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Celebrating Jesus & Christmas Culture

Episode 16- Celebrating the Birth of Jesus, who He is and why He came as a baby- How can we enjoy Christmas culture while still keeping Jesus first and not allowing it to become an idol in our hearts

The Birth of Jesus depicted in a nativity in Lebanon
Nativity displayed in Byblos Lebanon
Listen here to Episode 16

What do you celebrate at Christmas? Jesus? Santa and cultural christmas?

To some they are separate things and to others they are the same thing. We live alongside each other, believers and non believers in a culture that are both celebrating a holiday that was instated in America to celebrate the birth of Christ. You may say Christians stole the thunder of the winter solstice, but I have a different point of view.

Hubby and I with Santa Clause at Macy's
Hubby and I in NY visiting Santa

Santa the, the man? the myth?

My hubby has done extensive research on Santa Clause or St Nicholes. He was the patron saint of children and spent his life defending and protecting children. Serving his community and their needs, displaying the attributes of his Savior Jesus Christ.

Yes, we have morphed how we celebrate and remember him, is that a bad thing? It depends. On one hand the way we view the man who lives in the North Pole and comes down your chimney delivering gifts is a very selfless giving man. Attributes St Nicholas would be proud to be remembered as. I think he would be sad to find that many who display his image all over their homes and celebrate Santa don’t see Jesus in him at all.

Santa Claus kneeling at the Jesus in the manger - Celebrating Jesus & Cultural Christmas
Santa with Baby Jesus at the manger

Winter Solstice, did Christians steal this celebration?

I don’t believe so. Winter solstice is the darkest day of the year, and Christians living amongst those who didn’t celebrate this tradition simply joined in and shared their hope with their neighbors. Shedding light into the darkest time of the year.

As it stands today many Americans celebrate Christmas culture but not Jesus Birth, and some acknowledge His birth but their hearts are far from Him. I believe like the early Christians shedding light on darkness and entering into the festivities of their neighbors we too can join in.

Christmas being celebrated in Belgium-
Christmas in Belgium, many other cultures celebrate Christmas including the birth of Christ

Is it ok to participate in Cultural Christmas traditions that don’t celebrate Jesus?

I think like the early Christians there is no problem with entering into cultural Christmas traditions. As long as it doesn’t require you to do something that goes against what the Bible calls for us to do. When we join our fellow man in celebrating something we share because of a shared location or nationality it gives us an opportunity to participate in community and possibly share in a very real way why we celebrate Jesus.

Hubby and I performing at a Christmas event for the homeless embracing cultural activities and sharing the love of Jesus
Hubby and I performing at an event that feeds the homeless and cares for their needs, giving them a Christmas party including a sit down dinner

Celebrating both Jesus & Christmas Culture might be a controversial topic for some and truly you have to do what the Lord has put on your heart to do. That being said I think it’s worth considering what our non participation looks like. As long as Jesus is the center of our homes hearts and lives, then enjoying Christmas movies like Elf or the Santa Claus shouldn’t be a problem.

Being authentic in your involvement with your neighbors for Christmas and beyond is key to actually showing them who Jesus really is. Feeling free to enjoy the beauty and fun of the Christmas season also celebrates the life Jesus came to save! So long as it doesn’t replace Him in our hearts.

Who is Jesus?

I’ll just start by saying there is no historical dispute as to the fact that Jesus lived and walked on the earth. His story has been carried throughout generations which is a miracle in and of itself along with the rest of the Bible.  

Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah born through miraculous conception through the Holy Spirit to a young woman named Mary. Who was a virgin (just like the prophesy said).

The prophet Isaiah wrote around 700 hundred years prior to the birth of Jesus, nailing specific locations and talking about Him being a light to the gentiles (us) and the Messiah, the Savior of the world. 

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good. 

Isaiah 7:14-15

The old testament (the Torah to the Jews) contains many prophesies that talked of His Birth. 

His adopted father Jospeh was a descendant of King David, just as prophesied for the Messiah to come through.

For unto us a Child is born,

Unto us a Son is given;

And the government will be upon His shoulder.

And His name will be called

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of His government and peace

There will be no end,

Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,

To order it and establish it with judgment and justice

From that time forward, even forever.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Isaiah 9:6-7
Nativity in Thessaloniki Greece celebrating the Birth of Jesus
Nativity in Thessaloniki, Greece where hubby and I spent a Christmas season one year

Why did God send His son to earth?

Quite plainly to save us from our sins.  Heaven and Hell are real.  Satan is real and has a powerful grip on the people of the world, this is pretty evident in the evil we see daily at work. 

Our sins have consequences, and we needed a Savior.  One who can help us resist the devil when he deceives us into thinking our sins are our rights, and deny the fact they are destroying us, our families and our world. 

Without God’s gift to man kind we were doomed to eternity separated from God.

why did he come as a baby?

God sent Him as an innocent child, helpless. He truly experienced life in the flesh as we do. He had to go through teething, growing pains, social difficulties of growing up, experiencing the people around Him from childhood on just as we have. If he had been born into a wealthy and grand family with perfect features, or just walked onto the earth as a man, how could we relate? How would we know He had truly understood our plight?  He came humbly,  a helpless baby and average boy. 

Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him there is no beauty that we should desire Him.

Isaiah 53:1-2

The Humility of Jesus beckons us

This is another reason the birth of Jesus is so precious to me, He came so humbly, so helpless. This is a posture we often don’t like to get into. My Grandma wrote in the notes in her Bible:

To truly win souls for Christ, we must feel the anguish of their souls.

I like to add:

“To truly win souls for Christ, without trying to morph the gospel to fit the worlds view. We must truly care more for the anguish of their souls and less about our own reputation and egos”.  

Approaching people with humility must be our first action step!

Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Colossians 4:5-6
Christmas tradition of Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Chestnuts Roasting on an open fire

So how can we celebrate Jesus & Christmas culture?

So let’s celebrate Jesus Birth this Christmas, the best way possible. 

Not by proving our way as being right, or being self sufficient or self righteous

Not by allowing the gifts or the holiday to become an idol in place of the greatest gift. 

But by humbly and generously using our time and resources, to come together with your neighbor (yes even the one you don’t like) and celebrate a season that brings joy and beauty and hope.

Approaching the people around us like Jesus did, being humble and needing and accepting peoples help, understanding their plight and walking in love.  And just maybe those who haven’t met Him or aren’t celebrating Him yet will see who He truly is and just how sweet it is to walk with Jesus. 

Hubby and I under the mistletoe at Disneyland at Christmas
Merry Christmas Everyone!

You can read here about Episode 15 with my Momma, Keeping Christmas traditions through generations

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