I feel like it’s time to start the second part of my We Don’t Do That series. Since it is the Christmas season, I feel it’s important to talk about why we don’t “celebrate” Christmas in the church of Christ.
I often wondered why we didn’t have a nativity set, or a crèche as they are sometimes called, or why we didn’t read about Advent. I would ask my daddy, and I would get the answer, “we don’t do that. Other churches do that, but not church of Christ.” When I would press him, it was never more than “other churches do, but that’s not when Jesus was born, so we don’t.”
As an adult, I’ve come to understand some things. No, Jesus probably wasn’t born on December 25th. He was more than likely born in the spring or summer time. Why do we say that? Well, because of the shepherds. They would have spent the night in the fields with the flocks in the late spring or early summer.
However, when the Roman emperor Constantine was in power, he legalized Christianity. I haven’t studied enough to know if it was him specifically, or laws that he passed, or just exactly how it happened, but around the same time, a lot of pagan practices were reinvented and turned into Christian practices.
For example, the pagan practice of Yule was celebrated on the longest night of the year, and the evergreen trees were brought inside to remind everyone that there was still life and fertility and that spring was coming. Christmas is celebrated on almost the longest night of the year. And we bring in evergreen trees.
And we celebrate the life of a new born baby.
I’m still not certain why we don’t have nativities. About the only thing I have been able to understand is that since we claim to be non-denominational, that not having them separates us from denominational churches.
I call hogwash. As I asked my dad several times, if the whole wide world is celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and the whole world is focused on him, then why aren’t we? He never did answer me to my satisfaction.
So, as an adult, I choose to have a nativity set out at Christmas. And this year, I am reading The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp which is a month long reading on Advent. Maybe that makes me a rebel, but there is no scripture for or against Christmas, Advent, or Nativity.
Dale and I actually had a very interesting talk about Christmas the other day. He said that he didn’t mind Santa Claus and presents, but he doesn’t want to tie it to a religious celebration. I think that I actually need to talk to him more about this, and find out why. But it was interesting, because I have never heard him say that before.
So, there you go. There’s the next part of We Don’t Do That. I don’t know that I’ve explained things very well. I’ve had a severe lack of sleep this week for one reason or another. But in a nutshell, here is my Christmas post. Christmas past. A Christmas Carol. “Marley was dead to begin with.”
Until we meet again,