I became a Christian at 17. Up until I was 10, my mom made us attend Mass at a Catholic church every week. Sometimes we’d have lunch afterward with the priest. Honestly, I only remember the lunches. None of the services meant anything to me, including the ones on Easter or Christmas. I only remember they didn’t last very long. Between 10 and 17 I didn’t attend church anymore, not even on Easter and Christmas, because we moved; though we had a car, we stayed home on Sundays.

I wasn’t raised in a Christian home, and the words “I love you” were never spoken. I couldn’t figure out why we even went to church in the first place. A decade ago I found out we only went to Mass because my mom was raised Catholic.

On my sixteenth birthday I started listening to country music because I figured country artists were the closest people to God. They all sang about the same four things: love, life, America, and God. Nothing’s changed; they still sing about those same things. A year later I started going to church again.

I chose to go to a Catholic church because it was the only religion I knew. I didn’t remember the Latin being spoken when I was growing up. I just ended up doing what everyone else did. Afterward, I got approached at the bus stop by someone who invited me to his church, where I accepted Christ.

Fast-forward to when I was 21. My dad died on Christmas night. I decided then never to celebrate another holiday, including Easter and Christmas. Sure, I was a Christian, but I never saw the reason to attend church to celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection or His birthday.

I thought I thought this way because of my father’s death, despite my lack of relationship with him. But I later realized this mindset had nothing to do with him. It was because of God.

Like most of you reading I begged, cried, yelled, and tried to “pray the gay away,” only to have it all go ignored. For years I thought God ignored me. And if He didn’t care about me, why should I acknowledge Him and His Son?

However, I now realize this mindset about church and holidays comes from my years of sexual sin, both with porn and hookups with other men.

Even though I’ve been a Christian for 43 years, I only just heard the phrase “Happy Resurrection Day” four years ago here in YOB. I had to look it up. To this day, I still haven’t heard that anywhere else; my family and people at church always just say “Happy Easter.”

As I write this, I realize last year was the first time I ever said “Happy Easter” to anyone. After saying it I remember thinking, I can’t believe I said that.

I found myself getting upset, so I made a point not to say it again the rest of the day; instead, I said “you too” whenever people wished me “Happy Easter.” I’m almost positive I’ll do the same thing this year.

I’m not upset with Jesus or God like I was in the past. I just don’t know why Christians celebrate Easter. I’d also never heard about Lent until last year and what people do for it. Does this make me a bad Christian? I don’t think so — just uninformed and maybe a bit stubborn.

As a kid my mom dressed us up in our Sunday best, and later we’d search for Easter eggs in the house because we didn’t have a yard. We never even heard about Jesus and His resurrection. It may have been talked about in Mass, but I don’t remember it.

Some fifty years later, I still see Christians doing those things. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with dressing up for church. I know some people do it every week. I haven’t dressed up for church since the early 80’s.

The things I have trouble with are the Easter eggs and rabbits. I know non-believers like doing Easter egg hunts with their kids and grandchildren and buying rabbits as pets for their kids during Easter season, but why do believers do it? Neither of these things has anything to do with Christ’s resurrection.

I feel similarly about Christmas. Christians supposedly celebrate Christ’s birth in December, but most of them, like non-believers, focus more on the presents than they do the birth of Jesus. I’m not judging those who celebrate Easter and Christmas the way they do.

I know both Easter egg hunts and presents are fun. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t do them. I only think Christians have lost their perspective over the years when it comes to these particular holidays.

I know some may have a problem with what I’ve written here. But like everything else I write or say, I’m just being me. Some appreciate it, some don’t. I don’t think God has a problem with the way I think. Goodness knows I’ve thought and said worse stuff over the years.

I don’t know if I’ll ever celebrate Easter or any other holidays in the future. Only God knows the answer to that. But if I don’t, I don’t think God’s going to hold it against me.

It will be counted to us who believe in Him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Romans 4:24b-25 (ESV)

Do you also have trouble celebrating Christian holidays? What can you celebrate in your Christian life if celebration comes more difficultly?

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  • re: “Pray the gay away”
    God does not ignore us.
    We need to remember the times that the disciples – SEASONED, EXPERIENCED fishermen – were on the Sea of Galilee when a storm came up. During one such time, Peter responded to Jesus’ comforting words, “It is I; don’t be afraid!” – Peter said, “Lord, if it’s You, bid me come to You!” Peter walked on the water to Jesus. We know that he panicked, and sank. The point is that, in this instance, Jesus did not immediately calm the storm. He let it continue. “Sometimes God calms the storm; sometimes He’s with us IN the storm.” Also, let’s remember the Apostle Paul, whose infamous “thorn in the flesh” was NOT removed, though he prayed earnestly, 3 times. We don’t know exactly what the thorn was, so perhaps we’re not supposed to. I’ve heard many speculations consisting of poor eyesight to being a ***, including homosexuality.

    We need to focus on the WHY of Easter – the RESURRECTION! Jesus conquered the devil, for all time and eternity! If we have the relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, then we are freed, for all time and eternity, from the penalties of sin! The fact that we still experience temptations is not because we’re fallen; it’s not because God is mad at us; and it’s not because we were never saved in the first place. Consider this: we’re tempted by the enemy BECAUSE we are God’s adopted sons or daughters! The enemy is furious that he lost a soul that he thought he had. He doesn’t want people to know about or experience God’s incredibly awesome and exceedingly abundant love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness!

    Whether we feel like it, or not – we need to remember that God is always with us, and that we can share with Him our honest feelings (He knows what they are, anyway). Even if we don’t feel like it, we can and should celebrate GOD, WHO He is, and WHY Jesus came to the earth, to die in our places!

  • Hi, Michael. Thank you for this honest reflection. I find the commercialisation of Christmas and Easter very sad. I don’t think there is anything wrong with giving and receiving presents at Christmas (an allusion to God’s gift of Jesus to us) or eating chocolate eggs or buying rabbits at Easter (both allude to new life in Jesus – the rabbit because of its fecundity) but I suspect that many people give the gift or eat the egg without appreciating the much more profound underlying spiritual truths. Fortunately most Christians I know here in the UK focus on the Christian understanding of Christmas and Easter without joining in with the commercial side of things to excess.

    I was first involved in Church in the Salvation Army of the 1970s. The Army has changed quite a lot since then, but at that time, despite the appeals for people to be ‘saved’, and the atonement-centered theology, I don’t think we really marked Lent. I later moved with my late mother to the Methodist Church, and, for the last 26 years, I have been attending churches at the catholic end of the Church of England, where I have found my spiritual home.

    I really like the liturgical celebration of lent, Holy Week and Easter. I can’t get to all of the services – I don’t think many people do, or that we are expected to – but those I do attend mean a lot to me. The liturgy helps me to get inside the story and relive it as sort of participant, every year. I find the reflection on Jesus’ crucifixion for an hour on Good Friday very hard: it makes it abundantly clear that my sin, among that of millions of others, made Jesus’ sacrifice necessary, and the details of the event never fail to horrify me. It also makes me immensely grateful to Jesus. I love the celebration on Easter Sunday, with the acclamation and response ‘Christ is risen’ – ‘He is risen indeed!’, repeated three times louder and louder at the start of the service, as the Easter candle is carried from the font to the altar.

    I appreciate that you don’t feel the same way about Christmas and Easter. I don’t think Christians are under any obligation to celebrate these festivals, although many find them meaningful ways of worshipping. Maybe one day you might get to an Episcopalian church in the USA and see how they do things there? If someone had told me as a child that I would end up in a liturgical, sacramental church I would have said they were mad…but life has turned out that way.

    I look forward to more of your blogs. x

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