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Thread: Christianity and Christmas

  1. #1

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    Default Christianity and Christmas

    So, I think that most people know the real origins of Christmas, if you don't this is basically it I think. I found it on a website, there's more to the story but here's a little overview:
    The idea to celebrate Christmas on December 25 originated in the 4th century. The Catholic Church wanted to eclipse the festivities of a rival pagan religion that threatened Christianity's existence. The Romans celebrated the birthday of their sun god, Mithras during this time of year. Although it was not popular, or even proper, to celebrate people's birthdays in those times, church leaders decided that in order to compete with the pagan celebration they would themselves order a festival in celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Although the actual season of Jesus' birth is thought to be in the spring, the date of December 25 was chosen as the official birthday celebration as Christ's Mass so that it would compete head on with the rival pagan celebration. Christmas was slow to catch on in America. The early colonists considered it a pagan ritual. The celebration of Christmas was even banned by law in Massachusetts in colonial days.


    And some people argue this:

    The most common justification that one will hear regarding Christmas is that people have replaced old pagan customs and intents by asserting that they are now “focusing on Christ.” I have heard many say that they are “honoring Christ” in their Christmas-keeping. The problem is that God does not say this is acceptable to Him! Actually, He plainly commands against it!
    Christ said, “But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:9). Christmas is not a command of God—it is a tradition of men. Christ continued, “Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:9). Every year, throughout the world, on December 25th, hundreds of millions do just that!
    So, knowing this, why do we still celebrate christmas? It seems to me that these days it doesn't have anything to do with Christ at all. It's mainly about Santa, and getting presents. And nowhere in the bible does it say to remember Jesus birthday, we are just told to commemorate his death. Now don't get me wrong, I will be observing Christmas (I'm not sure I could not even if I wanted to! lol). But I'm feeling a little guilty about it all because from what I've read it doesn't seem christian at all (JMO).

    So, how do you celebrate christmas? Does anyone not celebrate it? Does anyone have any special things they do to incorporate Jesus into Christmas? I imagine it would be hard with children, trying to teach them about Jesus when there's Santa aswell and he seems so much more exciting and he gives presents!! So how do you work that out?

    So, just to clarify, I'm not trying to tell everyone that they shouldn't celebrate christmas or anything, lol, and I hope I'm not offending anyone. I'm just interested in everyone's thoughts on if Christian's should celebrate christmas and how you think they should do it in a christian way?

    btw, if you google christian and christmas or something, there's heaps of stuff about it.

    Last edited by Heaven; November 19th, 2007 at 09:31 AM.

  2. #2

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    My family have been Pentecostal Christian since I was 8 years old and we have alwasy celebrated Christmas in ways that firstly give thanks to Jesus and secondly for presents! I guess my mum and dad did a pretty job of bringing us up to understand how lucky we were to be getting anything at all compared to other people around the world, and also that we were celebrating the day Jesus was born.

    Although in shopping centres and on TV it doesn't have much to do with Christ, I think in individual hearts and families it probably does, in lots of different ways.

    Although its not biblical (as a festival/celebration) I think the joy that can come with Christmas is something that I would like to instil in Isabelle. The joy of having a loving family, a roof over our heads, food on the table and that presents come at Christmas time but aren't the be all and end all of Christmas. I also think that Santa is harmless and a bit of fun provided that the true meaning is kept clear (if thats what you want) for kids. We also attend church on Christmas morning and we used to read Jesus birth story before eating our lunch - which I would like to reintroduce with Izzy now, especially as we have been a bit slack with it in the last few years.

    I love everything Christmas BTW can you tell!!! Heehee I love getting together with family, I love being reminded of how lucky I am and thanking God for my gorgeous wonder husband, daughter and family, I love finding the "perfect" gift, I love giving gifts and getting them (who doesn't!!) I love cooking scrummy food, I love looking at lights that people put up on their houses to bring joy and wonder to littlies and biggies!

    I'm also conscious though that this time of year is horribly tough for so many people and it definately makes me so thankful for what I have.

    ETA - not sure I answered your questions really -sorry!

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanstar View Post
    Although in shopping centres and on TV it doesn't have much to do with Christ, I think in individual hearts and families it probably does, in lots of different ways.
    I know! I was at the shops yesterday and I was going to buy some christmas cards. Thought I'd get some with something about Jesus or something but I could not find ANY remotely about that, they were all Santa and christmas trees. That's probably what got me thinking about this in the first place actually, lol.

    Thankyou for posting! It was good, I just want to know what everyone else does or what they think about it.

  4. #4

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    They are hard to find aren't they-especially ones that aren't really old-fashioned and daggy! I love more modern simple cards. You could try a Christan bookstore - Im sure they would have some - here in Melbourne we have Word and Koorong bookstores and sometimes chairties like Unicef sell religious ones and then the money goes to assist them too. HtH!

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    Thanks Tan. I got some cute ones from Koorong last year! So I will probably get some from there again. I just don't like all the santa ones, especially for adults!

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    Anyone else want to share?

