Mary Lane told me that I needed to blog. I laughed and said well maybe I do. There has been a lot going on and had put it on the back burner. A conversation that the girls and I had today sparked this entry. There was a conversation the girls overheard Saturday about my childhood and how another family member was very "well that is not Biblical" about a lot of stuff. I told them that there were celebrations in my childhood that were done with some of our family that was and still is very important to how they celebrate the birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. I don't pretend to be a scholar, so those of you are reading this for that purpose~ I feel sure you are trying to quote book, chapter, and verse....Sorry, this is more to help my children understand some of my childhood memories.
The Season of Advent ~ Advent means coming. The Season of Advent in many Christian churches begins the 4th Sunday before Christmas. This is the celebration of the birth of Christ. Now according to the Bible, no, there is no date as to when Christ was born. We know that they were in Bethleham because of the census. Many scholars have studied calendars but one thing I understand is that our calendar that we use today did not exist 2011 years ago. Does it really make that big of a difference~ I don't think so. I believe that if God had really wanted us to know the exact day that Christ was born...He would have put it in the Bible. BUT it is wonderful that during this time of year, Christians around the world are like minded and are putting the focus on Christ. Funny, leading up to Christmas, we go shopping, wrap gifts, tell our children that "Santa" is coming, decorate our homes, put our elf on a shelf, etc., we are saying Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. So if we are teaching our children about an elf on a shelf or Santa, I think we are ok to talk about our Savior too and celebrate His birth. (and for those shaking your head....YES, I teach my children on a daily basis about Christ and His word)
Christmas Day ~ To many Christians, this is the day set aside for celebration of Christ's birth. AGAIN, according to the Bible it does not say that Christ was born on December 25th. BUT AGAIN, if we are going to put the pagan spin on it with gifts, trees, weaths, ets then to me it seems like a perfect time to put our attention on the birth of Christ. I celebrate my birthday, my husband's birthday, and of course my beautiful daughters' birthday, so why not put aside one day when as a Christian, I can celebrate Christ birthday? And yes, again, I live my day to day life with Christ at the forefront. But I don't think as a Christian, if I want to bake a cake to serve at dinner and call it a birthday cake that I am teaching my children "against" the Bible.
Then there is Epiphany ~ The word epiphany means “manifestation”. This is the 12 days after Christmas that leads up to January 6th. It is also known as Three King Day. Remember in the Bible about the three kings coming from afar bringing gifts to the new born king. Also, I think there is a song about the 12 Days of Christmas and my true love gave to me. My grandmother LOVED Epiphany. I remember one year, I guess I was in college, because I was still there for Epiphany and we went to Tarpon Springs. She lived in Clearwater and Tarpon Springs is a town close. It is a large Greek community and on January 6th, there is a huge festival. The Greek Orthodox Priest blesses the waters and the boats (huge sponging community) then he throws a cross in the water. Teenage boys, I think 16 to 18, dive in the pretty cold waters to catch cross. It is believed that the young man who gets the cross will be blessed beyond measure. It is very neat to witness. A few years ago, maybe in 2006, Pope Bartholomew came to lead the Epiphany service and blessings.
As for me, yes, these are things that I share with my children as traditions of my childhood that I celebrated with my grandmother. I believe my grandmother to have been a wonderful Christian woman. And to her, these were important ways to show and share her faith. She opened up her home and heart all thru the year but during Christmas, she made a huge to do over this time of year. I find it very ironic that she passed away right after Epiphany.
So on Christmas morning, my children will awake to find that Santa has come and they will open presents. They will eat and share time with family. And at some point in our day, we will pray and give thanks for the birth of Christ.....just as we do all year round, but on December 25th, many around the world will be doing the same thing, and I am sorry, but I just don't find it to be a coinedence.
(Ash Wednesday, Lent, Good Friday, Easter.....well, I will save that for another post but yep, they were as much of a part of my childhood as my grandmother was!)