Wineskins Archive

December 16, 2013

My Views on Christmas and Why They Changed (Jan 2012)

Filed under: — @ 12:53 pm and

By Paula Harrington

I have a confession. I was one of those Christians who wanted Jesus kept as far away from Christmas as possible. I surely didn’t want anyone to ever think that I was caving to the huge myth that our Lord was actually born on December 25th.

I would never want anyone to assume that I was propagating any false doctrine or bowing to a pagan “holy day”.

I knew my Bible well and knew that it didn’t specify a certain date for the birth of Christ. I knew that we are not commanded anywhere in Scripture to observe this day nor do we have any biblical example of any first century Christians celebrating the birth of our Lord. I also realized that Christmas is a worldly tradition.

Rarely did I climb upon my soap box and broadcast my beliefs but it was what I had digested from childhood and it was what I passed down to my children.

adly, that truth came around and slapped me on the back of the head one day. I’ll never forget it.

It was during the Christmas season and I was shopping the local Dollar Store. The place was busier than usual and with five children in tow; I was on a mission to get in and out as quickly as possible. But in the few minutes that we were in there, my oldest child had a brief discussion with another shopper.

We were on the way home before he informed me of his tale. He couldn’t have been more than twelve years old at the time but over the rack of nativity scenes he chastised another shopper for her belief. He informed her that the Bible doesn’t say when Jesus was born. He made sure that she knew that no one knows the exact date.

I remember the pompous tone that drenched each of his words and the feeling that rushed through me at his admission. It certainly wasn’t pride. My mind immediately raced to John 13:34-35. The words, “you will be known by your love” resonated in my ears and I was left feeling like I had failed not only my children but this poor lady.

Yes, we all know what the Bible says about Christmas. It doesn’t. It does, however, tell about the precious baby who was born in a manger. It reveals the heavenly host singing in all their majesty. It reports on the shepherds who couldn’t wait to find the Christ child.

At a time when my child could have started a conversation about the Savior of the world which might have led to another person’s salvation, he instead wanted to prove how right he was on a subject. A subject of love and grace. A subject that affects the entire world. The only subject that really matters.

Shamefully, I have to admit that his actions that day were not the best way to witness to the world. And it was completely my fault.

I thought long and hard about what I believed and what I had taught my children. Why was I offended that humanity wanted to take a moment to celebrate my Savior? How could I stand on a pedestal and shout that Christ wasn’t born on December 25th to a world who needed him so desperately? Those days were over. I would no longer shake my head and point my finger at people who wanted to observe the birth of Jesus. In fact, I would thank my God that they cared enough to.

When December 25th rolls around, I would rather my children think of the man who loved them so much that he left his place in Heaven, came to this earth, suffered, died, and rose again than the black Friday sale ads.

In fact, when they think of Black Friday at all, I’d much rather their minds race to that day at Calvary then the local shopping mall.

I would prefer my children discuss the love, grace, and mercy of a King born in a stable than a pepper-spray wielding shopper who wanted the best deals.

And I would much rather my children celebrate the incarnation instead of the greed induced frenzy mob scene that continually threatens to overcome the Christmas season.

When the world looks at his followers what will they see? An assembly with pointed fingers and haughty eyes telling them how wrong they are or someone who wants to tell them more about the baby in that manger. I’ve been in both groups and I apologize for the first one.

So I’m thankful my eyes were opened at a little Dollar Store in Western Kentucky. I’m grateful that for one season the eyes of the world are on a little stable in Bethlehem. And I welcome the responsibility of knowing that if I live my life right and choose my words wisely, some of those same people will care about Him the rest of the year, too.

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