Last night I was asked to don a Santa suit for the Twelve Days of Christmas. My first thought was “Isn’t this supposed to be about focusing on Christ in Christmas?” There is a lot about Christmas that isn’t very Christian.
There is no doubt that our modern Christmas is very commercial. It’s only Christmas that saves most retail businesses with end of the year sales. There is also the attempt to secularize Christmas, substituting “Happy Holidays” for “Merry Christmas.”
Some of my Christian brothers and sisters are pretty radical about this. You would have to say they are “anti-Christmas.” Consider this quote: “The very foundation of the Christmas holiday is a lie. The Messiah was not born December 25th. He did not ask us to celebrate his birthday. He did not say to set up a tree in our house and decorate it and our houses with anything. Santa Claus does not exist. He doesn’t have reindeer that fly and he isn’t going to come down anyone’s chimney on December 25th and leave any gifts. Everything is a lie.” http://www.eliyah.com/paganexp.html
All that is true. December 25th was originally a pagan holiday. Trees and greenery have pagan origins. Saying Santa is based on St. Nicholas is possible but weak. Should we all join those we consider a bit radical and call for the “binding and casting” of Christmas?
I vote “no.” I think my radical brothers need to chill. I think they forget the redemptive power of Jesus. The cross was an instrument and symbol of torture. Jesus made it a symbol of redemption. In spite of the efforts of many this is still the CHRISTmas season. Every year the world is reminded that God became man. Every year people set aside, if only a bit, their negatives and exchange gifts and smile and show a little of their better nature. The trees and the lights and the gifts don’t hide but emphasize the miracle of Christ’s birth.
As Christians, Christmas is still our best opportunity to talk about Jesus to our non-follower friends. We can still choose to be non-secular and non-commercial in our celebration of the holiday. For the December issue of Covenant Spotlight I wrote an article entitled, “Doing Christmas Right.” Check it out. I share how my parents did it right and list some suggestions how we can still do that today.
Is the world trying to take Christ out of Christmas? Certainly. Is Christmas always celebrated like we would prefer? Certainly not. But let’s not throw out the Baby Jesus with the commercial bath water. The harder they try to take Him out of Christmas. The more they have to think about Him and how He is the Reason for the Season.