Christmas: Sacred or Cultural?

Terry Walton



I Was Thinking…

Perhaps you saw the article in Sunday’s ‘USA Today’ by Cathy Lynn Grossman entitled ‘U.S. sees more jingle, less Jesus in Christmas’.  She lists some alarming statistics such as “just three years ago, 51% of U.S. adults said Christmas for them is more a religious holiday than a cultural one.  But that has slipped to 46% in a new Pew survey.”  That troubles me but what troubles me most is that according to Pew researchers this trend does not trouble most people: “only 32% say it ‘bothers’ them even somewhat.”.

As the people of God we have work to do.  The apathy of Christians is killing the witness of a baby born in a manger.  The world is hurting, broken, has lost its way and we, followers of the Star of Bethlehem, seem to care less than in recent years.  Have we grown weary in well-doing?  Have we lost hope that our witness really matters?  Have we decided ‘what’s the use’?  Have we?

The same survey quoted by Grossman “finds a ‘striking shift’ in the overall share of people who believe four key elements of the biblical Nativity story.  1) Jesus was born to a virgin: from 73% to 66%; 2) Baby Jesus was laid in a manger: from 81% to 75%; 3) Wise men guided by a star, brought Jesus gifts: from 75% to 68%; and 4) An angel announced the birth of Jesus to shepherds: 74% to 67%”.

Do such statistics lend themselves to point to a slow erosion of faith in our country and world?  Maybe they do but they don’t necessarily have to mean that erosion will continue.  Such conclusions can simply be a tool of the Holy Spirit to awaken our souls.  As a people of God our witness is critical.  How we passionately live out our beliefs is important to the persons observing our lives“Go Tell it on a Mountain that Jesus Christ is Born!” is more than a Christmas hymn…it is our purpose as followers of the babe in a manger.

May we this Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the other eleven days of Christmas be reminded that what we believe and how we live that belief is important to the world.  It starts with us NOT growing weary in well doing and that other no so Christmas hymn “Let There Be Peace on Earth and let it begin with me” will be more than music of our lips.  It will be the music of our souls.

Sharon and I wish you the most Holiest of Christmases.  Not “Merry Christmas” but “Happy Holy-Day”it matters that it be sacred and not just cultural.
Always Thinking…

comments powered by Disqus