I’ll admit it right off the bat…I’m a Christmas Junkie.
I love Christmas. At 45 years of age, I still slow down to look at cool displays of exterior holiday lighting, and run through the house in my pajamas at random moments shouting “It’s almost Christmas!”.
I think my love for this holiday is two-fold. For one thing, there were eleven or more years of my life spent without Christmas. According to the belief system of the church I was a part of when I started following Jesus, Christmas, as with all popular holidays, had a pagan origin and should not be indulged in by God fearing Christians. Even after I left that church, I still struggled with my participation in the holidays. I just remember one day, walking through a department store alone, trying to avert my eyes from the beautiful decorations, and it seemed to me (you don’t have to believe it) that the Lord spoke to me.
“What are you afraid of?”
“Well…I’m not supposed to be afraid of anything….perfect love casts out all fear.” Slowly, my tight resistance to the holiday began to loosen.
For some reason that little exchange woke me up. This was no different from eating meat sacrificed to idols. Paul made it clear, those things mean nothing, it has everything to do with our own conscience (Romans 14, 1 Cor 10) and what we do with it. I could celebrate this holiday and let it be the warm, wonderful family holiday I wanted it to be.
(By the by, John MacArthur has written a really good article about the origins of the Christmas tree which I think puts to rest any worries about pagan connections to our dear tanenbaum.)
I think the other reason I’m a Christmas Junkie is the way it transports me back to a different time in my life. A time of innocence and ardent anticipation of good things to come. I believe there is a place for that sort of thing in the Christ Follower’s life. In so many ways, the childish rush of Christmas joy is a foretaste of what can be found in a life centered on Jesus. That’s the way I put Christ into Christmas…by seeing this holiday as a point of reference.
How about you? Are you in to Christmas, or is it a drag? Got your holi-dizzle in full effect, or do you think this is a heapin’ helpin’ of pagan stew?