I recently visited the Post Office and asked for some Christmas stamps. In response, the clerk asked whether I wanted Santa Claus or reindeer. “Oh, no, I mean stamps with Jesus, Joseph, and Mary on them. You know, the real meaning of Christmas.” He seemed confused and rummaged around until he found the right stamps. Upon showing them to me, he asked if that was what I meant. “Yes, these are perfect. Jesus is what Christmas is all about,” I responded.
As I left, I thought: Yikes. Is that what people think Christmas is all about- Santa Claus and Rudolph?
A quick Google of the word “Christmas” brought up a few links about the real meaning of Christmas, but many more links to secular Christmas songs and movies, countdowns regarding how many shopping days are left until Christmas, even an article which explains that Christmas is all about people “celebrating the good things they have.” (Really?) Other articles talked about shopping early and supply chain issues.
Over the past decade, the percentage of Americans who call themselves Christians has dropped by ten percentage points. In Rhode Island, only about one-third of adults attend any type of church service weekly. It’s no wonder the real meaning of Christmas has gotten lost.
So how do we get Christ back in Christmas, especially when Christmas has become so commercial? Here are a few ideas, and you likely have many more. Please note that these ideas come with the expectation that they are all done in love, not by bashing people over the head with your beliefs.
- Mention Jesus in your Christmas cards and use (real) Christmas stamps on your envelopes
- Use gift tags with Bible verses on them
- Make a “Happy Birthday Jesus” cake for December 25
- Wish people a merry Christmas rather than happy holidays
- During grace, be sure to mention Jesus, the reason for Christmas
- Watch at least one movie this season about the true meaning of Christmas
- Invite someone to a church service
- Put a nativity scene in your yard
- Go Christmas caroling
- Be open to opportunities to serve your neighbors, friends, and family – especially those who are going through the holidays without a loved one for the first time
- But perhaps most importantly, strive to show everyone you meet, all year round, that they matter to you, and that they matter to our God. Pointing someone to Jesus through your love is indeed the best gift you can give them – and you certainly won’t find that in any store.
Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15, ESV)