‘Twas the last weeks before Christmas, and all through the house, all the creatures were stirring asking, “Is it Christmas yet?”
When my kids were small, they were super-excited about Christmas. Specifically, they were excited about presents. These days, they’re all teens and tweens so playing everything cool is the name of the game. But back then, it was all presents and candy and all kinds of stuff.
Even so, one of them—our oldest—was always quick to point out:
“Christmas isn’t just about presents. It’s about Jesus. And presents.”
Someone was keeping the Christ in Christmas, so there’s that at least.
Are We Losing the “Christ” in Christmas?
Let’s get serious for a second. When I heard those words so long ago, and when I consider them again many years later, I understand them. They weren’t a failing on her part. Nor did they represent a failing on mine. They were and are reminder of the tension we feel at Christmas. The tension that we risk getting consumed in all the stuff around Christmas: the presents and decorations. The music and ugly sweaters… all that stuff. Things that can, not so much remove Jesus from the holiday, but can put him on the sidelines.
Kind of like we do pretty much all the time. The errands we have to run, the projects at work, the reports due for school, the movies we want to watch, and the laundry still undone. All of it can put Jesus on the sidelines just as easily as anything in our Christmas preparations.
Moving Past the Rhetoric
This is why I have always been a bit uncomfortable with the “Keep ‘Christ in Christmas” rhetoric. I appreciate and respect the sentiment, but it kind of misses the point. Ignore for a moment the fact that it’s trying to argue the case to people “out there”—the ones who don’t believe in Jesus—and let’s just focus on ourselves for a second. If he’s not a part of my Tuesday morning, Thursday night, or Sunday afternoon, does throwing him a bone around Christmas really make a difference?
Jesus gives the greatest gift of all—new life, forgiveness of sin, and the promise of eternity with him—and yet it’s so easy to take him for granted. And I don’t want that. Not in my life. Not in my wife’s or my children’s. And not in your’s, either.
So if we want to keep the “Christ” in Christmas, start with how you approach your every day and go from there. Spend time with Christ through the Scriptures and prayer. Express your love for him by loving others. Start this morning. And don’t stop.