My recent post on Christmas got an overwhelming response. Over 1000 people saw the post on facebook. It was shared over 20 times. I am grateful for all the comments that were shared. Many of them were in disagreement, but that’s ok, too. I am thankful for opposing arguments that I can check and research. Some people came away from the post clearly deciding that they would continue to keep Christmas. While I firmly believe that Christmas is something that needs to be removed from a believer’s life, I also understand that we are all on a journey. YHVH teaches us different things at different times. He works in the best interest of each individual. I pray that I was a help to someone, providing food for thought, challenging the norm, just as someone did for me seven years ago. It was a difficult post for me to write. It’s hard to share black and white in a gray world. I’m so grateful for a husband and extended family that encouraged me. 🙂
Today, I’d like to share a post that is more the style you have come to expect from me. I’d like to share some practical application to the truths I tried to present in my previous post.
As believers, our journey is twofold. We are called to be separate from the world. We are to remove anything that pertains to other gods. We are to be vigilant to repent of sin in our lives. Just because we have decided to trust the Messiah and obey Him does not mean that we cease to stumble. Removing sin and becoming more holy is a journey, and one which will take more than a lifetime to complete. I believe that removing things like Christmas is part of this journey. We are commanded to serve only YHVH and not serve any other god. If a holiday was created to worship another god, as Christmas was, it cannot be present in our lives as followers of YHVH.
The other part of our journey is to daily walk with our Master and seek to become more like Him. He is a God of righteousness, justice, mercy, truth. There are more commands in Scripture than I can attempt to list here that refer to loving our fellow man. We are to provide for widows, orphans, poor, needy. We are to leave food from our harvest to share with those that have nothing. We are to treat friends and enemies fairly in business. We are to visit those in prison, provide clothes for the naked. We are to offer a drink to our enemies. We are to pray for those that persecute us. We are to share truth with the nations in a way that draws them to YHVH. This is YHVH’s true nature. He wants a people that understand the concept of honor. He wants a people that consistently puts others before themselves. He sacrificed everything when He gave His Son to die in our place. He wants us to have the same self-sacrificing attitude in our daily lives.
When we trust Yeshua the Messiah for our salvation, and enter into a covenant relationship with YHVH, we are agreeing to begin this journey. We are agreeing to repent of and remove sin, and we are agreeing to become more like Him. Both of these elements must be present. We cannot eliminate Christmas, then forget to care for the needy and speak out in judgement towards those that do not act as we do. We cannot work in soup kitchens, yet completely disregard YHVH’s commands against idolatry. We are called to be complete people.
Many people hang onto Christmas because of the “Christmas Spirit.” At what other time of the year do people give to charities, work in soup kitchens, collect coats and mittens for needy children, pack boxes for those less fortunate, and willingly smile at those they pass in the store? These are all good and wonderful things! When we took Christmas out of our family’s life, we still taught our children to love their fellow man. They are eager to share extra clothes and toys with local families in need. They work together to collect money to send to an orphanage in India. They take canned goods to a local women’s shelter. But we do these things all year round. We don’t wait until December to look outside of ourselves.
When we began eliminating paganism from our family life, we did not want to throw out the “weightier matters of the law!” I Corinthians 13 tells us that if we believe all the right things and have incredible faith, but do not show love to our fellow man, then our faith is as useless as a tinkling cymbal. We come across as arrogant, loud and annoying.
So, when we eliminate things like Christmas to remove idolatry, what do we do next?
- Keep a generous, loving spirit alive in your home. Honoring and caring for others is at the very heart of the Torah. If we miss this, we have missed the essence of YHVH’s character.
- Keep the feasts of YHVH instead. YHVH gave us 7 wonderful feasts from Passover to Feast of Tabernacles. There is no need to try to attach religious significance to a holiday like Christmas when YHVH gave us 7 feasts to teach our children amazing truths. Passover is a wonderful time to teach about YHVH’s deliverance, first from Egypt, then from eternal punishment for sin through the Messiah’s death and resurrection. Feast of Tabernacles is the time to teach about Yeshua’s return and the millennial reign when He will dwell with us.
- Celebrate Hanukah and Purim. These two feasts can also be found in Scripture and focus on historical events that demonstrate the awesome power of YHVH. During Purim, we learn the story of Esther, and how YHVH used a young lady to deliver the entire Jewish race from Haman’s evil plans. Hanukah reminds us of the Maccabees that fought bravely to deliver the land of Israel from the Greeks. With their victory came the re-dedication of the temple and the restoration of Torah observance to the whole land.
- Be understanding of those in your extended family that still wish to observe Christmas. We must act on truth, but we can do it in an honorable way. Make your position clear but offer alternatives. Perhaps you can plan a family event that is completely unrelated to Christmas but still enables the family to get together. Ask to get together for charitable activities such as working in a soup kitchen rather than gift giving or decorating a tree. Prayerfully seek to keep relationships open, but be true to the God that you have chosen to serve. He is the One that you will ultimately answer to, not your in-laws.
- Be consistent in your walk. You need to look at all of Scripture honestly. As was pointed out in a comment I received, if God doesn’t change, then all of Scripture still applies. Do your best to be familiar with all of Scripture, particularly the foundational books of Torah, and live them out. This website is all about helping you to do that. Rabbis say that it takes at least 70 years to get a good grasp on Torah. Remember that this is a journey. When someone does happen to point out something you aren’t doing, be humble. Say something like, “I’m on a journey. I’m doing the best I can with YHVH’s help.”
- Let me say it again. The spirit of Torah is all about honor. We show honor first to our Creator and Master by obeying Him and valuing what He values. We value and honor other people by helping to meet their needs, physically, spiritually, emotionally. This may include food, clothing, shelter, friendship, understanding. It may mean explaining truth to someone that is unaware, in a way that draws them, rather than in a way that simply proves your point.
- Enjoy the journey with fellow believers. As Paul said, we are in individual races aiming for the finish line. We are not in competition, but should be cheering and helping each other along the way. It is sad that often we expect grace from YHVH, but we refuse to offer it to anyone else. That should not be.
I pray YHVH’s blessings on you as you walk this journey.
If Christmas is still a part of your life, I pray that you will honestly seek out truth and ask YHVH to show you the way. He wants your whole heart and obedience. I will do my best to help if there is anything you have a question about.
If this is your first year without Christmas, I pray that YHVH gives you bravery, wisdom, and grace in your words and actions. I pray that you will enjoy the peace and freedom that comes with obedience.
If you’ve been at this for awhile, I pray that you will reach out to those around you. Be sure to offer a hand rather than a pointing finger. Lift others up rather than yourself. Never forget how recent it was that you were in the same boat as them.
May YHVH be praised in all that we do!