Most pastors love Christmas Eve. Churches are full and they get to preach to what is often their largest audience of the year. My congregation, the Church of God of Landisville, set what was probably a record for us – 312 people.
I spoke on John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
My message was about people’s priorities over Christmas and the battle that often ensues between those muscling to “Keep Christ in Christ” or militantly shouting “Happy Holidays.” Then there are those who are satisfied with the sentimentality of Santa plus a nice Christmas Eve service (which is a whole lot of Christians.) To them I said, “If this is all there is to your Christmas, then you will never truly bear witness to the world that Jesus has come.” To the politically correct holiday police, “Do you really think that Christmas has nothing to do with Christ?” To the strident “Keep Christ in Christmas” crew, “Why are we so concerned that Christ is the center of a 2-3 week celebration? Are we equally concerned that Christ is kept 365 days a year, 24-7?”
In fact, to Christians every where: “If Christ is not obviously the center of your life year round, if you only let your allegiance come to the forefront at Christmas, how can you reflect the glory of God that we claim to behold at Christmas?”
I have this persuasion. The glory of God–His holiness express in unconditional love and amazing grace-is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. That glory is revealed in the manger and the cross and the empty tomb. But that glory is also revealed by those who live transformed by His glory. Paul says in Colossians 1:27. “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
I cannot speak for those who believe that political correctness is more beneficial to our society than the Truth that Sets Us Free. I am not satisfied with a faith that is at the level of the sentimentality of Santa (as much as I like the Jolly Old Elf).
I believe that the world needs more than a declaration of “Christ in Christmas” or a rhetorical “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Jesus is the answer, the only one in fact, to everything that separates us from God and keeps us from living in His image.
We need more than simply Christ in Christmas.