“Joy to the world, the Lord has come!” Those words mean so much to me now since I have left the meetings (they did before but we were discouraged from acknowledging Christmas songs about Jesus). But now, I can truly celebrate Christmas and it has brought me so much joy every year.
Since most of my readers have an association with the meeting church, you will know Christmas was ignored for the most part. Certainly the part that had anything to do with Jesus and His birth. The fellowship leaves Christ out of Christmas and that, to me, is one of the greatest ironies of all. I now find it very sad….and strange.
The explanation given was “we celebrate the birth of Christ every day and we don’t know the exact date of his birth anyway.” So, therefore celebrating Christmas was wrong because that is what religious people do,
The truth is, the birth of Christ was hardly ever talked about except in an occasional Gospel meeting. The death of Christ was every Sunday morning during communion. Of course, folks could have given thanks often for Jesus birth in their private prayers. During my journey the last 10 years whenever I would come to the Christmas question in my mind, here was my conclusion.
Most churches agree that we don’t know the exact date of Jesus’ birth. The date has been ‘established’ in history but the date isn’t the point of the holiday — Jesus is. There simply cannot be anything wrong with the Christian’s devoting a day to collectively give thanks for the greatest day of all time; the birth of Jesus. For Him to hear a loud “Halleluiah! Praise Him! He is born!“, must bring Him great joy. He must surely thrill at the sound of Christmas songs being sung in His Honor and glory throughout the world in churches, homes, and cars, wherever!
The first year I went to a church during the holiday season and we sang songs like Silent Night, O Holy Night, Away in a Manger, O Little Town of Bethlehem, I wept with sheer joy at the beauty and privilege of finally getting to sing those songs collectively. I love Christmas Eve services; the room of the sanctuary is absolutely gorgeous with lights, candles, decorations. We all light candles and sing praises to Him and hear the old old story once again.
It saddens me that the friends totally leave Christ out of Christmas, like much of the world does. The friends will sometimes exchange gifts, and some are brave enough to have Christmas trees. I remember clearly in the mid 1960’s here on the West Coat of the US, the workers suddenly decided that Christmas trees were unlawful. Up until then, we always had one! What on earth???
The very fact fact that the two most celebrated Christian holidays, Christmas and Easter, are ones the friends and workers find pagan and refuse to acknowledge, is just wrong!
OK….now that I’ve had my say, let me share what Christmas means to me this year in particular.
I am really feeling the need of Christmas this year. I keep thinking of, and listening to, Amy Grant’s song, “I need a Silent Night, a Holy Night. To hear an angel sing in the chaos and the noise. I need a midnight clear, a little hope right here.” I need the spirit, the comfort, the beauty, the decorations, the lights, the ambiance of Christmas now. Maybe more than ever before. I put my outside lights up last weekend. I couldn’t wait. I need to be enveloped in that part of it. Not the commercialism of it but the holiness, beauty and spirit of it. Hearth and home, as my boss often refers to the holidays. I like that.
I thought I was going to have the best Christmas ever this year because I thought I’d be sharing it with a someone, but that dream did not come true. I don’t yet know with whom I am celebrating it with or if I will be alone. But we are never truly alone, are we.