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    I'm a bit confused...where in the bible does it say we can't remember the birth of Jesus? While it's Jesus' blood that saves us, his birth was the start of the plan, and is so special, that God could have so much humility to become a man, that God chose to experience life and come into the world in such a 'common' way. That he came into the world this way to fulfil so many prophecies.

    I wonder if that part quoted from Matthew 15:9 was a little out of context, with verse 8 (these are being quoted from Isaiah) they say (different translation too, this is NIV):
    8" 'These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
    9They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are but rules taught by men.'

    So I think there, it is talking about ritual without people knowing the meaning - which can easily be true of Christmas for many people, but for Christians this is a meaningful tradition. So I don't see how God is against it. He's not against tradition, because he also gave us communion, when him and the disciples ate bread and wine together and he said do this to remember me.

    And I really think that in Mark, Jesus is warning against placing more value on tradition than on obedience to God. Like if I didn't invite someone who needed love/help to my Christmas dinner because it's tradition that only family go, or if I argued with a relative who wanted to do a bbq when tradition was turkey. Being like Christ should always be the most important thing, tradition should never get in the way of obedience to God.

    And sure, I've heard we did nick a pagan holiday, but I'm not about to celebrate a pagan holiday which would hold no meaning for me, so I'm happy to celebrate Christ's incarnation on that day, because that's something that has meaning for me, and is good for me to remember.

    As for how Christians should celebrate...well, it's tradition to give gifts, and like I said before, there's nothing wrong with tradition, as long as you can remain obedient to Christ while participating! I think we could probably celebrate any way we wanted to...

    That's my take on it anyway.

  8. #8

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    We've always celebrated Christmas as a family. The church going part of it has always played the most important role, but the family gathering is just as important. As we get older and our lives get busier (and often living in different cities than other family members) it's great to have a day to all get together.

    I feel a bit sad when I hear that people don't celebrate Christmas for religious reasons, as in "the Bible doesn't say we should, so we're not going to." I think it's important to create family traditions and memories for everyone to shared in later years.

    I love the music too...playing, singing, listening...I could happily listen to Christmas music all year, but I do try to limit it a little so that it's a bit special by the time November/December rolls around!

    So no, I don't feel in the least bit guilty for celebrating! I think it's good to celebrate the birth of Christ and I don't think it matters that we have got the date wrong

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    oh I LOVE christmas carols too!!!! I'm trying to stop myself listening to them too early, lol.
    Thankyou for your opinions guys!

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    Ok, well thought I'd let you all know, I'm feeling better about it now! lol
    Seeing as it's Channukah at the moment, this got me thinking.
    Jesus celebrated Channukah which isn't a biblical festival, but one started by the people to commemorate an event.

    John 10:22-24
    Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade. The Jews gathered around him, saying, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."
    So anyway, I take this to mean that we can celebrate other events, as long as they are in the right spirit and don't interfere with anything else God asks us to do.
    Just thought I'd let you all know my conclusion, lol.

  11. #11

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    Hiya I thought I would my 2 cents in.

    We don't do Christmas as such - if anything we end up having a nice lunch and having over people who have nowhere else to go on Christmas Day. We don't do Christmas trees and definitly not santa. We have a nativity set that as the weeks leading up to Christmas we pull out onepiece at a time a talk about the story of Jesus birth. This is more of a family devotion but the children love (we do the same sort of thing at Easter/Passover time).

    As a family we do a Family Day and have done so for about 9 years now. We usually do it Feb and it's kinda like Thankgiving. We reflect back over the year and share God's blessing and pray for the coming year. We give thanks for each other and all God has done for us. We usually also have our non-Christian family member join us. They love it and it frees them up on Christmas day to spend with other relatives.

    I have to add this joke.... Did you hear about the dyslexic satanist who sold his soul to santa!!!

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    Halltribe, that sounds like a really nice tradition!!

    No, haven't heard about the dyslexic satanist who sold his soul to santa......what's the rest??

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    SJ... Santa is Satan spelled differently

    We don't do a big Christmas here. We try at some point to go to carols somewhere, and we put up a tree. This year we read a story to Matilda about Saint Nicolas and his historical story. She still doesn't entirely understand, seeing Santa's in the shops etc has influenced her as well as kindy. But she knows Christmas as Jesus' birthday. So, she asked if we would be having a star cake for Jesus' birthday... I can't see why not. We always have special dinners for our birthdays so we are going to have one for Jesus.

    Also we think its a great plan to have people over who don't have families around like us, just a time to relax & eat yummy food together.

  14. #14
    rolymogs Guest

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    .....
    Last edited by rolymogs; March 18th, 2008 at 06:35 PM.

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    lol, I think I'm dyslexic, I didn't read it properly, lmao. I thought it said dyslexic satanist who sold his soul to satan and thought there must be more, lol.

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    We always have special dinners for our birthdays so we are going to have one for Jesus.
    I really like this idea!

    Quote Originally Posted by rolymogs View Post
    Christmas Carols always bring me to tears. There is something so simple and holy about them that just move me completely.
    Oh I know, Carols are my favorite part of christmas!

  17. #17

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    Here's another for you...

    Did you hear about the dyslexic atheist who couldn't decide whether there was a Dog of not?!?

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