While I picked out a design for our Christmas greeting card this morning, I caught myself in a swirl of guilt. The graphic I liked best said “Season’s Greetings” instead of “Merry Christmas.” And the card was black and silver, to boot! How… how… un-Christmas-y! Worse yet, would I be falling into the trap of the secular media in trying to obliterate Christmas if I chose said design? The only thing worse would be to choose a design that said “Merry Xmas.”
Does God care if we abbreviate the word with an “X”? I doubt it. But God DOES care if we are bitter, angry, unforgiving, judgmental and critical of others. Besides, in the Greek letters in the ichthus, one of the original underground symbols of Christianity, the X stands for Christ. Altogether, the letters read “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.”
Are we shirking our responsibility to preach the Gospel of Christ by sending out Christmas cards that say “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” instead of “Merry Christmas”? Are we bashing God if we go battle other shoppers for the last Tickle Me Elmo (or whatever this year’s toy of choice is) at a store that didn’t put “Christmas” in their marketing campaign?
I’ve got family who’ve boycotted holidays, including birthdays, because of their pagan origins. We have friends and neighbors who’ve jumped on the pseudo-Judaism bandwagon in an attempt to find some holidays that don’t violate their consciences. And I’ve got friends and loved ones who will defend to the death their right to take their kids to visit Santa, dress up for Halloween, and hide Easter eggs. And they all have one thing in common… they all believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior, and isn’t that what it’s all about, regardless of when, or how, you celebrate your holidays?
Ponder this from The Message Bible paraphrase…
“Or, say, one person thinks that some days should be set aside as holy and another thinks that each day is pretty much like any other. There are good reasons either way. So, each person is free to follow the convictions of conscience.What’s important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’s sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It’s God we are answerable to-all the way from life to death and everything in between-not each other. That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother? And where does that leave you when you condescend to a sister? I’d say if leaves you looking pretty silly-or worse.…So tend to your knitting. You’ve got your hands full just taking care of your own life before God.Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is.”(Romans 14:5-13)
The purpose, the motive, of today’s post is to set you free to go forth and love God and worship Him. You’re free to do all that you do this season (and every other season) in a way that reveals the love and mercy God demonstrated by sending His Son to the earth to ransom humanity from captivity to sin and death.
Don’t panic if you catch yourself writing “Xmas” instead of Christmas in your planner. Don’t feel guilty if someone gives you a Santa Claus ornament, or go into a fit over the “happy holidays” greetings at the annual office party. You have your convictions, and that’s good. Live them out the way God desires: in the spirit of peace, joy, and letting God set your life right in every area.