When I first posted my reasons for not celebrating Christmas (found here) I never imagined the furor it would cause. Although I was grateful to see much healthy dialogue on the subject, and equally grateful for those readers who are beginning to examine this matter for themselves, that gratefulness was eclipsed by how the discussion disintegrated into vitriolic arguments, including threats of violence (as seen in the comments section of this post on the origins of Christmas).
Watching the exchanges deteriorate as they did grieved me. I simply wanted to present my thoughts to the readers in the hopes that they too would begin to wrestle with the subject: Not to debate about whether or not we have liberty to celebrate the holiday, but “why as Christians do we celebrate it?”
It was certainly never my intent to cause discord or division among the saints. And because of that I want to apologize to those who witnessed the graceless exchange.
In my original post on Christmas I provided two primary reasons for choosing to no longer celebrate the holiday. I spent only 305 words mentioning the Romish and pagan origins of the holiday and 1,143 words (not counting the conclusion) discussing the other reason–namely the greed, covetousness, and the massive amount of money spent on ourselves while much of the world is starving for food, water, and the gospel. Unfortunately the overwhelming majority of the comments on DefCon over the past month has focused on the 305 words and not much was mentioned regarding the other 1,143 words. The latter reason, I feel, is just as important to consider as the former.
Where words fail in communicating a point sometimes images can help. For this reason I have chosen to share the following video as an illustration of why I have such a hard time with me–as a Christian–partaking in the festival of Christmas. How can I justify to myself, my children, my family, and ultimately God, that spending more money on vain material items under the guise of celebrating the birth of the One who gave up so much for us, is actually a good thing?
When I consider how the family in this video (one of countless families throughout the world) spends their Christmas–and every other day of the year–it makes a pile of needless presents sitting under a pretty tree seem rather pointless, selfish, and almost . . . sinful.
On this Christmas I want to introduce you to Sam, Esther, and Jane of Uganda:
It has been (and continues to be) my hope and prayer that we each examine our reasons for celebrating Christmas. It is also my hope and prayer that this issue will not divide us and that I will never develop a judgmental or better-than attitude toward those who choose to continue marking the holiday.
In conclusion I ask that you ponder with me this final thought: What would you and I prefer to be caught doing if the Lord came back during next year’s Christmas season?
1). Standing in a long line at Wal-Mart purchasing a large pile of soon-to-be-forgotten presents placing us further in debt in order to celebrate a holiday birthed from an unholy union between Rome and pagans celebrated by much of the unbelieving world in which–no matter how hard we try to avoid it–Jesus gets relegated to a sentimental byline–crowded out by the hectic activities, gluttonous parties, and greed of the season, all (supposedly) in honor of Jesus Christ’s incarnation?
2). Or would you and I prefer to be found using our time, money, and resources to help those like Sam, Esther, and Jane (not just at Christmas but all year long) by putting food and water in their bellies, a Bible in their hand, and a faithful missionary preacher in their midst?
You all know where I stand on the issue . . . I just ask, will you join me?
May the Lord receive the reward for His suffering.