12 Fundy Days of Christmas

For most folks ’tis the season to be jolly but fundamentalists don’t do anything quite the way everyone else in “the world” does it and Christmas is no exception. For the next several days, SFL will be featuring posts about Christmas experiences in Fundyland.

So hang up your stocking, put on your Burl Ives Christmas LP, and prepare to get in the fundy Christmas mood…

148 thoughts on “12 Fundy Days of Christmas”

    1. To be honest, the majority of fundamentalists I know are perfectly fine with Christmas trees.

      There’s a small group who don’t celebrate Christmas at all and some who simply eschew trees but it’s fairly rare in the circles I traveled.

      1. I’ve been out of fundyhood for a few years (althought I’m STILL working on the deprogramming), so I don’t know how it is now. But, I remember when I was in college in the mid-90’s and we had all these discussions on trees and whatnots. Several of the extreme preacher boys didn’t like them.

        It was very weird.

        1. Natalie, if a fundy can find an issue on which to be extreme, it makes his/her day, and the next thing you know they’re trying to put scripture on your doorpost, your forehead, and your wrists, and making you tithe mint and cumin but putting your old folks out to pasture.

        1. Yeah, I’ve even found Christmas trees in Fundy churches, right up on the platform behind the preacher.

          We personally don’t do a Christmas tree, but we are giving lots of gifts and doing stockings this year. My husband just isn’t into all the traditional stuff, but he still lets me have fun with it.

          We won’t be teaching our son about Santa Claus, except that he is a fictional character. I grew up without Santa, and it never hurt me. πŸ™‚

        2. My parents didn’t do a tree, but I’m so glad they never preached at it saying it was pagan or anything. (I’d also never heard it called a Ba’al Bush til SFL, but it’s now stuck in my head too!) They always thought it distracted from Jesus. We would decorate, share presents, and center a manger scene in a prominent place.

          I think it’s because they missed me so much my first semester at BJU, though, that when I went home for Christmas, they had put up a huge, beautiful tree and continued to do so for years. I wish we’d had a tree to enjoy when I was a child, but later is better than never! πŸ™‚

        3. BTW, my parents WERE offended when they saw a Christmas tree in church. They saw it as part of the secular holiday celebration along with Santa and reindeer and didn’t think church was the right place for it.

        4. In our house we’ve always had a tree, but baby Jesus could never be in the manger until Christmas morning. The wise men had to be halfway across the room since they were on their way.

        5. I’ve heard of people moving the three wisemen closer and closer to the manger scene, sort of like the way children open count-down calendars.

      2. For most of my years, up to late High-School, Christmas Trees were seen as pagan in origin (so too Christmas Wreaths, Father Christmas (I grew up in SA, his named changed to Santa as the Americanisation progressed πŸ™ ), and a host of other things). It was common in the fundamentalist version of the Dutch Reformed Church (that is before my folks turned even more fundamentalist, as related elsewhere in the comments on this blog).

        I remember very well one Christmas, in a mall at my Gran’s near Cape Town, how Santa came to give me some sweets, and my father pulled me away. I remember it very vividly.

    2. We didn’t have a tree for 5 years. Then one Christmas our church put up a tree (TREASON!!) and all was well again. For the first time in a decade my mother has a Santa ornament on her tree.

  1. Ah, the joys of singing Christmas hymns only on the Sunday before Christmas, the choir cantata that Sunday night, no Christmas Eve service because Christmas Eve is for the family, not about Christ. Simple, fun times.

    1. Oh, I remember it all, clear as anything. The cantata — depending on the choir, they can be REALLY good, or just make you pop ibuprofen.

      And, I never understood why we never had a Christmas Eve service like the Catholics. Not midnight, but at least a service on Christmas Eve night or Christmas Day.

      I guess family time is when the pastor wants family time. When you want it, it doesn’t matter. πŸ˜‰

      1. I always noticed that churches that usually meet once a week ADD special services for the holidays (i.e. Christmas Eve, etc.) But IFB churches already have Sunday School, Sunday AM, Sunday PM, and Wednesday. WE celebrated holidays by canceling a service!

    2. Did you have the men in Roman soldier suits cutting up baby dolls and women crying and holding red-stained bundles?

  2. Wait a minute. Look in the tree. Is that a plane and a luxury liner hanging as ornaments? We never had that growing up.

