My family and I have safely returned to the real world from our visit to the Magic Kingdom. And, while I’m slowly getting back into a routine, Jessica from Bohemian Bowmans has written a challenging guest post about the meaning of Christmas celebrations. I hope you’ll be inspired to take a look at what and why you and your family do the things you do. She has a much different writing voice than me, so this is a great change up for Pop Parables. Enjoy!
It’s a question that haunts me every Christmas and Easter; How do I celebrate the awesomeness of my God without turning the holidays into a conglomeration of wastefulness and trivialness?
I don’t pretend to have stuck the perfect balance.
And I understand that God doesn’t hate traditions, or festivities, or celebrations. I get that, I do. I mean, He instituted quite a few, Himself, back in the day. Yet, I can’t help but feel that we’ve lost our focus.
Sometimes I feel like we’re forcing symbolism and relevancy into traditions just so we feel better about them. You know the, wise-men-gave-gifts-so-we-give-gifts kind of thing. Or the Jesus-birthday-cake kind of thing. Or the 10,000-light-nativity-spectacular-yard-display kind of thing.
Some might argue that none of these things are inherently sinful. And they’d be right. But God can see into a man’s heart and see where its treasure truly lies. And He mentioned quite a few times when He was wearing skin that we can also tell men by their actions. It’s not usually very hard spiritual math, really.
So – what do our actions say about us? What do our bank accounts say about us? What do our decorations say about us? What do our traditions say about us?
Actions truly do speak louder than words.
Paul said, You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.
Or how about the Amplified version?
All things are legitimate [permissible--and we are free to do anything we please], but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life]. Let no one then seek his own good and advantage and profit, but [rather] each one of the other [let him seek the welfare of his neighbor].
So we have to ask ourselves. Are our Christmas traditions helpful? Are they constructive or beneficial? Are they wholesome or edifying? Are they concerned about the good of others? And by “others” I don’t just mean the family members that we may over-spend on each year.
It’s reported that Americans spend over 400 billion dollars each Christmas. Are the majority of those dollars beneficial? Are they constructive? These are important questions.
God has been convicting the heart of my family for several years now and we’ve slowly changed the way we celebrate. We got rid of our Christmas tree because (besides its Pagan roots) we felt it was a huge distraction and idol in the midst of our traditions. We also stopped buying gifts, but instead started making/baking our holiday cheer. And we started giving to missions organizations instead, like Compassion International.
Because we don’t want an “us” centered Christmas. If Christmas were about me it’d be called Jessicamas. I don’t want my children’s most poignant Christmas memories to be of lights and presents and trees.
Those things are permissible, but are they beneficial?
From Keri: If that doesn’t make you go Hmmmmm, take a look at this video from Advent Conspiracy.
Jessica is a recovering teenage mother who has been married to the funniest guy in the world for 11 years. She aspires to write better, love deeper, and live for God in Asia. You can find her blogging at Bohemian Bowmans. You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.