Month: December 2014
Overcoming the ‘spirit of christmas’ with the Spirit of Christ: Part 5 in a Series: Practical Alternatives to Christmas traditions
If you haven’t been following this series, here is a quick link list to the previous articles so you can catch up:
- Part 1: The roots
- Part 2: Christmas tree versus Vine
- Part 3: Santa
- Part 4: To Pull your kid from school or not
And that brings us to Part 5.
We’ve established that there are good grounds to abort operation Christmas tradition and run for the hills, but it’s not that simple. As parents who believe that Jesus is Lord and that our God is a Great and mighty God, it may appear as though we are just running away from a big powerful monster. Not so, nor can we risk anyone thinking this. Nor do we want to be mislabelled as a JW (Jehovah’s Witness).
I believe the only solution is to do what was originally done: replace the rituals with righteous ones and celebrate all days equally (or as equally as possible) unto the Lord.
That sounds both spiritual and easy but it’s not.
It will require planning and a resolve to stick to your plan in the face of adversity. You will be most surprised at the amount of opposition will head your way from both within the church and without. Thankfully, in my case it was more from without.
In this part of the series, I sincerely hope that I’ll get some help from other believers out there who can add to this list of suggestions. Just throw your ideas in the comments below and I’ll update the expanding list.
We need ideas of things we can do that will show the world that
- we are all about family
- we are not about pagan rituals
- we are people who don’t compromise
- we are all about fun!
The last part is key – fun.
It’s quite remarkable how a fat man in a red suit has become the highlight of a child’s year. Surely we can compete, I’m thinking. And perhaps we could even teach the Bible and characters of the Bible in the process.
Here are some things I did this year that worked well in no particular order and others that came to mind while I was doing them that I could have done:
- audio streaming of great Holy Spirit filled music to sing to and dance to (yes, I put my groove on)
- movie nights (all the time) with movies that were wholesome, righteous, or, at worst, spiritually neutral
- physical activities: ice skating, walking outside,
- non-physical activities: crafts, arts, gift building, etc
- learning about how Christians celebrates christmas around the world: poverty, suffering, persecution, mockery
- formulate a plan for helping someone celebrate christmas locally (giving, loving, giving, caring, giving)
- figure out a way that shows that giving is better than receiving
- teach them about the destructive power of the commercialism around christmas
- teach the truth about the christmas tree, santa, and the other rituals but not forgetting to also teach not to burst other’s dreams in a mean way….
- and more
A reader from out in Ontario somewhere sent me a note and pointed out that she had gone ice skating and it couldn’t even compare to the 5 minutes of excitement of opening a gift. This made me think of the key point about why this is truly valuable. It’s your number one and never replaceable asset: your time.
While you breath, you have time. When you stop breathing time is taken away from you and you will go into eternity (yes, even you who don’t believe it will experience it so get saved). So if it takes time to make money, and you give someone your time, you are giving them money. I’m not an intelligent man and I figured that out! Time really is money. So, if you want to give your kids a gift that is worth no less than $11, give them an hour. You don’t even have to do it all at once! You can give them $5.5 twice per day. And I’m not talking about sitting beside them while you slap your friend an what’s app. I’m preaching to myself, here, too.
I have a strange feeling if we plan how we are going to *gift our time [that expression just came to me but you can use it royalty free]* for the next ritualistic holiday that you will make it a holiday they won’t forget.
I’m so idealistic. Just writing that made me feel waves of shame. But oh well, we can all start today…
I hope that you will all join me next Christmas, but what’s exciting is that we have Easter (comes from ‘Ishtar’) coming up very soon so we could start bringing glory to God then as well.
The same reader from Ontario pointed out that apparently Easter is now experiencing gift-giving pressure? I didn’t know that. She explained that it has extended past chocolates… anyway if that’s true stay tuned and we’ll review the basics right before you start spending your money.
Oh, and one more thing. Since today is the last day of 2014, I wanted to say that I hope you are all set to have an amazing roller coaster ride of faith for 2015!
It’s pretty rare that something happens in the corporate world that is so pathetic that it blows my mind, however, Target Canada (Target Brands Inc) has done it.
My friend Paul told me that he was unable to view the products that Target sells on their website. I refused to believe him and didn’t even bother checking. Finally, he forwarded this email communication with them and in disbelief I verified it, and found that it’s true:
>>You can’t browse their products online.<<
Sorry? Come again? You can’t browse a major big box retail shop’s offerings online?
That’s right! It’s like the dark ages over there.
Here is the dialogue which is equally funny to read:
Here is my response to Target…
If I was a shareholder I would be less than pleased to find out they had no Internet presence in Canada. The endless excuses for why their sales have been dismal start to fall away pretty quickly!
——– Forwarded Message ——–
Subject: Re: Online Shipping [ ref:_00Di0bdoy._500i0HqRJ5:ref ]
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 2014 08:44:34 -0800
While Target focuses on opening stores I will unfortunately not be one of your “guests”. For a store that has been plagued by supply chain issues and empty shelves it is unreasonable to expect anyone to go to a Target location in search of a specific item. Come on; it is 2014 and Target already has a working system in place in the US…
On 14-12-24 08:12 AM, Target Guest Relations wrote:
Overcoming the ‘spirit of christmas’ with the Spirit of Christ: Part 4 in a Series: To Pull Your Child from School or Not
Well, Christmas 2015 is now behind us. Before it gets too far behind us, let’s keep this series going so that we are better prepared next year instead of the annual tradition of scrambling trying to figure out what position to take at the end of November or early December.
Here is a quick link list to the previous parts in the series:
Thanks for following this developing series.
Now that we’ve covered some articles on the actual theology (in a practical sense) and some possible issues of conscience. Perhaps now you have, like me, begun to wonder if we’ve bought into a system of which God may not approve.
Now your child comes back from school to let you know that they will be doing weeks and weeks of ‘Christmas stuff’ leading up to the holidays.
Now you’re torn.
Do you let your child participate, or otherwise?
By letting them participate they are essentially celebrating the roots of all the stuff we’ve looked at.
Here are some pros about pulling your child from such activities:
- they are not dabbling in pagan rituals
- they are identified as ‘different’ from the rest (which is biblical) and for all the right biblical reasons
- it will create conversation and discussion which might otherwise not get started (someone might get saved as a result)
- you can spend the time they would have spent doing something biblical (or something else period)
Here are some cons I considered:
- the activities are typically quite fun and the child would miss this fun with their school mates
- they would be identified as ‘different’ which from a child’s perspective is a bit trickier to deal with
- they may get labelled as a Jehovah Witness
This year we elected to let our daughter do another year of ‘Christmas stuff’ (her first year in kindergarten) but I’m not quite sure it was the right decision. There is no question when the weeks leading up to the holiday were complete she came out of there very positive about santa and his ways as well as ultra positive about the christmas tree which, in my opinion, is the worst of them all.
I’m just not completely sure we made the right decision but we are human and we want to learn.
One thing I have pulled out of this for certain is that if you elect to pull your child, it is critical that you have big plans for Jesus during that time. In the next post I will start to explore exactly that – what we as parents can do with our children that will glorify God while simultaneously boycotting vain and even pagan rituals of these well established holidays.
Stay tuned for more.
It’s not like you don’t know this yet, but some some days I get so saddened watching people buy into a bad deal that I feel inspired to write about it. I will likely be reprimanded by my wise friends for wasting my time, but I still like to think that some people just act out of ignorance and if I write a few things they might wake up and smell the java.
