Christmas is upon us once again, and all throughout Christendom, I see signs that ask us to “Keep Christ in Christmas.” The irony of this is staggering.
You see, Christmas is not about Jesus’ birthday. It’s not about presents, love, trees, or whether or not we get offended at businesses that say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
It’s about the Incarnation. Sure, Catholic tradition usurped various pagan celebrations and assimilated them in to their own rites, but that’s all beside the point. The point — once again — is the Incarnation.
This is the culmination of the “Christ Hymn” that we see in Philippians chapters 2 and 3, the great mystery that the uncreated God became man for the redemption of our sin. But it’s much, much more than that.
The Incarnation is the very core of Christian theology, and it’s the ultimate expression of humility. He became nothing so we could have everything. His grace was demonstrated in a profound way that would eventually give all of us not only a path to eternal life, but the grace to love those around us.
The Lord Himself was once a refugee, a fugitive of his own people. Herod tried to kill him through an order of mass extermination, and still failed. The Bible says this was far more than luck; as it was His divine destiny.
His mother was the subject of rumor (and still is to this day), and his father wasn’t even his father. Jesus was — and is — the great mystery of all of Creation, and yet somehow we are convinced that we must “keep Christ in Christmas.”
The irony of this, as I said, is staggering. We are inundated with stories of Christians throughout the country demanding that we keep undesirables out. We mock women who have sex outside of marriage, and refugees are treated as outright criminals, guilty only of the crime of asking for asylum.
In this day where the national conversation is about a wall, we demand that we “keep Christ in Christmas,” the very One who tore down the walls between man and God. We have become a nation that is utterly bereft of grace neither for those around us, nor those who are within.
We have become a nation of religious parasites, consuming the grace of God and the blood of Christ for ourselves, yet denying even our own brethren the ability to get adequate healthcare simply because we cannot afford it.
Jesus was born at a time when there was no room at the inn. We live in a time where we have an abundance of everything.
God emptied himself in to man, yet we cannot lift a finger to help those in need. He welcomed even those who were reviled by his people, yet we refuse those who are driven out of their country by gang violence.
Frankly, I don’t think we need to “Keep Christ in Christmas.” That is a profound misunderstanding of the story of the Incarnation itself. As such, we just all need to stop hoarding that which God gave to us so freely: Love and grace. We are blessed to be a blessing.
So this Christmas, my sincere hope is that we will see the sin of avarice (the love of money) for what it is. We were told by Jesus Himself that the love of money is the root of all evil.
But if our love for God and our love for people are what drives us, nothing in the world can keep us from being at peace. After all, godliness with contentment is great gain… and it profits us all.
Don’t keep Christ in Christmas. Keep Him in your own heart, and let the Lord refine your own spirit, one demonstration of grace at a time. And to challenge us one last time, here’s two final words to test how you really feel about grace: