Dec 15, 2009

What's The Difference?

Celebration: Hanukkah also known as the Festival of Lights.
Significance: A Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
Religious Practice: Jewish
Representation: The Menorah

Celebration: Ramadan
Significance: Islamic month of fasting, to teach the Muslim patience, modesty and spirituality.
Religious Practice: Muslim
Representation: The waxing crescent moon.

Celebration: Kwanzaa
Significance: A celebration held in the United States honoring African heritage and culture.
Religious Practice: Cultural, not religious.
Representation: A kinara

Celebration: christmas, also known as holiday.
Significance: A worldwide celebration that revolves around fantasy and focuses on an imaginary magical man that leaves presents under the christmas tree. The purpose is giving and receiving presents, to participate in the "magic of christmas", and to believe in Santa Claus and receive the "spirit of christmas".
Religious Practice: Cultural, secular, not religious, celebrated by people of many religions.
Representation: Santa Claus

Celebration: Christmas, a Holy Day.
Significance: A Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior. The focus is the True gift and Wonder of God's love, salvation to all who believe in Jesus Christ, and the promise of the Holy Spirit.
Religious Practice: Christian, Followers of Christ.
Representation: Nativity or Manger scene representing the biblical account of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Much is said about keeping Christ in CHRISTmas but the fact of the matter is, we have been allowing and assisting in removing Christ from CHRISTmas for years by blending our CHRISTmas Holy Day with cultural, secular christmas holiday. Do you see the similarities of the last two celebrations above? They are separate celebrations but they have become so well blended that the differences are barely even noticed, and the push to finalize it is overwhelming now. Our culture (this world) doesn't celebrate Christmas the Holy Day, they celebrate christmas the holiday. When we blend with the culture, we are conforming.

   “...I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.  Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you." 2 Corinthians 6:16-17

Whether on not we believe there is anything wrong with the cultural, secular "representation" of the celebration is irrelevant. The fact is, it does not represent the Birth of Jesus Christ, it does represent the cultural view of the christmas celebration. It is not our Light.

How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth. Exodus 33:16 (emphasis mine)

So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 20:7

You must be holy because I, the Lord, am holy. I have set you apart from all other people to be my very own. Leviticus 20:26

You have been set apart as holy to the Lord your God, and he has chosen you from all the nations of the earth to be his own special treasure. Deuteronomy 14:2

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"A girl needs to be so lost in God, that the guy is going to have to seek HIM to find her!" ...Maya Angelou


rcubes said...

I always think about 1Cor.10:31 - "Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God."

If our actions are motivated by God's love, then all we will do will be for His glory. We can ask ourselves, "Is this action glorifying God?" or "How can I honor God through this?"...We may remain sensitive to others' needing salvation but we must remember that with all of our actions, we must please no one but God.

When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai, his face glowed from being with God's presence. He had to put a veil to keep the people from being afraid of his radiant face, as the radiance faded away.

But when we become Christians, that veil that used to cover our pride, hardness of heart, and refusal to repent is stripped off! We are free! And may we be like mirrors reflecting God's glory!

Thank you for sharing with me all these holiday celebrations and in my heart, there is still only one that stood out the most! "Immanuel"...the One Who gave me [us] hope.

Merry CHRISTmas sister!

Kelly Combs said...

Beautiful post my friend! A friend of mine has a 3rd grader and at the public school party for "Winter" they had dreidle making, Kwanza craft, snowman craft, and a Santa Claus activity. Notice anyone missing? My friend called the teacher and a Nativity Story was added. Hanukkah seems to be an acceptable religious holiday to celebrate at school, but not CHRISTmas.

As someone said, 2000 years later and Jesus is still shaking people up. :-)

Kelly Combs said...

p.s. I wonder if Jesus celebrated Hanukkah, don't you?

Tammy said...

I got so tried of Christ being overshadow by Santa, that when our daughter was born( 16 years ago) we decided to celebrate the TRUE meaning of Christmas.

When she was a little girl people would ask her "What do you want Santa to bring you this Christmas?" She would answer
"Santa not real,( the look on their faces was PRICELESS) it's mommy and daddy who bring the presents and it is Jesus' birthday!"

