Lately, there has been a lot of drama surrounding our favorite holiday.
Some are angry that Starbucks has removed from its cups all the reindeer and elves and all that other stuff from the bible.
Others are up in arms about the words we use to wish someone a joyful time this season.
Whatever the case, there’s a lot of confusion around this time of year, and I hope to help provide a sober look at how Christ followers should be reacting to all this.
This History Channel video provides a lot of helpful information on where Christmas came from. It’s important to note that nowhere in the bible is the word Christmas mentioned.
Christmas is also a relatively recent cultural tradition. It wasn’t until around 1800 that Christmas started being celebrated the way it is today. So it’s crazy to say that to get rid of Christmas is to be unfaithful to Christ, because that would mean that all the believers before 1800 were unfaithful to Christ.
In fact, believers in Jesus are not even commanded to celebrate his birthday, which also is not likely in December. Early Christians never celebrated the birth of Jesus, nor did they observe any major religious festival specific to Christianity.
This is an important point for us. All over the bible, there is warning against becoming enslaved to our festivals and traditions and missing the point of the gospel. In Colossians 2:16-17 Paul says
Do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
We need to remember what the reality is. The point of the Christian life is that we don’t have to freak out about minute things like whether we say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. The point is that we have a bigger reality in Jesus. He’s our hope and our celebration, not some festival.
I’m not suggesting that we get rid of Christmas, however much my bank account would thank me.
Christmas is a helpful time that we’ve set aside to remember and rejoice that God the Son humbled himself, to be born in a poor small town in the middle of a filthy barn, so that he could bring the hope of everlasting life with God to the world.
I’m only drawing attention to a huge pitfall that modern Christians seem to be falling into.
We fight for our holiday harder than we fight for the souls of the lost.
We love Santa and decorated trees more than the sufferers of this world who long for salvation.
Have we sacrificed the beauty and mission of the gospel for a petty tradition?
Let’s redeem this holiday and stop getting angry about what holiday greeting is on our wrapping paper and start using this time of year to introduce people to the God who loves them and longs for relationship with them.