    1. Nope, but we had those friggin (ah! she said friggin) icicles. My sister and I used to pitch them onto the tree.

      1. I’m gonna start a white piano destruction company. We could just show up w/ no tools/explosives, pretend we had them, pretend to set them up & pretend to destroy the white piano!

        1. …and pretend to get paid! (You W.P. nonbelievers are a bitter and frustrated lot, aren’t you…)

  3. This the season for a Ron Hamilton, “Death Play.”
    “What we have seen here tonight was very moving. Perhaps we have someone who is like “Chip”, the Prodigal Son, perhaps your mother died with a prayer on her lips that you would get your life right. You can do it right now, right here, the “Altar” is open.”
    “Come now before it’s everlasting too late. Come as we sing just a couple (dozen) verses of ‘I Surrender All’.”

    1. Dozen verses.. ha ha. Yep, sing all the verses…. THEN sing them all over again.

      Oh yeah, those Ron Hamilton plays. My cousin Ray used to be the star in a lot of them growing up because he could sing well.

      Didn’t do him any good in making him a fundie.

      1. “Emotional Manipulation?”
        “Kleenex on the Altar?”
        “Second Sermon with GUILT attachment?”
        “Then we’re Ready of Christmas!” πŸ™„

        1. ready “OF” Christmas? Got to lay off the eggnog while typing there george…
          (hic!) sokay! Im just getting in (hic!) the Tristmas spirits… luv, gor..jo(no, that’snot it either)..(oh yeah) george

      1. Not on topic, BUT whats with all these alter calls? Last time I checked Baptist Churches do not have an alter!!!!!!

        1. The old fashioned altar is NEVER closed. *

          * Altar is defined as the front row pew or the stairs leading to the stage.

        2. You know that, we know that, but fundies….

          have their very own version of transubstantiation. At the end of a service the riser and the steps leading up to the pulpit area (ie. stage) are transformed to the mystical altar where one can come and “get right with gid.” This is where all emotional, spiritual and mental manipulation can be released in an experiential moment of bowing at the altar before the M-O-g. This is his way of gauging his sucess at emotional, spiritual and mental manupulation as well. We have the Father of Modern American Revivalism to thank for this place of mystical transubstantiation where decisions can be made public: Thank you,Charles Finney.

        3. Ha! I hadn’t realized there was an unladylike way to get right with God! Every head may be bowed and every eye closed, but clearly Jesus still has a problem with how you look/carry yourself!

        4. Well, if a fundie preacher is looking down your blouse from the stage, then its the woman’s fault.

          I joke about it now, but its sad, but I really thought that at one point. I was always making sure that a MOG couldn’t “fall” because I was being immodest.

    2. Ah, looks like I didn’t read down far enough before making my comment. Why does someone always have to die a tragic death in fundy *Xmas plays?

      *For any fundies reading this, X is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ. Using “X” as an abbreviation for Christ goes back about 1,000 years, whereas the abbreviated form “Xmas” goes dates back about 500 years. Go read the OED if you don’t believe me. There. I’ve gotten my annual “Xmas rant” out of my system. :mrgreen:

        1. I’m offended as well. Natalie, I do believe we must separate and start “The We Keep Christ in Christmas Independent Fundamental KJV Bible Totin’ Church” down the road a ways. I just saw a single wide for rent. That’ll give us room to open up “The We Keep Christ in Christmas Christian School” and “The We Keep Christ in Christmas Holy Basement Bible College”.

        2. ABSOLUTELY, Benediction!!! I can play the piano and teach Sunday School and paint the sign with our new name (even though the sign will have to be the size of the building to fit it all in).

          Hey, on a funny and truthful note, Hot Fuzz and I went out to dinner last night and there was this one Baptist church and LITERALLY, not EVEN 1/10th of a mile down the road was another Baptist church. We had said something about the first church and then when we saw the second one, I said, “And, this is where they went after the split.”

        3. Which is why we have 155 Baptist churches in the COUNTY that I live in. And yep, it’s our privilege to also host the big boy (BJU) and it’s lesser known, twice as fundamentally extreme strange cousin Earl, also known as Tabernacle.

