Every year around this time I start seeing all the "Don't take Christ out of Christmas..." posts on Facebook. Which, prompts me to write a post about it on my blog. I'm sorry if you feel you've read this before but it's important. Whether or not a sign in a store says "Happy Holidays" as opposed to "Merry Christmas" does not matter. I do not want to be disrespectful, I love Jesus, I just think it's more important to concentrate our efforts on things that can make a difference in someones life. Did you know that the word "Holiday" actually means "Holy Day"? and that early Christians used the letter "x" to represent Christ, even referring to themselves as "xians"? And let's not forget that this time of year is also a time to celebrate Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, and the New Year. It's not such a bad thing to have a phrase to refer to all the milestones we remember this time of year (sort of like "presidents day" only way cooler). And, it's definitely not a bad thing to also honor a miracle that God the father preformed for his people before the time of Christ. Jesus would have celebrated Hanukkah growing up, after all.
Meaning "Holy day" by saying "holidays and xmas" may not be what Wal-mart intends but it's up to us whether or not we're going to buy into the Christmas hype that the only way to have a merry Christmas is to "buy more and spend less". Estimated costs to bring safe clean drinking water and sanitation to the entire world is around 20 billion (that seems like a lot but hang on). Contaminated water kills 2.2 million people a year. Now check out how much Americans spend on Christmas every year; 400 billion! I'm not telling you this to make you feel bad. I love gift giving and watching my kids faces when they see the gifts under the tree is one of the best blessings of the day. I am telling you this to give you confidence to live the season beyond what our society tells us the season is about. What are we teaching our kids at home about Christmas? Consider pairing down the gift list this year and spending a little of that money on the poor in your community (our food banks are being stretched to their breaking points) or giving the gift of water, live stock, or medicine to people struggling to survive in third world countries. Let's tap into some of the real magic of the season, the kind of magic that stores can't market.
You want to show people that "Jesus is the Reason for the Season"? Christmas is on a Sunday this year, where will you be on Sunday morning? Will you be teaching your children that opening gifts first thing in the morning is the point of Christmas or will you be worshipping God the father for the gift of his son with your brothers and sisters in Christ?
Next time you see a Target or Wal-mart commercial telling us that we must "spend, spend, spend" and then ending with "Happy Holidays" you can smile and think "nice try." The next time your face book friend types "xmas" to save time or try and get you and others annoyed, just smile as you consider how no matter how hard this world tries to hide Jesus he will always be there. He will always show himself. No corporation, government, or people group is powerful enough to take the greatest gift; the gift of God coming to this earth in the form of a baby, away from us. Amen and Praise to His Name!