Friday, December 24, 2010

The Traditions of Christmas

I read an a great article this morning and I've been thinking about it since. It is about how all the traditional elements of Christmas that we celebrate today came about in history. Things like December 25th as the day we celebrate, candles, Christmas trees, caroling, and the like.

Here's the article:

One thing I've been thinking about is this: rather than rejecting outright all things "extra-biblical" (as the Puritans once did, not allowing the celebration on the 25th), Christians have REDEEMED many different traditions, feasts, and festivals of different cultures (both Jewish, Roman, and Barbarian), making them a part of our Christmas festivities today. I love this! Isn't this what we are supposed to do as Christians? Overcome evil with Good? Several years ago I read a book called, Christ and Culture by Richard Niebuhr. In it he shows the different ways Christians interact (and have historically interacted) with the world's culture around them. He categorizes them in the following five ways;
Christ against culture
Christ of culture
Christ above culture
Christ and culture in paradox
Christ transforming culture.

Niebuhr gives specific examples of different groups within Christianity and how they interact with our world.
It seems regarding Christmas, the "Christ transforming Culture" has prevailed. I'm glad. Christ came to transform humanity, once created good and made in his image, now corrupted by sin, back to himself. We who have been redeemed, are on mission with Christ to redeem others.

Today and tomorrow, work to redeem the culture and traditions in which you find yourself interacting. When people are engaging in celebrations that may not bring glory to God, think of how you can redeem it. Overcome evil with good!

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