For starters the “X” in Xmas is not some sort of secular propaganda to destroy your Christmas celebration. “X” is the capital Greek letter for Chi, which is the first letter of the title “Christ.” Xmas is just an abbreviation, and has been used long before today’s over-commercialization of our beloved celebration. So relax, have another glass of eggnog and take a deep breath.
It is starting to wear on me though, the amount of disgust that I find not in our secular world but within the church about this great holiday. People go walking in and out of church these days looking every bit the part of Scrooge. They hate the Christmas jingles, the crowds at the store, the clerk that will only say “Happy Holidays” and not “Merry Christmas.” They’ll go to church and hope to hear sermons where the preacher will pound the pulpit and in a new and creative way give the same sermon as last year which is essentially “Jesus is the Reason for the Season!” A grand condemnation of our culture.
But come on gang! We’re not being honest. What do you expect from our world, do want the stores to preach Christ crucified? (If so, take a good look at Joel Osteen and I think you have a pretty good picture of what that might look like) Do expect them to honor your confession of faith? Of course not! Rather, I think the problem cuts a little closer to the bone. The members of the body of Christ are affected not by the worlds celebrations but their own personal ones. Christmas is full of powerful memories for us, full of family and friends and not all of them are good – some are downright abusive.
For many of us Christmas brings with it people and memories that we would rather not have near us. It is then a time when our brokenness and pain comes to the surface. Our own “Bah Humbug” comes out when the shiny veneer of a smile that the world would have us wear slips and our true concerns and fears show up. We take it out on the world but the world is behaving exactly as the world ought to behave.
Finding the joy in Christmas isn’t about getting society to pay attention to the way we want the day remembered. Rather the joy of Christmas comes right in the center of our brokenness and pain, it comes straight at the heart of our strained relationships and splintered families. At the very time we worry about the gifts we feel we need to buy or the decorations we despise putting up, right there in the midst of everything that is messed up in our lives we find the Almighty God at work. He works right there through it all for you, for your hopefulness, for your joy, for your salvation. For the Word has put of flesh and dwelt among us!
At least you don’t have Clark’s family: