Mon 14 Dec 2015
Recently, someone very close to me endorsed a video that spoke of Christmas as evil. So, I watched the video. It was from some ministry I’ve never heard of that went on to report that Christmas has it’s roots in paganism, that Jesus was not born on December 25th, that Christmas trees are pagan in origin, that Santa Claus is evil etc, etc. As I sat there I got increasingly uncomfortable and irritated. Not because many of the points are untrue, because many of them are (e.g. such as the point about Christ’s birth, the tree etc. but definitely not true about Santa…but I digress). No, I was growing uncomfortable because of the heart or the intention of what was being discussed. It’s cold, hard legalism. And legalism will get you no where. It won’t earn you anything. Being legal doesn’t please God. Having faith in Christ pleases God.
I could spend ALOT of time speaking about why legalism is deadly (and it is). But I don’t think I will. Let me just post a reminder here that the Pharisees and teachers of the law excelled at what they did not do. They had over 600 different laws that they kept religiously to keep themselves holy and pure. And yet, Jesus called them white washed tombs with dead mens’ bones inside. He called them pits of vipers etc. He also said that unless someone’s faith exceed that of the pharisees they will never enter the kingdom of heaven and that the harlots and the tax collectors will get into the kingdom before the pharisees ever do. These are cutting words and should provide a sober warning against legalism.
So, back to the celebration of Christmas. This issue goes beyond Christmas trees and Santa Claus and dates. For these things are just symbols. They speak to the heart of what Christmas means and is. At it’s core, Christmas is the celebration of the coming the Messiah! The rescuer! It’s Jesus! The only one who can bring salvation. The only one who can fix the brokeness in the world…including all of humanity. Is that wrong to celebrate?! We know it’s not. The birth of Jesus should be dear to every Christian. He is our dear Savior, King, and friend. He is our hope and our salvation. We love because he first loved us.
The celebration of Christmas itself points directly to Jesus. Dates and the trees and mythical bearded philanthropists with flying reindeer are really just tools. For me (and countless others I suspect) they help provide a richness and a magic to the holiday. It is a time remember and reflect on the importance of “light coming into the world” and “the Word becoming flesh and dwelling with us”.
And frankly, I don’t care one iota about whether Christmas trees were originally pagan (or any of the other elements of Christmas) For me they point to Jesus. Who made the trees anyway? (see Genesis 1 if there’s a question). And Santa being Satan by rearranging the letters. Ugh. It’s this kind of junk that makes it difficult for people who far from Christ to take Christians seriously.
For me, Christmas is deep, and bright, full of wonder and hope. It is a magical and mysterious time. Christ the Savior is born!! Hallelujah!!