Posted by: glorifyhim1 | November 29, 2009

Why Christmas?

Why Christmas? Why give gifts? Why sing Christmas carols? Why put up a tree and plan a party? Why celebrate Christmas? To be sure, Christmas is celebrated in a variety of ways and for any number of reasons, some of which have nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. Yet I am reminded of Paul’s affirmation of faith in 2 Timothy 1:12, “…for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that I have committed to Him until that Day.” Christmas reminds me that God sent Jesus to be my Savior. And, like Paul, I can live each day victoriously, not because of anything I have done, but because of what God did for me. To me, that is reason for rejoicing and celebrating. I have a Savior who not only saved me, and walks with me today, but also who guarantees my future with Him in heaven. How can I not be happy and want to sing about the precious gift of God’s Son?

 

A few years ago I was working in an office that due to the pressure of political correctness decided to drop any mention of “Christmas” from office celebrations. All official greetings carried the noncommittal “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings.” The annual Christmas party became the holiday party and although decorations were not expressly forbidden, nothing was to be displayed that could be a source of offense to another employee. There was a tree set up in the foyer and employees were invited to bring ornaments to decorate the tree, but they were encouraged to use sensitivity in their selection of ornaments.

 

At the time I remember feeling angry. I couldn’t understand why my choosing to celebrate Christmas because of Christ should offend anyone who celebrated for any other reason. Shamefully, I didn’t help decorate the office tree that year nor did I attend the holiday party. I wanted no part of a celebration that was leaving Christ out of Christmas. I thought I was doing the right thing at the time. But now, a few years later, I’m ashamed – not because of how I feel about Christmas, but because of my Christian witness, or lack thereof.

 

You see, no where in Scripture are we told to put up a Christmas tree and throw a party to celebrate Christ’s birth. While we do those things and can even incorporate those into our worship, they are not central to our actual celebration of Christ’s birth. Many secular aspects of the Christmas holiday have evolved along with the Christian celebration and in many cases have come to be celebrated more than the religious holiday itself by both Christians and non-Christians.  Many of these secular celebrations such as decorating trees and giving gifts probably originated from earlier German pagan celebrations surrounding Yule which was a mid-winter holiday that preceded modern Christianity.  Christmas through the centuries has been celebrated in a variety of ways by both Christians and non-Christians. While many of these things have become part of our Christian traditions, they are not necessarily Christian in origin and are shared by many different beliefs.

 

So, what should I have done instead? I wish I had taken a star ornament to hang on the tree. It wouldn’t have been particularly objectionable, but if someone asked, I could tell them about the star that my faith believes led the shepherds to the stable where Jesus was born. I wish I had attended the holiday party and perhaps through conversation shared with a coworker how, and why, my family celebrates Christmas. The happiness and joy that I know because Christ is my Savior could have spilled over and provided an opportunity to share what I believe in a natural and totally nonthreatening way.

 

In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus tells us, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” If we hide our light, others cannot see, nor will they have an opportunity to hear about the hope that is within us.

 

We live in this world, but we are not of this world. In Romans 12:2, Paul reminds us, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” As Christians, our lives should not reflect the current culture or worldly beliefs, but they should radiate a Christ-centered life that is guided by the Holy Spirit. That means that others should be able to see a difference in our lives – and I think that is especially true at Christmas!

 

At Christmas time, Christians should be the happiest people of all because they know the Christ child as their personal Savior. They have a reason to sing the beautiful songs. They can stand in awe of the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree while marveling at the true Light that came into the world on that first Christmas so long ago. Giving gifts, caroling, reaching out to those in need, among many other Christmas activities or traditions can all be a way of sharing the love of God with a world that needs to know Jesus desperately. So, this year instead of trying to defend what I believe or how I choose to celebrate, I pray that I might just celebrate the Christmas season with my “light” turned on so that others can see Christ in me. Join me and keep your “light” on for Christmas, too!

 

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Responses

  1. I really liked this post – especially the next to last sentence. 🙂


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