Christmas Every Day: Traditions Die, Everything Changes but Jesus is Our Constancy

DSC08695A story called Christmas Every Day, by William Dean Howells, is about a selfish little girl who had an insatiable appetite for gifts, candy and all the hoopla that Christmas provides. She never wanted it to end. A fairy granted her wish to have Christmas every day, where she would awaken to blazing tree lights, gifts, and sweets to eat every morning for an entire year. After many, many Christmases she grew weary of it all. Presents were flung about and the very thought of holiday food brought indigestion. While this is a cute moral tale about greed and selfishness, it really misses the point. Howells’ story is all wrong.

That little girl needs an insatiable appetite for Christ, not Christmas. Isn’t He the reason for the season after all? Forgive me for that despicable cliche, which I hate.

Jesus Christ is a believer’s reason for living, for life itself.

We argue and debate about Christmas every year. To celebrate or not to celebrate. Pagan or Christian. Simple or extravagant. Let me throw one more debate at you. The problem is not that we celebrate Christmas, the problem is that we celebrate Christ only one day, one season. That’s ridiculous.

Is one season a year for Jesus Christ really stupid?

I think so.

It all started with my disappointment over waning traditions. My daughter and her family would not be coming on Christmas Day. We would have them for a few hours, 11am to 3pm exactly, on Christmas Eve instead. I was miserable. The tradition of recent years was Christmas day festivities with my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. We’d graze on appetizers, open gifts, then have a wonderful feast. What would I do this year? Christmas Eve brunch?

My world was shaken. This year was so different. Maybe for you, too. There may have been adult children who could not visit. Or adult children who did not even want to visit. Or call. Or speak to or see you ever at all. I started out with a joyful anticipation and with this sudden change of plans I lamented:

‘Why bother? I won’t make another cookie! Humbug.’

Traditions die. So many have over the years. I’ve tried to hold on to some of my mother’s traditions. She did so much more than me at Christmastime that, thinking back, I marvel at her energy for cooking and baking. I love when my daughter and daughters-in-law continue using the same recipes I’ve passed down to them.

For the true believer, this season (Christmas) will never end!

My heart jumped when I saw that posted by a Facebook friend. It validated my very thoughts I’d pondered and scribbled down for this blog post. Yes, yes, we have Christmas every day! We don’t need a fairy to grant our wishes, we have Christ, the Hope of glory, every moment. We have a Savior who gave us life. There should be no such thing as after-Christmas blues. Post holiday depression. No, never. That might be so for William Dean Howells’ selfish, shallow little girl. Her idols were temporal. Her god was her belly. The little girl’s Christmas was presents, cakes, sugar, parties, excess!

DSC08624The world creates a season where Jesus is barely visible; where glitz, gimmes and inflated Santas rule and rock in the disappointingly snow-less wind. I want to bust all the inflatables and pop all the hot air of false doctrine. I want to replace glaring bulbs with True Light.

Some Christians make Christmas a ‘Happy Birthday, Jesus’ celebration, complete with the birthday cake and candles. Ugh. Let’s worship King Jesus and stop putting him back in the manger.  Indeed Isaiah 9:6 says:

‘For unto us a child is born…’ but I’d rather focus on:

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

The little girl in Howells’ story felt a void after Christmas. Though filled with worldly junk and sweets, she was left wanting. What that little girl really wanted, what she really needed, is the joy of the Lord every day. She needs to bask in the joy of her salvation. If she was saved, of course.

That little girl is me. I need Him every day, every hour, every minute. I want Christ every day. And I have Him.

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Redeeming Christmas: Yes, Virginia, We Are Free to Celebrate the Incarnation. And Please Stop Whining About Paganism.

img_5182To celebrate or not to celebrate — Christmas. That is the question. I am tired of hearing that it is pagan.

Wait. Before we start, let’s throw ChristMASS out. But not the whole thing!

I’d rather refer to it as the Celebration of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. The Roman Catholic church made a mess…er, mass of it. Protestants do it different. But some Reformed Protestant denominations have held to the Puritan view. They claim the Regulative Principle would not have us add anything to our worship that God did not institute. Thus, since God never told us to make the incarnation a holy day, we simply should not. It is not a part of our corporate worship.

When Divorce Stole Christmas

At one time, I was the ultimate Grinch.  When I was going through my divorce, I didn’t feel like being festive. Our family was split up. There was no Christmas Eve feast with in-laws and no one came over on Christmas Day. It was one of the most miserable times of my life. Joy was at an all-time low. As a new member in the OPC, I researched the origins of Christmas. I know all about Saturnalia and all the other claims ad nauseum. I bought the whole Christmas is pagan thing. Yes, Christmas is pagan when it is celebrated by pagans. But I did hold to that view, albeit briefly. It was convenient to throw away Christmas at that time, so I did. But my heart ached.

From 2004 to 2009, I did not put up a tree.

In 2010, my granddaughter was born with neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer. She had two surgeries and three treatments of chemo before her first birthday. After our Lord brought her (and us) through that, I decided it was time to rejoice at Christmas. Thankful to my God and Savior, I picked out my first tree in five years.

Yet I still had guilt when I read my beloved Spurgeon’s Christmas quotes. I was shocked to find that he abhorred the holiday.

Gradually, I embraced my Christian liberty to celebrate the Incarnation in a way that is God-glorifying. I would not want anyone to think I was in some cult, like Jehovah’s Witness or something. As Christians, we should be true light, knowing that Satan is an imitator and false light-bearer. I’m thrilled to see many ministries refuting the Christmas is pagan myth this year.

If ‘Christ is the reason for the season‘ make it so!

If our government takes away the crèche, the cross and the ten commandments, who cares? Let them all go. Personally, I think nativity scenes are graven images. And I prefer to dwell on Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords and not the helpless babe in the manger.

What do you fear, Christian? If you are in Christ, He should be the reason you LIVE. Not for one day. Not for one season, but every day. Are not His Words written on your heart? Could Jesus ever be taken from you? The Beast can’t take the Holy Spirit from me. Forget the tangibles. Forget the temporal.

The following is the absolute BEST sermon I have ever heard on the subject of Christmas. Please listen while you finish wrapping those presents or while you bake those cookies. And I do hope, dear Christian, that there are presents and cookies, and mostly the JOY OF THE LORD this time of year.

https://www.sermonaudio.com/saplayer/player_embed.asp?SID=1226111531554

From Grace Gems, Don Fortner writes:

We must not, and I trust do not, worship Christmas trees and lights, or even attach spiritual significance to Christmas day. However, I do suggest that we seize this opportunity afforded us by Divine providence to tell people who Christ is, why he came into this world, what he did, and how they may obtain his salvation. It is no accident that once every year every human being in the world is confronted with the fact that the Son of God assumed human flesh and came into the world to save men.

Jesus Christ stooped down toward us. He took on human flesh to redeem us. We should rejoice over this as the shepherds and angels did in that day!

Virginia, stop believing lies. Sorry, but Santa needs to go. The truth will set you free.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! He Jesus lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he Jesus will continue to make glad the heart of childhood  hearts of His redeemed saints. -my revised version of that famous NY Sun letter

He came and dwelt among us. And that is something to celebrate. With feasting!

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Joyous Incarnation Celebration to All!