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Comments

Brian

I guess I don't care when it is done, but if we don't spend one day, week, or month every so often meditating on, thanking and praising God for, and celebrating God's entrance into this world as a human, we shouldn't call ourselves Christian. Next to the Cross and Resurrection, what other even that our Lord was involved in was so important? His baptism/annointing, maybe? How can we allow ourselves to ever minimize that event, on any day or any season?

I was raised hearing it is wrong to celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. I now find it sad that many choose not to. Of course, it doesn't have to be any one day or even the same day every year, but why not now? What is wrong with now?
Wade, your point about leaving out the religious and keeping the pagan is an accurate point that should be mulled over by all.

Part of our inconsistency, is that while claming to do everything based on the Word instead of tradition, we (a lot of churches of Christ) have in fact, done a lot of things or not done lot of things solely based on what denominations have done. How is that being a people of the book? We are more guided by avoiding denominational doctrine or practices than we are by the Bible in some cases.

Bobby Valentine

Well said Wade.

Shalom,
Bobby Valentine

DDonna

I'm with you, Wade.

Lisa Leichner

Wade, that is a GREAT post. I hope I'm still young enough that it's okay that I am still putting my thoughts together on Christmas. I guess I grew up around enough real conservative Christians that I didn't know where I should stand when it came to how to celebrate. But I love your thoughts on how some Christians who don't want to celebrate the religious aspects of Christmas are willing to celebrate the secular, or pagan, aspects. You're right--that's ludicrous!! And I've never really thought about that before. My dad said that with the whole country thinking about Christ's birth this time of year, it's a great opportunity for us to embrace their openness to discussion about the Lord. And, of course, it's always a great time to talk to our children about the coming of the Messiah; why would we confuse them and AVOID talking about it this time of year?

john dobbs

I'll add my kudos and join with you. And I hate consumerism. Did you get my wish list? LOL Thanks for such a well-thought out expression on the Season.

don neyland

I appreciate your call for balance on the subject of Christmas. I know I could never preach at a congregation that had Christmas trees and Neon Santas BUT to ignore the existence of Christmas or not “use” it as a means to bring others to the ‘growed-up baby Jesus’ is well (pardon me)- stupid.

I believe the key to Christmas is consistency. We berate Papa on “Father’s Day”- on the Lord’s Day. We have special “Thank-You Jesus” services- on the Wednesday before Turkey Day. We “loves” our country- on the Sunday nearest the 4th. We celebrate Mama on “Mother’s Day”- on the Lord’s Day. {There are brethren who would faint at the thought of a “Birth of Jesus Sermon” on December 24th but they have: poems about Mama in the bulletin; hand out roses to "all the mamas”; have a sermon about how great Mamas are; recognize the mamas in the ‘audience’- all on Mother’s Day and all on the Lord's Day.}
OK, you get my point.

Here is the problem with Christmas & the Church as I see it:
[1] We allow the worldly religions to shape us by being reactionary.
[2] or We allow the worldly religions to shape us by being like them.
[2] We have little consistency between our Monday-Saturday lives and our Sunday lives.
[3] Sunday is all about God to begin with, that includes whether or not “I” want to celebrate Christmas or Xmas. So, maybe we should be asking ourselves what do Santa, baby Jesus, Mama, Papa, Turkey, or Fireworks have to do with worship?

PS: I am not anti-mama. I loves my mama. But she ain't worship worthy or even worthy to share the spot light with God. It ain't like she's Mary Mother of God :o)

Josh

Great Post.

Our country regardless of what anyone says, was founded to be a Christian country.

While I'm not for government involvement in certain things like the sanctity of marriage, I think they should let businesses do as they please, churches do as they please, and let the general public make decisions based accordingly.

Again, good post.

Matt Dabbs

I got an email from the AFA asking me if I would boycott stores that wouldn't use the word Christmas. I said "No." I don't get why we expect pagans to act like Christians. I mean, it would really be nice if they would understand who Jesus is and all but I really don't think God ever intends us to twist people's arms by using money in order to promote our faith.

