I must admit I love both Christmasses. Yes, both secular and religious. I love the celebration of the incarnation: Emmanuel, God with us. I preach about the Light breaking into the world and the return of The Christ. We celebrate this festival because of the resurrection, and even more specifically to undermine the Gnostic idea that the incarnation did not happen. Ironically I find those that are trying to keep the Christ in Christmas actually uphold Jesus the baby as a magic baby bringing salvation, despite the four Gospels (and even Paul) making it clear it was the Passion and Resurrection that did that, not simply his Birth.
I spend little time worrying or fighting with those Christians that do not know their history, don’t really know the Bible, and reject careful and respected academia, who keep saying we should keep the Christ in Christmas and freak out when we use the common short hand for Christ, “X.” There is much to do preparing for Santa, baking cookies, watching Christmas specials that have a great message but little to do with Jesus. This is just as much Christmas, or perhaps even more important.
I have friends of other faiths that share Holiday Cards. I know many who never darken the door of the church who will be celebrating Christmas. Yes, consumerism will invade this wonderful celebration, but tell me when it does not in our current culture. What I do see are people starting conversations in public. I see people giving more. I find there is an emphasis on love, family, and friends. The sense is we do desire Peace on Earth, and this time in the Northern Hemisphere when it is getting so dark, we all seem to dream it together. But then some Christians, while not criticizing the consumerism, criticize Rudolph, Frosty, and the Jolly Ol’ Santa and have a hissy fit you said Happy Holidays.
I would remind them that the Baby they claim to worship said, “Whoever is not against us is for us,” (Mark 9:40) and generally he told us to love one another, before there was anything called Christianity or the Church.
So when you see a meme or hear someone say Keep the Christ in Christmas, ask yourself (but ask them if it’s safe to do so) should we be in the business of containing Christ? Is not the Anointed One capable of using the world to fulfil the mission of Love and Peace for everyone?
The Christ will not be contained by any church or religion. As Anthony Barlett pens,
[Jesus] reinvents compassion as infinite modality, making it boundless, without structural limit. And when this example is raised up in the deathlessness of resurrection it is stabilized ontologically, as a final truth of being. It thus becomes an enduring human possibility, able to embed itself in the neural pathways of humans who look to him in faith as a true and living realization of the human.
Let us Xians follow the one that teaches us compassion by living that compassion to everyone, no matter what they believe or have done to us or our friends. Let us be perfect like The Divine One as Jesus explains, “…for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous”(Matthew 45b).
God bless us, everyone. –Tiny Tim Cratchit
Bartlett, Anthony (2011-03-16). Virtually Christian: How Christ Changes Human Meaning and Makes Creation New (p. 148). NBN_Mobi_Kindle. Kindle Edition.