Ok, Christians, admit it. You can be jerks. Oh fine, I will throw myself into that mix as well. All throughout social media and TV and even random people on the street and in the pews of churches, we are hearing people saying, “It isn’t happy holidays, it is Christmas. I am going to keep Christ in Christmas! Therefore, I am going say Merry Christmas no matter what people think.”
But let me ask you a question. Before you go around proclaiming the one and only salvation of humanity as a title for a holiday, are you a living example of a person who is growing to be more like Christ?
Hmmm…my thought is that if that is the one thing you are focused on this holiday season and that is predominantly what stirs your passions this season, then I am thinking that you are a little shallow in your faith.
And I have been there. I used to believe if I didn’t say “Merry Christmas” that I would be a bad Christian.
But it simply isn’t the case.
Let me express a few biblical thoughts on this.
- When Jesus approached people He knew were not believers in the God of Abraham, He did not attack them. What did He do with the woman who was being stoned for adultery? He stepped into the circle and looked at every single person holding a stone (now keep in mind these are no mere pebbles, these were large rocks about the size of Hulk Hogan’s fist) and He said to them that if they were not guilty of sin then they could throw the first stone. They all had to leave because they were not without sin. (see John 8:1-11) Let me ask you, are you without enough sin in your life that you can afford to get all up in people’s faces about Merry Christmas?
- Sticking with the same theme, I think we need to remove the log from our own eye before we remove the speck from others. Let’s face it, in the grand scheme of reality, not saying “Merry Christmas” is small on the scale of sin. I don’t remember seeing the 11th commandment of “Thou shalt not say anything at the high holidays except Merry Christmas.” So before you get angry at someone for not saying it, make sure you have your Christian walk in order. (See Matthew 7:5)
- Sometimes, silence is the best option if you are offended. Look at Proverbs 17:28, “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.” Or try Psalm 141:3, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Jesus is the greatest example of being silent when offended. Try Isaiah 53:7, a prophecy about Christ, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth.” Finally, look at Proverbs 29:11, “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.”
So let me just wrap this up (in holiday wrapping paper because I am a Christian). As you are out in stores, know that retailers are trying to capture the largest audience possible to make money from. That means they are not going to try and offend our Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindi, or any other friend. Surprisingly, it is my friends of other faiths that typically say merry Christmas to me. When I used to work in retail, a store manager who was Muslim at the holidays would go out of his way to say merry Christmas to me. He knew that it was respectful to something I hold very dear and, since he was my friend, he wanted to show that respect. In return, during Ramadan, I would make sure that when I spent time in his store I would fast and during the Eid-Ul Fitr (the breaking of the fast at the end of Ramadan), I would greet him with Eid Mubarak (Happiness to everyone).
But as you go into stores, talk on social media, talk amongst your friends and family and coworkers, know that they may not share your zeal for calling the holiday Christmas. be kind to them. Do NOT attack them for how they feel or believe. Christ would not call us to get into a confrontation with them about this.
And if you truly want to keep “Christ in Christmas,” then make sure you do just that. Pray. When you are done praying, pray some more.
Thank Christ for His plan of salvation for us.
Share Christ with your families.
Share Christ, and His love, with everyone on the street that you see. Not by telling them you require them to say “Merry Christmas,” but by being loving toward them. Tip a little higher at the restaurants. Make sure you know you appreciate the cashier who has a long line of customers, was supposed to be off work an hour ago, and still has a long drive home to see her daughter who is being watched by her mom because the dad skipped town a year ago. You don’t know these peoples’ stories. Do not confront them about a little thing like this because you feel it is right.
See a woman having trouble carrying her bags at the mall? Go help her. See a person with car problems? Stop and offer them a ride somewhere. See a post that really gets you angry on social media? Just shut up about it and PRAY for the person that they will come to know that it is offensive to people.
As you go through the holidays, just enjoy them. We are not guaranteed tomorrow, so why make today miserable?
Try to laugh. To love. To simply enjoy the people you are with.
And most of all, give thanks to Christ for this opportunity to have the salvation that we so clearly do not deserve.