Over the last few years we had struggled with the legalism of abstaining from Christmas while so many people we knew at the time were being insistent that celebrating Christmas was pagan and false worship. We never worshiped our Christmas tree nor did we push Santa as a reality on our children. Then there was Toys for Tots. There was no way we could fully abstain from Christmas and run the local Toys for Tots campaign. I'll never forget the video that inspired me to get involved with the holiday charity hosted by the Marines.
It wasn't the presents that gave my kids hope, it was the Spirit of Giving that gives my kids hope..hope that there are hearts who still give. The kind of 'give' that comes from deep within the heart, Christ. The One who gives us so much more than pretty wrapped presents.
There's a splendor and awe that kids have when they get to decorate the tree and my children have always had their hearts set on trimming the tree. It was never about paganism to them. It was about time spent with family. We have a tradition about decorating the tree together. I make hot cocoa with marshmallows and we put on the fun Christmas music.
Then we watch a Christmas movie together under warm blankets, snuggled together on the couch. It's that time interacting with family and participating in traditions together that builds memories, writing them on the pages of their hearts.
When we raise our children with the emphasis on Christ and family, then traditions set forth by that family are founded on love and wrapped up in fellowship. Many families have adopted traditions created by other families of yesteryear and some families create their own traditions. Grace is knowing we can celebrate family traditions founded on love while not worrying about how others of the past may have had the opposite focus. Forgiveness lavished with grace erases the memories of what previous people did on the same days and gives us mercy as we seek to walk forward in Christ with our families.
Legalism almost killed our Christmas. It also hinders the Spirit that embraces us as we decorate together, bake together, and commune with one another over hot cocoa topped with marshmallows. I know what the origins of December 25th are. I also know what the origins of the days of the month are too (and I still use a calendar). I don't worship pagan gods, attend a pagan basilica, or eat raw meat from strangled animals. There's no need to attempt to sway people into thinking they are doing something as horrid as that. Yet, even if they were, they would be considered the modern day heathens who Christ died to save. Because of the knowledge of Christ, we can celebrate our traditions with our families and not worry about the condemnation that legalism spreads.
There is no condemnation to those in Christ or in Christmas.
Don't forget to pick up a gift for a gift giving agency in your area. Make a child's Christmas something to remember. :)
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