It can be tricky navigating the Christmas holidays with extended family when you yourself have taken down the Christmas tree and don’t set aside December 25th, the birthday of the sun god from antiquity, as a holy day.
Do you remember how we felt when Answers in Genesis posted their caricature and censure of the Hebrew Roots movement the weekend before Passover, in fact, it was on a Friday afternoon as we were all getting ready, not only for the weekly Sabbath of rest, but the special Feast meals of Passover and the First Day of Unleavened Bread Sabbath, which was following right on its heels that year. It was, in other words, a low blow.
If you have waited until this week or next to marshal your arguments against Christmas for your family, it will also be perceived as a low blow. So if you have kept your peace until now, continue to do so.
My husband and I usually attend the largest family gathering we are invited to at this time of year. We do not host – we do that on Tabernacles and Feast days, at least, we did before the hurricane, and we will again when our home repairs and completed and we have a functioning kitchen and dining room again. When we attend family gatherings, we are gracious. If there is pork or seafood served, we simply pass it over without making a stink. The first year we were in Florida for Christmas I ate salad only at our big family gathering because everything else had either bacon or shrimp in it. I survived LOL. We do not exchange gifts, and all our family knows that we do not do gifts on December 25th. Sometimes they give us gifts anyway, because they are thoughtful, loving people. We graciously thank them for their thoughtfulness.
Why do we attend the big family gathering? We love our family. Considering that this event is usually the one time of the year that all get together, rejecting the invitation would be perceived as rejecting the family, and we do not reject our family.
The great majority in our family do not see Christmas as a pagan expression of idolatry. The great majority do not consider December 25th celebrations as participating in Mystery Babylon the Great. The great majority have not read anything I have written on the subject. But it is not my job to get people to agree with me. It is my job to bear witness, which I have done, and my witness is available for the world to see. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict of sin and righteousness in His time (Joh 16:7-11). It is His job to open eyes and ears.
Whenever questions are asked of us, we answer them graciously, politely, and without recrimination. There was a day not too long ago when I myself did not consider Christmas on December 25th as retooled paganism, and the thought of honoring Messiah Yeshua’s advent filled my heart with gratitude and joy. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, for so we fulfill the Law and the Prophets (Mat 7:12). Do you want your family to censure your Sabbath-keeping with bitterness and recrimination? Then do not do the same to them.
One of my brothers has cut us from his life because we do not celebrate Christmas on December 25th. We are very sad this has happened, and we wish it were different. We continue to pray for a reconciliation. But it is his choice. We did not cut him or any of our other family from our lives because they do celebrate Christmas on December 25th.
About gifts for our children and grandchildren: We strive every year to give them our best gift on their birthdays (birthday caveat here). They know that Grandma and Grandpa love them with all their hearts. We have a goal to have the annual Tabernacles celebration our big family celebration eclipsing all others every year. The hurricane interrupted our progress in that goal, but it is still a goal. And every year we get closer to making it as festive as Christmas used to be in scope, with decorations, family gatherings, food, merry-making, and gifts.
Never forget, it is the kindness of God that leads people to repentance (Rom 2:4)!