How to Keep Christ in Christmas. (It's Probably Not What you think).

Monday, October 28, 2019

Friends, can we talk?

Can we talk about this so-called war on Christmas? About “keeping Christ in Christmas”? About the boycotts and the fear-mongering?

As I see it, there is in fact a war on Christ’s mass. Advent, which is meant to be a contemplative season of anticipation has become a whirlwind of obligations, sugar and spending. The special season set aside to celebrate the birth of our saviour has been replaced with six weeks of plastic, sparkles, and gingerbread lattes.

But it has nothing to do with holiday sentiments at the shopping mall or on your company Christmas cards and the songs chosen for your child’s public school choir performance.

We don’t need the world to validate our worship.

Happy Holidays and Season’s Greetings aren’t nasty offensive awful things to say. They are nice, kind-hearted greetings from well meaning friends and neighbours. They are inclusive, open, welcoming, and yes, secular greetings. Like “hello” and “good day”.

To expect everyone everywhere, and even corporations and government offices to recognize our holy day, not just on the day of but for a whole month in advance, regardless of what other traditions and religions they themselves may practice is….

… well

…. it’s absurd.

And, can I say this hard thing to you, in love?

The idea of boycotting a big box store for a month because they have the words “Happy Holidays” plastered out front of their store and then returning in January to buy their unethically sourced, unsustainably produced items from an employee who isn’t getting paid enough to live on? It seems a little inconsistent with my understanding of the new testament.

Frankly, I’m not sure that fighting to keep Christ’s name on a social occasion marked by marketing and materialism and a mass stampede to the cheapest new electronic is something Christ would want.  I wonder if maybe he’d rather us leave his name off of it all together and just do the things he asked us to do, like give and love and trust Him.

There is a war on Christmas. I know there is. It’s in my own heart. 

The war on Christmas is in the parts of me that want miracles and joy and community without surrender and sacrifice. It’s the part of me that is tempted to buy a bunch of gifts I can’t afford so that I can be an awesome gift giver instead of keeping my focus on the One who gave us the greatest gift imaginable. It is in the distractions and the noise of the season that blind my heart to the needs of others. It’s in me, it’s in you.

Dear friends, let’s keep Christ in Christmas. Not by trying to make the corporations of the world scrub themselves up and look holy by our standards. But by intimately worshipping our saviour, teaching our children about the hope that was born in a manger, giving to those in need, and gathering together with a motley bunch of friends and family for a feast of joy and celebration of the King that came for us.

The trees? The gifts? Take them or leave them as your conscience permits. But gather together and worship. Worship the God who dared to step into our darkness to bring us the light. Let’s keep Christ as the focus of all we do this Christmas season. Nobody can take that from us.

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