One person whom the world hates the most is Jesus Christ. Looks a bit exaggerated? But it is true. Nations once prided in their Christian faith and Christian way of life, now boasts of parading sin in public and takes pride in it. Many countries openly mock ‘the Master who bought them’ (2 Pet 2:1) with a price, by legalizing abominable and perverted acts once condemned by Jesus. Christian symbols are insulted and derided publicly. False prophets who came after Jesus are celebrated as true prophets. Even within the Church a strong lobby is pushing for a more accommodating Church, a euphemism for presenting sin as acceptable. We should thank God for keeping the flame of true faith in the Church still alive, in spite of increasing attacks from all sides.
Perhaps Christmas is the time when hatred towards Christ is manifested in unimaginable ways. If your heart hesitates to buy this argument, please look around and see for yourselves. Let us start with Christmas greetings. Many are reluctant to say ‘Happy Christmas’. They prefer ‘Happy Xmas’. Whose birthday are we celebrating? Is it of Jesus, who though was in the form of God, emptied himself, took the form of a slave, lived as one among us, crucified, died, and ascended into heaven, and promised to be with us to the end of the age? Or an unknown god who is represented by ‘X’ typically used to denote an unknown number in algebra?
‘For everything there is a season’ (Eccl 3:1) and Christmas is the perfect season to greet others. But why should we say ‘Seasons Greetings’ instead of ‘Christmas Greetings’? Are we wishing others to share the joy of the Feast of Nativity of our Lord or to wish them an extended season of holidays?
When we say ‘Christmas Greetings’, the memory of Jesus Christ comes to mind, knowingly or unknowingly. The term ‘Seasons Greetings’ was the invention of those who did not wish to remember Jesus even during Christmas. Moreover, ’Seasons Greetings’ is a general term that could be used for any kind of occasion, religious and secular alike. By using it we are admitting that Christmas is just another occasion among many other occasions to greet others. We are demeaning our Lord’s remembrance by equating it with trifles.
Christmas cribs and Christmas trees are commonplace. But the sad fact is that wherever we go, Santa Claus occupies a prominent place pushing poor infant Jesus to a corner. We are witnessing Christmas celebrations where Santa Claus becomes larger than life and Jesus is reduced to a non-entity. This is a time when Christmas is measured in relation to the size and quality of cake or the applause one gets for a carol song.
It is then quite natural that shops and malls use the image of a potbellied Santa Claus in red garments to welcome us. Beautifully decorated Christmas trees, stars, and illuminated houses are sometimes desperate attempts to hide the truth that we are celebrating a Chrsitms without Christ! They have taken away the real spirit of Christmas and placed it on a par with other popular festivals. In this cacophony surrounding Christmas, Jesus comes without making any noise, for he is a God not of disorder, but of peace’ (I Cor 14:33). Many fail to see Jesus in Christmas. Some see but do not recognize him. Those who do recognize, ignore him, because they are the ones who take pleasure in celebrating a Christmas sans Christ.
Christmas has only one dimension. It is the Nativity of Jesus Christ. Christmas has only one message. ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors’. As a people blessed to give glory to God and to inherit the peace promised to those whom God favors, let us celebrate this Christmas with Christ, and pray for those who forget Jesus during Christmas.