Wednesday, January 05, 2011


So the last two weeks were a gaping void in which I was constantly doing one of two things:  working or coughing.  (Sometimes both.  Because I'm a mom and I can multitask.)

But I'm doing better.  The holiday work-a-thon is over and my pneumonia is clearing.

And I've been thinking about Christmas.  Several of my sweet and well-meaning friends do not celebrate.  They are getting into the Jewish roots of Christianity and have rejected Christmas and Easter, saying that they are just "Christianized" versions of pagan celebrations.  And that they aren't even in the Bible.

Which is fine.  If the Holy Spirit convicts them about this, then who am I to judge?

But for me, both the holidays are altars.

God was really into altars in the Old Testament. 

Every time something super nifty happened (crossing the Jordan, wrestling with God, etc), God told His people to build an altar to remember.  A physical reminder of an encounter with an invisible God.

And if there is anything in this world worth remembering it is the incarnation of our infinite God and the sacrifice He made for us. Two times a year when we should stop and say, "Wow," and just marvel in His goodness.

What other altars would you make in your journey?  Are there any special times when you remember God's amazing acts?   Any times when you've pulled stones from the river and made a memorial to God's intervention?

Birthdays are a big one I think of.  Sure, they can be commercialized, stress-filled celebrations of materialism and white sugar.  But they can be altars too.  Reminders that God intervened in my life and gifted me with six amazing kids.  Reminders that His voice saying "yes" is bigger than any doctor's voice saying "no."

I think our biggest problem with holidays is not that they exist.  It is that we've forgotten what they are for.  Christmas, Easter, birthdays, etc should be days reflecting God's glory.  Where we ponder the provision of a mighty Savior.  As always, it is a heart issue when we really come down to it.


Jean said...

Well said Tamara. Unfortunately, we try to sacrifice the wrong things on those altars we erect. We are called to live sacrificially not sacrifice others or our integrity.

Thanks for the thought-provoking post. I am still thinking about it.

wordstolivebymommy said...

I really liked what you said, about the altar at your children's birthday. I may have to incorporate that in a meaningful way this year. Thanks :)