I have been sharing about how educating our children changed our lives forever. The first four posts can be found here: part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.
As God continued to guide our families education the school year 2011/2012 would become one of the most pivotal years in our lives. Our family verse for this school year was 2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." Wow, what a thought. As we recited this verse each day, the children and I were truly challenged by it. Did we truly believe it? and if we did what did it mean for us as we continued to study God's law in the Old Testament. As we continued to read the laws God gave to His people, Israel, we wondered if these laws applied to us. But, then it started to make sense God gave His people these laws because He loved them. He knew if they would follow them then they would live a healthier, safer, blessed life.
As Christmas once again approached Jeremy and I realized we must make a decision. God's Word was clear and we needed to apply all of it to our lives. You see from the very beginning of our marriage Jeremy made it clear that he hated lying, and he especially hated when parents lied to their children. So he said there would be not Easter bunny, Santa Clause, tooth fairy or any other pretend legendary people visiting our home. He felt very strongly about this and when our first born, Tyler Ann at the age of three asked about Santa, he clearly told her that is was a make believe activity that some families liked to do at Christmas time. Of course, this created a very embarrassing moment for me, when we are shopping at Meijer and the children are lined up all around the store waiting to see Santa, and she shoots at the top of her lungs, "Santa isn't real, he's just make believe." But this belief of telling our children the truth always was very important, and now it seemed it was time to make it clear again to all of them what we believed.
So, we discussed the fact that, yes, God's Word makes it clear that He does not want His people to participate in activities that are rooted in Pagan idolatry. So, we would no longer be celebrating Christmas at home. No more advent, no more Easter, no more Christmas tree.
But God's Word also made it clear that we are free in Christ. We are not bound by the Law but free in it. So, therefore, if our brothers and sisters in Christ did not choose to see the benefits of being set apart, we are not to judge them, nor are we to cause division in the body because of our convictions. In fact, we understood Paul to say that if we are invited to a believers home and they participate in such activities that we are not only to not judge, but to interact with them in love.
Here are some verses that we decided to point out to our children in regards to why we still go to grandma's house at Christmas time.
In 1 Corinthians 10, we read how God lead Israel and how they lost their way ,and He gave them the law for an example for us, and also for instruction for us. These verses talk about fleeing idolatry and following God's law, BUT they concluded with these verses.
1 Corinthians 10:31-33
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.
Here is a passage for why we still participate in church activities, like a Christmas program.
We wanted to make it clear to our children that God's Word, all of it, is beneficial, but it is not our job to argue with others about how to live out their faith.
In Titus 3, we are reminded that our salvation is a gift of grace from Christ, it is NOT because of our good deeds, and we are reminded at the end of this passage to not argue over trivial things.
But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.
You see the bottom line is that we believe God can and does use all things to bring Truth to His people. We believe God can be glorified in humble and obedient hearts. So, we choose not to get caught up in the man made rituals of Christmas, but we respect others who choose to use this season to celebrate Christ. As we move forward to finishing out this year, 2013 we again will not put up a Christmas tree, we will not be buying gifts for our children, we will not talk of Santa, we will not even do an Advent wreath. But, we will be apart of our churches Christmas program, and we hope and pray that it will be an opportunity to share the truth of Jesus with those who do not know him as their Lord and Savior. We will go to my mom's house for dinner on December 24th, we will play games, sing to the Lord, and even receive and exchange a few gifts. We will also go to Jeremy's mom's house and have dinner, exchange gifts, sing to the Lord, and play games. Does that sound hypocritical to you? Well, I hope you don't see it that way. God wants us to honor and respect our parents, God wants us to bless others, and not cause division in the family of God. So, it sounds a little strange, but this is where the LORD has lead our family.
The Lord continues to use our children to teach us about Him. The more they dig into His Word, the more we dig in too. Giving up Christmas, advent, and Easter was very hard for me, but the joy of learning from God's Word with my children, is priceless. To be honest, giving up one day a year is easier than some of the lessons of daily sacrifice. For example, this school year our character trait is humility. Talk about tough lessons to learn. But that is another story.
I hope these blogs have blessed you. I encourage you to click on the links through out the posts to learn more, especially the links to scripture. If you are truly interested in learning the true origins of Christmas and Easter, here is a link to a very interesting summary of their history. It is about an hour and a half long, but so worth watching to the very end. Blessings.
Truth about Christmas video