what’s really real anymore?

“It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it;
but the young know they are wretched for they are full of the truthless ideal
which have been instilled into them,
and each time they come in contact with the real,
they are bruised and wounded…”

W. Somerset Maugham

Between the books I’m reading, the barrage of breaking “news” stories,
our caustic and even catastrophic political world..add to that those issues that
scream for our attention yet go woefully ignored….
throw in a good dose of life, seasoned with “this time of year”…
and something or maybe everything is leaving me a bit unsettled..

By all outward appearances I am going through all the proper motions…
I am saying all the right things while doing all the necessary things.
Nothing would lead anyone to suspect that anything was awry.
And yet something unseen continues to pull at my sleeve as I unconsciously try
pulling back….such that the unconscious is almost becoming conscious.

Am I just becoming Ebenezer?
Perhaps more Grinch than Scrooge?
Or am I simply now jaded beyond repair?

After thinking about the two posts I wrote earlier this week—
the first being about meat and potatoes vs purposeful yet empty noise and distraction….
with the second tale being about of the continuing saga of the annihilation of
the oldest, as in the very first group of collective Christians, I have found myself wrestling with what it is that we think we’re passing off as Christmas.

Whoa.
Sacred cow now being looked at sideways…

I’ve allowed this thought to ruminate as I’ve chewed the cud over it.

Christmas is for children….that is a certain absolute..as in for sure.
And I have loved Christmas–both past and present as I anxiously await
sharing it with a new granddaughter next year…..
but…..

Christmas, for me and mine, has basically been a joyous time of melding
tradition and custom with Biblical teaching.

But something is starting to really trouble me….
There are…
Advent wreathes with the lighting of candles while there are “Advent” calendars
counting down the days until Christmas—with more and more equating simply to
good food, family and presents…..

There is…
Santa Claus Christmas
and there is….
Jesus Christmas.

Hummmm….

I have Jewish friends who have decorated Christmas trees, stockings on their mantles,
a menorah in the kitchen as they take the kids to Santa for pictures
and wrap up gifts and goodies in red and green paper to nestle under the tree.

I know nonbelievers who have decorated Christmas trees, stockings on their mantles
and presents wrapped in red and green under the tree…as their children, along with
those Jewish children, leave out cookies and milk for Santa.

Christmas.

Expectation verses Expectancy
Lights verses Light.
Gifts verses Giving…

Has it all gone too far?
Have we allowed it to go too far?
Have we been sucked into a lie?

I think that which is tugging at my sleeve is the Holy Spirit Himself.
I am being reminded that what I’m seeing as Christmas has nothing to do with
Christ’s Mass….nothing to do with the expectant waiting of the birth of Salvation.

And so I wrestle—where do we as Believers now draw the line?

Do we do so silently…or…a bit more loudly?
Loudly as in no longer just riding merrily along in the sleigh with everyone else
jing jing jingling into the oblivion of Currier and Ives… or rather do we say
a collective “hold up”…

First and foremost Christmas is about one thing…and one thing only….
and that is the birth of Christ…
So don’t try to pass this societal thing you’ve created off as anything
other than secularism masquerading as the Christmas of Christ.
You want your Yuletide but you don’t want the Christians to have their
Christ’s Mass…
You want your goodies and your holidays but you don’t want to acknowledge the
Savior of all mankind…..

And so while wrestling with this gnawing notion rolling around in my thoughts
and heart, I caught the latest offering by the Wee Flea Pastor
David Robertson….talk about reading my mind…

It is the tale of fake news verses real news…..

Is Christmas Christian?
….But what about as a Christian festival?
It can be argued that Christmas becoming a secular/pagan festival is just
returning to its pagan roots.
It was the Church that took over the midwinter festival and turned it into a
celebration of the birth of Jesus
(who was not born on December the 25th – more likely to have been a day in April).
Was this a bad thing?
Some of our ancestors thought so –
and famously refused to celebrate Christmas.
Even in living memory there are those who can recall Christmas just being a
normal working day – with New Year being the main festival.
Most Free Churches still do not have a Christmas Day service
(unless it is on a Sunday) but we do have a New Years Day.

It’s not wrong to celebrate Christmas,
and its not wrong not to celebrate.
Let each be persuaded in their own minds.
What however is wrong is to turn the birth of Jesus Christ,
into an orgy of commercialism, greed and drunkenness.
The idea that people will get themselves into enormous debt to buy things
they don’t need in order to celebrate the birth of the one who though he was rich,
yet became poor, for our sakes, is grotesque.

We are able to use our building to proclaim the good news of Jesus,
as opposed to the ‘fake news’ of the secular Christmas.
In that respect I love what the angels told the shepherds as they looked
after their flocks
“Do not be afraid.
I bring you good news that will bring great joy for all the people.
Today in the town of David,
a Saviour has been born to you.;
he is the Messiah, the Lord”
.
(Luke 2:10-11).

Great Joy for all the People – The Christmas Record

28 comments on “what’s really real anymore?

  1. atimetoshare.me says:

    The message gets lost in the madness of the season, just like God’s Word gets trampled on by the devil and all his growing bounty of minions. I pray that more will turn to that little babe in the manger this year, so we can escape the madness of the world.

