View Full Version : Big Bubba - The Holidays Threads Merged
December 10th, 2007, 01:58 PM
^^ I* love your new custom Biblenugget!! WHat a NEAT idea.... :thumb
We just got our tree last night; it looks so festive in the family room now.. And all my snowmen in the livingroom.. I love snowmen. Having a difficult time finding a nativity this year.. :( My kids' lost some of our pieces and now i need to find a new one.. Although they still play with it all the time and add in their own guys for the ones missing. :lol2
December 10th, 2007, 02:15 PM
The Message of Mistletoe
Pastor George Van Alstine
I once was a Christmas purist. As a young pastor, I thought it was important for us to remove all the pagan and commercial elements from our celebration of Jesus’ birthday so the truth of the gospel could be seen clearly.
Of course, all the modern Christmas fables would have to go, like Rudolph and Frosty and the Grinch. Santa, his elves and reindeer were a tradition formed out of numerous pre-Christmas pagan elements, even though the old guy had been “baptized” with the name of an obscure medieval saint. The Christmas Tree was adopted from northern European tree-worship cults, some of them even involving human sacrifices. The very date of Christmas, December 25, was originally a pagan Roman holiday. One by one, some of my favorite Christmas impressions became suspect and finally fell to my puritanical axe.
Finally, even the authentic Christmas story itself had to be carefully examined. Were there three wise men? The Bible gives no number. In our Christmas pageants, how can we have them stand next to the Bethlehem manger alongside of the shepherds, when they actually visited Jesus up to two years later, probably in Nazareth? When Martin Luther wrote the familiar carol “Away in a Manger,” why did he say of the Baby Jesus, “no crying he makes”? Did Luther think it is sinful for a baby to cry and that the sinless Jesus could never cry? The Christmas purist must be theologically accurate.
I had been on this purifying-Christmas journey for only about two years when I realized that it was a dead-end approach. Rather than making Christmas more wonderful, I was robbing it of its glory. Over the years since, I have come to realize that the true meaning of Christmas is not so puny that all these other seasonal legends and traditions can obscure it. Instead, the true meaning of Christmas is so powerful and robust that it can infuse even pagan and commercial elements with spiritual meaning. So now I see the Baby Jesus as “infecting” Rudolph, Santa, Christmas Trees and old pagan traditions, rather than the other way around.
Mistletoe is the final test case. This plant, that lives off the branches of other trees, was considered holy by the Druids long before Christianity came to England. The Scandinavians and Germans also included it in their pagan worship. Its magical/medicinal properties were believed to be effective with everything from epilepsy to fertility. The mistletoe plant is parasitic, living by sucking the juices out of a hardwood tree, sometimes killing its host. Where does the name “mistletoe” come from? “Mist” means dung, excrement, and “toe” is short for “twig.” The plant’s seed looks like a bird-dropping on a branch, and later a twig grows from it into an entire parasitic plant. So those who named it saw it as the bird-poop plant.
All this kissing-under-the-mistletoe stuff is based on a legend of the Norse god Baldur’s tragic death by a sharpened sprig of mistletoe. The love of the other gods was enough to renew his life, and the kissing symbolizes this. A number of northern European tribes built from this the use of mistletoe as an excuse for a bit of naughty flirting.
Most old pagan traditions that are part of Christmas have subsequently been given Christian meaning. The Christmas Tree is an evergreen, so it reminds us of everlasting life. The holly adds red berries to the evergreen leaves, and this speaks of the blood of Jesus. The ancient human fascination with astrology gave way to the Star of Bethlehem, and now all the decorative stars we see at Christmas remind us of Jesus, the Light of the World.
But mistletoe is hopeless. I have not been able to discover any tradition that has been able to Christianize this plant in any way. It just hangs there at Christmas as a stubborn pagan leftover.
And yet, I’m ready today to claim even mistletoe for Christmas. This life-sucking parasite reminds me that I am totally dependant on the grace and love of Jesus, having no spiritual life without him. The fact that mistletoe is named after bird-droppings reminds me of Paul’s description of his human accomplishments without Jesus as “rubbish” (Philippians 3:8). That’s the polite English translation; Martin Luther put it more graphically in his German translation: ein haufen mist (“a pile of manure”—“mist”/“mistletoe”; get it?)
Even the kissing fits in. Jesus came in the flesh—in the real flesh. This is how the Savior pours his life into the needy parasite. He redeems the praying part of me, but he also redeems the kissing part of me. He renews me, body and soul.
So mistletoe has its place in the Nativity scene, maybe hanging from the eaves of the stable roof. It represents me, the parasitic fleshly me whom the Baby Jesus came to save.
December 10th, 2007, 03:04 PM
I heard a great analogy by Adrian Rogers about the Christmas tree in the Christian's lives.
He said that the Christmas tree - while being an 'ever green' which means that they don't die off in the winter and they are forever green - is a symbol of our eternal spirit.
Then, he said that for Christmas, we chop it down and carry it into the house and give it water.
That tree is now removed from its source that gives it life and while we are giving it water to stave off its death - it is still, never the less, dying.
The lost are decendents of Adam - which means we are destined to death because we were cut off from fellowship with God. We appear to be alive in this life but, are really dying. Just like the decorated Christmas tree 'looks' alive but it's days are numbered.
When we are born again - brought to us by the birth of Jesus - which we celebrate at Christmas - we are rejoined through Him as our mediator and savior - to the vine of life and live through Him.
