Short response to an article over at Patheos entitled, 2 Reasons NOT to ‘Keep Christ in Christmas’.
The author gives as reason #1 that “It doesn’t faithfully reflect the character of Jesus and the humility of his birth.” In contrast to the bustling consumerism of Christmas, the original night was about humility, simplicity, stillness, stars:
Jesus’ birth story is a beautiful one. A humble beginning that captures our imagination and heart.
Let us therefore imitate his example and use means to invite others to embrace the central character the story points to. The character of a loving, unassuming baby.
One might think what should be done with suddenly appeared “multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased’”? Calm? Quiet? Peaceful? By all accounts, it was a very uneventful evening? Sure, angels come down in a great multitude and praise God all the time. Boring. Yawn.
Moreover, we must ask when has the “central character the story pointed” to a mere “loving, unassuming baby”? It must have been when the angels declared in Luke, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a baby, who is humble and unassuming.”
Or again in Isaiah, “For to us a child is birthed, to us a son is offered; and the burping cloth shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called loving, unassuming, precious, and cute. Of the increase of his adorableness and preciousness there will be no end, on the lap of Mary and under the starry sky, to invite all to experience his birth from this time forth and forevermore. The embrace of the LORD of hosts will do this.”
The second reason to keep Jesus Christ out of Christmas is that “Christmas is a significant date in the Church’s liturgical calendar, not society’s calendar.” Because Christ is only Lord of the Church, not anything outside of it; and only then when the Church submits to him.
For me, Christmas is all about Jesus’ incarnation – a powerful story of weakness and beauty. Its humility causes me to humbly approach the story with gratitude and servitude. (Italics mine)
However, so many Christians see this time of year as an opportunity to force the Church’s calendar into the calendar of the world. However, this will never work.
The author claims that Christians use the State to force their religion. How so? “Facebook and Twitter”. The tyranny! But how does Christian presence on social media equate the force of the State? It doesn’t. Other than this, the author provides no instance of that which he argues against. Straw man?
Yet, shouldn’t time be marked by the One who created it and sovereignly governs it? As though the climax of human history – the birth of the Son of God – should be of no consequence in the marking of our days. No wonder the author wants to give ground to the culture – he doesn’t know where he is in the grand scheme of things. Christ is risen; the tides have turned; all authority in heaven and on earth he holds; all things are under his dominion – even the times.
The secularists, wiser than Christians, know this and for this reason try to change – along with epistemology, the bible’s historicity, family, marriage, gender, and education – the times and seasons. Remember the French Revolution’s 10-day work week? Why did Anno Domini (AD or A.D.) and Before Christ (BC or B.C.) change to Common Era (CE or C.E.) and Before the Common Era (BCE or B.C.E.)? Why do secularist, humanists, and atheists constantly try to remove Christian symbols of Christmas from public spaces – all by the force of the State? It means something. The state is to stay out of religion by not enforcing a state church. This does not mean the church has nothing to say to the state. So, it is not whether a calendar and ideology will be forced upon people, but which one will be forced.
But of course I have misunderstood my interlocutor, he will humbly infer. His words were of a species: invite, embrace, experience, beautiful, unassuming, baby, weakness, love, and peace – all in a falsely dichotomous opposition to arrogance, power, hatred, oppression, and cultural domination. Jesus, rather, is a supinely harmless giggling baby, and so should be our Christianity.
So instead I would ask the author what sort of Christmas story is told in this verse:
“And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron.” – Rev12.5