Continued study on controversial holidays has long been overdue. As the momentum leading up to Christmas gathers force, I felt it time to get a start. I opened up my browser this morning feeling all the weight of this ponderous subject pressing down upon me. Certainly this study will end up spanning several years! However, as I scanned some articles on the Answers in Genesis website (for starters), I felt a sense of relief. This subject is indeed a solemn one, and it certainly does deserve a thorough study which might take a long time; but, I was reminded of something today which promises freedom from condemnation and gives hope for me as I seek to honor God in this area. Let me explain.
One of the first articles I read this morning was regarding whether the angels sang to announce Jesus’ birth to the shepherds, or simply proclaimed it. What’s true? This, of course, is a peripheral subject, but it demonstrates how long-held traditions may sometimes not be accurate. The AiG article points out:
This example provides a good opportunity to discuss traditions. In and of themselves, traditions are not wrong, but they must be based on and consistent with Scripture. If they contradict Scripture, then they must be rejected.
Now. This is what got me about that simple statement: traditions can be rejected! We are not slaves to what other people want us to do; we have the freedom, in Christ, to read the Bible for ourselves, and to reject whatever does not fit with what the Word of God says. Adversely, if anything is not strictly forbidden, neither are we forced to abstain. Certainly, we must be sensitive to how our actions affect others. But, we are slaves to no one, nor to any holiday.
That is the hope! As I study the holidays, I sincerely want to understand what God’s will is, and what is consistent with Scripture, and what is not; I want to live according to God’s safe and healthy prescription for life. So, if I find that celebrating Christ’s birth on December 25 is morally acceptable, then I can do so, no matter what other Christians think who don’t choose to celebrate it on that date (or at all), and I can feel at peace with that decision. Not only that, but I have the freedom to thoroughly enjoy that season!
On the other hand, if I find that celebrating Christ’s birth on that date is morally unacceptable; or, if I find that some of the customs associated with that holiday are not consistent with Scripture, then no matter what other Christians think who do choose to celebrate that holiday in those ways, I don’t need to feel pressured to do exactly as they do, and I can feel at peace with that decision, and can enjoy the beauty of worshiping Christ in spirit and in truth.
Instead of approaching a study of the holidays with nervous trepidation, wouldn’t it be better to embrace it as another exciting journey in the pursuit of truth? What might we find along the way? What mysteries will be solved? What spots of blindness stripped away? What joyful new discoveries will we make? What unique family traditions invented? What old traditions cherished? There is no need to create a monster out of this! I choose to treat it as an adventure.
I have used the expression, “I” a lot. Please know, however, that whatever choices are made concerning the way we celebrate, or don’t celebrate, the holidays, will of course be a joint decision between my husband and I. In fact, as the head of our home, my husband will be the one to make the ultimate decision. But, since I have a bit more time than he, it seems to work out nicely for me to do most of the research, which I share with him later, and which we discuss peacefully together.
Here’s my plan for continuing to study the holidays (I have already watched some videos about Christmas with my husband, and I have read several articles online, too):
- Choose one website at a time to browse. I will start first with Answers in Genesis, then move on to Biblical Archaeology. After that, I will look for more sites. Once I’ve done that, I can also search using a slightly different method:
- Choose one subject at a time to research. I can start with, “The Origin of Christmas Trees,” then move on to, “Why do We Celebrate Christmas on December 25th?” Other great questions to investigate might be:
- Why do we use boughs of holly, Christmas wreaths, and mistletoe?
- Why do we eat ham?
- Where did the tradition of the Yule log come from?
- Where does the story of Frosty the Snowman come from?
- Where does the story of Santa Claus come from?
- Why do we call this holiday “Christ-mas“?
Expect more articles to follow (sporadically). I want to research this topic more thoroughly, and will publish interesting findings as I go. I will also keep adding posts on my “staple” topics: the Blessing of Children, Modesty, and Headcovering.
For now, I’d love to hear what you think about these things: What do you use as a rule to determine how to celebrate the holidays–any guiding principles you apply? What sort of questions have you found answers to, and what sort of questions are you still asking? What family traditions (related specifically to Christmas ) have you and your husband established in your home? What made you decide to start (or continue) those traditions? Do you have any ideas for making the holidays a special time?
Thanks for reading, and for all your helpful comments! I love to read your responses!