|My Random Brain Droppings|
It's not quite Thanksgiving yet but the social media and the blogosphere have already taken up the chant, "Keep Christ in Christmas!"
I'm all for that - no argument here. But I sometimes wonder... what are we protesting? Can anyone actually take Christ out of Christmas? Before we bemoan the anticipated loss, it might help us to review how Christians celebrate Christmas.
To celebrate Christmas, Christians set aside four weeks (called Advent), a time of joyful anticipation, in which they sweep clean and refresh their hearts and minds to make room for the One who found no room at the inn - and no one can take Christ out of Advent if we keep it as a season of vigil, of waiting to celebrate the Lord's birthday on December 25th.
Christians also celebrate Christmas by buying gifts (for the poor), remembering the One who was so poor He was born in a box of hay - and no one can take Christ out of our care for the poor, if we serve them generously, at Christmas time and all through the year, in the name of Jesus.
Christians also celebrate Christmas by praying more often and more faithfully to the One who hears our every prayer - and no one can take Christ out of our prayer when we are faithful to it and to the church community whose prayer supports us in Advent, at Christmas and all through the year, especially on the Lord's Day.
Christians also celebrate Christmas by making every effort to grow closer in faith to the One who became one just like us, taking on our human flesh and blood and dwelling among us - and no one can take Christ out of our hearts if we truly invite him to come in -- not just for a “holiday open house” visit -- but to really move in and live within us and among us!
And oh, yes! Many Christians also celebrate Christmas by decorating trees and homes (and themselves) and eating too much and drinking too much and buying too many things for people who already have too many things -- and playing and singing lots of songs that really have very little to do with the One whose birthday we’ll celebrate on December 25.
And you know what? All the doodads, falderal and schmaltzy music that sometimes masquerade as Christmas - aren’t really Christmas at all. Christmas is Christ and Christ is in the scriptures and the sacraments and our sacred song. He's in our faith. He’s in the prayer of our hearts. He’s in the poor and in our reaching out to them. He’s in our souls and in our longing for the peace, reconciliation, mercy and joy He comes to bring us. And you can’t take Christ out of any of those places because that’s where He lives and breathes and waits for us to find him on December 25 and on every day of the year.
So, don’t be afraid of others “taking Christ out of Christmas” in their greetings, commercial frenzy and holiday harmonies. No one can take Christ from what Christmas truly is. We Christians will lose the Christ in Christmas only if we fail to prepare for and celebrate the truth that Christmas is:
Unto us a Child is born, unto us a son is given
and the government shall be upon his shoulder
and his name shall be called:
Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God,
the everlasting Father,
the Prince of Peace.
The image at the top of this post comes from a related and interesting piece on Ken Armstrong's blog, My Random Brain Droppings.
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