Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why and What if...

First off -- Brenda and anyone else, don't worry one bit about 'monopolizing' my blog or comments. That's what I opened my mouth and my page for :o) Well, that and for my poor husband, no doubt rolling his eyes at my bunny trailing here, wondering where the pictures of the children are :o)

I know this is a can of worms kind of topic. But, that's pretty much me. If Dewey makes it home for any Christmas holiday here, we will no doubt have a tree and a few lights and all that. We will have presents to open, a big Christmas day dinner...the whole traditional worldly shebang. Well, without the crackling fireplace and the snowfall....this is Mississippi. Christmas will either be in the 70's and balmy, or it will be rainy. But it won't be snowy and cold.

Honestly, I'm not out to smack folks with any kind of church history reality or anything. The Lord will direct your path where He wants. I'm just throwing out ideas and thoughts some "what if's" to get your feedback on. I like to debate every now and then. Keeps the blood pumping :o) It opens my sometimes-closed mindset to what others think on this or that topic and why they feel a they do. What convicts them in this or that. I'm not casting stones. I'm sharpening my sword against yours.

I like those kinds of discussions. One thing you ought to know about me by now is I don't get offended by things very easily at all. I get mad, I have my little hissy fits now and again, but I don't get what you would classify as offended. If someone plopped down a Bible in front of me and walked me here and there, showing me how this or that in my way of thinking could not possibly be true, I'm not going to jump up and have one of those V8 moments or anything profound like that. Well, not usually. I ponder it. I pray over it. I roll it around against my own thinking up to that point. I will still believe what I believe, but I'm wired up for a search now.

It starts a bit of a hunger in me.

Such as now...I want to know why someone fully believes Christmas is a Christian holiday. I used to, I suppose part of me (the flesh side) still wants the 'fun' and the memories and all that. I can worship The Lord with a tree...the greens stand for eternal life that He offers; the reds stand for His Blood shed for my sins and my salvation; the white lights, for His Purity and lack of sin. The bells, the hymns, the nativity scenes that are out in view in my home all year long. The angels...can you get more 'religious' than all that?


That's the problem with it all from what I understand and read about now. Religion says I can worship the Lord in most any manner. I'm worshipping Him in the world's way and not in His Way, though. Maybe the tree and all the pomp and circumstance around December 25th doesn't make a difference at all, but my heart in all of it surely does. What if the heart of the matter is I have to be sincere in my willingness, my desire, to give all this up, and not so much in actually giving it all up?

I never looked at another side of the fence before. The side where I am really following a man-made tradtion and not the real deal from His Own Heart and Word. I certainly wasn't taught that growing up in churches. I like traditions, I like the pretty tree and the garlands of silver, the bells and the lights. They make a connection in me with Christ based on what teaching I grew up under. But it's a man-made connection.

What I want to know is why do you hang on to them? Is it just because you grew up with the tree, the lights, the gifts, the fat man in the red suit and all that reindeer stuff? Is it that your church has always had a hanging of the green kind of special, the choir works for a month or more practicing for Handel's Messiah, you child is singing this or that song for Sunday service, or you just like the pretty snowy backgrounds at Olan Mills for this year's family portrait?

I am not sitting on either side of the fence, really, but I have had my eyes opened and I can't ignore that. I have to start searching around for answers so it can be 'settled' in my own spirit. To do something, anything just because you always have or you were taught that way is ridiculous if you thin about it. Maybe, with some things, sin becomes somehow more of a sin once you have been told the truth and you ignore it. Once you have heard a thing, and you still continue on as though you haven't, you are willfully ignorant. (let's not start something about there not being levels or degrees of sin...I'm just trying to clarify myself a bit more here)

I may be, and totally am, ignorant on a great many things. Can't even count how many things, truth be told here. But, once I began to talk with those who, in this instance, don't celebrate Christmas, and who have shared reasons behind why they no longer do, I can't just smile and nod my head at them then walk away back to the tree decorations and lighting. I have to dig deeper and find out more.

That's what I'm doing with this can of worms. LOL...I have other cans sitting around here, shall I bunny trail off and open another one? What shall we bunny trail off to...why I believe homeschooling is better than public schooling? Why I prefer the King James Bible over the myriad of other versions out there? Why I believe women belong at home and not in the traditional workforce? I'm dresses-only and headship veiling...I'm not anything remotely gender-neutral...wanna discuss that?

I am simply a "what if" kind of person. I ponder far more sides to a subject than there is, but really, I don't believe things are gray...they all can be brought down to a purely black and white level more often than not.

What if the definition of pretending is to deceive or give a false appearance?

What if pretending can fool men, but it cannot fool God?

What if it's true that we are known by our fruits?

What if Jesus was right in saying that not everyone who calls Him their Lord will enter heaven? (Matt 7:21)

What if Satan wants me to believe I can sin and get away with it?

What if God is not only a God of love and forgiveness, but also a God of justice and wrath?

