Post Number: 17
|Posted on Monday, December 10, 2012 - 11:04 am: || |
We've already had a thread discussing how Christmas is different for us now that we are born again Christians, and I've been thinking about this for the entire Advent season so far. How many of you were taught that the only reason it was ok for us to celebrate Christmas with all its pagan origins was because Ellen White said we could use the season as a way to 1) help others 2) evangelize? That we could take advantage of the attitudes of Christmas to help others and that was why it was ok? I honestly remember that, even though we did celebrate the birth of Christ, it was almost something that caused us to cringe. This isn't something that was overt, it was a subtle undertone. Like it was somehow wrong for us to celebrate Jesus' birth now since it wasn't the exact date and Christmas was only pagan anyways. And Christmas really was another way that the Catholic church took something pagan and "Christianized" it, just like the Sunday Sabbath. Now, don't get me wrong, my family loves Christmas and they most certainly celebrate Christmas, but...there was this subtle stigma attached to it that we never really voiced out loud, but it was there. We almost felt more comfortable with Christmas being about Santa Claus than for it to be about Jesus. Does this make sense? Am I crazy, or did anyone else experience this?
Post Number: 248
|Posted on Monday, December 10, 2012 - 12:09 pm: || |
I was taught the Christmas tree was pagan, yet in the SDA church they always had one at the front and The children would put their offerings on it. So weird
Post Number: 770
|Posted on Monday, December 10, 2012 - 12:57 pm: || |
In my family growing up we loved Christmas and celebrated with the tree, gifts, carols, and JOY!
We did state that we 'knew' that JESUS was not 'really' born in December, but we gave ourselves over to the holiday~ to celebrate his birth~in spite of what 'egw' said!
Santa Claus always came down my chimney in Arizona with my requested gifts! after all, I had written him a letter and been a 'good girl'!
My parents were quite adept at ignoring 'egw' when they did not agree with what she wrote! A lot of this had to do with my Father who 'converted' to adventism (for my Mother's sake) when I was two years old~ he loved the church and the people, but he made up his own mind what to believe from 'egw'~
My Mother, not so much! My Father, was certainly the "Head" of our home!
I heard all the things in church and school that you wrote above~ but at home these were not made an issue~
Post Number: 107
|Posted on Monday, December 10, 2012 - 4:37 pm: || |
I didn't hear much about the "pagan origin of Christmas" growing up, but now that my Dad is following Jeff Pippenger's teachings and headed down a more extreme path of SDAism than he was on, I hear more every year about it and how we shouldn't celebrate it. I haven't heard anything yet this year, though (*fingers crossed*).
I didn't really experience what you describe, Eternal_joy, but it doesn't sound crazy at all. It makes total sense.
Post Number: 771
|Posted on Monday, December 10, 2012 - 8:34 pm: || |
After re-reading my post #770~ I realized that for many years now, the focus of my celebrating is on, The "GIFT" of JESUS CHRIST to us~
Wrapped not in gold paper and ribbons, but human flesh~
The SON of GOD ~ EMMANUEL ~ GOD with us~
This particular year I am trying to enjoy, a "Mary...NOT a Martha..." Christmas!
Post Number: 14147
|Posted on Monday, December 10, 2012 - 11:44 pm: || |
Yes, Eternal-Joy, I also had that subtle but powerful message. We did celebrate Christmas, but I heard all that stuff about the pagan origin, the incorrect date, etc etc.
I remember clearly that if Sabbath and Christmas coincided, opening gifts had to wait until after sundown. Christmas was completely eclipsed by Sabbath. It felt like such a CHEAT.
In our family my mom didn't care for a lot of decorating...I don't think she opposed it in principle, but it was too much work for her taste. But food became the main point of tradition.
Christmas, however, was always tainted a bit with the "fake=ness" of it. And yes, the Santas and trees and bells and reindeer were usually more fun than any manger scene...
Post Number: 102
|Posted on Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - 7:24 am: || |
I can completely relate to what you posted. I'd say I experienced much of the same. We knew Christmas was supposed to be about Jesus and we certainly sang all the religious Christmas carols and gave lip service to Jesus' birth being "the reason for the season." However, in my personal experience, it's so sad to me now to admit, the Jesus part of Christmas was sort of annoying. It kind of got in the way of the commercial/shopping/Santa/presents/FUN version of Christmas. It made it too serious. What I was probably reacting to with my annoyance were the feelings of guilt that the manger scene didn't hold a lot of meaning to me, like I knew it should.
I just think this one of the many fallouts of not being taught who Jesus REALLY is. In Adventism, Jesus didn't really come to change anything. He came to be a perfect example to us - as a man. For Him to die for our sins didn't really make a lot of sense to me at the time because Adventists don't understand complete atonement at all! And, if Jesus didn't really usher in a New Covenant and we are still tied to the Old, then really what was the point in Him coming? I think this entire warped worldview takes the Divine right out of Christmas.
It has taken me off-guard to suddenly feel the significance now of what Christmas really is. Now I'm a little annoyed with the commercial side of it and would rather just sit in the beauty and expectency of the Advent season (which is also a completely new and foreign concept to me) and skip the shopping and gifts. Just yesterday a thought popped into my head. I wondered if in my family we could make a change and give a big gift to each other on our birthdays (when we are ACTUALLY celebrating that person), rather than at Christmas, when it's not about getting gifts for ourselves. I suppose this was triggered because our church was just talking about the real St. Nicholas and that his mission was to care for the needy. Isn't that what we should be doing at Christmas? Giving away as much as we can to those who have nothing, rather than giving gifts to those who have everything? I mentioned it to my 11-yr old son and he surprisingly agreed. Slowly, many things are changing for the better in this family... to the Glory of God.
Post Number: 249
|Posted on Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - 2:44 pm: || |
I was not allowed to partisipate in Christmas festivities even while attending The SDA school. My parents went to the SDA church Saturday mornings And The WWCofG on Saturday afternoons. I was taught as long as we celebrated holidays in a total secular way it was ok but as Christians the only Christian acknowledgement Of special time was They Sabbath And Passover.
Post Number: 1215
|Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 10:49 pm: || |
In my childhood, no one talked against Jesus, but no one really talked much about His significance. (I mean, He could'v sinned, He didn't really save us [incomplete atonement--we kind of had to DIY by following the rules & being perfect]...
Our christmases were fun & secular, except when we sang Christmas carols when going out & begging $$ from strangers, (otherwise known as Ingathering.)
Imagine my awe at finding out that there are hundreds of specific OT prophecies about the birth, ministry & death of Jesus Christ! Makes me want to sing the "Hallelujah Chorus"!!!!!!!!!!!