A few days ago, I posted on Facebook that seeing a trucker driving down the road with a giant light up Santa as his copilot had made my morning. Judging by how many people ‘liked’ that status, few of you actually judged that statement. But I’m not naïve enough to believe that no one did.
I know that Santa is a touchy subject. I know that tacky holiday decorations can become grounds for divorce. I know that podcasts, blogs, and entire books are written blasting the lack of Christ in Christmas. What I don’t know is why we Christians are so defensive about the holiday.
Because it just seems to me that, if we wanted to put Christ back in Christmas, we have the ability to do so fairly easily. It doesn’t take a court case. It doesn’t require refusing to shop at a place that says “Happy Holidays” to its customers. It doesn’t mean telling someone else’s kid that Santa is an invention of the devil.
All it takes is meeting people the way he would choose to meet them this time of year. A few thought I’ve been pondering:
- Jesus is probably more offended by the ways we spend the money he has given us at Christmas time than whether we spell his name ‘Christ’ or ‘X’ (a perfectly valid 1st century shortened form).
- Jesus would likely prefer we work as hard at displaying him in our lives as we do fighting to display him in a manger in public.
- Jesus, I suspect, doesn’t care nearly as much about whether we do or do not believe in Santa as whether we do or do not offer people grace and forgiveness whether they’ve been naughty or nice throughout the year. (Although, in fairness, I’m pretty sure he, too, would be revolted at having to listen to “Santa Baby” twenty-six times in department stores and doctor’s offices.)
- Jesus probably sees that cashier who said, “Happy Holidays” as an overworked, potentially hurting, person he loves, not someone to be snipped at for being too slow and offending my Christian sensibilities.
I want to be the kind of Christian who makes people want to celebrate Christmas the way it should be. I believe that comes from showing them that the baby in the manger changes lives—starting with mine. So, I think that’s a little of what it would look like.
Finally, I’m fairly certain Jesus would not pepper spray anyone. Just an fyi.