Christmas has changed. It isn’t official but the media, society, American culture, etc… have made the transition from a strictly Christian focus to an all inclusive focus. However, it isn’t just about being tolerant of other religions during the “Christmas season”. Our culture has taken the imagery and symbolism from a Western Christian holiday and removed the religious aspect from it. So it has become the season of goodwill towards our neighbors, a season of giving to those in need, a season of spending time with family, etc… It is a kind of “what does the season mean to you” mentality.
Well, I don’t necessarily mind this. First, I believe Christians should know and recognize the origins of the holidays that we celebrate, in this case Christmas. If you do not know the history then you cannot guard yourself from falsely holding something sacred that God did not institute for us to observe. But you can observe it and not be in sin, if you are not lying to yourself while doing it.
Second, the commercialization of Christmas has already competed with and won over Christian homes regarding where our priorities are. The closest most families come to honoring God coming to earth as a man is when families practice lighting advent candles and reading the passages that go along with each one. In most non-traditional denomination or non-methodical denominational homes even knowing that there is something called advent candles is news. My point here is that if the priority for your family at Christmas is not Jesus (you can know this by your bank statement, what you do to celebrate Christmas such as parties, tossing back loaded eggnog, watching A Christmas Story 24/7, etc…) then maybe you should not claim the holiday as a religious holiday at all. Stick with making Easter your primary Christian holiday. But beware, this will not bode well in conservative circles where the blinders are still on about the sacredness of Christmas. The point here is to no longer hold Christmas as a Christian holiday at all. Let it go ahead and morph into a season of goodwill towards our fellow man. It is already that anyway as a Western culture, you have to choose to make it something else. Which brings up point three.
Thirdly, and lastly for time sake, if you want to keep the holiday as a religious time then what are you doing to make it happen? Here are my suggestions. Do them all, do only one, do none. But make a decision about whether to keep this holiday as a religious time or a secular time with religious undertones for next year.
1. Watch The Nativity Story
2. Spend time in prayer as a family thanking God for His salvation
3. Go to Walmart and pray about who to help bless by paying for their last minute Christmas shop, then ask them for permission to pay for it and tell them why, “Because I believe the greatest gift we can receive happened over 2000 years ago, and I have been blessed because of the gift and want to pass on the immense love that God has shown me to someone else in a tangible way.” Write it down so you don’t forget what to say.
4. Purchase or create your own advent wreath and download an advent calendar with scripture annotations. Use the advent calendar to help you focus on Christmas as the time we remember Jesus’ birth. (there is no proof that he was born on Dec. 25th, see my first reasoning above).
5. Read out of Luke 2 the Christmas story including the prophecies after Jesus’ circumcision. Use this as a catalyst for praying as a family or for discussing the impact of Jesus’ birth in your own lives.
6. Ask your Christian friends their suggestions. Get creative. Pray about this. Make it a reality and build your own religious traditions. But keep in mind that it is about your heart and focusing on the “Reason for the Season”. And I don’t feel cliche about writing that. Jesus really is the reason for the Holiday Season as we know it culturally. We just need to get back to focusing on Him.