A long while back I wrote this short article about my Crapple experience (I just checked the date and this was written way back in 2011!). I was shocked that I was being held hostage, but then someone pointed out to me that their fans like to be sadistically beaten down by their master because they get some form of ‘fashion’ or ‘status quo’ for it. But sadly, now when I see someone with a fruit phone I just feel really sorry for them. I lose several levels of respect for them, and if they are a company, for the leadership. Any company that would embrace predatory hardware, and worse, force their employees to carry it around in public, is, in my opinion, sick – whether by ignorance or wilful acceptance. And what’s ironic, they probably dream to be like Crapple in magnitude and scope, yet their very idol is what’s partially holding them back.
It’s a twisted mindset, much like the girl who can’t leave the abusive boyfriend.
So, here is a quick summary list of the top things that they do that make me wonder how they have any customers at all:
- proprietary chargers (good luck getting your phone charged with a micro-usb cable) and other accessories (that locked down mindset is so 90’s)
- inability to send files by bluetooth (without hacking)(they paid for the bluetooth feature, FYI)
- inability to plug the usb cable in and use the phone as a USB storage device and access phone’s files that way
- inability to do anything at all without their Alkatraz software and hardware
- horrible battery life
- creating the device so that you can’t change the battery without a ‘genius’ around (see The Lightbulb Conspiracy if you don’t think this is a planned feature)
- scamming their loyal customers by under-delivering and overcharging
- the way they try to stop allowing their fans to use other companies (ie. youtube)
- the way I feel like a dirty white collar executive thief every time I’m seen in public with one (I just threw that in for fun)
So hopefully you will pursue options that make our world a better place like, for example, the Ubuntu phone. Just make sure that whatever you buy next is either running this awesome system, or, has the ability to put it on afterwards.
Crapple is not a company that will allow this freedom so you don’t need to bother trying. Just avoid.
Fido is not only incompetent, but they are violators of Canada’s Competition Act.
Here is the recording of the filing of my divorce with Fido.
Good thing they have the ‘this call may be recorded for coaching and development purposes’ message, eh?
Here are the bullet points of the most horrendous display of corporate incompetence in my telecom history:
- started service (this part was very good! I even complimented the customer service rep’s manager)
- failure to promise to be able to successfully unlock our phone
- was going to cancel and stick with incumbent (Mobilicity)
- Was convinced by in store rep and fido.ca corporate rep that I could get a free samsung S4 and sign up on a 24 month tab on a great ‘black friday’ deal.
- we agreed to their suggestion and signed up for their advertised black friday program
- i was told the phone would take 7-10 days to arrive
- it never came on the 10th day
- I called to ask where it is. Fido didn’t know.
- Fido said they had to ‘open a case’ to find out where the phone is. This would take up to 4 days more
- meanwhile my wife is using my old phone and was very unhappy. This is not what I promised her.
- after four days I get a call on my voice mail that ‘there is no phone ordered’. No phone ordered? Sorry? This is a joke right? No.
- So I decide to cancel and move to Virgin mobile who was going to offer the same program. However, I foolishly decided to give them one more chance.
- I called a guy named James who said that he was an experienced rep. A manager of sorts. I thought that Fido had finally got my case where it needed to go. He said he found a way to get into their system and override some kind of system that prevented me from getting the phone I agreed to. He said the phone was on the way. He said that I would get a tracking number by Friday.
- The tracking number never came.
- They told me to wait until Monday for the tracking number.
- Monday the tracking number never came.
- On Monday I called and a girl told me that today I could end this all by simply going to any store of my choice and picking up the phone. She initiated a ‘process’ and provided me a reference number.
- Excited, I agreed to the plan, jumped in my car, burned a lot of gas, went to a store, waited in a line up for 30 minutes (yes, 30). The rep then told me after calling Fido that he could not release the phone to me. That it couldn’t be done through him. That it had to be done through ‘customer service’.
- I then called customer service to speak to someone about why my life was insane and painful because of Fido. I asked them to make it so that their promise was fulfilled and that the store would release the phone.
