Putting the ‘Christ’ into ‘Christmas’
Over recent years Australians have been pressured to be politically correct and tolerant. Often it is the squeakiest wheel that gets the most media attention and results in the most rapid change in our pluralistic society. Pluralism is the belief that all ideas are equally valid and true (unless of course your idea is that there’s only one truth, and then your idea is immediately invalidated). Philosophically, it doesn’t make too much sense, but many still believe pluralism is the way to go as though it might not make sense it ‘makes a more tolerant peaceful society’ (I think this sort of thinking is short sighted but that is for another time).
Pluralism at Christmas time has meant actively taking the Christ out of Christmas. A number of years ago a Queensland school principal had to defend her school’s newsletter because it mentioned the word “Christmas” ten times. A parent complained this was intolerant, and the words “holiday season” or “festive season” should be substituted. Perhaps we could call Australia Day “Summer Celebration of Every Culture Day” or Anzac Day “April Street March Day” in case we offend someone? I think many Australians are finally realising the ludicrous nature of such complaints.
In 2005, John Howard went against this pattern and called on Australians to “put the Christ back into Christmas”. And even more recently the management of Rundle Mall were encouraging people to decorate their shops with Christmas with a Christian theme including nativity scenes. I guess they hoped it would attract more shoppers. But what does this mean? Do we just turn up at church on the 25th, set up a Nativity set, or read the Christmas story to the kids? None of these are bad, of course, but is that all it should be?
You see, if Jesus really is who he claimed to be (God’s own Son), and if Jesus really did what history records (lived a perfect life, crucified by the Romans, rose again three days later) and if Jesus really did this to gain us forgiveness and a restored relationship with God, then wouldn’t it be foolish to think that just thinking of Christ at Christmas is all we need to do? Isn’t the real issue whether or not we invite Christ back into our lives – not just at Christmas, but every day?
I can understand those who want to cut Christ out of Christmas. They do not follow Jesus and don’t want to celebrate his birth. But many people have a foot in both camps – they acknowledge the cute baby in the manger at Christmas time and yet ignore Jesus for the rest of the year! Why don’t we recognise the Christmas love of the God who sent his only Son for us, and accept that wonderful love on every day of our year? He offers us hope, meaningful lives and an eternal future – the best Christmas gift ever!
Yes, let’s put Jesus Christ back into Christmas, but more importantly, let’s put him back into his rightful place as Lord of our lives. Rick