Keeping Christ in Christmas

“Let’s Keep Christ in Christmas”

That has become a very popular slogan. We hear it and see it everywhere. I’m writing this pre-Thanksgiving Day, yet I’ve already seen the slogan on Facebook today more than once. I expect to see it and hear it a lot more over the next few weeks. When most people proclaim it, they are fighting a battle on two particular fronts:

  1. They want to make sure people say, “Merry Christmas,” rather than, “Happy Holidays.
  2. They want to make sure people spell out, “C h r i s t m a s,” rather than abbreviate with, “X m a s.”

While I really like the idea of keeping Christ in Christmas, I’m afraid that even if we win on those two particular fronts, that won’t mean we’ve accomplished our objective. If we really want to keep Christ in Christmas the place to start is in our hearts, not in our oral greetings or on our cards and signs. Therefore, I suggest that we turn our attention to two different areas if we really want to keep Christ in Christmas.

  1. To keep Christ in Christmas, let’s make Christmas Christ-centered.
  2. To keep Christ in Christmas, let’s strive to be Christlike throughout the season.

I fear we are victims of a subtle evolution. Over a long period of time we have developed many customs and traditions for the express purpose of helping us celebrate the incarnation of Jesus Christ. We have time off from work, we visit family and friends, we have celebratory parties and dinners, we enhance our surroundings with festive decorations and lights, we exchange gifts, and we even schedule special events and programs at church. The problem is, that we’ve let Christmas become ABOUT those things rather than using those things to help us celebrate what Christmas is really about.

On top of that, it is both ironic and sad that all those traditions and means of celebrating often create so much stress and pressure that the very act of participating in them can make it difficult to be like Christ! We often end up like little time bombs just waiting to explode. Then there’s the whole gift aspect; I’m afraid that for many, the gift tradition has shifted to being about getting instead of giving. Think about it: When was the last time you heard someone ask, “What did you give this year?”)

It would be nice if I could list seven simple steps to make Christmas Christ-centered and for helping you to be Christlike. As it happens, I don’t believe there is a universal list. What I need to do isn’t necessarily the same thing you need to do. What you need to do isn’t the same thing your neighbor needs to do. What your neighbor needs to do… You get the idea.

However, I do believe I can suggest a universal starting point. It’s simple: Pray and ask God to show you what you need to do to help keep Christ in Christmas and to remain Christlike.

I’d be surprised if he were to tell you to just make sure you say, “Christmas,” instead of, “holiday,” and to spell it out instead of abbreviating it. Keeping Christ in Christmas; it’s certainly something to cerebrate.

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