Many people online seem to be taken up with the whole “Christmas is bad” theology. They publish accounts of Pagan mythology on their blogs, idol worship on Facebook, tweets of Nimrod in Babylon, accounts of the worst perversity and evil. They say that these accounts show the pagan origins of modern Christmas celebrations. Even though these stories don’t hold water as fact, or even as sketchy history, the vilification of Christmas goes on – and is gaining prominence on the web every year at this time.
My Personal Story
My personal story with this issue is that we went through the journey of discovering these beliefs many years ago, when my son Jonah was still very small. Because of this line of thought we did not have a Christmas tree for a few years. I built a small “mountain” out of a table and set our nativity scene up on it. Our neighbor did the same thing, and we made different versions – some with white netting and white lights hung from the ceiling above, with a lit star and oftentimes angels. Our neighbor always hung tons of angels! It was a beautiful way to celebrate, and I really recommend it!
But as I continued to research it all out I found three things to be true of the common line against Christmas:
– Some of the history in the pagan story is true.
– Some of the “facts” presented are purely from mythology.
– Some of what is presented seems to not be true at all!
The whole belief about the pagan origins of our Christmas celebration seems to be woven together of half-truths and half-lies. Does God deal in this kind of message? No – but this is a common tactic of the enemy!
This line of thinking does come down to us from the mists of the early centuries in Christian history:
– Early Christian leaders warned against it as heresy. Some of these seem to have been real Christians, looking at the fruit of their lives, and I respect them.
– Separatist groups used this line of thought among an arsenal of dubious beliefs to try to build new sects — sowing dissension and brokenness among the body of Christ.
– Protestant Puritans are responsible for bringing these beliefs into the present time. They outlawed Christmas wherever they came into power. England was under their rule for more than a hundred years. They were ruthless and cruel politically, religiously and socially; they did not produce good fruit as I define it. The character Scrooge is the one in that story that carries this mindset. “Christmas, Bah Humbug!”
Following the Spirit
So, looking at the lack of any evidence for the stories about Nimrod and the rest of the pagans, my family decided to follow the Spirit to lead us. We began to celebrate Hanukkah as the “Season of Light”. We don’t celebrate Hanukkah as one of God’s commanded feasts — it’s not – but it is a wonderful and meaningful celebration that lends itself perfectly to celebrating Jesus coming into the world, whatever His actual birth date is. We also have included in our celebration of Jesus the good and appropriate elements of Christmas. It is our celebration of the Light of the World. We never did anything with Santa Claus.
In this I have realized that good and right teachings show their nature by the fruit they bear in our lives. We look to the Holy Spirit to lead us, guide us and teach us every day. THAT is where the real substance of our faith lies, sitting at the feet of Jesus in love with Him; not in believing the right things, picking at old controversy, or taking up new crusades against things. A huge part of the fruit of good teaching is a spirit of building up; making the body more one; leading us to love Jesus and one another more.
So don’t give the negative, the complaining, the combative, the argumentative a moment’s engagement. This is the territory where the enemy rules! Work toward building up the Kingdom Only! Work to build the Truth! Don’t give the lies and half-truths a second thought!
Everyone thinks that they are a prophet when they are pointing out the darkness. They might have a calling, but are acting only as an immature, ineffective prophet. The real prophet has to push through from the place where he cries over the darkness in secret, to the place where he can bring God’s Light before men!
“Arise and shine for your light has come… darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people…” We are in that time. Are we called to point out the darkness or to shine the light? Paul said not to engage in fruitless arguments… we are called to be the salt to be the light… not simply complainers about saltlessness and darkness. The truth is, You don’t have anything to say until you can bring positive solutions to the table. Build the Kingdom constructively!
How to Build instead of Tearing Down
Purpose to build up instead of tearing down. It’s so easy to blog criticism from our comfortable armchairs — it takes everything to build the Kingdom! These things that divide us, these things that cannot be verified as true, these beliefs that only create another subset, another separate group insisting on its own version of the Gospel — these are not the fruit of the Spirit. This is not the fruit of Truth. This is the fruit of error.
Instead, develop a well thought out perspective. Ground it in scripture. Cite clear evidence. Offer positive solutions for change. What part of this is mystical? It’s very clear… very practical.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…” Galatians 5:22. When we can walk in real love, then we have something to say. When we minister joy instead of condemnation, we are on the right track. When peace is a fruit of our message, we are building the Kingdom. When forbearance instead of division is what we minister, then we have a message of Good News. When we minister in kindness instead of judgment, mercy will triumph. When goodness is walked out in our lives and the lives of our listeners, we are living the Truth. When faithfulness is manifested in our life and message, we are preaching the Gospel of Christ. When all of these are fruit of our ministry, we are mature ambassadors of the Kingdom of God!