It is common to hear “Let’s keep Christ in Christmas.” I have to wonder what would happen if Jesus came to some of our Christmas celebrations, how he would react. I also wonder how we would react if Jesus showed up at one of our celebrations. It is sure that Jesus wasn’t the kind of person that wouldn’t be at home at a celebration or party. The fact he was constantly being invited into different people’s home and that the tax collectors and sinners wanted to be around him and knew he cared for them shows he was one who made others feel comfortable around him. When he compared the religious leaders to children that were never satisfied he said that John the Baptist came neither eating certain foods or drinking wine and you said he had a demon. The Son of man came eating and drinking and you called him a drunk and a glutton.
Not only did he go to the homes for times of joy, he went to the different feasts in Jerusalem to help the people remember who they were as God’s people. It is also certain that Jesus wants us to remember him and what he has done and is doing for us. When he was having his last supper with his apostles he took bread and gave a piece to each man and said, “Take eat, this is my body that is broken for you. Do this in memory of me.” Then he took the cup and said, “Each one of you drink of it. This is my blood of the New Covenant which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in remembrance of me.”
The fact that Christians gather on the first day of the week to worship is part of the memory of Jesus being raised from the dead on that day. It is also true that the news of his birth was a matter of great joy. Angels appeared in the sky to shepherds in the field telling them that this was a time of good tidings of great joy to all people. A savior is born in the city of David, who is Christ the Lord. The story of Jesus is “Gospel” or good news. When people become the disciples of Jesus in the Book of Acts it is common to say, “They rejoiced believing in God” or “They went on their way rejoicing.”
With all that in mind, I think there are things about Christmas celebrations that Jesus would fit right into. He would fit easily in all the efforts made to share and care for those who are less fortunate in the world. It is Christ like to care for the poor, the homeless, the orphans, the sick and hurting. When Jesus pictured the final judgment he pictured all the nations being gathered before the Lord and him separated them from each other like a shepherd dividing the sheep from the goats. He said to those on the right hand, “Come you blessed of my father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you took me in. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and in prison and you came to me.” The people responded “When did we do those things?” Jesus said, “In as much as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers you did it to me.”
I have no doubt that Jesus would love the family gatherings and people showing love for each other. But I also have little doubt that there are things done during the Christmas season that he is ashamed to think of them being done in a time tied to his name. When greed is promoted, families buy things they can’t afford putting greater stress on the whole family, and when we take a birth in a dirty, smelly stable and sanitize it to the degree no one could imagine the real birth of Jesus, I don’t think Jesus is being honored.
Instead of focusing on the words about Jesus or keeping Christ in Christmas it would be better to try to put the heart of Jesus into what we do on Christmas and every other day.