Yesterday, I saw a forgotten bumper sticker on the back of a car- Keep Christ in Christmas. It made me think of the manufactured “war on Christmas” that some groups have perpetuated in the last few years. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter if we are saying “Happy Holidays’ or “Merry Christmas” if we ignore the teachings of the baby born in Bethlehem. We often feign outrage at things that don’t matter so that we don’t have to be outraged at the things that do matter. The things that matter are the ones that call us to examine our own lives so that the lives of all people may be whole. In that spirit, I offer 5 ways that we can keep Christ in Christmas this year.
Make Room for Others
A story that makes a dramatic turn because there is “no room at the inn’ invites us to make room for others. Often, we turn inward and insular in our interactions with others. Some are downright hostile to those unlike them. Rather than closing ranks, Christmas invites us to open ourselves wide so that room can be made for all.
We are addicted to violence. The “prince of peace” comes at Christmas and call calls us to live a different way. It’s difficult to follow the teachings of Jesus while turning a blind eye to the problems violence brings to our world. In our own interactions and in the world-at-large, let’s do all that we can do to promote peace.
Grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation are key tenets of the movement rooted in Jesus. Our Christmas gatherings often force us to confront the messiness of relationships with others. You may find yourself sitting across from someone who needs your forgiveness. You also need to be able to offer them forgiveness. Go and ahead and give it a chance.
Be an Advocate
It can be exhausting to keep up with all that needs healing in our world. Jesus would grow up to be an advocate for the marginalized, the poor, the downtrodden. He would give his life for those who could not speak for themselves Find an issue (or two) that you are passionate about and find ways to speak and act for those who cannot speak for themselves.
We live in a time that requires us to be brave. To do hard things. The Christmas story is a story about ordinary people doing extraordinary things because of their willingness to be brave. We keep the story alive by doing brave things on a daily basis. Sometimes there is a cost. It is a price worth paying so that those around us (and us) may know the fullness of life.