Thursday, December 16, 2010

Keep Christ in Christmas

Most likely this post will not be what you expected. It may actually irritate you. Hopefully, it will cause Christians to think.
For years I have been frustrated by what Christmas has become. The commercialism and secularism of the holiday certainly poses a challenge to the serious follower of Jesus Christ. Every year Christians seem to fight back with our slogans. “Keep Christ in Christmas.” “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” We don’t like that someone may sell “holiday” trees or say “Season’s greetings.” After all, for Christians we are celebrating the incarnation of Jesus Christ the hope of all generations. How can anyone not honor the one who has come to set us free and make all things new? So we demand, “Keep Christ in Christmas.”
Keep Christ in Christmas sounds like a good message. Or is it? I think it depends. Who is the recipient? Are we talking to Christians? Great message! Certainly keep Christ in everything you do. Make sure that following Christ is a way of life and not just the appropriate name to be used in your greetings and in the title of your tree. Christ invited us to be His disciples. A disciple is someone who follows and becomes like His teacher. We can keep Christ in Christmas by doing the things He did. This isn’t done by demanding that those who aren’t his followers honor Him. Jesus said, "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Do I think it is silly that people sell “holiday” trees? I do. No one is fooled by calling a Menorah a holiday candle holder. We know what it is when we see it. But, me calling it a Menorah doesn’t make me Jewish. Honestly, what do I care if my neighbor, who doesn’t follow Christ chooses to have a holiday tree and greets me with “Season’s greeting.” My demand that he recognizes Christ doesn’t make him Christian. It may actually make him resent me. I become just another Christian that insist non-Christians live like or at least talk like Christians. We can become modern day Pharisees. We can have all the right traditions and yet forget weightier matters. I am not suggesting that all beliefs are equal. I am suggesting that we could win the wrong battle and lose the opportunity and privilege to share the hope of the Gospel. If I care for my neighbor I will treat him as Christ would. This is a great time to be in prayer discovering how we can best show the love of God to those around us. As a Christian, how can YOU keep Christ in Christmas?


  1. I find sayings like, put the Christ back in Christmas a little ironic sometimes. Many of our "Christmas" traditions actually didn't start with Christ or Christians. Many of our traditions come from the pagan celebrations of Yule, Norse Mythology, Saturnalia, the birth of Mithra on Dec. 25, etc... For example, our traditions of Santa Claus basically come from the Norse god Odin. The name comes from Saint Nicholas (his holiday is Dec. 6th), but the actual traditions we celebrate do not come from him.

    The church decided a long time ago to celebrate the birth of Jesus at the same time all these pagan winter solstice celebrations were going on (even though the actual birth of Christ was not in December). The pagan practices became incorporated with celebrating Christ's birth. Can some of these traditions be given new meaning and be something that glorifies God? Sure, but trying to put the Christ back in Christmas isn't really the best way to say it. Maybe even using the word Christmas for celebrating Jesus at this time of year is the wrong way to go, because from the beginning of the word its usage has been full of so much pagan baggage. Really our celebration of Christmas is a conglomeration of ancient holidays. Happy Holidays might actually be more accurate.

    As Christians, let's celebrate the birth of our Savior and Lord this Christmas season, and shine his light in the world without getting caught up in trying to restore a holiday to something it has never been.

  2. Thanks Ryan. Your points elevate the absurdity of fighting the wrong fight rather than shining His light into the world.

  3. Christians should be more focused on keeping Christ in our lives regularly, not just at Christmas. "First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean." (Matt. 23:26)

    We wouldn't need to remind people to keep Christ in Christmas if we practiced it and set the example.

    Great thoughts.