Monday, December 12, 2005

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays

You’ve probably heard all the conversation and debate about particular places referring to “holidays” in a generic, secular sense rather than Christmas, as has been done traditionally. So the Wal-Mart greeter now might say, “Happy Holidays” when you walk in the store rather than wish you “Merry Christmas”. Or the tree outside the White House might be referred to as a “holiday tree” instead of a “Christmas tree”.

Is It About Your Talk or Your Walk?

Do we have to be on guard against secularists who want to rip out any signs of faith from the public arena? Probably so. Are there those who would like to strip away any reference to God or religion from our conversation? Yes.

But there is a larger issue with which we must concern ourselves. Does my celebration of Christmas end with the words I use to greet people in December? Or does it reach into my wallet and determine how much money I spend and on whom I’ll spend it? Does my adoration of the Christ child stop at calling the evergreen a Christmas tree? Or does it force its way into other aspects of my life, such as offering forgiveness to those with whom I’ve had a dispute. Is Christmas simply about how I talk and act in this season? Or is it about the historical fact that God stepped into our world, and has begun to reshape EVERYTHING?

Maybe Christmas is Too Small

Jesus came to “save his people from their sins.” All of their sins: Sins of worshiping the god of consumption; Sins of pointing out the speck in our brother’s eye when we are staggering around with a pole in our own; sins of thinking everyone needs to look and act like us and see things our way; sins of laziness or complacency or idolatry of leisure and comfort. If we don’t let Christ make everything in our life new, then Christmas is too small, and we’re simply arguing about a greeting at the local retail store.
Grace & peace

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