It is that time of year again, and once again, it has me thinking about all the traditions we celebrate. I know for some, this time of year is quite sacred, and to speak of it in less that Christmas-bulb glowing terms is tantamount to blasphemy. This is not a post saying you should not celebrate, but more thoughts on things that bother me about Christmas. After all, a lot of people get really wacky about this time of year, and given that we are never told in Scripture to celebrate the birth of Christ on a yearly basis, maybe we should hold the entire season loosely.
With that, there are things that bother me about the season. See if any of them resonate with you:
- The demand we must celebrate Christmas or be considered less than Christian. As I said above, there is no command to celebrate Christ’s birth in Scripture. For some of us, this means we don’t celebrate it at all. My goal as one who follows Christ is to celebrate the 52 days He has given us to celebrate His birth, death and resurrection every week. To ask more of me is to try and bind the conscience where it should not be bound.
- The fight to maintain the Christmas holiday and traditions. Let’s face it, as long as Jesus does not come back, we will have atheists who decry everything we do. Let them. And let them especially given the fact that we are not commanded to keep a yearly celebration. This is why the battle for Christmas is so utterly empty. There is no call to defend it. There is a call to defend the resurrection, the gospel, justification by faith alone, in Christ alone, which is by grace alone. But Christmas? Let ’em outlaw it. It’s not worth the stress.
- The fact that Christmas is celebrated by so many, who want nothing to do with Christ. Remember my encounter with the debauched Christmas party several years ago? I had the audacity to defend the faith from attack, and because I was talking about “religion” I had committed the unpardonable sin in polite culture. Polite culture wants nothing to do with Christ. They want their baby Jesus. They want their debauchery. They want their materialism, but don’t you dare bring up His death, resurrection and atonement for sin. That is completely unacceptable.
- The financial strain that it puts on my family. We cannot afford Christmas. From gifts, to trees, to lights, etc. Every year, there is the cultural and family pressure to get it all right, or somehow, we’ve missed the moment. I’m certain that Christ wasn’t all that concerned about us keeping such traditions every year. They are nice traditions. At least we are not celebrating death, like so many do at Halloween. But they are not biblical traditions.
- If Christmas is really about Christ, then it is wrongly focused. The focus on Christ should never be about His birth, as wonderful as it is. The focus is always on His death and resurrection. We are to look to His accomplishments, not His arrival. The evidence for this is the amount of Scripture that focuses on His death and resurrection. That is where our hope is found. Yes, the Magi gave Him gifts. He deserved those gifts. The shepherds fell at his feet and worshiped. He deserved that worship. But the Apostles never created a day in memory of those events. The birth accounts merely tell us that He came and dwelt among us. Yes, this is spectacular news, but why did He come and dwell among us? Not for some misguided holiday, but to preach the kingdom of God, live the perfect life on our behalf, and pay the debt of sin we could not pay. That is the emphasis of Christ’s advent, not the baby Jesus.
OK, I hope that was thought provoking. Hold the holidays loosely. Cling to Christ with all our might.