Summary: Our celebrations of Christmas should be an extension of our celebration of Christ every other day of the year. If we give special attention to his birth and use the focus of the world on this adopted holiday to show and share the love of Christ and the t

Give Back Christmas

This message may strike some as controversial and others as stating the obvious.

I have to confess that for me, Christmas, as we know it today, has largely become something to survive, not celebrate.

And before you judge me too severely, I would suggest I may be in good company. There is another who may feel as I do, and that is Jesus. I can’t help but wonder if Jesus celebrates the Christmas that most people celebrate.

At some level, you may feel at least somewhat as I do. You may wish at least for a simpler way to celebrate Christmas, with less financial stress, less time stress and less emotional stress. But most of us are on a conveyor belt that takes us through the same path every year at this time. We are stuck in a pattern of meeting the expectations of others and ourselves. If we were to get off the conveyor belt and say, “I’m going to choose another path this year,” we would hurt and disappoint many around us, as well as ourselves. And since its not a very good witness and not very loving to hurt and disappoint family and friends, we feel that even if did want to make some changes in how we celebrate Christmas, we cannot.

Christmas has become far more about family traditions, about time spent together as a family, and, of course, about giving and receiving gifts. These are good things and if this is what Christmas means to us, let’s be honest about it. Let’s not pretend its all about Jesus, if it’s really mostly about family and traditions and gifts. Let’s be honest about what Christmas is really about for us.

We all have seen Christmas pageants before. We have all heard of the ‘Christmas story.’ If your Christmas was a story, let’s say as a play, who would have the starring roles? Not who is most important in the play, but who has the biggest parts (because in some plays the most important person – general, president, king, etc – may not have a starring role)? Who would have the biggest parts, who would you see most on stage? Would it be you, or your children, or your spouse or your mother or father or a sister or brother? Which characters take center stage at Christmas time in your Christmas story?

Now, next question, what should your Christmas story be about?

I don’t believe this is a black and white matter. I know of the pagan roots of many of our Christmas traditions and agree we would be better off without them. But I also believe this is a place for acting in faith based on what we are individually convinced of (so long as it is not inconsistent with Scripture) and not being quick to judge one another.

Please turn to Romans 14, verse 1. I want us to read this chapter together because I believe it applies to Christmas and to every other holiday we celebrate. I am reading from the NIV.

1Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

5One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

9For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11It is written:

" ’As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,

’every knee will bow before me;

every tongue will confess to God.’ "[a] 12So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

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