What if it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God? (Heb 10:31)

What if my love for the things of this world reveals that I do not belong to Christ? (1 Jn 2:15)

What if I really should examine myself to see if I am truly in the faith?
What if
I have not honestly been broken over my sins against God and completely surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ?
What if
I have broken God's commandments thousands of times without even caring that it spits in the face of God?
What if
God holds me accountable for every lie, every lustful thought, and every time I felt hatred toward a person?
What if
God even considers my lust as adultery and my hatred as murder?
What if
I'm actually ignoring the God who gives me my every breath?
What if
I don't see myself as a despicable, wicked person who deserves nothing but eternity in hell?
What if
God does not desire for me to go to hell, but He will not force me to stop living my self-centered life? (Mark 8:34-38)
What if
even though I have been so selfish in my self-centered life, Jesus still desires me as He lovingly took the wrath of God upon Himself on the cross for me?
What if
this conviction on my heart is begging me to genuinely repent and to surrender my life and desires to Jesus Christ alone?
What if
God had me read this for a reason?
What if
I'm pretending ...?


Anonymous said...

Wow! I think about Christmas, too. I celebrate the tree and all of the same things year after year because in my mind I believe my kids would be so disappointed. I know they would adapt and understand and move on, but I am afraid to remove tradition eventhough it might not be the thing to do. I loved the thinking behind your post. Brenda

Cary said...

First of all, let me say that your posts inspire me and I found you at a critical time in my life. It was just as I had begun to ponder life that I came across your blog. I, too, have started to question "christmas". I want to get back to the root of the holiday and I want my children to appreciate it for what it is. I suppose my battle is disappointment for my children when they realize that Santa visits other children and not them, etc. I decided to approach it step by step. I have encouraged my husband's family, BIG and EXPENSIVE gift giver's, to limit our children's gifts and to give only puzzles, games or books, NO TOYS. I also encouraged them to decide to draw names. That way everyone will hopefully be able to 1) save money and 2) be able to spend less time shopping and more time enjoying Christmas. Little by little, bit by bit. I am so happy that you are a "what if" kind of person. You make us all think and consider how we could make changes. I love to read your posts and I am so grateful to God for leading me to you. God bless you.

Anonymous said...

I too haved mixed emotions when it comes to celebrating Christmas.On one hand the commercial aspect of it has gotten way out of line. To see people struggling to purchase gifts they cannot afford, stressing over perfect decorations and meals is hard.
But there is a special feeling at Christmas time that I cannot deny. People are more generous. I wish we could be so all year! People need joy in their lives. The Jewish people had many celebrations and festivals. It like our Lord knew that we needed it. We will continue to celebrate Christmas, but in a much simpler way, focusing more on what we can do for others than what others are going to buy for us, and never forgeting that we are celebrating the birth of Christ. Many folks that "do" Christmas are not Christian. It is a Christian holiday after all. I won't let the opnion of others take away the joy of the season for me.
Thanks for your posts on this issue. It's always good to read another's thought on the matter!
blessings, Debbie

Anonymous said...

What I am truly confused about is why the fact that it ( Christmas, birthdays, Easter, etc. ) is not mentioned in the bible makes it somehow wrong to celebrate or partake in. There are a great many things that the bible never mentions that we all do. The bible never mentions Jesus taking bathroom breaks but I am sure He did. I don't remember reading about Jesus changing His clothes or washing them. But I am sure He did.
And yes I understand that these things are not the same as Christmas, but the point is the same. If we were to only do things mentioned in the Bible, we would find ourselves in quite a pickle. The bible is silent on many issues.
What I think it comes down to is our heart. Can I be a Christian and still celebrate Christmas? I believe God knows my heart. He sees why I choose to celebrate and He knows it is all for Him.
Just as my children feel so loved and special when we celebrate their birthdays, don't you think Jesus feels the same when we take time to celebrate and focus on Him?

Cary said...

I don't think it's celebrating Christmas that's the issue, it's having idols and feeling envious of our neighbor. So many of us spend our time comparing trees and decorations and we often try to outdo one another. We get so involved in the material things of Christmas that we tend to lose sight of what we are really celebrating, the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. At least that is what has happened in my family.

April said...

This is my first time here & I have enjoyed reading. I have been against the material christmas since I was in high school. My husband came from a family that goes real big at that time & he had a hard time downsizing. Now, we are coming up on our 3rd year of not celebrating it. I can't find anything about Christ in all of it. The manger is all wrong for starters (wise men weren't anywhere near when He was born). There are so many ways to justify celebrating it as you mentioned, God made trees, flowers & so forth. I don't think people are going to burn in hell for celebrating but there does need to be some honest soul searching as to why it is done. When our oldest was born we were told that we would be denying him fun without santa. As if Christ wasn't fun/good enough for him. Then some say they love to give their children gifts. Great, so do I. Only I give them all year. What if I don't live to December to give my child that gift, they may think I don't care if that is the only time to receive my love. Then all the spending that goes with it. How sinful! Yes, I waste a lot of money, but it's usually on things that can be used, not more toys to be broken & forgotten about. I am not trying to sound ugly so please don't take it that way. I too enjoy good discussions & most people I encounter don't want to hear my views. Maybe they are afraid of being convicted, I don't know. Thanks for letting me join in & I hope you have a great day!

~*Laura*~ said...

Yours is the first blog that I have found in which there is someone not "full steam ahead" for Christmas. I don't celebrate Christmas, at all. It began when I married my husband and after learning all of the real meanings behind what is in Christmas, I will never go back. Instead this year we will be celebrating Hanuukah. Thanks for speaking up!


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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