Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Christian Rituals

Christian rituals such as celebrating Christmas and Easter shows what can happen when a ritual is practiced and the meaning behind the ritual is all but forgotten. It is a terrible shame what has happened to Christmas; the birth of Christ is not the meaning of Christmas in the United States today; commercialism is the god of Christmas, and Easter is fast becoming the same way. Christmas has a social value that meets the people’s needs in the area of relationship and friendship closeness, but it no longer meets the spiritual needs of most of the people who celebrate it.

Easter has turned into a child’s game type of event that makes a mockery of the resurrection. Easter is a ritual of chasing eggs and bunnies, not praising God for resurrecting Jesus from the dead. It’s about who looks the prettiest in their new dress or suit, not about being thankful for the Firstborn of God.

Other rituals Christians practice, such as baptism and communion, are a vital part of the Christian experience, and they are commanded by Christ to be done; there’s no argument against their importance. Some rituals, such as snake handling, are on the fringe and are even considered to be anti-productive in the cause for Christ.

There is a group of Christians in Africa who jump up and down in a trance for three straight days in their worship of Jesus. I can see the social importance of this because it brings them together and in commitment to each other, but I can’t understand how Christ is glorified by this. I have no idea what I would do as a missionary in this area. Is this how Christmas and Easter appears to non-Christians? Just something to jump up and down about with no real meaning?

Why don’t we Christian try to bring Christ back into focus as the “reason for the season”? When some says “Happy Holiday” to you this year, be sure to reply with a “Merry Christmas”, “God bless you”, and/or “Jesus is Lord”. Use Christ-centered Christmas cards and decorations. Let others know you are celebrating the birth of our Savior, not the return of a fat man in a red suit.