most of my points for that, but I do think that for most of us, Christmas (or Christ-MASS) is shed bit by bit, like the layers of an onion. Every year, I say that I hate Christmas, yet it still has a grip in a couple of subtle areas. The obvious traditions are no longer part of my life (tree, lights, decorations), but I have been having the family dinner that you referred to. I married my husband only 4 years ago, so our first Christmas dinner had many, but not all of our combined 8 adult children. The next year had about half the numbers, and last year my hubby and I were alone. So, I guess it's not that big of a deal, yet I am STILL marking the day, right? You're absolutely right to say that we can have a "family dinner" any day of the year.

I also mentioned that I still feel obligated to give my 3 youngest grandchildren gifts. Only the 8 year old is old enough to notice if I stop, but if I explain it properly, she may accept the absence of a gift. The REAL reason I continue to give the grandchildren gifts, is that the parents might be upset: I know, that's the FEAR OF MAN, which brings a snare!! I want to ask the Lord to enable me to take a stand and hold firm in this area--so, no more gifts. The devil whispers, "what's wrong with a couple of gifts? Besides, they're children!". It's a matter of obedience to the Lord's call to separation from the world, including it's traditions. Lord willing, this will be the year that Christ's Mass will be purged from my heart forever.

Brenda said...

Deanna, just want to add that I agree with Kris's excellent points. She's so right in saying that Christians won't listen, because their hearts have been hardened in this area, since they have believed a lie. The only ones that listen are those whose hearts have been prepared by the Lord to receive His Truth.

Christmas is a good example of how Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Christmas FEELS good! So much emotion is tied to it. Get the tissues ready as you watch the sappy, tear-jerker Christmas movies...it's all about giving, family, home, tradition, so, how DARE we attack that?! It IS an idol. Just try to attack someone's idol and you'll see the claws come out. Satan's strongholds are well defended.

I came across this verse in my research:
MARK 7: 6-9: "...This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition."

Beverly Adams said...

Hi Deanna,

I've been reading, and enjoying your blog for several weeks now. We've "met" a few years ago on the Baptist Headcovering Board.

Anyways, we haven't celebrated ChristMASS for 16 years, and it's just no big deal anymore. We do avoid the stores as much as possible during "the season" and DH will have a few days off from work, so we'll work around here, probably cutting firewood or some other needful chore.

I wanted to mention though, why don't we reclaim Thanksgiving as our Christian holiday. As Christians, we have so much for be thankful for everyday, so why not give a gift to our loved ones on Thanksgiving as a special token of our love for them? I don't know if Brenda will read this, but maybe give those grandchildren Thanksgiving gifts instead of ChristMASS gifts?

Just a few rambling thoughts. Beverly

Brenda said...

I'd like to address Beverly's comments--Hi, Beverly :-)

I've thought about finding something to replace ChristMass, but not sure what direction to take. We've never done anything special for Thanksgiving, and we certainly don't celebrate Easter/Ishtar, and barely acknowledge birthdays. Except for the aforementioned vestiges of this cursed "holiday", we're not really big on marking special days.

Recently, I've been considering marking some of the Jewish feast days, since they all foreshadow Christ, but I know that my husband, sadly, would label me a Judaiser and legalist. Years ago, long before I knew my husband, I was involved with some Messianic Jews, and he rolls his eyes at the thought! :-( So, for now, I'm not sure what to do, but thank you for your suggestion.

Oh, I guess the other thought I had about the gift-giving, is that I don't want to make it all about gifts...sounds a bit like bribing my granddaughter, so instead of ChristMass gifts, it would be Hannukah or Thanksgiving gifts? I admit, it's tempting...Plus, the whole realm of gift-giving has it's own pressures--finding the appropriate gift to please the person, the crowds of holiday shoppers, the expense, the fact that the recipient learns to EXPECT a gift at a particular time, etc. I'm certainly not against gift-giving per se, as I often buy them things when they visit. I'd love to hear any more suggestions from anyone, and I'll still be considering what you have said, Beverly--Thank you!

Deanna, sorry for monopolizing your comments sections! I apologize for going on and on, it's just that your post has stimulated a lot of my thinking. Bye for now...

Ante Family Agrarians said...

Yes, I agree that Christians should observe Thanksgiving as a true Christian holiday. It's about giving thanks to the Lord for His provisions, His allowing us another year, and setting us apart to be a peculiar people in this ungodly world. All to often though "Christians" aren't thankful for the spritual blessings, and simple things. They're thankful for their worldy desires that the Lord supposedly blessed them with.


On a side note we observe Hanukkah, which is biblical, and still today shows of our Lords sovereignty in providing for His chosen people that He alone has set apart here. Christ is our light.
For the commandments is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life. (Prov. 6:23)
Peace, Kris Ante

Mrs. Trixi said...

Deanna,
I want to first say, how much I have enjoyed this topic of discussion. I too have felt led to abolish ChristMass in our home. In my case I have to disagree with Kris on saying that people who "do" Christmas wont give it up because it is fun gives a warm fuzzy feeling. It is not fun for me and literally makes me sick every year. We are forced into buying into comercialism not for our own immediate family but for the parents and aunts and uncles. My husband and I quit giving gifts to each other years ago. We have also cut down to the bare bones with our children. However, we still can not get away from the outside family. We have moved now and hope that it will get easier and easier to seperate from that, as well.
Again, thank you for sharing this topic. I am enjoying seeing what other people say and do.

Mrs. Trixi said...

I also wanted to ask does the little country church you go to observe Christmas? We have recently found our own little country church and wonder what they do on this topic. I know that they do not observe Halloween as a church. There are some people who do but not the church.

Joan said...

I am a Christian who loves Christmas. If even the angels sang, as the Bible tells us, how much more should we whose Saviour was born into the world celebrate His birth? My children, and the children we are all called to be for the Kingdom of God evoke the Christ Child. The physical gifts I give to my family and friends are a reminder of the gifts the wise men brought Baby Jesus and a reminder to me to give Jesus my heart. The simple tree reminds me both of the wood of His manger and of His cross. Even the decorations remind us of our blessings!

Ladies, don't fear Christmas, make it your own! It is ours! We are Christians! We belong to Him and we should celebrate His birth!
God bless you all.

Suzanne said...

" trudging through the dark tree farm with cold fingers and toes because I can't find that 'perfect tree"

There are those of us who trude through the woods to find the most imperfect tree or one that just looks like it will do the job of holding some beautiful testimony's of God's love.

" I have a vision in my minds eye that has pretty handmade ornaments, some childhood special ornaments for each of my children, tiny lights that create a nice effect. It's all very dreamy and it brings back a lot of childhood memories for me."

And do tell me what is wrong with this? I spend alot of time teaching my girls and son handwork and we make alot of things here. We don't worship them on the tree but we do put them there to enjoy them. I see nothing wrong with telling my child good job and letting them know I cherish those little handmades made by chubby and inexperienced hands. My Mother's heart weeps with joy as they grow older and I fondly remember the times and frustrations of teaching them these skills. They grow so fast!Making memories as a family is a wonderful thing.

"For me, that tree is a problem, obviously. Sounds a bit like it could be for you, Anonymous, if you really be open and honest with yourself."

Perhaps this is a problem for you and others, only you and God know your hearts. I don't presume to judge yours or anyone else's , it goes against Scripture. I cannot see the true nature of someone's heart really and neither can you.

"But you mention wanting to make 'a pretty display of my childrens gifts under the tree' as being something you are going for. That's pride and vanity. It's a 'show' to those who enter your home, look over at my glittery tree, look at the gifts laid out nicely and wrapped pretty we bought for our children. It yells vanity...which in turn whispers 'idol'."

I like to wrap gifts pretty for those not to satisy my own vanity and how foolish to presume someone else does too. I do love to give gifts, there are many who never receive them and a beautiful package bought or made and wrapped with love tells that person you are special. Just as Christ thinks your special. My children know the time I take to do these things for them and what is wrong with it? Those happy faces that open handknit mittens or a pretty hat tells me that this is quite alright.



