Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. He is the reason my family celebrates the season. Like my good friend Linus said, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
There is so much to celebrate, for through his birth, Jesus brought joy, peace, love and reconciliation. That’s what the Bible says, and that’s what life has shown me.
But is that what we Christians show the world?
One only has to look around on social media to see all the aggressive, and passive aggressive, postings against anything that many Christians think take the spotlight away from Jesus. A favorite? Santa.
While many protest out of devotion, I wonder what they would say if I told them that in protesting, they actually draw more attention to themselves, and not to Jesus. Arguing over Santa’s place in the holiday doesn’t put Jesus in the center. It simply adds chatter to the noise.
And seriously, some people are fond of pointing out when you re-arrange the letters in Santa’s name, you end up with satan’s name. And that’s why believing in Santa is wrong. For real? And what do you come up with when you re-arrange the letters in G-o-d?
I’ve always wondered, does it really make Jesus look better when we make Santa look bad?
When my boys were younger, I had a conversation with them about respecting other people’s beliefs.
My older one never really believed the gifts under the tree were from Santa. And I was too selfish to let the old man get the credit. I remember, when he was about three, he challenged his dad and I, wanting to know how Santa got inside our old condo unit that did not have a fireplace.
But just because our children don’t believe jolly old Saint Nick is making lists and checking them twice doesn’t mean they can ruin a family tradition for others. So I’ve asked them to keep their mouths shut about Santa.
I can almost see the raised eyebrows from some of my friends. But hear me out. Does a conversation that started with a, “You are so wrong, I am so right?,” ever end on a good note? I rest my case.
I think it’s all about respect. If I have the right to ask people to please stop using Jesus’ name as an expletive, especially when they’re with me, then it is only fair that I should show the the same consideration when it comes to their beliefs. And I’m pretty sure getting everyone upset isn’t the goal here.
So here are a few honest questions. Is Santa really ruining Christmas, or are we? Are we really responsible for how others celebrate the holidays, or are we simple responsible for how we celebrate?
I wonder what it would look like if we choose to focus on Jesus instead? Maybe, instead of wasting time telling people off, we can simply talk about the joy His birth brings us?
Maybe, instead of huffing and puffing over the Santa decorations a neighbor put up, we can demonstrate a bit of the peace He brought by walking over and admiring that neighbor’s work? And maybe see where that conversation would take you?
And maybe, instead of complaining over how commercialized the season is, we can read up on ways to love on those less fortunate that us? And find ways to give?
And what if, instead of drawing a line between those in our tribe(s) and those who believe otherwise, we can further that invitation to reconciliation by giving up on what we think we’re entitled to and laying down the first brick toward building a bridge?
There was no room for Mary and Joseph at the inn. I wonder if the inn keeper still regrets sending them away.
Jesus made room at the table for everyone. I never want to repeat that inn keeper’s mistake.