By Kristen Wells
Lately, our Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds have become bombarded with rants about standing up for “Merry Christmas”. Like it is something new that the world doesn’t like Christ. I am probably in the minority, but people not saying Merry Christmas to me doesn’t bother me. Why? Well, it’s easy… Christmas to me is not about Christmas.
As most Christians probably know, Christmas was not originally a Christ centered holiday, but a pagan holiday to celebrate false gods. The tree, holly, Santa, lights, along with most of our Christmas traditions have nothing to do with the actual meaning of what we celebrate as Christmas. Later adopted by the Roman Catholic Church and deemed Christmas (meaning the mass of Christ ~ or the remembrance of Christ’s death) this became a holiday to celebrate Christ… his life and his death. We have since left out the death part (the ‘mas part). There is a ton more history here, but you get the gist.
I really don’t care that Christmas started as a pagan holiday… for even as we were once wicked and redeemed by Christ, so can this holiday be. But I do care about the visions we hold while celebrating this holiday.
First off, it is a holiday for Christians. Just like Halloween is a holiday for pagans – that some of us Christians pretend we don’t celebrate by calling it something else and putting parameters on it (although so far pagans haven’t come out saying we have taken Satan out of Halloween yet) – non-Christians celebrate Christmas in the same way. They put a different spin or meaning to it in order to participate in the holiday. Prayerfully, even though we celebrate Christmas with non-holy traditions, Christmas is for Christians who hold true to the fact that Christ is the “reason for the season”.
Secondly, it’s not about Jesus’s birth. Yes, we celebrate Jesus’s birth, but without His death and “rebirth” or resurrection, His birth would mean nothing. It would be just like celebrating anybody’s birthday. Jesus’s birth is special because of His death and ultimately His resurrection. Christmas is all encompassing to that. The fact of His virgin birth, His miracle ministry, His violent death, and His glorifying and powerful resurrection is the reason we celebrate.
Thirdly, it is just as appropriate to say Happy Birthday as Merry Christmas. Not just because Jesus was born, but even more so, because of His birth, death and resurrection we have the priceless gift of eternal life. If it wasn’t for Christ, our lives would be hopelessly bound for Hell. If you are a born again Christian then I say Happy Birthday to you! You being born again into God’s family is the most important birthday you could ever have. So I see Christmas as a way to give gifts to those who are Christians, to say Happy Birthday; and to those who do not, to show God’s love for them so that one day they will come to know Christ and celebrate this glorious time of year the way it should be.
Fourthly, people not saying Merry Christmas can never take away a Christian’s Christmas. If we are truly celebrating what we should be celebrating-no amount of corporations saying Happy Holidays (or nothing at all) can take away our Christmas. What it means to us lives in our hearts every day of the year not just at this time of year. This is just an outward expression of a daily inward relationship with God. Just as baptism cannot save you ~ it is an outward expression of your love for Christ and your obedience to God. So shall Christmas be an outward expression of your daily thankfulness to God’s sacrifice and mercy.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
This verse sums it all up… nothing can separate us from Christmas… the true meaning of Christmas. This isn’t just for this time of year… but year round, every minute of every day.
So while the world debates their meaning for Christmas, I will continue to enjoy the most wonderful time of year. I will decorate my tree, listening to Christmas music, snuggle with my children while watching “Rudolph”, go look at lights with a cup of hot cocoa, get together with the gift of family and friends, anxiously await my children to open their “birthday” presents, make cookies (and eat them), and rejoice in the fact that I get to hear non-Christians sing about God. I will do all things ~ not because the world has said I have to, but because they are a joyous outward and beautiful recognition of the glory of God and the blessings He has given me in my sin-filled life. They will help me to give honor and glory to my Lord for the birth of His son Jesus, and most importantly what that birth means for all of mankind. I will carry this happiness and hope with me all year long as I revel in God’s goodness and holiness.
So Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday, Happy Advent, Happy Easter, Joyous Resurrection, but above all Glory to God in the Highest!
About the author:
Kristen Wells has a bachelors of science degree in biblical counseling and is the author of The Warring Soul. She resides in California with her wonderful husband, Greg, her son, Justin, and her daughter, Katie.
Besides writing, Kristen enjoys reading, knitting, playing board games, substitute teaching at her kid’s school, teaching bible at Santa Clarita Christian School, and mentoring youth. When she is not attending to the needs of her family, you can find Kristen curled up with a good book and a cup of coffee or fellowshiping with friends. Above all, she lives to exemplify Christ in her everyday life and help others to find their way out of darkness.