    3. What always amazed me about these Christmas plays was the fact that the “obligatory song for the children’s church choir to sing” never had anything to do with Christmas at all. I heard my Sunday School students sing “We Ain’t Never Done It That Way Before” and a song about things to sell to make money, etc. etc. All the spiritual songs were sung by the adults.

      If we want to emphasize to children how Christmas is about Jesus, why are they singing stupid songs about all the things they’ll sell in a yard sale to make money for buying gifts?

      1. I love having the kids sing “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” It’s such a sweet song. “But the real gift is YOU!” What an awesome message to teach them.

        1. LOVE that song!! I choke up every time I see the Ft Lauderdale Baptist Cburch pageant on TV and the little girl comes out in her fru-fru Christmas dress and curly hair and sings it. Our kiddoes at the chapel are doing it this year. What a prefect song for kids to put it all in perspective.

    4. Darrell could do a whole entry on Ron Hamilton death plays. Seemed like we had one every year – and one year he actually showed up and played the lead in The Centurion. We were quite honored…

    1. Oh, GOSH, no!!! I don’t care how beautiful it is. Next thing you know, you’ll become a polygamist and live out west!

      (I know modern mormons reject polygamy, but I couldn’t help it and probably there’s a lot of fundies that think they still practice it)

        1. The fundamentalists do (the FLDS), of course, but the mormon church proper dismisses it, even though their founder was one.

          I still say if a man can be a polygamist, a woman should be able to. (I know they say its for procreation, but still)

        2. @Natalie-
          “I still say if a man can be a polygamist, a woman should be able to.”

          Puleeze, honey! I have enough to do keeping one in line, thank you very much.

        3. Further note: technically polygamy is simply having more than one spouse at a time and can refer to either multiple wives or multiple husbands. Polygyny is one man with multiple wives and is the more common form of polygamy. However, in certain areas of the world polyandry (one woman with multiple husbands) is practiced.

        4. An Amish woman was accused of polygamy–she was seeing “two men a night.” (Mennonite) 😳

      1. @Tony Mel – ‘Cuz in the south, those Mormons aren’t nearly as bad as a bunch-a damn yankees. πŸ˜‰

  4. My wife was thrilled that we found a Snoopy Christmas CD at a used book store. She had the album as a kid until her preacher preached against wicked LPS. Her parents burned them all.

  5. You’ve gotta fit “Keep Christ in Christmas” and “Jesus Is the Reason for the Season” in there somewhere. (Aren’t those in Scripture?)

    And of course, no one ever heard of Advent. Dan, your experience was just the opposite of mine. We sang Christmas carols every Sunday for a month before Christmas, as though Advent didn’t exist. Come to think of it, I’m not sure the hymnal even contained any Advent hymns.

    1. Doh! You went there! I was hoping to go through ONE season without those old cliches.

      Advent, growing up, was that unholy thing that Catholics do. It wasn’t until I got out of fundyhood that I learned about Advent and the beauty of it all.

    2. I started going to a Methodist church this year, and I’m celebrating Advent for the first time! Fun!

    3. I’m 56. This is the first time in my life I ever understood Advent. At the base chapel we share facilities with the Catholics and I have gotten to know some of them and have even been known to trade jokes and converse with (gasp) Father John. What they do with Advent teaches the whole story of Christmas so much better!! I love it!

  6. Hmm, While at Fundy U, Boston branch, I dressed up as Santa Clause for all the kids…the most “Fundy” of the bunch left school before the next semester.

        1. I’m impressed that in a town that has both Boston College (private) and Boston University (public), and no doubt other institutions with “Boston” in the name, Boston Baptist College got the lock on the URL “www.boston.edu.” That must have taken some fast thinking by somebody– and quite a bit of chutzpah.

        2. I find it terribly interesting that their homepage doesn’t give you an address! You have to email them if you want to visit, and then their representative will get back to you on the phone to confirm. So strange! Why don’t they want people to know where they are?

        3. @Tony Mel: based on Google Maps I’d say two or three buildings (can’t quite tell if they’re connected or separate). Street view shows a suburban area. At any rate it’s not *at all* what I pictured, based on what I’ve seen of their advertising. Fundy colleges falsely advertising themselves. Imagine that. πŸ˜•

  7. It was worse if you were actually *in* the annual cantata. . .hours and hours of practice before the actual “performance”, and usually the small fundy church choirs sounded awful anyway.

