How to do Christmas in these Modern Times

When I think of Christmas, the first things that come to mind are images of green, laurel decorations, pumpkin-spiced coffee, and wrapped presents.  I know that it’s about the Birth of Jesus, but our cultural past has added things to this religious holiday.  Wonderful things.

I’m supposed to criticize what Christmas has become, but I can’t – I love it.  I love the way TV shows encourage us to help the needy during the holidays.  I like songs about family and friends enjoying their time together.  I like the TV specials, the children waiting on Santa, and seeing my family members open the presents I picked out for them.  And, frankly, I like opening presents, too.  In fact, I like that part, a lot.  I could pretend that I’m above that sort of thing, but I can’t help it; I get really excited when I see boxes with my name on them.

Of course, I didn’t mention Jesus in that paragraph.  Have I allowed the commercial/cultural attachments of Christmas to overcome my religious observance?  I don’t know.  But I do know that the non-Christian things our culture associates with Christmas are fine things.

Think about it. 

Charity.  Family.  Gift-giving.  Warm meals and fun decoration.  Estranged relatives who show up once a year and try to get along with everyone.  These are all good things, and I won’t be ashamed of looking forward to them.

Of course, as a Christian, nothing is more important to me than recognizing Jesus’ birth.  That’s the event that started this holiday season, and it’s His charity and kindness that we are all trying to show to others.

Festive lights, like this, have nothing to do with Jesus Christ – but there’s no reason to whine about it.  Don’t rain on anyone’s parade by playing the Scrooge.  Just enjoy the lights.

So, don’t hate on modern-day Christmas.  Non-Christians say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” but this is probably the only time of year that certain people will say anything to you, so return their kindness.  If I wasn’t a Christian, then I wouldn’t care about the Nativity, and I don’t blame my non-Christian friends for not caring about that part of the holiday.  But, I can answer their kindness with kindness, and show them how much love and charity I can provide. 

Let’s not be the Scrooges of our neighborhoods and complain about every modern convention of the holidays.  Instead, let’s spread Joy.  How many clothes can you part with and give to the local homeless shelter?  Find out.  How much kindness can you show to your family when you get together?  It might help them through a tough time.  How many friends and neighbors can you encourage in this time of year?  It can be depressing during the holidays, so give them something to be happy about.

And, remember, non-Christians think that the Christmas season is a time to celebrate virtues of love and kindness – there’s no reason to spoil a party like that.

(More articles at www.ThinkingThroughChristianity.com)
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