Categories
Faith

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.

 

Categories
Faith

Jesus is Not the Reason for the Season

MODERN DAY DISCIPLE OF JESUS DECLARES JESUS NOT THE REASON FOR THE SEASON

Before I was a disciple of Jesus, I thought that Christianity and Jesus and all that virgin birth stuff was the root of the Christmas holiday. Even the word ‘Christmas’ seemed like ‘the mass of Christ’ – some kind of ‘Christiany-Catholicky-religiousy’ thing. It didn’t help that everyone around me – including those who attended Christian churches – boldly claimed ‘Jesus is the reason for the season’.

It wasn’t until I actually decided to wholeheartedly follow Jesus Himself that some of these claims about Christmas started to show some cracks. A little bit of study on these topics allowed some water to leak out and after digging in to the next level, the ship had sprung a leak and was on its way down.

One of the first thoughts that made me question this Christmas thing was the fact that many unbelievers around me had absolutely no problem ‘celebrating Christmas’. For many of them it was a chance to get more drunk for a longer period of time without work getting in the way. To take it one notch further, when I announced to people around me that I wanted to drop the gift-giving thing from Christmas (at that time it was just because I was broke and realized the nastiness of the commercial aspect of the season on broke people) it was the unbelievers who seemed to be most upset. They said ‘It’s fine if you don’t buy anything but don’t prevent us from buying gifts for you.” It was from these same folk from whom I received emails ‘Jesus is the reason for the season’ or “Let’s put Christ back into Christmas’ or ‘I will say “Merry Christmas!” not “Happy Holidays!”’ as if they were standing up for something very dear to them. The notable thing was that I never heard the name of Jesus exit their lips at any other time of the year yet, for them, Christmas was about Jesus? They were ‘celebrating the birth of Jesus’ they sometimes said.

I have to admit – there was something about that ‘Christmas magic’ that compelled me. It had me addicted. Something about those gifts. Something about Santa. Something about that decorated tree. All these things are very deep, cultural, and most definitely unavoidable.

One of the second Christmas experiences that happened occurred while I was living in Korea. My wife is Korean and a believer, so I did Christmas Gangnam Style a few times. It was interesting for me to note that this entire country goes to work and school and don’t think twice about it. The Christians in Korea gather for a service focused on the birth of Jesus and that’s about it. I suppose even this is rooted in the long term connection between the North American and Korean churches. The Santa thing was considered an ‘American cute thing’ and no one treated him much more seriously than you would treat a fast-food mascot walking down the street promoting cheap burgers as you drive by. I don’t recall meeting anyone who would actually lie to their children telling them that this fat old man was real and had God-like moral authority over their lives. It made me question what this time of the year was all about and why I was even a participant as a Christian.

These events prompted me to search the history of all these Christmas symbols. I found that all of them were pagan or secular at best. There was even substantial evidence saying that mixing the birth of Jesus into this holiday was a way for the ‘church’ to be able to participate in the dominant pagan festivities of the time (related to sun gods and other winter solstice events). The ‘Christians’ may have felt left out and wanted a piece of the pagan pie. Or, another view was that they celebrated Jesus’ birth because there was already this event going on so you might as well ‘Christianize’ it. Regardless of the reason, there is no proof at all to substantiate that Jesus was behind this December event whatsoever.

There are, however, many reasons to believe Jesus is NOT the reason for the Christmas season. Here is just a snapshot:

  1. Christmas trees are a pagan ritual condemned in Jeremiah chapter 10
  2. Jesus wasn’t born anywhere near December 25th. All scholars agree on this one.
  3. Santa has nothing whatsoever to do with the Bible but instead is a significant distraction from the God of the Bible painting an inaccurate view of our Heaveny Father and the reality of faith.
  4. It wasn’t really until around the mid 1850’s that Christmas was even regarded as a special day in the United States. Before that the celebration of it was even condemned and the existence of a Christmas tree in a church was nothing short of heretical.
  5. {More to be inserted here one day, maybe winter 2013}

After having researched these things and inside of myself decided that as for myself and my family we will not participate in these aspects of Christmas, I started to realize the immense social pressure to do it so as to not ruin the fun for others. In fact, the very day after I decided this, our family ended up at a Christmas event where I was the only white guy (again). Within just a few moments I was handed a big box full of Santa gear and asked to be Santa for these kids, one of whom was my daughter. Instead of ruining the event I decided that I would give them one year’s warning of my non-participation and make sure that as for my daughter, she knew that it was daddy under the suit. The pressure to do all these things is akin to high school social pressure.

The argument against Santa for Christians, with which I concur is this: If you lie to your kids about Santa, what makes you think they will trust you when you are teaching about the God of the Bible? In fact, it is this exact ‘argument’ that many atheists use when trying to refute the stories of the Bible. They say ‘The creation story, virgin birth and resurrection are nothing more than fairy tales like Santa and the Tooth Fairy.” Is this the kind of foundation we want to leave with our children? I cannot stop you from lying to your kids but if mine ask me if Santa is real, they are going to hear the truth in the same way I will tell them the truth that God is real. Our words and actions must line up.

So, then, what is the solution?

I do not have a complete answer yet and it will likely be a work in progress over the next few years. The best one I have heard so far and I will attempt to implement it is the idea of following the feasts and celebrations of the Bible (mainly Old Testament ones like the Passover). This will create a better understanding of the Bible while allowing us to celebrate something with eternal importance. Further, I believe that preparing a solid answer as to why we’re not celebrating the Christmas that the world celebrates will open many doors of discussion.

One of my concerns, admittedly, was that someone might consider me a cult member like a Jehovah’s Witness. So, I think it’s important to create a ‘new thing’.

Something that’s fun: family, friends, social.

Something that’s different completely from the ‘Christmas’ that the world celebrates.

Something that honours God.