Baking Christmas cookies can be an act of worship.
Ho boy. Back up Karen, big time. Start from the beginning. WHERE did you come up with that?
Okay, follow me on this. At the heart of it, Christmas is about honoring the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. Right?
Next. What counts to God is not WHETHER we celebrate Christmas but how and why we celebrate it. The world has messed up the meaning of Christmas so much, it’s easy to get discouraged with the whole thing and throw the baby out with the stagnant water in the stable yard’s horse trough. I’ve heard a number of people this year question whether Christians should celebrate Christmas. Isn’t it just a pagan holiday? The Bible doesn’t command us to celebrate the birth of Christ, so should we?
Like so much in life, Christmas in and of itself is a good thing. Within the context of God’s plan for the world it is a beautiful thing; without that context, it is meaningless and empty. The angels, shepherds and Wise Men got absolutely dippy about the birth of that baby, so why shouldn’t we?
The birth of any baby is an exciting event. Ask any mom. She can still tell you infinite details about the pregnancy and birth of each child. Not only does the Bible devote four and a half solid chapter to birth details in the New Testament; dozens of verses in the Old Testament alert the reader to watch for further updates about a coming Child who will save the world from their sin. Yes, to God, the birth of His Son is a big deal, an event future generations would do well to remember.
Agreed. However, I think many Christians struggle over their choice of Christmas activities. They are frustrated by the emphasis on the methods of celebration rather than the reason for the celebration. Is all the fluffy stuff the world calls Christmas celebration really necessary? If I’m going to celebrate Christmas God’s way, does that mean I should spend my time in quiet meditation and church services?
Karlene Jacobsen, in her story, ‘’The Quilt” which appears in our Anthology, Christmas Treasures, had one of her characters says this, “It matters little when, but how we remember the greatest gift ever given.” So how should we remember the greatest Gift ever given?
God cares most that we commemorate the birth of His Son in a way that honors him, not in a way that gratifies our greed or makes us slaves to duty-bound legalism. Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
WHATEVER you do, that’s what it says! As long as we include God in the process, as long as we invite Him to the dance in our hearts, I truly believe He doesn’t care how we celebrate. The important thing is that we honor Him in what we do, we use the outward props as tools to our worship, not ends unto themselves, we don’t succumb to greed or legalism, and we remember the poor.
Here is my struggle. How can I avoid the legalism and expectations of Christmas? How can I possibly honor Jesus by putting up decorations that I consider a chore? On the flip side, how can I avoid thinking about myself when I really do deep down enjoy making cookies?
God made each of us to be uniquely ourselves. We have our own package of worship styles, learning styles and spiritual gifts. (For more on worship styles, check out the book, Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas.) God expects us to worship Him using what He has given us. Isn’t that exciting? Don’t you feel set free? I am praising God when I cultivate the gifts He gave to me. I worship best when I express myself creatively using what He has given to me and do it in His honor.
Decorating a house may not be my thing, but it is to someone else. They are using their gifts and praising God just by lavishing lights, ribbons, and ornaments over every square inch. Go for it! My gift is enjoying your creativity and praising God for how those decorations remind me of His greatest gift. When I sing a Christmas carol, I hope you’ll find encouragement and joy in the beauty of the music and a reminder of God’s great deeds through the words I sing.
What about those cookies? I love to bake cookies and homemade bread at Christmas. Now if I bake out of obligation or because we’ve always done holiday baking, then I’m not worshipping God. On the other hand, if I bake those cookies because I love to bake, I want to expand my creative abilities in cookie baking, I feel a sense of joy and celebration when I bake, I pray for those who will eat them while I’m working, and I give gifts of cookies to those who need an extra expression of God’s love, I’m confident that God in His heaven is sitting back, taking a deep breath and saying, “Wow!”
After all, any kind of praise to God is a sweet smelling sacrifice to Him.