- I was told ‘there is nothing I can do. “
- I was then given two ‘options’ they called it. Option #1 was to lose my wife’s phone number. Sorry? That’s an option? FAKE LOL!!! The second option was to wait until January. Sorry? What? That was your second ‘option’??? Excuse me while I rip the eyeballs out of my head!
- Then I explained that the relationship between Wayne and Fido was over. Done. Divorce was filed.
- I walked 30 steps towards Target (no I didn’t even know they sold mobiles but a lotto booth guy told me), walked in, asked if he had a plan on good network that would match or beat this Black Friday Hell Deal from Fido, and he said yes. I signed up under Virgin. Not only did I walk away with the phone but he was also super helpful and gave me some benefits. And the plan turned out to have a few extra minutes of talk time and a few extra MB of data.
- I then sped home to record this phone call with Jessica, while I filed my divorce with Fido.
I am now planning to take them to task on the Competition Act in Part VII.1 74.01 1a) for ‘making a representation to the public that is false and misleading in a material respect’. They falsely advertised that I would get a phone with a plan and the phone was denied me. This is wrong. I will fight.
I wrote this to a friend and I think it’s a fine synopsis of the spiritual condition and so I wanted to share it with the world wide webs:
While you are waiting for Dr. Wayne's spiritual advice, please note that the advice is always the same. Here it is in point form because you like point form: +++The Beginning+++ God made the world and all that is in it so for His glory. +++The Middle+++ -Adam and Eve screwed up and did the only thing God told them not to do. -God punished Adam and Eve and we are still living under that punishment -God promised a way out for those who want it. He promised a Saviour -Jesus was and is the Saviour and came via miraculous birth (you might hear the general public singing songs about this event this week kind of like how you sing the national anthem and don't know what the words are) -Jesus was all God. All man. No sin. Did miracles. Documented in history books. All real. No fake -The above is all impossible to believe without faith even though they are also historical events. That's why there are people who read and have read the Bible and still reject and deny God and the contents of the Bible. Some are even highly intelligent. -God supplies the faith required to believe to those who actually want it and want Him. Most don't. Most like their sin way too much. -For those God has called, and for those who answer the call (you have to answer the phone when it rings if you want to talk to someone, by the way), hope, love and faith are restored to a ruined man (and woman) -Life for the believer is full of hope and a joy that cannot be expressed with human words or understanding because it's not earthly -Life for the unbeliever is full of hopelessness, depression, frustration, sin, darkness, and eventual destruction (God can't back out of His promises) +++The End+++ -the body dies and rots (there are a few ways this can happen as you've noticed) -the spirit goes to heaven (or hell) -the end. +++Conclusion+++ Like a prescription to get healthy requires the sacrifice of your money, the prescription for salvation requires your life. Yes. I said it requires your life. All of it. If the above diagnosis of today's date is in good order and acceptable to you, do contact me and I will lead you to the Living Water so that you also might drink. When you are ready to lay that life down and pick up the one God made for you, let me know. I don't joke around with this stuff. There is no easy way. Blessings! Wayne -----------------------------------------
Overcoming the ‘spirit of christmas’ with the Spirit of Christ: Part 3 in a Series: Santa versus God the Father
In the first part of this series of Overcoming the spirit of christmas with the Spirit of Christ, we took a look at whether or not God is concerned about the roots of the things we do. For example, is it OK to have a Buddha statue in your house or do yoga. In part two we took a look at the christmas tree and I made the bold and very crap-storm-causing comment where I compared the ‘sacred’ christmas tree to a satanic pentagram. It is here where I apparently really ruffled some feathers and made some people start to question whether or not I serve the God of the Bible. Needless to say, I find this all theologically stimulating. I find it most interesting how those who are coming down hardest on me for ‘not being Christian’ are those who have not attended a church in recent history nor were they even aware of Jeremiah 10. It’s ok. I’ve been a believer for nearly 20 years and I had no clue until about 2012. And then it jumped out at me. And the main issue here is this: once something is presented to you and your conscience has to make a decision, it is at that point where you are also accountable. To support this point, the other night I drove into a drinking and driving road block. I went in boldly and when the police officer asked me if I had consumed any alcohol *today*, I was troubled. I answered ‘no’ but after I left I was convicted that I had lied. Because I *did* consume half of one beer about 2 hours before. The very question from the police officer brought the issue to the forefront of my conscience and I chose to violate it for the sake of convenience. I believe today I failed that test and should have owned up to the half a beer. I bet he still would have let me go through. And so whether or not you *did* know about this christmas tree stuff no longer matters. You know now and you have to do your own due diligence and live with your conscience. Same goes with knowledge of Jesus. I have told you personally and in my blogs that Jesus is the only way to heaven. You can choose to deny that or not, but now you cannot stand before God telling Him that you didn’t know. Your conscience is now at work and you should listen.
