Sitting in my home office with a Christmas tree to my right and a “Walden Woods” snow scene in front of me, there’s no doubt we’re a family that loves Christmas. The lovely Mrs. KirkWalden.Com has outdone herself this year and our home is a Christmas wonderland.
Every year however, I run across those who want to tamp down the excitement of the season with some reason why Christmas is not what it should be. Frankly, I don’t want anyone messing with my favorite season. So to begin the Christmas Chronicles series, let’s start with things not worth caring about.
I don’t care that Christmas is too commercialized
Yep. I know Christmas is an advertising bonanza, because I own a TV. Who cares? Is it my business if some business decides Christmas is all about business? In a word, “No.”
If I see something that’s too commercial, I can drive by, walk by, or say, “Bye.” I don’t have to let it ruin my day.
And hey, even if some take Christmas over-the-top, at least–somewhere in the chaos–we can find a savior if we look hard enough. And when I see a Christmas display at a store (even if it is only Santa), it is an opportunity to say something positive about the man whose birthday we’re celebrating (sssshhh, it’s Jesus).
I don’t care if someone says, “Happy Holidays”
I get it, “Happy Holidays” is not “Merry Christmas.” But how difficult is it for me to smile and acknowledge kind words? And yes, in return I’m allowed to say, “And a very merry Christmas and holiday season to you as well,” without being snarky about it.
Nor does it matter to me that some coffee chain has a Christmas cup that is not “Christmasy” enough. Instead of barking about it on Facebook, I could go down there (if it is where I get my coffee) and buy my usual Caramel-Mocha-Ginger Snap-Twist of Hazelnut Latte (or whatever is the perfect mix) like I would any other day. Then, I could give the barista a $20 tip and say, “This is how I like to celebrate Christmas; I like the cup, too.”
It’s so much easier than complaining and boycotting or whatever people are doing this year.
I don’t care whether Christmas started as a “pagan” holiday
Every year, someone out there reminds us that Christmas is not “Biblical” and may have begun as a pagan holiday. Got it. Thanks for the information. And yep, I’ve also heard Christmas trees have some sort of dubious origin. Whatever.
Added to this, there are those who tell us Jesus was not born on Dec. 25. Oh, and in the Bible, we did not see anyone celebrate Jesus’ birthday. Both of these assertions are likely true.
As a guy who believes those who first followed Jesus are our best examples, does all this matter to me? Nope.
If someone doesn’t celebrate this time of year, I understand. No one is under any obligation to do so and I support those Christians who are uncomfortable with Christmas. We all must walk our own journey.
But, if someone wants to tell me I’m “wrong” for celebrating this occasion, I gently point to a guy named Paul in the Bible. When Paul became a Christian, he made it clear he was no longer under Jewish law. He wrote (over and over) that he (and all Christians) are under a new law, the law of Christ.
Yet, Paul wrote in I Cor. 9:20, “And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law … that I might win those who are under the law.”
Aha. We can find elsewhere that Paul circumcised his protege, Timothy–a grown man, no less–simply to be more effective reaching the Jewish people. That’s commitment, I tell ‘ya.
Paul thought it important to be part of the culture he was trying to reach, as long as it did not contradict his commitment to Jesus Christ. This is important for me–and all of us–today. We don’t need to get sucked into the cultural norms of the day, but if we want to effectively reach those around us, Paul says, “I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some.”
So no, they didn’t celebrate Jesus’ birthday in the Book of Acts. Nor does the Bible tell us when Jesus was born.
But in our culture, we celebrate birthdays; and whatever one believes about the origins of Christmas, today it is a wonderful open door to share the message, “God so loved the world.”
Yet, I do care . . .
In the days to come, I get to share with my children the story of a God who loves us so much he created a little boy whose first night on this Earth was spent in a manger.
God knew what his son would face because he knew our world and the mess we were in (we still are). But God loved us anyway. And because of this love, God created a way to reconnect with us.
He named him Jesus. On Christmas Day and every day, that’s worth celebrating.