Matthew 7:15 (NIV) “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Matthew 24:11: (NIV) “…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

2 Timothy 2:23 - 25 (NIV) - 23Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Christmas - Real or False? Which do you prefer?

As we come to Christmas, I have to admit it is my favorite time of year.  But like our faith and religious preferences, do we love this time of year because of what Christmas really means, or merely because of what we believe about Christmas?  Are our myths and legends and traditions more important to us then what really happened?  Or an even deeper question here: Can we do both? Can we appreciate, enjoy, and even love the parts we KNOW are not true, while also having a deep conviction and faith over the parts that we believe really, truly did happen?  Can we pick and choose? Must we pick and choose since we KNOW parts are not accurate? Let's not throw the whole story and message out over a few details.  Enjoy the season!  

Look at the picture at the left.  I love the beautiful decorated tree. And the stockings hung by the fire. The lighted garland and the gifts under the tree.  I love the Santa Claus myth.  In the song "Here Comes Santa Claus" we sing:   
"He doesn't care if you're a rich or poor boy, He loves you just the same."

Other songs talk of him seeing us when we're sleeping. Knowing when we are awake. Telling us to be good. And despite his origins in the real life Saint Nicholas, we know that he doesn't exist as he was presented to us as children. We added to his legend. Made him magic, and he was a man giving us what we want (usually toys!). We made him omniscient and omnipresent to see us at all times.  We made sure that he "loves us all the same."  We wanted our little ones to believe in him as long as possible. To keep their innocence.  We even got mad at parents or other kids who taught their kids that Santa wasn't real. It was beautiful and fun while it lasted. But our kids grew up. They begin to ask questions.  They begin to "know" that he couldn't visit every house. That those toys came from mom and dad and were not magically delivered or made by elves. We stopped telling Santa what we wanted and stopped thanking him for our gifts.  But we still played along for awhile after that didn't we.  We wanted the toys to keep coming. We didn't want to upset or disappoint mom and dad. And then we didn't want to spoil it for the younger kids that were still believers. And if a blogger told the truth about Santa, we would try and keep our kids from reading that blog and condemn that blogger to hell. We might even call the Sheriff on him and ban him from church. (Sorry, I couldn't resist that one.)

I can still love many of the Christmas songs that don't sing of Jesus even though I know they are singing about stuff that never happened. (I love Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph!) 

But I am not here to talk about the "worldy" celebration of Christmas. I want to talk about the "real" Christmas. The one you see presented in your very own church every year. What we religious people like to call "the reason for the season." 

Again, it's a beautiful story. But again, much additional nonsense that never actually happened has been told to us.  You do know that all historians and theologians agree that Jesus was not born on December 25th, correct? And that the three wise men or three kings, or whoever they were, did NOT show up at the manger?  I could go on and on here, but you can quickly research all that is inaccurate about our church Christmas presentations. But your church still likes to depict this correct?  Even though they KNOW it's false, they still include it right?  They even have the kids come and meet Santa in the lobby now don't they. This never happened when I was a kid, or even 20 years ago.  But, thankfully, the truth is not in the details, since none of us know those details for sure. The truth is in the bigger picture. That a savior was born.  So enjoy your Christmas, even if you don't believe all the details. And enjoy having Santa at your church, even if it confuses the kids later. I'm not going to get all tore up over that.  Churches do this type of stuff all the time. It's fun. It's entertaining and it ministers to families.  

The point is that whatever actually happened, we are all thrilled that in the fullness of time, God sent forth his son.  That is indeed Good News for all the people. And that in the city of David, Bethlehem, a savior was born, who was and is, Christ the Lord.  We know the rest of the story.  Can you believe it?  Do you believe it?  I encourage you to enjoy the story. Enjoy the holiday.  Don't let red cups at Starbucks, or holiday trees, or people saying "happy holidays" get you all tore up.      
I hope you can find hope and peace in the story.  There is so much more to the story and how it ends up. Peace. At Christmas. Merry Christmas! 

1 comment:

Kathi said...

Grace and peace to you this Christmas!