Tuesday, December 05, 2006
This has been brewing in me for a while!
Over the past few weeks I have been irritated towards my fellow Christians. I have read about some Christians behaving ridiculously, seen Christians behaving ridiculously and listened to friends who have been ridiculously hurt by Christians. But the one thing that has really, really bothered me is all of the crap I hear Christians saying about Christmas. In fact, the word CHRISTIAN is really beginning to bother me.

At Christmas time I feel a lot of joy and excitement in my life. It's a time in my life where I am able to create tradition and fill my children's lives with memories. It's my favorite time of year. It is about decorating, it is about shopping for my loved ones, it is about baking, it is about singing Christmas carols, it is about taking my kids to the mall to see Santa. And guess what my fellow Christians? I don't feel guilty for it one bit! Christmas is not the only time I celebrate my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If you know me, if you have a relationship with me, YOU KNOW that I celebrate him every single day. So if I go bonkers with the decorations and buy too many Christmas time coffee drinks at Starbucks, who cares! God is the one that knows my heart.

Yes, Christmas has been commercialized beyond what I ever expected. Some stores say Merry Christmas, some say Happy Holidays. But I am tired of hearing other Christians say how badly we need to keep it in perspective. Speak for yourselves! Does our world have it a little mixed up and confused? Yes. Does everyone celebrate Christmas for the right reasons? No! But I do. That's who I am accountable for.

Last week my kids sat in Santa's lap and I also had their pictures made for grandparents and for our Christmas cards I will be mailing out soon. My almost four year old has asked me several times when Santa is coming. He's four! And the fact that he is having fun and enjoying the idea of Santa makes it a whole lot of fun for me and Daddy too. He is also aware of baby Jesus and this being the time of year we celebrate the birth of Christ. Does he think about the toys a little more? Probably so.

I have come to a point in my life over the past year where I am very careful how I present myself to unbelievers. Instead of using the word CHRISTIAN, I say I am a Christ follower or someone who has a relationship with Jesus. I hear Christians talk about other people being lost and how bad they need to hear the message of Christ. It truly makes me sick! Especially when they talk so much about boycotts and how they hate such and such in Hollywood because they are homosexual. I don't consider myself to be tolerant but I do consider myself to be gracious. The word Christian needs to be redefined in a big way. Just as the republicans need to refocus and come up with a better plan, so do Christians. What we've been doing is NOT working!

Many times we speak with ignorance just so we can make sure everyone else thinks we are smart, holier than thou, or GODLY. Yuck! Yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck! Why would ANYONE want to become a "Christian" when we are so busy trying to tell everyone what we DON'T like, what we don't support or what we don't believe. How about telling them what WE DO believe?! Seriously, where is the love? Christians judging other Christians because they happen to LOVE Christmas and all the stuff that comes with it. Christians judging other Christians because they shop at Target! And while I am on the subject of boycotts, let me say that if you are going to boycott Wal-Mart or Target for being a part of a Homosexual Credit Union or not saying Merry Christmas, you better start boycotting everything else. I tried to explain to a boycotting relative the other day that she better not watch ANYTHING on ABC (Owned by Disney who provides benefits for homosexual partners), she better not let her kids be entertained by The Wiggles while she showers and she better buy ALL AMWAY products because it seems that everything else in this world is damned.

There are some things I struggle with often. I question a lot of things that come into my life. I love the show Grey's Anatomy but is it wrong to be addicted to a show? What does the Bible say? So I have written about that on this blog before. Never said I had it beat, but I do sometimes struggle to let go of some things I really enjoy. Do I homeshcool or do I do public? Do I breastfeed or do I do formula? I do not know. Alcohol? No alcohol? Alcohol in public? Alcohol in private? We all have our rules don't we! I mean CONVICTIONS! Right? Movies or no movies? Rated R movies or is PG-13 okay?

How about this? I will let you live your life and allow you to choose where you shop and how excited you get about Christmas and let me do the same. I have been hearing about all of this stuff for weeks and now Christians are in high gear about Christmas and how I choose to celebrate it.

Christmas has always been a time of renewal and healing for me. As I decorate my OWN home, as I create memories with my OWN children, as I bake hundreds of cookies and batches of fudge, parts of me are healed. All of the joy I feel, all of the excitement I receive by looking at Christmas lights with my kids, is a piece heaven to me. And I believe with all of my heart that this is how Christ would want me to feel. The joy, the hope, the love, the peace, this is what He came to this earth for and He wants us to soak it up as much as we can. He longs for us to feel loved, He longs for us to have victory! And Christmas brings me victory! If you know my testimony, you know about my childhood and how Holidays were always very painful. Christmas is a huge gift to me in so many ways. I feel like the Lord has given me creativity in my own family and ways to make this time of year special. It's what I do best! What's painful is when other believers criticize that or question it.

