Merry Christmas…More Than Happy Holidays
Well, let’s get it out in the open. I want to wish everyone reading this a “Merry Christmas.” To myself, and millions of Christians around the world, December 25th is about one very important event, the birth of the Savior of the world, Jesus. In some ways, what you read here follows up on a previous post regarding Christmas. These are some additional thoughts, so here we go.
Sadly, in certain places here in America, it is forbidden to tell someone to have a “Merry Christmas.” In our cultural paranoia and continuing attempt to marginalize anything Christian, and for some, what they would call “religious”, to say these words is to promote a particular belief, so instead we have to say “Happy Holidays” or something to that end.
It is also becoming more evident that if a Christian states a particular view on a theological or social issue that is contrary to someone else’s stated belief or thought on (fill in the blank), we are narrow-minded, phobic, etc., etc.
I do believe Christians need to engage with the world around us. Regardless of what someone might think about what I believe, including views that touch all areas of life, I know that Christianity is anchored in historic evidence, so I have a foundation to stand on when I interact with people.
With that in mind, here are a few things to think on this Christmas. Let me first encourage us to say “Merry Christmas” to people this month. If, by chance, someone questions why we use that phrase, we can simply, with grace in our voice, share that we are so glad that God loved us enough to send His Son to give us hope (John 3:16).
We can also note that we are thankful that God so loved the world that He was willing to send His Son to offer help to anyone who chooses to put their faith in the Person of Jesus Christ.
A second thing to keep in mind is that at Christmas, we have opportunities to “face the wind.” What do we mean by this? Just like Easter time, at Christmas, the same tired regurgitated questions about the Virgin birth of Christ, the Christian faith in general, are written about in magazines and talked about on television and the Internet.
Because there is a miraculous side to Christmas and the birth of Christ, people have to try to explain away Who Jesus really was. For example, He was not the Son of God, but was a founder of a movement, thrust into a role as Deity by His followers. More could be said but let me encourage Christ followers to use these opportunities to engage with people who may have this type of faulty thinking regarding the Christ of Christmas.
This means we need to be prepared, knowing what we believe and why we believe it. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks us why we believe what we do. There are resources available to help us formulate answers. The Bible is our answer book and knowing how to respond is important.
Books such as “A Search For The Spiritual” by James Emery White, “Know Why You Believe” by Paul Little, and “More Than A Carpenter” by Josh and Sean McDowell are helpful tools, not only for sharing with others about the real meaning of Christmas, but they provide explanations that anyone can read and consider the objective side of the Christian faith, especially the book by James Emery White.
In closing, a third point I want to make is that if we are followers of Jesus, we need to not be afraid to speak up in our culture. Yes, we may be ridiculed (Christ was), but so be it. I am not talking about being obnoxious or disrespectful. I refuse to argue with people who simply want to downplay Christianity and are not willing objectively look at its teachings.
There are many who love to bully Christians, putting them down, mocking them, making all kinds of remarks. That is going to happen. As a Christian, we need to stand for what we believe, explain it as well as possible, and have confidence that what we believe is grounded in objective truth and reality.
We have seen objective truth put on the shelf in our culture, but when there is no final say on what is right and wrong, what truth is or is not, the result is moral anarchy. Subjective truth (what is right for me may not be right for you) does not work in society. It fails. Why? There are no guidelines, everything goes because, well, what I believe as truth is truth to me and as long as I don’t bother someone, that’s okay.
This thinking does not work in the real world. It simply can’t. Our lives intersect with people and eventually, what we think spills over into relationships, work, or belief systems.
As believers, express the truth of Scripture when given the chance. Do so graciously. Take the high road when doing so. Know some may not like it, but remember that many did not like Christ, and what He said and did (read Mark 3:1-6). There were those who did not like the disciples and what they stood for, as the early chapters of the Book of Acts attest to.
So I want to say it: Christmas is awesome. It is the remembrance birth of the Messiah, the Savior of the world, that we celebrate. So here it is – “Merry Christmas” for 2,000 plus years ago in the city of Bethlehem, as Luke 2:11 tells us, was born “a Savior, Christ the Lord.”