And that was just my preamble to this part! I’ll try to keep the rest more concise.
Today I’m going to shoot another ‘sacred cow’. Feel free to stop reading. If you thought my post about the christmas tree ruffled your feathers, this one will make you want to draw blood. You will either love me for pointing this out, or you will want to see me beaten like a mule for ‘ruining your christmas’. Either or, I’m only here for a few more years so I’ve just got to be me.
First, let’s find the similarities between God the Father (God of the Bible) and santa claus:
- both pronounce judgement on evil
- both reward good behaviour
- both have supernatural power
- both have a form of omnipresence (they know what you’ve done)
- Both have songs sung in their praise or adoration
- Both require sacrifices (cookies and blood of animals)
- Both teach obedience to parents
- Both have servants or helpers
- Both require faith and faith alone to believe in your heart
Now let’s contrast them:
- Santa has no mercy. You will pay for your evil.
- Santa forces his way into your house. God requires an invitation.
- Santa taught to children by society where God is taught by parents (if taught at all)
- One is the truth. The other is a lie (you can’t call it a ‘fairy tale’ because you tell kids that it’s real with a straight face)
And I’m sure there are many other great items you could add to this list. As always, I welcome your help developing this article over the years.
Here are some of the reasons why people (even well meaning believers) continue the santa claus story:
- It’s just for fun. You will ruin kids’ fun
- They will feel alone and different in school
- you will take away their magic
- they may rebel against you and go even more full-bore towards these things later
- and please add more if you have heard them
I couldn’t help but think of a scripture as I was writing that list above. Jesus said something very clearly
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (John 17:14)
Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus even imply that we are supposed to fit into this world. As you can see from just this one scripture above (and there are many, many more) He went further to prepare us for the fact that we are *not going to fit in*. By letting our children go full bore into a lie or pagan stuff, just so they can fit in with the people that hate God is not a very wise choice. By following the scriptures from an early age, they will be much better prepared to deal with the imminent experience of feeling alone in their quest for righteousness in a wicked world.
There is a second problem, though. If you let them follow the worlds system (santa and such) when they finally do ‘graduate’ and figure out that dad ate the cookies and and the gifts also came from their parents, well, what does that do to your credibility as parents? I suppose you could say that it helped them quickly realize that even family members will be the cause of large disappointments, and just hope that the disappointments stop at this one…
Yet there is a third problem. What does this do to the children’s view of God and the world around them? Hmm. It turns out santa won’t punish me for wrongdoing. And santa is also not the root of rewards for doing good. Hmm. This story sounds a lot like that Bible story I heard when I was a kid. Maybe… maybe this God they tell me about is just another story they told me. Maybe it too will one day go ‘poof’ in my face. I don’t want to be the last kid in class believing in santa claus so maybe I better sack this ‘God stuff’ early because after all, only uneducated fools like those kids who believe in santa would believe in a God you can’t see and who rewards us in the afterlife. Walking on water? That sounds about as far fetched as a fat man coming through a chimney!
You see, this is not about santa.
This is not about a tree.
It’s about faith and where we put it and how we convey it.
It’s about the very core of our integrity and the legacy we are leaving our children.
