The internet, the news and even our front yards are littered (or inundated) with messages about keeping “Christ in Christmas”. We are concerned about the proper greeting, “Happy Holidays” offends the devout amongst us and and even Ben Stein (a Jew) has stepped up to say “I don’t think Christians like being pushed around, no one likes being pushed around…So let’s just admit this is what it is, its the birth of Christ that we are celebrating…“. Political correctness and tolerance are getting so out of hand that we cannot decide who has the greater right: Do Christians have more rights to declare the holiday a Christian holiday? Or do non-Christians have the greater right to declare it non-Christian – irregardless of its history?
But the simple reality is that we are wasting all of our energy fighting over words and yet giving into materialism and worldliness and pushing Jesus completely out of the season.
Some people like to give and receive gifts. Some people have real needs and desires and it is a pleasure for someone else to meet those needs. Hopefully we give gifts because we are reflecting on the fact that God gave the greatest gift to the world at the first Christmas, His Son Jesus. But is Jesus glorified in your gift exchange? Does that transformer that you give to your eight-year-old point him to the Savior and the entire reason we celebrate the day – the word for which we fought so adamantly? Or do you go to the store out of obligation and search the shelves just to have something to put under the tree, and then have a meaningless exchange of objects that no one needs or wants, without ever considering the gift you have been given by God Almighty?
Christmas decorating is a tradition and exciting activity for many families and individuals. Do you set up your tree, line up your nut crackers and run tinsel, garland and lights throughout your house in praise of the Savior? Or is it just a tradition? Or do you put a giant blow up Santa Claus in your front yard or on your rooftop, trivializing the gift of salvation that was purchased in blood for your eternity?
Why would we spend our energy fighting over the terminology, “Christmas” when we have already removed Him from our traditions and our activities?
Christmas is not the greatest holiday. Easter is. Christmas is the coming of Christ to Earth, and the anticipation of His saving work. Easter is the culmination of His Earthly ministry marking His death, burial and resurrection, and it is through this alone that we have access to God and eternal salvation. Christmas is glorious because of what it looks forward to. And yet the world will not help you prepare to celebrate Easter with carols, lights and over a month of anticipation. We would, however, be well served to reflect on the humility of Jesus in coming to Earth as a man. God Himself limited Himself in the form of an infant: completely dependent on human beings and restraining His power.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant,and being made in the likeness of men.
– Eph 2.5-7
The media will continue to fight over the terminology of Christmas. You will receive some cards in the mail in the next few weeks that read, “Happy Holidays”. But let us follow the example of Jesus: let us humble ourselves. Let us remember to make Him the center and focal point of our events and traditions. And let us remember that the fact of a baby being born is not what we celebrate, but the coming of hope and salvation.
Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
– Eph 2.8-11