I also don't get how people oppose Christmas because it is not in the Bible and yet uphold a long list of things as sacred that are never mentioned in the Bible. As far as Jesus' birth being considered the very first Christmas, etc - I don't really have a problem with that if that helps people focus on God.

Thanks for the thoughts.

Brian

amen to Matt's comment...
when did Jesus ever--by teaching or example--say we should use blunt force (whether politics, guns, or fists) to accomplish kingdom objectives??

Gallagher

Wade,

First of all great post. Second, great comments.

I find it interesting what I hear. Like others, I grew up in a non-Christmas church. There was no mention of Christmas, or singing of "birth of Jesus" songs, or trees, wreaths or any such Christmas items in the building. However, the congregation was always invited to everyones Christmas parties to exchange gifts and try to figure out what a "white elephant" gift was.

While that was going on, a group of people needing a hug began to change Christmas to Holiday; such as Happy Holiday instead of Merry Christmas. When that happened people became outraged. Members of the church were wanting Christ back in the holidays, just not in the building. That makes my head hurt.

We have spent too much time arguing tradition instead of teaching Jesus and his everlasting words to us.

Self Promotion time: I wrote a post on my blog concerning the Holiday I celebrate. The link is found here: http://chris.preacherspen.org/2006/10/26/hapry-chrisdays/

Enjoy and God bless!

Bobby Valentine

Not only do I celebrate Christmas but I also pay close attention to Hanukkah ....

See my new blog entry.

Shalom,
Bobby Valentine

Matt Dabbs

It was a good one Bobby. Thanks again

paula harrington

Good observations.

ben overby

Wade,

According to Paul, we have permission to "esteem" any day above another, and in so doing honor God, (Romans 14). Unfortunately some traditionalists among the churches of Christ refuse to take Paul seriously on that point. They tend to further violate the passage by judging another's servant regarding such matters.

I've long since stopped worrying about condemnation from those who simply refuse to be consistent with the text.

Celebrate Christmas! Celebrate with all the religious ferver you can muster! And celebrate your freedom in Christ because of Christ!

Thanks, Wade.

preacherman

Wade,

Great post!

I think it is great to begin with the brith to share about a God who loves them more than they can begin to imagine and finish as you stated with the cross and the empty tomb to let them know that He is still Immanual, God with us.

Josh

Preacher, I'm so glad you're commenting again!

Wade Tannehill

Wow! It seems that so many of us are on the same page. I find this to be true in my face-to-face encounters as well as in the blogosphere. Praise God there is reason for optimism in our churches. I’m always swamped this time of year, but I finally got around to responding.

Brian,

Great comments. The last sentence of your first comment rings especially true.

Bobby,

Thanks. Hanukkah is truly a part of our heritage. My son’s school Christmas play celebrated both Christmas and Hanukkah, which was fine with me. Perhaps our churches should do the same.

Donna,

There seems to be more and more of us out there.

Lisa,

I am so glad I could help you in some way. Thanks for sharing with me how I have done so specifically. It makes my day!

John,

I’ve seen your Amazon wish list. I hope Santa brings you everything on it.

Don,

Great insights! Thanks much.

Josh,

In God we trust.

Matt,

I agree. And if someone wants to call then night of Jesus’ birth the first Christmas, I really don’t make a big deal out of it. That’s better than ignoring it.

Gallagher,

Thanks. I hear a common theme of similar experiences of those raised in Churches of Christ. Perhaps our children will have a different experience. (I was not raised in this fellowship, but my wife’s experiences echo those reported here).

Paula,

Thanks for stopping by and for letting me know you did.

Ben,

Amen! Thanks for wrapping the package up so neatly. You expressed it well.

Preacherman,

Welcome back. I obviously agree with what you said and I admire the way you integrate the special events and celebrations in your own ministry.


