Christ and Christmas
Yesterday, I received a wonderful phone call from one of our elderly members. She wanted to talk to me about Christmas and she she wanted to know my beliefs regarding the Christmas holiday. I immediately thought to myself “Here we go again.” I figured I would have to explain why we were having a church Christmas party or defend why I mentioned the birth of Jesus this time of year. To my surprise she did not want to discuss either of these things. Instead she wanted to know why we didn’t say more about Christ at Christmas time. I could not give her an answer. All I could say is “You are right. We should say more about Christ.”
Why don’t we say more about Christ at Christmas time? I think this is a wonderful question. Traditionally Churches of Christ have not celebrated Christmas as a religious holiday. We have defended this position by claiming we do not know when Christ was born, and we have even appealed to the pagan roots of the holiday. I will be the first person to admit that we do not know the exact date when Jesus was born. I will also admit that the Christmas holiday began after many pagans converted to Christianity. Here is the problem I have with this position. Is it right to only focus on the secular and leave out the religious elements? Would it be wrong to read Luke’s account of the birth of Christ when our family gathered on Christmas day? Would it be wrong to offer up prayers of thanksgiving for Jesus and the life He lived?
I personally do not believe Christmas should be an official religious holiday. I do not think we should schedule a worship service on Christmas day, although I believe this would not be any different than us meeting on Wednesday evenings (neither are commanded in Scripture). I think Christmas should be a day of fellowship with friends and family. We do not spend many days of the year conversing and enjoying each others company without the TV blaring in the background. Christmas is a Sabbath. It is a day of rest from the busyness of this world. I also think Christmas should be a day of remembrance. We should remember the life of Christ and what He has done for us. If people want to focus on the birth of Jesus and tell that story, then I believe this is a good thing. I also believe Christmas should be a day of prayer. One thing I always remember about family gatherings and meals growing up is the prayer. At Thanksgiving we always thank God for all the wonderful things He has blessed us with. There are many things we can pray for before Christmas dinner, but I think we must pray about Jesus and what He did for us.
“Why don’t we say more about Christ at Christmas time?” I think we could rephrase that question and ask, “Why don’t we say more about Christ?” Why don’t we say more about Christ at work? Why don’t we say more about Christ to our friends? Why don’t we say more about Christ to our family members? Why don’t we say more about Christ at Easter? Why don’t we say more about Christ at home? Why don’t we say more about Christ? The only answer I can give is this, “You are right. We should say more about Christ.”
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of the God was pleased to dwell, and through him reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”