Separating the Light from the Darkness in the Yuletide
We must get a handle on it. We must find the boundary between being in the world, which is fallen and decaying, but not being of it. If we celebrate Christmas, are we blending the light and the darkness? Are we to blame if centuries ago we have been fooled by a religion that was trying to breed the “good” with the “bad” and was becoming full of compromise and mediocrity? What do we do if we have learned to love this time of year more than any other?
In truth, since the life and example of Christ and the Catholic Church developing “Christmas”, something good that has come out of it is the taming down of the way the winter solstice has been celebrated. The flip side is that just because people are in good moods and filled with generosity doesn’t make them “holy” or “set apart.”
What does Paul say in I Corinthians 10:23? “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.”
We must meditate on this verse and decide where we stand in the balance regarding the hot topic of celebrating seemingly holy holidays with pagan roots. Is it profitable to celebrate Christmas? Does it edify? We will all feel differently about this, depending on where we are on our journey of faith. We must take special care to observe our convictions without pressing them down hard on others. Be open and honest, but do not judge.
For those who keep the day sacred, I understand. For those who want to be totally separate, I understand. I am still learning my place in this. It is hard to let go of those fond memories. I love listening to carols while making Christmas cookies. I think it is not wrong to gather with loved ones and to bring warmth to such a cold season.
One thing, for certain, I have gained in my research is the understanding of why so many people celebrate Christmas. It is a celebration that has been going of for thousands of years, before there ever was a baby Jesus. The “spirit” of Christmas is not equal to the Holy Spirit. The love most people have for this time of year is a love for nostalgia and tradition that God has nothing to do with.
Another thing to keep in mind, God made the seasons each with a purpose and symbolic nature to them. Winter is the season of the burial. We do not need to make it what it is not.
Do We Want to Bring Christ into Christmas?
As you move to and fro during this season, be “as wise as a serpent and as innocent as a dove.” Know the roots and the heart of the Christmas holiday, the Solar-mass or Saturnalia. Decide if you really want to bring Christ into it. Maybe it would be best, if we really must celebrate and are not free to part from it, as born again believers, we choose between St. Nick/Father Christmas/Santa and Christ.
Gather with loved ones. Pass around gifts. Bake and indulge in good food and drink.
Is it possible we, who profess to follow Christ, could learn to sing songs about his birth all through the year, and rejoice in it? Can we simply keep the Holy Spirit guiding us? If we do, then we can avoid being legalistic about “having to celebrate Christmas because we are Christians” or avoiding the celebrations of Christmas “because we’re Christians”. We can move with ease at the part of this journey we are on.
I know these things are hard to hear. I recognize I might not be popular. And I am aware that making such drastic changes in our lives won’t happen overnight. I am confident that most believers would agree the origins of Christmas are dark, and their connection with the pagan winter festivals are grim. I think there is a special “present” on the other side for those of us who are lovers of the truth.
I do not want to have a day of the year where I combine idolatry with the Son of God and think God is glorified in this! For all of us who thought we could take pride in this special “holy” time of year and pinned a button on our shirt, we were wrong, generally speaking. Jesus isn’t the reason for the season!
By Jori Sams