Admittedly, my way of looking at some things are strange to many. I accept that. For instance, it doesn’t really bother me that the world is trying to take the Christ out of Christmas, if that’s what they are really trying to do. It doesn’t bother me for a few reasons.
First, Christmas is a Christian holiday. The fact that it has become grossly over-commercialized doesn’t change that, nor does the fact that many non-Christians get just excited about the holiday as Christians do. Christmas is the time of year we Christians assign more of our attention to the Incarnation, the time in history when God put on human flesh to dwell with man.
For a Christian, the Incarnation is beautiful, sweet and meaningful. For a non-Christian, however, this magnificent gift from God means nothing. Why would they celebrate it? If they do celebrate the secular aspects that have become attached to this time of year, why would they celebrate the sacred component of it? As I’ve written about in recent columns, the things of God seem to be foolishness to them.
I believe it is quite arrogant for a person to decide that because they don’t acknowledge God, that no one else should either. Even so, I can’t be surprised by the vitriol this loud minority spews at Christian Christmas celebrations. Some people out there hate anything that has to do with God, so why would Christmas be any different? Do we really expect that they would enjoy all these reminders that Jesus Christ is king?
Secondly, I would remind us that this world we live in is not home for the Christian. This world is God’s world, make no mistake about it, but sin has ruined it, every part of it, and it is no longer our home, at least not as it exists in its present state.
Christians don’t like this. We want America to “turn to Christ,” we want the whole world to bow down to him now. The time is coming, that, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,” (Philippians 2:10, 11), but that time is not here yet. Right now, we live in a world that largely rejects the reign of Christ. We are the foreigners here, the outsiders, the weirdos. We can’t mix up the fact that our country was founded with many Godly principles with the reality that a free country, by definition, means no one living in it has to worship God. We can’t expect the world to embrace our Christian tradition and values — again, why would they?
Last, it really doesn’t bother me that some folks out there would like to remove nativity scenes from the public eye or change “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays,” or edit Christian Christmas carols from classic Christmas cartoons because none of that changes anything. Jesus still lived, still died on the cross, still came back from the dead and is still coming back one day to reign with his people. Nothing anyone could ever do or believe changes this, so I don’t see myself in a war with an enemy over Christmas. I don’t need to fight a war that has already been won — Jesus told us, after all, that He has “already overcome this world” (John 16:33b). The victory is already ours, so we are to live in it with great peace and joy, even if many won’t join us.
I think on the passage in Luke 2, which describes the shepherds’ visit to see the newborn Messiah. Once seeing Jesus, they ran through the streets telling of the birth of the Savior. We should definitely do that — keep talking about the “real reason for the season” this Christmas.
In that same passage, however, we see a different response from Mary. We learn that, “Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). We need to do that, too. We need to take a break from incessantly trying to force people to recognize something they don’t believe in by including the word “Christmas” on a coffee cup or writing out the whole word “Christmas” instead of abbreviating it, and just enjoy reflecting on God, loving Jesus and being thankful.
Please don’t let those who aren’t celebrating the birth of Jesus ruin your celebrating. Let’s put away the anger, the battling, and just worship.