Monday, December 20, 2004Actions speak louder than words...
Well, Christmas is closing in fast, and again, this year, I'm weighing it's spiritual profit. For close to a decade now, I've been doing this. And every year, I pretty much come to the same conclusion: quite unprofitable.
Every Christmas, we are inundated with gifts we do not need; we are made chief gluttons with expensive food and drink; we become pros at idle talk (with unbelieving family members and friends); we participate in fables (Santa Clause for example) and other pagan rituals that neither glorifies God, nor profits our souls. And not only does it not profit our souls, it doesn't profit our children.
You think about this now. What is foremost on the minds of your children of Christmas? Christ, or Santa? What do they run to? The Bible or the Christmas tree and other decorations? What do they most want? To enjoy fellowship with their family, or to get the goodies (gifts, candy...etc).
Now contrary to what you might think, I am not saying we should take a rigid stand against Christmas. Why? Two reasons. The first: Christmas can be profitable, if done properly. If the focus of Christmas is actually on Christ, if the fellowship with the family is actually to be a witness to them (and to know when to leave), if the focus is actually on giving (and what I mean here is not giving to someone who already has everything he/she needs, but actually giving where it counts), then Christmas can indeed be quite profitable. Second reason: to try and isolate yourself from Christmas, in North American culture at least, is like trying to keep the tide from coming in. You can try, but you're going to fail; and the trouble you will generate amongst your friends and family just isn't worth it in my opinion.
So my point: most Christians mix the "pagan Christmas" with the "Christian Christmas" and the end result is usually far more pagan than Christian.
Here are a few suggestion I've been thinking about to help make my Christmas a truly Christian one:
1)- Have a family devotion around the subject of the Incarnation. You could study the 2 first chapters of Luke.
2)- Give more to those who are in need than to those who have no need. There are brothers and sisters in the Lord out there who could do with things like rice, clothing, housing...etc. No one NEEDS an X-Box game.
3)- Lose the pagan rituals. Kiss the tree goodbye. Say "adios" to the mistletoe! Get rid of Santa. These things takes up space in your children minds, space that should rather be filled with the things of God. The one who knows if children "have been naughty or nice" is the Lord Jesus Christ, not Santa.
4)- Carefully pray to God about family functions (as in parties and reunions). If the gathering is evil, don't go. If it is proper, go and be a witness in word and action to your family and friends. And if things go from proper to wicked while you are there, TAKE A STAND and GET OUT!!! Don't go along with it.
5)- Fast. You heard me, take a stand against gluttony and fast! Now, I'm not saying fast all of Christmas, but fast from morning to dinner time. Have a good dinner, and leave it at that. None of this eating from 8am to 10pm. Discipline!
These are but a few things I've been considering in the past few weeks. I already practice some of them, but I'm going to try to get serious about some of the others.
And with that, brothers and sisters, have a blessed Christian Christmas,