    1. And, let’s not forget the little old ladies, with their glasses on their nose, looking over them at the choir director and bouncing their book to the beat of the music.

    2. My in-laws UMC church seems to do Written in Red EVERY Easter…sounds terrible. However, I do have kudos to give for putting it on. It’s funny watching my father-in-law up there in the choir loft though…don’t know if he’s singing or just chewing his gum.

    3. You just reminded me of Mac Lynch, the guy who wrote “The Steps of a Good Man.” He scolded me in front of 100+ Wilds’ counselors because I was looking at the audience when singing, and not to him. I was drawing undue attention to myself. πŸ˜•

      1. Had my senior trip at the WILDS. Yes, I did.

        Nothing like swimming with swimsuit covered by culottes and t-shirt at the base of the waterfall and trying not to drown.

  8. Oh… how many times did I hear Hyles and Schaap scream about how THEIR church won’t have a Christmas Contada without preeeeeaching the WORD with it. “over my cold dead body will we go the way of the liberals..”
    Oh..my dear mother..she didn’t know about the unwritten rules of women speaking up in church…

        1. Oh wow! I didn’t know you worked there! I wish there were tons & tons of women go there who didn’t know the rules about womens speaking.

        2. So, you’re a HACer, IAHB? πŸ˜‰

          Just kidding, girl.

          I’d love to hear your story, and I love your website. It made me cry. Wonderful writing.

        3. Rob…my mom spoke up for all of them when she visited that day..lol
          She is a catholic/pentecostal/tongue speaking/4 foot 8/ homemade spaghetti cooking Italian mom that gets words from the Lord and aint afraid to share them! :mrgreen:

  9. Yes, it’s a HUGE compliment. “Delightfully odd” is preferable to “stiffeling and oppresive” (sorry about the spelling)

  10. Had to comment, as I am perplexed by the behavior of closely related fundies. The Christmas tree and decorations have been banished for several years now. Christmas newsletters have become “year-end” and are sent about the same time with a family photo. I am not sure how they respond if wished “Merry Christmas” by sales clerks (as if any of them still do this).

    The one concession to Christmas (besides singing carols and having a family dinner) is that the kids are given substantial gifts at Thanksgiving. (This was because they didn’t think they should be left out of this worldly custom, I guess.) Now it has become the occasion for the little ones to think of mostly as the time when they get to open lots of presents. Does anyone else do this?

    1. Well, I know at work, I don’t ask kids what Santa is going to bring them, because not everyone does the Santa thing. I may ask them what they want for Christmas, but that’s it.

      Down here in the Bible belt, you never know what people are doing or not doing for Christmas.

  11. I hope one of these days is devoted to the fundies such as myself who were not allowed to celebrate Christmas at all, even down to my parents telling our relatives they were not allowed to give us gifts. I grew up hearing Christmas referred to as “Baal’s birthday” and the epitome of paganism. I know we were in the minority of fundies, but I still feel like crying for my 6-year-old self.

    Thankfully I can celebrate Christmas now and try to make up for those years!

      1. I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to be all “poor me.” I usually do try not to think back on my childhood too much because most of it is painful, for many reasons besides being deprived of things like Christmas. But one of the promises I have claimed for myself is from Joel 2:25: “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.” Maybe I’m stretching it a little, but it always brings comfort to my heart. =)

        1. That’s a beautiful verse! May God give you many blessed Christmas celebrations for those you missed as a child.

    1. They could at least get their history right. Christmas is supposedly descended from Saturnalia, which honors Saturn, not Baal.

      1. Unfortunately logic and history were ignored quite a bit in my home and church, and of course went unchallenged. =P

      2. “Saturn Tree” is nowhere near as fun to say as “Baal Bush.” Remember alliteration is next to godliness.

        1. Remember alliteration is next to godliness.

          πŸ˜† Priceless. I nominate this for the comment of the day!

        2. “Baal Bush” bursts out of one’s mouth with a more explosive expression of disdain. One could add a derisive “Bah” as well.

          However, you can hiss out “Saturn Shrub” at the offending party or even add “Satan” to it as in “I can’t believe any true Christian would have Satan’s Saturn Shrub in their home.”

