I gave up celebrating Christmas about 15 years ago. I heard a message explaining that the roots of Christmas were pagan… 25th December is not the date when Jesus was born, it was actually a festival of worship to the wine god, Bacchus. And as any passionate, on-fire, radical Christian – I immediately threw all my christmas decorations away, burnt the Christmas carol CD and told all my family that we would no longer celebrate Christmas in any form!
Oh the things we do when we are young, immature and zealous for the things of God! There I was, so PROUD that I was fully obeying God, not like all the other hypocrites (to my mind) who claimed to love God yet refused to stop celebrating Christmas – the pagan feast! I cringe now as I think about how prideful and arrogant I was. I am sure the Pharisees were a lot like me! Thinking they were so spiritually mature and yet missing the central message of the Gospel of Jesus.
When Constantine ‘legalised’ Christianity, he instituted Christian celebrations. The Jews had their holy festivals and the Muslims had their holidays, so he set aside special days for the Christians to celebrate – Christmas being one of them. The fact that it coincided with a feast day to another pagan god did not mean that the Christians were celebrating that god at all. It just happened to be on the same day. We also know that 25 December is NOT when Jesus was born – He was most likely born during the Feast of Tabernacles, but why should this stop us celebrating Jesus’ birth?
As Christians we have allowed the world to stop us celebrating Jesus at ANY time. Think about it – the only recognised Christian celebrations that we have to celebrate the RISEN LORD are Christmas and Easter. And many of us in the Charismatic church refuse to celebrate these days. If we take these special holidays away and just make them ordinary days – where is our witness? We serve the one true God and we do not even want to set apart ONE day to celebrate and remember His birth, His death or His resurrection. Satan wants to wipe out all remembrance of the name of Jesus from the earth and if he can start with getting rid of Christmas – he is doing well. But he has gone one better, he has the Christians HELPING him to stop all celebration of Jesus.
Over the last number of years, God has been challenging me on the above. If I choose not to celebrate Christmas, I miss an opportunity to tell the world about the Saviour that was born. I miss the opportunity to teach my children about Jesus miraculous birth. I miss an opportunity to teach them about how satan will always try to kill something when it is yet a baby. I miss the opportunity to teach them that Africa has always been a refuge place for kings and will be again! I miss the opportunity to teach them that the stars speak to us as they did when they led the 3 wise men to Jesus. I miss the opportunity to remember that it is more blessed to give than to receive. I miss the opportunity to tell others that Jesus was born to bring light and hope to a hopeless world. I miss the opportunity to join in singing songs that celebrate the birth of the One true King!
I realise that I have missed many opportunities in the last years and I have hurt many of my family through my own pride, arrogance and stubbornness. Most of all I realise that it does not honour the Lord – the very thing I was trying to do.Now, I realise it is not about Father Christmas and presents and dreaming of a white Christmas, but it is about family and celebrating Jesus’ birth. I believe it is time for us to take Christmas back! I feel like God challenged me not to write it off, but rather to make it about Jesus again. Create Christmas as a Godly celebration in my home.
So this year, I am taking my children to carols by candlelight and I will teach them those wonderful carols about the night He was born. I will buy a nativity set and tell them again the story of Joseph and Mary and the inn that had no room. We will decorate the house with lights to remind us that He is the light of the world. We will give gifts to each other to remind us of the greatest Gift that was given to us. We will celebrate Christmas with our whole family – giving thanks that it is only because of Him, that we have anything to celebrate at all!