It seems to be inevitable every year around this time that controversies will surround the Christmas season like sharks around a wayward surfer. From the atheists come billboards and marches. Within the Christian community there is much handwringing over the exact nature of Christmas, whether it is too commercial, whether it is a pagan holiday, even how we should write the name Christmas (as in X-mas). And the corporate world, public institutions and schools worry if they should acknowledge Christmas at all to avoid offending the sensitive. By the time it is over, whatever the season is supposed to be it gets swallowed up in the myriad of reactions to what it might be.
This anxiety seems to defeat the simple purpose of one of the central messages of Christmas, which is of course “peace on earth, good will toward men”, a message delivered joyfully and directly from heaven to earth.
So a humble recommendation to all men of good will and sincere intention (and I say this as one who has no problem stirring up controversies) – let’s be at peace about Christmas. Give generously. Receive joyfully. Accept others where they are at, and don’t get anxious about changing their opinions. Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Celebrate wholeheartedly. Christ encompasses all, He is Lord of all whether acknowledged or not. What should be evident to others is not what we believe to be true about Christmas, but how that belief impacts our treatment of others. Life is short and this season is shorter still – the greatest impact we can have is to reflect the message of the angelic chorus and be ambassadors of peace and goodness, at least with regard to how we celebrate the day.