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Insight from a Children's Pastor & Awana Commander

I Have a Confession: Christmas

 

i-have-confessionI have a confession and it may come as a shock to many. I have trouble celebrating the “birthday” of Jesus, especially on December 25th. I simply cannot get excited about it. I know…, I’m a “bad Christian”.

I remember having the “holiday spirit” several years ago, when I was in high school but that had nothing to do with the birth of Jesus (yes, I was a believer then). I don’t recall having that same “holiday spirit” since.

Here is a list of reasons why, in no particular order, I have trouble celebrating Christmas as Jesus’ birthday:

  1. Jesus was not born on December 25th. The fact is we do not know what day Jesus was born, but with shepherds in the field with their flocks, it would not have been in December.
  2. Jesus never said remember my birth, but He did say remember my death and resurrection. His prophecy fulfilling birth would mean nothing if He did not complete His “mission” by dying on the cross.
  3. I don’t like being in a “box”, compartmentalizing the year and having to celebrate/ teach about Jesus’ birth in December alone.
  4. “Christians” who are emphatic about keeping Christ in Christmas and saying Merry Christmas, etc yet still focus on having a tree, Santa, singing Rudolph, Frosty and other “holiday” songs that have nothing to do with the birth of Christ.

I like the cultural Christmas, as so many others do. I enjoy driving through neighborhoods and seeing the houses lit up with various lights. I enjoy the decor in the stores and cities. I enjoy the train gardens set up by many firehouses, and other places. I like the general goodwill that is prevalent during December and the focus on love, joy, and peace. Many things that have nothing to do with Christ, yet enhance the holiday season. That is what helps put me in a “holiday spirit”, or ‘Christmas spirit” if you prefer.

I understand how people need to focus on particular events and that Christmas helps people focus on the fulfillment of many prophesies of a Messiah found in the Christmas story. I do encourage people to focus on Jesus’ birth and not the peripherals of the season. There are many powerful lessons in the story of Jesus’ birth. But I just cannot get excited about it.

If you are honest with yourself, then how big a role does Jesus’ birth play in your “Christmas spirit”?

If you are comfortable, feel free to post below and share. No judgement, just open dialogue.

 

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  1. In our Awana club, we never emphasize the secular part of Christmas but we do have an annual “Birthday for Jesus” theme night that is one of our most cherished events of the year. In addition to the Awana GO/Adopt-a-Club international missions programs, we use this theme night as our local missions program. We serve a three layer “wordless gospel” Jesus Birthday Cake (brown/red/green/white frosting). Our children bring “presents”, which are actually items from the wishlist of a local non-profit that are subsequently donated to them. We also give them party favors to take home such as the Fruits of the Spirit mini-books from Dollar Tree.

    That being said, this year we are actually going to address the secular side of Christmas via Phil Vischer’s latest DVD/book release, “Why Do We Call It Christmas?” Through those materials, we will address some of your primary concerns such as the fact that Jesus was not born on December 25th.

    On a personal note, I am certainly a proponent for Christ in Christmas and generally refrain from saying “Happy Holidays”. I am likely a product of my church, which does the same but also sings Christmas Carols on the steps of the church such as “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Silent Night, etc.). Nothing about Rudolph, Frosty, or Santa. However, we do not eschew Christmas Trees. As a matter of fact, our Christmas “Tree of Lights” is the centerpiece of an outreach program where the names of needy children our solicited, correlated with a number on a tag, and the tag is placed on the tree. Members of the congregation grab a tag and purchase the gift that is associated with it. Names of those nominated do not have to be members of the church and don’t even have to be saved. The best way to reach those who are not saved is to meet them where they are (forgive the jargon), even if it is at a Christmas tree. It provides yet another opportunity for evangelism, much like presenting the gospel at an Awana Grand Prix.

    1. I didn’t want to comment on my own post but I can’t seem to edit out the grammatical typos, so this posting is merely an apology for them. 🙂

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