Non_Secular

I have recently encountered again a close friends belief and conviction that celebrating christmas is pagan and un-godly, and more than anything else, I just felt sad that he and his small family of co-believers are so cut off from celebrating their faith with friends and family. It strikes me, after some research, that the Christmas tradition, stretching back as far as it does, may be (apart from Easter) one of the only acts that we all engage in regardless of denominational affiliation, and this, for me is the best part of the holiday. If a few consumers get caught up in thinking about Christ for a moment, it might fall short of the grace available, true, but it is only for the good, I still wager. Lastly, I just wanted to share that like so many of our faith traditions, Christmas has a cloudy history, but I was most moved by early writers on Christmas revealing that they found it to be fortunate and telling that on the day of the birth of our lord, the world was also re-born, symbolically in the re-birth of the Sun; another sign of God's involvement in the event. Whether we choose to believe that or not, it is apparent that they did believe it. Anyways, don't know it that's interesting, helpful or just distracting. Merry Christmas, and thankyou for your meditations on this troubling subject.

Truth

How can any of you say Christmas is for the good. Don't you even read the bible. Christmas as all the holidays are about money. First of all, Christ dying on the cross was to set us all free from the law as well as the ways of the world. These pagan customs are nothing new. Consider Jeremiah 10 verse 2-6. "2] Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
[3] For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.
[4] They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
[5] They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.
[6] Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might"

Then consider from the New Testament what Paul said to the Galations... Galatians 4 8-10 [8] Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.
[9] But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
[10] Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.

Meaning: how is that now that the galatians are saved by Christ dying on the cross, and are considered brothers with the hebrews, now they are going back to the weak and beggarly elements, which is following the old laws and customs. He is asking them if they want to be slaves again... slaves to the law and to the customs of the world... Because they observes days, months, times and years... just like we do... DAYS: St. valentines day, St patrick day, Martin luther king day New years day, Birthdays, groundhogs day, Christmas day, thanksgiving day etc... MONTHS: Black History Month, National honey month(September),Better Hearing and Speech Month (May) TIMES: See same as DAYS, YEARS: New Year, 5th year anniversary, 10 year anniversary etc... Year of the dragon, year of the snake etc... These customs are followed by many cultures. Too many to list here but trying to prove the point... Christ set us free from these things, All Christ told us to do was LOVE

Wade Tannehill

"Non_Secular,"

Thanks for your thoughts. I think you are right on target. I had not thought too much about Christmas as a means of knocking down sectarian walls, but it's a good point.

Wade Tannehill

“Truth,” (or whatever your real name is),

I’ve intended to respond much sooner, but I have been distracted by the celebration of this most joyous holiday season which is about family togetherness, giving, and reflection upon God’s greatest gift to us. Yes, some have corrupted the season into a totally commercial enterprise. But that’s not what it means to all of us. Thanks for stopping by and for your contribution.

First, I will say that you have divorced the Scriptures you cite from their historical context since what they teach has absolutely no bearing on the discussion at hand.

The Jeremiah text about decorating trees is about the worship of graven images as idols. It has nothing to do with Christmas trees, as some have supposed. I don’t know anyone who bows down to their Christmas tree and says, “Oh worshipful master, grant us fertility.” Jeremiah had never heard of a Christmas tree and even in principle this text has nothing to say about Christmas.

Second, Paul’s prohibition against the observance of special days is likewise irrelevant to the topic at hand. He was writing to Gentiles who had bought into the notion that to be a disciple of Jesus meant being an observant Jew.

Yet the observance of special days—even Jewish holy days—is not wrong in itself unless it becomes a test of faith or fellowship. In Romans 14:5ff, Paul taught that the observance of special days was an individual decision. Jewish Christians could go to their graves continuing to observe the Sabbath, Passover, and the Feast of Tabernacles. If Gentile Christians find some meaning in such observances it is fine, so long as such observance does not become sectarian or exclusivist.

The observance of Christmas is simply a traditional day of remembrance of when our Savior came to earth. It is an individual (or congregational) decision as to whether it is observed.

And “Truth,” next time you choose to hide behind an alias when disagreeing with someone, you might pick something less arrogant than “Truth.” It betrays an attitude of assumed superiority.

In closing, I know the season is near a close, with Epiphany upon us. But nevertheless, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Good Kwanza to you.

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