I thought that was a cool explanation.
December 10th, 2007, 05:20 PM
I agree with others that think it was a good, balanced article on the issue.
December 11th, 2007, 12:28 AM
When the Angel goes on top there is no doubt as to what th tree represents in my house.
And personally I could care a less what the pagans think or worship as long as they keep their distance from me and my family.
As for me and my house we shall serve the Lord Jesus Christ and our Christmas time celebration of his birth in my opinion has nothing to do with a pagan calender since there are no pagans in my home or family, nor are they welcome. If you are atheiest, or etc.. you are not welcome at my Christmas celebration.
December 11th, 2007, 12:34 AM
In sincerely think it is wonderful so many of you can keep this "holy day" Christ centered and enjoy it so much. I wish that I could, but it is something that I've struggled with since childhood.
My family did not start going to church and I wasn't saved until I was 7. Christmas was always about Santa and presents and I don't remember Christmas even including Christ until I was 7. I hated Santa Claus, because I was afraid of him and actually was pleased to find out in my early childhood that he wasn't real. I told my little sister and she begged me to keep it a secret from mom and dad so we wouldn't get less presents. :rolleyes My mom always had to make a big deal every year about the tree, baking and Christmas cards. Oh, the tree had to be perfect...forget my sister and I helping. I think we did a few years, but then she got into buying fancy decorations and had to have a theme tree. We ate so much every year that I gained a ton of weight and was sick every holidy (literally puking). :doh And if my mom sent a Christmas card and didn't get one back from someone, it was the end of the world and that person was off her friendship list for sure. :tsk Yeah, these are my childhood memories of Christmas and the tree.
Fastfoward to high school. I worked in retail starting in the mid 90's. Enough said? That's enough to ruin Christmas for anyone. :pound It's amazing how people act around that time of the year. :fear
Then when I learned of all the pagan origins of Christmas, that did me in. I didn't want any part of the holiday anymore. I also became bothered with the mysticism/magical aspect of the season and it still gets to me that Christians and non-Christains both celebrate the day in virtually identical way. It helped that I work a job that is open 24/7/365 so I didn't have to make any excuses to avoid family functions. I will admit, I had a falling out with my mother at about the same time which helped the decision. This was the wrong reason I know. I also admit that I took it to the extreme and became very judgmental and bitter towards those who celebrated the day. I've come around though and I know in my heart that there are many people that can sincerely celebrate this day in the Lord Jesus, I'm just not one of them yet. I still struggle every year.
My husband and I since having children have decided to approach the day cautiously and Christ centered. We don't have a tree or lights, but we do have a Nativity (the "Little People" one since our kids are so young :aha ) Our tradition so far has been to go to Church Christmas Eve, come home to a nice meal, read the Christmas story, and the kids get one gift each. When the kids are older and are more understanding we've talked about celebrating/forming new traditions around Hanukka (sp?) instead. In fact, I think it would be neat to observe every Jewish feast in some way with my kids. Even though most Jews are blind to it, Christ is centered in every one of those "holy days". :thumb
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukka everyone! :wave
December 11th, 2007, 03:44 AM
I live in a place where children,do not even have sleepers.In every occasion, most especially christmas,It is so difficult to adorn our house,with christmas decors,if you know that there is someone in the niegborhood,who do not have food to eat(the reason perhaps why there are so much burglary).But it is tempting to decor especially if the non-christian nieghbors,intentionally beautify their home,to compete.I thank the Lord we get rid of the temptation.What we do,i cook food,and aportion them to our poor neighbors,on the eve of the 25th and since it is very noisy and the air is filled with firecrackers' smoke,we celebrate the christmas eve,in prayer and food to thank God for,our many blessings brought about by His saving us when He came on earth with the whole family checked in a hotel,living our house without a light,as if it is not christmas(According to the mold of this world),our house is not "in" during christmas.But i know deep down my heart we celebrated christmas.There's a year i remember,that adorned houses in our place with the beautiful decors inside and out,have been the target of bulglary. The reason why my son look forward to christmas,not only will he recieve a gift from mommy and daddy,but he will be able to enjoy what we are entitled to enjoy only in Christmas,and i see to it that our son know that it is the Lord's goodness that causesth us to enjoy those beautiful things.:)
December 11th, 2007, 07:54 AM
I am decorating my palm tree instead this year....hahaha I am putting my "names of Jesus" ornaments only-on it. The palm branches are a symbol of "victory in Christ"-so I now have a witnessing tool should anyone come by. :) I needed to start my own traditions this year and this is my first one.
What a neat idea! :hug
December 11th, 2007, 07:58 AM
A tree is not an idol to worship as they worshipped idols in the biblical days of before Jesus time and during. I don't think we worship trees. If you love to have the smell of pine in your house and decorate it.......I think that' just fine :) We just do dont it because we lost our family that's all. Good memories just continue to rip our hearts out that's all. So having a tree and decorating it is no difference than decorating your house with draperies and the like. :) IMHO
December 11th, 2007, 01:02 PM
Of course you have to do what you have to do. When my sister died, my other sister went over and put up a tree for my mom. She told her that my sister loved Christmas and she would be disappointed if my mom did not have a tree. I am not saying that things are the same. Christmas Dinner is scaled down alot from before my sister died. But, getting together for Christmas Day helps us. It is getting harder to put the tree up at my place,and I have to take a pain pill afterwards, but I so love having a Christmas tree. I hope when I am no longer physically able, my kids will put one up for me.
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