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Christmas - Questions and Answers

Answers for those Not observing Christmas


                             by

                         Keith Hunt




     This study is especially for those new to the understanding
that God the Father and Christ are NOT into CHRISTMAS. This
popular Christian feast was not even celebrated for 400 years or
more in the large Roman Catholic church. All the truth and
facts on the ins and outs of this feast I have already covered in
another in-depth study on this Website. The historic truth can
also be found in your Encyclopedias at the local public libraries
or on the Internet.

     This study is specially for those new ones who have decided
that Christmas celebrating should no longer be part of their
living practices and custom keeping. It will no doubt also help
some who still have questions about how to handle this season,
that may have stopped celebrating it some time ago.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

1. HOW DO I TELL PEOPLE I WILL NO LONGER BE OBSERVING CHRISTMAS?

     In all of this we need to remember Jesus' words to be as
wise as a serpent and as harmless as a dove. We need to keep in
mind that truth is from God (Jesus said of God the Father, "Thy
Word is truth" - John 17:17). And unless God calls and grants us
to His revealed truth, we are blind and unable to find truth.
Read and keep in mind Romans 9,10. Yes, we have our part in
obtaining truth, we are to hunger and thirst after righteousness
(Mat.5), but it certainly takes the Spirit of the Lord to guide
and lead us into all truth(John 16:13).

     We need to keep in mind that without this working of the
Spirit, we would be blinded to many things that are truth. We
would remain deceived about many things, for we grow up in a
ready made world, and are taught and shaped by our cultures,
societies, parents, schools we attend, and how all that is
functioning, according the prevailing religious or none religious
attitudes that make up all we come into contact with as we
grow from new born babies to adulthood.
     We should never look down upon others with a vain proud
self-righteous mindset, for without the mercy of the Lord we
would still be in our ignorance over many things.
     
     We need to remember that most "religious" people are sincere
in their faith and practices.

     You have come to see that Christmas is not really Christian,
that it is not a part of the feasts of the Lord. You have decided
to no longer observe the Christmas season with all its trappings.
How do you tell your friends and loved ones of your new way of
life that does not include the observance of Christmas, Easter,
and other common feasts that most Western countries and people
observe?

     How much work this will take will depend on how many and how
close to you, your friends and relatives are in physical contact
and emotional ties. Some families (sad to say) are not that close
to each other. Very seldom visit each other for many reasons
(which could include thousands of miles of distance from each
other).  Some blood families just do not get along (or parts of
them) and could care less about what the other is doing,
believing, or practicing. 
     Some people do not have real close friends either, just
people they work with, but no deep close bond with anyone.
     I guess if you are in this position in life, then it may
make it a whole lot easier, as you will not feel obliged to
explain your new beliefs and life style, in the same way as
those with very close family and friend relationships.

     Those of you in the latter category need to be very LOVING,
and GENTILE, as you relate to them your new position in life. You
may find it best to talk to them in a letter.
     Start by telling them how much you love them and what they
mean to you as family and/or friends. Praise them for their
friendship, help, comfort, support etc. they have been to you
over the time you have known them. Relate some specifics if you
like.
     Gently tell them what you have come to see, but do not
preachy preach to them, especially if you know they are not a
religious person. To come across with a snobby religious attitude
will surely do a lot to break what still could continue to be a
respectful (even loving) relationship with them towards you and
you towards them.
     
     Make sure you tell them that though they will not receive
Christmas cards and presents from you any more, you will remember
them with cards and gifts at other times of the year. Finish on a
positive upbeat, telling them you still care for them, love them,
appreciate them and their friendship.
     You need to be SOFT and KIND in your words, and certainly in
no way coming through as condemning them for observing Christmas
and the like, if you know they do.

2. WHAT ABOUT SENDING CHRISTMAS CARDS AND PRESENTS?

     With people knowing you no longer observe Christmas, they
will naturally expect to receive no more "Christmas" cards or
presents from you. You simply stop giving and sending them. Some
will forget (especially the first few years you no longer observe
this season) and will call or write you on the matter. You may
have to do the above once more. Eventually most will "get the
message" and will not be looking for anything from you that is to
them a Christmas thing, at that time of the year.
     Remember, cards and presents are not wrong of themselves, so
do give your loved ones those presents and cards at other
appropriate times of the year.

3. WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE GIVING YOU CHRISTMAS CARDS AND PRESENTS?

     For some this is what they do, as a way of life, and it
makes no difference to them what you do or do not. They are going
to send you a card or give you a present come hell or high water
as they say. You must remember this is their belief and attitude.
They are probably very sincere and have a good heart in
practicing what they practice. If some are this way towards you,
even knowing you do not celebrate along with them, the best
I believe, is to say thank you for their thoughts and their love,
accept the card and present.
     I teach music (have for now over 25 years) and always get
some who give me cards and gifts at the Christmas season. I thank
them for their kind thoughts, tell them and their parents I
appreciate their friendship, which indeed I am sincere about, as
they are sincere about what they want to give me. I often get
hand made cards just telling me how they think I'm great as their
teacher of music.
     For a lot of people it's their time of the year to say,
"Thank you, and here's something to show  I really appreciate
you."

     Smile, be happy, somebody cares for you.  Don't rain on
their parade day, and they will not rain on yours if you want to
give them something at the Feast of Tabernacles celebration.
     Some will want to give you things when THEY want to give you
things, even knowing what you observe or do not observe. Just
accept it and be thankful they love you.

4. HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO "HAVE A HAPPY CHRISTMAS"?

     We've all encountered it at the store check out with the
cash clerks.  Many other situation will arise when people will
say this to us during the last weeks leading up to December 25th.

A lot of the time, it comes as a formal expression of habit, a
polite expression from clerks, again their thought and heart for
you is in the right place. Most people are quite sincere in
wishing you a very happy Christmas. It is after all the name
that most Western nations call this part of December and it is
their holiday time.
     I may just say to them when they wish me a happy Christmas,
"Thank you" and go my way. I may say, "You have a good day." Most
of the time they never notice how I've responded to them. I've
personally never had anyone question my response to them this
way. I guess if I ever did I would be ready to politely tell them
I observe what they would know as the "Jewish Feasts" and do not
observe Christmas. Then I would let the conversation go from
there depending how they want to further converse on the subject.

5. WHAT ABOUT ACCEPTING WORK BONUSES AT CHRISTMAS TIME?

     Many companies use the Christmas season (also the end of the
year on the Roman calendar) to hand out bonus checks to its
employees.  It is the time of the year they choose to do this.
Some use other times of the year, and some every quarterly or
every half year. I see nothing wrong with accepting bonus checks
at any time of the year. Frankly, even if it was given to me as a
specific "Christmas gift" I would accept it for reason already
stated above.

     Now, of course, if it is not of faith as the apostle Paul
said, if your conscience is bothered and it just does not sit
well with you to accept a $500 or a $1000 or a $10,000
bonus check at Christmas time, you can refuse it or tell them to
give it to a worthy charity in your name (and maybe get a tax
receipt and claim it on your tax return under charity donations).
At least you'll be helping the needy as Jesus and the NT church
clearly taught that we should.

6. SHOULD YOU ATTEND WORK CHRISTMAS PARTIES?

     Or other Christmas parties that may not be related to
specific work companies. Again, many work firms, factories,
companies, offices etc. hold their annual "party" - "get
together" - "staff/employee appreciation dinner evening" at this
time of the year, in the month of December. It MAY or MAY NOT be
very "Christmassy."  Some are indeed with all the Christmas
trappings including a visit from Santa. They make no bones about
it being a full trappings Christmas party, with the Xmas tree and
gift exchanging among the staff. 
     With others there is none of that. Some may call it on paper
a "Christmas party" but that's more because it will be held in
December than anything else....a figure of speech title. And they
will have no Christmas attitude or even any of the typical
Christmas trappings. Just a plain staff get together, with a meal
and fellowship. I have literally known of many such December meal
fellowship parties, deliberately not done in a Christmassy
way, because they know many of their staff are Jewish, or of some
other religious faith, that do not celebrate "Christmas." So they
make their December social event as neutral as possible to not
offend anyone.

     You as a decerning Christian, with the wisdom and Spirit of
God, must size the situation, and so determine if you will
attend. Now, some none trappings of any kind parties, can still
not be the place for a Christian to be at, because of
drunkenness, sexual looseness, wrong conversations, dirty talk
and jokes, and all that goes with some parties of this world.

     Now, it is possible you decide that you think you can
attend, but find while there that you have made a mistake and it
just ain't the place for you to be for various reasons.
Well, none of us are perfect in wisdom or knowledge or foresight.
We will go through life making mistakes from time to time. It's
part of being still human in the flesh. Just pick yourself up and
move on out. You are still I hope in a free country and not
forced to do anything you feel you should not be doing. 

