Who’s Afraid of Christmas?

Have you noticed how Christmas is becoming more and more intimidating to unbelievers? Most magazines refer to the “holidays,” afraid to mention Christmas by name. This is not because the world thinks Christmas is irrelevant, but its power and potency scares them. That’s why they keep moving away from saying “Merry Christmas” to saying limp-noodle things like “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy Holidays.”

But the world can no more stop Christmas from happening than they can prevent the sunrise or the rain. Christmas is coming, like it or not. And the fact that the world is getting more and more annoyed by Christmas is a good sign that we are doing something right. I say, let’s ratchet things up a bit. More singing. More gift-giving. More lights. More sugar cookies and (as my husband says) more fudge!

We might wonder how something as harmless as Christmas could be so intimidating to the unbelievers. But asking that question reveals that we don’t yet understand Christmas ourselves. God becoming a baby and being born in a manger in Bethlehem and announcing it to shepherds via angels singing in the sky is a spectacular story. It is our story and we should never tire of telling it, singing about it, and reminding one another of it with cards and gifts and fat stockings. This is OUR story. God has given this to us, and this story has changed the world forever.

Sometimes Christians complain that Christmas is too commercial. But why should it bother us to see the world celebrating our holiday in a worldly way? They can’t help it. Rather, we should chuckle with delight that “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” is playing over the speakers in the grocery store and “Joy to the World” is going full blast in the aisles at WalMart.

C.S. Lewis wrote a wonderful essay about this called “Christmas and Xmas” which you can find in God in the Dock. In it he describes the differences between the two celebrations, and the inconvenience that results from them being held on the same day.

Whenever the unbelievers try to ban Christmas by passing rules or laws about it, it only makes them look bad. In all the best stories, it is never the good guys who are trying to ban Christmas. It’s always the bad guys, the Grinch or Scrooge or the White Witch in Narnia where she has made it “always winter and never Christmas.”

With so much of a Christian heritage wrapped up in the celebration of Christmas, we need to get on the stick and start learning, recovering, reviving, restoring, and reforming our Christmas traditions. Christmas is for us and for our children: its music, customs, feasting, special foods, and carols, as well as our funny practice of stringing lights all over our houses and hauling trees indoors and decorating them and putting presents under them. In all of its glory, Christmas is just a shadow of what God has prepared for us in heaven.

And all the world cannot legislate Christmas away. It is here to stay. The angels announced it, the shepherds heard it, and Mary and Joseph beheld Christmas. Joy to the World!

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11 thoughts on “Who’s Afraid of Christmas?

  1. Merry Christmas Femina (and the gang).

    Enjoyed the article. Often when we hear or see on display “Happy Holidays” my wife will reply – you have a reat “Holy Day” too!

    Personally, I think it is good that unbelievers are fearful of or at least intimidated at this time of the year. I think they are afraid to recognize Jesus too much. For if they do then they may have to think about why Christians call Him their Savior and honor His Word. Which may then force them to think about their own lifestye. How great that would be – for then – perhaps they too may come to know Him as their Savior. That would truly be their greatest Christmas gift.

  2. This was the perfect post for me to read today.

    There is truly no comparison between the beauty of our story and the cheap (and ugly) imitations.

    I’m trying to learn to laugh at the ugly plastic inflatable Santa across the street instead of being annoyed at the pure tackiness and ugliness of it.

  3. My dear friend, Nancy, do you realize how you have busted me loose from being too worried I am going overboard when it comes to Christmas? Years ago I read one of your wonderful articles in Credenda about celebrating Christmas. Ever since then I’ve known an immense freedom to celebrate the birth of my Lord Jesus without hesitation! I love the shopping, the gift giving, the cooking, baking and feasting, the card writing, the carol singing, the tree trimming and light displays! I love the smells, the sounds and the sights and the coming together of family and friends. I love the movie classics, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and “A Christmas Carol,” as well as others. I love the generousity that overcomes my selfish heart so easily and it blesses me to see that in others too. I love the opportunity Christmas affords to bring Christ to my neighbors in a way they seem more open than at any other time of the year! Oh blessed Christmas season! Oh blessed Jesus! He IS CHRISTmas! Let the shackles fall off and let the world see we just can’t help ourselves!

  4. Brava!! Very well said. I like your “more” theme – especially my personal favorite, “more lights!” 🙂 Let us be very merry indeed as we celebrate the coming of the Light of the World!!

  5. I have great memories of going to the campus of UC Santa Cruz and hearing them perform “The Messiah” at Christmastime. The whole choir shouting about “The kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ!” and all of the pagans around us were standing and smiling too!

  6. The UC Santa Cruz story is similar to event I went to a couple weeks ago in CO Springs, where the CO Vocal Arts Ensemble performs a concert with public high school students that they have been mentoring. It was a delight to see a boy with red hair and a girl in Goth makeup singing Scripture in multiple pieces and then a roof raising spiritual about the Judgement.

  7. This whole movement in the church to stand up for christmas is sad on so many different levels.

    The enemy has us fighting mad over the secular world trying to de-christ christmas. If we would objectively study the history of the holiday and how it changed over time we would soon discover we are upset over a counterfeit.

    The day originated with an anti Semitic church leader who wanted to separate faith from its Jewish roots and wanted to appease the pagans in his Roman empire by having a day of celebration that competed with the celebration of the winter solstice.

    The sad thing is there are millions of little bracelets saying “WWJD” but the truth is we don’t know what he did and we don’t do as he did. Instead we do as the church fathers have taught us to do, not what God said to do. Wake up and study to show yourselves approved.

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