Friday, December 02, 2011

Christ in Christmas

So, this is an awesome hot topic right now.  I've posted on the Facebook about it (twice), Facebook argued about it, discussed it in person with a handful of folks, read numerous blogs (including the Lovely Leia found here and THIS ONE) and finally decided I would just sit and write a spell about it.

So this all begins with an email I received not long ago stating that I should boycott businesses that didn't have a Merry Christmas sign, but opted for the "PC" Happy Holidays.  Then I have just been inundated with Facebook statuses demanding that Christians take back THEIR HOLIDAY.  Many of these posts use the holy name of Christ over and over, all the while giving off a rather angry and entitled vibe.

So let's talk about all this anger regarding taking Christ out of Christmas.  The sentiment gives me pause to think...twice.  First, Christ's last commandment was to go and make disciples.  I really wonder how many disciples we are making, how many people's hearts and minds are changing, when Christians YELL about "THEIR" holiday and berate others for NOT believing like they do.  I'm usually of the opinion that Christ's message should be like the man, loving and compassionate, and usually only called to indignation by the exploitation of others.  Pretty sure saying Happy Holidays isn't exploiting anyone.  So in the effort to keep Christ in Christmas, Christians are behaving in a way that is antithetical to the very faith they are proclaiming.  As I said earlier, I have many friends who are not of the Christian persuasion, or even the religious persuasion in any way.  I do not know a single one of them that feels insulted by a cheery "Merry Christmas!"  However, I know that most all of them are offended by yelling, berating, insulting, entitled Christians acting as if they are somehow being robbed of the their right to believe in Jesus at Christmas time.  So, I ask:  If it is our goal as Christians to live faithfully by the commands of Christ, and it is important to "keep Christ in Christmas," then why are we behaving in ways that aren't Christlike?

Second, and more laughably, why the hell is everyone getting MAD about this?  Are there a bunch of Christians out there somehow UNABLE to celebrate this holiday because someone, somewhere said Happy Holidays?  Are they getting up Christmas morning, looking at their gifts and saying, "Ohhh...EFF this!  I can't even celebrate now, knowing that the coffee shop down the street had a HAPPY HOLIDAYS sign out front.  This day is RUINED!"  I mean, if you work in an office, and there are lots of people of varying faiths there, and you put a picture of the Baby Jesus on your desk, and someone says, "Hey, take that down" is Christmas no longer about Jesus?  Do you find yourself forgetting during the hustle bustle of these times that it is, indeed, the season of the Christ Mass because Season's Greetings is posted in Starbucks?  Are we so poor in spirit that we have given the power to "remove" Christ from anything, anywhere?  Because...well...that's kinda nuts.

Sometimes, I am concerned that messages such as this don't really have anything to do with Jesus at all.  It's about our need to be RIGHT.  My faith, my salvation, my savior, MY HOLIDAY.  It's all about ME. ME. ME.  I'm right.  I celebrate Christmas, the season of perpetual hope, remembering the birth of the Prince of Peace, who came to bring good will to ALL MEN...AND IF YOU DON'T AGREE YOU CAN EFFING BITE ME, SUCKAHS!!!!!!!

Well, I don't think that message really SCREAMS Christ.  I don't know if you can  SCREAM Christ.

 What it does scream is entitlement.  Christians are having a hard time with this, it seems.  We have a church culture that is teaching about YOUR walk with Jesus, YOUR sin, YOUR salvation, YOUR savior.  Thus, when we talk about Christ, he is not THE Lord, he is MY Lord.  He is not the savior of ALL men, he is MY savior.  MINE!!!  ALL MINE!!!  This is foolishness.  We cannot allow our faith be sold out to a culture of narcissists.  Christ's birth, life and death were for all.  Even for those who don't care to accept it, it is there, just the same.  The role of the Christian is to be a living embodiment of the acceptance of that.  We don't need Christ to be in Christmas because we don't need Christmas.  I'm pretty sure you can celebrate the birth of Jesus just any old day of the week.  You are not being robbed of anything, ever.  Instead of thinking about MY HOLIDAY, this may actually be a great time of year to think about others.  If we gave ourselves the grace to accept Grace, live in it, not be so concerned with the Almighty ME, and a little more concerned with the Almighty, we could positively BLEED that grace to others.  We could be so filled with the love of God, that others would want to...hug us...stand uncomfortably close...smell our hair...whatever it would take to be a part of the JOY of this season.  And then instead of demanding CHRIST be GIVEN to US at CHRISTMAS, we could BRING CHRIST to OTHERS ALL THE TIME.