7. WHAT ABOUT YOUR EMPLOYER TELLING YOU TO PUT UP AND 
   DECORATE THE CHRISTMAS TREE ETC.

     You have religious freedom as a right (unless you live in a
country that does not allow religious freedom, then you may want
to get out of it).  You should be able to politely make your
religious faith known to those you work for and tell them you
cannot do, say, or practice, anything that you do not feel is
within your religious beliefs. They should be willing to accept
your faith in the sense that they respect your personal
conscience.  Most will, but if they force the issue, you do have
in most cases government offices that you can appeal to for
religious freedom justice in the workplace.

8. WHAT ABOUT WIVES SUBMITTING TO HUSBANDS WHO OBSERVE
   CHRISTMAS, EASTER AND OTHER FESTIVALS THEY DO NOT OBSERVE?

     The NT Scriptures do support a basic submissiveness
(respect, honor, and putting oneself under. You can study the
verses and the Greek words used). But the NT also says, "in the
Lord."
     Peter made it very clear that we as Christians are to obey
God first, before any man, be it a single man or a group of men
forming a secular or religious party or government.
     In the Lord, no woman can be forced by trying to use Bible
verses pulled out of context of the passage or the whole Bible
itself, to do anything against her personal religious faith and
convictions.
     Be kind, and polite, in your explaining to your husband why
you will and cannot do some things he may desire you to do. If he
makes a big deal about it, then you may have other marriage
problems that need some professional help with.

9. WHAT ABOUT TRYING TO FORCE YOUR RELIGION ON FAMILY MEMBERS?

     You see things a certain way, you have certain beliefs, you
have certain things you practice or do not practice as your way
of life. You will make a big mistake if you try to force your
ways upon your husband or wife or children that do not want to
believe or practice your religious faith.
     Do not insist that they cannot put up a Christmas tree and
the like, making your house a living hell for all who will not
walk your line on the road. You will (unless you lock yourself in
your house of bedroom) have to live, walk, and work, around this
world during the Christmas season. Such things you will see all
the time and all over the place. Just have to get used to it all
per se. Trying to insist and force your faith on those who do not
want your faith, is bound to cause you much grief and will if
done within a marriage, often lead to other problems and maybe a
divorce.
     1 Peter 3:1-2 is the principle for everyone in this
situation. The Greek for the word "conversation" in the KJV is
"conduct."
     Win (if you can) your loved ones by your conduct not your
arguments, or family authority you may think you have. 

10. WHAT ABOUT CHRISTMAS MUSIC?

     I've covered this somewhat in another study, but suffice to
say, there are many "seasonal" songs and music of the winter time
that are just simply seasonal songs. Some that come to mind are
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bell Rock, Frosty the Snowman, Let it Snow,
Let it Snow. Nothing wrong with many seasonal songs. 
     Nothing wrong with the birth of Christ either ( I have a
full in-depth study on the question of birthday celebrations ).
Many of the famous carols have fine melodies and words ( maybe
some need a little change here and there ) about Christ. We sing
about His life, His works, His death, His resurrection, His
coming again. Why not sing about His birth also. Does not have to
be at the world's Christmas time only either. We do not sing
about His death only at the Passover time of the year.

11. WHAT ABOUT PUTTING UP COLORED LIGHTS?

     In many parts of the northern USA and Canada it is with some
a custom to decorate the outside of their house and yard with
various colored lights.  In Canada where I live, this decoration
is done way before December 25th and kept there way beyond that
date. Some of course are the typical Christmas scenes of Santa
and/or the Nativity scene of Jesus' birth. I am not thinking of
the latter decorations, but the ones of various colored lights
hung around the house and yard, for simple cheer and to give the
somewhat bleak and dull winter months (in those areas of
bleakness and snow) a little brightness of color.
     I personally see nothing wrong with so decorating your house
and yard with colored lights during many of the winter months. 
Color is not pagan religion. Lights (candles or electric) are not
pagan religion per se. Some have colored lighting in their
yards and pathways all year round. I personally like it and
during the snowy winter months it sure can be attractive and lift
the spirits.
      
12. WHAT ABOUT ATTENDING FAMILY MEALS ON DECEMBER 25TH?

     This will depend on many things that will need be taken into
consideration. I do not believe it is a dogmatic and automatic
"Well, a none observing Christmas Christian cannot possibly do
such a thing" attitude of mind at all.
     Those families who do observe all the "Christmas trimmings"
stuff, with gathering around the tree, opening the presents, talk
of Santa with the kids, talk of the birth of Jesus, even
attending church services in the morning. You know, all the open
popular (with some religious folks) things that many families
will practice on December the 25th. Then, of course, this is
pretty obvious the none observing Christmas Christian will have
no desire to attend such family gatherings where all of this is
going on.

