Some people can’t get enough Christmas music. They would listen to it all year ’round. Others don’t want to hear a single note of it until the day after Thanksgiving. Some people LOVE shopping and bargain hunting on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Other people can’t stand the commercialism of the holidays and don’t want any part of it. Some people see Thanksgiving as a reminder of how European settlers mistreated Native Americans. Others see it as a chance to gather family and give thanks, regardless of the origin of the occasion.
Whatever your feelings about this time of year, I would suggest three things:
- Pray about your perspective, and see if your thoughts and your heart are in alignment with Jesus’ commands for love and tolerance — see Romans 12:14-18.
- Be humble enough to listen to God as you pray, as he guides your heart to make any changes necessary
- Embrace your conclusion. That may sound odd, but often we come to a perspective and then feel threatened or angry when others don’t share it, feel the need to defend it, or quietly sulk that we’re the only one who sees things “clearly.” Whatever you decide, that’s between you and God. None of us has all truth — we instead “see through a glass darkly” (1 Cor. 13:12). Be at peace with your conclusion, just as you are with what you choose to wear, what you choose to drive, or what sports team you follow.
Does this mean it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about the Bible, and all interpretations are equally true? Of course not. There are whole fields of study dedicated to rightly interpreting scripture — exegesis and hermeneutics. However, there are things that simply aren’t abundantly clear and are left up to each person’s conscience. Want to celebrate Christmas? Great! Don’t want to? Great! Do what’s right by your conscience and give others the same freedom to work out their beliefs and conclusions with God.
Besides, if you’re anything like me, you may change your mind on any particular practice over time. Then you may regret giving others a hard time over what you used to believe. Live and let live? Yes, with one addition — live and let live is very passive and means “I don’t care what you do.” I think Jesus would have us live and let live with love. That means “I see you think differently, and that’s okay. I love you anyway.”