With thanks to Yvonne’s comment on my first post, I realize that the question I am asking myself is misguided.
The question is not,
“Should I celebrate Christmas?” nor is it
“How should I celebrate Christmas?”
The question is what does Scripture say about liberty — my freedom in Christ?
Because most of the challenges from other Believer’s is wrapped in the issue of ‘freedom’ then this must be greater question — and as I take a step back from the Christmas issue, the question of ‘freedom and liberty’ is the overarching question over many other activities and behaviors in a Christian’s life.
The above cartoon captures the essence of the question. As Christians do we have freedom to or freedom from. They are very different.
If Christians look for answers from the culture we are told that we have freedom in Christ to . . .
. . . to participate in yoga as long as I am thinking/meditating on Scripture and Jesus
. . . to spend the 90% of my salary on myself if I am giving 10% to the Lord
. . . to skip worship because I am watching a TV Evangelist
. . . to drive a certain car / wear a certain brand / live in a certain neighborhood becasue it is good for my business
(and I do tithe)
. . . to join the worldly throng of celebrating Christmas because I am celebrating the birth of Jesus.
Take inventory of your heart and add to the list.
The law of liberty according to James 1:25
“But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual does, this man will be blessed in what he does.”
John MacArthur on this verse: The presence of His (God’s) grace does not mean there is no moral law or code of conduct for believer’s to obey. Believers are enabled by the Spirit to keep it (the perfect law of liberty). Liberty refers to the genuine freedom from sin. As the Holy Spirit applies the principles of Scripture to believers hearts, they are freed from sin’s bondage and enabled to obey God. Emphasis mine.
It is a perversion of Scripture to believe that God’s grace gives me freedom to indulge my carnal delights (wouldn’t that be so much easier?) Scripture convicts me that God’s grace give me freedom from the bondage of sin.
And if I don’t find more comfort in the latter than the former aren’t I too tied to the world and have lost sight of my eternal perspective?
The troubling challenge of being a Christian, studying God’s Word, seeking to be obedient and faithful is what is one to do when God’s truth interrupts your life?
Last year was a huge turning point in my Biblical understanding of Christmas (which is a shortened form of Christ’s Mass). We got through it, made some minor adjustments, tweaked some traditions, had a few conversations with friends, and blogged along through the season.
This year The Pilgrim at DefCon had to challenge the Church and share that his family was not going to participate at all in the bedazzled and spectacular holiday. Read for yourself and do read the on-going comments and discussion.
Here I am — my heart pierced with Truth. The difficulty is almost comical! As my loving sister-in-law and I discuss how we live out this drastic and dramatic change so many questions surfaced. It was quite surprising to learn how many families are already convicted and living as obvious aliens during this time of year. She and I want and need specifics.
So what does a blogger do? She documents the journey and in this case away from Christ’s Mass. The goal is to gently lead/direct my family’s heart away from heresy towards uncompromising living for Christ. I don’t want to mandate, demand, or belittle but above all else I want them to see the Truth for themselves.
Here we go —
- Gathered the unused Christmas Cards and placed in next year’s yard sale box.
- Question: Do we throw away the Christmas stuff to prevent the lie seeping into the lives of others or sell/give away?
- Passed the article to my husband and children — thankfully no one thought I was crazy. We are in the midst of negotiations.
December 2: List of questions and items to be addressed:
- Christmas wrap
- Gift giving
- Decorations — will show what I am keeping and why and what is being purged
- How do we handle family gifts this year?
- Do I return what has already been purchased?
- Christmas movies
- Christmas Eve Service
I kept the above words because it is a word found in Scripture that I love — JOY. It serves as a reminder that my Joy is in the Lord and His love permeates and surrounds my life daily. There are many days that I need to be reminded.
1 Peter 4:1-2 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men , but for the will of God.
Readers, please comment, specifically explain what your family has done, provide wisdom addressing my questions, encourage and please be gentle as my sin runs deep.
Grant me grace to bear thy will without repining, and delight to be not only chiselled, squared, or fashioned, but separated from the old rock where I have been embedded so long, and lift from the quarry to the upper air, where I may be built in Christ for ever. — Valley of Vision, Heart Corruptions
It has been a long time since I have posted and have formulated so many posts in my head — nothing motivated me more than this article at Defending. Contending.
A Radical Approach to December 25th: Why we won’t be celebrating Christmas this year.
WARNING: This is not an easy subject to digest let alone to which to respond. The Pilgrim writes:
How are we to instill a compassion in our children for the “least of these”, as Jesus would have us do yet engage in gross self-indulgence on December 25th under the guise of celebrating the birth of the One who was poor in this life and instructed us to give up all for Him, including our very lives? . . . doesn’t that make us hypocrites?
Head over to DefCon and join discussion. I will be continuting to post on this topic as the family responds.