The Traditions of Christmas

Written by  Linda Brumley, Seattle, Washington Saturday, 22 December 2012 04:59

There are the universal traditions--trees and presents, red and green, nativity scenes and Santa, reindeers and elves--and the personal ones handed down in families, sometimes for generations. They call up sweet memories--comfort and joy!

Traditions are interesting things. Some are sacred and some are mundane. Some are mundane that we hold as sacred. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for their traditions. (Matthew 15:1-9)

Christmas, itself, is a tradition that was man-conceived. It was never suggested, much less commanded, by God that we celebrate the birth of his Son. That said, how do we evaluate Jesus' attitude toward this holiday with it's many traditions?

I think he made that clear in his address to the Pharisees.

Jesus' concern was that some traditions can "nullify the word of God." That is quite a charge to bring against the most rigidly religious people of his day! It suggests that we all would do well to measure any act of worship against this standard: "Does it nullify the word of God?" In other words, have we or the church we are a part of replaced the original intent or command of God with a ritual of human origin?

Certainly using Christmas as an excuse for sin--greed and over-indulgence--is wrong. But there may be a sneakier issue. The religious world's attention to Christmas (and I would add Easter) has made many people believe that if they make it to church on these special holidays, they have fulfilled God's yearly minimum requirement and they get a pass on more serious involvement with his church. This nullifies everything God intended his church to be in our lives: a family (Eph 2:19), a functioning body (I Cor. 12:12-31), a caring community (Gal. 6:10), a committted fellowship (Heb.10: 24, 25), a group of like-minded people dedicated to unity, service and spiritual growth (Eph.4:1-16).

Some denounce "organized religion" and replace church with inspirational activities that have meaning in their own lives. But church was God's idea. When our personal ideas replace the commands of God, they nullify his word.

May every part of your Christmas celebration draw you closer to Jesus and to his church and give you a deeper appreciation for a God who would become flesh! Merry Christmas!

Read 1631 times Last modified on Saturday, 22 December 2012 05:00