After Sunday – Nov. 18: “Christmas” & “Jesus’ Birthday” – Not the Same Thing

Jesus and Santa

“Because there is no defensible historical connection between December 25 and the actual date of the birth of Jesus, and because its history is rampant with overtones of human sacrifice and rabid anti-semitism, and because in our day it is a season of blatant commercialism, I would like for our purposes not to speak of “Christmas”, but rather, to speak of the birth of Jesus…”

After a tongue-in-cheek sales pitch in an attempt to sell the congregation a $250.00 Nativity Set (pictured at right, from the “Holy Land Mall”), our “Season’s Meanings” message took a sharp turn away from ‘Christmas’ and stepped into the waters of the birth of Jesus.  With a nod to the birth stories in Matthew and Luke, the question was: Does Jesus give us any information as to where he is coming from, and where he is going?

Nativity Set

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…”  (Matthew 11:28.)

Some Christians have very rigid opinions with regard to how folks celebrate “Christmas”.  Perhaps we should lighten up on that topic.  It’s highly unlikely that anyone will go to hell because they bring a tree into their home.  A practice with pagan roots?  Perhaps.  And the mistletoe – a hold over from the sexual liberties (to put it euphemistically) taken during solstice celebrations?  Maybe.  But if we gather around a tree to celebrate generosity and gift-giving, and if people willingly and joyfully meet under a bit of greenery to embrace and kiss, that is not likely to sound the starting bell for Armageddon.

With whatever traditions are meaningful to you, here is the question: How is the message and ministry of Jesus experienced in the midst of all the other celebrations?

What are the celebrations specific to your family?  How do you experience grace, a hope for peace, and the good news of God’s love in the midst of those celebrations?  We’d love to hear from you!  Feel free to share your family traditions in the comment section below.

Let the celebrations begin!  Blessings to you as you head into this week.

Mark Demers

Want to talk about sex, politics, spirituality? So do I. I grew up in a religious home in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Our country was reeling from assassinations and the devastation of the Viet Nam War. Looking for something beautiful, I got a degree in music, married the love of my life and had children. Looking for God, I then went to seminary. Looking for something that might transform the world, I became a local church pastor. Now, I’m always looking for people who want to talk about important things. I cherish conversations with emerging leaders, people who are antsy to try an idea they believe would change the world for the better. I’d would love to hear from you.