Christmas used to be a time of year that brought on so much excitement and anticipation for me. On Christmas Eve my sister, brother, and I would stay up until twelve o’clock at night (against our parents’ wishes, of course) in order to run down the stairs and rip open our presents. In the beginning, we viewed Christmas as “gift-giving” time. But over the years I began to learn that Christmas was much more than that. It was about being good to others and spending time with family. As I grew up, I realized that Santa Claus wasn’t real, our Christmas tree came down, and we focused on being together as a family and that was awesome. However, in my early twenties I began to hear messages about how Christmas began as a pagan holiday and that by having a Christmas tree meant that you “worshipped” the tree. Although I did not celebrate Christmas as I did as a child, I was a little sad to hear about that. But I was strong in my convictions and did not celebrate Christmas at all. We did not have a Christmas tree, there was no gift-giving, and we did not even hang out with family. We may have spoken about how it was when Jesus’ birthday was celebrated, but that was it. Although when I think about it, I celebrate my birthday every single year, but for the one who died for me I did not celebrate his… but that’s another story for another day.
When I became a mother I knew that I wanted to share some of the traditions and experiences that I had in my childhood with my children. One of those experiences was celebrating Christmas and the traditions that go along with it. So my husband and I talked about it and last year was the first Christmas we celebrated as a family. It was awesome, but getting to the place of actually being completely comfortable with celebrating Christmas did not actually come until this Christmas season.
Philippians 4:6-7 Contemporary English Version states, "Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel."
These Scriptures have helped me in life and in particular with Christmas. I knew that I wanted to be completely free from the legalistic views that I had about Christmas. So as the Scripture stated, I “prayed about everything,” which included Christmas, and God gave me peace. I know that as the saying goes, “Jesus is the reason for the season” and we put Him first. In regards to gifts, I want to give my children gifts, simply because I love to see the joy on their faces.
This year and every year after I am going to celebrate Christmas the way that I feel lead to from the Lord and I refuse to feel any condemnation. I am going to spend time with my immediate and extended family and we are going to laugh, eat great food, exchange gifts, and use the opportunity to continue to teach our children about Jesus. We even have a Christmas tree this year and I’m already wrapping gifts to go under it!