Emmanuel!

(Matthew 1:1,2,6,18-25)

Lesson 3 -- first quarter 2000
December 19, 1999

by Roth
© Copyright 1999, Christian Light Publications

Is Christmas for the Christian?

The question arises mostly from this celebration's suspect past. Look up Christmas in an encyclopedia and you will likely see that some Christian leader "invented" the Christian Christmas as a more palatable alternative to some heathen observance of his time. He even picked the same date: December 25.

Does this mean that Christmas originally meant nothing more than a different name for a pagan celebration? I don't know, though I suspect the answer should be negative. But even if the answer were positive, would such a fact be reason enough for us to develop a conscience against Christmas observance? I suspect not. Otherwise, it seems consistency would require similar action against the names of the days of the week. (Research those sometime.)

I believe Christmas is for the Christian...if. If the observance is about Jesus. If the practice is marked by purity, temperance and simplicity. If the purpose is kept Biblical. If all aspects of the celebration edify. If its spirit permeates the year.

Otherwise, why would a Christian want anything to do with Christmas?

An alternative meaning for C-mas.

I suggest that we ought to refer to general societal celebration of this holiday as C-más. In Spanish, más means "more." Now don't get too far ahead of me! Since this season is now more commercial than Christian, the C no longer stands for Christ, it stands for covet! C-más tells the story of the season -- "covet more." Tragically appropriate substitutions, would you agree?

What makes a Christmas celebration Christian?

The prefix does little to accomplish this. In fact, it does nothing towards the end of making Christmas Christian. Furthermore, our choice of songs, pageantry and activities don't produce a Christian Christmas.

What are we left with, then?! If we have to ask that question our answer must be "A non-Christian Christmas." And if that is the case (and even if it isn't), I suggest we build our Christmas observances on these two stones:

Christ-centeredness. What we do, what we plan, what we say, where we go--these all should be about Jesus. Would it be too strong to say they should be for Jesus? I suspect we would have to admit that a lot of our Christmas "stuff" lacks tremendously in this essential focus.

Christ-likeness. "What Would Jesus Do?" is a terrific question. And as we have seen, it makes a catchy slogan. But it doesn't seem to catch on very well as a lifestyle, even among professing Christians. So, what would Jesus do at Christmas? Well, what did He do while He lived among men so many years ago? May our Christmases resemble that more!

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