Keeping Christ in Christmas

Posted on December 6, 2013 | 13 comments

This is my thought on keeping Christ in Christmas that I review and post each year. Enjoy.

I have to confess to you that I have a little pet peeve regarding the “Keep Christ in Christmas” bumper stickers, church signs, and car magnets that seem to pop up this time of year.

Of course, they are a reaction to our culture’s growing tendency to refer to this as the holiday season.

Boldly I say, count me as one follower of Christ who fully supports this trend culturally.

First, it IS the season of holidays. There’s Thanksgiving. And Hanukkah. Ramadan. Kwanzaa. Probably others of which I’m not aware. It seems the height of Christian arrogance to make everyone use our name for a certain time of the year. It dismisses others’ points of view. Whether or not we agree with their belief system, diminishing their traditions does not put us in their good graces to have an open discussion about Christ. It creates defensiveness; an us-against-them which closes people off.

More importantly (in my estimation), do we really want the name Christmas associated with the consumerism and commercialism that runs rampant in our culture and amps up at this time of the year? Short answer: No. No, I don’t.

So if Wal-mart wants to call it a “Holiday Sale”, Best Buy wants to have a giant “Happy Holidays” sign on the front of the store, or the mall wants to promote “Winter Savings”, they can do it with my blessing. I am totally on board with that. In fact, I view it as a favor. One less battle I have to fight with those who argue Christmas is nothing more than gifts, parties, and shopping.

Bottom line: it is not Target’s job to keep Christ in Christmas. Nor is it Lexus’.

That responsibility is for followers of Jesus.

Rather than point catchy slogans at and creating shame and defensiveness in people who do not follow Jesus, here is an idea for all of us about how to “keep Christ in Christmas”: love one another; think less of ourselves.

Jesus himself said that all men would know that we are his disciples if we love one another.

Our missional love creates attractional followers.

Meaning, the more live out the mission of loving one another – a love that overflows from our connection to God, the more those outside of Christ will be attracted to what we have. Giving us a second look and asking us about the source of hope we have.

Start now. Use this Christmas as a marking point to begin to intentionally seek out ways to demonstrate love. Then carry those demonstrations of love the whole year through.

It may start with developing love for yourself. It is impossible to love others if you first don’t love yourself. (Why? The Cliff’s Notes answer is that if you do not love yourself out of an identity in Christ, any demonstration of love will be a selfish demand for validation and worth. We can talk more about that later.) Look no further than Christmas for a reason to start to love yourself.

God became flesh because you are worth loving. He created you. He chose you in Christ. THAT’S the reason for the season, and that’s a big deal.

Once you start that lifelong process, be generous. Bless others, especially your enemies. Give to those who have need. Spend time with those who have no one. Get to know your neighbors. Actually listen when people talk to you. Slow your life down enough to notice all the needs around you. They are there; we all just maintain such a breakneck pace that we don’t realize needs are right next to us.

Stop treating Christmas with the consumerism that the world does. The difference starts with the Church. We are not to live by and bolster our identity through the world’s standards.

Jesus stepped into the experience of humanity so we would have hope; we are called to do the same for those around us.

That’s how we can keep Christ in Christmas.

For whom will you demonstrate the love of Christ this holiday season?

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  1. Love this post! Visiting from Faith-Filled Fridays. It is so true that the way we treat each other either attracts or scares away those that don’t know Christ.

  2. For the first time, this year I too have come around to this point of view. I agree with you. I never thought I would. I think the Lord enlightened me recently. I will still say Merry Christmas because I am a Christian, but I will be happy to receive Happy Holidays in good grace this year. Not that I didnt before but it was always with an unsaid thought of
    BUT its Christmas…………I will NOT ever accept Xmas though. Either Happy whatever or make it CHristmas.

  3. You make some great points that I very much agree with. Like Janice, I love to say Merry Christmas, but I also love to say Happy Holidays because there are so many grand ones over these three months 🙂 And what fun to be a blessing to whoever God brings our way during this sweet holiday season. Thanks for great food for thought for Anything Blue Friday.

  4. This … is … AWESOME. Sharing.

  5. This is such a thought-provoking post. In some ways I think we hide behind our soapbox attitudes sometimes as it can be an easier option than the harder challenge of being incarnational in our faith.
    Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

  6. Your points are valid and really made me think about the whole keep “Christ” in Christmas debate. What I love most about this article, though, is reminding us that it is followers of Christ who have the responsibility to bring glory to His name and that begins with love. Thanks for sharing this at the Mama Moment Monday link-up. 🙂

  7. Preach it, Brother! I have often felt this way too, Scott! But I do see the validity of believers focusing on Christmas–keeping Him central, so I’ve often just kept my mouth shut. But there are sooo many holidays this time of year! And what better way to demonstrate Christ’s love and grace, than to avoid making this small, disputable matter a point of contention with those who do not know Christ’s love? Thanks for posting about this, my friend! You’ve said it better than I ever could! BTW, I’m planning to reply to your email to me today. I’ve been a bit swamped by the “holiday” preparations. 🙂

  8. I love the challenge to keep the love going all year, not just in the holiday season. It is all about loving each other and thinking less of ourselves.

  9. I agree with Alicia. It’s a little ridiculous how commercialised Christmas (and Easter) are getting when it should really just be about the simple things – love, giving, family…these things don’t take money or physical things, just a whole heart. Thanks for linking up.

  10. I agree. It is up to us, believers, to bring attention to Christ in Christmas by our example, love and compassion. Advent is a time of hope!

  11. I really enjoyed your post! 🙂 I have heard so much debate this year about Happy Holidays vs Merry Christmas. I am a Christian and have really felt inside of me that the words don’t matter, it’s what in the heart that does. This year my family has been trying to not feel as commercialized and go back to what the season is about, the birth of Jesus. I’m trying to instill in my children a servant’s heart (which is difficult in our culture!) I recently wrote a post on Teaching Your Children To Serve. I would be honored if you would check it out:

  12. I do like to be sure to say “Merry Christmas” as I believe it is important to do so, but christmas can be a sad time for some, and not very “Merry.” We just received notice that my sister-in-law has cancer, and we are all left with a sad note. she will be visiting her Doctor for consultation and we pray that she will beat this thing. When it comes to giving gifts I hate to shop for others! A card with some money inside will be what most will receive from Robert and me. That way they will not need to get into those long exchange lines after Christmas and can get what they really desire. LOL

  13. This is a great post! I am so glad that I visited from The Friday Five this morning. You have made such a valid point – why would we expect the world, which has refused Christ, to maintain the true meaning of Christmas? It is truly our responsibility. May we do so with love, joy, peace & gentleness. May you have a blessed Christmas!


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