Spiritual Language offers Optimism
In recent years, I’ve been hearing more and more frequently the expression, “the spirit of Christmas”. It seemed odd the first time I heard in in the secular world. But I thought at first, perhaps this marks a move toward embracing the spiritual aspect of Christmas. That was naive of me as I now believe that, although the expression is referring to the fun, celebration and gift-giving of Christmas, there is no recognition of anything of Jesus nor anything of the spiritual realm as Believers would see it. We Believers can digest it; we can share in the use of the phraseology, but take note: if we do, what is it actually that we are sharing? Not, I think, anything of the Holy Spirit or of Godly spirituality, but rather, it is something of the spirit of the Age.
Destabilising Traditional Thinking (i.e. rocking the boat)
This will touch the heart of many a Believer, who sincerely looks forward to Christmas as a means to share the birth of the Saviour of the world and to evangelise friends and family. But I think it’s time we wake up to the fact that although “Christ” is in the word, there is not the spirit of the Saviour of the world in the festival.
Perhaps I am a grinch, or a scrooge – although I’m not particularly known to be lacking in generosity. Certainly in years past, I accused my husband of being such, because for as long as I’ve known him he has never had anything to do with Christmas.
“It’s a pagan festival, Sarah. Don’t you know?” Some such words were what came out of him the first Christmas I knew him. He tried to explain: he hated the tree with its pagan roots and the fake dating. Much more, he decried the fact that if God wanted us to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, he would have given us a date.
Well, I’ve come round to Alan’s way of thinking, not least of which because I’ve been exploring our Hebraic Roots. But it isn’t just that. It’s more that I have “seen the light!” which makes me recognise the ruse that is Christmas and the fleshly nature of it.
I think we who know Jesus and who celebrate Christmas may do so for the best intentions of the world, but it is simply that: of the world.
Oh, I held onto Christmas for a while, clinging to the validity of the Nativity scene. And I suppose I still enjoy it. But in the case of our decorations, even that piece of Seasonal Artillery I’ve passed on to a charity shop.
December time was marked for the Pagan Festival of the Winter Solstice until Three Hundred and Something AD. And then, as Constantine made Christianity a true religion and wanted every one to convert, all things of the Church began to change and new traditions were born. Jewish connections were abandoned, and the Roman Catholic tradition marked the birth of Jesus, generally mark 25th December. The Protestants would maintain the tradition. The Orthodox also marked the birthday but then, as now, looked to early January for their festival.
In Victorian England Christmas saw an explosion with cards and gift-giving becoming a trend.
Now Christmas is a world-wide event, recognised across vast territories of non-Christian cultures.
Jesus may be the “reason for the Season” but that isn’t really common knowledge except amongst Christians.
The truth as I see it is, Christmas has become a tradition (as has Easter), whose root is heathen, dressed in Christian garb for centuries, but now returning to its original root. And for Believers, I think we need – as I mentioned in the last newsletter – to step away from tradition, even when it’s church tradition, if it is only tradition but not really truth.
Birth of Jesus
Jesus was most likely born during the Feast of Tabernacles, in the autumn – our late September or early October. What’s in a date? Well, the creator made it abundantly clear Jesus died at His festival of Passover. So, why would He not share Jesus’ birth so we could celebrate it, unless He didn’t really consider it important for us to mark it.
Letting go of Christmas has been easy for me this year. In previous years I found the Season hard because Alan didn’t like it. It was a lonely time for me, unable to enter into the celebration fully as others do. (Not that Alan denied me, but rather, since he wasn’t interested, it created a void for me.) But this year I am just not interested… because I’ve realised it is something of the flesh and I’m no longer interested.
It helps that my son gets it too
How do I cope with the Season with a youngish boy? I’ve always given him presents though never, anything marked from Santa. This year we’ve just finished celebrating Hanukah. Again, son has received presents… and has enjoyed that. We’re finished now, before the hullabaloo of the mercantile-centred 25th of December.
As for our Christmas day? We’ve been invited to family and will enjoy being with them and we will engage, even with gift-giving, because that’s what is in our culture. “When in Rome…” I will not shun the day, nor will I preach against it and spoil the day for those who have so graciously invited us. BUT I do not spear-head a Christmas Day celebration anymore. And that’s because I realise what’s behind it.
Spirit of Christmas
I began earlier by saying I realise there is a spirit of Christmas and it is not the Holy Spirit. For me, realising this is enough to ignore the Christmas celebration. Over the years, when my dear hubby gave me information, I wasn’t convinced. But more recently, became convicted by the lingo, “the spirit of Christmas.” For me, this “innocent” phrase was the proverbial straw…
I am a truth-searcher. I reckon most of this readership is also. In large part, that’s why I’m sharing.
I am not indicating we all shun Christmas because it isn’t for me to say. But, as always, if we are resistant to a “new thing” we need to ask ourselves Why? Are we surrendered to our Father God? What are we hanging onto? Can we let go and more importantly, are we meant to let go? Remember, “We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
Here’s a little ditty which I wrote. To my way of thinking, it identifies what is behind the spirit of Christmas.
The Spirit of Christmas
flaring for a parking space
or a bit of bargain
desperate to impress
the boss or mistress
such is the spirit of Christmas
It is up to each individual to decide what to do next.