Tuesday 18 December 2012

A Christian's Common Sense Guide to Christmas

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).

When I was a very new Christian I was asked to dress up as Santa Claus and give out presents to children. This innocent and joyful job was heartily taken on by myself but in the afternoon beforehand a more mature Christian told me that "Santa" is Satan spelled differently and I should not do it. As a new Christian my conscience was tender and I thought "Oh no, I do not want to disobey God". Maybe you have faced similar challenges from people who may have said that Christmas is pagan or Christmas wreaths are celebrating death, and so on, or that Christmas is a Roman Catholic feast.

These issues really bring to the forefront of our minds the necessity of common sense in our Christianity and also that of the need for Christian maturity. These kinds of issues have always been around and they always will be. In 1 Corinthians Chapter 8:7-13 we read about matters of conscience: "However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble".

The church over the centuries have sought to honour two significant events in the life of Christ: The Incarnation and the Passion of Christ. It is true that Jesus was not literally born on December 25th, and tinsel and worldly Christmas activities such as drunkenness or revelling have nothing to do with the gospel. But to honour the incarnation of Christ or sing hymns that celebrate these truths are not sins.

My common sense advice for Christian's towards Christmas is to enjoy this time with our families, a time of rest and a time to remember the miracle of the incarnation, while being on our guard against excessive materialism. Let us do all things for the glory of God.

Ps I did dress up as Santa, even though he is a fictional character. Let us not forget that we must not restrict our remembrance of the incarnation of Christ to the Christmas season but throughout the year we have liberty to magnify this precious truth.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I heard a good talk this week - the point of Christmas isn't about total hedonism - neither is it about feeling guilty for enjoying yourself. A REAL Christmas is about Relationships - when we enjoy the relationships with our friends and family - we shouldn't feel bad about it and be worrying that we should be thinking about Jesus all the time but praise God who gave us these relationships and initiated a relationship with us, Extravagance - as we enjoy the food and parties to praise God for his extravagance towards us, About others - to care about others because God cares about us, L... I've forgotten what L stood for!