Christmas is a very wonderful time for me, and for my family. I have very sweet and fond memories of past Christmas times, and each year they seem to become more special.
The reason that Christmas means so much to me, is because I choose to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Lord. No one knows the real date of His birth, but Christians all over the world love to remember Him at this time. I know there is a lot of controversy nowadays about whether it is wise to acknowledge Christmas as a religious holiday.
I think that any thing we can use or do to draw us closer to Christ, and to cause us to worship and adore Him is a lovely thing! Just try to block out the worldly aspects, and concentrate on the beauty of the Nativity. Think of the first Christmas, and try to have each of your Christmas times filled with the same simplicity and wonder. It isn't difficult; everyone just tends to make it so!
At the beginning of December, I set up our nativity scene on our fireplace mantel. I arrange an artificial garland of fir around it, trimmed with clear mini lights, and put one of the lights through an opening in the stable, so it shines in upon the Holy Family. It looks quite realistic, especially when the room is darkened.
Yes, we do put up a Christmas tree! The first two years of our married life, we had a real pine tree. Alas, our allergies overcame us, and we had to begin using an artificial tree. Our first artificial tree was a Barcana, and lasted fourteen years. The plastic stand broke after a while, and when my husband created a wooden one, the tree would always lean to one side. (Robert is not a carpenter!)
The poor tree slowly lost a lot of pine needles, and began to look quite skimpy. So we invested in a new type of tree, covered in artificial snow. It looks quite stunning, and doesn't take up as much room as the other did.
From an article in a December 1999 newsletter, written by Elisabeth Elliot, I would like to quote a paragraph or two, which explains the way I think:
"It's quite possible that viewing Christmas merely as a pagan holiday has its roots in heretical thinking. Two heresies have plagued the Church from its beginning. The first is making Christianity merely spiritual. The second is making it secular.
"The first heresy means emphasizing only the invisible, the transcendent, the eternal and the spiritual aspects. Another name for this heresy is Manichaeaanism. This belief includes a rejection of the world, an escape into a fleshless spirituality, equating the world with evil and rejoicing in gloom.
"The birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, as we know, is called the Incarnation, the enfleshing of the holy God, who is spirit. In the Incarnation God showed us once and for all that the flesh is not in itself wicked and that we are not to create a fleshless spirituality. This has plagued the church down through 2,000 years of its history-the impossibility, seemingly, of getting people to understand that Christianity embraces all the material things of the world.
"God has made this world. He made our flesh. He took our flesh upon Himself, and it is not in itself evil. We are not to deny our nature. We are not to deny our bodies. Paul said, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31) Eating and drinking are pretty fleshly activities, aren't they?
"The second heresy means denying the spiritual and emphasizing the rituals: churchgoing, rules, regulations, tithing, washing the outside of the cup, as the Pharisees did, and other outward observances.
"We have to try to understand that Christianity does bring together spirit and flesh. This is exactly what the Christmas story is meant to teach us, among other things."
The above paragraphs explain very clearly how I believe! Christmas is a joyful time, and I fail to see how it could in any way be un-Christian to celebrate Christ's birth. Here is a verse to ponder;
"One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it." (Romans 14:5&6)
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