I know, I know... we haven't had Thanksgiving yet, but the Christmas Kvetching has already begun... so... this post is happening.
We're entering the season of grumpy Christians fighting tooth and nail to keep the Christ in a long-ago-commercialized Christmas. My head is there with you, Grumpy Christians, but my heart isn't in it. And here's why: Christ came to establish a kingdom in our hearts, not on our Starbucks cups.
The people who are campaigning to overturn the secularization of Christmas are operating from a good-hearted place. They're fighting for Jesus. They're holding him up. Loud and proud. These people love their Lord. They see people editing him out of history and they get riled. I would hazard to guess that Jesus does not scorn this love and fidelity, but I would also hazard to guess that he would rather to see their love lived out in a different way.... because his heart is always for the lost sheep. His word tells us that when the 99 are in the fold, and he is running out into the night for that one lamb still wandering in the dark.
Dear Christians, I want to challenge you to pick your battles by a new rubric: Does this help a lost and watching world see Jesus the way he wants to be seen?
If all you want is for the world to see Jesus, then your grousing is, technically, accomplishing that. Congratulations. But does the Jesus you're holding up really reflect the way he represented himself to the world?
It's not that hard to see Jesus in the world today, but are we understanding his heart?
Dear Christians, I repeat... Help a lost and watching world to see Jesus the way he would show himself to them.
The holidays are a great time for that. So get on it. But it's not going to look like the contentious, media-driven, embattled thing that it often becomes. That's too easy. It's easy to dig trenches and throw hand grenades. It's harder to walk across the field and understand your opponent. This doesn't have to mean compromise in your own heart. It doesn't mean surrender. But it does mean service. It does mean sacrifice. It does mean submitting yourself to one another, trying not to be a stumbling block for the weak, choosing the high road.
Put Christ in your Christmas, Church, by understanding and living out Christ in your hearts.