Saturday, April 12, 2014

Why we didn't show

There are certain times of year my family chooses to stay home and this is one of them.  It started over 11 years ago, that much I am sure of because my husband and I struggled with infertility.  We were learning about the feasts of the Bible and decided to look into the meaning of "Christian" holidays.  We discovered the fertility goddess who is known by multiple names: Ishtar, Estera, Ashoreth, Ashera, and probably other forms including Easter.  There are many resources that say various things that we have reviewed through the years and they say similar things about the practices that revolve around the celebration and worship if this goddess.
If one would look her up they would see that she in some form fell from the sky in an egg in the area of the Euphrates river.  There are several variations of a story about people having orgies around her shrine or in her honor and one particular one shares that those impregnated during this celebration would return the next year and sacrifice these 3 month old infants to the goddess.  Some references go as far as to say they took eggs and dyed them in the blood of the infants to make the original Estera Egg.
As a woman who'd had at least one miscarriage of three at the point of reading this, I vowed then never to dye another Easter egg.  The whole idea actually repulsed me and still does.  I chose to trust The Living God, Jehovah, YHWH to give me children and have nothing to do with Easter celebrations.  My husband was in full agreed and actually was a partner in this research.  We came to the same conclusion at the same time.  
In fact, our church body had been doing research on holidays and little by little collected pieces of information on several celebrations such as Halloween and Christmas that changed the way we celebrated.  At the same time that we learned about those things we began researching the feasts of the Bible and started celebrating them.  Anyone who would argue that we are just replacing "fun" holidays with the feasts actually have it backward.  As culture changed, people began to forget the feasts and call them a Jewish thing and started embracing other seasonal celebrations.  It didn't start as an intent to worship idols, but to have a party.  I don't think most people who celebrate some of these holidays are intending to worship idols, but are just enjoying a celebration. 
My family DOES celebrate resurrection and Christ's birth, but we also celebrate Passover, the feast of dedication (Hanukkah), Purim, Sukkot, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashannah.  I believe that Jesus came to fulfill the feasts of the Bible and learning about the feasts helps us to know Him better.  No, it is not required for Gentiles and no, we don't celebrate like the Jews or have week long celebrations.  We study them and have small celebrations.  We are ever learning and considering what, who and why we celebrate.  We have raised our two children without trick or treating, without the Easter Bunny and without Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy or leprechauns.  They are doing just fine.
We have since moved to an area where we would find a new church and have gone to the one that we believe God called us to.  It is different in many ways from our former church and some of them are very good for us as a family.  Others are hard to adjust to, but when God calls you to be a part of a "family," you can't leave the family because you don't agree with 100% of the things they do.  When the kids had a costume party in October, we stayed home that night.  When they have Easter Egg Hunts, we just don't participate.  It sounds like we are just cold and don't consider the entire thing, but it is a big deal and we choose as a family and talk to our children about the choice and give them an opportunity to say everything they want even if they think we won't like it.
This year I would say has to be the most difficult one for me personally.  The church is putting on an outreach to evangelize, which is what it is every year.  This year's is in a different location than before to accommodate larger crowds and bring in more people.  The goal is to minister to the community and present the Truth about The Ressurrection.  There are many fun activities planned and when it was first announced I was very conflicted.  I pictured where I could be used, but did not sign up as I needed to pray about the whole thing.  My daughter wanted to go in hopes to win a new bike and we needed to make a decision so we could talk with our kids.  My husband and I discussed, prayed and researched.
I have been reading in 2 Kings and one king would come and cut down the Ashera poles, the next would allow them to be re-erected, the next would cut them down.  Those that cut them down pleased The Lord.  I didn't find a place where they went to the Ashera celebrations and converted people to follow God.  Also as we researched and again found Ashera and Easter are the same, I could not justify in my heart participating in that ministry event.  Easter wasn't even celebrated in the US for it's first 100 or more years.  Additionally, there have been a few people from foreign countries who know my husband is a Christian and they've asked him why we in America celebrate Easter the way we do.  Other cultures see that the eggs and bunny and other various holiday symbols are not Christian.  They recognize that Easter and resurrection are 2 completely separate things.
Even though my husband and I had settled to follow through with the convictions we've held for over a decade we still needed to have our family discussion.  My daughter was more interested in winning a bike than going to the egg hunt. My son was indifferent.  We agree that we support our church and if we were directly asked, we would assist with portions that we need to for our church to succeed.  We also agree that no one in our church is there to worship the goddess, but hope to plant the seed of Jesus into participants.  Why not us?  Our family feels that to do this would be to compromise our convictions.  
Some friends and family will never understand our decision and may even judge us and I can live with that.  I enjoy being asked to help even when I can't, but this year, knowing our convictions, we were not approached.  For a brief moment, it felt like rejection, but it was actually respect.  We especially want to engrain in our children the Biblical holidays and not their alternatives.  Each family must choose what they will.  If this post gives you a greater conviction to evangelize Easter, then great, do it.  Mostly I would like people to understand why they choose what they choose and not just make a choice because that is what they've always done.  I did that again this year.  This article from Answers In Genesis gives more historical background.

1 comment:

  1. I love this, I love you, and I miss you. Especially this time of year.