As a wee girl, I have always loved the holiday season of the Christmas celebration. The fascination of the decorations would hold my attention for hours. It certainly was the most beautiful time of the year. But truth be told, I was not interested in the gifts. My DNA includes a three-generational history of artists with raw talent. My preference was always for the deep, rich colors of mulberry accented with gold. Even so, there was always a thought in the back of my mind–Christmas was not Jesus’ birthday, nor was the holiday honoring Jesus, the Son of God who died on the cross. Christmas was a strong family tradition. I did not understand my thought processes, nor did I dare verbalize my feelings because of fear.
There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:12
It is not my intent to spark a debate regarding the celebration of Christmas. My love of the season has not changed. However, my perspective of the season has changed.
The Origin of Christmas Celebration
Pope Julius I chose December 25. It is commonly believed that the church chose this date in an effort to adopt and absorb the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival. First called the Feast of the Nativity, the custom spread to Egypt by 432 and to England by the end of the sixth century. By holding Christmas at the same time as traditional winter solstice festivals, church leaders increased the chances that Christmas would be popularly embraced, but gave up the ability to dictate how it was celebrated. https://www.history.com/topics/christmas/history-of-christmas
The Dilemma of Christmas Observance
In 2020, Americans were ready to spend an average of $998 on winter holidays. Most of the money spent on Christmas was planned for gifts ($650), non-gift holiday products like decorations ($230), and other non-gift products ($117). https://capitalcounselor.com/christmas-spending-statistics/
The increase in homelessness in the United States has risen sharply for single mothers and children. Since the pandemic, many individuals have lost their primary source of income. The social status of middle-class America has almost vanished. Our societies have two prominent classes of families–Those who Have and Have Not.
Poverty has always existed, and it will remain until the Second Coming of Jesus. In 2019, there were 123 million families in the United States. If half of the average money [$500] spent on one holiday was donated to shelters and churches, we would alleviate the suffering of many individuals. The total amount contributed for one holiday would be 61.5 billion dollars.
Christian believers, May God, have mercy on our ability to spend our money without any thoughts of stewardship or the fact that everything we possess is a gift from God. We have readily embraced the “I” concept indicating that our lifestyles are not in sync with the life of Christ or the Scriptures.
Yes, I will decorate with home with handmade Christmas items. And will send a beautiful handmade Christmas ornament to family and friends. Even so, I realize that my life is not my own. As a disciple, I must obey God. With a good conscience, I can no longer spend the financial blessings from my Heavenly Father on impractical gifts when my brothers and sisters are hungry and homeless.
What does God require of us?
Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Matthew 25:34-36
Prayer: God, we pray for the desire to live a life of sacrifice as you did. Are we our brother’s keeper? Yes, God, we are. Please transform our minds that we may see life through spiritual eyes. In Jesus’ name. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry