This is Christmas season! The sights and sounds, lights and jingles are already prompting us. It is that season of the year when companies break, schools close and families gather. A time when most of us slow down enough to really focus our minds on Jesus. Tired it may be, but the saying still rings true: “Jesus is the reason for the season”. We could easily get immersed in the frenzy, hence some clarity is needed. So here are two brief reasons why my family will celebrate Christmas this year. One is a defence and the other a reminder.
1. Abuse Doesn’t Take Away Use
I have good friends who don’t celebrate Christmas. I understand them, but I haven’t given up on Christmas. Some cite the fact that the celebrations are laden with the trappings of paganism. Others insist that it is not biblically mandated. Some see the cultural distractions of travel, consumerism, commercialism, and secularism, as reasons to abstain entirely. I grant these things, but I also know that abusus non tollit usum: “abuse does not take away use.” Christmas is a good season that could be used for ill, but so it is with other good things like fire and knives.
Celebrating Christmas is a good tradition that has gained traction in the course of church history. It has also gained much cultural acceptance and I don’t perceive this as a bad thing. I deeply respect Christians who abstain and I find Paul’s instructions in Romans 14 very relevant. He says not to “quarrel over opinions” (Romans 14:1). So on matters such as this, “Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14:5).
As others go gaga on Santa Claus, we will glory in our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
I am therefore no holier for celebrating it than they are for shunning it. The question is sobering: “who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls” (Romans 14:4). So while we can have varied opinions on the marginal details of Christmas, I prefer to cut through to the centre. Many today may opt for a Christless Christmas, but I will fixate on Christ. As others go gaga on Santa Claus, we will glory in our Saviour, Jesus Christ. There’s a better way to see it. A more preferable way to celebrate Christmas. “Not in orgies and drunkenness…but putting on the Lord Jesus, and making no provision for the flesh” (Romans 13:13-14).
2. The World Still Needs A Saviour
“Merry Christmas” is the season’s greeting. But now, more than ever before, ‘being merry’ rings hollow for many. It’s been a tough year. Hard economic times. COVID fatigue. Funerals. Online outrage and widespread anxiety. For many, the message of the angel to a group of puzzled shepherds on a hill outside Bethlehem, “I bring you good news of great joy” (Luke 2:10), seems to promise more than we can believe possible.
This is not just a happy season, it is a hopeful season.
But this is real breaking news. News of incredible joy. Christmas announces the arrival of the Light-Bearer who illuminates this dark world (John 1:9). To truly celebrate Christmas is to proclaim the advent of a Saviour King, who comes to save a people lost in the darkness (Matthew 1:21). It sounds forth the tidings that the Messiah has entered our world and he “comes to make His blessings flow, far as the curse is found.” So this is not just a happy season, it is a hopeful season.
This message never gets stale. The world needs to hear it and we can leverage the season to shout it from the rooftops. That God became man simply cannot be ignored! Shall we be tight-lipped about it? As we celebrate Christmas, may the festivities remind us of God’s largesse; that he gave his all for the salvation of all who will believe.