December 19, 2012

Go Tell it on the Mountain - Linda Aleta Tame

Christmas, in my past, was problematic.  I was raised in an exclusive religious group that didn't believe in Christmas.  My dad was also raised with the same belief system, but he left it behind when he was a young man.  My mom embraced the system's tenets when she met my dad, so our home was a divided home.  We sometimes had a Christmas tree, but along with my five siblings, I knew it was wrong.  There were a few reasons it was wrong to celebrate Christmas:  a passage of scripture in Jeremiah 10 ( it condemns idol worship, but the idol seems a lot like a Christmas tree), no one knows the exact day of Jesus birth, and the pagan origin.

For a few years, after I left the sect, I did celebrate Christmas.  It was still difficult, because I didn't really know how to get "in the Spirit."  I was not a believer then.  I was trying to embrace the secular side of Christmas.  Some of it was lovely, the family gatherings, the lights, the gifts, but I still had anxiety.   When I studied with Jehovah's Witnesses, a group that resembles the one from my childhood, I felt more at home again, because they don't participate in Christmas either.

Eventually, I learned of the saving grace of Jesus, the same Jesus who was born in a manger.  My whole world changed when I fell in love with the mighty Saviour.  He filled my life with love, joy and purpose, but in some respects, peace was still elusive.  Christmas continued to be a stressful time for me.  The first Christmas after my new birth in Christ, I saw a Christmas tree in the church foyer.  I ran from the church in a tearful outrage.  I was angry, hurt and literally sick to my stomach.  Gradually, I became more tolerant, but my understanding was limited.

That happened thirty-three years ago.  Today, I love and enjoy Christmas in freedom!  Many of my questions were answered through a little booklet entitled, "Christmas Reconsidered" by Ralph Woodrow.  Christmas Reconsidered  It addresses questions like, "Is it an ancient pagan festival?" and  "Did Jeremiah condemn Christmas trees?"  Most of you have likely never had to deal with such conflicts associated with Christmas, but for those of you who have, I recommend Woodrow's booklet.


My true liberty, however, did not come from Ralph Woodrow.  It came from an awesome and living God, the One who came from the glory of heaven to be born in a stable.  He came to live among us, to love us, heal us and to offer us abundant life here and in His Kingdom.  I am amazed at His beauty, His compassion, His perfect peace.  As a child and as a Jehovah's Witness, I was not allowed to sing, "Away in a Manger,"  or "Oh Holy Night," or any other carols about Him.  Now, I sing with all my heart, "Go Tell it on the Mountain!"

5 comments:

fudge4ever said...

Your story is so uplifting - to see and hear the freedom that Jesus gave you! Isn't He beautiful!

Pam M.

Marcia Janson said...

I loved reading about your journey to freedom, Linda. I guess that, to varying degrees, most of us have to go through that experience of having layers of human-imposed ideas peeled away so that we can really start to see and know Jesus. It's like learning to walk all over again, on a new and surprising kind of ground.

Thanks for sharing some of yours story with us.

Marcia

Janis Cox said...

Linda,
Nice to meet you, and hear your faith journey. Amazing how God reaches down and touches our hearts to understand in a new way.
Many blessings this Christmas. Let us celebrate Jesus' birth - the coming of God to earth.

Many blessings,
Jan

Linda Aleta Tame said...

Thank you for your comments Janis, Marcia and fudge4ever. It's so wonderful to be praising Him together.
May yours be a blessed Christmas filled with warmth, joy and LOVE!

Linda

Sharon Espeseth said...

Thanks for sharing this, Linda. Your story is such a good testament to the freeing spirit Christ can give us if we are ready to ask and then accept it. Christ died to give us abundant life.

I pray you have a blessed and joyful Christmas