While watching the TV the other night with my wife, we were dismayed at the number of commercials promoting christmas sales and gift ideas. Thanksgiving hasn’t arrived yet and the stores are filled with the gimmicky sales for the end of December. My bad attitude started rising and I could feel the dread of the whole thing in my mind. Every year I get accused of being a “Scrooge” about the nefarious holiday of christmas. Well, bah humbug indeed.
Being raised in a good, solid, christian home, I grew up celebrating the day or season with the tree, lights, church plays, parties, and gifts. Early in our kid’s lives, my wife and I did as we had been trained to do and decorated and overspent for gifts. No matter how much we travelled, spent, or worked on lighting up the house, we quickly started thinking of how to improve things for next year. Yet I had this dull nagging thought in my mind that somehow the day was not what I imagined it to be. The christmas afterglow wasn’t all that great and the bills in January were completely deflating.
I don’t remember exactly who got me started down the road of investigating the holiday’s roots and origins, but I went to the books and computer to start reading. I immediately got frustrated in trying to defend my celebration and progressed to getting angry about being lied to. I got the same feeling I had as a kid finding out that santa wasn’t real. The realization that I was using the rituals and symbols of pagan fertility celebrations to announce the birth of the world’s Messiah broke me and after sharing with my wife and kids, we vowed to never do christmas again. My parents and siblings didn’t respond as positively and these many years later, the issue is still a bit of a problem. But I refuse to connect my Messiah with anything I believe to be a lie or false worship of idols and myths.
That all being said, I still work in retail sales and have to assist customers making their purchases, ending the process by hearing, “merry christmas”. It is still an awkward moment for me. I don’t want to be intentionally offensive as that doesn’t open a door for me to share about Yahshuah to them, but I can’t respond in kind. I have resorted to replying, “I appreciate it” and proceed to the next sale. I know that some use the opportunity to conduct a full expose’ on the pagan origins but I have found that rarely makes for a positive end result. The door correctly opens when I’m asked if I’m ready for christmas and I can inform that I don’t celebrate the event and haven’t for years. That single moment of getting their attention enables me offer my explanation. Here is the important thing. My attitude about the event largely determines the success of my sharing. If I appear angry and resentful, I get no where. It takes a compassionate, gentle response with a smile that causes someone to pause long enough to genuinely listen.
If you’re like me and my family, rejecting the holiday and resisting the season, I encourage to rejoice in the truth of YHWH”s Word and offer to Him thanks for the opportunity to witness of Him to others. If you’re still observing the day and season, defending your choice with, “that’s not what it means to me” or ” I’m just celebrating Jesus and giving to people I love; what’s wrong with that?”, I encourage you to look at the Scriptures and find where the Torah, Prophets, or Messianic Writings ever suggest that we observe the birth of Messiah in a party or celebration. I would ask you, “Do you celebrate the Feast Days that YHWH gave to us, where He promises to meet with us and rejoice with us?” Are you willing to ask the hard questions of yourself about the day’s origins and go to YHWH in prayer about what He thinks of the season?
more to come in part 2.