Thursday, December 18, 2014

Keeping Christ in Christmas

I made the mistake of saying "Happy Holidays" to a Christian today. I didn't know she was a Christian...she was a customer and she was leaving and I wanted to be polite.

I generally say "Happy Holidays" to customers unless they say "Merry Christmas", "Happy Kwanzaa" or "Happy Hanukah" first. I also find "Happy Holidays" to be much easier than saying "HappyThanksgivingMerryChristmasHappyNewYear" I just wrap it up by wishing them a happy holy day. Because, you know, "holiday" means holy day. Just like the "X" is Greek for Christ so Xmas is Christmas and not a means of X-ing Jesus out of his 'birthday'.

Anyway, I said "Happy holiday" and the lady said back, rather forcefully "Merry Christmas" Actually, she probably said "Merry CHRISTmas" but it's hard to speak in all caps.

Paying for gas, the woman at the register gave me a "Merry Christmas" and a look that dared me to try and take Jesus out of the season. I rather uneasily wished her a Merry Christmas and took my change.

To those wishing everyone a "Merry Christmas" like it's a challenge...are we sure that's the best way to go about keeping "Christ in Christmas"? Because it feels more like picking a fight.

I mean...I'm a Christian and I'm not sure what I should do...wear a t-shirt that says "Relax, I'm one of you." Or a sweater with "Jesus Is The Reason" in glitter? If I accidentally say "Happy holiday" instead of "Merry Christmas" is there some sort of special repentance prayer?

I'm just wondering...could we possibly go about helping people understand the Reason for the Season better if we...I don't know...did the things Jesus did?

What if we fed the poor? Built nonjudgmental relationships with non-believers? Had in-depth conversations with some of society's most marginalized? Showed grace to someone who had wronged us? Spent focused time in prayer for the lost? Wept over the hurting?

I get that we want to stand guard over our Nativity scenes...but Jesus left the manger and grew up to minister to a broken world (He modeled that behavior for a reason) and then He sacrificed Himself for the forgiveness of our sins. If we lived that out, it's entirely possible more people would be happily greeting us with "Merry Christmas"