Thursday, December 15, 2011

You know, it's okay to tell me happy holidays instead of Merry Christmas, even if you're a fellow member of my faith. I'm not going to get in your face about how you're not "keeping Christ in Christmas."

I don't care if you use Xmas either, because I understand the history of the X (and that it precedes both Malcolm and Stan Lee).

I understand that Constantine and his ilk thoroughly mixed the birth of Christ with pagan celebrations to obtain political ends. And if people still continue that today, they're not "not keeping Christ in Christmas" -- they're just continuing the blending that Constantine started all those years ago.

I get that.

If my understanding of the holiday season is about the work of Christ incarnating into humanity in order to be a perfect substitutionary sacrifice on humanity's behalf, then nothing you say or refuse to say can change one jot or tittle from that. No dollar sign can attach to it. And you can't wrap it or stuff it on a tree.

I can celebrate Christmas as I understand it without offending you or getting in your face, because the season is not some church-ordained mass evangelism event. Nothing about the season changes how I interact with you on behalf of my faith and what I perceive as your need for salvation from original sin -- I still have the same mandate to treat everyone, believer and nonbeliever alike, with the same grace, love, forgiveness and understanding that I do every other day.

Just because the word "Christ" is in "Christmas," it does not, nor should it ever, give me carte blanche to hassle you about becoming like me. (I would love for others to find what I've found, but it's not my job to be God's used car salesman or God's Internet spammer.)

I even enjoy the game of Santa Claus and dig the idea of adding a little drummer boy to our legend version of the nativity (as opposed to the real one that smelled like animal crap and was filled with a crying -- not silent -- baby, and didn't have any -- much less three -- wise men drop by until almost two years later).

All this to say, I hope that you have a wonderful time getting together with your friends and family. I hope you take advantage of this time to share some of your wealth with those less fortunate (trust me, in comparison to the rest of the globe, you ARE bone-idle rich). I hope you experience the love of those around you and share that love with everyone you encounter.

And I hope that, somewhere, in the busy-ness of this season, you find a few moments of peace on earth to contemplate the true and higher peace the angels spoke (not sang) about when they said: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

Merry Christmas! Happy holidays! Peace on earth!

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