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Holy Day or Holiday?: Getting Serious about the Season

This is Santa Believes by Susan Comish. This post doesn’t seek to explain, exhort or condemn the artist’s work.

Image result for Santa holding a snow globe of nativity scene

I was out Christmas shopping with my roommate when I came across this picture of Santa Claus holding a snow globe with a nativity scene inside it.

A big Santa holding a small nativity scene in a bubble is a powerful statement to me.

The push pull of the holiday season, the competing celebrations of Santa Claus versus the birth of Christ have left many confused. I see friends struggling with the decision of whether or not to teach their kids about Santa. I see them buy all the advent products and try to squeeze the story of Jesus’ birth into their holiday routines. I see people who argue Jesus wasn’t born in December, and Christmas is based on a pagan holiday. It’s hard to miss how many people walk in the tension between Christmas as a holiday and Christmas as a holy day.

A holiday is a day of celebration. It’s a day free from work. It’s a day to spend time doing things we love with people we love. And there’s nothing wrong with that. A holy day is a day in which we do what the Lord has prescribed for us to do in observance of that day. It’s about remembrance, observation, and thankfulness. It is focused on the only one who is holy–that is, the Lord. So is Christmas a day of fun enjoyment with friends and family, to observe the traditions we’ve established with the people we want to observe them with, or is it a time God has set aside for us to remember a certain event and to carry out specific actions the Lord has called us to on this day?

Whether it’s a debate over Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays, red cups at Starbucks, or whether to go to church Sunday morning or stay home to open presents, the holiday season full of pointless debates for the Christian to get into. But are we missing God in our debates?

Have we commodified Christ? Have we reduced His birth to a set of rituals to perform in the midst of a season that celebrates ideals He abhors?

Does it really matter if our Starbucks cups are red and baristas say “Merry Christmas” if we go into debt buying gifts we lie and tell our kids are from a magical man in a red suit? If we sprinkle daily advent reading into the mix of covetousness, short tempers, and selfishness, have we met our Christian quota for the season? As the picture I saw suggested, have we made Santa bigger than the birth of Jesus?

Why are people so quick to go to war over keeping Christ in Christmas when many of them set this same Christ aside unless it’s a “Jesus Holiday”? Why won’t they act as if He’s important and belief in Him is worthy of defense at any other time?

I hear you, fellow Christian woman. I see you drowning in advent calendars and devotions, with your nativity scene beside your Christmas tree full of presents, trying to figure out the logistics of sharing this special time with friends and family. The birth of Christ is important. If He didn’t come, He couldn’t die. His birth is remarkable. But are you making it a footnote to your festive season?

Listen, I’m not a Scrooge or a Grinch. There’s nothing wrong with observing the birth of Christ, giving gifts, or taking time to let people know you love and care about them. What’s awful is letting the world tell us when to read about Jesus’ birth and meditate on it. It’s deplorable when it goes from a life to lead to a ritual to complete in December.  It’s unconscionable when reading about Jesus’ birth during advent season is just another thing to check off our good Christian list, or “Instagram for Christ.” It’s a case of drawing near with lips instead of hearts and doing things to be seen of men instead of from a true reverence for God.

Ask yourself: Am I truly worshipping Jesus and thanking God for Him in this season, or am I making an obligatory trip to ooh and ahh over a new baby? Do I send cards and gifts proclaiming Jesus is the reason for the season, even as I forget Him in the hustle and bustle? Do I forget about Christ until His birthday rolls around again?

Let’s be serious. After the birth of Christ, we don’t see Christ as an infant anymore in scripture. We see Him again at twelve, then thirty. The weight, the awe, the importance, isn’t in the baby, but in the man Jesus–His teaching, living, dying and resurrecting for our salvation.

We observe Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection every day. This is what makes up the gospel (I Corinthians 15:1-4). Every time we take communion, we show  (announce) the Lord’s death until He comes (I Cor. 11:26). There are many scriptures pertaining to observing and announcing the Lord’s death, burial and resurrection. This part of the story is what makes it possible for us to have salvation: the shedding of His blood; His victory over death; His ascension to the right hand of God. Christians should live in light of this sacrifice every day, even the day the world lumps His birth in with other holidays.

