Keep Christ in Christmas

I tell people, “Happy Holidays.”  Does that make me any less of a Christian?  I don’t think it does, but apparently some people do.  As we approach the holiday season, I am bracing myself for the onslaught of “Keep Christ in Christmas” slogans on facebook.  I decided to make a preemptive strike, and created this picture.

Happy Holidays

It seems to have struck a chord.  Maybe I’m not the only one that is tired of the righteous indignation of people that think that there is a war on Christmas because a department store puts up a sign that says “Happy Holidays.”

Believe me, I want to keep Christ in Christmas, but I’m not looking for Christ at JC Penny or Kohls.  If I want to find Christ in Christmas I will look to a local food pantry or a wardrobe ministry.  I will look to a homeless shelter or domestic abuse shelter.  If I want to find Christ in Christmas I will go to worship with my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I will sing the songs of the ages, and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to the world.  I will invite my neighbor to worship with me, or I will read the Bible and pray.

Nothing can keep Christ out of Christmas if I endeavor to be the body of Christ this Christmas.  So please, spare me the “war on Christmas” rhetoric.

Do you want to know who is waging a war on Christmas?  Do you want to know who is spoiling the birth of Christ?  It is not the people that have the gall to greet you with “Happy Holidays.”  The ones waging a war on Christmas are those that think greed and discrimination are Christian values.   They are the ones that think that performance fleece, ipads, diamond earrings, and flatscreens have anything to do with the birth of Jesus Christ.

And before I get too carried away with this rant, let me pause for confession.  I know that I can get caught up in the consumerism of it all.  I enjoy buying presents for my family and my daughter.  I enjoy receiving presents, and am already thinking about “What I want for Christmas.”  I know that I will enjoy a holiday in a warm home with plenty of food, and a few gadgets that I certainly don’t need.  But I’m going to try.

I’m going to try and live simpler.  I’m going to try and seek the true gift of Christmas – the peace of Jesus Christ.  I am going to pray more.  I am going to read more.  I’m going to give a little more.  I’m going to sin, but I’m also going to forgive.  My economic gain or lower prices will come at the cost of another, but I’m also going to do justice.  I’m going to be selfish but I’m also going to show mercy.  I’m going to be very happy if this little picture catches on and goes viral, but I’m also going to try and walk humbly with my God.

I’m going to do all of those things because that, I think, is the true meaning of Christmas.

On twitter use #BeChristInChristmas to share how you are working for the Kingdom of God this Christmas season.

11 Ways to Be Christ in Christmas

Be Christ This Christmas – Another poster for Facebook.

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Filed under Christianity

56 responses to “Keep Christ in Christmas

  1. Fantastic. Puts my feelings into words.

  2. Anna

    I always say Happy Holidays because I usually start saying it before Thanksgiving all the way through New Years so instead of saying Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Years I just roll them all up into Happy Holidays!! I never knew that it was un-Christian like.. But I guess I am not your average Christian.

  3. Sara

    Thank you. I have long been waiting to hear some common sense from the clergy…not to mention other Christians. I’m from Illinois and Methodist Minister helped me find a truer meaning to being a Christian ages ago. A Reverend Ahearn and he played a mean jazz piano and loved the good news of Christianity; he was a joyous man and his wife Bopeep (they were from the south) insisted on going out to diner once a week. And he didn’t believe that made him or her less of a Christian – although back then (60s) some of the ladies of the church clucked about it. It’s whats in the heart that counts whatever the season and however we express it.

  4. Wise men still seek Him… I guess its a slipprey slope, once you start being like the world, it filters into your Being. To me, Happy Holiday is expressing ” WOW ” another paid day off if you’re a goverment worker or work at a bank. Merry Christmas.

  5. More than love this ……. completely truthful and to the point!

  6. Bobby Walker

    Very well put !!!

  7. Laura B.

    I agree. I’m tired of the paranoia. BE Christ in Christmas instead of whining about the commercialism and greed! OFFER something–and offer YOURSELF! God will be more honored by the latter than (hearing) your protesting of the former….At least, that’s what I believe.

  8. Good points, Pastor. There are plenty of other things to use our time and energy on that can be more effective for the Kingdom, rather than getting upset at retailers who say “Happy Holidays.” Who are we to go in and start flipping tables over this? Let us BE Christ this Christmas! Amen.

