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EP. 98 How to Embrace Christmas During the Pandemic


To View the Video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/-qmEzVuqUZc


SHOW NOTES


Welcome to episode 98 of the Hope Rescue Podcast. This week we are debunking some popular Christmas myths and discussing how we can all embrace Christmas in 2020. Keep reading or listening to find out!


Tim and Kimberly begin by sharing some of their favorite things about Christmas. Kimberly shares that she loves how Christmas time brings family together. She loves baking with her daughters and serving her family, and she also loves giving gifts. Tim shares that while he doesn’t love the commercialism of Christmas, he loves having a full home and talking about the story of the birth of Jesus. Reading the Christmas story before opening gifts on Christmas day sets the foundation and focus on what Christmas is really about. It can be easy to get wrapped up in having the perfect gifts for everyone or the perfect meal and forgetting why we are even celebrating in the first place.


Tim and Kimberly continue by debunking some common Christmas myths. The first myth is: Jesus was born on December 25th. Although we celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th, he was likely not actually born on that day. A common objection to the 25th of December is that the shepherds are tending their flocks by night when the announcement of the birth of Christ comes. The argument is that it would have been too cold for them to have their flocks outside at night in the winter.


The second myth is: Christmas is based on a pagan holiday. Many of the Christmas traditions we carry out today come from a Roman holiday called Saturnalia. Traditions such as giving gifts, singing songs, lighting candles, stopping work, decorating homes with wreaths and greenery, and feasting were all present during the celebration of Saturnalia in ancient Rome. During this period in ancient Rome, Pagans and Christians co-existed, and by the end of the fourth century, many of the Saturnalia traditions became absorbed by the traditions of Christmas. Although many of the Christmas traditions we carry out originated from a pagan holiday, Tim emphasizes that it’s important that we are Biblical with everything we do. We decorate, celebrate, and give gifts with the birth of Jesus in mind. When we carry out some of these traditions, it’s not because we are honoring the agricultural god Saturn. We are honoring the birth of the Messiah who saved the world.


The third myth is: we shouldn’t have Christmas trees because they have pagan roots. In Northern Europe the Druids, the priests of the ancient Celts, decorated their temples with evergreen boughs as a symbol of everlasting life. In the mid 1500's, Germans began using evergreen trees as a symbol of hope for the coming of spring. This practice gradually evolved from pagan rituals and merged with the celebration of Christmas. Again, if we have Christ in mind as we decorate and celebrate Christmas, trees can just be another form of worship.


We must accept the facts that Christmas trees are not used in scripture. December 25th is never listed as the date of the birth of Jesus. But these facts shouldn’t steer us away from celebrating Christmas. It’s okay that we choose to celebrate the birth of Jesus on a specific day each year. It’s a specific day to stop and remember the humble beginnings of the savior of the world. It’s okay to give gifts on Christmas, even if the ancient Romans also gave gifts in honor of a pagan god. The most important thing is that we know the motive behind why we are celebrating in the first place. In John 8:12, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” When we see Christmas lights used as decorations, let’s allow that to be a reminder that Christ is the light of the world. We can make our Christmas trees about Christ. We can make our gift giving about Christ. We can make our gatherings, our meals, and our songs about Christ.


Many states have gone back into stay-at-home orders. Many people have not been to church or with their communities for months, and many are not traveling for the holidays this year. So how can we make Christmas great this year?

  1. We can worship Christ in humility. By remembering the story of the birth of Christ, we can remind ourselves that Christmas wasn’t originally about giving or receiving expensive gifts or having the perfect holiday meal. It was about Christ’s humble entrance into the world.

  2. We can focus on what we have instead of focusing on what we don’t have. When we are overwhelmingly thankful for all that we have, we forget about what we don’t have.

  3. We can see this as a unique Christmas year and not compare this year to past years. It’s a fact that 2020 has been a very different year than what most of us can remember in our lifetimes. Let us focus on the moment this year and be grateful for the birth of Jesus.


God came to earth that wonderful Christmas night so that He would grow up, live the perfect life, and die in our place on a cross, satisfying God’s wrath against us. Then he would raise from the dead on the third day, and anyone who trusts in Him can be saved and have eternal life. Let us celebrate Christmas with this in mind. Let everything be a celebration of Christ.


QUOTES


“This year let us focus on the raw humility in which Jesus came into this earth.” -Kimberly


“When we are overwhelmingly thankful for all that we have, we forget about what we don’t have.” -Tim


REFERENCED SCRIPTURE


John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”



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