Christian Life

The Twelve “Shoulds” of Christmas

{This blog is intended to give testimonial purposes only; the history and theology I bring up are far too big of topics to comprehensively cover in one blog.}

Around 2008/2009, before I knew anything about organic church, I was learning about the syncretism* that has taken place in Christianity over the past 2 millennium. Specifically as it applies to the holidays; Easter, Halloween, and Christmas. It seemed abundantly clear to me that these holidays are deeply rooted in paganism in their history and customs. As such, it seemed natural to root it out of my life and stop celebrating these holidays. So I did. This created much misunderstanding and judgement in my family as I was making things awkward. So a year or two of this passes, and around that time I read Pagan Christianity, which is a sort-of history book of how Constantine’s legalization of Christianity really diluted its potency in many ways. Prompted in part by the book, I searched for an organic church, and about a year later He led me to one. It became quickly apparent to me that the people in the church did not share my convictions on the holidays, which was disappointing but not surprising.

This was about 5-7 years ago, and in retrospect I had made a critical error. In seeking Jesus about the holidays and what “pure and undefiled religion” means in 21st Western culture, I had started out with the wrong premise. My premise was contained in the questions that was on my mind: “Should Christians celebrate Christmas?”

Did you catch it? If you didn’t, my error was contained in the first word: “should.” The “should’s” of Christianity have enslaved untold millions of believers or would-be believers over the centuries. In fact, this concept was one of the things Jesus hated the most: the Pharisees were frequent purveyors of the “shoulds” of Judaism.

I believe that often when christians (and non-christians) use the word “should,” they are unwittingly eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Asking a question or making a statement with the word “should” too easily establishes a principle; and whenever principles get introduced, its just too natural a thing for us humans to look to the principle instead of looking to Christ.

I challenge you: start tuning in to when you or others use the word ‘should’. I have done this and I have been surprised at how often it can twist a situation/conversation in a subtle yet unhealthy way. Try it: you’ll probably be surprised at what Christ shows you. [But don’t get goofy on us: this has to be applied with a certain level of mental dexterity and discernment. For example, I use the s-word at the end of this blog in a completely appropriate context: I’m speaking of something in the past which has the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.]

Oh by the way, the question I should have asked was: “Jesus, this is new information, how do You want to respond in this vessel of yours?”

*Syncretism is the term for when two different beliefs/philosophies are unified; in this case, christianity and paganism.

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1 Comment

  1. Reply
    Brad
    December 8, 2016 at 11:33 am

    I support any reason for a good God party. When is your birthday?

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