[It’s still Christmas. . . .]
I keep reading articles and posts complaining about Christmas being too materialistic, criticizing all of the shopping and gift-giving. Many Christians are indignant that non-believers have the presumption to celebrate our holiday. Some are saying that we should just have two separate holidays, a spiritual one for Christians marking Christ’s birth and a materialistic Winter holiday for everyone else.
I reject that! I take the highest satisfaction when non-believers glorify Christ, even against their knowledge or their will, by celebrating His birthday. They give gifts, which are the sign of the Gospel. They force themselves to be benevolent.
The so-called commercialization of Christmas does great good, helping the economy considerably (this was apparently a very good year this season) and bringing happiness to millions of children and grownups alike. People may not fully realize what it means to give and receive gifts, but that gives Christians an opportunity to explain. God’s grace is a gift. Salvation is a gift, not something you have to earn. Christ is the gift. Usually, the person who has the birthday gets the gift. But on Jesus’s birthday everybody gets a gift. Because He is the gift.
That atheists, secularists, followers of other religions, and others not in the fold celebrate Christmas is a profoundly good thing. It is powerful evidence for the validity of Christianity.
Let’s not separate the spiritual and the material out of an excess of piety or hyper-spirituality. That’s the way of Gnosticism. The very meaning of Christmas is about the spiritual and the material coming together.