As the angel said to Mary, ‘You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their Christmas.’
No? Oh well. So, perhaps we shouldn’t call it Christmas anymore? As I understand it, the word Christ-mas means Feast of Christ; and there is already a regular Feast in the Christian calendar when we celebrate Christ. We call it Communion. And it has to do with Self-Denial and Sacrifice. We eat it together and say, ‘This is how Jesus ransomed me; this is the food my soul lives and thrives on’.
So perhaps, instead of changing the name of the season, we should change the nature of the season to fit its name! Because, of course, what the angel really said to Mary was ‘…He will save his people from their sin.’
Sin isn’t a very popular word today, though. The ‘Arndt and Bauer Greek/English Lexicon of the New Testament’ defines it as ‘a departure from either human or divine standards of uprightness’. That’s a bit of a mouthful, so some people are using alternative words like ‘selfishness’; and ‘greed’.
Interestingly, most people would agree they don’t like others who are selfish or greedy! And God certainly doesn’t like those things! For instance, Jesus calls us to lives of service and self-denial; and Scripture redefines ‘greed’ as ‘idolatry’. So it seems God and men agree with each other- selfishness and greed are bad things. They are, in fact, sinful. They are the inner motivators that Jesus died to rescue us from… and that rescue act is the emancipation we celebrate at Communion.
OK then. If you agree with me that everyday culture tends to be selfish and greedy; if you agree with the majority that these traits are sinful; would you say Jesus has rescued you from this kind of Christmas (compare Galatians 1:4)? Has he rescued you from its sins of selfishness and greed… and I suppose we could attach other words like gluttony and jealousy which are by-products.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ll be enjoying the season with family, including a big get together. I’m not a killjoy. But true joy- the spiritual joy Jesus offers- is the fruit of obedience to God. So your Christian dilemma, and mine, is ‘How do we celebrate the Feast of Christ in a way that is consistent with the Lord’s Supper? In a way that celebrates and demonstrates we have been saved from our selfishness and greed?