Day 1 of our Heck Advent seemed like an exhausting marathon, but I (Charles) am hopeful the boys will take a few things from our evening.
As we did two years ago, this was the only evening during our “Advent season” that we talk about some subjects related to Christmas that are outside of the Bible. We believe it is important that our boys understand a variety of ways that the world celebrates Christmas. So we spent time brainstorming things others in the world (or non-Christians) enjoy at Christmas that don’t have anything directly related to the Nativity story.
Our boys came up with of the usual things that might comprise such a list: Christmas trees, Frosty the Snowman, giving gifts, Santa Claus, candy, etc.
From there we asked a simple question: are any of those things bad/evil? In other words, is it a sin to give gifts or sing about Frosty? And the answer is, “No.” There is nothing inherently evil about many of the things our world does to celebrate Christmas.
We didn’t want to leave it there either. So I shared with the boys two main truths they need to keep in mind when we have these other things before us that are outside of the biblical record. There are some lessons they – and all of us – need to keep in mind if we decide to include in our Christmas celebrations.
- As long as none of these become a distraction or deterrent from the story of Jesus’ coming to earth, they are okay to recognize. We don’t want to overemphasize Christmas trees or Santa Claus at the expense of talking about the important of Jesus coming. We don’t want to make idols out of things that God has given to us as graces.
- As long as you worship when you enjoy these others means, they are okay. In other words, if you sing Christmas songs with a worshipful attitude or receive gifts with thanksgiving to God first or keep your heart from being greedy when you talk to Santa, any of these things are permissible. In other words, the principle of I Corinthians 10:31 comes into play.
We really want our boys to understand that many of the ways the world celebrates Christmas are permissible for Christians to participate in, but we need to keep in mind for ourselves and others that Jesus should never be overshadowed by them and we should do all things for His glory anyway.
Our Activity – We went to an event in downtown Wichita called “A Night With Santa.” It was a madhouse of carnival games, Christmas themed displays, lights, fireworks, photos with Santa, etc. We thought we would take advantage of this free event. Each of our boys would say it was totally worth it because they each won a free ice cream cone.
In short, it was a good night of starting our Heck Advent Season. Tomorrow, we get into the Bible in the beginning to look at the story of creation and what it meant when the Fall came (Gen 1-3).