CHRISTMAS SANS CHRIST

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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.

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