Instead of boycotting, I am going to love and look for opportunities to LOVE those I don't understand. God knows they don't get very much love from the church. Instead of criticizing Christmas and Santa and presents and decorating, I am going to have fun and enjoy this time of year. I know what the true meaning is, do you?

This entry may seem like I have just battled with someone over this issue. I assure you, I haven't. It's the emails I receive, the blogs I read, the online messages I have listened to by pastors and discussion with friends. It's the relatives that tell me "You should NOT be shopping at Target" after I explain a great deal I found on a gift or how I need to pick up my prescriptions at Target. I am tired of Christians thinking they have something to prove and how they have to make the world think they have it all together. It's destructive to everyone, especially to yourself.

Shouldn't this be a big party right now? This is the event of the year so I am going to pull out my BEST recipes, make my home warm and cozy and enjoy this season of Christmas. Our world needs a big reality check but I think all of us CHRISTIANS need to chill out a little and not think so long and hard whether or not we should give to the Salvation Army or not or analyze our motives for doing so. Don't freak out so much that you end up loosing your perspective like the rest of the world! Relax. Enjoy the season and celebrate the Birth of our King, Jesus. AND make some memories while you're at it!

  posted at 6:04 PM

At 5:06 PM, Blogger Paula said...

Well, Amanda....you said it a whole lot better than I did!!!

At 5:53 PM, Anonymous Tiffany said...

Amen, Sistah!!!

Christ said to share the GOSPEL (definition: "GOOD news!")

I am POSITIVE that if Jesus were to attempt to join a church today (debatable that He would), He probably wouldn't qualify for any "role in leadership!" Not a "mature enough" believer, etc.

Let's see...Jesus hung out with sinners. Dare we put it in modern context? Would Jesus be shopping at Target? I think maybe so...

The Christmas lights make me SO happy inside and my kids LOVE them too! I just told my husband the other night (let me preface by saying, "NO! I am not one of 'those' boycotting Halloween Christians"), but...I told Brad, "Just look at the stark contrast between Halloween and Christmas decor: With the former, everything is dark, scary and death (graveyards, etc). Christmas, on the other hand, is LIGHT, PEACE, JOY and LIFE! Even the image of Santa (whom we Christians NEED to redeem..."SAINT" Nicholas...promoting the BIRTH of JESUS!!!) is a comforting figure.

I will stop now, Amanda...but this is absolute TRUTH which you promote!!! Hallelujah!

Tiff :)

At 7:13 PM, Blogger V. said...

I've just started listening to a Rob Bell series called "Jesus wants to save Christians"


You're right. Rob's right.

Somewhere our generation has to get this right.


At 7:39 PM, Blogger Karen said...

I have always said, "when you stop believing in Santa he quits bringing you gifts."

It is all about moderation. We can go overboard in either direction -- balance, balance, balance. Santa (St. Nicholas) is a good person and there is no harm in the children believing in him. It is fun and it is "tradition". Why has "tradition" all of the sudden become a "SIN"?

As long as your children learn about Jesus and that He is their Lord and Savior and that He truly is their "gift giver", it is ok to mix in Santa and a little "make believe". It's the "wonder" that makes their little eyes sparkle.

Good post.

Luv u

At 8:16 AM, Anonymous Wendy said...

I think the methods in which people do things will look different in many ways and that is OKAY, (wouldn't it be so boring to all look the same and do everything exactly the same!) as long as it doesn't go against what God's word says.

We don't do Santa here, but not because we think it is wrong if you do. And, same w/school choices. Our choice may look different than someone else's, but that isn't because we have chosen THE ONE right thing for everyone. It is just what we feel is right for our family at this point.

I think a big part of the problem is when people start getting self righteous, which is never good. It is so true that with all of this judging others - makes a Christian look no different than anyone else.

See you at Target.

At 10:42 PM, Blogger Minnie said...

WHEW! Talk about a mouth full, Girl! you really have been holding that in for a while, haven't you!?

All I can say is "AMEN!, AMEN!, AMEN!"

I'll see you at Target, but not until I let my kid finish his Disney movie and I stop at Starbucks for a big, fat, Latte'. :o)

Love you!

At 7:56 PM, Anonymous Kaufee said...

You go and what a wonderful message. My life has been richer because of memories. I remember so many things about my childhood and Christmas was the happiest time. Children need memories and parents make those memories out of love. The intention we have can be wrong or right. Your intentions are fabulous. I am thankful that you are a Godly mother and wife. IT inspires me. I love ya.

At 8:14 AM, Blogger Dee said...

I just wanted to add an AMEN SISTER!!!!! :)

At 7:46 AM, Blogger mommyofangels said...

Amen to that. "Christians" should loosen their halos a bit.


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