  2. Lynda says:

    We are only responsible for what we do. We can keep “Christ in Christmas” by living as Jesus taught – living for others and emptying ourselves of all that is not Christ-like. The message that we give others is very important as we enjoy the secular season in a generous and giving way but worship the Christ who lives within and guides us into living holy lives. That holiness includes looking after the marginalized all year and not just at Christmas. And especially being a strong steadying non-violent voice as Jesus demonstrated in the midst of the mixed up world of his day. Blessings.

  3. POWERFUL Julie! POWERFUL! This message was so refreshing to my soul. It was a kiss from the Lord reminding me, “How I’ve led you is how you live.” A few years back God led me through a transformation in celebrating His birthday. He led me away from the traditional BUSINESS, BUSY-NESS, and MERCHANDISING of this sacred remembrance. He taught me how easy it is to justify doing a lot that stuff, but in the midst of it all, the real meaning and message is lost…

    In simple terms he said, let your birthday be your day, and let Mine be Mine. He said let other people’s birthday be theirs, and let Mine be Mine! He further reminded me of the wise men, who brought Him gifts. They didn’t bring anything to Mary nor Joseph.

    So what prez-uh nt (noun) do we pri-zent (verb)?

    “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God…Romans 12:1-2

    So THANKS for the reminder! Blessings to you and yours!

  4. phyllissnipes says:

    The good Wee Flea Pastor presented the very reason we do not have a tree in our home at Christmas. It’s fine to have one, and I miss the tree, but it’s not about what makes me feel good and traditions that are not related to the real birth of Jesus. We simply choose to forego the tree. GREAT post!

  5. Wally Fry says:

    Good stuff, Julie. I will be frank, in that I have numerous problems with the pagan aspects of the Christmas holiday. There are many, and it really can’t be denied. On the other hand, the slide into legalism can be abrupt. It’s rather the same as Halloween. I don’t play it. My family does. So, I don’t do as I legitimately could and not let it happen in my home; they do it, and leave me alone about it. Christmas, done the right way, can be a blessing. We have been going twice a week the last few months to the new assisted living facility to sing with them. It’s a blessing, and makes those folks so happy. So, I sing Christmas songs and wear a Santa Hat. Why? Well, my conscience can live with it, because it’s Jesus type love going on there. Them’s my two cents.

    • agreed Wally—there are ties that lace it all together and I enjoy the lacing—but the forced lacing by our culture, more and more, is just gotten me to my tipping point.
      And I was going to mention Halloween in all of that but I didn’t…but I couldn’t agree more-I did halloween when our son was little in that he’d dress up and we’d take him trick or treating to family and friends to get his share of candy—otherwise I was more about “the harvest” so we had pumpkins but not jack o lanterns…we had hay bales but no skeletons…
      We had a nod toward Thanksgiving but no nod toward cemeteries and ghosts—all saints and all souls day, but not day of the dead…..

      So yep—there is good and there is bad and the importance is knowing the difference

  6. lljostes says:

    We hear the cry of John the Baptist, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near!” The days leading up to Christmas is the listening to the Baptist’s cry as he prepared the way for Messiah. Repentant hearts we lay at His feet. Christ has come and He is coming again! This will always be the message of Christmas! It’s not what WE do at this time of year to muster up a holiday feeling of goodwill…it’s what God has ALREADY done for us in giving us His Son to live a perfect life–which He then willingly gave up on the Cross, paying the price for our sins. The gift of faith imparted to us opens wide the gates of Heaven! Blessings to you, Julie, at Christmas and always! ~ Laura

  7. oneta hayes says:

    “So don’t try to pass this societal thing you’ve created off as anything
    other than secularism masquerading as the Christmas of Christ.” Some powerful words you are saying, Julie. You already know how I feel here in my corner. I hate the hub-bub and commercializing. The occasion makes for a lot of selfishness and greed with the children. But many do get a “Christmas Story” that they wouldn’t get if they weren’t having to sit and listen before they get their presents. 😀 (I hope we aren’t judged as “luke-warm” but it is pretty much that, isn’t it? Lord, I’ll give you my ten percent if I can have the rest.”
    However, there is another side. My husband and I neither care much for a big to-do about birthdays. He wouldn’t go to a birthday party. I went. While I sat being basically bored I realized how important it was that our extended family get together. If someone doesn’t call a “deadline” such as a birthday or a holiday, we would continue putting off our “get-together” family times. I am being “forced” to do something family-wise this next Saturday. I’m a Scrooge about it even as I smile, invite, make plans. But in my heart of heart I know how important it is to carry on traditions, build loving foundations, teach respect within generations, communicate one on one (as opposed to FB), so I hope my beloved family continue to “force” me to participate. So I’m repenting and trying to be nice! 😀 (At least, I am trying for a balance.)

  8. I missed this post somehow, Julie… and what a powerful post it is! Your chewing the cud resulted in some very deep and challenging thoughts! And now I will have something to ponder… time for me to chew the cud as well. 😉 ❤ and hugs!

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