Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

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.”
(Col. 1:15-20)

8 Responses to “Christ and Christmas”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. So many people only will talk about Christ at Christmas time but because of nervousness we often shy away from any type of talk at this time. I think if we would embrace this time it may encourage talk of Christ at other times.

  2. I agree. I think anytime we have the opportunity to talk about Christ we should embrace the moment.

  3. I totally agree. How can we be wrong by talking about Christ any time we have the opportunity. We should cherish the fact that we know the Bible and Christ’s story and we should remember every chance we have. I agree it shouldn’t be an official religious holiday, but we should never miss the chance of telling the precious story of Jesus.

  4. Thanks for the comments. I think all of you have hit on one central theme. By ignoring the religious element of Christmas we miss an opportunity to talk to others about Christ. I think we may even miss a teaching opportunity with our children. We can use the Christmas holiday to teach them about the birth of Christ. When they get older we can explain to them that we do not know when Christ was born, but we take this opportunity each year to remember his birth.

  5. I agree with all of you guys! I too think it’s a missed opportunity to tell others about Christ. Since most people in the U.S. already think of Christmas as a Christian holiday, what we are missing is the opportunity to tell people how Christ has changed our lives. Most of them already know how he was born, and that he was a good guy, but they don’t necessarily know how he changes people today. Also, when we downplay the religious elements, are we much different from the people who want to remove every religious idea from our culture…the ones who want to “take Christ out of Christmas?” It’s interesting, that as Christians we tend to take an idea to the same extreme as many Atheists. I applaud the lady who asked you that question and has made us all think about this.

  6. Not to mention there were things in the old testament that way were to do things a certain way for the Passover, with one big purpose being so the children would ask why? Then you could use that as a platform to explain why God did this. Too many times it seems like the world asks why and we answer because. That answer never worked with my mom and I don’t think it works with religion either.

  7. I want to start by saying thank you for thinking ahead of the dime and starting an app. I’m a student at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver and today we heard a recorded debate between Leonard Gray and Roy Lanier Jr. concerning Christmas. I think you hit it on the head. It is not wrong to perhaps focus on the religious but it is not merely a December remembrance but it should be a year round reminder of Christ’s birth, life, death, burial, resurrection and His promise to return again. But if we are going to celebrate Christmas I would caution Christians not to invite the Catholic Saint Nicolaus into their homes and let their kids send up prayers for gifts to him. That is where many have gone too far. As many holy-days change through the years so has Christmas. It us about fellowship and love. So let’s keep that spirit and talk about Christ’s birth and death year round.

  8. I agree with you all. You’ve given great insight and I believe you are correct about always speaking of Christ and his life when we are given the chance. I feel the same is true for those who don’t agree or dislike the so-called Christmas songs we sing in worship. I believe there are a lot of beautiful words in these songs about Christ and we can truly worship him by singing them at any time of the year. This time of year draws you closer to Christ and all the blessings we have in our lives because of him.

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