Home » District Presidents, Headline

Wishing you a “Merry Christmas”

December 18, 2013 No Comment

by Thomas Prachar

prachar2011It seems to be happening with more frequency every Christmas: people get upset when they see signs in public places that say “Merry Christmas.” School plays and pageants held at this time of year don’t mention Christmas. Radio stations refuse to carry Christmas music, particularly traditional religious carols. The success of Christmas is measured by sales. Accusations are made that Christians don’t really know when Jesus was born; they simply hijacked a pagan festival, putting their spin on it.

A comment by one atheist: “You Christians have had your way for almost two thousand years. Don’t be upset if you’re losing some of the privileged status you have, especially when it comes to everything surrounding your celebration of Christmas!” Others have argued that with our pluralistic culture today, we shouldn’t allow one religion to determine our public holidays and celebrations. And so it goes.

I suppose we, as Christians, could be of two minds on this issue. We could lament these changes that continue to spin, often beyond our control. We could adopt a persecuted feeling—but that sort of “martyr complex” could itself quickly become a comfortable lifestyle. We could write letters to the editor debating our position in a public forum. We could start petitions to have society embrace a “Merry Christmas.” We could even create websites and institute blogs that bemoan that we are really, really angry and that we aren’t going to take it anymore!

Or, on the other hand, we could be simple, quiet witnesses to the true meaning of Christmas. There is one place we don’t have to be shy about either hearing or proclaiming the facts of the first Christmas: our local congregation! There we can sing about our Saviour’s birth and learn about that event’s implications for the eternal future of the planet. In church we can hear again the simple Christmas story about a child born to save people from their sin. As the Spirit works through that message in our own hearts, we receive the strength and motivation to boldly share our faith.

There is one place we don’t have to be shy about either hearing or proclaiming the facts of the first Christmas: our local congregation! There we can sing about our Saviour’s birth and learn about that event’s implications for the eternal future of the planet.

What an opportunity to invite friends and relatives who rarely come to church! They may attend on Christmas Eve only to capture some lost family tradition or out of some sense of duty to spouse or family. But they will leave having heard the Good News of how God graciously became man for them and their salvation. We can give gifts to family and friends mindful of the fact that Jesus has given us the perfect gifts of salvation and eternal life. Even though society may be effectively wiping away any public celebration of the Christ of Christmas, we can, without hesitation and with great joy, wish everyone we meet a “Merry Christmas!”

I don’t know which method might be more effective. There are probably times and places for both. The Holy Spirit can use various tools and people to accomplish His work. I pray that our Lord gives me the strength and courage to say or do, at the very least, something. Whether I take a proactive or reactive stance, I pray that I will tell the Christmas story with joy and conviction as the opportunity arises.

A blessed and Merry Christmas to all!

———————

Rev. Thomas Prachar is President of the Central District of Lutheran Church–Canada.

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.