Get Christ Out of Christmas!
You’ve seen the signs, bumper stickers and advertisements. Keep Christ in Christmas. There is a beautiful manger scene at the local Catholic Church here with just that message. But I think this is the wrong message even if the intention is honorable. In fact I would go so far as to say that I think we need to get Christ out of Christmas.
As Christians we spend far too much energy on preserving what we have lost from yesterday and protecting what we still have. This is our issue not God’s for Christ is present in tomorrow already. Christ is present in your neighbors. Christ is present in the brokenness of our world. It is time we caught up and lived our Christian faith like we believe it. If we spent a little more time inviting and sharing, and not protecting and defending ourselves maybe those who want to celebrate the holidays, but aren’t so sure about Jesus would listen more.
Don’t get me wrong I have been a Christian all my life. As a pastor I get to worship 5 times for Christmas each year. Four times on Christmas Eve and once more on Christmas Morning. Click here for a blatant advertisement of our worship service times. But all that being said I think focusing our message on drawing a line in the sand about who, where, and how Christmas should be celebrated misses the point. After all the gospel writer Luke did not have the angels deliver a message to the shepherds saying stay away. It was an invitation into the story, not a wall of how one could and could not enter. The crazy part of this invitation is that it begins to change the story itself. The story is not just a story of our Savior’s birth. It is a story of how the shepherds were changed, how the story cannot be contained to one place let alone one day. In the same way we are called to invite others into the story where Jesus is already present with them.
So I’m saying get Christ Out of Christmas because Jesus did not come into this world to be stuck in a manger scene. This Christ that we believe in is invited into all of our life, all year long. This Christ invites us to tear down walls that separate us. This Christ was a radical seeker of justice. A journey that brought him to the cross where he was crucified.
If Christ stays in Christmas than we have a heart-warming story when all is well in our lives. We have a message of hope, but one that doesn’t share a promise of hope for all people. Enjoy Christmas and the story of God incarnate Emmanuel, but don’t stop there. Get Christ out of Christmas and into the rest of the world.
By Pastor Michael Stadtmueller