Today is Christmas Eve, and below I am posting a video containing one of the Christmas songs that I’ve written over the years. However, I use the word “Christmas” gently, lightheartedly and passionately all at once.
Gently, because yes, I know the arguments behind the calendar days on which Christmas and Easter holidays occur as having pagan roots, I know the realistic theological and historical argument that Jesus was not born on December 25th. I use it gently because I don’t want to come across as one who thinks that December 25th by its very nature is a magically holy day. It is a normal day that has been made holy, by the intentional and cultural meditation on the incarnation. Some people slam Christmas trees, but people through history, St. Boniface and Martin Luther included, used them as spiritual illustrations pointing to Christ. The nativity? St. Francis wanted to people to taste, feel, and smell what it must have been like to experience that special night of Christ’s birth. (My friend Ben wrote about it well on his blog) And even me, I look at the materialism that surrounds Christmas and often have a heavy heart, yet I choose to use this day as an excuse to speak of the incarnation on a day that, culturally, some are more open to hearing about it. That is reflected in my song. If it ends with presents and a tree then we’ve missed it, but if we use it as an opportunity to speak out when the rest of the world may have ears to hear, I say, “Yes! Merry Christmas!”
This time is lighthearted for me too, because there are warm memories attached to Christmas. Yes, I’m not calloused to peppermint mochas, or spicy mochas (thank you Caribou Coffee), decorating a tree with ornaments of years gone by, and watching silly Christmas movies. Christmas is a lighthearted time for me, because there is so much heaviness in the world (and in my brain), that sometimes I have to not take life so seriously, otherwise I miss the little joys that are waiting behind every corner.
Lastly, this time of the year is something that I’m passionate about, because the reality is: just like the argument that the seasonal celebration of day on which we celebrate Christmas has pagan roots, the reality is so do we. Christ died for us when we were not just sinners, but when we were the very enemies of Him (Romans 5). So, let’s use any opportunity to meditate on the incarnation: the master plan of redemption set forth by our Creator. And let’s speak out about it, let’s share the awesome story of God becoming man, and relay the significance of that to a world that definitely needs life/hope/mercy.