  9. Noelle Snow

    My family knows not to ask for anything for Christmas. My kids get many expensive gifts for their birthdays. My family knows that Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s birthday. So going to church, working in soup kitchens and food pantries etc.(Remembering the poor per Jesus instructions) are ways to celebrate this special birthday

  10. I agree, Happy Holidays is more of an inclusive “Christian” greeting in that it acknowledges all the “Holidays” (Holy days) of the various faiths and if you look at it even closer, you will know that every day should be a “holy day” that we are given from the Source of All.

  11. Kathy Teig

    Thanks! Peace!

  12. Amen! It’s what I’ve been saying for years. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone!

  13. Carlton R. Hester

    Thank you for speaking these well-needed words.
    The efforts by the Christian Taliban to force business institutions into complying with religious dogma in order to inject a what is a purely commercial and glitzy dollar-and-credit-card frenzy have annually annoyed me for years. This Thanksgiving I give thanks – among other things, for sane people!

  14. Kevin

    Got the Black Friday ads left on the doorstep this morning. (Actually arrived with a thud at 10:30 last night.) The Catholic Supply store here in St. Louis included its add hawking its wares. Items on sale this year include “Keep Christ in Christmas” car emblems and buttons.

  15. Annette Fricke

    thank you for a bit of sanity. I need that!! Here’s to a wonderful sermon this Sunday, the beginning of Advent. I know it will be what the people need to hear.

  16. Pingback: Thinking About: The Christ in Christmas « Bethel MOMs

  17. Paultourguide

    Since the Christian’s “borrowed” the winter holiday from the “pagans” for the birth of Christ, which, I was told while in seminary, was not the month of December (as Palestinian shepherds are not in the fields then) , I view saying Happy Holidays as a recognition of those who are not Christian getting their holiday back. I totally support your call for folks to be more Christ like as the true meaning of his birth.

  18. uugina

    For me, “Happy Holidays” is acknowledging that yours is not the only valid practice this season. I have Jewish friends who go out and volunteer on Christmas Day, far more christ-like in my opinion than tearing open another present that we don’t need.

  19. BJMallory

    I posted this on my Facebook wall. I had one of my friends reply, “Sadly, you just don’t get it.” (sigh) He’s one of the people who passes along the “Christ in Christmas” and other propaganda such as “copy and paste this if you aren’t ashamed of Jesus.” If by me not getting it means that I think for myself and respect others’ rights to worship (or not) as they see fit; if it means ignoring the speck in his eye while attending to the log in my own, then I’m very glad I “don’t get it.” Thank you, Fat Pastor, for putting so eloquently into words what I have been thinking for years. Rock on!!

  20. Crystal Larson

    Thank you for putting my thoughts into words!

  21. Val

    Love this picture! It sums up so much about how I feel about this whole issue. I hope it does go viral…it deserves to.

  22. Joan Mansfield

    All of the above statements are true. It does no harm for even the healthest of Christian Spirits to be reminded. If Christmas was like Passover when there is no doubt what is being celebrating then we wouldn’t need to keep fighting City Hall that is ripping the commandments off the wall. I will enjoy ALL the Greetings; But I am still human and need to be nudged to remember that the other shoppers and even family is only one season away from deciding what their celebrating will be built upon that is not Christian. It is part of spreading the scriptures to keep Christ in mind and Christian should not get complacence.

  23. jim heimos

    Well said my friend. thank you for putting my feelings into words.

  24. Janelle

    Exactly how I feel. Thank you for sharing.

  25. John Lamberth

    Raised Christian but now an atheist but strongly attracted to Judaism (just bought my first menorah and dreidel to put next to my Nutcracker collection). Thank you so much for writing this. It is pretty much my thoughts exactly. I don’t believe in God (much less Jesus), but this ridiculous KCiC nonsense isn’t keeping Christ in anything. It’s just sour grapes from people who can’t have things the way they want them. How about YOU keep Christ in Christmas and let everybody else worry about how or if they want to keep Christ.

  26. Jim

    I have no problem with a person wishing me Happy Holidays, but I do have a problem with an organization or government or culture that tries to prevent me from saying Merry Christmas. And that is how this ‘war’ started, not by Christians insisting they have it their way, but by others who tried to make it wrong to say anything with ‘Christ’ in it, unless it was a swear word. A bit off-topic but still related, anyone notice lately how it’s OK to take the Lord’s name in vain in broadcast TV movies, but other swear words are edited out? Certainly we do need to be more Christ-like, not just fight over slogans, but to deny that there is an effort to suppress Christianity in our culture is to deny reality.

  27. Angela

    Good point. I didn’t know that ‘Holiday’ was a contraction of the words ‘Holy’ and ‘Day’. Interesting. I still like hearing the word Christmas – the contraction of ‘Christ’ and ‘Mass’, and I don’t care for the abbreviation ‘xmas’. However, you’re right, it’s just not worth having a hissy fit over.

