A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about Christmas. I thought it worth a repost. Merry Christmas!
Christmas is made up. Let me just say a couple of things before I get this rolling. I am a Christian. Card carrying, long time, and dedicated to it. I love God, not as well as I wish I did, but I try, and it has a positive impact on my life, and hopefully the lives of people around me. So believe me when I say, that the above statement, “Christmas is made up.” is not an attempt to stir anti-Christian sentiment, nor is it meant to be some kind of deep confession about how I actually disagree with Christmas or something like that. It is just the truth. We made Christmas up. We quite arbitrarily decided that we should be celebrating Jesus’ birth, and put it on the calendar in order to do it at the same time every year. I’m not saying we shouldn’t. In fact, I think we should. I think we should always be celebrating Jesus’ birth, and I think having put it on the calendar, we tend not to celebrate enough. Regardless, it is made up. Jesus didn’t ask us to celebrate his birthday. There was a huge party when it happened, sure, but Jesus didn’t say, “Look, I want everyone to give each other presents, and hang up wreaths on my birthday, okay?” You can’t turn to a passage in Matthew and find: Therefore, at the end of the year, when I was born, do this: Bring a tree into your home. Decorate it with candles, or eventually electric lights when those are invented. Also, drink eggnog. Some of you will hate it, but some of you will love it. Nevertheless, this is my command to you. You shall call this celebration Christmas, because of a word that really hasn’t been invented yet, and because I am the Christ. I also command that you are to be merry on that day, and that you should demand that others are merry also. If you find that some are not merry, or do not wish to be merry, you should chide them publicly. Do not attempt to make them merry by meeting their needs. No, if someone else is not being merry like they should, you should immediately stop being merry also, and go make certain they know how un-merry they have made you. It’s not in any of the gospels, the epistles, or Revelation. It’s not in the Old Testament anywhere that you should always write the slogans of your made up holiday on your coffee cups. We are given commands though. Love God, love each other. Also, if you want holidays, there is a fitting, and encouraged celebration of Jesus. His death and resurrection are given a ceremony we can observe. So, if you are a Christian who wants to honor Jesus, do that one. Let me be clear. Christmas is wonderful. I love it. As a Christian, I love what it means. It means the solution to the problem has arrived, and that is something to celebrate, truly. I went through a spell where the commercialism of the season made me a little bitter, but that subsided considerably, and I was able to, in the words of Dickens, keep Christmas well, when I realized something. Christmas is made up. People are under no obligation, not by God, and not by Starbucks, to celebrate it. Maybe you don’t immediately see that as a good thing. But here’s why it is. You are not obligated to celebrate Christmas. Therefore, you get to choose to celebrate Christmas, and that makes it much sweeter indeed, when you are the one who gets to decide that you will honor love and redemption, and yes, even give people presents. And choosing to honor God with your own, love, forgiveness, and gifts to others looks a lot like one of the actual commands we are given. Love your neighbor as yourself. You are either still reading this far because you want some kind of closing advice, or because you want to get to the bottom to tell me how wrong I am in the comments. Well, here is the advice: Commit your energy, if you indeed wish to celebrate Christmas as God would be honored by it, to really giving. Give truth, give time, give love, give understanding and forgiveness. Give presents. Give hugs and kisses. Give something sacrificial of yourself to the world around you. Buy a coffee, or don’t, but by all means, give. And from the bottom of my heart, Merry Christmas. -Jon