09 December 2012

Are You an Asset or Liability to Christmas?

I hate Christmas. 

There, I said it. Why do I hate Christmas, you ask in horror? Well, here are a few of my reasons: 
  • Stores that begin their big Christmas sales in September. Seriously? Can’t we enjoy Halloween candy and Thanksgiving before we bring out the fat man?
  • Black Friday. Need I say more?
  • Snow. It brings out the worst in already bad drivers, and it is really, really cold.
  • Tacky Christmas decorations. If your house looks like this:
Your neighbors HATE you. Seriously, this has gone too far.
  • Frosty the Snowman. I like my snow inert and on the ground. 
  • Christmas music.  How many times on average in one day can you listen to tired carols done hip hop or in a country remix bleating over the PA system in every store and shopping mall on earth?
  • Fruit cake. If a cockroach or rat won't eat it I won't eat it. Besides, the taste and texture leaves so much to be desired that no amount of eggnog will wash away the lingering aftertaste.
  • Well meaning Facebook postings like this one:  “It’s Christmas! NOT X-mas!!! Don’t remove Christ from HIS birthday!!! Post this if you agree…Please don’t X out the Lord!!! (I want to see this on everyone’s wall!!!)….. If you agree please repost…”
If we insert reality, most people who write X-mas aren't trying to “X out the Lord.” 

And yes, I've heard (and used) the argument that the X stands for Christ in Greek. Doesn't that, then, make us sound like we over analyze the unimportant? 

How can we reach a dying world by being legalistic and beating people over the head with our pre-lit signs that say “Jesus is the reason…?

As Christians who take on this persona around December, we can easily ‘come across’ like a man who brags, “I don’t drink, cuss, watch TV or read the newspaper, and, if you want to be just like me, you can be a Christian, too.” 

I cannot imagine Jesus acting this way.  Do you recall stories of Him judging things and people as he strolled by? Have you ever read about Jesus reacting strongly toward people regarding forms and customs? He did, but not to the lost and dying world around him. He did chase the money-changers from the Temple, and He hassled the Pharisees whenever he could about being clean on the inside as well as the outside. 

Jesus reserved those words of correction for people who professed to be followers of God, but weren’t. You know, like the people who post the righteous stuff on their Facebook page right above their horoscope reading for the day or their photos of getting wasted at the game the night before.

This isn't a suggestion that it is okay to drive Christ out of Christmas. What I am saying is that truly showing the love of Jesus to people in a meaningful way is far more Christ-like and important than getting agitated if someone writes X-mas. We will win the world to Christ by being like Him:  loving, caring, sacrificial, and benevolent. Not by being snarky, critical, and legalistic.

So this year, post this on your Facebook page or Tweet it: “Filled with love for others this time of year. God bless you and keep you and your family safe.” Or “I am taking time to remember what a great gift God gave me at Christmas, his son Jesus.”

1 Corinthians 11:1 "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ."

Try living like Jesus this Christmas.

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