So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger” Luke 2:16

Some Christian slogans arise from the dusty shelves at certain times of the year. Christmastime brings with it a handy and often repeated slogan: “Let’s keep Christ in Christmas this year.” The motivation behind this slogan is good. We see all around us people celebrating what they call “Christmas” and yet Jesus Christ is glaringly missing.

A person who says, “Let’s keep Christ in Christmas” desires that all around them who claim to be Christians or at least claim to celebrate a Christian holiday should have Jesus Christ be front and center in that celebration. Are you that person?

Let’s take a moment to think about this conundrum. Why is it that so many people say they are celebrating Christmas and yet what they are really talking about is a whole lot of decorating, cookie making/eating, buying/giving/receiving presents for/from loved ones, Santa Claus, favorite movies, warm fuzzies, a “spirit” of love and generosity, and time spent with family. While most of these things are not bad in and of themselves, they can be elevated so much so that Christ is left out of the picture or at least hanging out on the sidelines with a supporting-actor role. Are you celebrating a Christ-less Christmas?

What should we do? We must ponder the approach or tactic that disciples of Jesus Christ must use to seek to win over the hearts and minds of people. I wonder if when we have to remind people to “keep Christ in Christmas” they have already lost the heart of a Christian Christmas. I also wonder if merely telling people to do this is the right approach. Mere outward behavior manipulation is not a high enough goal, dear friends. What we are after and what God is after is this: a change of heart, or in other words, repentance. At this point in reading this, do you need to repent?

How can you graciously show people that they are focusing on something that is not the main thing? Part of the answer could be taking on the task of revealing to people that what they think is so great about this time of year is really less meaningful or not meaningful at all if Christ Jesus is not worshiped. We can subtly show people that their hearts are being drawn to value/worship something else in place of Jesus Christ.

An excellent way to be a light to those around you is for your celebrations of Christmas to expressly and intentionally focus on Jesus Christ. Don’t be afraid to openly speak of this focus in a gracious way. If people are offended by that, so be it. There are many different ways to celebrate Christmas through this focus on Christ. I invite you to take time to think. Perhaps husbands need to sit down with their wives and really examine how Christmas has been celebrated. Changes might need to be made.

No action of ours will “keep Christ in Christmas.” He’s already the heart of Christmas. The key is this: will we and the world around us recognize that truth? One thing that is wonderful about nativity sets is the way Jesus Christ is put as the focal point of the work of art. All the characters (and even the animals!) typically have their bodies positioned in such a way to focus on Jesus. Well meaning people, some of them true Christians, seek to celebrate Christmas in a Christian manner but in reality they are angling their bodies away from Christ and directing them in another direction. This, my friends, is a subtle form of idolatry. Let’s follow the path of the shepherds in the verse listed at the top of this article and “come in a hurry” to get to the feet of Jesus to worship Him.

This article was written a few years ago and published in the ‘Dalton News and Views.’ It has been slightly modified