Starbucks has a Christmas Blend coffee, I-Hop has Christmas pancakes, Blockbuster has Christmas movies and Macy’s has a Christmas parade, Christmas PJs, Christmas decorations and a Christmas sale. You won’t find the word “Christmas” in your Bible but you will see the word everywhere else you look today. The word literally means a “Christ mass”. Mass was a time when the church participated in the Lord’s Supper, remembering Christ’s sacrifice at Easter. (Another word that isn’t in your Bible.) That time of worship and remembrance is a Christ mass. I wonder how many people know what the word Christmas really means? I wonder how many people will celebrate Christmas with its original intent? Will you?
It is hard to keep up with the changing definitions in our world today. One school got in trouble for changing the lyrics of “Deck the Halls“. The children were having trouble with the giggles while singing, “Don we now our gay apparel”. When the teacher changed the word “gay” to something else it made the national news. The word awesome is used less often now. My children used that word the way I used the words cool or groovy. None of us were talking about the size, temperature or texture of a situation. And when my dad worked at IBM, a computer chip would have meant someone had knocked a piece of metal off the outside of the massive, card-reading machine in the large room next door. I’m grateful that brilliant person created a new meaning for the word chip! The definition of words will probably keep changing, but never fear, there is probably going to be an app for your phone soon that will help you keep up. (If you had said the word “app” a few years ago, people would probably have expected you to say “excuse me” right after.)
Christians should work hard to remember the real meaning of Christmas. Our culture keeps trying to redefine it for us – but Christians should be redefining it for them! The Christmas holiday belongs to the church, not Starbucks or Macys. Christmas isn’t a blend of coffee or a season for department stores to reach their annual profits. Are things too far gone? Will the church ever be able to return the holiday to its original meaning? That depends on you. Yes you. Just you.
Don’t focus on the big picture, focus on your mirror. Does the person reflected above your bathroom sink understand the real meaning of Christmas? If so, then rejoice – and find one other person each day and share what you know. If everyone who reads this blog will do that, we will literally redefine the word “Christmas” before Macy’s holds their parade next year. Imagine the streets of New York City lined with people singing Christmas hymns and worshiping Christ!
How do you share the real meaning of Christmas with someone else? I like to explain the season by remembering the name, often associated with Christ, this time of the year. “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). The real meaning of Christmas is this…God came to this earth to dwell with us so that one day, we could go to heaven and dwell with him there. Christmas means God is with you, forever. And for those who may be reading this that have not yet placed their faith in Christ, you can meet Jesus today, and Immanuel can be with you too!
Pray for the chance to redefine someone’s holiday today, but first pray that Immanuel redefines Christmas for you. Then, if God leads you, forward this blog to someone who needs to know the real meaning of Christmas. And I’ll see you next year at the parade!