Okay, so here’s the thing. In the Christmas greeting wars, I choose to say “Merry Christmas.” Because the fact of the matter is we wouldn’t be celebrating Christmas if it weren’t for Christ. This is my firm belief. (And also my exercise of the First Amendment…that’s the freedom of speech, in case you forgot.)
But I’m learning firm beliefs (and also freedom of speech) aren’t very welcome in our society anymore.
[If you haven’t yet read anything about Phil Robertson’s suspension from Duck Dynasty because of his beliefs, take a look at this article from Relevant Magazine.]
Don’t Take It Personally
Offense is so quickly claimed in our society. Who could have imagined that Christmas, of all things, could be offensive? This is a new reality, and we now hear “Happy Holidays” in lieu of “Merry Christmas” in most public settings.
To be honest, I have been tempted to also claim offense at this. I’m tempted to complain that it seems like our culture is tolerant to everyone except Christians. I’m tempted to make a big deal about the word Christmas and demand it be used alongside Happy Holidays. I’m tempted to deflate all of those obnoxious Santa Claus lawn things and replace them with baby Jesus. [Actually I’m not anti-Santa, just definitely more pro-Jesus.] Yes, it’s easy to jump on that train.
But I think that would be missing the point.
Peace on Earth?
“Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:14
That’s what the angels proclaimed to the shepherds about the birth of Jesus Christ. He came to glorify God and to bring peace to a broken world. He alone is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
And we get upset over what to say to the cashier before we leave or what to put on our ads or Christmas (and/or Holiday) cards? So, let me get this straight…we’re fighting over what to say in celebration of the God who brings peace to all people everywhere?
Whether you’re a Happy-Holidays-er or a Merry-Christmas-er, isn’t the bigger goal “peace on earth?” I’m guessing that means not fighting over who gets to say what during the month of December.
A Few Caveats
…to this “world peace” thing:
1. Unfortunately, as long as our world is run by humans, there will never be true and lasting world peace. That’s just the way it is. There will always be wars (Matthew 24:6), there will always be the poor (Matt. 26:11), there will always be trouble (John 16:33).
2. The peace that Christ brought is multifaceted. He first came to bring peace between God and man. Jesus Christ came to be the perfect sacrifice so that man could be reconciled to God. This is the most important peace that Christ gives on an individual basis—when a person believes that Jesus Christ died on the cross to save us from sin and death, and that He is the only way to Heaven. That’s the peace Christ came to give.
3. The scope of the peace that Christ brings is bigger than what we can picture. Jesus Christ will bring a true and lasting peace when He rules the world with truth and grace…and absolute power (Revelation 19:15). I wonder what we’ll say on December 25th then? (Maybe we’ll just go with “Happy Birthday?”)