Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Very Merry Franklin Christmas

It all started one cold day in December 2003 as Christmas time was wrapping up. As newlyweds, we found ourselves in a debate on Santa Claus and with a credit card balance; the two things we eventually both came to hate. We didn’t know it yet, but we had just participated in our last Christmas. I can’t remember a thing we bought or received that year. What I remembered the most was that conversation and the marvelous way in which it led us.


Our dearest family friend, Jerry, was visiting with us in our condo as he did most nights. And as most nights, our conversation was headed to God’s Word and the superficial nature of our own religion. Jerry, who had put up his Christmas tree in October, was done; he was over it. Apparently, as his merry tree, all beautiful and glittery, sparkled through the past two months, he began to see the idolatry all around him. I’m not sure if he was even aware at that moment of the idolatry we would truly come to see. And then, I hit my other half with, “Well, I don’t think if we have kids we should tell them there is a Santa.” What?! (This would be one of our two greatest debates ever as a couple…the other was on eternal security.) Of course, we went through the whole, “but it’s just for fun.” But, it is a lie. “I believed in Santa and I’m OK.” But, it is a lie.

Over the next few days I would spend hours in front of my computer, reading article after article on the history of Christmas. Nate would come home for work and there I would be with more information about why Christians shouldn’t celebrate Christmas. To think, I was one or two classes away from a minor in religion…from a Christian school, and I missed this. How could that be?

It wouldn’t be long after Christmas that we announced to our family and friends that would be our last year participating in Christmas festivities. We received many reactions. We received anger. We received discussions of persuasion. We received sadness. The one thing we didn’t receive was support over our convictions. Of course, by the time Christmas would roll around the next year, we just learned to close ourselves off and stay away from the things we abhorred so greatly.

Over the years, I would have to say we have softened up quite a bit. We discuss Christian liberty and man’s tradition and how we can make it all work for our family. We still don’t celebrate Christmas. We still can’t find a reason to…each time we try to come up with our own way of doing it we go back to…but it is a lie. Each and everything you believe about Christmas, is a lie. And when is it OK to lie? Santa isn’t real. Jesus is not the reason for the season. In reality, the very thing God hates the most is the reason for the season…idolatry. Are we not desecrating our churches just the way Israel desecrated the temple? Of course, we are not worshipping pagan gods with our pagan trees, but things used to worship pagan gods are in our churches. Each time I read the accounts of Israel in the Old Testament it resounds over and over…we are doing the same thing.

Sometimes, it all boils down to the fact that people feel sorry for our kids. But I see a different picture. I see my two beautiful children sitting at the breakfast table the day before Thanksgiving awaiting their waffles. They are listening to Momma talk about Thanksgiving and as I walk to the table carrying my own plate, I ask Lily, “What are you thankful for Lily?” I am awaiting the for sure answer, “Baby dolls,” or “horses,” or “play-doh.” But no, I hear, “God. And Mommy, JJ is thankful for Jesus.” Don’t feel sorry for my kids, they’re in His hands.


Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

I don't feel sorry for your kids any more than I would want someone to feel sorry for my kids because we don't "do" Santa either.

We celebrate Christmas, but we put Christ in the center of it all. I don't believe God has issues with man's tradition when he is trying to focus on Him with it. What other time of year can you hear "Hallelujah" sung in a public place these days? It still stirs something in the soul of man to look toward Christ and why He came, if they will look past all the commercialism.

I abhor the commercialism, not Christmas.

But we can still be friends, right? :-)

Tracy said...

I definitely DON'T feel sorry for your kids. As I've read many of your posts, I've always felt warmed by seeing how much you love your husband and children, and how both you and your husband seek to follow God's direction in your lives -what a wonderful legacy your children are receiving!

There are many gray areas in life and each person must follow what she percieves to be God's direction for her. I personally saw the Santa thing the same way as you, as a lie, so I never told my children about Santa. We do celebrate Christmas and have always sought to create traditions that put Christ in the center.

Michelle Cox said...

I have never been a big Santa fan (for the same reasons-- the lie and the commercialism) I also tend to think it distracts children from the real reason we should be celebrating Christmas.

When they find out Santa isn't real, will they think the same thing about God?

My husband was ok with Santa, but I never really drummed the whole thing up for my children, I just made it a point to make sure they knew what Christmas is really about.

