50 Years Without Christmas
Two years ago was a special Christmas for me.
It was the 50th consecutive year that I’ve been without it. Yes, a golden anniversary of not having something!
I remember it well. When you are 11 years old, it’s no small thing if your parents make the life-changing decision that it is intellectually dishonest, scripturally untruthful and spiritually hypocritical to celebrate Christmas.
Researching the facts was the easy part—history has never hidden the pagan origins of Christmas and how its customs became integrated into the church by powerful people who called themselves Christians but whose practices bore little resemblance to those of the Christians of the Bible.
The “Christ vs. Christianity” column on pages 28-30 gives a great summary of what the Bible clearly does say, and does not say, about God’s view of such behavior. The bottom line is that the pro-Christmas argument can never revolve around the historical or biblical facts; its only defense is human rationalizing and justifying.
It wasn’t hard to see the truth
Even as a child, I didn’t find it hard to clearly see the truth of the matter. Maybe I was more primed to accept it, since the memories of having been lied to about Santa Claus were still fairly fresh in my young head.
At any rate, it really wasn’t all that hard for me to stop celebrating Christmas. That we weren’t going to keep Christmas anymore was much more difficult for others than it was for us! I saw my grandparents all the time throughout the year, but one would have thought their world was coming apart when we announced that we were quietly bowing out of the Christmas scene!
Despite some of those challenges, from year one
I never missed Christmas.
Those closest to us, though, adjusted after a while when they realized that we hadn’t turned into religious nuts. They found that we still loved Jesus, that we still loved them, and that, because we loved them, we would continue to give and receive gifts at other times of the year … just not at Christmas.
Others were less charitable
Other folks were sometimes less charitable. Through abandoning Christmas, I learned one of my early lessons about “freedom of religion”—it’s a nice notion, but in reality it usually comes with a price, such as having to deal with the hurts of other people ridiculing and badgering you.
It’s funny how the least tolerant were the most religious. Maybe they felt our decision tacitly challenged them to defend their own beliefs. Some people, when they cannot defend the biblically indefensible, resort to personal attacks. But through it all you learn other lessons you will need later in life, such as standing by the courage of your convictions.
Never missed it
Despite some of those challenges, from year one I never missed Christmas. Maybe it was the way my parents engaged me in the discovery process. I don’t remember the exact conversations we had about it, but I do remember coming to comprehend the core issue that I mentioned earlier: Mixing Christianity and Christmas just isn’t being honest with the truth.
And isn’t honesty, sincerity and truth supposed to be a cornerstone of our relationship with God? Isn’t that one of the most important gifts we can give to our children?