Christmas without Second Commandment Violations?

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ericfromcowtown

Puritan Board Sophomore
Hello All,

We celebrate Christmas. I recognize that there are arguments against the celebration of Christmas, but I ask that those opposed to the celebration of Christmas please not respond to this post.

I believe that pictures of Christ, even if it is of a generic baby in a manger, are a second commandment violation (Westminster Larger Catechism Q.109). I recognize that there are those that would disagree with me and suggest that since our children are not worshipping the baby Jesus in the nativity set, or the babe in the manger in a children's book, that no second commandment violation is occurring. I ask that those who have no issue with images of Christ please do not respond to this post.

My specific question has to do with children's books or other decorations that focus our children's attention on Christ as the reason for Christmas without featuring "pictures of Jesus." Has anyone had any luck finding such things? I did track down this series of books today and ordered them:

The Born To Be King Series
 
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Bookmeister

Puritan Board Freshman
What impacted me most coming out of broader evangelicalism was when I argued for images saying "I do not worship these images." Someone responded to me "Yes, but how do you know what is going on in the heart of others?" I have been a very vocal opponent of any images of Christ ever since. In this case I would add "especially children" to the end of the question.
 

gordo

Puritan Board Freshman
Interesting. It's the first I have heard of people not keeping Christmas. I will have to look into this.
 

au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I was beginning to suspect the board was going to take a year off discussing Christmas. That's not a bad idea, as long as we can still have the annual "Is Ben a clod?" thread as a special exception.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
I think, maybe, we can have such discussions any time.;)
I was beginning to suspect the board was going to take a year off discussing Christmas. That's not a bad idea, as long as we can still have the annual "Is Ben a clod?" thread as a special exception.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
I was beginning to suspect the board was going to take a year off discussing Christmas. That's not a bad idea, as long as we can still have the annual "Is Ben a clod?" thread as a special exception.

Thankfully Christmas and Easter are the only two hangovers from the Christian calendar to have survived into modern Reformed churches. Otherwise there'd be many more days to discuss.
 

LoveThatWillNotLetMeGo

Puritan Board Freshman
Growing up my mother had a nativity set in which the "baby" was a separate peice from the manger. She just threw out the "baby" and kept the empty manger. Although it might be hard to find a similiar set nowadays, it was a pretty good reminder of the second commandment for our family! We also had a set of white ceramic angels playing various instruments.
 

ericfromcowtown

Puritan Board Sophomore
My specific question has to do with children's books or other decorations that focus our children's attention on Christ as the reason for Christmas without featuring "pictures of Jesus." Has anyone had any luck finding such things? I did track down this series of books today and ordered them:

The Born To Be King Series

As a quick update, we did receive the "Born to Be King" series of books. While short (they are about 6-10 pages each), we quite like them. They're hard (baby friendly), and each end with a gospel message.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
Okay, I should have thought of this a month ago as it's now too late for this Christmas, but...

Ann Voskamp's "Jesse Tree" family advent devotionals are quite nice. Grounded in solid biblical theology. Kid-friendly but not simplistic. Available as a free download at her site. And they manage to do it all while avoiding pictures of baby Jesus. Probably best for ages 5 and up, though.

I suppose I need to confess that I don't get upset over the occasional undetailed picture of Jesus for instructional purposes, though I think we're wiser to do without much of that and am therefore sympathetic to your quest. Plus, I had an actual answer to your question. So I responded. Might be helpful to you some year.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
It is an impossibility to "have" Christmas without the 2nd Commandment being violated.

Would you please expand on this thought a bit Josh? I'm not disagreeing with you, I would just like to understand what you mean exactly. Thanks.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
It is an impossibility to "have" Christmas without the 2nd Commandment being violated.

Would you please expand on this thought a bit Josh? I'm not disagreeing with you, I would just like to understand what you mean exactly. Thanks.
The application of the 2nd Commandment goes far beyond images and carved idols and expands to how God has required that we approach Him in Worship: i.e. only in the way He has commanded. I am not trying to hijack the thread, but the mere possibility of the observance of Christmas without 2nd Commandment violations, in the understanding of the Westminster Standards, does not exist.

Thank you for you explanation. I do indeed see what you mean.
 

ericfromcowtown

Puritan Board Sophomore
Okay, I should have thought of this a month ago as it's now too late for this Christmas, but...

Ann Voskamp's "Jesse Tree" family advent devotionals are quite nice. Grounded in solid biblical theology. Kid-friendly but not simplistic. Available as a free download at her site. And they manage to do it all while avoiding pictures of baby Jesus. Probably best for ages 5 and up, though.

I suppose I need to confess that I don't get upset over the occasional undetailed picture of Jesus for instructional purposes, though I think we're wiser to do without much of that and am therefore sympathetic to your quest. Plus, I had an actual answer to your question. So I responded. Might be helpful to you some year.

Thank you for the helpful response.
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The best explanation of the birth of Christ I had as a child was from the mouth of my father reading the Scriptures to us and explaining them to us each Christmas Eve.
 

BertMulder

Puritan Board Junior
I rather disagree, my friend. We may, and do, celebrate the incarnation of Christ any week of the year in worship, as we recite the creed, and also, as sermons dealing with His incarnation are preached. That is no different than having services on the 25th of December, no matter what day of the week. There is also no prohibition on having worship services on weekdays, in addition to the Lord's day.
 
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