Actually, I'm pretty convinced of it.
And in the process, I believe I have probably confused my children for LIFE.
OK. Where do I start?
We've been at our new church for over a year now. Our old church was, shall we say, um...a bit more progressive than we were comfortable with. It was no longer anything like the church where we grew up. I will give more specific examples later. Our new church is very much more in line with our beliefs. (And with the Bible, in our opinion.)
Our new church makes us realize how really progressive our old church was.
Somewhere along the way, I missed learning this. Which would explain why I am just learning it at age 41.
Wow. I don't even know how to start explaining this to you.
So a few years ago, I started noticing a trend of Christians celebrating Old Testament festivals and feasts. Like Passover, for example. You can order things for these celebrations on Christian websites. The way Christians "do" these feasts and celebrations is a bit differently than how the Jewish people in the Old Testament did them, I think.
Honestly I don't know too much about why Christians would observe those days. My first thought was, "Well that's a strange thing to do----those things are part of the Old Testament and that doesn't apply to us as Christians." It has become trendy to do so, however.
And there is more to it than just celebrating something from the Old Testament---which New Testament Christians did not do. There's also the fact that it's all mixed up and crazy. This article I found on google will highlight what I mean....it's the taking of an old Jewish feast and mixing it up with Christian beliefs. It's assigning new "religious" meanings to traditions that may or may not have even been part of the original feast as ordained by God.
Basically, people are making up a holiday here.
The New Testament mentions nothing about Christians celebrating Passover. Or even a hybrid form of it. So should we be doing that?
So just know that those thoughts were swirling in my head.
THEN, I started hearing about how Christmas and Easter should have no religious significance.
What? How sacrilegious! How unheard of! Why would you take Christ out of Christmas? Why would you make the Easter Bunny more important than Jesus Christ?
Seriously, the whole idea of celebrating these holidays with no religious significance at all floored me.
This is the very thing I have fought against for many years!! We, as a new family, with very little thought to the consequences, started off doing things just as they had been done when we were growing up. We hunted eggs. The Easter Bunny left treats. Santa visited. We read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas....on and on. That's how our little family started doing things when Sweetheart was born.
But then, I started to feel guilty. I mean, these traditions have pagan roots for goodness sake! I read. I learned. Hunting eggs? Bad. Christmas trees? Bad. Every single tradition seemed to have a pagan root. I didn't want my children growing up thinking it was all about eggs and candy and Santa and presents! I wanted them to know the "real" reason for the holidays.
I'm telling you what I thought here.
So for many years now (probably 6 years), I have worked to make the "real" meaning stand out while minimizing all the pagan stuff. I got Resurrection Eggs. We stopped dyeing eggs. I gave the girls Bibles and Bible covers for Easter treats instead of "bunny" stuff. We learned the names of Christ and made ornaments out of them and hung them on a tree. We decorated with more nativity scenes and less Santa. We learned all about Christ's final week. We did crafts. We read Bible passages. We made this a part of our homeschool. A part of our evenings. And very much a part of our celebrations.
And now I think that was wrong. I was wrong.
During the time I was working to overhaul our holidays to the "real" meaning, our old church started doing some things I wasn't comfortable with. In our old church, there is a large wooden cross beside the "stage" for lack of a better word. It sits there 365 days a year. It's like part of the building and I really didn't even notice it all that much. Then a few years ago, they started draping black cloth on it on Good Friday. Then it would change to white on Easter Sunday. There was purple in there too. I didn't know where all this was coming from so I came home and researched and found out it was all related to Advent. Advent is not something we grew up doing. Or celebrating. Or whatever. And I don't read about it in the Bible so it's not something we do. It's made up, in my opinion and there's too much symbolism to keep up with!
Then they started "the flowering of the cross." Everyone would bring fresh flowers and they wrapped chicken wire around the whole cross and stuck the flowers in on Easter Sunday during the worship service. Where are we getting this stuff from???? This in NOT in the Bible!! We started going out of town on Easter. It was easier than trying to explain all these things to the girls when we couldn't make sense of them ourselves.
Later they started having "Good Friday" services at the church. We did not attend. Everything was getting really, really religious. But not really biblical.
I stamped my foot (inwardly, of course) and said, "This stuff is not authorized in God's Word! The church should not be doing this stuff!"
But I forgot to look at our own house. I'm sharing this with you, dear blog readers, because I have brought you along on my journey to overhaul our holidays. And now I won't be doing things the same way because I have come to the understanding that these holidays--they aren't in the Bible either.
Just as Advent is not taught to us by Jesus, and we have no record of the apostles or first century Christians doing such things, neither is there authorization for making the birth of Christ and his death, burial, and resurrection into religious days. These holidays are NOT found in scripture.
Of course I have always taught my children that December 25th probably wasn't Jesus' real birthday. But if God wanted us to celebrate that day, that event, He would have given us instruction on how He wanted that done. And when!
Now don't get me wrong....Christ's birth and his death, burial and resurrection are events I am VERY thankful for!! We have been instructed to remember Christ's death, burial, and resurrection on the first day of the week when we meet together. We have not been given instructions about remembering Christ's birth.
It isn't that I think remembering these things is evil...it's that they are not religious celebrations ordained by God in His word.
Folks, we have made some stuff up here. And it's all confusing and mixed up with pagan stuff. It's a mess. Just like those new "Christian Passover" feasts. There is this constant struggle between secular and Christian and it needn't be! Christians don't need to waste their time fighting to "keep Christ in Christmas" because He hasn't asked us to celebrate it anyway!
Now, about celebrating Christmas with no religious significance. How freeing!! I feel a huge sigh of relief coming on. No longer do I need to struggle with this. Christmas is simply a day to get together with our family and loved ones and give each other gifts and enjoy a meal together. And that's it! That's all it needs to be!
I don't have to spend the weeks before Christmas doing a countdown where we read a scripture each night about the coming Messiah from the Old Testament prophets. We don't have to crack out the Resurrection eggs and have a devotional all week prior to Easter.
I can quit trying to make these celebrations all about God because He hasn't asked me to do that anyway!!!
Because these are not celebrations He commanded us to keep.
Do you feel the huge weight lifted off my shoulders?
Now hear me...we are stil going to celebrate Christmas and Easter around here. Easter has never been a really big one with us anyway. Christmas I love. Thanksgiving I love. We celebrate Independence Day too. There is nothing wrong with having a day set aside to spend with your family and enjoy food and fellowship and gift-giving.
But we will no longer be celebrating them as religious holidays. I hope I have made sense in my explanation of why.
Because now I have to explain this to my girls.