It’s Christmastime, so it’s time for the seasonal handwringing over our culture’s reducing the season to little more than a time for gift-giving and sentimental movies. To be sure, I have no problem with giving or receiving gifts, and I’m sometimes up for a sentimental seasonal movie.
And I also share the concern for our culture. It is beyond sad that our culture loves the Christmas season but rejects out of hand the biblical Christ. I read in the Christian Post that “the American Family Association is calling for a limited one-month boycott of Radio Shack, accusing the company of censoring the word ‘Christmas’ from its holiday promotions and advertising. ‘Until Radio Shack proves it recognizes Christmas by using it in their newspaper, radio, television advertising and in-store signage, I will boycott its stores this Christmas,’ a boycott pledge on AFA’s website states.”
Please do not misunderstand me, but I’m not too stressed over whether Radio Shack uses the word “Christmas” in its holiday promotion and advertising. Part of that may be because Radio Shack is completely inconsequential to my life. It’s probably been ten years since I was in a Radio Shack!
Frankly, it seems to me that professing Christians think too small. You see it in the popular slogan: “Remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.” Again, I understand the sentiment, and I’ve heard it repeated by sincere Christians as well as strongly voiced by church members whose living is marked by ungodliness.
I have come to believe that we Christians cannot change our culture by threatening to take our business elsewhere when portions of our culture do not externally heed our demands. What the good folks at the American Family Association are unwittingly promoting is, in my estimation, a culture of Pharisaism. It is a requirement that people conform externally to certain demands. Say “Merry Christmas” or else!
Let’s face it: the Christmas season is important to our culture because of the economic impact it has on the economy. We wish that were not so, but it is what it is.
Here’s my main point, though: Jesus is not merely the “reason for the season,” as catchy as that slogan is. Jesus is the reason for life. For the Christian, Christmas draws special attention to the incarnation of Christ, the “infleshing” of the Son of God. Without Christ’s coming to earth and becoming man, he could not have died as our substitute. We would still be in our sin. We would have no hope. God, whose essence is holy, could not receive unholy creatures.
Consequently, the One who knew no sin became sin for us, that we would be accounted righteous in the sight of God and received by him (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). That is what the birth of Christ is all about. God was claiming a people for himself, and the coming of Christ was a necessary step in that process.
So we rejoice in the coming of Christ not merely during a particular season recognized by culture and church calendars. Every day is Christmas! Every day is a day of rejoicing and gratefulness to God. “Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen” (Revelation 7:12).