"but I have a brain and I have a good level of comprehension and I can read. Christ never celebrated a 'birthday' and plain and simple, if it wasn't a big enough deal to point out to us in His Word, why add to it by giving him some fictitious day? Worship of a 'day' was never involved in any story of the Bible that I've read. It is man-made. We are never once called out in Scripture to connect worship of any kind to something man-made. We are only called to worship HIM."

Do you acknowledge your children's birthdays as "this is such a special day because the Lord gave you to us!" Yes, I agree that Christ was not born on the 25th of December but why so wrong to pick a day to give him a birthday party? I know your argument, worldly , man made , but this is the one time of year hearts are most open to Christ's message and there are Christians out there who do celebrate the birth of Christ to give him honour and glory.



"We have family gatherings for Christmas. We get a chance to see one another and spend family time. You can gather together any time during the year. You can visit with family and friends any time of the year. And, gathering as a family for a meal and visitation time has nothing whatsoever to do with Christ, let alone His Birthday (which isn't this time of year, as established already). There is no Christ involved in that."

WEll Deanna I beg to differ here. First, we "all" cannot get together at anytime of year. Relatives out of town, busyness and such keep families and friends from connecting as often as I would like. It is unfortunate but these are the times we live in. And yes, we can have a family meal and talk about God, especially to non-believing members of the family. WE pray before our meals and pray a blessing over each person there, we discuss church and the blessings we have received.

"We give gifts to one another to remember His Birth and the gifts brought to Him. Yeah, well, that's hardy what I've ever seen anyone doing in real life. Christmas is totally a commercial, material event in our society, hands down."

I agree with you here but then again there are those out there that this is not the case. YOu can make it what you want.


"Oh wait -- I get it now.

Christ was most likely born sometime during October (given our current calendar standards) and we have pushed all the 'Christmas stuff' now to the point it is in the stores now...in October.

There. See? I connected the dots of it all. Go ahead and play with the snowmen and lights now."

I get your frustration but such sarcasm is really not becoming to a Christian woman trying to have a "meek and quiet spirit".

I guess what I am trying to relay to you Deanna here is that as an older Titus 2 woman who has lived alot longer and seen a bit more, lets not presume and judge one another's hearts.Isn't there enough of that in our own Christian circles. What your venting about is true in some respects but we can "choose" to make it different. WE can be in this world but not of it--we can be a witness for Christ and win souls if we use our witness to those unsaved in a less harsh way. Yes, most unsaved love their Chrismas--but if I show them in my Christmas that it is for Christ hopefully they will walk away with something different.

Peace.

Mrs Dewey Smith said...

I had a comment typed and ready but the connection was timed out in sending, so I'll assume I was not to send that particular comment, nor do I have time to recreate it.

I do want to point out some things, though.

First, I apologize for my sarcasm with the 'connect the dots' comment of mine. It was sarcastic and served no purpose and was hardly to be called Christianlike. I am sorry.

I am not trying to vent anything, nor am I trying to change the minds of people reading. What I am doing is fleshing out the thoughts and ideas that are on the other side of what we all do for Christmas and in the Name of Christ. My mind is not settled around all the information I have been gleaning here and there and in Scripture, and I want to hear from others and seek out their convictions and where they came from as well.

Suzanne, thank you for all you shared. I have much to work over in my mind and heart. But I have some questions as well...

The tree...a tree is just a tree. It has no symbolism for a Christian, but has much history for being a strong part of pagan and witchcraft symbolism. I could easily say the same connection is in my barn out back -- the wood connects me to His manger and His Cross. But it doesn't. It's just a barn, plain and simple.

No, as Christians we are not to judge each other, I agree. But we are strongly called to exhort one another in Love and in Truth when we see a Brother or Sister walking a wrong path. Walking in a path that resembles what the fallen world around us is walking in would qualify I believe.