Just my two cents :)

Crystal Mary said...

Hello Michele, I know exactly where you are at because I did the same for 2 Christmas's in the 1970's...
I think we all come to a place where all we want to do, is what is right by God...

My mother said to me, "If no one celebrated Christmas, then no one would think about Jesus being born into the world as the Savour...
I thought about that, and thought, and thought.
And, I had to agree.(We are not saved by works, so not doing it does not bless the savour.

No, it was not the 25th December when He was born, we are not sure when it was. But does that matter?

I do not dress my house up with all the gaudy trimmings, we do not buy expensive gifts and there is no big show.
This year we are concerntrating on the lonely and homeless. At holiday time more than ever there are suicides. It can be a terrible lonely time for those who don't have family. So, we are taking food to the Park. We are inviting all the people we know who are lonely in our church to come. On the day we will go around and anyone who is sitting alone will be invited to join us. I believe Christmas and Easter is showing the love of Jesus Christ in service.
I realise in TN the weather may be too cold outside to do this...However, there are probably other ways of giving to the needy with open arms of love at that time. When I lived there I gave my husband the families who needed supplies and he delivered. We also gave gifts to less fortunate children...
God Bless your heart of love...ask God to show you what to do then wait for the unexpected.
By the way...Flick the spelling of santa around and you can get satan (father of lies)...why should he get the credit for gifts from the parents...
Hugs xxx

Gregg said...

Excellent post. I loved reading it and I appreciate it very much. Thank you for your comments on my blog - I am think I am going to get raked over the coals. But come on, really? Have we as believers come to "sentiment rather than substance?"

I am very glad for your decision and I concurr. Thanks for sharing this today.

Crystal Mary said...

If we remain comfortable in Christian land...we help and serve no one but Ourselves.
We then become pious like the Pharasees.
Jesus was not like that.
His greatest commandment was to Love.
The first Holy family depicted in the nativity all over the world sends that message.
Can you imagine every year how moslems, buddists and hindu's are rocked when they look on the nativity scene of the Christian King who came to earth!!
Imagine if that were taken away....there would be nothing.......
So the date does not matter. What does, is the MESSAGE and the LOVE. Jesus healed the sick...we are not told He healed the rightous sick are we?
His love touched all and this is our example.
God Bless you...your heart is pure.

Michelle said...

I appreciate all of your comments and respect your decisions to take notice of the day. Most of our friends and family participate in different ways.

I have to disagree, Crystal Mary, that we are remaining "comfortable in Christian land." If we were remaining comfortable, we would be celebrating with the rest of the professing Christians. We believe in the total depravity of man after the fall so we by no means end up pious or like the Pharisees. We believe loving one another is also speaking biblical truth. The pharisees were not following biblical tradition and law but also man made traditions.

The date of Christ birth is not the issue. There are several being that the church through Constantine adopted pagan traditions into the church. Two, when are we ever instructed to observe the birth of Christ as a Holy Day? I believe the early church was able to spread the message of the gospel without the nativity and there is no reason why WE can't share the gospel without the nativity. I also believe the very opposite of what you have spoken about Muslims. I believe a muslim would mock our faith...especially being that the nativity is placed beside reindeers and santa claus in yards everywhere. That we observe the tradition by glorifying materialism and self. They would never belittle their god in such a way.

You are correct that Christ came to save the sinners and not the righteous...but I'm not sure that is the issue here. As believers, we are still called to stand in biblical truth and obedience.

This post was in no way meant to convince others to not celebrate the date. I believe more than anything it was our story and our walk and our views.

Ma ~ said...

It is so great that you guys got your thoughts about the holiday hammered out before kids.
We are still working on ours, but we never did the Santa thing -maybe I was an extra sensitive child, but when I was finally illuminated to the reality of Santa, I just naturally assumed the same went for God, so I wanted to spare my kids years of deception in the name of fun.

We do gifts(and I am toning that down year by year), but no tree anymore, and we are starting to let the kids know where the traditions came from.

I asked my hubby if Christmas is a idolatry issue or a Christian liberty issue and he said...both. I think we have to do (or not do) what the Spirit convicts us personally of. I just hate (and I mean hate) the way the season has just turned into completely crass commercialism.

Great post..When I saw the title, I thought you were going to review a Franklin cartoon:P

Wellspring women's network said...

Hi Michelle l am from MBC