Defending the Real Reason for Christmas
by Jay Fadden
An innocent man was put to death in a horrible and painful way. His only crime was loving His fellow man. He preached love, peace, and the dignity of all people and championed the poor and downtrodden. He was a singular voice in a society that respected power and influence more than the actual person. His friends were from the fringes of society. Counted among them were prostitutes and laborers, but they loved Him because what he said resonated with them and they knew He was much more than He appeared. He was not rich or connected, nor was He flamboyant or boisterous. It was with grace and compassion that He lifted up those searching for more in life. He comforted the sick and loved the sinner. His opinion was not swayed by the ebb and flow of societal change, but was motivated by a deep love for people and His father. His message spread and it formed an army. Not an army of destruction, but one of peaceful change. The change He effected has grown and reverberated throughout the world for thousands of years. This great humanitarian was eventually put to death. His only crime was asking that we love one another, live in peace, recognize the dignity of each person, and love God. Now, today, people can be vilified for mentioning His name, Jesus. They are offended and are upset that anyone would talk about Him or recognize Him. For some He is a leper, a lightning rod that should not be talked about or discussed. He is a ghost.
I bring this up because we are approaching Christmas, and I have to admit that I am frustrated. Christmas is slowly being made irrelevant in today’s society. The Christmas season has been hijacked and is no longer about Jesus, but about lights, presents, and parties. Slowly and purposely, the word “Christmas” has been replaced with “holiday season” or “winter holiday” or just a fun day. People are afraid to say “Merry Christmas” for fear of retribution. The birth of Jesus is a second thought as schools and the government have decided that it is offensive to recognize a man (one of Jesus’ two natures) who preached love and understanding. They find it reprehensible that He is celebrated, and this makes me confused. There are many people throughout history who we justifiably honor for the way they lived their lives. These include Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Rosa Parks, and many more fine people. Some are honored with special days, parks, names of schools, or proclamations. All are well deserved. Yet mentioning Jesus can cause division and hateful rhetoric. People recoil at the name Jesus. Mentioning Him can be a conversation killer. Eyes roll and heads shake as people dismiss you as uneducated or dumb for “buying into His talk.” You can be labeled a Jesus freak or as someone who is a bit naive. Words are used to diminish your opinion. Those reactions are hurtful and disrespectful and do not allow for an open dialogue.
Even if someone is not a Christian, I find it difficult to believe that they do not recognize the beauty of His message and great good His teachings have produced. In His name, such great things have been achieved and accomplished for the poor and those without a voice. Some may point to historical atrocities that were performed in His name, but those who performed those acts are not followers, but are users. Jesus is blameless in their failings. It is us who have failed Him.
We need to rally. We need to raise our voices so that His message is not diluted or silenced. We need to peacefully and lovingly take a stand.
In today’s world, there are many platforms that allow us to share our faith and opinions. I ask that you bring Jesus to the world through your own advocacy. Be His voice. Spread the word and let people know that every day is Christmas, a day we honor Him. Don’t be swayed by the ever-changing tide that is public opinion, but hold fast to your beliefs. Today, we are strong because He is with us and we are together as a community of love. We need to push back upon the walls of apathy and hate that are being built by fear and hateful rhetoric and tear them down. Be a disciple of Christ and love one another. Remember you are not alone! Merry Christmas, and thank you, Jesus.