Making Christmas Christian

It’s not available in stores, even though display windows proclaim it. No one can give it to you, even though Christmas greeting cards proclaim it. You can hang it as an ornament on your Christmas tree, but it won’t do anything for you there. Ironically, it can be most elusive this time of year.

A quiet whisper nags my heart as I frantically tackle Christmas preparations: “What are we doing?!?!”

I’m pushing through, hauling a burden rather than resting in His blessing. It’s a spiritual thing, not a physical one. That’s why it’s unbearable. That’s what makes me question: If all this Christmas craziness is a heavy burden, if it is hard not easy, if it creates madness rather than rest, is it of Christ? After all, He says, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30).

I wonder if we’ve got it all wrong. If anyone deserves all we have to give, it’s the Lord. Yet, the way it is now, He often gets the least.

HE is Prince of Peace, yet we celebrate with chaos. HE is Mighty God, yet the mighty dollar rules and reigns as we buy decorations, teacher gifts, family gifts, groceries and supplies for parties and meals, costumes for pageants, tickets for Christmas performances, gas for road trips, and so on. HE is Wonderful, yet the hustle and bustle, the buying and receiving, the going and doing covertly diverts our attention from marveling Him. HE is Counselor, yet distractions keep us from receiving His counsel. HE is Everlasting Father, yet we long to please those around us, sometimes forgetting He is to be pleased over all.

If we’re honest with ourselves, none of these traditions of men are about Jesus, yet we strive to make Christmas about Christ. We agonize over the tragedy of droves of retailers who welcome the financial windfall of Christmas but forbid use of the word. Why do you think it’s so hard? Perhaps it’s because it was never about Christ in the first place.

Research the true origin of Christmas, and you’ll quickly discover its roots as a celebration of the sun, not the Son. I encourage you to do your own research, if you dare. Proceed with caution, however. What you find might challenge your traditions and participation. Here’s just a scratch of the surface.

The date coincides with a pagan sun festival that precedes Christ’s birth, which according to scriptural evidence could not possibly have been in December and was never celebrated by the early church. Emperor Constantine first established it as an official Roman Catholic holiday in 336 AD because parishioners who converted to Christianity continued to participate in the long-standing pagan feast, giving gifts to children and the poor, decorating with lights and greenery, drinking, eating, and being merry. In order to make it Christian, the emperor established December 25 as the birth date of Christ, and so it continues.

Cheapest Christmas costumes is clearly a tradition of man, against which Colossians 2:8 warns: “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”

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