 

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Starting Out the Way I Plan to Go…

A quick post today. I’m sharing my January goals. These aren’t deep or meaningful. The point is to get started. I’m diving into the muck and the mess and getting started. So here are my life goals for this month:

  • Change my clothes when I come home from work each evening. It’s a mental thing that helps me switch gears.
  • Cook more at home. It will save money, it’s healthier, and cooking is stress relief and a chance to decompress from my day.
  • Exercise 2x a week. This has been a major fail this week, but I’m hoping to get better.
  • Set a bedtime. I always wake up at the same time, but I don’t have a regular bedtime. I want to change this for a more consistent sleep pattern and hopefully more energy throughout the day.
  • Pay all bills on time this month. No more late fees!
  • Start keeping a journal again.

More entrepreneurial goals:

  • Set up Square site to sell books.
  • Email three people about speaking
  • Email three people about sponsorship/advertising
  • Buy Adobe
  • Create book cover/marketing materials
  • Pay for 1 vendor opportunity
  • Finish The Season for Getting Serious? More on this question mark in a future post.

Personal spiritual goals:

  • Encourage friend who is struggling spiritually. (I have a specific person in mind)
  • Spend time talking to two older members of my congregation.
  • Read bible daily.
  • Pray daily.
  • Study and pray about seeking.

This seems like a lot, and a lot of these things are to occur daily, but I think this is a list that will help me jump start a year in which I grow closer to Christ and look more like Him.

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Monday Meditation: Ask & Ye Shall Receive

This weekend’s highlight was an interview double feature I did with the very lovely and personable Sis. Tartt from my church (note: she is my sister in Christ, and yes, she gave me permission to use her name). I have been trying to score this interview for nearly a year, and by trying to score I mean thinking I should really interview Sister Tartt for my blog.

I don’t know about any of you, but sometimes I sike myself out. I dissuade myself from trying things, or I put things on the backburner because I don’t know how they’ll pan out. That’s what I was doing with this interview. I had been put off or outright rejected so many times when I asked people to do these interviews that I didn’t want to ask anyone else. Sister Tartt had told me that she was interested in my project and wanted me to email her the particulars, but I kept putting it off. Sister Tartt is busy; she has other things to do. Besides, I haven’t even (insert any of a million different things here).

The thing is, she was delighted to do the interview. She responded to my email promptly with three possible interview times, inviting me to her home to conduct the interview. Once there, she answered all of my questions without constraint and we had a good time while the recorder rolled.

I had lost a bit of faith in this project. I knew I felt it was something important for me to do, but maybe it just wasn’t meant to be, or not right now. There had been so many stops and starts, so many missed opportunities, so many rejections, not to mention so many changes in direction with this project, that I began to lose my certainty that I would ever get it going in the right direction again. Maybe it was time to do something else. I had forgotten the advice I gave you all so long ago in Screwtape Explains it All: disappoint occurs at the threshold of every human endeavour…once you get through the initial dryness successful, it is much harder to tempt you away from achieving your goals.

Just because something isn’t going the way you planned doesn’t mean it isn’t meant to happen. Don’t stop asking. You can’t receive if you don’t ask; if you don’t know, no one’s going to open the door. If you are going to go for it, go big. Why not?

So, in the spirit of asking, two things: if anyone wants to be involved in my marriage kit interviews or wants to share some of their thoughts on marriage, please get in touch with me and let me know. My email: 2blu2btru4u@gmail.com , my twitter: @2blu2btru, or leave a comment here. Second, in addition to my regular interviews, I am going to start (as soon as I finish posting this), working on getting two special interviews for the project: one with an African-American male who is a professional matchmaker, Paul Brunson, and one with the relationship coach(es) I wrote about in my open relationship posts (parts I, II, & III), Kenya K. Stevens (possibly her husband). These are definitely unique perspectives to bring to the table, and I want them! So, keep your fingers crossed for me, and tweet them how awesome I am and how they should absolutely grant me a phone or email interview. @PaulCBronson and Kenya’s twitter is @JujuMama.

Tell me what you are going to stop putting off and just ask for. Let’s put our intentions out there!

XOXO

2blu2btru