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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? Can Santa Dance the Hora, I mean Can Can?

As a homeschooler, we tend to study history and uncover the truth behind every day traditions.  Perhaps this rings most true this time of year.

I was raised in a Christian household. It wasn't Catholic. It wasn't Presbyterian. It wasn't Lutheran. It wasn't Baptist. It wasn't Methodist. It wasn't Pentecostal. It wasn't Assemblies of God. It wasn't Church of Christ. It was Christian. We used to joke amongst ourselves that we were the world's largest non-denomination denomination. Simply called, Christian.

Within this upbringing, we celebrated Christmas. We celebrated it as Christ's birthday. It was a grand celebration, second only to Easter. We put up the tree, lights and decorations, sung carols, gave each other gifts. And, yes, my family even did the whole Santa thing - kit and kaboodle (to which I was not devastated or ever questioned my parents' truthfulness when I found out the Santa truth).

When I became a parent myself, my husband and I discussed whether to play up Santa Claus to our kids. When my oldest was a baby, we came to the decision that we would give him gifts on Christmas morning, but we would not make up a big story about the elves, the reindeer, and on and on. We would merely give him gifts on Christmas morning. If he asked, we would be honest and tell him where they came from. This was one of the toughest decisions about celebrating Christmas....So we thought.

In recent years, we have encountered not only Christians who believe Santa is evil, but Christians who do not celebrate Christmas.

Of course, I knew Santa was never the true meaning of Christmas (though there was a real St. Nicholas).  But, there are those who will argue vehemently that the true meaning of Christmas isn't even Christ's birthday.  True, no one knows the exact date of Jesus' birth.  And, I was taught growing up that the wise men really weren't at the manger scene.  But, what's wrong with celebrating Jesus' birth?  I mean these same people celebrate their own birthday.  And, if they did not know this date, a day would have to be chosen.  So, apparently the problem lies in the date of December 25 being associated previously with pagan celebrations.  These Christmas naysayers argue that Christmas is nothing more than a pagan festival that has been created and sugar coated to deceive Christians. While, others say that it was originally designed by the Catholic church to redeem the day.  Is that so wrong?  To some, the answer is a vehement yes, and they will also point to scripture to prove how wrong you are to think otherwise.  At stake are symbols and traditions that surround the Christmas tree, the yule log, and other traditions that I have always believed were rooted in Christianity, not paganism. But, have recently become confused.

In recent years, especially since the birth of my youngest (our miracle baby, born on the Sabbath of Rosh Hashanah) I have begun to question what I really believe. The awe that surrounded my youngest child's life and entrance into this world stunned me. I began looking seriously into Jewish customs, and Old Testament feasts. Did they have meaning that I had not been taught?

You see I hold dear to my Christian faith and its Judeo-Christian roots. I have a deep love for God's chosen people.  Most of all, I want to please my maker and obey what He commands.

I'm still searching to find what the truth is.

In my search, I have encountered some very loving people and some not-so-lovely ones. I have discovered that to follow the letter of the law is difficult. I have found unloving people who call themselves Christians, quick to jump down the throats of those who seek Judeo-Christian links in how they work out their faith. And, I have seen unloving folks who make comment after comment on people's Facebook posts regarding festivals and Jewish laws and traditions. It reminds me of the Pharisees and those who seek to create foolish arguments instead of seeking after love. Both camps have unloving people who speak in the name of love. Both camps, fortunately, also have lovely people who offer grace and understanding to those seeking after the truth (like me).

So, with all these thoughts swirling around in my head like sugar plums (pardon the Christmas-based reference), my children and I went to a house nearby ours tonight to watch a light display. They have put 70,000 LED lights to music. When you pull up to the house, you can tune your radio station to 89.7 and listen to a music accompaniment to the lights. One of the songs we enjoyed was called The Christmas Can Can by a group called Straight No Chaser. My children and I found relief in the humor behind it, and I thought you might like some levity as well. When we returned home, I found the song on Youtube.  Enjoy:

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