  28. jeanne duffy

    thank you! my thoughts exactly, but your words express it so well.

  29. Teresa Chavez Sauceda

    Well said! I have often thought that I’m happy to have the places I shop greet me with “Happy Holidays”, and let me celebrate Christmas more appropriately!

  30. @ Sara in the comments – I can’t believe there are TWO women who have been named BoPeep! I am photo-documenting my local cemetery and recently found the headstone of one Bo-Peep Fisher. I thought I’d seen it all, but TWO of them??

  31. And to other comments, I don’t recall anyone ANYWHERE ever saying that you can’t say “Merry Christmas” anymore. NOBODY. You can still say it – I said it aloud just now, and nothing happened. There are no G-Men at my door. “Happy Holidays” is inclusive of all the winter holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, the new year. This “war on Christmas” crap and persecution complex comes from those who are closed-minded enough to think that including everyone — other religions and those without religion — means excluding Christians. You’re not excluded – you can still have all the say you want. Anyone who cries “war on Christmas” and “taking god out of schools” and the like are acting like toddlers. Christians have gotten to be dominant and pushy for so long, and now people are calling them on their bull and they’re throwing a tantrum.

  32. Jim

    Amy, I guess you haven’t been around much. True, there are no G-Men waiting at your door. But Christmas trees have turned into holiday trees, companies that for years had Christmas parties either did away with them or changed them to holiday parties, Christmas vacation at schools turned into Winter break, I went to a ‘holiday concert’ at my daughter’s school, where they didn’t sing a single carol and didn’t mention Christmas at all. When I was a child, we sang both Christmas and Hanukkah songs in public school (both secular and religious in content). Lawsuits have been brought to prevent manger scenes or Christmas trees from being displayed on public property, even though they were there for many years prior without complaint. It isn’t throwing a tantrum. The majority of people in this country (over 75% of adults in 2008) still consider themselves to be ‘Christian’, and to be told the holiday representing the birth of who they believe in shouldn’t be held in high enough esteem to refer to it by its traditional name is rightly offensive to them.

  33. @Angela, the “X” in “Xmas” is actually the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ. It’s use goes back centuries.

  34. John Lamberth

    Jim, yes 75-83% of Americans identify themselves as “Christian”, but avoiding the debate about how many of those folks are actually Christian rather than just saying they are, that still means that at least 17-25% are NOT Christians. What you are essentially saying is that since the majority thinks one way, they minority is inconsequential and it’s okay to use words that don’t apply to them because the majority says so.
    It is this type of mentality (although by no means to the same degree) that makes it so dangerous for non-Muslims in Muslim countries. And since most of the people are Muslims, then by your thinking, non-Muslims shouldn’t be allowed any sort of identity either. Try saying “Merry Christmas” in Pakistan.
    This is America and while I find the PC movement to be often overbearing and ridiculous, what really is the harm in being inclusive? “Happy Holidays” at the base is an all inclusive covering for Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, Yule, Kwanzaa, New Year’s, St. Stephen’s, St. John the Evangelist’s, Boxing Day, Holy Innocent’s, St. Sylvester’s, Watch Night, Feast of the Circumcision, Feast of Fools, St Basil’s, Twelfth Night, Epiphany, Pancha Ganapti, Yalda, Saturnalia, Malanka, and Festivus that are just a few of the worldwide celebrations during that occur around the Winter Solstice. To just concentrate on Christmas in public settings is unfair.
    Moreover, to insist that non-Christians be expected to just accept Christian Centered ideals, even if it’s just a manger scene in front of the Town Hall or singing “Silent Night” at a public school performance, probably cheapens the supposed Holiness of the event it purportedly celebrates. In my mind, if the holy day of Christ’s Mass is held in high esteem, isn’t throwing it around at every Wal-Mart and as an unconscious verbalization just making it less powerful? Shouldn’t the ideals of Christmas be shown by actions and not glossy advertisements and empty words? Is it so important that the 3rd grade concert sing “Away in a Manger” when perhaps a quarter of those kids’ families don’t even believe in what is being sung?
    There is no “War on Christmas”… the backlash is largely the price of popularity. The more people that are involved in something, the less it resembles or follows a specific set of rules. The party atmosphere that is Christmas has become a public concept. Those that take offense to the perceived lack of esteem held for the words and images of “Christmas” should just concentrate on upholding and acting upon the ideals of Christmas… helping your fellow man and celebrating the birth of your savior.

