See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. – Colossians 2:8
So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. – Matthew 15:6
It has been bugging me all season. I can’t keep it in any longer. Super-Christians are driving me crazy! You know the type. Just after Thanksgiving they start in. “This will be the year we focus on the TRUE meaning of Christmas!” “We’re not going to let the ‘world’ take over Christmas.” Here’s the one that tops them all. “We’re going to put CHRIST back in CHRISTmas!” Ugh, I just threw up in my mouth a little. Seriously, I know I have said it in the past when I was under the influence of religion, however I do believe that I was slipped a micky for the last one. The reason I get so upset is that when looking back on this holiday we see nothing but the manger. I do believe it is a great time to reflect as the calendar gives us a great opportunity to do so, but to say that this is OUR holiday as if we didn’t steal it first? History lesson…winter solstice has been a huge party in almost every civilization. Centuries ago in Britain this holiday was like Mardi Grasand Halloween combined…x30. What is now called carolling…was once a drunken mob that would sing songs that would make you blush while going from house to house looting. The Greeks used to hold a week long celebration of self-indulgence. The church decided that we needed to holi-fy this time so we came up with Jesus’ birthday. Conveniently placed on the one season that most definitely would NOT have been when Jesus was born. Don’t even get me started about how Santa Claus was a response BY the church!
So, how then do we respond? Christmas is what it is. I am not advocating a reformation of Christmas. I enjoy Advent, Christmas and even Epiphany this year…however, it’s all tradition. Tradition I tell you! Our Christmas traditions are like whate washed tombs…nice on the outside but inside they are filled with dead men’s bones! Who are we to demand that ‘they’ put Christ back in Christmas? “We need more ‘real’ Christmas songs”, I heard someone declare the other day. Oh?…REAL Christmas songs? Would those be the drunken bar tunes people would sing at they demanded food?…or do you mean the ones that make you feel better than other people as you sing about baby Jesus in golden fleece diapers?
Forget about Christmas…I want to put Christ back in CHRISTian! That is where I struggle, that is where my sin sits. When I read Romans I don’t see our position before God having anything to do with redeeming holidays. I don’t read Colossians 2:20-23 and see our lust for an old-fashioned Christmas as anything but self made religion. As I sat here in my seat a few weeks ago I caught myself thinking about what I could do this year to make this a meaningful Christmas. It finally hit me today while speaking to Barry. Repent. I can make this a meaningful Christmas by acknowledging my need for repentance and seeing that baby as the One who was born to die. Everything I do , say, or think is just like filthy rags.
He must increase, but I must decrease. – John 3:30
I want to leave you with some words from Jesus Saves by Travis Cottrell and David Moffitt.
He will live, our sorrow sharing, Jesus Saves, Jesus Saves. He will die our burden bearing, Jesus Saves, Jesus Saves. “It is done!” Will shout the cross, Christ has paid redemption’s cost, While the empty tomb’s declaring, Jesus Saves!…Freedom’s calling, chains are falling, hope is dawning bright and true. Day is breaking, night is quaking, God is making all things new. Jesus Saves!
Oh to grace, how great a debtor, Jesus Saves, Jesus Saves. Are the saints who shout together, Jesus Saves, Jesus Saves…