     But, for those where it is simply a time to gather together
because everyone has the day off, where people are not giving out
gifts, talking about Santa to the kids, where no religious
overtones of the birth of Jesus being on that day are mentioned,
where there is just no "Christmas attitude" mindset, but a
gathering of family members to enjoy a nice meal together....then
I believe that can be a separate ball game, another kettle of
fish as they say. 
     This situation is probably not the most common for sure, but
it can be possible. Under such a circumstance of a simple family
gathering to fellowship and enjoy a meal, I see nothing wrong
with attending. Now, you would have to really know the situation
and the people attending, to make your decision as to attend or
not attend.
     I do not come from a large family. I am an only child. My
mother and father for decades knew I did not observe Christmas.
Most of my adult life I was thousands of miles from them. But for
three years in the 80s I did live in the same town as they. I
would visit them and have a meal with them on December the 25th.
It was all very none Christmassy, just a good opportunity to
enjoy them and have a meal with them for a certain number of
hours.
     My above situation or ones like it, may not be very common,
but it is possible, and the idea that we should lock ourselves in
our house or bedroom on December 25th (some people or families go
to a good movie, if you can find one being shown, or eat out, or
go skating in the park, or some other nice activity) is to me
being somewhat fanatical, if that is what you think not observing
December the 25th is all about. Of course if your whole family
does not observe Christmas then there would be many things you
could do as a family upon that day.
     For many today, in a more and more secular world, December
25th means nothing but a day off work to do something they would
like to do, and has no religious significance for them. Perhaps
some of them you may know would like to do something on that day
with you, if you have no same minded people of your belief near
at hand to fellowship with. Then again, you may just want a quiet
day off by yourself to do whatever, nothing wrong with that
either. We all need hours or a day for just ourselves, from time
to time. 

13. WHAT ABOUT VISITING RELATIVES?

     Those who observe Christmas will very seldom want to come
and stay with you over the Christmas holiday season, knowing you
do not observe it, especially if your whole family (thinking of
families for a moment) is with you in not celebrating Christmas.
So, visiting relatives will probably not be much of an issue, but
then it could happen. You could have an inquiry from some
Christmas celebrating person (some people do tend to forget
things easily). 
     If it should happen to you, then kindly remind them that you
do not celebrate Christmas. You may want to suggest they would be
happier staying with those who do celebrate this December feast.
     If it is going to take place, with tact but with upfront
plain talk, make sure they know what cards are laid on the table,
and that you need them to respect your home and your wishes as to
how they will or will not conduct themselves as they stay with
you over the Christmas holidays.
     Most will honor your beliefs and practices, but then after
your talk to them, most will probably decide to stay in another
place, if they are Christmas observers.
          
14. WHAT ABOUT FORCEFUL PEOPLE WANTING TO PUSH YOU THEIR WAY?

     And yes, it does take place, some of your friends and
relatives, will argue with you, get angry with you, want to keep
verbally trying to persuade you to give up what they consider is
a "crazy religion" you have become enmeshed in.  You can be as
gentle and loving in your approach to them, but they will be
angry and forceful in their approach towards you over such things
as you no longer observing Christmas.
     Under such unpleasant events there may come a time when it
is necessary to use "tough love" - when you just have to raise
your voice somewhat, speak bluntly, and tell such people to "zip
it up" and "close it down."
     Presuming you are not nagging them with your beliefs of
faith (as you should not be), you tell them it is time to stop
nagging you, to no longer talk about the subject from the point
of them trying to pull you back into something you do not intend
to be pulled back into. Tell them this is your life, to decide
what you will believe and what you will practice. Tell them you
desire to continue to want to be their friend and have them as a
friend but that that friendship must have conditions and
boundaries, one boundary being their religion (if any) and your
religion are personal matters, and neither of you should be
trying to force their beliefs on the other.

     Sometimes, nothing will help and a break in the relationship
may ensue, and they will become your enemy, if not openly towards
you, it will be behind your back as they converse with others in
your family circles or other circles of friendships and clubs.
Jesus did say that sometimes those who are the closest to you
would become your worst enemy. That is just the way life is at
times, not always easy, not always smooth sailing, not always
winning everyone to respect you as to what you may come to accept
and practice as religious faith.


