You really want to “put Christ back in Christmas?”
It’s that time of year again–a time when some will try to “put Christ back in Christmas” by pointing out all the violations of Christmas perpetrated by our society. Generic red Starbucks cups, people saying happy holidays, and a noticeable lack of nativity scenes. This isn’t a post about that.
Then there’s the annual wave of blog posts and articles that try to “put Christ back in Christmas” by pointing out the problem with the approach of the formerly mentioned Christmas police–they want us to focus on fighting consumerism and drop the red cups. Yeah, this isn’t a post about that either.
We are so good at dividing our lives up into single issues and areas. We dis-integrate our existence until we can’t keep track of all the pieces. We think we are Christians by fighting for nativity scenes or buying less presents or whatever. Regardless of the merits (or lack thereof) of any of those specific activities, there is a problem with the view of life that thinks some single activity is how we “put Christ back in Christmas.”
For Christians who would like to live faithfully during the Christmas season (and the rest of the year for that matter), it begins by understanding yourself as a part of the story of God. This is a story that is not primarily about you, it’s way better than that. It is the true story of God’s intentions for the flourishing of all things, and he invites you to join in it with joy. When we begin here, our questions should change from “how can I put Christ back in Christmas,” to “what is God doing in all the spheres of life I touch in this season?”
Christmas is a time when we celebrate the particular part of the story of God when God took the miraculous step of becoming human. This part of the story is filled with humility, sacrifice, hope, celebration, generosity, and presence (a particularly grand form of presence we call incarnation).
If we truly wanted to “put Christ back in Christmas,” we would begin by asking ourselves questions inspired by the story.
- How can I live humbly with my family today as a reflection of the humility of Jesus in becoming human?
- How can I be abundantly generous with my coworkers as God has been with us?
- The birth of Jesus was celebrated with singing, joyful proclamation, interruption of routine, gifts, and reflection. How will I (and my family, church, neighborhood) celebrate?
- How would this season be different if I were fully present in each part of it?
Add your questions. There can be hundreds inspired by the story of the birth of Jesus. And the point is certainly not to whittle the grand story back down to a single question, but to let it birth a multitude of questions that will lead us toward living all of life in ways that are fully God-shaped in this season.