Holiday Greetings!?!?

Another reason to know what you believe and why… Tis the season, the season of giving (and getting). The season to be jolly (and grumpy)… And as Christians, we know what it’s like to ‘get’ the ‘grumpiness’ about our ‘Christ’ and Christmas…

“Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings…”

Is this really something to fuss over? Are we taking our Christ too far, and losing sight of Him in the process? Honestly, I don’t see the problem if someone wishes me something other than “Merry Christmas”. Firstly, the point of this whole holiday season is about love, right? So, I for one feel blessed that people want to wish me some form of love. Secondly, what if they don’t celebrate Christmas? They don’t know what my beliefs are, nor do I know theirs. Personally, I won’t be offended if someone wishes me a “Happy Hanukkah”, because that (my assumption) is their religion. My response could be the same back to them, followed by a “Merry Christmas”, acknowledging my own religious belief. How is this offensive? I don’t see how I am being very loving by throwing a fit over what greeting they spoke to me. And if I’m crying about offensive political correctness, I’m not being very Christian.

Jesus Christ is Love. (John 3:16) He was/is the ultimate embodiment of Love. (John 15:13) And I’m supposed to be representing Him to others. So- how am I being loving by getting offended by others offering me a different holiday greeting?

I absolutely believe we should keep Christ in Christmas. But I mean the ‘we’ to be Christians. Why should we force our Christ on unbelievers? That to me is not very Christ-like; and no wonder unbelievers get so angry. If I don’t want them shoving their (un)beliefs down my throat, why should they be okay with me shoving my beliefs down theirs?

Proclaiming and promoting my Christianity isn’t the way to win someone over; loving them is (I shouldn’t have to tell you I’m a Christian, you should be able to tell it by the way that I live…). When someone meets me, whether it’s at Christmastime or some other time of the year, how I carry myself and the words that I say (or don’t say), and the actions that I do (or don’t do) are the ways that people will see something different about me, and should make them want to know more; to be more ‘like me’. (Ephesians 4:29-32, Romans 12:2) And when they ask me how or what or why I am so Joyful, Loving, at Peace, then I can introduce them to Jesus (and they’ll see that He’s who I am trying to be like). (Romans 8:2) My wishing them a “Merry Christmas” most likely isn’t going to initiate a conversation; and pitching a fit that they wished me the wrong holiday greeting certainly isn’t going to make them want to be ‘more like me’ (aka- like Christ).

I think its things like this that make us Christians look bad. I think its things like this that makes the world hate our religion, our hypocrisy and our Christ. Ghandi stated it well: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Isn’t that the sad and painful truth? We Christians are not very like our Christ. When Jesus was ridiculed and accused during His trial before His crucifixion, He kept His mouth shut. He knew He wasn’t going to win them over by arguing with them. (Isaiah 53:5, 7; Mark 15:4-5, Luke 23:9) And neither will we. No unbeliever is going to want to be like us (Christ) when we’re constantly instigating disagreements about our beliefs and our Christ. The only way to sway them is to love them.

(For the record, I am not suggesting that we not stand up for Jesus and our faith, I think we need to have perspective over how to show His love verses forcing Him upon others. God gave us all free will: if He doesn’t force Himself on others, why should we?)

And just a reminder that December 25, our Christmas, is not when Jesus was actually born. Christians (Roman Catholics) picked that date to offset the Pagan holiday ‘Yule Day’, during the winter solstice festivals, with hopes to bring awareness to Christ and take it away from secular and Pagan celebrations. So, maybe we should think twice before we accuse the unbelievers of trampling on and ruining ‘our’ holiday… Also, no one celebrated birthdays back then, only proud sinners are mentioned in Scripture as celebrating their birthdays (Pharoah: Genesis 40:20-22, and Herod: Mark 6:21-27). And we’re celebrating Jesus’ birth as a man, not as God… The Bible is clear about idolatry: don’t worship or idolize any other god; but also don’t make idols to worship as our God. (Deuteronomy 4:15-19; Deuteronomy 12:4, 32). And aren’t we idolizing the Christmas trees, the lights, the holly, the wreaths, Advent, presents, the greeting, the holiday itself when we put it before the whole purpose behind it: Jesus Christ (Love).

(For the record, I am not suggesting you have to get rid of your tree, decorations and presents because they are not ‘Christ’-like. It comes down to what’s in your heart. Are you decorating and buying and cooking, etc. to celebrate Jesus’ birth in His honor? To show love to others? Or are you doing it as a show because you’re a Christian and it’s Christmas?) If the emphasis is put more on the ‘stuff’ and not on Jesus, then you might want to rethink more than just your holiday greeting.)

So before we get our berries in a bunch over what holiday greeting we’re going to say and to accept; let’s remember what this season is about: Love. Yes, we need to keep Christ in Christmas: keep the love in the holiday. Celebrate Christmas by loving God and by loving others. (Matthew 22:37-39) Spread that cheer.