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Really Keeping Christ in Christmas

Nick Fewings/Unsplash

My oldest daughter has a strong activist streak, and now a TikTok account. She approached me last week, asking me about the "war on Christmas." Ever had to really condense a response to a loaded question?

My wife and I basically explained to her that, every Advent, some menial event happens that signals the alleged secularization of the United States. This is shown in the decline of the usage of the word "Christmas" in for-profit institutions, their products and messages. Not everyone in the United States celebrates Christmas, after all. Institutions, correctly acknowledging our culturally and religiously pluralistic nation, strive to be inclusive with terms such as "Happy Holidays" and "Seasons Greetings."

But it's not just Christ's name for some Christians. Some of us want to "save Christmas" by keeping all the proverbial whistles and bells our culture has inherited from Charles Dickens and American consumerism.

The greatest threat to Christmas is not any existent political or social agenda (e.g. using Christ's name less and less, removing Nativity Sets from public exhibits). Nor is it the growing non-religious interpretation and celebration of the holiday. It's materialism. If you've seen the numbers for what American shoppers spend on Christmas (what corporations spend is not included), it's hard to imagine such money couldn't be better used elsewhere.

I asked my daughter to think how can we properly celebrate the birth of God incarnate, who left unimaginable glory to be born in hay among animals, live a peasant's life and die a most historically gruesome death to tell us the truth, show us grace, and save us from the fallout of our own mistakes? It's not by going into debt, storing up treasures on earth, complaining about a public company's marketing, or even condemning secularist culture.

Some Christians have started movements like Advent Conspiracy. Others have produced stories like St. Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving or The Gifts of Goody Grissom. There's songs like Give This Christmas Away.

If we really are to keep Christ in Christmas, why don't we do Christmas like Jesus did? Is there a way we can sacrifice any comfort or resource we have, or utilize any influence we have, in order to show grace, truth and love to someone else?

How can we do that? Thoughts?

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