For the past several years, it seems the overarching press coverage of the Christmas season has centered around the Christmas wars — happy holidays vs. merry Christmas. Stores decided to be more inclusive in the language they were using in their signage, and a group of Christians were trying to “keep Christ” in Christmas, arguing signs and advertising should say merry Christmas.
This year, I don’t see that story as often. Instead, I see a new one that has risen in many churches. A different way believers are seeking to “keep Christ” in Christmas.
There seems to be a movement building of believers and churches who are re-examining how they celebrate Christmas, promoting a holiday that returns to its roots in the birth of Christ. It’s happening across the country and across denominational lines. These Christ-followers don’t simply want to remember Christ’s birth as “the reason for the season,” they want to act upon it too.
If anything can be boiled down to a few points, let me suggest that this is what this group of Christians is encouraging believers to do this Christmas (I’m practically stealing them from Advent Conspiracy):
- Cut back on the consumerism.
- Focus on Christ.
- Love others.
In churches, this movement seems to be driven on three fronts:
- Advent Conspiracy campaign. Across the nation — including Baptist churches across this state, congregations are joining in this effort that encourages people to worship Christ fully this season; give heartfelt, meaningful gifts rather than overspending; and love people to the fullest.
- Fair Trade efforts. Congregations, including Texas Baptist churches, are giving members an opportunity to “purchase with a purpose,” buying gifts that help pull people out of poverty and trafficking situations. Texas Baptists’ fair trade initiative is called Good News Goods, and churches have been holding fair trade markets leading up to Christmas.
- Benevolent efforts. As a society, we realize the struggling economy has forced many people into hard times. More than any year than I can remember, Christians are attempting to step up and help those in need with food, clothes or toys.
What do you think of this way of attempting to “keep Christ in Christmas?” How are you approaching this Christmas? Are you doing anything different?