To me this is the season my family and most of my friends celebrate Christmas. I would guess most of us recognize the reason for the season is the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Does this mean that I expect everyone I meet to wish me a Merry Christmas? Nope. In fact, when I worked as a grocery store cashier for 5 years I proudly exclaimed, “Happy Holidays!” I knew not everyone that came through my line was a Christian and might be celebrating a different holiday. It was also a season that went from Thanksgiving to the New Year. Many things happen during that 5 weeks. I suppose maybe people were upset with me for not saying “Merry Christmas”, but I never thought about it back then. It seems like the past few years a great deal of attention has been placed on that.
With that said I think this topic is the beginning of something God has been stirring in me, but I have struggled with all the words. So, expect a to be continued….
I can almost pin point a time that people started attacking Christian beliefs across this country on a fairly regular basis. I can also recall the time when Christians started attacking back. It may not seem to either side that they were/are “attacking” the other side, but more like “defending their beliefs” against attack. The problem is that to defend or be a defender means there must be an offender or offendee. I am guilty of this. We get very passionate about what we ‘know’ to be true and fight for that until, like my Mom says, “we are blue in the face.” Focusing on Christmas here, but think about it for just a moment….hasn’t there been a great deal of attacking the past…oh, 10 years or so…on many fronts?
I can not help, but think that in all our defending we have forgotten something. Both sides have forgotten something. I can not really speak for a non-Christian, but for me as a Christian when I defend my faith fiercely or even other things I believe fiercely I am attacking. Whether I intend to or not I am. I am attacking the person that disagree’s with me for believing something different than I. “Keep Christ is Christmas!” Love it myself. It is a true statement, but are we proclaiming it, shouting it, angry about it, or opening our arms to hug, hold, help, or heal like He did?
“Excuse me ma’ma. It is Christmas! Please say, ‘Merry Christmas’, rather than ‘Happy Holidays’ to me!”
Now I suppose HOW we say this may determine exactly how it is perceived, but in that moment were we spreading the LOVE of Jesus? Were we drawing people closer to Jesus? Yes, there is a truth we are called to share, but can we really share that truth spreading an “I am right” attitude? Maybe it is just me, but I feel we are called first to love each other and through that love people will find Jesus.
In no way I am I saying we shouldn’t shout from the roof tops about the GREAT LOVE that Jesus has for us! Yet, I guess I just think the best way to teach love is to show love. Jesus is my everything. By giving my everything Christmas becomes everything is was intended to be. It is not about what we say, is it? Or is it about how we say it?
So, to wrap up this portion of Love is it about the “Merry Christmas” or the Spirit of Christmas that matters? The sharing of coupons in line at the stores? The letting someone go ahead of you in line? The buying of someone’s dinner? Extra toys to drop in a box? Giving a homeless man a homemade hat, gloves, and scarf? Praying to the people cutting you off as you drive to stores? Paying someone’s bill at the auto shop? (These are all things I and other experienced this year.) I am hoping to get MUCH better about spreading the Spirit rather than focusing on whether someone gives me what I want when they say “Merry Christmas!”
Love….To Be Continued…
Praying for you all!
Lord, may this reach one person that needed to read it. Your Will Lord!