I, too, have children and we spend countless times making and creating handskills and projects. I love seeing my children grow in these skills, from those first squiggles and bottles of glue, to the more 'refined' skills they develop with time and practice. But I don't need a tree in my living room to display these. They are well-cherished in our family despite a tree and a season.

I would have to argue that people are wrapping gifts as you say. I've seen hundreds upon hundreds of people spend a quantity of money to wrap and trim gifts, or pay others to do it for them. The wrapping is not important and makes little connection to Christ with the receiver. The gift is the special message to those who receive it, wrapped in newspaper or simply hidden behind your back. The wrapping is more for the giver, which would be vanity.

We do not make a big celebration party over birthdays in our family. We did for a time, but our children know they are a special gift from God to our family. They know that they were chosen especially for our family and that they are deeply special to not only us, but to God as well. We have never taught them that they need the emotions and show of a given day each year to be special in our home.

As for Christ's birthday, if it was not important enough for God to bring a specific date and month to our eyes and hearts in His Word, why should we place importance on a date ourselves? It was created to counteract a pagan celebration occurring around the same time. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Christ Himself. Add that to the fact that many religions lay claim to a 'birthday' for their gods and I see no reason to join in. It is not so important that My Savior was born as it is that He Lived, then died, THEN ROSA AGAIN and Lives still. His Resurrection is far more important to me than the date of His Birth, same as it in in Scripture.

Families...to say that a family cannot get together during the year is not true. They don't because they simply don't want to take the time away from their own plans.
We could have argued the price of gas, the logistics of packing up a family of 11, and the length of time used in a 12 hour drive when my father passed away. The funeral held no importance to me at all. My father was no longer there, he was already in The Kingdom with The Lord. There was nothing in the funeral home for us, and we had no need for watching the parade of good-byes from family and friends only there from a sense of duty. I will see my father again. We went because a funeral is for those left behind, and for a time of sharing the reality of death to those unsaved who have no promise of anything aside from a fire of Hell.
We went back north, same 12 hour drive, for a wedding of a dear friends daughter. We spent only 2 nights there. It took more money and time in travel, we missed work and suffered a shortened paycheck. Same as we have done many other times just to drive up for a day or two visit with family.

We do this because it is OUR FAMILY and OUR FRIENDS. We do this because they are special to us, important to us. We want to keep that physical connection to one another because we are family. To say you can't get together because of whatever reasoning, except during a holiday season, is not being honest with yourselves or your families. Look at our society -- if we want something, we get it, no matter what. We are not a people who deny ourselves anything truly desired. If we want a bigger house, we seek one out. If we want this or that item, we grab the credit card and go into debt further to have it. We do not deny ourselves anything we want in this world.

Yes, I agree that for whatever reason, people do tend to be more softened toward Christ as the holidays come around. But what are we sharing with them, really, when we are following their lead in the season? If my unsaved neighbor has a tree and decorated house and so do I, where is Christ showing Himself? Too many churches have lead people to believe that they can live in both worlds, serve both masters and that simply isn't true according to His Word. Churches are teaching that we can easily and happily live a Christian life with our foot on both sides of the fence, but His Word teaches the opposite.
If I have the same appearance (tree, lights, decorations and such) as the unsaved world around me, what am I showing them about Christ? Christ did not once lower Himself to the world around Him. He saved, He taught, He lead people, but bringing them UP to Him.
Feel-good religion teaches that I can decorate a tree like everyone else does and just call it something different. The symbol is still the same. History repeats itself all the time. We like the idea someone else has but don't want to be connected to them/it, so we twist it a bit and color it differently and give it a new name and think it changes what it is in reality.

It doesn't change it at all. The traditions we have grown up with surrounding Christmas are not Christian in way, shape or form. We have taken pagan rituals and designs and tried to make them over to better please our desires. And we have the utter disrespect to label them Christian and try to force a connection to Christ with them.

Truth is Truth. I'm not trying to pick a fight with anyone or their chosen walk through the holidays. What I am trying to do is reconcile all of this within my own heart. I see problems with all of the hype of Christmas, and honestly, I don't see an ounce of Christ walking through any of it. It's commercial and material and we have feeble arguments about keeping it.

I'm not chiding anyone for keeping a holiday tradition. I'm trying to find the other side of the picture here. That's all. Maybe people are getting so upset in my emails and such here because somewhere in their hearts, they can see some truth in the things being shared, and simply don't want to change things in their lives. I don't know, but generally, when something as simple a topic as this comes up with such heated concern, it's ore the Holy Spirit than anything else.

I just want to research all the reasons behind this and that so I can wrap my own mind around it.

In Love,
Deanna

Suzanne said...

Deanna: First, I apologize for my sarcasm with the 'connect the dots' comment of mine. It was sarcastic and served no purpose and was hardly to be called Christianlike. I am sorry.
Suzanne: Thank you very much, I am quite sure you meant no harm.



Deanna:The tree...a tree is just a tree. It has no symbolism for a Christian, but has much history for being a strong part of pagan and witchcraft symbolism
Suzanne: Okay, so perhaps it does. I have always looked at trees as a sign of life and a gift from God. They give us not only firewood but beauty and a means to build things. They also supplied the cross my Saviour was nailed to. Most people I meet do not know the origins of paganism and trees. Does this matter? That depends on the individual I would imagine. The majority of folks I know, do not worship their trees. The Bible is rich with symbolism whey can't we use the tree?

Deanna:No, as Christians we are not to judge each other, I agree. But we are strongly called to exhort one another in Love and in Truth when we see a Brother or Sister walking a wrong path. Walking in a path that resembles what the fallen world around us is walking in would qualify I believe.
Suzanne: It sounds wonderful but let me just say as someone a bit older that how you approach these things will make or break a non-Christians view on how they see Christ. And yes, we are called to exhort and "edify". One may share their views with a brother or sister in the Lord but one needs to be careful with those that aren't. I prefer to edify and share my convictions by what a person sees in my life and families. When we share our convictions we need to be very careful as they oft times come across as judgements on others.

Deanna: But I don't need a tree in my living room to display these. They are well-cherished in our family despite a tree and a season.
Suzanne: I never said one did. But if I choose to display them on the counter, the mantle or a tree what is the problem?

Deanna: I've seen hundreds upon hundreds of people spend a quantity of money to wrap and trim gifts, or pay others to do it for them.

Suzanne: Yes, and that is their business. Perhaps it gives them pleasure, or they feel better presenting a gift this way to the receiver. Again, a heart issue I choose not to judge.

Deanna: The wrapping is not important and makes little connection to Christ with the receiver. The gift is the special message to those who receive it, wrapped in newspaper or simply hidden behind your back. The wrapping is more for the giver, which would be vanity.

Suzanne: Well, I do like to put angels on my gifts or other things from nature that I feel God has blessed us with . From an acorn to twigs. I have put tags with Scripture on them and an old nail to symbolize the sacrifice of the cross. Does eveyone do this? Nope. But again, I don't think it vain to consider the person your gifting and make it as special as possible. God blesses us with many beautiful gifts here and some are wrapped lovely.

Deanna: . They know that they were chosen especially for our family and that they are deeply special to not only us, but to God as well. We have never taught them that they need the emotions and show of a given day each year to be special in our home.
Suzanne: And why is it assumed that one is teaching as you put it " the emotions and show of a given day each year to be special in our home". We do make a big day out of our children's birthdays--they beam like the sun! They are treated with some gifts or a special outing or picking a favorite meal. We have 5 children and two grandbabies. I run a small farm, I must confess that while each child is special and receives all the attention they need my husband and I just cannot spend the time we would like to daily on them. One day a year they know that they are the cat's meow---that they have a special place here in this family. We all let that one special person know. I am not convinced this is bad nor vain but showering a loved one with love as our Father does with us.

Deanna: It was created to counteract a pagan celebration occurring around the same time. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Christ Himself. Add that to the fact that many religions lay claim to a 'birthday' for their gods and I see no reason to join in.
Suzanne: I must ask why you would view it as joining in? Have you been invited to a pagan celebration, do you dwell on the pagan. I am not being sarcastic here just giving you something to chew on. Why would taking one entire day or season to dwell on Christs sacrifice be so wrong. It is really what one makes it.
Deanna: It is not so important that My Savior was born as it is that He Lived, then died, THEN ROSA AGAIN and Lives still. His Resurrection is far more important to me than the date of His Birth, same as it in in Scripture.
Suzanne: I do see what your trying to get at but your missing the point I fear. Alot was made of Christs birth in Scripture----alot. I am sure you wouldn't argue that. If God thought it profound enough to include his birth history and story then it is profound enough for me to notice and dwell upon it also. Regardless of how the world "celebrates" it.

Deanna: Families...to say that a family cannot get together during the year is not true. They don't because they simply don't want to take the time away from their own plans.
Suzanne: Deanna, your making judgements against people again here. Yes, families have things they consider important in their lives, some play sports, some go on mission trips. I am not to judge what they do with their families. My sisters families are very involved in sports--their choice. And I have a son playing varsity soccer while being homeschooled and apprenticing, those are our choices that we feel God has led us to. I cannot simply entertain my large family "whenever". There are logistics here to consider. To say them "simply don't want to take the time away from their own plans" is very unfair and judgemental. I would love to get together more often and I know they feel the same way, we are all simply in different seasons of life. But when we are together, it is such sweet time and I cherish that.

Deanna: We do this because it is OUR FAMILY and OUR FRIENDS. We do this because they are special to us, important to us. We want to keep that physical connection to one another because we are family. To say you can't get together because of whatever reasoning, except during a holiday season, is not being honest with yourselves or your families. Look at our society -- if we want something, we get it, no matter what. We are not a people who deny ourselves anything truly desired. If we want a bigger house, we seek one out. If we want this or that item, we grab the credit card and go into debt further to have it. We do not deny ourselves anything we want in this world.
Suzanne: Praise God you do it! But not all place the same values on this connection as you and your husband but that is unfortunate. I never said I was reasoning people get together over the holidays only. But , it does seem to be a fair statement to say most people get more time off at the holidays and I say make the most of it!

Deanna: But what are we sharing with them, really, when we are following their lead in the season? If my unsaved neighbor has a tree and decorated house and so do I, where is Christ showing Himself?
Suzanne: Why do you consider it following "their" lead? Make your own way! You can show Christ in how you live and what you value. Your tree may be laden with handmade ornaments and simple cranberries and popcorn, so? It is not so much what you show on the outside than what you and I are really showing on the inside.
Deanna:Too many churches have lead people to believe that they can live in both worlds, serve both masters and that simply isn't true according to His Word. Churches are teaching that we can easily and happily live a Christian life with our foot on both sides of the fence, but His Word teaches the opposite.
Suzanne: Yes, the Word teaches different. And I would suggest if your church isn't teaching a sound doctrine that you "get out of dodge" as fast as you can and find a church that does.

Deanna:If I have the same appearance (tree, lights, decorations and such) as the unsaved world around me, what am I showing them about Christ? Christ did not once lower Himself to the world around Him. He saved, He taught, He lead people, but bringing them UP to Him.
Suzanne: Dear, you seem to be so caught up in the appearance just as the world is. Make it your own. OR don't. But I come back to my original point: Let's not judge saved or non-saved on how they keep or don't keep it.

Deanna:Feel-good religion teaches that I can decorate a tree like everyone else does and just call it something different. The symbol is still the same. History repeats itself all the time. We like the idea someone else has but don't want to be connected to them/it, so we twist it a bit and color it differently and give it a new name and think it changes what it is in reality.

Suzanne: NO comment on above because I am not sure how it applies to what we're discussing.

Deanna: We have taken pagan rituals and designs and tried to make them over to better please our desires. And we have the utter disrespect to label them Christian and try to force a connection to Christ with them.
Suzanne: And I ask once again, "Who are you to decide what is Christian to one", and "Who is it that is trying to *force* a connection to Christ with them? The church? Your neighbors?

Deanna:Truth is Truth. I'm not trying to pick a fight with anyone or their chosen walk through the holidays. What I am trying to do is reconcile all of this within my own heart. I see problems with all of the hype of Christmas, and honestly, I don't see an ounce of Christ walking through any of it. It's commercial and material and we have feeble arguments about keeping it
Suzanne: That is wonderful that you and your husband are trying to find what is best for your family. The Holy Spirit will convict you. I understand the problems you have with the hype of Christmas , I do too, but I *choose* to do it differently. I choose to make it Christ centered. I am in the majority, that is okay, Christ was too.

Deanna:I'm not chiding anyone for keeping a holiday tradition. I'm trying to find the other side of the picture here. That's all. Maybe people are getting so upset in my emails and such here because somewhere in their hearts, they can see some truth in the things being shared, and simply don't want to change things in their lives
Suzanne: Deanna, first it is arrogant to say that folks are" contacting you and getting upset because somewhere in their hearts they can see the truth in what your saying!" Perhaps these emails are showing you a different side to the issue you haven't considered. Has it dawned on you the HS could be sending the emails for this purpose?


Deanna:I just want to research all the reasons behind this and that so I can wrap my own mind around it.
Suzanne: And I appreciate this. But there are alot of women , Christian women (?) on the internet these days , with their homemaking sites setting themselves up as experts on everything fom doctrine to childbirth to whatever. I am not saying that is your intent or what your doing. But when we share hearts on the interenet in the forms of these blogs we need to be careful we are sharing what Christ wants us to, not what we want. Many can stumble from our unwise words.
I pray you and your husband are able to work this out. I don't come here to your blog and intentionally try to demean you or upset you. As a sister in Christ I am only offering you a differtn view and thank you for allowing me to post it here.
Peace.

Mrs Dewey Smith said...

THANK YOU! Suzanne, that is precisely the sort of feedback and comments I was wanting. That is the kind of food for thought I was looking for, seeing where convictions come from through another's eyes and such.

I don't have all 'the answers' for anything. I'm seeking and questioning, growing and learning. The topic of Christmas is a hot one, and it's one that I struggle with and am sorting out in my own mind right now.

That is why I brought it here. I want the discussion. I want to hear the views of the other side of the fence and such.

What I'm looking for is all the WHY's behind our views of Christmas.
**Why do people do the whole Christmas deal?
**Has anyone truly dug into the truths surrounding the holiday celebration?

If you started hearing things about why and how celebrations we have had in place for years came about, and what lack of connection they truly had to Christ Himself, or even that perhaps some of the traditions were spoken against in Scripture itself...

Would that affect your view of the traditions? Would that being about changes in your traditions at all?

That is what I'm seeking out here. It's not about the tree or the show of the season as much as it is where my heart is in it, I understand all of that. But being called to be a Child of Christ, I am to be a pilgrim in this land and I am to be in but not of this world. If I continue in the paths of the world around me, I cannot continue in the path of Christ. I cannot do both.

That is where my mindset is at in all of this. Good or bad, right or wrong, that's where I'm at and that's what I'm seeking out in a deeper sense. If the unsaved are taught the wrong paths as being correct, how deep is that salvation for them really? There isn't a myraid of paths to get to Christ and The Kingdom. There is just One. I do not want to lead someone along a wrong path simply because I like the scenery of that path better, kwim?

Anyway, it's just all rambles and jumbles from my thoughts and should be taken as just that. I do enjoy the feedback and it has all given me much to ponder and chew on and I thank you for that.

Blessings and Peace,
Deanna

Mrs Dewey Smith said...

This is just one article, and of course, you can prove or disprove anything under the sun and then some with the Internet these days, but it brought up some points that sparked my thoughts. There are more articles that I've read, in favor and against Christmas as we celebrate it, this is just one of many...and the one most readily available in my stash of notes here :o)

http://www.sovereigngrace.net/should.htm

Jer.6:16

Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

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