Random thoughts about Christmas

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hether or not a person recognizes the Christ-centered nature of Christmas, the virtuous ideals displayed during the season–generosity, love, peace, family, compassion, serving others–are a microcosm of the kingdom of God.

We’ve probably spent upward of $1,200 on live Christmas trees in the past 30 Christmases. There’s something to be said for fakery.

manger nativity ceramic

A simple nativity display by Sonya Duren.

One of the best Christmas songs I ever heard was written and performed by Larry Holder in the late 1970s at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Jonesboro, GA.

Crass commercialization should never have become part of Christmas. It is the antithesis of why we celebrate.

Regardless of pagan influences on items that sometimes accompany our Christmas celebrations, it has been a celebration of the birth/incarnation of Jesus Christ for centuries. There is a reason the pagan roots have faded with history.

Perhaps the most meaningful Christmas I’ve ever experienced was when our oldest was about six. It had been an especially tough year and Christmas giving was a stretch. We let her know in advance gifts would be slim, so to be selective in her asking. Christmas morning saw few gifts none having cost much money. After opening each individual gift she kissed both Sonya and I and said, “Thank you so much!” She acted no different than any Christmas before or since. I get misty typing it even today.

Charlie Brown was right.

I do not want Jesus lost in the shadows of so many lights.

Those shepherds never had another night like that night.

I’d like to think there are special condos in heaven prepared for those infants Herod murdered while attempting to kill Jesus. And for their parents.

Unbridled spending on gifts has had a nice long run. It is time to return to simpler giving. We need not feed greed in the name of a King who owned almost nothing. Perhaps the wise men with their gifts, laden with symbolism, were onto something.

And speaking of: I wonder how long the wise men looked over their shoulders after leaving Israel?

Surely He taught us to love one another. His law is love, and His gospel is peace.

Marty Duren

Just a guy writing some things.

  • Steven Parrish

    “Regardless of pagan influences on items that sometimes accompany our Christmas celebrations, it has been a celebration of the birth/incarnation of Jesus Christ for centuries.”
    The pagan influences do not bother you?

    • martyduren

      Hi Steven,
      Thanks for stopping by.

      Which influences? Trees? Holly? The date? Yule logs? (I don’t consider Santa a pagan influence with the ties to Saint Nicholas.) Can you summarize your concerns?

      In my opinion commercialism at this time is a greater issue than pagan roots (the majority of which no one even knows).

      • Steven Parrish

        Okay. Thanks for the opportunity.

        You did mention a few of the pagan influences. So, to make it easier and to summarize, the influences would include everything about this holiday event except the fact that Jesus was born and the events described in the scriptures that led up to and after his birth. To add greater emphasis to my point by way of a clearing fact that goes ignored is none of these pagan influences are mentioned, eluded to or referenced within the four Gospels. This should beg the question for seekers of truth, where, when and how did these customs become a part of a Christian’s worship? How could they be allowed to be included and accepted in a Christians way of life? Further, if the origin of these customs are not in harmony with the Bible, under what or who’s authority are professed Christians following since Jehovah has condemn such practices in both the Hebrew and Greek scriptures.

        Consider this: Jesus died 33 C.E. The last book of the Bible cannons was completed in 96 C.E. The book of a Revelation was written 26 years after the destruction of Jerusalem. All total, the Bible covers 63 years from the time of Jesus death and the completion of Revelation. One book in particular, Acts of the Apostles, covers 28 years of Jesus Apostles and disciples. It was penned by Luke.
        Why is there no mention of any of the first century Christians celebrating Christ birth? Not one mention!!! You would think within 63 years, there would be something. But there is not!!!

        I agree with you that commercialism has played a huge role in perpetuating these customs as well the whole notion of Jesus worship. Jesus never required any worship of himself. He instructed his disciples to pray and be obedient to Jehovah. Any Jesus prayed and was in subjection to his father, Jehovah.

        • martyduren

          Stephen-
          I’m appreciate of a fuller expressing of your theology. Here a are a few other things Jesus never commanded: organizing scripture in book form, meeting in air conditioned rooms, driving motorized vehicles to meetings, churches owning property and thousands of other things.

          The early church had less need to celebrate the birth of Christ since plenty of eyewitnesses were alive to have seen Christ in bodily form. Succeeding centuries saw any number of Christian celebrations as the distance of time intervened. If trees and wrapping paper bother you that much, I’m sure your friends and family will accept gifts in a Target bag.

          As for Jesus never “requiring” worship of Himself, it isn’t really the issue. The issue is did the accept worship of Himself? Another issue is whether Jesus claimed to be Jehovah (i.e., the Father). The answer is both cases is “yes.” Angels and apostles in scripture forbad worship of themselves, but Jesus accepted it in all cases. Only misinterpretations or mistranslations of Scripture bring any other conclusion. It is mystifying to me that you appeal to the tradition of the early church re: celebrations of Jesus Christ’s birth, yet ignore the obvious worship of Him that took place both in His earthly lifetime and after His ascension.

          Jesus is asserted to be one with God in multiple places, claimed to be one with God Himself (which is why the high priest wanted Jesus killed), and was revealed as one with the Father in the epistles.

          (As this is not a post on the Trinity nor on Jehovah’s Witness theological beliefs, this comment will be the last on this thread.)