  35. AMEN! I really feel the phrase “Happy Holidays” is a courteous nod to the fact that there are OTHER holidays from OTHER faiths being celebrated at this time of year alongside the Christian holiday of Christmas. That sort of sensitivity to the potential of offending others with our words is walking Christ’s walk in my opinion.

  36. Laura S.

    THANK YOU, Fat Pastor! So wonderful to see this!
    And I completely agree with John Lamberth – December isn’t just about the birth of Christ (not forgetting to mention that Jesus wasn’t even *born* in December, and it was the church wanting to merge Christianity in with pagan Solstice holidays. Solstice in particular….what is so blasted offensive about people wanting to celebrate the light and positivity in what used to be a very difficult and deadly time of year??). There’s so much more to December than Christmas, and to be completely accurate, Jesus *isn’t* the reason for the season :-p

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!

  37. Dollene

    Jim, thank you for your reply! I couldn’t agree with you more…well said!


  38. love this and will be sharing!

  39. You may like the similar sentiment in Bob Lind’s “A New Year’s Carol” :

  40. Mark Carver

    Thank you, Robb, for this post and to those who have added to the discussion.

    I am an atheist, but I look forward to this time of year as one of celebration, reflection, and the opportunity to gather with friends and family that I don’t get to see as often as I would like to. I exchange gifts with these people, I put up a Christmas tree in my house, I donate both my time and my money to those less fortunate (more so at this time of year), and I wish others a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holidays depending on how I feel at that moment. Why would I celebrate a religious holiday? Well, I would argue that Christmas, over the centuries, has become as much a cultural celebration as a religious one. If you look beyond our borders at how other countries celebrate the holidays, you’ll find many similarities as well as many differences. You’ll even see Christmas openly celebrated in non-Christian countries. Are they embracing the Christian way of life? Not likely, but they are joining in a cultural celebration.

    I respect those of faith who take this time to reflect upon the religious meaning of this time of year, but as so many people have so eloquently said before me; actions speak louder than words. If you want to celebrate your savior, by all means do so. Not by getting upset at how others conduct themselves (and judging them for it), but by conducting yourself in a manner that reflects your beliefs.

    Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and to all, a good night.

  41. Jeff

    I’m pretty sure that Christ was about telling people He loved them and how believing in Him could save them. Instead this article is all about what “I am going to do”. How about “I can do all things through Him who stregthens me”? or John 3:16? if you are tired of people saying something the better thing isn’t to say, “this is how i’m going to be just as annoying” . wouldn’t it be better to say here is the plan of salvation and i am glad that i have brothers and sisters in Christ that love Him too.

  42. Teri

    I must say I never thought that ppl were upset over saying Happy Holidays. I thought ppl were upset because store personel were saying Merry Christmas. If someone said Happy Holidays to me, I would NOT be offended in the least. If someone said “Happy Hannaka” to me I wouldn’t be upset. I think people are too worried about stupid stuff. People are people. If someone called me a stupid bitch….I would not be happy and I would explain to them that I am not stupid. LOL People need to get a life.
    Peace in Christ to you all.

  43. Bette

    Actually, there is a war against Christmas and Christians of late…in denying displays of the creche in the public square, in calling a Christmas tree a “holiday tree,” in prohibiting the singing of Christmas songs, the presenting of Christmas plays, and holding Christmas parties, etc. in some public schools, in the elimination of Christmas decorations in some places, in the prevention of funding for Christian clubs at some schools (while providing rooms for Muslims to pray), in the persecution and killing of Christians all over the world, and in the marginalization of Christians among the political elite, and on and on…

  44. C A Collins

    @Bette The war on Christmas you describe is the discontinuing of specific religious observances on the tax payer’s dime. No one is prevented from putting Christmas decorations on their house or business, no one is arrested for getting a group together to go caroling, you just have to do it on your own dime.

  45. Love this! I totally agree and shared it on my facebook. 🙂

  46. Kimberly

    Six years ago Anna Quindlen ran an opinion piece in Newsweek that has stuck with me ever since. As a Christian, I find that we as a community too frequently underestimate the sovereign power of God (which seems awfully silly when you stop to think about it). Your blog post reminded me of Quindlen’s article. Quoting my favorite part of the article:
    “The cycle of the devotional year has once again wound around to the anniversary of the Nativity, and now the foolishness is all fa-la-la-la-la. It is surprising to discover that some believe the enduring power of the story of the child born in Bethlehem to be so shaky that it must be shored up by plastic creches in town squares and middle-school concerts. Apparently, conservative critics are also exercised by the fact that various discount stores have failed to pay homage to the baby in the manger, in their advertisements, their labeling and even their in-store greetings.

