Putting Christ in Christmas? – Do we really need to fight that battle?


Stained GlassWhile I get the sentiment behind the “put Christ in Christmas” rhetoric, to me some of it seems a little bit misguided. Putting Christ in Christmas is a little like trying to put the roar into the lion. The roar is an inseparable part of the lion just as Christ is an inseparable part of Christmas. Without Christ there is no Christmas.

Does it really take away from the meaning of Christmas to have someone say “Happy Holidays?” Does it really make a difference in his life if an atheist or an agnostic wishes me a Merry Christmas? Will the atheist or I be helped or harmed one way or the other?

Instead of attempting a superficial putting of Christ back in Christmas, we should be working to get Christ in our neighbors. I don’t think that arguing over trivialities will help us in this endeavor. How about instead of legal battles over nativity scenes we start living out the gospel? Instead of making a big deal out of saying “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays” maybe we should  spend the time to get to know the person who is greeting us. People will find ways of negating our rhetoric, but they will not find a way to repel our love, if we have the heart to love.

I’m not saying that we should remain silent. I am saying that we need to choose our battles wisely. How much more effective would it be if we shared the meaning of Christmas one-on-one with our neighbors or co-workers? We have a great story to tell about a Savior who can change hearts. Rather than forcing opponents of Christianity into acknowledging public religious displays or traditional greetings, it seems preferable to me to present the love of Jesus to them.

I have found that my ability to change my own thoughts and behavior is limited. I certainly cannot argue or force anyone else into real change. So why the fuss about making people acknowledge something that they are unwilling to embrace?

CandleChristianity will not be revitalized in this country through the courts. Christianity will not be revitalized by marketing campaigns, legislation or catchy greetings. Christianity will be revitalized when, and only when, we as believers take our call to make disciples seriously. When we begin living as though Jesus can change lives, when our own lives demonstrate that change and when we learn to articulate the message of the Gospel clearly then we will see the revitalization process begin.

I am reminded of a statement I first heard from Chuck Colson, “its better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” If we live in such a way that the light of Jesus and the Gospel shine through, then real change will come.

What do you think?