Greg Boyd recently began a video Q&A over at ReKnew.org. I thought some of my readers might find his thoughts on Christmas helpful.
Is Christmas a pagan holiday? Should Christians celebrate Christmas?
Questions and concerns about how (or even if) Christians should celebrate certain holidays are raised by the church every year.
Not long ago I created a section on the Archives page dedicated to holidays. My article on Halloween & the Gospel is oddly enough one of the most popular posts here at the blog. It’s clear people care about these issues.
You can expect more posts to come on holidays as we learn how to express our faith as a counter-cultural movement. It is clear that many Christians really want to do the right thing during the holidays. Sometimes we simply need to be reminded, challenged, and jolted into renewed action.
Listen to Greg give a brief history lesson and share his thoughts on how Christians should navigate through the Christmas season.
What do you think about what Greg has shared? How do you celebrate Christmas with your family? How can we celebrate Christmas without glorifying greed? Let’s be intentional in the way we celebrate this year.
D.D. Flowers, 2012.
December 12th, 2012 at 10:19 am
I appreciate this post and Greg’s balanced view. I believe any reason or season we can use as a tool to point to Christ is great. Greg’s point at the end was a wallop. In the name of Christ billions of dollars are spent on things that people mostly don’t need instead of helping those who are poor and hungry. That point deserves a lot of reflection and something I will consider deeply going forward.
I had received a book called “Family Celebrations” -Bringing Christ into your Holiday Celebrations. The first portion deals with Christmas and Advent. Having grown up in the church I never celebrated or honestly knew much about Advent. In this book it introduces you to a way to celebrate Advent with the whole family all the way through to Epiphany. It gave instructions on how to make an Advent tree that the kids can put together and has short devotions on various aspects of Christ starting with Christ eternal with the Father, then to why He came, the need for a saviour, the prophecies of Christ, etc… I personally am extremely stoked about it.
We as a family created an Advent tree out of poster board and each day we put up a paper ornament with a symbol colored on it corresponding to that devotion. So for instance the first one was a symbol of Alpha and Omega and focused on Revelation 22:13 where Jesus says, I am the first and the last, the alpha and omega the beginning and the end. And other ornaments have had a lamb, a star, the cosmos, a heart that is black and one that is red, a trumpet, etc…. For us as a family this has been an awesome way to bring meaning into the Christmas season that stretches throughout the whole month and allows us as a family to spend a short time each day turning to the Lord and learning of Him.
For my kids they are realizing that Christmas isn’t about getting presents but so much more. So there is my brief description of what my family has started this year and it has been the highlight of each day. Anything that can help us put our attention on Christ and who He is and remind us of what He has done I think is a great idea.
December 12th, 2012 at 10:22 am
That’s awesome, Seth! Thanks for sharing something so practical and meaningful.
December 12th, 2012 at 11:35 am
Great Post David! I agree with Greg. My children are grown, but I did try to teach them the true meaning of Christmas which is Christ. I have grandchildren now and I am teaching them that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Especially to the poor and homeless and those who don’t have much. God gave us his best when he sent his son Jesus.
December 12th, 2012 at 11:36 am
Glad you liked it, Pat. Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas!
December 12th, 2012 at 2:09 pm
Thanks for sharing this David!
December 12th, 2012 at 3:32 pm
Hey Terri, I’m loving the new video Q&A. I told Greg the other day that it’s an excellent idea. It works for people.
December 12th, 2012 at 4:18 pm
Thanks for posting the video. This is a topic that I tend to grapple with every year. Having been raised in a fundamentalist congregation, I never celebrated Christmas as a Christian holiday but only as Santa Claus and all the trappings. As I grew older my views changed and I went through a phase of participating on more of a religious basis (a la “Jesus is the reason for the season”). Although the pagan origins were somewhere buried in the back of my mind it didn’t really surface and begin to make an impact until recent years. Feeling very bothered about the origins, as well as the commercialization and greed associated with Christmas, I began to back away again feeling that God couldn’t possibly be happy having any association with paganism. And there was having to always explain why I didn’t want to participate. I even had a friend once say to me “How can you be a Christian and not celebrate Christ’s birthday?” That would be one of the biggest beefs I have with the holiday–people placing what I believe is unfounded importance on a practice without any scriptural basis (IMHO).
With that said, unfortunately I have found myself compromising on certain occasions as not all sides of my family believe as I do. So I often find myself going along feeling somewhat conflicted and not ever really making peace with it. I guess most of the time I find myself conflicted. Although I enjoy the warmth of the season and the opportunity to show my appreciation for others, I do not feel comfortable mixing Christ with paganism and tend towards rejecting the time as His birthday. Furthermore I feel uncomfortable with the magnitude of the celebration as compared to the amount of attention given to Easter (which also has some pagan mix) which I feel has so much more importance to us from a salvation perspective. So where do I stand?–somewhere in the middle I guess but nowhere comfortably and I don’t know that Greg’s video did anything to clarify my vision but I do appreciate hearing yet another side, so thanks for that. I will continue to wrestle and hopefully will find myself on firmer feet on one side or the other at some point.
Any with that may I dare say (with tongue in cheek), Merry Christmas!
December 12th, 2012 at 6:12 pm
I love what you have expressed here. You’re on a journey… with the rest of us! The important thing is that we’re honest with ourselves, each other, and the Lord on these issues. And it’s important to extend grace to one another. This was a blessing to me. Thank you for sharing!
December 13th, 2012 at 6:37 am
I’m just thankful he answered my question. Lol. Seems like a good response but I wish he would have explained the Christian (counter?) origin of things like the Christmas tree, etc.
December 13th, 2012 at 1:45 pm
Hey Jared, so you asked that question? Ha!
Right, he did mention the tree being rooted in Nordic religions, but he didn’t discuss the Christian meaning given to it later.