    It is hard for me to figure out how a snub by a home-improvement center can diminish Christmas one iota. A flu epidemic carried off as many as 50 million people around the world in the early part of the 20th century, surely a disaster to shake the faith of even the most devout. Yet the holy day endured. Through plague and war, famine and invasion, the tale was told and the lesson learned, of love for neighbors, of charity toward the poor. Carols were sung in foxholes and prisons.

    O ye of little faith, who believe that somehow the birth of Christ is dependent upon acknowledgment in a circular from OfficeMax! According to the story, Jesus threw the money-changers out of the temple, saying that they’d made his father’s house into a den of thieves. By any stretch of the imagination, does that person sound like someone who would hanker to be formally recognized at Sears and Walgreens, as though his legacy depended upon being given pride of place among redundant hand appliances and teddy bears in Santa hats?”
    And concludes, “As the pope recently noted, “commercial pollution” is contrary to the spirit of the season and the message of Christmas. For those things, see Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the greatest story never sold. It’s an insult to the power and the glory of faith to seek it in fried foods, statuary or the perfunctory greetings of overworked store clerks. If I ever go to Costco looking for religion, I’ll know my Christmas goose is cooked.”

  47. Pingback: 5-Minute News! Quantum Diamonds, Obamacare, TicketMaster, and More! – 12-05-11 – Status Update « Bryan Cain — News – Music – Videos – Tech and Teaching

  48. Teri

    First of all, anyone who confronts me and accuses me of not being a “Good Christian” if I say “Happy Holidays” will be advised….”well, that’s because I am NOT a Christian.” Sorry, I am a Pagan and proud. HOWEVER, I do believe that Jesus was a real person and a man whose teachings I have great respect for. But that is irrelevant. When people get up in arms about “HH” as a greeting I also point out that: 1) There are multiple holidays (literally “holy days”) being celebrated at this time of year including: Chanukah, Yule, the Solstice, and Kwanzaa; 2) since I have no idea WHICH of those holidays they celebrate, the only LOGICAL actions for me are to either ignore the issue completely or wish them “Happy Holidays.” 3) I also don’t know if they celebrate just one holiday or more, again making Happy Holidays the correct greeting. Personally, I embrace them all…..I’ll take any excuse to do nice things for complete strangers and to me, THAT’S the reason for the season!!!!

  49. Excellent! I have a similar post today. Mine maybe a little harsher than yours.

  50. Sean

    Funny you should mention not looking for Christ at JC Penny or Kohls. Apparently he was hiding the the layaway department the whole time. Well the layaway department and people’s hearts 🙂

  51. kmk

    I find it terribly distressing that we can argue about keeping Christ in Christmas and yet on a day to day basis, he sometimes seems missing. Why does there need to be separation between the christian and the secular? Can we not embrace life with love and joy and faith everyday, Christmas and all it’s craziness included?

  52. On my site and in my church ( we’ve been addressing topics like how to effectively communicate the gospel in a secular world; how we deal with a religiously pluralistic world (we are in a predminately jewish neighborhhood, have many Muslim business owners, and have a hindu place of worship just a few miles up the road – but the majority in our community have never been in any church – nor their parents before them); plus we are exploring how to help the incresing numbers of poor and homeless ion the Richmond city limits.

  53. Hi, I am in Scotland and I dont agree with you totally. Totally understand the need to be more Christ-like. However, and I will stick to the Christmas part here, we in this country increasingly have happy holidays yet when it is muslim etc times, we say happy whatever to them. We no longer have nativity plays in many of our primary schools, we have winterfest instead of Christmas readings. Christ will always be in Christmas for me regardless of what they do and yes it has endured. BUT, no other word in this country of ours (Scotland) brings about the same magical feeling and never will. I dont rant and rave about it. I will be saying merry Christmas to people though. That includes everyone here:)x

  54. StAnthony44

    Beautiful. Why dont retailers wish Jesus a Happy Birthday ?

  55. Thank you for sparking such wonderful conversation & encouraging others to be proud of their commitment to Christ. I’m blessed to work at JCPenney and while many don’t seek the Lord there I am always happy to see Him there each day! Our little Winona MN store is filled most days all year round with His Spirit. The kindness and compassion from our associates & customers to each other is some days enough to bring a tear to your eye. I’m very proud to call them family and be part of the Light that shines for someone when they aren’t seeking but find as He had planned. God Bless each of you each day & may your Light shine bright and the ripple effect reach beyond this lifetime. Merry Christmas everyday from @FashionSchoh

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