Many of you that visit Facebook probably have seen many Christmas memes posted. One was all Text and No Picture, but I am sure you have seen it, or one similar. Today this really struck a nerve and so here is my perspective.
Here is the gist of the meme:
“Some thoughts as we enter the holiday season…It is important to remember that not everyone is looking forward to Christmas. Some people are not surrounded by large wonderful families and friends. Some of us have problems during the holidays and are overcome with great sadness when we remember the loved ones who are not with us. For many, it is their first Christmas without a particular loved one, many others lost loved ones at Christmas time. And, many people have no one to spend these times with and are besieged by loneliness. We all need caring, loving thoughts right now. May I ask my friends wherever you might be, to kindly to give a moment of support to all those who have family problems, health struggles, job issues, worries of any kind and just need to know that someone cares. Please do it for all of us, for nobody is immune.”
All this is an admonition to be considerate of others who seem sad, etc. Well, I stepped in it. I felt compelled to comment on the post. The person who posted the meme removed it, so I don’t have a record of exactly what I said. From memory I wrote something like this:
Not trying to rain on anyone’s parade, but why do you suppose that we need a disclaimer like this for the holidays? I have never experienced any of this while keeping the Father’s Feasts. We (as believers) have allowed the Christmas season to be so over-hyped that it has become an idol. No matter how much we want to claim Jesus is the reason for the Season, the busy-ness, gluttony, lies and hyper-expectations overshadow all of the things we wish most to embrace: our desire for peace, joy and love! And, after the ‘day’ we have placed so many expectations upon is past, we are left with credit-card regret and let-down. Who do you suppose is most happy with that?
Well, no one will accuse me of not being blunt, but I did apologize if my comment was offensive. That was not my intention, so instead I am writing this article.
Refer to my last article Christmas? Bah! Humbug! for another dose of why I no longer celebrate Christmas. In it I mention the high suicide rates during the holidays and how so many of our traditions are just lies. Lies in understanding the trappings and traditions, and lies we tell our children and ourselves. Who is the ‘Father of Lies?’
I don’t mean to imply that I am unaffected by the holiday known as Christmas. I spent too many years and have too many memories of good things associated with this holiday! (see my article The Ghost of Christmas Past). But, when else during the year do we need to be especially considerate of others who have lost someone, or are experiencing difficulties with their health or finances? It just seems like Christmas places a spotlight on problems because the expectations, emphasis on friends, family, generosity and love that are tied up in the myth of Christmas is just impossible to ignore!
My question then: Is that a good thing? I don’t mean the wish for love, joy and peace; but the notion that these are aspirations for a particular time of year!
All those who are sad, lonely and in distress have their misery compounded by the ‘festivities’ that they cannot enjoy. Isn’t it worth consideration that maybe, just maybe, Christmas has gotten out of hand?
I mention that I haven’t noticed this kind of reaction when we participate in YHVH’s Feasts. The only sadness I feel when we celebrate Sukkot or Passover is that so many of the people I love don’t understand. It isn’t that I want them to validate what I believe; I need no validation in that regard. It is worse than that! They don’t know the joy of spending time with the Father during His Feasts that commemorate His Son, our Messiah! It is all about Him. He IS the Reason for His Seasons! And what a blessing to spend time with Him and the Family of Yah!
Since we have begun to walk in the shadow of Him, and to follow in the footsteps of Yeshua and the disciples, we have gained such wonderful friends! Friends that feel closer, sometimes, than family!
Maybe it is because the ‘whole’ world isn’t sharing in our celebrations. They are not accompanied by the 24/7 reminders that are so entangled with Christmas. There aren’t any radios playing the equivalent of Christmas carols for the time leading up and throughout our Feasts. Every store and neighborhood is not decked out with Lulavs, First Fruits or the Ten Plagues and Lambs as we lead up to Sukkot, Shavuot or Passover. His Feasts are quiet (even though joyful when we sing and dance)! They are focused on Him (we actually read the Torah portions and discuss the Bible)! We have our own traditions (many borrowed from the Jewish community). Traditions like, the re-telling of the Exodus story and the rejection of leavened bread at Passover, to which we add the understanding of Yeshua as our Passover Lamb and Savior. We eat latkes and fried donuts, light candles and wave lulavs (depending on the feast and time of year), and we observe His First Feast: Shabbat.
We don’t have to save up all our celebrations for two days in the winter and place all our emphasis there. He has given us three Feasts we must observe: Passover, Shavuot (Pentecost) and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). Although Shavuot is only a single day event, Passover and Sukkot are feasts that last for an entire week!! Talk about party!
And, we have the great privilege of celebrating the first of his Feasts: Shabbat, every single week of our lives! What a blessing!
It occurs to me that if everyone understood what a blessing it is to follow His commandments (which includes celebrating His Feasts) the over-stimulating, over-hyped and over-blown holiday known as Christmas would fade into the dustbin of history where it belongs.
He understands our need to be with each other and to honor Him. Why is it such a ‘burden’ to embrace the great gift He has for us? We can continue to do things ‘our way’ or we can choose to do things ‘His Way.’ Seems to me that the world (that we are supposed to be IN but not OF) is not doing such a great job of bringing Peace and Goodwill toward men. Maybe we need to re-think our celebrations. Might you want to try His plan? After all, He had the plan for us from the beginning. If we truly understand that He loves us, why would we try to do it all ourselves?
Written over the lintel in my home is this:
As for me and my house we will serve YeHoVaH. ~Joshua 24:15
And that needs no disclaimer.