The controversy seems to raise its head every year about this time.
Christians seek to honor our Savior at Christmas as we celebrate his birth. We recognize that Jesus is indeed “the reason for the season.” And yet there are times when we may feel as if the day has been hijacked from us.
For many, Christmas is nothing more than a reason to spend more and more money on gifts for family and friends. The stress of the season is overwhelming to many. And we often hear, “Happy Holidays,” instead of, “Merry Christmas.”
Let me make a couple of suggestions to you as you approach this season. I know, in our economic times, that this first one may almost sound un-American. But make the commitment this year not to overspend, and then keep that commitment. Your love for others is not reflected merely in the amount of money you spend.
I am not saying that you should not buy gifts. I love to do that. But don’t spend more than you should. Don’t put yourself in a bind. Give generously, but wisely.
Secondly, don’t kill yourself as you prepare to host a Christmas gathering in your home. Far more important than the food or the decorations is the time spent with family and friends. I will remember the laughter and the good times far more than what I eat or what your home looks like. Too many of us stress out as we prepare to host, or to be hosted, at a Christmas party or dinner. Let’s enjoy the moment instead.
And finally, let’s covenant together to be kind to all that we see. I once witnessed a man light into a store clerk when she said, “Happy Holidays.” “It’s Christmas!” the man screamed in a very unChrist-like manner. The poor clerk, probably college age, was at a loss for words. I tried to be kind, but her day had been ruined by someone claiming to be Christian.
I wonder – if she was not a Christian, how might that have impacted her decision to follow Christ? What if she had visited a church the next week, and the person passing out programs was the man who had screamed at her? Would she have stayed? I doubt it.
Keep a couple of things in mind. In the first place, if someone says, “Happy Holidays,” they are actually saying, “Happy Holy Days,” even if they do not know it. That’s the meaning of holiday. Christmas is truly a holy day.
Secondly, your witness for Christ is on the line. Paul said to us in the book of Philippians, “Have a Christ-like spirit.” We have been called to act and speak as Jesus would. After all, isn’t that the true meaning of the season?
Enjoy the Christmas season. Celebrate and worship the Savior who was born. There is no greater gift.