Thursday, December 5, 2013

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

This time of year, I get very frustrated. And I have something that I want to say to the Christian community. THE WORLD DOES NOT OWE IT TO US TO KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS. They really don't. Why do we have to turn Christmastime into a war? We don't exactly do a good job at asking people to invite Christ into any other area of their lives. Why this time of year? Do we want them to? Absolutely! For most Christians, we desire that everyone know the Lord Jesus Christ and invite him into their lives. But we rarely ask them to. We just silently wish, and pray they will, without really ever showing them the love of Christ, and extending his grace like we are supposed to, and while having as little interaction with them as possible. But rest assured, as soon as December rolls around, the "Keep Christ in Christmas" campaign begins.

Now, please don't think that I am trying to start a "Take Christ out of Christmas" campaign. I am not. But hear me out.

Did you know that most of the the decorations we use have pagan origins? Christmas originated as a pagan holiday, called Winter Solstice. For whatever reason, we decided to make this a Christian holiday and celebrate Christ's birth. Even though most scholars will tell you he was born in the spring. So, we take their holiday, and make it our own. Which is completely fine. There is nothing wrong with that what so ever. Christ should be in the center of everything we do. But who do we think we are to take some one's holiday and make it our own, and try to force them to celebrate it for the same reason we do? As far as I know, the only holiday that scripture tells us to celebrate from generation to generation is the Passover. Which, oddly enough, most of us do not celebrate. But suppose, if we did still observe the Passover, a group of Pagans decided to take that and turn it into a Pagan holiday, and try to force us to celebrate it for their Pagan reasons. What would we have to say about that?

The fact is, no matter how large you write, or type CHRIST in the word Christmas, it is not going convince anyone to celebrate Christ. Especially if they don't even believe in him, or care to know him. Proclaiming "Keep Christ in Christmas" is not going to encourage anyone to turn to Christ this time of year. That is not evangelism, it is not ministry. That is propaganda. We are called to minister to people, not try to push our beliefs on people. It is great for us to celebrate the marvelous, miraculous birth of our savior....any time of the year. But for us to force people who are not Christians to celebrate this time of year the same way, and for the same reason as we do just doesn't make sense to me.

And I want to ask you this question. If you take part in the "Keep Christ in Christmas" campaign, are you just as wholehearted about keeping Christ at the center of every other aspect of your life? Or is it a seasonal thing? I'm not judging. I certainly hope you can answer "yes". Anyone who loves Jesus and celebrates him at anytime of the year does not need the reminder to "Keep Christ in Christmas".

People get offended when someone tells them "Happy Holidays" because it doesn't promote their beliefs. So what! We don't want people to force us to take our Nativity scenes down. We shouldn't try to force them to put one up either. Keep Christ in your Christmas, by all means. But stop getting offended when the rest of the world does not. Their reason for celebrating Christmas does not have to diminish our "reason for the season".

No one will ever be able to force us to stop saying Merry Christmas. No body can take Christ from your life, and they certainly can't take his name off of your tongue. And no matter how hard you fight, you can not force anyone to say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays. So, should we continue to fight, and wage war over this, or should we strive for "Peace on earth, good will towards men" even if they don't share the same beliefs as we do?

Yes, sometimes we feel under attack by them trying to force us to take our nativities down, and stuff like that. But we should not wage war as the world does. Perhaps the more we push our "Keep Christ in Christmas" agenda, the more they will fight back. Maybe if we just peacefully keep putting our Nativities up and saying Merry Christmas, without making sure it is "in their face" they will stop pushing as well.

Merry Christmas!
Happy Holidays!
Happy Winter Solstice!