“I would leave off the Christian,” was the advice I was given regarding my books. Christian fantasy adventure is the genre, more specifically, and young adult fiction. Honestly, I’ve pondered the same thing for a while. Not because I’m ashamed to own Christ and proclaim myself a follower, mind you. I’ve given it some consideration because the term Christian has taken on a negative connotation these days. To say I’m Christian may, in the eyes of some, automatically align me with those who also claim to follow His teachings, even though we may differ greatly in our beliefs and practices. It could be a turn off for some. You know, guilt by association.
We’re supposed to be all about love, right? But devotees are often anything but. To paraphrase Bon Jovi: we give love a bad name! Even still, I am persuaded that the world needs to hear more about Jesus, not just about his followers (who are flawed), so I can’t abandon the effort. I believe that God, since the Touched series was his idea, will give aid to my cause and make this successful despite the negative publicity.
I would, though, implore my fellow Christians to do as Christ urged so that the world would know us by our love. Love our brother who is made in His image, like we say we love our Father. Let us endeavor to do more than put Christ in the holiday greeting and squabble over the Christmas message on the Starbucks coffee cups. How about we strive to do what he called us to do? Love one another. Simple.
And while we’re at it, I’d like to address another topic that can gnaw at Christians during this season: the tree. What’s that about? Isn’t it part of pagan celebrations? It doesn’t have anything to do with Christmas, right? Therefore, we think that means we shouldn’t have anything to do with that part of the holiday.
I’ve got news for you. If not for the attachment of Christianity onto the then existing pagan celebrations, I doubt the message would have become so widespread. It really was brilliant marketing on the part of the Catholic church in its embryonic stage. Pure genius, inspired thinking, you might call it. See, the masses were not atheists for the most part. They believed in a higher power and were more likely polytheists. So what you wanted was a transference from one worship experience to another. How do you get people to do that? Give the day another name. Introduce new traditions with added significance until the holy day takes on a new meaning.
So while we may want to reject the pagan aspects of Christmas, we cannot deny the impact they had in spreading the Gospel and making it known throughout the world. Paul actually set the example for conversion when he came to Athens. The people there served many gods. But Paul was determined to get through to them by any means possible. So he proclaimed that he’d come to them on behalf of a god they already knew: The Unknown God. He took advantage a concept they were already familiar with to introduce some basic tenets of our faith (Acts 17:16-34). And so did the early church, piggy backing on things that were already set in place. That was just plain smart.
“But that doesn’t matter … the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.” Philippians 1:18
I said all that to say, be at peace with your traditions even if they come from celebrations that predate Christ. As long as it brought you to the knowledge of Jesus, it’s all good. What’s more important is that Jesus and the miracle of his birth, life, death, burial and resurrection is preached. And that the world know that his love and salvation is accessible to all, providing a way for us to be restored to our right relationship with God the Father. In this, the ends have justified the means. Now, isn’t that good news? You’re welcome, lol!
P.S. And don’t even get me started on the day we chose to celebrate! EVERY day is a day that the Lord has made. It all belongs to Him! Let all hearts be clear 🙂