Just the other day I asked her if she ever felt left out of the whole Santa thing. Her reply was
" Actually, I felt pretty smart because I knew the Truth and the other kids didn't.

Andrea said...

Knowing the truth always sets us free!
Blessings, andrea

Kathryn said...

Amen, Sister! :-)

From the Heart said...

Well written. I'm glad to see that others feel the same about "Who" we are celebrating.

Merry CHRISTmas my dear friend.

Heart2Heart said...


I love this post comparing the holiday celebrations and you're right, we need to get back to our Christian basics and remember the true meaning of Christmas and the celebration we should be sharing.

Thanks again for Mea's button! My sister loves it!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Lea said...

I can't get over how it must be in schools today. You sure got me to thinkin about all this that one time we talked about it. And I'm so glad. We get desensitized and I like how you put it... things blend together. I'm so grateful for you Edie! Merry CHRISTmas!!!!

Irritable Mother said...

I used to wonder if we were "cheating" our kids out of some of the fun of Christmas by not doing the whole Santa thing. Sort of felt like certain people thought I was acting "righteous."
But, why should we confuse the issue? Why introduce a fairy tale to the Truth and make a cloudy picture?
No. Jesus is the reason for our celebration. Jesus, alone! And I don't want to do anything to hide Him.

Thanks for laying all these celebrations out so clearly.

Love you!

Greg C said...

I really love this post along with your last one. Talk about getting to the point. It is sad that we have to tip-toe around our religious beliefs so as not to offend anyone yet we are told that we have to accept everyone else's beliefs. I also think what Kelly wrote was amazing...Give the Christians Santa.

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

Hello, my sweet friend.

Do you know how much I just LOVE you??? These posts make me love you even more!

I agree whole-heartedly with you on this. It breaks my heart to see how Santa and secular ideas have replaced the true celebration. I never even knew Christmas was about Christ's birth until I was nearly an adult! Sad.

Well said, my dear. As is expected from you! :-)

Merry CHRISTmas, Edie!

KrippledWarrior said...

You know what a nit picker I am. So I must say that your picture of the manger scene is inaccurate. The wise men where not present at the birth. But at least a couple of years later.


Very well thought out post and very thought provoking as well!

My favorite OT Scipture is Exodus 33 which asks the very question in the verse you quoted:

vs 16 How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.

That same question should be asked of us today. Is God's presence in our lives so evident that others know we belong to Him?

Your emphesis upon the difference between the Holy Day [to celebrate] and a holiday was most impactful!

We [as a nation] have been bending [for decades] to the 'way of the world' - and soon - very soon - it will catch up to us... and it won't be pretty.

May we celebrate the TRUTH of the birth of our King JESUS - with Joy and unashamedly on this day - in this time - and among this people - now and forever.

Choosing JOY, Stephanie

Esthermay said...

I enjoy reading your commenters' thoughts almost as much as your post. So much truth and discernment here on your blog!

. . . And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us. . .'s sort of the fulcrum upon which ALL of Scripture rests. Without HIS Advent, what's the point of any of it??

His plan was so exceptionally simple and unimaginable that most of the world has missed it entirely. And that is magnificently sad.

My ADHD Me said...

I really enjoyed this. Was just talking to a friend today and we were talking about how we had so much to do to get ready for Christmas and the stress of it all. Gee, so much stress! Thinking about the real meaning of Christmas and those involved. I believe their stress was just a bit more than whether or not Aunt so-and-so likes her sweater and whether the lights on the house are up in time.
There is alot to be said for the olden days when the children woke up on Christmas morning. Had a stocking with a piece of candy, a pair of mittens and a new pencil inside. And I bet they were thrilled. Then the rest of the day was probably spent happily celebrating the togetherness and the birth of our Savior.

Warren Baldwin said...

This is a powerful post, Edie. You are right, we Christians are guilty of watering down the real meaning of Christmas by falling in line with the secular observance of this special day. Thank you.

Talkin' Texan said...

I applaud this post. Thank you for putting it all into such clear wording.