On Keeping Christmas

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Like many of you, I am trying hard to remain focused on the true meaning of Christmas.  During this season it is easy to become distracted by the long to-do list, the calendar that seems bursting at the seams, the long lines everywhere you go, and the endless commercials and advertisements.  Keeping Christ at the center is difficult, and so it is great to encourage one another to "keep Christ in Christmas."  

However, too often this message seems to be shared, not as an encouragement to one another who are believers, but as a critique on the world.  We feel the frustration that our culture has become less and less Christian.  When the message of keeping Christ in Christmas is directed outward, rather than toward ourselves, we see the nonbelievers as enemies instead of the lost who we are to have compassion toward.  The message, rather than filled with encouragement or as a reminder, comes across as self-righteous and judgemental.  

For a secular world, where Christ was never in their Christmas, there can be no "keeping."  The mission fields are no longer in other countries... they are right here.  We are called to be missionaries.  Missionaries learn the language of the native population.  They adapt to their customs.  They share meals together and they listen. 

And then they tell the story.

The responsibility of keeping Christ in Christmas is not the world's responsibility - it is ours!  We keep Christ in Christmas when we share the story of Jesus.  When we share how that story intersects our own story and has changed us.  When we live out that transformation by caring for the sick, the hungry, those in prison, those who are lonely, the foreigner, the widow, and the orphan.  When we love. 

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