Saturday, 10 December 2011
I really have felt the need to finish this mini-series and I try to write as the spirit moves, so to speak. We've already covered when Yahshua was born. We've covered where the December 25th date came from and what those celebrations truly are. Now I'd like to talk about our current celebrations and how we can bring those pagan rituals back to Christ -- I'll go ahead and refer to Him that way because it's what you're more familiar with. That's a post for another day.
To me, celebrating the birth during Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, is hugely significant. "And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us." It's a time when Jews erect tents, called sukkahs, and live in them as a way to be closer to God, without being surrounded by anything but nature, no distractions. The Sukkah is a holy place, where they dwell with God for seven days. It commemorates their wandering in the desert and the first harvest. That's why it's also referred to as the Feast of Ingathering -- now tell me that's not significant. It's amazing that the celebration was put into place centuries before Christ. That's why the date is so important to me, why I can't celebrate Christmas as a time of Christ's birth. There's already a celebration where we get to dwell with God just as Yahshua came to dwell with us.
But I understand that even if most people wanted to change and celebrate the birth of Christ at the appropriate time, it's very difficult to change. Family and friends all celebrate during December. And they will look at you like you've sprouted three heads if you build a sukkah, display your nativity, and sing "O Holy Night" during September. Trust me, I've been there. So my suggestion is to give religious significance, if you are of the religious nature, to those pagan symbols. Isn't that what originally happened anyway? The early christians blended pagan rituals with Christian beliefs to create the first Christmas. I know, you already feel that that's what you are doing. But you've really got to blend that Christmas tree in with the significance of what Christ means to us, as believers.
I've got a friend who really had a hard time having a Christmas tree when she knew it stood for pagan beliefs. She said it just didn't feel right. So she ascribed religious meanings to everything they did to celebrate Christmas. She doesn't have a Christmas tree, she has a Tree of Life. The evergreen represents the everlasting love that Christ has for us. The twinkling lights is to remind us that we are all lights for Christ. The ornaments are memories of the life they've had together, worshipping Him. And they give presents to celebrate the gift of everlasting life. I suppose you could say that we give presents like the Magi did. But she's trying to keep the birth story separate, since she celebrates it during Sukkot as well. Their Christmas holiday has nothing to do with the birth story, only the everlasting love of Christ. Does that make sense?
My family celebrates the birth at Sukkot as well. For us, Christmas is about Santa and spending time with our families since that's when everyone can get the day off together. Yes, I'm about Truth and Santa is a lie. My children love the idea behind it. But one day they will stop believing in that sort of magic and when they do, I know they'll think back on the wonderful memories of it and forgive me for telling them such a made up story. Some things we do just for fun. We are meant to enjoy life, to celebrate it.
So while I'm sure I've made a few of you angry with my series, I truly hope that you have a wonderful holiday, however you chose to celebrate it. Happy Chanukah, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Merry Christmas. Be safe.
How do you give meaning to the rituals of Christmas that don't inherently have a Christian meaning? Does it matter to you if the rituals of Christmas are not necessarily Christian in origin? Do you celebrate Sukkot?