Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy holidays--minus the Christmas decors and festivities

by Al Sabado

Many years ago, I visited a home around this season and wondered why a family of believers did not decorate their house with Christmas decors. As a young believer, the pagan origin of Christmas was unknown to me and so, just like the others, I contended that the season was rightfully celebrated to remember God's gift: our salvation through Jesus Christ. However, I later realized that if paganism is the origin of Christmas, then that is never God's way for us to remember His free gift of salvation.

Many oppose, if not ignore, this notion and so despite their awareness of God's Word and gift of salvation, they continue to celebrate not just Christmas but also other traditions (e.g., birthdays, Valentine's, etc.) of pagan origin. But such a response is nothing new.

We can read from God's Word:
5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. (Mark 7:5-9)
This Biblical account tells us how people can value traditions more than they do the commandment of God, who tells us:
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Colossians 2:8)
Celebrating Christmas, birthdays, and other traditions of men are the patterns of this world. God's Word is clear in saying,
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)
Obeying God may be unpopular. But God's Word says: ". . . We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).

Repotting my mom's orchids that have been stuck in the pots for decades can be arduous. But the process is necessary so that orchids can breathe, grow new roots, and bloom once again--minus the excess of old roots, stems, and leaves.

As a believer, I've also started to remove the excess of my faith since the time I left a physical church. Not many people like the idea. But I've been set free indeed! I've shredded the journals I wrote and kept since 1995--nearly a hundred notebooks filled with my thoughts, combined with God's Word. When I die, I would rather leave behind God's Word--minus my thoughts--to my loved ones.

Let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No,' 'No'...