Monday, November 16, 2015

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Tis the season for outrage.

You're checking out of your favorite store when the cashier hands you your receipt and wishes you "Happy holidays!"

For the past few years Christians have practically become unglued over this failure to recognize the season for what it really is - the Christmas season.

And what is the greeting for the Christmas season? Merry Christmas, of course!

Unfortunately, our outrage makes us easy targets for criticism.

I'm sure newspaper columnists and on-line bloggers can't wait to tell how bigoted and self-righteous we are, insisting that people call the season what it is - the season of celebrating Christ's birth and preparing for Christ's second Advent.

I say, let's take the steam out of their sails.

Rather than getting all hot and bothered because people won't wish us a Merry Christmas, ignore them.

If some cashier in a store sends you on your way with "Happy Holidays," respond with "Merry Christmas."

If at the office Christmas party someone invites you to sample their "Holiday Cookies," smile, take one and then offer them a "Christmas cookie."

Complaining about this lack of respect for the things we deem important isn't getting Christians anywhere.

Instead, be who you are.

A person who once was lost in sin but found by Jesus the Christ.  Rejoice that you have been "saved by grace through faith, and this is not of yourselves - it is the gift of God, not of works so that no person can boast."  (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Be who you are.

A person who has been so touched by the compassionate love of Jesus that you respond in turn by showing that same love to the people around you - even those who can't seem to speak "Merry Christmas" to you.

What do we care if our favorite coffee shop serves our "coffee grande mocha" in a plain red cup?  Take the cup and say to the barista "Merry Christmas."

Be who you are.

Organize a toy drive for kids living in shelters.  Collect coats and sweaters for the homeless living on the street.  Take a food basket to a family who is going through a tough time and needs help.

Who are we serving? The Lord Jesus Christ! "What ever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."  (Colossians 3:23)

Christians have been getting criticized for 2000 years now.  Expect it to continue.

Be who you are.

Love God.  Love your neighbor.  Witness Christ when the opportunity presents itself.  Do so in a winsome way.  Do so without shame or embarrassment.  Help those who need help wherever you can.  Let the light of Jesus' love shine brightly in your life.

And be sure to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!