It is that time of year again. We enter into the “Holiday Season” when retail establishments and local government offices get in trouble for saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
And, of course, we see on many cars the little manger magnet that says “Keep Christ in Christmas.” And somehow we’ve managed to merge the two thoughts together, as if the only way to keep Christ in Christmas is by retail establishments saying “Merry Christmas.” How simple.
But that is not the answer – how can we expect a business – a corporate entity – a NON-HUMAN to keep Christ in Christmas? It is not a retailer’s job to do this – rather a retailer’s job is to sell products and services at a profit. That is it. And if a retailer wants to identify itself as a “Christian business” fine – but why do Christians expect businesses to do our ministry (spreading the love of God through Jesus)? Why do we want the Mega-Box Retailer, Inc. to keep Jesus in our hearts? Isn’t that what we are called to do?
So I have a solution. If we want to keep Christ in our Christmases, we need to observe the season of Advent – those four weeks before Christmas – both in our churches and in our homes.
The church does a good job of observing Advent. We change the liturgy and music to match the season, we preach heavily from both Old and New Testament passages regarding both the first coming and the second coming of Christ. We light the Advent wreath each Sunday, adding a candle to remember the Hope, Peace, Joy and Love of the season. At least we try.
But then as people head home – and enter into the rhythm of Monday through Saturday, how are WE keeping Christ in Christmas? Are we observing Advent or are we feeding into the retailer’s dreams of a “green Chri$tma$?”
This Advent prepare yourselves. Prepare yourselves to celebrate the first coming of Christ – the birth of Jesus. Celebrate the joy of the Resurrection and its great promise of hope. Live your lives in the peace and love of Jesus, and be prepared for the second coming – when all things shall be renewed by God. Keep your own Advent wreath – light a candle for each week, read the readings, make it a special family devotion. You might be amazed at how it affects all of you.
Advent is your time and your way to keep Christ in Christmas. Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord.