Christmas is a beautiful time of year to engage well with the broader culture. Unfortunately many of us fail at this because we don’t want to engage lovingly, winsomely, or sacrificially with those around us.
I will give you an example. A wonderful saint sent me the video below. If you have an extra three minutes and thirty-six seconds to waste, take the time to watch it. If not read on below.
This song is about the importance of “keeping Christ in Christmas.” There is a good sentiment here. We should not lose the point of Christmas in all of the consumerism and secularism that so easily invades the holidays.
But let’s think about this for a second. As Abraham Kuyper said, “There is not one square inch of the entire creation about which Jesus Christ does not cry out, ‘This is mine! This belongs to me!’” That includes Christmas. It is, and always will be, his. It is as possible to remove Jesus from Christmas as it is to remove him from the church.
Also, what is our interest in the whole “happy holidays” versus “merry Christmas” debate? According to the song, Santa as a central part of the season is to be expected, along with Americans blowing billions of dollars on the “Christmas season,” and all the consumerism is a perfectly acceptable part of it – on one condition. You had better say “Merry Christmas” when you greet me at the counter!
Something is terribly wrong with that perspective.
That perspective assumes that it is okay to be comfortable, greedy, individualistic, self-centered, narcissistic Americans who follow Jesus.
But there is no such thing. True Christianity demands that we engage the store keepers, actually buy from them, build relationships with them, and maybe even challenge the misperceptions of our brothers who are out fighting over the last “miss puffy doll” or whatever people will be fighting over this year.
There is a huge problem in the church when we sing songs insisting that people say “Merry Christmas,” instead of singing songs insisting that we lay down our lives for the baby in the food trough as well as for our neighbor, the atheist shopkeeper.