*The Family Trap. I’ll start with this first less obvious danger. Some will argue with this but it is a reality. Christmas is not about family. I’m not the Grinch but it really is not a time that is about a family reunion. Having said that it is great that we do get together with our families to do what the holiday is really about- worshiping Christ. But it really isn’t a time that should only center on seeing our loved ones. It is nice we do that but that’s not the priority or the focus. When Christmas fell on a Sunday a few years ago several mega churches called off Sunday morning services because they said Christmas was time for family. Wow. I don’t get that. The day is not Jesus’ actual birth day and it had origins that are pre-Christian but when the church adopted this time it was as a religious time just like Pentecost, Easter, etc. It was a time of worship and celebration and not sitting around and eating turkey and catching up. I’m not saying you can’t do both but we should never sacrifice the original intent.
*The Material Trap. This is the easy one. This is the one we all complain about but do any way. Commercialism has defeated much of the season. What if we agreed to not buy gifts (at least for adults)? What if we just bought things for the kids but not for adults? What if we gave that money to the poor or the church?
*The Habit Trap. It’s time to do it again. We have to do this and that and then we move on. We can’t change any of what we do because that’s what we do. It’s a habit. Nothing more.
Maybe you can think of other traps. Avoid ‘em. This is foremost a time of worship and praise. We had a winter storm on December 20th and were unable to have our service and play/concert. We are having a play/concert this week instead and will have our Christmas Eve service if the weather doesn’t hit hard again. I’m praying we can meet because this is what it is about. Yet on Sunday my family did gather in our bedroom and sang, prayed, and read Scripture. We’ll do that again if the weather goes bad. A few years ago when I met with my extended family we actually had communion together. I found that to be wonderful and inspiring.
A different generation went to war against Christmas. It was attacked not by nonbelievers but by the church. Puritans and others in the US and England felt that Christmas celebrations were worldly, pagan, and involved sin. They worried it would take people away form Sunday services. They banned it. The population rebelled. Yet before this time Christmas had once been a very holy time. Now we are past the holy time, party time, and find ourselves into something different. Now Christmas is watered down to be a time to get with family, spend too much, stress out, and rush around. Let’s rebel!
Go and worship!