I love the holiday season. Halloween through New Year’s is just about my favorite time of year. But it’s being ruined. People are taking these holidays and completely trampling over their intended purpose.
You might think I’m about to bash the consumeristic society, the greedy mega-corporations, or the materialistic masses who would rather trample over people to get a video game system than observe a day of Thanksgiving and gratitude. You may think that Capitalism or the free market is to blame for my holidays being ruined.
You would be wrong.
The thing is, I am a Christian. The majority of the world is not. They may stake a claim on the title and even observe our holidays, but for all practical purposes the majority of the world is nonreligious. Therefore, it doesn’t matter to me if they want to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Festivus. In fact, they very idea of a nonreligious “Freedom From Religion”, “God Is Dead”, atheistic culture observing holy-days at all is kind of preposterous. Nothing is sacred to the world. Why should Halloween, Thanksgiving (an American holiday but very Christian anyway), or Christmas be any different?
Demanding that the secular world observe our holy-days is right in line with throwing “pearls before swine.” Pigs have about as much use for a pearl necklace as the secular world has for religious holy-days.
So it may come as a surprise to you that it is not the secular world ruining the holy-day season. It’s Christians. Well meaning Christians are ruining Christmas by posting things like THIS:
Therefore 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. (Colossians 2:16-17)
The reality of Christmas is found IN CHRIST. The whole reason we celebrate Christmas is to point to and remind ourselves of Jesus Christ, not just as a little baby but as the Savior of the world. The evergreen tree represents life even in the midst of death. The lights represent The Light that shines in the darkness. The presents represent the ultimate Gift of salvation and every spiritual blessing found in Christ.
Christmas is a shadow; the reality is in Christ.
Paul also tell the church in Rome:
One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. (Romans 14:5-8)
In other words, we who choose to celebrate Christmas are to do so TO THE LORD. We are supposed to honor Him and glorify Him through our celebrations. If we celebrate holy days, we are to do so in the Lord. So if you are celebrating Christmas, then keep Christmas in Christ.
Christ is the ultimate reality, the fulfillment of all our religious holidays. Christ is also the lens through which we view the world and these sacred days. If we keep these holidays, we do so in Christ because the reality of these sacred days is found in Christ.
By saying “Keep Christ in Christmas,” well meaning people are simply trying to remind everyone that this is, in fact, a religious holiday. They are attempting to de-secularize it. I get that.
But that phrase also implies that Christ can be taken out of Christmas. If Christmas is the ultimate reality of Christ, his truest expression here on earth, then it is important to keep Christ in Christmas. But Christmas is not bigger than Christ. Which is more important – the manger or the baby who was laid in the manger? The swaddling clothes or the one wrapped in them? The stable or the baby born therein? The new mother or the new baby? The cross or the one who hung upon it? The holy day or the one for whom we celebrate?
So let’s do our best to keep Christmas in Christ. If you celebrate it, remember that we are celebrating it to the Lord and that the reality of Christmas is found in Him.