Then a read a devotional written by Brent Rinehart. In that devotional titled "Is There Really a War on Christmas, or Are We Missing the Point?", he says that we are missing the point.
It’s Not the World’s Job to Represent Christ.. It’s Ours.
First a couple of things that most of us don't know or consider in our outrage.
Some people get upset over the use of the phrase “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Well... the word “holiday” comes from the Old English word for “holy day,” which means a consecrated day or day set aside for religious reasons.
Folks also get upset about the use of “Xmas” instead of Christmas. Well... X is the Greek letter “chi,” the initial letter in the word for “Christ.” For centuries, X has been used for “Christ.” In the early church, Christians used the letter X to indicate their devotion to Christ.
But back to the main point "it's not the world's job to represent Christ...it's ours."
It’s our job, not to fight the “war on Christmas,” but instead to live our own lives in a way that is worthy of what Christmas is about in the first place.
- It means caring for our friends and neighbors.
- It means reaching out in love.
- It means being the hands and feet of Jesus.
Instead of being appalled when non-Christians act like non-Christians, perhaps we should be more appalled when Christian people fail to act like Christian people.
We should feel convicted when we fail to walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel. Instead of getting upset when you read stories about the secularization of Christmas, use it to get excited about radically loving like Jesus did.
“Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.”
Instead Of Complaining About The Darkness We Should Be The Light
John 8:12 ESV Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
This is a direct fulfillment of;
Isaiah 9:2 ESV The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
Jesus told His disciples;
Matthew 5:15-16 ESV Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (emphasis mine)
Those who already have Light, don’t still need it. We are to be the Light-bearers in the darkness.
When the Pharisees questioned why Jesus hung around sinners He responded;
Mark 2:15-17 ESV And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?" And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."
Instead of looking at the world around us, we should fix our eyes with anticipation on Jesus. Just like Israel was eagerly awaiting the coming Messiah, we should eagerly look for His return, that's really what Advent is all about
We Follow The Prince Of Peace So Let's Be Peacemakers
Isaiah 9:6 ESV For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Here's what Jesus said about peacemakers.
Matthew 5:9 ESV "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
But wait there's more;
Romans 12:14-18 ESV Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Romans 14:18-19 ESV Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
Many of us aren’t good at being peacemakers. It’s easier to voice our opinions and justify it as “boldly proclaiming the Gospel.”
Christmas is a time to celebrate the peace that Jesus brings between man and God. And, when you allow Him to lead your life, you can live at peace with others, In the process, God can use you to speak to others who need to know about the Prince of Peace, even those who wish you "Happy Holidays", or write "Xmas".
Ephesians 6:12 ESV For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
1 Peter 5:8 ESV Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Jesus, the One we celebrate at Christmas warned us about these things but told us not to become obsessed because He and we have already won.
John 16:33 ESV I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."
Romans 8:31, 33-39 ESV What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Instead of bickering on earth about the things that will not last, we should make the most of the time, because “the days are evil”
Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Fighting about saying “Happy Holidays” doesn’t help bring the “Peace on Earth” the angels sang to the shepherds at that first Christmas.
Luke 2:8-14 ESV And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"
I, for one, don’t feel called to fight for a plastic baby Jesus at the city park or for a government to officially call it a “Christmas tree.” I prefer to let my light shine so that God gets the glory during the "Happy Holidays", "Xmas", or Christmas.