Take a moment and think about your last trip to your closest department, drug or dollar store. If you are like me you probably just ran in to pick up a few things to complete the week’s lunch or dinner menu and what do you find? Well before we get into the response, let me ask another question during this special time of year…tis the season but what exactly is it the season for? In most stores I frequent, you really can’t tell what season it is. I am always shopping last minute for Thanksgiving items like festive napkins or may be some seasonal side dish; only to find those items delegated to the very end of the clearance aisle after I have walked past all the Christmas décor. This is the world we live in.
I used to be one of those who enjoyed the Black Friday shopping sales. I would go out in the dark to hit my favorite stores just because I enjoyed the “tradition” of it. It was the marking of the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. I wouldn’t go “hog- wild” or anything. I wouldn’t even try to come close to completing my Christmas shopping. I just liked to snatch up those few great deals that seemed worth the trip. Well, I gave up my shopping tradition a few years ago when shop turned violent and people were getting shot. Most recently, the “Black Friday” shopping has turned into early bird Thanksgiving Thursday and that was what sealed the deal. So back to my original question: what season is it anyway?
In our secular and commercialized culture, it isn’t easy to determine the answer. More importantly, as a believer should I be expecting to find some exact marked delineation? I don’t think so. Although, there may have been a time when our culture actually embraced the biblical meaning of Christian celebrations, I don’t think we should be surprised by the changes that we currently see. Many of our celebrations have symbols of paganism that don’t really reflect biblical context, so where does the responsibility lie when it comes to maintaining a biblical perspective. I would argue, the responsibility is ours as believers. We can’t look to a secular society and expect that we will find a true expression of our faith or our God. Scripture says the natural man doesn’t receive the things of God’s Spirit, neither can he know them. (I Cor. 2:14) We should be more introspective and look at how our own lives contribute to the problem. I started with not participating in the “Black Friday” shopping. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus, however I do believe we ought to have conviction.
If we look to biblical context we will find that God has always wanted a people separated and consecrated to Him. A people set apart in the midst of cultures that were pagan and serving other gods – in the world but not of the world. The same could be said for today. In the midst of a society that has commercialized our Christian holidays, what can we do to restore our true biblical heritage back to our celebrations? I am not sure I know the answer but I think a lot of it has to do with us not getting “caught up” in traditions that don’t reflect our faith authentically. Now, this is coming from someone who absolutely enjoys putting up our Christmas tree and decorations. It is a family tradition for us to have hot cocoa, a yummy sweet snack and sing Christmas carols! I am just sharing what this topic of “erasing God” provoked in my own consciousness. If you have read any of my other posts, then you know that I have been studying a lot about the Hebraic Roots movement. There is so much to be learned about our Christian roots and these topics are directly related to our holidays (supposedly holy days). I don’t want to get into a debate about it, but it is something to ponder. It is interesting to examine how much of our traditional holiday symbols are actually rooted in pagan culture and not true biblical celebrations. I don’t have a concrete solution to this problem. But it is definitely food for thought.
As a family, we have never acknowledged Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, but we do celebrate our holidays traditionally. As I learn more about Hebraic Roots, I will have to wrestle with the truth that is speaking to my own heart as I think we all must do. Needless to say, I am not expecting to “see” God expressed in a culture that is counter to His kingdom. I hope that as I walk through these seasons someone sees God in me and in His people by the manner in which we honor who He is in our lives. I pray that my family celebration is one that doesn’t blend in with the spirit of the world but rather testifies to a message of truth, by the Spirit of Truth.
So as we celebrate however we celebrate I pray that the God’s Spirit will lead and guide us to be a living witness to the truth that we believe. God is with us. He came as Emmanuel. He lives with us now as Holy Spirit. In the time to come, Christ will return and reign then at the appointed time God, as His Shekinah Presence will be with us all.
Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
In all things give thanks…for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus. II Thessalonians 5:19