I noticed a bumper sticker on a car the other day, one that you undoubtedly have also seen. It said “Keep Christ in Christmas.” I thought that was a good idea. It seems obvious doesn’t it? Just look at the word Christmas. Take Christ out and what do you have? Not much. The most obvious thing in the world is that despite all of the “Season’s Greetings” and “Happy Holidays,” without a Messiah born in a manger the holidays are the equivalent of cracking open a shell only to discover there is no nut inside. It’s like opening a present that is under the tree and finding it totally empty. There is no reason for the peace and joy of the season without Christ. “Happy holidays” really means “let’s pretend we’re happy because at least we get a few days off work.”
Oddly that obvious truth seems to escape a lot of people’s notice. I doubt if most people are so dense they can’t see that. That means that they keep Christ out of Christmas because they don’t want him there. It is not an accidental oversight. So perhaps the message should be “Put Christ in Christmas” since for many he has never been there in the first place. Or maybe the message of that bumper sticker was never really appropriate for the world around. Maybe it is best suited as a reminder to followers of Jesus, for we are the ones who know Christ is the point of the season.
Do followers of Jesus need to be reminded to keep Christ in Christmas? We do indeed. While we can huff and puff over Starbucks taking Christmas symbols off their cups (even though they never were symbols of the real meaning of Christmas to begin with) and we can bemoan the concerted effort by our world to make sure the name Jesus is never mentioned this time of year, in our own way we can leave Christ out of Christmas too. It is all too easy to get caught up in the hectic pace of the season, to be preoccupied with our plans and activities, and in the process not actually have Jesus be the center of it all. To keep Christ in Christmas what we most need to do is to live in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. We need to live for his will and his glory. We must walk in his presence, experience his peace and his joy and bring his grace to every person and every situation we encounter. Keeping Christ in Christmas ought to mean most of all that other people experience Christ’s goodness, love, peace, grace and joy flowing through us.