The image above is an actual billboard on display in New Jersey. You can read about the billboard here.
As we go into Advent Season, I’d like to take a look at what it’s all about. Why does Christmas matter?
In my own home, there has been lots of discussion regarding Santa (and our son’s future Christmas traditions), and this has set me to thinking about the meaning of Christmas. People have different views about Christmas, and its interesting to me how this plays out in American culture. This video is a good example:
For starters, the claim that Christianity stole Christmas is silly. Yes, other religions have similar holidays (and they may have even come first) but Christmas is the celebration of Jesus Christ coming to earth. No other religion claims that (or calls it Christmas for that matter). It’s also interesting to me that I never hear people raise a fuss over Easter, despite its ties to fertility rites in other religions. The whole argument seems to be more about “Christianity is wrong” rather than a reclamation of the “holiday season,” (it is, after all, hard for someone who doesn’t believe any kind of god exists to reclaim a holiday which celebrates such a deity). But whatever. This is not the real problem anyway.
Part of the reason Christmas has become a battle ground is because Christians do not approach it in terms of worshipping God, as those present for Jesus’ birth did. It upsets people when they’re told God in the form of Man was born on December 25th if the person telling them this is a hypocrite. We, as Christians, do not often treat Christmas in terms of God redeeming humanity, but rather in terms of traditions and hot chocolate and presents. What atheist would ever believe Jesus mattered when the Church spends more money on Christmas gifts than they do caring for the poor?
“That’s an excuse,” some might say. Perhaps. And ultimately, critics are right when they point out that a bad example will not excuse anyone when they stand before God. But we cannot be guilty of using that very idea as an excuse to wage a war in which the victor wins nothing. Make no mistake, winning a cultural battle of words gains nothing, except pride in proving your enemy wrong (which in the end equals…? Well, nothing). We should be fighting for the lives of the lost, not the “reason for the season.”
I know that for many Americans, those two are the same thing. They’re not, though. How do we glorify God? We do as He commanded (love God, love our neighbor, love each other). This is how people will know we are Christians: by our love!
Advent Season matters because it is the beginning of something different, something new.
From now until Christmas arrives, I’ll be looking at what this “something new” might be. And why its important.