Yet, I conclude this part by re-iterating this: I’m not writing all this to ‘kill christmas’. I’m writing this because I care about Truth and the name of my God more than anything else in the world. I care more about how boldly I can walk into the throneroom of God at the end of this life, more than I do about what you think about me and my position. This series is about establishing my position as a servant and child of God and standing for truth.
Compare and contract this:
Jeremiah 10:1-5 (underline added)
Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: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. 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. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. 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.
John 15: 1-8
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
In the first part of this series, I spoke extensively about roots and whether or not they matter to the God of the Bible and concluded that, yes, they do. Now we shall move from the roots up towards the living organism of Christmas and see what shall unfold.
Let me emphasize again that I’m not doing this to be a ‘christmas killer’. I’m just trying to solidify all these things that I’m seeing and put it into one place with some structure so that I, and perhaps any other interested person can add to the discussion and make better spiritual decisions for ourselves and our families.
In both of the above scriptures God is speaking extensively about a tree and a vine. Do these two plants have some kind of spiritual power? No. They are plants like a dandy lion or a bamboo – a few unique DNA strands that make it what it is. They are rooted in dirt and enjoy sunshine like the rest of us.
What matters in the plants described are the roots – or to be more precise – the meaning or significance we give them. In the latter scripture, Jesus is saying ‘Hey, come here. See this vine? I’m like this vine to you. Don’t forget this analogy because this is a spiritual truth.”
In the former scripture, God is saying “See those trees? They don’t have power to do evil, or good, or speak yet you give them ‘god’ status in your lives and hearts.” Same with the vine. I haven’t seen a vine helping an old lady cross a street or jump out of the woods to mug her either. They are just a couple of great things that God made way back in Genesis.
So let it be known that I’m not afraid of your christmas tree. It cannot hurt me or help me. So, that’s *not* the reason I have elected not to have one in our home. The reason I have elected not to have one in the home is that the christmas tree is rooted in pagan rituals. The tree itself represents something that God is not ok with: idolatry. It’s no different than having a statue of Buddha on my table or a pentagram on my wall. The ‘things’ represent the spiritual realm and some realities that cannot be seen with the eye.
ACK! Did you compare a christmas tree to a pentagram??!!!
Let’s roll with the pentagram example. Run this scenario with me. I invite you over to my house for tea and cookies and a few olives on a toothpick. You show up, tip your hat, slowly walk up the stairs into my living room where you are greeted by a full human size image of a pentagram with ol’ Baphomet in the middle just to make sure you know it’s the real deal. I’m pretty sure you are not going to say “Wow! What a neat piece of artwork! I love what you’ve done with ol’ Bappy’s horns there! Right-i-o!”
You would probably start to feel a little concerned about your personal well being and perhaps plotting your escape.
Now why is that?
Because you know what that image represents: satanic power.
And so the item, in that context, is a declaration of faith and dedication to satan.
A long time ago, a christmas tree was used, as you can plainly read in Jeremiah above, as a pagan god. They decked it with ‘clothes’ and worshipped it. They thought the tree represented eternal life. In the same article some try to give it a ‘Christian history’ but it’s simply not congruent with the even older history of Egypt, etc. Also, the Jeremiah scripture above should wipe away any ideas that this is a Judeo-Christian concept.
Ladies and Gentlemen. Boys and Girls. Like it or not, your christmas tree is not connected to the Bible or Jesus other than the reference to paganism in Jeremiah 10.
Jesus is the vine. We are to be as branches on that vine.
I’m not going to go on a campaign to ‘kill the tree ritual’ (I’m sure the tree huggers are well on top of that) but I am going to continue staying close to Jesus and hear His voice and instructions on the topic. And, unless He gives me directions otherwise, the tree needs to stay outside. I just simply can’t make a square peg go in a round hole.
Incidentally, I really used to like the ‘magic’ generated by the christmas tree until realized that this magic wasn’t from God. Kind of how I used to like the magic from excessive drinking and other such activities. The magic was from another source from which I have since departed. The ‘magic’ was exactly that – magic. Earthly, secular, and based in paganism. That’s what I was feeling. And that’s why these trees are totally accepted and basically worshipped where the crucifix where my Lord Jesus died is not. The cross is, after all, foolishness to those who are perishing. You don’t see a crucifix in city hall do you? But I saw a tree decked with gold and silver there the other day…
If we gave half the veneration we give our flashy trees to God Almighty, I suspect we’d have a pretty good relationship with Him this season.
Just something to chew on while unwrap those gifts.
Edit: 141227: This is a great link about the christmas tree which pretty much covers it all
This series (I’m assuming it’s going to be a series because I really expect this to blow up into something interesting) did not come out of one moment of frustration, or a single event, but instead it has been developing inside of me for many years. It also is not just about Christmas but this journey pertains to any other ‘holiday’ or celebration that is rooted in something – perhaps something you don’t even understand.
In fact, the content of this series, and exploring the path travelled to get here, should be of benefit to anyone who truly wants to question every little part of their life and why they are doing it. I suspect it will be advantageous even as far as asking questions like ‘why am I using this pacemaker?” to “why am I paying taxes for this?” The true purpose of this is not to ‘kill Christmas’ like some Scrooge character, but to merely question why I’m doing something and whether I should be doing it this way or not. And, perhaps, to answer this question: ‘Does it matter or not?”
It’s also worthy of noting that I have been trying for years to pull this topic together in some kind of tangible way to which the average disciple of Christ can relate. Here is one such article I wrote as I made my first few attempts. As you will sense throughout, one of the underpinning challenges with taking action is that it results in pressure (and sometimes severe) from the people closest to you.
On that note, we’ve all got busy schedules so thanks for joining and hope you enjoy joining the journey because I also suspect it’s going to be difficult to wrap this up.
The word ‘holiday’ can be read as ‘holy-day’. Before I was a disciple of Jesus, it was no big deal. Just a word. Didn’t think about it. Then, one day I was reading my KJV Bible (I like my KJV so don’t mess) and I came across this scripture:
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days. (Colossians 2:16)
Being a man of the fine English language, one of my favourite websites is www.etymonline.com. A quick search of the word ‘holiday’ reveals this:
- holiday (n.)
- 1500s, earlier haliday (c.1200), from Old English haligdæg “holy day; Sabbath,” from halig “holy” (see holy) + dæg “day” (see day); in 14c. meaning both “religious festival” and “day of recreation,” but pronunciation and sense diverged 16c. As a verb meaning “to pass the holidays” by 1869. Happy holidays is from mid-19c., in British English, with reference to summer vacation from school. As a Christmastime greeting, by 1937, American English, in Camel cigarette ads.
And so the word ‘holiday’ is definitely rooted in ‘religious festival’ whether or not we know what the roots it are, or think about it, or care about it. A tradition of any kind at all started somewhere but most people don’t really think about its roots. As soon as you start to investigate the roots you will hear something along the lines of this:
“I don’t believe or practice the roots of that. It’s not about the roots but whatever power you give to it.”
I have heard this argument given by supposed Christians who think it’s OK to do yoga. After I explained that it’s deeply rooted in Hinduism (no one denies that) they brush it off as ‘well I’m just stretching or exercising’.
So do roots matter?
God thinks they do.
Isaiah 11:1 describes Jesus as follows:
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots
The entire start of the very first book of the new testament in Matthew 1:1-17 shows that God is very much concerned about from which lineage the Messiah Jesus would emerge. There are books of the old testament where huge chunks are dedicated to genealogies, or, if you will, the roots of those families.
But let’s bring it back to the earth for the heathen who may be reading this.
If roots didn’t matter then why do people make family trees? Why is there a certain strange feeling of connection when you see a photo of a great grandparent in a photo in the trenches of a war? Why do people take trips to Jerusalem to see where Jesus walked or go to obscure cafes where Elvis sat (did he sit in a cafe?)? Why do we feel a sense of unity when we sing our old national anthems? We sense these things because there are roots that exist and there is power in those roots. Grand pappy Harold sang that national anthem at his school, too when he was a boy just after walking ten kilometers uphill to school in the ice and snow!
Roots are also very important in every area of our earthly lives. The first thing that comes to mind is a discussion I had with my friend who is, in my opinion, a great example of someone who understands business and money. He explained to me how a process called ‘root cause analysis’ saved a large corporation he was working for in Asia countless amounts of money. In medicine, the entire goal is to find out the *root* of a problem and find the cure. In counselling, the entire goal is to find the root of the thing that’s causing the couple to want to rip each others’ eyeballs out.
And that’s why God was very harsh in the old testament about digging those roots out at any cost such as when Joshua took and killed Achan, his entire family, stoned them, and then burned them and everything they owned and capping it off with a giant mound of stones.
Why had God instructed this? Because Achan had, in his disobedience, taken an accursed item from the enemy and hidden it after God had clearly said ‘don’t touch the enemies stuff!”.
The root had to be cut out completely.
A root is the organic equivalent of the foundation for a building. I learned a lot about this this year while I was weeding my garden. Some weeds looked easy to get rid of but when you grab them, they rip off at the soil level only to reappear a few days later in the same spot. Other weeds you could just rake out and the never come back. The difference? Depth of roots and strength. I was deeply impressed with this one toxic product I bought. I sprayed it on this cute little weed and came back the a few days later to see that Mr. Weed had taken his last drink – he was brown, withered and dead. His roots couldn’t resist and he was slumped over in his green grassy bed.
All throughout the Bible we read about roots and foundations. Jesus said somewhere in the Bible: “If you build your house on sand, it’s going to wash away in a storm but if you build it on a rock you’ll be good to go. (King Wayne Version).” Preach it, Jesus!
Is it OK for a disciple of Jesus to have a statue of Buddha on their coffee table?
Most believers would say immediately ‘no’ because they know that the statue of Buddha represents another god – another spirit. The Buddha statue represents an ‘accursed thing’ – and item destined for God’s ultimate destruction as well as anyone who would worship this other god or system. The statue of Buddha *represents* the spirit behind the statue.
“Oh, Wayne. You’re too serious. The Buddha statue only has the power you give it. If you were a strong Christian then it wouldn’t have power over you.”
It sounds very attractive. It sounds like it’s almost spiritually accurate. Until we think again about Achan. If it were ‘just what power we give it’ then Achan and his family didn’t need to get barbequed and buried and God is therefore a ruthless tyrant ready slit our throats for a home-staging error.
Sorry. That ain’t the God that I know and serve.
Roots are very important to the God of the Bible and the God whom Christians claim to serve.
God is very gracious. I’m sure that if Achan didn’t know full well that he should not have done what he did that none of that would have happened. Achan knew full well what he was doing and the lives that could be lost if the power of God were to abandon the Israelites in the heat of battle over this. And that’s exactly what happened. Many lives were lost because of his choice.
Good news. God is still gracious. He allows us years and years learn in our season but there does eventually come a time when He expects action. He does not tarry forever. There was an appointed time for God to send Jesus to the world to save sinners. There is also an appointed time for each of us to die, and that day may come before the scheduled time of the second coming of Jesus.
For me, I have reached the season where I have learned enough and I really, really want to start taking action steps towards purifying myself and my family from things that God might find to be offensive or downright sinful.
I want to axe out and radically amputate (term stolen from Setting Captives Free) any root in my life that could be hindering my spiritual walk in any way at all.
Now that it has been established that roots are important (at least to me) and carry meaning and power and influence, we can move on to dealing with ‘the christmas spirit’ (lowercase on purpose).
EDIT: 150106 – Found this amazing video on the topic.