    2. Merry Christmas Sarah! May God fill you with joy this season and the many more that will follow.

      The only restriction I put on my relatives is that if they give a toy that needs batteries, they give batteries also.

      1. Thank you, Jim! I’ve been blessed to have some wonderful Christmas seasons once I left that legalistic atmosphere!

        LOL @ your restriction on relatives. That’s a good one!

      2. When my siblings and I were younger our grandpa would always give us the batteries, and when we’d opened them, say, “Well, you might want to go with that,” and *then* give us the toy.

  12. It seems odd to me that fundies, who make up what seems a lot of hooey and preach it as the truth, try to make themselves righteous by criticizing the Church for taking a heathen holiday and making it a Holy Day for worshiping the King of kings.

    One of the best things about being in a liturgical church is Advent, which not only reminds us that Jesus came to die for our sins, but also reminds us that He has promised to return.

      1. Or, for that matter, even known about it. It took me years to realize that the 12 days of Christmas was more than a song.

    1. Yes, December 25 is the first day of Christmas. But you’d better start shopping now if you want to have all your calling birds, French hens, swans a-swimming, etc., ready by then.

  13. Wouldn’t the “fundy mood” for Christmas be sitting in your undecorated dark house (except for your big blown plastic manger thing from 1970) so the carolers won’t sing songs of Satan Claus and his evil pagan tree while standing on your property? Maybe even burning Santa in effigy for that extra-festive feeling?

      1. If they don’t burn Santa in effigy on a pile of NIV’s, they’ve lost the true spirit of fundy one-upmanship.

  14. I was a fundy out of place at times. From the logic I was taught I thought I should research everything and if it wasn’t in the Bible then DON’T do it. Well, I came accross this christmas thing my first year as a fundy, almost 20 yrs ago, and I thought why do we do this? Christmas is not really in the Bible., Jesus birth is and there is a big difference. So I decided not to celebrate. I was too ignorant to know better but I shouold have seen the hypocracy right from the beginning. It seemed hypocritacal to celebrate if you took the fundy logic too its conclusion but wherever I went they celebrated so I became the martyr who stood up for truth. I was derided endlessly for not going along, which is the main point I think. It’s not the not celebrating that bothered the pastor so much, it was the thinking for myself that got under his skin. He saw the roots of a rebel πŸ™‚ I think he was right, at least on that point. πŸ˜‰
    Well, I’m not as ignorant any more. Honestly for some real biblical reasons I still don’t know how folks connect christmass and the Bible but that’s up to each to decide. I let my teen girls decorate, we drive around and look at lights etc. I still like Handel’s Messiah and I still don’t do a tree but as far as others go, I let it go because it just doesn’t matter.

    1. I too, became unFundamentalist by following Fundamentalist logic.

      I also became un Southern Baptist by following Southern Baptist rhetoric.

      The systems aren’t designed to trap analytical people.

  15. My 12 year old is a fundy wannabe. πŸ˜› Every year we watch the Christmas specials and he always asks if we really should be watching the ones with Santa in them. I always tell him that he is a made up character like Frosty but based on a real person.

    My fundy church always had Santa at the church but we were made to sing, “We THE Kings of Orient Are” instead of “We THREE Kings” because no ones knows how many kings there actually were. So we nitpicked the number and not the fact that the Bible calls them wise men and not kings… πŸ™„

    1. “I always tell him that he is a made up character like Frosty but based on a real person.”

      EXCELLENT description. Seriously.

  16. Darrell,

    I think you should start superimposing your face into your SFL pictures in odd places for people to find, like Where’s Waldo. A perfect spot for this picture would be one of the two dolls sitting beside the couch.

  17. nyone on here ever freeze their Tootsie off by being in a live nativity scene. One Independent Baptist church I was in, in PA used to do this every year. Ò€œVolunteersÒ€ would be out in the cold and the pastor would accept Ò€œdonationsÒ€ from the public to view the Nativity. (It wasnÒ€ℒt really a donation thoÒ€ℒ because if you no pay, you were not get allowed to see the Nativity scene.)
    Anyone else ever do this? (Think the pastor copied this from the Mennonites/Amish, although he would never admit such a thing.)

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