Hello my family and friends. Thank you for reading my 2010 Christmas message. I have been publishing a Christmas message every year for about ten years now. While I was considering and praying about what to write this year, my mind kept going back to the original Christmas messages from a decade ago and why I wrote them in the first place. It is common knowledge that Christmas and Christianity are under attack in the USA. These yearly publications are supposed to give other Christians a positive, encouraging and uplifting message of hope.
This year’s message is basically this: “It’s dangerous to attach our faith to our culture.”
Christmas is a time of the year when we are reminded of God’s gift to the world (John 3:16). The Bible says that God is the same today, yesterday and forever (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8). Cultural aspects of our faith change over time but the reality of Christmas is unchangeable. I guess one of the reasons I have not been as easily offended by those who would play Grinch and steel our Christmas is because the culture of MY Christmases has changed so much already over the past thirty years and not at the hands of the ACLU. Christmas is nothing like it was when I was a child. But I learned to recognize the difference between my culture and my faith long ago. The Bible warns us to guard against feelings of nostalgia (sorry I don’t have a reference for that one). If my focus is on Jesus and not on my culture, then I have nothing to fear from the ACLU and neither should you!
There’s evidence that Jesus wasn’t born in December, so I don’t consider Christmas to be a holy day. But I have no problem with dedicating an entire season to spending time focusing and reflecting on God’s gift to the world. I love the Christmas season. I love celebrating Our savior’s birth in my own way. Yes, I do agree that we should maintain that focus throughout the year, but Christmas is sort of like a booster shot for the rest of the year. By celebrating Christmas, we can focus on God’s grace in our lives long enough and sincerely enough, hopefully, to carry us through the rest of the year. The reality is that no one can take Christmas away from us.
Don’t be offended, but I believe we can see how deep a person’s faith is by observing how freaked out they act when the Christian culture is assulted. If you truly believe that God is the same today, yesterday and forever, what do you have to fear?
You know, there’s a lot the ACLU could learn from the old Grinch movie. You can’t take our Christmas away by taking our stuff. You can’t take it away by supressing our culture. You cannot undo the gift that was given two thousand years ago. I think We need to be more like the Whos in Whoville. They did not lose faith when the Grinch took their stuff. They knew that no one could take Christmas away from them. And on top of all that, as a result of their faith, the Grinch was saved in the end. Halleluia!
This is real life my friends. It’s not just some children’s book or cartoon. The Grinch story is based on real life Christian principles that seem to have been forgotten over the years. We have gotten so wrapped up in the culture of our faith that we no longer see the reality that sits at our culture’s center. “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son” and God is the same, always and forever. Even an army of Grinches couldn’t possibly undo the gift that God has given us. No, only WE can do that.
What do I mean? How can we undo the gift that God has given?
It’s quite simple. God’s grace in our lives is conditional. We only experience His grace for as long as we share it with others. We can undo His gift to us in our own lives by simply refusing to share that gift with others. Do you want to protect Christmas in your life? There’s nothing the ACLU can do to take it away from you. No, the greatest threat to your Christmas is in how you treat others.
Jesus told us to love our enemies (Luke 6:27-36). He told us that what we do for the least of people (Matt. 25:40), the lowest in our society, we do for Him. We celebrate Christmas by giving because God gave so much to us. The only thing that can take that away from us is our reluctance to give to others.
I guess that’s something that many of us have forgotten. Christmas is a time of giving. The true joys of Christmas come from giving to others, not from getting, or worse, taking from them. I encourage all of you to celebrate Christmas the way it should be celebrated. Give to those who are less fortunate than you. Be generous with what you have and be a blessing to those in your life. That’s what Christmas is. It’s not about Christmas trees and yard lights. It’s not about having the Walmart greeter tell us “Merry Christmas” as we enter the store. It’s not even about the Christmas carols or nativity scenes. Christmas is about sharing God’s gift with others. The rest of it is all cultural and not central to our faith.
Have a blessed and merry Christmas this year. Remember that I love you all with the love the Jesus has put in my heart.