Recently, we have all heard of the controversy surrounding the use of the term “X-mas.” Many Christians are up in arms about the intentional removal of Christ from the name of the season. Every year we see bumper stickers and online responses that say, “Put Christ back in Christmas.” I get the uproar. After all, what is Christmas without Jesus Christ?
I believe, though, that the greatest tragedy of Christmas is not semantical. No, the major problem is not the fact that we have changed the name, but rather the fact that we have changed our hearts. What we call the holiday is secondary to how we live during this season of the year. Do we really allow Christ to be a part of our Christmas celebration? And, what does it mean to keep Christ in Christmas?
First of all, for the follower of Jesus Christ, Christmas is about worship. You cannot read Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth and not be convinced of the importance of worship. That fact is evidenced five times in the first two chapters of Luke:
- Mary worshipped with Elizabeth as they contemplated her selection to carry the Messiah (Luke 1:46-55).
- Zechariah worshipped at the birth of his son, John who would be the forerunner of the Messiah (Luke 1:68-79).
- The angels worshipped as they told the shepherds the Good News (Luke 2:8-14).
- The shepherds worshipped after seeing the Christ child (Luke 2:20).
- And, Ana worshipped upon hearing the news of Jesus’ birth (Luke 1:36-38).
The simple truth is that the natural response to Jesus’ birth should be worship. How often, though, does worship take a back seat to Christmas parties and family traditions? Please don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to be Scrooge. I love getting together with my family during the holidays. But, Jesus didn’t leave the splendors of heaven, humble Himself and come to earth so that we could have family get-togethers. No, He came to live and to die for our salvation. That fact should prompt us to worship Him!
Secondly, Christmas is about giving. You might say, “Brian, I got that covered. I give plenty of gifts to my family and friends.” Please know that as a family we do the same. But, let me ask you how that giving compares with the original Christmas gifts? Notice the type of gifts given by those involved in the Christmas story. God the Father gave His only Son – John 3:16
- God the Father gave His only Son – John 3:16
- Jesus gave up His divine privileges in the incarnation – Philippians 2:7
- Mary gave up her body to give birth to the Messiah – Luke 1:38
- Joseph gave up his right for his first son to be biological – Matthew 1:25
- The wise men gave gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh – Matthew 2:11
Each of those gifts involved a sacrifice. The gifts were not given for the individual’s benefit, but always for the glory of God and the benefit of others. What a great example for us!
So, as we enter into this Christmas season, let me challenge you to truly keep Christ first. Here are a few practical ways to do that…
- Look for opportunities to worship together as a family (sing Christmas hymns, talk about the Christmas story, spend time in thankful prayer together).
- Don’t neglect worshipping with your church family.
- Find a family in need and give to them this Christmas.
- Invite a person with no family to spend Christmas with your family.
- Be faithful in your regular tithes and offerings.
- Give a special offering for a missionary or a missions project.
Let’s truly make this Christmas season about Jesus!