And we don't believe Christmas trees, stockings, and santa clause is idol worship.
I guess what I'm really getting at, is that for the first time in my life, I've learned that there are "Christians" who don't believe in celebrating Christmas. Their reasoning is because its considered idol worship. I think its crazy. I've read a lot about the origin of Christmas, pagan traditions, symbolism, and a lot of other stuff that wouldn't be considered "Christian."
I've talked to Paul, a couple co-workers and some friends this month about this, which I won't get into because it will take way too long. But I found a blog from a pastor about Christmas, Christ, Santa, the bible, Christmas trees, Magi's arrival to Bethlehem, mistletoe, etc. I agree with almost all of what he says, and because he says it better than me, I'll just share his thoughts with you.
My favorite part was this argument:
"The argument is that since we are not clearly authorized by the Bible to celebrate the birth of Christ during such a season, we should have no celebrations or even special services to commemorate the birth of Christ. On the other hand, Scripture does tell us to remember His death in the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, and we celebrate His resurrection by assembling on the first day of the week, but there is no precedent for celebrating His birth."
And his response to it:
"This is what we could legitimately call hyperliteralism in the use of Scripture. Such an approach completely misses the spirit and intent of the Bible. Hyperliteralism (or letterism) is an intense devotion to the details of the Bible in such a way that one misses the spirit and essential thrust of a passage. Mountains are made out of mole hills and the truth is missed. One is busy counting the number of letters in a sentence rather than listening to its instruction.
If we applied this argument consistently, we would need to discontinue the use of overheads, musical instruments, hymnals, chorus books, the church building, pews, Sunday school, Christian schools, and many other things. Further, there could be no special services or seasons to commemorate things God has done as with Thanksgiving or a dedication service for a new building. Why? Because the only illustrations of such things are found in the Old Testament and not the New Testament. If the New Testament had clearly spoken on this matter, this argument would be correct because the New Testament does take priority over the Old Testament. However, since it has not, the argument from silence is not sufficient reason."
I've met a Christian or two who suffer from hyperliteralism. People like this don't talk, they tell. They try so hard to not be a bad Christian that they miss the mark of what it means to be a true Christian... that is "Christ in and through us." As Christians we are called to be the voice of compassion, a friend in the midst of a crisis, AS WELL AS the voice of reason, never just the latter. These hyperliteralists tend to take such a 'heady' or cerebral approach to understanding God and/or theology that they miss the main point, which is living a life in Christ, not just telling people about it.
In conclusion, regarding Christmas traditions, I think this pastor says it best: "As with all of these doubtful things, each family needs to make up their own minds. In my opinion parents can explain the traditions and have fun with them, but make sure your children understand the historical roots and use these things to teach the truth behind the traditions."
We had a wonderful Christmas with our little family, as well as extended family and friends. And we look forward to many more to come as Garrett gets older and our family grows. (Details and pictures from Christmas coming soon.) We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas too!
If you're interested in all of the pastors thoughts, you can find it HERE.