The Courage to Unlearn

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I’ve been absent for so long because I have been learning – and unlearning, and learning some more, lately.  I feel the Lord has impressed certain things upon my heart, to put into practice for my family and to share with others.  I feel woefully unequipped and inadequate to do so, but one lesson I haven’t forgotten is that the next step, after hearing, is obedience.  I’ll leave the rest to Him!

Earlier this year, before Easter, a friend brought to my attention the pagan origins of Easter and Christmas.  I was very shocked and also not sure that she was telling the truth.  I have always, to the best of my ability, honored Jesus on these holidays and thought that was where they originated.  I was upset and a bit angry to find out that they are not.  I do believe that Christ can redeem anything – from a lost soul to a pagan holiday.  However, after spending some time in prayer and studying Scripture, I came to the conclusion that even if my heart is in the right place – honoring Christ as risen on Easter and having gratitude and joy over his birth on Christmas – there is a good chance that simply partaking in these rituals causes Him a measure of grief.  I woke up one morning with this on my heart:

Imagine you wake up one morning and your husband (or wife, but you get the picture) sets a huge bouquet of flowers by the bed and then brings you an amazing breakfast.  “Happy Anniversary!” he tells you, with a huge smile, “I love you so much – I’m so thankful for another year spent together.  I have an amazing day planned out for us, and I can’t wait to share it with you!”  You smile, because you are used to it by this point, but inside your heart sinks like a stone and you feel cold and hot all at once.  Because this isn’t your anniversary.  This is the anniversary of your husband’s relationship with his ex-girlfriend, the one he had before he met you.  You know that your husband loves you more than he ever loved that girl, and you know he’s completely in earnest.  When you’ve asked him before why he would choose to celebrate the anniversary of your love and marriage on this day, his reply is simple: “This is the day I’ve always celebrated anniversaries, so I’m used to it now.  Also, a bunch of my friends have their anniversaries about this time, so it’s fun for us to plan it out and celebrate together.  Don’t worry honey, you’re the only one I’m thinking of, no matter what day we celebrate or what significance it used to have.”

Could the marriage survive this?  I am almost positive it could.  But would you not feel a sliver of disappointment and doubt, a seed of distrust because of it?  Wouldn’t you wonder why you can’t just celebrate on the day that’s about the two of you, or even any other day, without bringing some former ex-girlfriend into the picture?  I believe this is exactly how God feels when we doctor up holidays like Christmas and Easter and chant “Jesus is the reason for the season” and “He is risen!”  Of course God loves the fact that you are expressing joy and honor toward him.  But out of all the days on the calendar year, why would you choose one blatantly dedicated to an idol?  A pagan god.  Evil.  Nothing more, nothing less.

I don’t know why I got this mental picture – but I woke up one morning with it burning inside my heart.  I know I would be devastated if my husband did this to me.  I also know from experience that one can get used to a lot and still make things work.  I hope it’s clear I am not condemning or judging anybody.  I know a lot of people give their lives to Christ at a Christmas or Easter service.  However, at this point in my life I am overwhelmed with thankfulness to the Lord and a desire to please Him because of it.  The thought of purposely doing something that might disappoint or displease him doesn’t sit right with me.

Christmas and Easter aren’t in the Bible.  Early followers did not celebrate those holidays.  No, they knew that Jesus was the Word made flesh.  And the Word tells us what holidays…holy days…God intended for his people, “for all generations” (note it doesn’t say, “until the New Covenant”, or “until the Messiah arrives.”)  It takes courage to unlearn meanings and traditions we’ve held on to since our childhood.  But I pray I will always hold more tightly to my Savior and Redeemer than to any holiday or tradition.

So our family is on a journey.  It’s not just about the holidays.  This was just the catalyst for my own change of perspective.  It’s about how we relate to the Word, and where we draw the line between the Old and New Testaments.  Here’s a hint: there shouldn’t be a line.  The Jesus I’ve read about was constantly quoting Scripture.  He celebrated all the Biblical feasts and holy days.   And He said He came to fulfill, and not abolish, the law.  I wonder why many times the Jesus we hear about in the church today is so different.

The Biblical holy days are in fall and spring, which means that some are almost upon us. I’ve researched and found so much Messianic significance, so much MEANING, regarding the Holy Days of God.  More meaning than presents under a tree.  More meaning than holly and mistletoe.  More meaning than egg hunts and bunny rabbits.  I would be happy to share my family’s journey as we honor Christ in this new way.

I hope to be able to share more with you all soon.  Please forgive the lack of references, but I encourage you all to do your own research.  The best research you can ever do is just to pick up your Bible.  If there is a lot of interest I may be able to send some links your way.

Keep healing and growing, friends.

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