15. TEACHING CHILDREN?

     I am here thinking of either single parents or husbands and
wives (mothers and fathers) that are in agreement on not
observing Christmas. How you teach and handle children about your
beliefs when your painter does not believe or practice the same
can vary of course, depending on the whole situation, some of
which is covered above. The key still being as wise as a serpent
and as harmless as a dove, while you humbly stand for the truth
revealed to you.
     Those parents who are "one together" on this matter, should
being from the birth of their children, teaching them (in a way
at their age level to understand. You do not give a T-bone steak
to a baby or toddler) the laws of God, and the facts about such
things as the Christmas and Easter festivals. But where most
parents fall down is to also teach their children that most do
not know these things, or they and their parents simply choose to
say and practice these Christmassy things anyway. Example is
often the best way, kids learn by what you say and do towards
others. If they see you are not proud and arrogant, conceited,
insolent, disdainful, scornful, towards other who do not hold to
the same beliefs and practices as your family does, they will
most likely be the same way with their friends in and out of
school times.
     Yet, it sure does not hurt to sit them down and actually
tell them not to be afraid of all these things that people are
doing around Christmas and Easter time. No harm is going to come
to them if they walk passed a Christmas tree in the hallway of
the school they attend. Tell them God is not going to strike them
dead if some other child wishes them a happy Christmas or gives
them a card. 
     It basically comes down to two things. 1) Teach them not to
"fear" seasons of the year such as Easter and Christmas and to be
unashamed in the things you belief and practice. To hold their
head up high yet not be snotty-nosed and self-righteous in
attitude or words towards others. 2) And the last few words I
said leads to the second point. If you are teaching your children
manners, politeness, courtesy, and respect towards all others
(children and adults) they will have very little trouble handling
all the ins and outs of seasons like Christmas.

     Some things you may teach them as I've covered above, but in
the main with the two basic points I've just mentioned you will
find children are pretty well able to handle what comes their
way. They have their minds on how to deal with what may and will
come at them during such seasons. And if you have a close loving
friendship relationship with your children they will come to you
for help and advise in the main. 
     Naturally, this is not the case with every child, they all
have their personalities, strengths and weakness, as all adults
do. So, know your child (parents should know their children
better than anyone including their teachers at school), and if
observant (as you should be towards them) you will notice any
mood problems, and can ask if something is bothering them that
they would like to talk about. Come to think about it at main
meal times get them to talk about their day, you will often be
surprised what they will bring up and talk about.
     Well the art of child rearing is a huge subject all by
itself, but correct child rearing does include correctly teaching
and helping them to correctly move through things like the
Christmas season with the least discomfort and problems. 
     Teach them to stand strong in a humble way concerning their
beliefs and practices but also teach them to love and respect
others who have different beliefs and practices of religion.
Teach them that God loves all people and that it is His desire
that eventually, in His time frame, all would come to His basic
truths and be in His Kingdom.

16. CHILDREN AND THEIR SCHOOL TEACHERS?

     You are not alone in not observing Christmas, try to
remember that. There are many Jehovah's Witnesses who have children
in the public school system. They also do not observe Christmas.
There are Jewish children and Muslim children and probably others
in the schools who do not observe Christmas. So, for most
teachers it is not something new or like you have hit them with a
hammer between the eyes, to be told you and your children do not
observe Christmas, and hence do not want your child doing things
like drawing and painting Santa Clause or the decorated Christmas
tree.
     You probably will have to talk to your child's teachers
about your beliefs on this topic, maybe explaining what your
child can do (such as drawing Frosty the Snowman), and that your
child will politely inform their teachers what they will not do
or participate in (you now have to teach your child what to say
and how to say it and when to say it should it be necessary for
them under a specific situation) if and when their teachers need
to be informed.

     If handled wisely and kindly both by yourself and your
child, there will usually be little problem, most teachers will
try to comply with your beliefs and wishes. Should this not be
the case, then take it directly to the school Principle, and
demand your freedom of religion be upheld and honored by your
child's teachers.

OTHER THINGS?

     I have covered I think the most common issues that arise
when a person decides to no longer observe the Christmas
celebration. I'm sure there will be other issues that will arise
in the individual situation of each person, some more and some
less.
     With the Spirit of the Lord to give you His mind, His wisdom
(we can ask for, see James 1), you will be able to solve your
issues as you proceed to live through the Christmas season
without observing it.

     The bottom line is as Jesus said, "Be you wise as a serpent
and as harmless as a dove."

               ..............................

Written December 2001
     

 
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