Last night I wrote a brief post about the concern many Evangelicals have about generic holiday greetings emanating from the White House, Wal-Mart and other esteemed centers of American thought. They are concerned, I think, that we risk losing the "reason for the season," as we all focus on Santa Claus or Winter Scenes or multi-faith displays of Menorahs and Christmas Trees, rather than placing our focus on the Baby Jesus.
But this perspective potentially has a dangerous corollary – that Jesus is in the season only if we bring Him there. That is, some fear that by sending "Happy Holidays" cards we take "Christmas" and "Christ" out of our celebration. But I contend that God is bigger than our holiday cards or holiday marketing campaigns. God is in this season – Jesus is truly Emmanuel today and everyday – whether we acknowledge it or not. The danger in the anti-Happy-Holidays message is that we come to believe that Jesus is present and active only when we make him present and active. But I don’t think it’s up to us – rather, I think that Jesus is present and active whenever and wherever He wants to be. We put God in a box (and gift wrap Him, I assume – but not with Santa wrapping paper) and seek to control who God is and whose God He is. But God is bigger than that, bigger than us, and is truly present and at work in our world – whether or not we like it, name it, or want it.
And so, back to my point yesterday – if you want to hear the Christmas story, don’t ask the White House or Wal-mart to tell the story, that’s not their calling. Rather, go to church, and you’ll hear the greatest story ever told.